Private View held by Richard Andrews
Queen Victoria At Kensington - Her Life In Dress marks the centenary of the death of Queen Victoria with a new display of items from her wardrobe, including her wedding dress and coronation robes. It reflects the different ages of the longest reigning British monarch, and the changes in dress that occurred over that period. The exhibition also features some of Victoria's toys, including her doll's house and a selection of her dolls in costume of the period.
The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is a presentation of dress worn by members of the Royal Family, and officials and dignitaries undertaking ceremonial roles, such as heralds or members of Orders of Knighthood, dating from the 18th century to the present day. There are also recreations of a dressmaker's workroom, a tailor's shop, and dressing rooms. Highlights include Queen Mary's wedding dress and a collection of dresses owned and worn by the present Queen. Patterns, sketches, samples and dresses created by Catherine Walker for Diana, Princess of Wales are also on display for the first time. Kensington Palace until 31st March.
At Sea acknowledges that just as artists in the past have been fascinated by the sea as a representation of the power of nature, so many artists working today continue to find it a source of inspiration. This exhibition brings together a selection of contrasting reactions to the subject by 21 contemporary artists, embracing sculpture, photography, video, painting and installation. While Vija Celmins and Hiroshi Sugimoto see the sea as conducive to quiet contemplation, for Tacita Dean and Mariele Neudecker, it evokes scenes of danger or disaster, with shipwrecks, drownings and other tragedies. The seashore as a site for leisure and entertainment can be seen in Martin Parr's photographs of West Bay in Dorset, in Rineke Dijkstra's teenage models shivering on deserted beaches, and in Tracy Emin's Whitstable beach hut. The venue is particularly apt, being a 19th century warehouse in Albert Dock, from where many ships departed Britain for an Atlantic crossing. Tate Liverpool until 23rd September.
Isamu Noguchi is the first major British retrospective of the Japanese sculptor, stage designer, landscape architect and furniture designer. Noguchi is possibly best known in the UK for his Akari mulberry paper light sculptures, which inspired the shades that graced a million living rooms in the 1960s. Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and American mother, he trained as a cabinet maker in Japan, and then became assistant to sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Paris, before settling in New York. From this background, Noguchi worked throughout his career as an interpreter of the East to the West, moving between art and design, objects and landscapes, figurative and abstract, organic and geometric, and unique and mass produced. Among Noguchi's works were sculptural furniture for Herman Miller and Knoll Associates, gardens for Tokyo University, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the national museum in Jerusalem, bridges in Hiroshima, stage designs for choreographers Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, and collaborations with visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller. Design Museum until 18th November.
Predators marks a further step down the road from august educational institution to theme park, following the new robotic smellovision Tyrannosaurus Rex which arrived just after St Valentine's day. The exhibition explores the constant battle for survival in the natural world between predators and their prey. It looks at the skill and cunning that decides whether an animal gets a meal or ends up being one. There are giant robotic models of a great white shark, a chameleon and a deadly Sydney funnel-web spider, together with real specimens such as a Harris' Hawk, and interactive exhibits. The display reveals how both hunter and hunted have evolved to stay alive - from senses, tools and lethal weapons, to speed and cunning strategy.
Olly & Suzi Untamed, which runs alongside, is an art installation of photography, film, painting, drawing and 3-D artworks by British artists Olly & Suzi. They work with photographer Greg Williams in remote polar, desert, jungle and ocean environments, tracking, painting and interacting with predators, such as anacondas, saltwater crocodiles, white sharks, tarantulas and wild dogs. The animals are encouraged to interact with their paintings - mauling, biting or scratching the works, and so leaving their mark. Natural History Museum until 6th May.
Blackwell is one of England's most important surviving houses from the turn of the 20th century. Designed by M. H. Baillie Scott between 1897 and 1900, it is a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture. Sixty years of neglect have been brought to an end with a £3.5m restoration programme, and the house has now been returned to its original condition. Downstairs, the living rooms have been furnished with examples of craft and the applied arts pieces of the period, together with small sculptures by Gaudier-Brezeska and Epstein. Upstairs, the bedrooms have been turned into exhibition galleries. The opening display is a retrospective of contemporary organic ceramics by Kenyan born Magdalene Odundo, comprising over 50 pieces, including 15 new works. Outside, the garden terraces give way to spectacular Lakeland views. Blackwell, Kendall - Magdalene Odundo until 23rd September.
Pompeii is an exhibition which charts the process of discovery and reclamation of Pompeii over the last 300 years. In 79AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted, one third of the mountain was rendered into volcanic ash. Toxic gas was produced that poisoned the wealthy Roman inhabitants of nearby Pompeii in minutes, where they stood, sat or lay. The ash then descended and buried the city to a depth of 9 feet, freezing it in time for over 1600 years. When it was discovered in 1710, the first excavations were little more than looting expeditions, but gradually this gave way to a more academic study of evidence of the Roman way of life. This exhibition contains few original works, consisting mainly of casts of sculptures, artefacts, and figures in the attitudes of sudden death, together with photographs, prints and reproductions. Nevertheless it vividly evokes both the event itself, and the struggle to rediscover the lost city, and is all the more effective for being staged in the arches beneath this Victorian engine shed. Undercroft Of The Roundhouse, London, 020 7424 9991 until 2nd September.
Sands Gallery, devoted to 20th century paintings and sculpture, is the first new gallery to open at the Ashmolean Museum, for sixty years. It provides space for a rotational display of about two hundred works that have not previously been on view due to lack of space, including pieces by Epstein, Frink, Malliol, Matisse, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Picasso and Stanley Spencer. Many of these are key examples of the artists early styles. The gallery also houses a collection of eight paintings, a pastel and a drawing by W.R. Sickert, recently presented to the museum by the Christopher Sands Trust, after which the gallery is named. These include the first version of Brighton Pierrots, the pastel version of Noctes Ambrosianae, and a drawing for Tipperary or The Baby Grand. The rest of the Sands collection, which includes a group of drawings by Augustus John, is also on loan to the museum. The Ashmolean, Britain's first free public museum, opened in 1683 to house the collection of curiosities assembled by John Tradescant and Elias Ashmole. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford continuing.
The Maize Maze, created by Adrian Fisher, the world's leading maze designer, has a path network of over three miles, and is one of the largest and most intricate puzzles in the world. It is a unique design, which will last for only eight weeks, and will never being repeated. Designs in previous years have included a dragon, a pirate ship and a castle. The maze incorporates a refreshment area half way round, observation towers, and large gallery bridges that offer scenic views across the Sussex countryside. Those visitors who find their way out can enjoy other attractions, such as a turf labyrinth, six minute mazes, the barrel train, tractor trailer rides, and a straw mountain. Fisher first developed the Maize Maze concept as a world record attempt in American in 1993. Tulley's Farm, Crawley until 16th September.
On Paper: New Paper Art is a visual feast of paper, celebrating the medium by bringing together for the first time, the work of forty international artists from the field of paper art. It presents a surprisingly diverse display that illustrates the different concepts and techniques that can be employed. The selection ranges from origami and sculptures to clothes and accessories, including jewellery and shoes. Among the items are Graham Hay's sculptures crafted from old documents, invitations, posters and catalogues; works by the world's most prolific origami artist, Japanese grand master Akira Yoshizawa, whose legacy has provided the foundations for contemporary folded paper art; Charlie Thomas tailored paper suits and accessories, which employ techniques such as stitching, weaving and riveting; and Kyoko Ibe's visualisation of the natural elements in her large scale theatrical piece White Wind. Crafts Council Gallery until 2nd September.
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 a thousand works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 10,000 submissions. This year's senior hanger, ancient terrible Peter Blake, has introduced some changes - Shock! Horror! Firstly, he has invited submissions from particular artists and celebrities. Secondly, he has divided works into categories of Royal Academicians, Honorary Academicians, Invited Artists and Submissions, and hung them in different rooms, thus separating professionals from amateurs. Thirdly, he has increased the non painting content by introducing photographs, and devoting a whole room each to sculpture and architectural designs. Among the celebrity works on view (whose presence would seem to have been earned by publicity value rather than artistic merit) are Paul McCartney's flying choc ices, Holly Johnson's Village People sailor, and Ronnie Wood's shaggy bison. Ubiquitous Brit Art stars Tracey Emin contributes a chair embroidered/appliqued with primary school messages, Gavin Turk, a black plastic sack of rubbish recreated in bronze, the Chapman Brothers (metamorphosed into the Chapwoman Sisters) a painting of kittens, and Rankin, a photograph of a waxwork of Kylie Minogue - all presumably considered too conservative for the Turner Prize. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th August.
100 Views of Mount Fugi examines the mythological status of Japan's highest mountain, which has inspired Japanese poets and painters throughout the centuries. Since ancient times it has been revered as a deity, from the medieval period it has been a goal of pilgrimage, and it still remains a unique symbol of Japanese cultural identity. The works on view, dating from the 17th century to the present day, include paintings, watercolours on hanging silk scrolls, ink drawings and woodblock prints. They reveal how artists have projected their own personal interpretation onto this eternal symbol. The exhibition features far more than 100 renditions of Fugi, ranging in size from a thumbnail to an entire wall. Hokusaki's cycle Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fugi alone contains almost 50; Minamoto Sadayoshi painted 31 on a horizontal scroll showing the rise and fall of vapours issuing from it; and Hiroshige's woodblock series Fifty-Three Stations Of The Tokaido Highway are like freeze frames from a film zooming in towards it. British Museum until 29th July.
Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision celebrates the extraordinary creativity of the Victorian age when Britain literally ruled the world. The results of the explosion of innovation in arts, design, science and technology thus spread to the ends of it. The Victorian imagination provided the foundations upon which the modern world was built. It is after all thanks to Charles Babbage's Difference Engine that you are reading this now. Marking the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, this exhibition endeavours to embody the creativity, spectacle and sense of adventure that powered her age. In addition to charting the known landmarks, such as underground trains, steam driven ships, bicycles and motor cars, it acknowledges the unknown, such as a Hiram Maxim's steam driven aeroplane of 1894 - which almost worked. It also balances technological advances including electric light, photography, the telephone and X-rays, with social advances such as public libraries, art galleries, free schooling and social housing. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th July.