Private View held by Richard Andrews
Michael Landy: Saints Alive is an exhibition of kinetic sculpture inspired by Renaissance paintings of saints. Michael Landy's imagination has been captured by images of saints, the colourful and detailed portrayal of their lives, their attributes, and stories of their single-mindedness and strength. Towering over visitors, the seven large scale sculptures swivel and turn, in movements that evoke the drama of each saint's life. The saints Apollonia, Catherine, Francis, Jerome and Thomas, plus an additional figure that takes a number of saints as its inspiration, stand alongside collages on paper that show the creative process on which Landy embarked to arrive at the kinetic sculptures. The works are cast in fibreglass, painted and assembled with the addition of metal cogs, wheels, defunct fan belts and motors, accumulated from junkyards, car boot sales and flea markets. The result looks like a mixture of Victorian automata and Heath Robinson. Landy has reworked the two dimensional images into three dimensional pieces, creating elements hidden from view in the original paintings, such as a saint's back or the fullness of folds of drapery. Keen to encourage interaction with the works, Landy has devised foot pedal mechanisms that allow visitors to crank them to life. Among the paintings that inspired the sculptures are Carlo Crivelli's 'Saint Jerome', Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Saints Genevieve and Apollonia', Sassetta's 'The Stigmatisation of Saint Francis', Cosimo Tura's 'Saint Jerome' and Pintoricchio's 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria with a Donor', which features a 3m diameter wheel that visitors can spin to reveal episodes of the saint's life as they pass among the sculptures, and view a collage created with fragments of wheel images reproduced from paintings. National Gallery until 24th November.
Master Drawings comprises works on paper of the greatest quality drawn by some of the most famous artists in the history of western art. The exhibition features 72 drawings of all types - figure studies, composition sketches, landscapes and portraits - by 51 artists, from Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael; Durer and the artists of the Northern Renaissance; through the centuries to Rubens and Rembrandt; Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard and Goya; Turner, Palmer, Degas, Cezanne and Pissarro; up to Gwen John, David Hockney and Antony Gormley. Many are working drawings, providing a unique insight into artists' thoughts and working methods, while others were made as works of art in their own right. Among the highlights are a study by Michelangelo for the Sistine ceiling, and an image of the Virgin and the risen Christ; Raphael's figure of the kneeling Magdalen, delicately outlined in silverpoint, and the famous studies of the hands and the heads of two Apostles for the Transfiguration; Durer's 'View of the Cembra Valley'; Rembrandt's 'Head Study of an Old Man'; a self portrait by Samuel Palmer; and watercolour sketches by JMW Turner from the beginning and end of his career. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 18th August.
IncrEdibles: A Voyage Through Surprising Edible Plants offers an opportunity to experience the weird and wonderful world of incredible edible plants. Tasty edibles that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, sometimes surprising and sometimes just plain weird are spread throughout the gardens. The Palm House is home to 60 edible plants, revealing how many of the everyday foods we eat have their roots in the rainforest. The Palm House Pond has been transformed into a boating lake and participatory artwork, the centre piece of which is a floating pineapple island. Visitors can stroll over a walkway running across the water to the island, and watch the small colourful rowing boats, drift lazily past, or hire a boat themselves, explore the pond, and enter the secret banana grotto beneath the pineapple. From July onwards the Palm House Parterre will be transformed into an edible display including aubergine, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, harking back to a time when it was used for purely practical reasons, to grow crops for the nation during the two World Wars. Alongside the parterre, the Broadwalk is planted with 16 different varieties of pumpkins and squashes, which will provide a splash of colour in the autumn. Next door, in the Waterlilly House, 30 species of chillies have been planted alongside tropical edibles. The Global Kitchen Garden features over 90 edible plants from different regions of the world including South America, West Asia and Europe, with grapes, pomegranate and olive trees. In the Rose Garden's Tea Party, a huge variety of different edible plants are growing out of plates, goblets, dishes, jugs and platters. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew until 3rd November.
Cosmos & Culture examines humanity's relationship with the stars through stories drawn from the whole of astronomy's history and from around the world. The exhibition reveals how telescopes and other instruments have opened our eyes to the huge variety of the cosmos, from Thomas Harriot's first sight of the Moon through a telescope 400 years ago to future plans for liquid mirror telescopes on the lunar surface, and from William Herschel's discovery of Uranus with a hand-built telescope to the international engineering project of the new infrared Herschel Space Observatory. It explores how people have tried to make sense of Earth's place in the universe through the constantly changing science of astronomy, with rare works including editions of Copernicus's 'On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres' and Galileo's 'Dialogue on the Two World Systems', showing how the understanding of our position in the cosmos has changed. Developments in astronomy across many cultures are represented by artefacts from around the globe, such as Arabian astrolabes, European astrological tables, Chinese globes, Byzantine calendars and Japanese star maps. The aesthetics of astronomy are shown in large-scale images from some of the world's great telescopes. Finally, the exhibition examines how astronomy has inspired - and been inspired by - fiction, particularly thoughts of extraterrestrial life, through books by H G Wells, Hal Clement and Arthur C Clarke, 1930s pulp fiction magazines such as 'Amazing Stories', and film and television titles including 'It Came From Outer Space' and 'Doctor Who', plus cosmic music from Debussy to the Grateful Dead. Science Museum until 14th December.
Cairo To Constantinople: Early Photographs Of The Middle East charts a Victorian royal journey. In 1862, the young Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, was sent on a 4 month educational tour of the Middle East, accompanied by the British photographer Francis Bedford. This exhibition documents his journey through the work of Bedford, the first photographer to travel on a royal tour. It explores the cultural and political significance Victorian Britain attached to the region, which was then as complex and contested as it remains today. The tour took the Prince to Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. During the journey he met rulers, politicians and other notable figures, and travelled in a manner unassociated with royalty, by horse and camping out in tents. On the royal party's return to England, Francis Bedford's work was displayed in what was described as 'the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public'. Bedford's pictures are amongst the earliest photographs of many of the sites he visited, and are certainly the first of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Large plate cameras were the only available equipment at the time, the exposures were long, and the prints made directly from the negatives, which gives them a unique quality. Enhanced by the relatively simple optics of the lenses, his pictures have marvellous unity of light and an extraordinary depth of pin-sharp focus. In addition, there is a small display of the antiquities that the prince acquired during the trip. This is mainly a miscellany of Greek and Egyptian objects, but also includes some jewellery with ancient stones in modern settings, their Egyptian style a kind of proto Art Deco. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 21st July.
Estuary brings together the work of 12 artists who have been inspired by the outer limits of the Thames where the river becomes the sea. With its dramatic landscape of desolate mudflats and saltmarshes, vast open skies, container ports, power stations and seaside resorts, the Estuary has long been a rich source of inspiration for artists and writers. Through film, photography, painting and printmaking, the contemporary artists featured in this exhibition offer new insight into this often overlooked, yet utterly compelling, environment and the people that live and work there. The works comprise 'Thames Film' by William Raban; 'Seafort Project' by Stephen Turner; 'Thames Painting: The Estuary' and 'Study for The Estuary' by Michael Andrews; 'Purfleet: from Dracula's Garden and Dagenham' by Jock McFadyen; 'Horizon (Five Pounds a Belgian)' by John Smith; 'Southend Pier 2011' from the series 'Pierdom' by Simon Roberts; 'Medway' by Christiane Baumgartner; '51º 29'.9" North - 0º11' East Rainham Barges' by Bow Gamelan Ensemble; 'The Golden Tide' by Gayle Chong Kwan; 'Jaunt' by Andrew Kotting; 'Thames Gateway' by Peter Marshall; and a new film by Nikolaj Larsen. The exhibition is a reminder of the changing face of this country's infrastructure, its natural landscape, and an insight into the Thames's own resultant shifting importance. Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, E14, until 27th October.
Propaganda: Power And Persuasion explores how different states have used propaganda during the 20th and 21st centuries, in peace-time and in war. From safe sex to dictatorships, from the iconic to the everyday, the exhibition looks at the rationale, methods and effectiveness of state propaganda. With over 200 exhibits on display, including posters, films, flags, postage stamps, cartoons, leaflets, sounds and textbooks, ranging from chilling Nazi propaganda to everyday objects such as bank notes and badges that permeate our everyday lives, it reveals the many ways by which states have attempted to influence their citizens. There is emotional manipulation, be it the image of Liberty made up like a 1940s movie star, demanding money for the war effort on a second world war bond stamp, or the Russian cold war poster where the same American symbol of freedom is reduced to a surveillance tower for cops who peer at the populace through her eyes; the creation of personality cults around figures such as Hitler, Mao and Stalin; campaigns opting for a lighter touch, which include the potato man on the cover of a Dig For Victory-era cookbook; and 'soft propaganda' to promote healthy eating, motherhood and road safety. The exhibition also questions how propaganda is changing in a digital age and where it will go next. British Library, until 17th September.
Gertrude Jekyll: Landscape Gardener And Craftswoman explores the long and extraordinary life of one of the most influential garden designers of all time. The exhibition delves into Gertrude Jekyll's passions, and explores her multi-talents as a musician, composer, political activist and Suffragette, interior designer, visual artist, applied arts designer, embroiderer, silversmith, botanist, herbalist and garden designer. In all, Jekyll designed over 400 gardens, many in partnership with the eminent architect Edwin Lutyens, and moved garden design away from the highly formal Victorian garden towards a greater freedom of planting. In this she considered JMW Turner a major influence. From the scientific study of perfumes and the remedial qualities of plants, to the design of arts and crafts buildings, drawing-room furniture and textile hangings, Jekyll enjoyed the company of some of the greatest creative minds of late 19th and early 20th century Europe. These included, in addition to Lutyens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Leighton, Frederic Watts, Hercules Brabazon and Edward Poynter. Through letters, notebooks and photographs the exhibition documents these encounters and provides a rich contextual background to Jekyll's vision and achievements. The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking, Surrey, until 8th September.
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes provides a unique opportunity to see drawings and related paintings offering a distinctive view of the capital over the last 60 years. London is the city where Leon Kossoff was born and grew up, and which he has mined with extraordinary invention throughout his working life. The exhibition includes over 90 drawings and 10 paintings, spanning Kossoff's career, from City bomb sites of the early 1950's to recent drawings of Arnold Circus, a community of redbrick buildings off Shoreditch High Street, which were London's most radical experiment in social housing when they were unveiled in 1900. Kossoff's London opens up between these two poles to reveal his feel for quickness and change: buildings on the point of demolition; the railway network as the process of electrification begins; swimming pools swarming with children; streets; schools; grand London churches that serve successive waves of immigrants (Huguenot, Jewish, Bengali); stations; back gardens; and trains - overground and underground - carrying millions of Londoners in and out of the city, day after day, as the city transforms itself around them. These dark and dour landscapes chart an arc across north London from Willesden to Bethnal Green - not the most attractive parts of the city - in a historic sweep, and reveal an area that Kossoff has made peculiarly his own. Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, off New Bond Street, London W1, until 6th July.
Gert & Uwe Tobias features the collaborative works of the identical twin Romanian-born contemporary artists. Gert and Uwe Tobias paint, sculpt, make collages, wall paintings, traditional woodcuts and draw with a typewriter. Their works are full of strange characters and creatures drawn from eastern European folk art, combined with diverse influences, from abstract art of the early 20th century to German post-war painting. The Tobias brothers' giant woodcuts and wall paintings draw on modernist geometric abstraction, however they combine line, shape, colour and typography with the narrative images and patterns of folk art, using decorative motifs such as flowers, plants, patterns, embroidery and domestic objects. Their collages are like stage sets on which splashes of pigment and found images of animals or humans are assembled in a performance, and playfulness combines with violence as body parts are fragmented across the picture surface. Their figures also metamorphose into plants or birds, which, macabre yet innocent, lend a surreal dimension to the Tobias' imagery. These elements are often placed against a grid or flat painted background to create dramatic and surreal tableaux. The Tobias brothers have created an installation incorporating the tradition of modernist stage design with geometric shapes and lines in bold colours extending from the works across the walls. There are also new ceramic works, made by taking mass-produced crockery, and adding ceramic extrusions and coloured glazes to everyday plates and vases, creating new and unexpected expressionistic sculptures. The Tobias brothers have produced a unique woodcut exhibition poster, continuing a tradition of creating a woodcut to mark every one of their solo exhibitions. Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1, until 14th June.
The Bride And The Bachelors: Duchamp With Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg And Johns examines one of the most important chapters in the history of contemporary art. The exhibition explores Marcel Duchamp's impact on four great modern artists - composer John Cage, dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Tracing their creative exchanges and collaborations, the show features 25 works by Duchamp, and more than 30 by Johns and Rauschenberg, as well as music by Cage and live dance performances of Cunningham choreography. Contemporary artist Philippe Parreno has devised the exhibition's mise en scene, activating time and movement within the exhibition to create a vital way of experiencing the work of the featured artists, invoking the notion of the ghost, existing between presence and absence. The varied sequence of Parreno's orchestration of live and pre-recorded sound, arranged in concert with live dance performances, enables the exhibition to change over time, creating continually fresh perspectives. Among the highlights are Duchamp's 'The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)', 'Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)', the earliest replica of 'Fountain', and a version of 'Bottlerack' that was a present to Robert Rauschenberg; Rauschenberg's 'Bride's Folly', 'White Paintings', 'Express', and stage set 'Tantric Geography' designed for Cunningham's Travelogue; Johns's 'No' and'M'; and Johns and Cunningham's 'Walkaround Time'. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 9th June.
George Bellows: Modern American Life is the first retrospective of works by the American realist painter to be held in Britain. George Bellows's fascination with New York's gritty urban landscape, its technological marvels and the diversity of its inhabitants, made him both an artist of the modern city and an insightful observer of the dynamic and challenging decades of the early 20th century. Bellows's career encompassed a range of subject matter and the exhibition explores the principle themes of his work, featuring boxing fights, cityscapes, views of the Hudson River, social scenes, seascapes, portraits and the First World War, in 71 paintings, drawings and lithographs. Bellows was a lifelong sportsman and his most celebrated work 'Stag at Sharkey's', depicts a prize fight at Tom Sharkey's Athletic Club, a bar located directly across the street from his studio, and a theme revisited with 'Dempsey and Firpo'. He was especially drawn to Manhattan's Lower East Side, finding subject matter in the chaotic scenes of downtown New York, where immigrants lived within the crowded tenement buildings captured in 'Forty-two Kids', depicting children bathing in the polluted waters of the East River. Cityscapes include 'New York, 1911', 'Men of the Docks', and 'Pennsylvania Excavation' depicting the excavations of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th June.