Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Lowry, which opens on 28th April is spectacularly situated on a 12 acre promontory of Salford Quays, and is a visual and performing arts, entertainment and education centre, comprising of two galleries and two theatres. The uncompromisingly modernist landmark building is the biggest project to date designed by Michael Wilford, former partner of James Stirling. It is one of the few recent cultural buildings produced by the Lottery/Millennium frenzy to be genuinely new, rather than a conversion or extension. The galleries will house a collection of over 300 pictures by L S Lowry, together with a study centre, Artworks, an interactive multimedia gallery, and space for visiting exhibitions.
The London String Of Pearls Millennium Festival unites sixty four landmarks along the Thames, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the west, to University of East London in the east, with a series of over 300 privileged access, exhibitions, tours. performances, concerts, parades and other events, many of which are free. These include buildings open for the first time, for instance Lambeth Palace, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Fishmongers Company Livery Hall, new venues like the Tate Modern and Public Record Office galleries and the Millennium Bridge linking St Paul's and Bankside, and outdoor events such as son et lumiere at Royal Chelsea Hospital and the Royal Military Tattoo at Horse Guards Parade. The recently completed Thames Path, together with new piers and boat services, provide greatly improved access to all riverside attractions. Various venues along the river throughout the year.
Sonic Boom is the largest exhibition of sound art ever staged in the UK, with twenty two sound installations, in which the visitor encounters the mechanical and organic, the electronic and the acoustic, the sculptural and the intangible. Many are interactive, including those by Greyworld, who have converted the approach staircase and ramps to be foot sensitive sound environments activated by approaching visitors, Project Dark, who "play" biscuits, human hair and glasspaper on turntables, and Paul Burwell's bicycle driven record player which is amplified by a giant horn. Hayward Gallery until 18th June.
Box Project presents the responses by over 2000 artists, curators, writers and collectors to an invitation from the Museum Of Installations to fill a customised A5 cardboard container with something interesting. Offerings range from the dull to the bizarre, but the accumulative effect is impressive, and Glenn Onwin, Maurieke Van Diemen, Richard Wentworth and Magdalena Jetlova provide genuinely interesting mini installations. Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, 01942 404558 until 23rd May.
Beanoland is a new attraction where the pages of Britains favourite comic come to life. You can join its best known comic characters, taking a spin on Billy's Whizzer, the world's first water waveswinger, bump into friends on Roger the Dodger's Dodgems, and watch Dennis the Menace, Gnasher, Softy Walter and Minnie the Minx in three different stunt shows (involving human catapults and lots of water) running throughout the day. Chessington World Of Adventures until 29th October.
Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites is the exhibition which relaunches Tate Britain at Millbank, now that the daubs, dead animals and building materials have been shipped down river to Bankside. The centenary of Britain's most influential critic is marked by over 250 examples of both his own accomplished work, and that of the painters he championed. Turner (arguably the Shakespeare of the brush) justifiably predominates, with support from Millais, Rossetti, Hunt, Whistler and Burne-Jones. RePresenting Britain 1500 - 2000 is a radical re-presentation of the Tate's permanent collection (Nicholas Serota being the King of the rehang) as the main gallery displays have been organised by theme rather than by date, with each room looking at one aspect of a theme. Tate Britain: Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites until 29th May, and RePresenting Britain 1500 - 2000 until September.
The Art Of Star Wars explores the creative process that brought the film series to the screen. For the first time in the UK, over 250 original models, production paintings, concept drawings and costumes from the Lucasfilms archive at Skywalker Ranch show how the fantastic creatures and characters of the Star Wars universe were realised. Exhibits include concept drawings illustrating the development of the characters Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Queen Amidala's gowns, and a full size version of Anakin Skywalker's Podracer suspended as if in flight. An interactive area allows visitors to try on masks, hear how John Williams score and effects were created, and even operate a remote control animatronic creature. Barbican Centre Art Gallery until 30th July.
Peter Blake: About Collage offers an insight into Blake's practice as a collector and maker of collage. He has contributed significantly to the development of the technique since his student days, and his work includes the landmark Beatles Sgt Pepper album cover. Here Blake presents his personal selection of collage from the Tate Collection, including pieces by Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and Jean Dubuffet, together with work by famous and anonymous artists from his own collection. Collaged clothing, furniture and trinkets are included to reveal the broad use of the technique, and the exhibition also examines Blake's own use of collage. Tate Gallery Liverpool until 4th March 2001.
Art Nouveau 1890-1914 is the largest show of examples of the style since the movement's heyday. It includes work by all the major figures, including Beardsley prints, Tiffany lamps, Mackintosh chairs, Lalique jewellery, Galle vases and even an entrance to a Paris Metro station. The extraordinary fusion of nature, materials and the domestic environment is truly celebrated. What this exhibition also reveals is the oriental, Arabic and Celtic inspiration, by showing examples of antecedents alongside the art nouveau pieces. This movement was the last flowering of the hand crafted artefact, before machine made mass production became the norm. A unique opportunity to return to a time when style and quality outweighed accessibility and price. Victoria & Albert Museum until 3rd September.
Princes of Victorian Bohemia is a series of strikingly original photographic images created in the 1860s by the painter David Wilkie Wynfield. They are mostly portraits of his Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries, and his subjects include Millais, Holman Hunt and Manet. Wynfield used a narrow depth-of-field, dramatic close-ups, and historical costume to model his sitters in the image of the courtiers and noblemen painted by the Old Masters. He was one of the first photographers to use "soft-focus" as a means to create artistic photography, and his works inspired the rather better known Julia Margaret Cameron. National Portrait Gallery until 14th May.
Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ explores how the figure of Christ has been represented in the western artistic tradition, and the language of Christian imagery. Through paintings, sculptures, coins and engravings, it examines different aspects of the visual identity of Christ, and the pictorial questions that artists have confronted as they made His image. Works range from the earliest known Crucifixion, a 5th century ivory relief, to Salvador Dali's controversial Christ of St John of the Cross, painted in 1951. Though Christianity is now "uncool", it remains the bedrock of western culture. This millennial exhibition asks what such images mean in today's faithless world. National Gallery until 7th May.
Painted Illusions: The Art of Cornelius Gijsbrechts id dedicated to the art of deception, with work by one of the most important painters of illusionistic or trompe l'oeil pictures in European art, seen in London for the first time. One of the favourite themes of 17th century trompe-l'oeil painters was the letter rack, with papers and other objects tucked into, or hung from, ribbons stretched across a board. Gijsbrechts raised this to a new level of sophistication, with an extraordinary assortment of letters (often addressed to himself as "painter to the king of Denmark"), almanacs (which date the paintings), engravings, royal proclamations, miniature portraits, quill pens, tidies with pockets, and tools and equipment of every imaginable kind. National Gallery until 1st May.