Private View held by Richard Andrews
Seeing Things: Photographing Objects 1850-2001 is a whistle stop tour of some of the best known and most unusual images in the history of photography. It surveys the range of ways photographers have interpreted objects and people to compose a memorable image, including as museum specimens, direct facsimiles, Surrealist surprises, natural history, found objects, impossible objects, domestic details, personal accessories and advertising. Sometimes a single frame can immortalise a whole era, such as Lewis Morley's nude portrait of Christine Keeler astride that '60s chair, displayed here along with the original contact sheet - and the chair. With everything from early Daguerreotypes to contemporary digital images, this exhibition takes in the full spectrum of documentary, fine art, advertising and portraiture. Among the photographers whose works are featured are Eugene Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Chadwick, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Andre Kertesz, Richard Prince and Man Ray. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th August.
George Romney 1734 - 1802: British Art's Forgotten Genius marks the bicentenary of the death of this key figure of 18th century portraiture with the first comprehensive assessment of his work. Over sixty paintings and seventy works on paper reflect his development as an artist, from early notebook pencil sketches in his Cumbrian birthplace, to grand full length canvasses of London society, including Emma Hart - later Lady Hamilton. At the height of his career he was more fashionable than Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, but his real interest was in painting historical and literary subjects. This exhibition launches new special exhibition galleries at the Walker, as it reopens after a £4.3m refurbishment programme. Also included are a new prints and drawings gallery specially designed to display light sensitive works; more space to display 20th century and contemporary works; restoration of the 17th century European galleries; and an extensive re-hang of the permanent collection. A new craft and design gallery will be completed next year. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool until 21st April.
Barbican: This Was Tomorrow examines one of the icons of the post Second World War town planning dream, which in reality is generally regarded as a nightmare - where the 'Streets In The Sky' meets mixed work/leisure use. So long was the planning and construction, that by the time it was completed, its ideas had been discredited. Although the Barbican is the upmarket version of the Glasgow or East End tower block - here at least the lifts do work - its brutalist style remains unloved, and its recent Grade 2 listing by English Heritage has been greeted with disbelief. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Barbican Centre, this exhibition examines its evolution from the origins in the 1950s as a new vision of urban living created from the devastation of the blitz. This is recreated through a combination of original plans and sketches, specially commissioned photographs, video interviews and a reconstruction of a fantasy Barbican flat, showing in all its naivety what yesterday's future looked like. Barbican Centre until 14th April.
Japan: Gateway To The Future showcases the latest advances in Japanese science, revealing cutting edge networking technologies, never before seen in the UK. Robotics Communication describes the history of the humanoid robot, and allows visitors to see, touch, and play with, seal-like and four-legged animal robots. Mobile Communication introduces two services for mobile phones. i-mode offers e-mail and internet access, providing news, weather reports, games, and even fortune telling. FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile Multimedia Access) makes high-developed communication systems possible, allowing videophone and visual data connections across the globe. Smart Driving is a car system with sensors and a visual display unit, which can create more functional and safer travel in all means of transport, including for pedestrians and public transport users. Digital Home Entertainment presents Memory Stick, a tiny storage device that will enable the sharing of digital information between a whole range of AV and IT products, including camcorders, laptop computers, PDAs and mobile phones. Science Museum until 16th March.
Odds Farm Park, which is open seven days a week from spring to autumn Half Term holidays, provides an opportunity for visitors to observe its animals up close. As one of twenty approved rare breeds centres in the country, it plays an important part in the breeding and conservation of many of Britain's rarest farm animals. There are regular activities throughout the year, such as feeding, hand milking of cows and goats, egg collecting and animal husbandry. In addition, there are month by month seasonal themed activities, with lambing currently in progress, sheepdog demonstrations to follow in April, shearing in May, and tractor and trailer rides throughout the summer. Barns and sheds around the farm provide plenty of cover for the demonstrations in typical British weather. The farm's own produced food, together with other local food and craft items are on sale. Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe continuing.
Steenbeckett: Atom Egoyan is a film based installation in the former Museum Of Mankind (whose contents have returned to the British Museum) which pays tribute to pre digital visual and audio information recording technology. A labyrinthine route is traced down dusty corridors, empty save for cans of film and audio tape, and ledgers, index files and other paper information storage systems, up flights of stairs to the abandoned projection booth of a hidden cinema. In a forgotten room, an old Steenbeckett cut-and-tape film editing machine is running a celluloid copy of Atom Egoyan's version of Samuel Becket's Krapp's Last Tape, in which an old man is recording reflections on his younger self on an ancient reel to reel tape recorder. In another room there is the future, with a projection of an immaculate digital version of the same thing. The installation, which is presented with the aid of Artangel, is conceived for a small number of visitors at a time and so entry is on the hour and half hour only. Further information can be found on the Artangel web site via the link from the Others Organisations section of ExhibitionsNet. Former Museum Of Mankind, 6 Burlington Gardens W1 07947 386 732 until 17th March.
William Beckford 1760-1844: An Eye For The Magnificent celebrates the achievements of the millionaire, travel writer, novelist, composer, visionary, builder of towers, and one of the greatest collectors of all time. Reputedly England's wealthiest man, Beckford indulged his passion for gothic architecture, design and history, and was one of the first British collectors of oriental and islamic works. His influence, through both his enthusiasm and sponsorship, shaped the taste of a generation of architects, designers, artists, sculptors and craftsmen. Beckford reconstructed a vast gothic abbey at Fonthill, where he lived behind five miles of twelve feet high spiked walls, filling it with his commissions and acquisitions. This exhibition covers the entire gamut of his collection, with paintings, furniture, silverware, pottery, object d'art, and architectural designs and models, across the diverse cultures that were his passion. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 14th April.
Warte Mal! (Hey Wait!): Prostitution After The Velvet Revolution is an extensive installation by Swedish artist Ann-Sofi Siden, combining architectural, sculptural, cinematic and documentary elements. It recreates the experience of life in Dubi, a small town on the Czech-German border, once a spa, which since the collapse of the eastern block, now exists almost solely for the purpose of prostitution. Siden spent some time staying at the notorious Motel Hubert, and recording interviews with the girls, their pimps, their clientele, bar owners and the police. Together with her written diary, and a photographic and video record of daily life in the town, she has assembled a unique picture of a society where corruption, abuse and human exploitation is routine, but which the human spirit challenges with solidarity, compassion and dignity. Siden's arrangement of video monitors in glass booths and large scale projections give the viewer a sense of walking through a community, of witnessing peep shows and panoramas, and sharing intimate confidences. Hayward Gallery until 1st April.
Warhol traces the evolution of Andy Warhol's work, from his first use of crude printing in the 1950s, through more sophisticated silk screen techniques, to the monumental canvases scattered with diamond dust and the Rorschach ink blot paintings that he made in his later years. Warhol was one of the most influential yet enigmatic artists of his time, whose genius was to take the material he was producing in his early career as a commercial artist, and turn it into high art. He recognised that massed produced art could be used to reflect a massed produced culture. Thus the early coke bottles and soup cans, gave way to Marilyns and Maos, and newspaper stories of car crashes and electric chairs, the individually hand painted to printed multiples. Taking this to a logical conclusion, he set up his factory, and deemed that anything it produced was 'Warhol' and 'art' even if he hadn't actually participated in its creation. Warhol divined the evolution of a fame based culture, crystallised in his quote that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and while not the first artist to be a celebrity, was the first celebrity artist. Tate Modern until 1st April.
Followers Of Fashion: Graphic Satires From The Georgian Period proves that the ludicrous excesses of today's catwalks come from a rich heritage. This exhibition of almost 100 hand-coloured etchings and mezzotints from the British Museum, reveals the outrageous world of high fashion as seen through the eyes of late 18th and early 19th century satirical artists such as Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and Richard Newton. Trends in fashions: gigantic hats, towering wigs, and huge bustles that made it impossible to sit down (and the women were no better) were extreme in exactly the same way as current creations. The difference is that 200 years ago cartoonists would satirise the follies of following the idiosyncrasies of high fashion, rather than slavishly promoting them as today's glossy fashion magazines do. Gillray lived in Old Bond Street and drew what he saw from his window. The widely held opinion then was that high fashion equalled low morals, as though a desire to follow the fashion in some way lured an individual away from a more wholesome lifestyle. Hmm. Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne until 10th March.
Introduction To Robotics provides an opportunity to learn the basic skills needed to build your own robot. Tutorials and practical sessions develop knowledge and skills, producing a robot that can be taken home and further refined. And we're not talking about something that will do the housework, but a machine that means that an appearance on Robot Wars will be just a step away. The Big Idea, which claims to be 'the world's first inventor centre', is a hands on exhibition devoted to the process of inventing, aiming to unlock the quest for knowledge and understanding in its visitors. It does this by showing how things work, using interactive models to strip away the secrets of the every day and the esoteric. Among the attractions is The History Of Explosions, a 'pink knuckle' experience that goes from Big Bang to the Atom Bomb in seven minutes. Every visitor receives a free inventor kit to build at home, ranging form an electric racing car to a burglar alarm. The Big Idea, Irvine, weekends until 10th March.
20 Years Of Postman Pat is an interactive exhibition which celebrates the world of Consignia's best known employee. Under 5's have the opportunity to explore Greendale, meet Pat and his black and white friend Jess, take a peek into Ted Glenn's workshop (and see what happens when it closes for the night), and hear Postman Pat in different languages. Older children and adults can learn about the production of the series, and revisit their childhood by browsing through a collection of memorabilia. The combination of Ivor Wood's animation, John Cunliffe's storylines, and Bryan Daly's theme tune, has made Pat one of Britain's most popular pre school characters. As well as appearing on television in over 40 countries from Brazil to Japan, touring the country in a stage show, clocking up book sales approaching 15 million, (and being among the most borrowed children's books from Public Libraries), Pat has spawned a vast amount of merchandise, much of which is on display. Museum Of Childhood until 7th March.