Private View held by Richard Andrews
Truth And Memory examines the huge artistic outpouring in Britain instigated by the all-encompassing, all-consuming nature of the First World War. The exhibition comprises over 120 artworks, and features the most iconic images to emerge from the First World War, including paintings by Paul Nash, Percy Wyndham Lewis, CRW Nevinson, Stanley Spencer and William Orpen, as well as lesser known, yet significant works, by artists such as Anna Airy, George Clausen and Gilbert Rogers. It shows how artists of all ages, traditions and backgrounds, strived to represent the unprecedented, epoch-defining events of the First World War, which ultimately helped shape the nation's perception of the conflict and of warfare itself. The display aims to make a fresh interpretation of British First World War art, placing it within the context of the times, taking into account critical and popular responses and incorporating contemporary artistic debates. The exhibition marks the reopening of the museum after extensive renovation designed by design by Foster + Partners, which includes new permanent First World War Galleries charting the story of the war: how it started, why it continued and its global impact, through the lives of those who experienced it at the time on both the front line and the home front across Britain and its empire. Over 1,300 objects including weapons, uniforms, diaries, letters and souvenirs, are on display, alongside photographs, art and film, many of which have never been seen before. The atrium now contains 9 iconic objects, including a Harrier, Spitfire and V2 rocket suspended from above, as well as a T34 tank and a Reuters LandRover damaged by a rocket attack in Gaza. The museum was established while the First World War was still being fought to ensure that future generations would remember the toil and sacrifice of those who were impacted by it. Imperial War Museum, London ~ Truth And Memory until 8th March.
John Byrne | Sitting Ducks features the work of one of Scotland's most versatile and accomplished artists and writers. The exhibition explores and celebrates John Byrne's highly innovative and richly varied portraiture, and includes around 60 drawings, paintings and multi-media works from across his career. At times, with all his exuberant flourishes, Byrne might come across as a caricaturist of the arty set, with portraits of friends and family as well as famous sitters, such as Tilda Swinton, Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and Robbie Coltrane. However, Byrne has also produced many insightful and witty self-portraits which form a strong element of the show. As might befit an artist who is also a writer, Byrne's paintings might verge dangerously close to illustration, but then again, he is perhaps best taken to be a late and modest addition to that strain of British quirkily talented eccentrics, including the likes of Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra. Scottish National Portrait Galley, Edinburgh, until 19th October.
Alan Titchmarsh: 50 Years Of Gardening offers a personal narrative to an exhibition that looks at the things which have encouraged and shaped the nation's love of gardening. Alan Titchmarsh has selected 101 objects that tell the recent history of gardens and gardening in Britain. The interpretation of the objects aims to tell a lively history of people, their gardens and gardening, peppered with related biographical narratives from Alan Titchmarsh's experiences. The exhibition includes not just tools, artefacts, books, magazines, seed catalogues and ephemera, but also works of art. There is a particular emphasis on the changes that have taken place since the 1960s, when Titchmarsh became a teenage apprentice in the municipal nursery in his home town of Ilkley Grove. A major theme of the exhibition is how garden centres, television programmes and developments in technology have changed British gardens forever - and that includes decking. Titchmarsh also reflects on the impact of the media during this period, including the first gardening celebrities. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 31st August.
British Folk Art reveals the rich diversity of art across a variety of media and contexts. Folk art is an established subject in many countries, however in Britain the genre remains elusive. Rarely considered in the context of art history, 'folk art' has been viewed as part of social history or folklore studies. This show unites an extraordinary selection of objects, exploring the threshold between art and artefact, and challenging perceptions of 'high art'. Encompassing works dating from the 17th to mid 20th century, this visually engaging exhibition examines the contradictory notions of folk art, reflecting the ways in which art historians, artists, curators and collectors have defined folk art in Britain. Nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, textiles and objects exemplify the energy, variety and idiosyncrasy of British Folk Art, from rustic leather Toby jugs to brightly coloured ships' figureheads. Among the highlights are the imposing larger than life-size thatched figure of King Alfred created by master thatcher, Jesse Maycock, in 1960; an intricately designed pin cushion made by wounded soldiers during the Crimean war; maritime embroidery by fisherman John Craske; a sculpture of a cockerel, made out of mutton bones by French POWs during the Napoleonic wars; and shop signs in the shape of over-sized pocket watches and giant shoes. While much folk art is anonymous, this exhibition also presents works by a number of prominent individuals. Amongst these key figures are George Smart the tailor of Frant, eminent embroiderer Mary Linwood, and Cornish painter Alfred Wallis. Often neglected in the story of art in Britain, the inclusion of these artists aims to reassess their position in art history. Tate Britain until 31st August.
Georgians: Dress For Polite Society presents a selection of the finest fashions worn by those attending Assemblies, and other glittering occasions of 18th century life. An Assembly was defined at the time as "a stated and general meeting of the polite persons of both sexes for the sake of conversation, gallantry, news and play". As Bath grew in popularity in the 18th century, there was a need for a grand Assembly Room in the fashionable upper town, and in 1771 the New Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger, opened to the public. Today, the New Rooms are known as the Assembly Rooms and are the location of this exhibition. The display includes over 30 original 18th century outfits and ensembles, including gowns made of colourful and richly patterned woven silks, as well as embroidered coats and waistcoats worn by Georgian gentlemen of fashion. A highlight of the exhibition is a trio of wide-skirted Court dresses (held out by cane supports known as panniers, from the French word for baskets), dating from the 1750s and 1760s, the early years of the reign of King George III. Accompanying the Georgian clothes are 18th century-inspired fashions by contemporary fashion designers: Anna Sui, Meadham Kirchhoff, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones, and Alexander McQueen. All are influenced by the 18th century aesthetic, and all, in different ways, show how the elegance and grace of Georgian dress continues to inspire fashion today. Bath Fashion Museum until 1st January.
Gems Of Chinese Painting: A Voyage Along The Yangzi River reveals the beauty and culture of south-east China in a selection of paintings dating from the 6th to the 19th centuries. The display includes the famous 'Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies' scroll and examples of rare ceramics from the region. The Yangzi River runs through an area of south-east China known as Jiangnan, which has been one of the country's most prosperous and culturally productive regions. The paintings and ceramics in the exhibition reflect the diverse life of its inhabitants, depicting elegant ladies and scholars in gardens, children herding cattle and wealthy merchants, as well as fishermen and farmers. Landscape paintings from along the Yangzi River show lush, fertile fields and rolling hills and highlight the region's famous gardens. Paintings and ceramics from Jiangnan have shaped in great part the Western image of traditional China. Jiangnan is also a region where some of the finest examples of the Chinese concept of the three arts - poetry, calligraphy and painting - were produced. The Admonitions scroll, traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi, one of China's patriarchs of calligraphy and painting, is an early example of the combination of the three arts, and is one of the most important Chinese paintings to survive anywhere in the world. The display also includes silk paintings from Dunhuang in the Northwest of China. British Museum until 31st August.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. Highlights include a room of works by newly elected Academicians, including Thomas Heatherwick, Neil Jeffries, Chantal Joffe, Tim Shaw, Conrad Shawcross, Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith and Wolfgang Tillmans; and a room focussing on the theme of black and white, with works by Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Deacon, Tacita Dean, Michael Landy, Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Mona Hatoum, Christian Marclay, Laure Prouvost and David Shrigley, many of which have been specially created for the exhibition. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.
Mental Health Museum houses a remarkable collection of objects that span the history of mental health care from the early 19th century through to the present day. Much of the collection focuses on the histories of the community, culture and practices of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which opened on this site in 1818, and was later known as the Stanley Royd Hospital. The collection includes restraining equipment such as chains and straightjackets; a padded cell; photographs dating from 1862 onwards; medical and surgical equipment, including chloroform bottles and ECT machines; beds and bedpans; and documents including original patient records and a Chaplain's journal. There is also a scale model of the original 1818 building built by a former curator of the museum based on the original plans and drawings. Museum of Mental Health, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield, continuing.
Art And Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920 - 1931 features early works by two painters at the forefront of the 20th century Modern British movement. The exhibition focuses on Ben and Winifred Nicholson's prolific output during their ten year marriage, and considers their work in the context of a unique artistic influence and friendship with contemporaries Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and William Staite Murray. It offers a rare opportunity to see the couple's parallel views of the same landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes and portraits. Grouped by location, the show focuses on their time spent painting in London, Lugano, Switzerland, Cumberland and Cornwall, and features work by the artists they encountered and painted alongside. The exhibition presents over 80 works, 15 of which are being displayed publicly for the first time, including Ben's 'Still Life' and Winifred's 'Flowers in a Glass Jar'. Ben and Winifred's approach was influenced by fellow artists and friends. Ben and Christopher Wood often painted the same landscapes and their paintings of Northrigg Hill are displayed alongside Winifred's earlier painting of the same scene. A chance meeting with Alfred Wallis in St Ives led to the artists painting side by side, and works such as 'The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount's Bay' and 'Newlyn Harbour and Four Luggers and a Lighthouse' provide a fascinating contrast to the group's oils and drawings. Throughout the show there are ceramics by the avant-garde potter William Staite Murray, including 'Cadence' and 'Persian Garden'. Inspired by the Nicholsons in his approach to aesthetic pottery, his works are as much influenced by their art, as their paintings are by his pots. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 21st September.
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain examines the life and work of the leading architect and designer of early Georgian Britain. The exhibition celebrates Willaim Kent's work over four decades when Britain defined itself as a new nation with the act of union with Scotland and the accession of a new Hanoverian Royal Family. Kent was a polymath, turning his hand to painting, sculpture, architecture, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, book illustration, theatrical design, costume and landscape gardening. The exhibition demonstrates how Kent's artistic ingenuity and inventiveness led him to play a dominant role in defining British taste and a new design aesthetic for the period. It brings together nearly 200 examples of William Kent's work, including architectural drawings for prominent buildings such as the Treasury and Horse Guards in Whitehall; spectacular gilt upholstered furniture from Houghton Hall, Wanstead House and Chiswick House; and designs for landscape gardens at Rousham and Stowe; as well as paintings, illustrated books and Kent's model for the Royal palace that was never built, demonstrating the versatility of the 'Kentian' style. Also featured are designs for the new Royal Family including those produced for Frederick, Prince of Wales's Royal Barge, Queen Caroline's Library at St James' Palace and the Hermitage in Richmond Gardens, together with spectacular examples of silver including a chandelier commissioned for the Royal palace in Hanover. The exhibition also examines Kent's projects for the redesign of Georgian London, including projects that were never realised, such as proposals for a new House of Parliament, and interiors for the House of Lords. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.
120 Years of Tower Bridge (1894 - 2014) explores the different ways artists have pictured London's most iconic bridge. The exhibition offers a wonderful selection of Tower Bridge water colours, oils, pencil drawings, etchings and photographs made over the years, featuring a vast range of artistic interpretations by artists from the 19th century through to the 21st century. Works range from William Lionel Wyllie's historical painting, 'The Opening Ceremony of the Tower Bridge', through Frank William Brangwyn's 'The Tower Bridge', Charles Pears's 'Blitz. Our London Docks', Judith Evans and Arthur Watson's 'The Spirit of London' and Chris Orr's 'Black Dog at Tower Bridge', to the Ecuadorian artist Mentor Chico's 'Forever Imagical Tower Bridge' painted specially for the exhibition. In addition, there is a fascinating array of, mementoes, ephemera, engineering plans and archive material about the bridge. Guildhall Art Gallery, London EC1, until 30th June.
The Years Of La Dolce Vita features a collection of images made by the original paparazzo, whose shots changed the face of photojournalism forever. The 1950s and 1960s represent a golden era in Italian film, when directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini produced some of their most famous movies. The term paparazzo was taken from Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the name of a character inspired by a number of real-life photojournalists then active in Rome, including Marcello Geppetti, from whose astonishing archive of over one million images most of the works on display are drawn. Many Hollywood stars and directors were lured to Rome in the 1960s, where epic productions such as Ben-Hur and Cleopatra were shot. In the evenings, the focus of Rome's movie culture, as well as the lenses of its paparazzi, shifted to the bars and restaurants lining the city's exclusive Via Veneto. The presence of celebrities like John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, Anita Ekberg, Kirk Douglas, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Marcello Mastroianni and Audrey Hepburn transformed Rome's streets into 'an open-air film set'. Geppetti has been described as 'the most undervalued photographer in history', and comparisons drawn between his work and that of Cartier-Bresson and Weegee. Juxtaposed with Geppetti's images of Rome's real-life dolce vita are a number of behind-the-scenes shots taken during the filming of La Dolce Vita by its cameraman, Arturo Zavattini, candid photographs that capture an atmosphere of relaxed creativity on the set of Fellini's landmark film. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 29th June.