Private View held by Richard Andrews
London: A Life In Maps traces an epic visual journey through maps, topographical views, prints, engravings and ephemera, demonstrating how the obsessions, aspirations and concerns of Londoners drove the expansion and transformation of the metropolis over successive generations. Beginning with a gold coin from 310 depicting the walled Roman settlement of Londinium, it progresses through the ever larger, more detailed depictions of the Tudor and Stuart eras, and the improvements and squalor of the 18th and 19th centuries, to renderings of the city's current Olympic plans. Highlights include: a 15ft high single map of North London shown unified for the first time; the original hand drawn map for the reconstruction of London made within months of the Great Fire of 1666, together with the John Evelyn's diary describing the disaster; unaccredited Renaissance panoramic views of London; German bombing and invasion maps of 1940, showing targets for the bombers, and routes for the invading forces, together with an LCC Bomb Damage Map, showing the devastation in the Docks; a gold penny from Londonwic of about 810; Robert Hooke's original hand drawn plans for the Monument to the Fire; a sheet from the hand coloured 'Master Map of London Poverty' compiled for Charles Booth; drawings by Robert Adam for a grand gateway to London at Hyde Park Corner of 1778; detailed fire insurance plans showing squalor by the Thames in the 1850s, and the interior of Harrods in 1900; the real history of the A-Z from 1652 onwards; and a psychedelic panorama of Carnaby Street in 1970. The British Library until 4th March.
Judith Tucker: Resort (vii) comprises a series of recent paintings, drawings and notebooks, exploring the Baltic seaside resort of Ahlbeck. This collection takes its inspiration from pre-Second World War holiday photographs brought by Judith Tucker's grandmother when she escaped from Germany in 1938. Through visiting the resort and exploring the evocative mixture of decay and lavish restoration, Tucker became intrigued with the relationship between certain temporary structures and the landscape, notably the ubiquitous Strandkorbe. These shanty town structures, hybrids between beach huts and deck chairs, offer temporary shelter against the flat vastness of the Baltic. Huddled together in groups, they take on an almost anthropomorphic quality, providing a resonant motif for these melancholic coastal landscapes. Tucker's studio made paintings, based on location drawings from her notebooks, employ oil paint, combined with a wide assortment of glazing techniques and varnishes, as well as metallic leaf, marble dust and pearlescent pigments. The resulting surfaces shimmer with a spectral light, and different aspects of the image become visible at different times, according to the light and the position of the viewer. The large scale of the drawings means that the figures within the Strandkorbe, who seem to be absorbed in various private, everyday activities, appear to be almost three quarter life size. 20-21 Gallery, Scunthorpe, until 20th January.
The Story Of Boosey & Hawkes is the featured display in a new space housing some 1,600 instruments from the collection of over 7,000 objects from around the world made to produce sound. It tells the history of the brass and woodwind instrument makers Boosey & Hawkes, with items from their recently acquired archive, and over 100 instruments, including a 6ft 6in tuba, originally from the roof of its factory in Edgware, which can actually be played. Also in the gallery, The Carse Collection of brass and woodwind instruments, the Dolmetsch Collection of early English keyboards, and the Wayne Collection of concertinas (together with the personal collection and archive of Charles Wheatstone its inventor), sit alongside 3,500 year old Egyptian clappers, a 1937 Carlton jazz drum kit and new instruments from Belarus, Uzbekistan and India. The displays examine the important place music occupies in our lives and in the lives of other peoples around the world. The collection aims to acquire sound and video recordings with the documentation for each new instrument, and the sound of many of the items can be heard at sound stations. Normally the instruments are not played in order to ensure their preservation, but specially commissioned reproduction instruments can be handled and played. The gallery includes a performance and demonstration area, where visitors can listen to a recital, or watch an instrument maker studying at close quarters one of the rare instruments in the collection. Horiman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, continuing.
At Home In London 1600 - 1800 is a major new development adding four new period rooms, with newly aquired original furniture, and two interpretive galleries. The rooms, decorated and furnished with scrupulous authenticity, demonstrate significant shifts in middle class domestic conditions and behaviours, and in the choices of materials, decorative finishes and styles that were available and affordable. Room 1 (1630) is a hall in a timber framed house in the City of London, the main living space at the time. The walls are panelled oak, and the main furnishings, also oak, include a court cupboard inlaid with fruitwood, a set of joined stools, a draw-leaf table and an armchair. Room 2 (1695) is a parlour in a post Fire Of London house, used for receiving visitors. It reflects the new types of furniture and decorative arts becoming common in domestic interiors, walnut caned chairs, a writing desk, a mirror, a clock, drinking glasses, china and delftware. Room 3 (1745) is a parlour typical of houses in Spitalfields and Soho, showing the influence of 'politeness' as an appropriate mode of behaviour, a place to take tea and play card games. Furnishings include India-back side chairs, a mahogany tripod table, a blue japanned corner cupboard, an ebonised bracket clock, and a portrait of a woman by Arthur Devis. Room 4 (1790) is a parlour typical of Bloomsbury, used for informal evening entertaining. The treatment of the walls reflects the introduction of wallpaper and carpets, together with a taste for lighter colours. Furnishings, include a bureau with a sloping top for writing, a card table, a Pembroke table, mahogany carved back chairs, a pier glass, paintings and prints. Geffrye Museum, London, continuing.
Douglas Gordon: Superhumanatural is the first major solo exhibition of Gordon's work in Scotland since the showing of his celebrated work '24-Hour Psycho' (which slowed Alfred Hitchcock's film down so that it takes 24 hours to view) at Tramway in Glasgow in 1993. Gordon works with film, video, photographs, objects and texts, examining issues such as memory and identity, good and evil, life and death. One of his latest works is 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait', which follows in real time the movements of the footballer during an entire game. This exhibition showcases early pieces, explores the Scottish aspect of Gordon's art and also premieres new works. The Royal Scottish Academy is featuring 'Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work from About 1992 Until Now', shown on a bank of 50 video monitors in the sculpture court; works from four photographic series '100 Blind Stars', 'Self-Portraits of You + Me', 'Staying Home and Going Out' and 'What Am I Doing Wrong'; and some of his most celebrated installations, 'Play Dead: Real Time', in which an elephant pretends to be shot, 'Feature Film', '24-Hour Psycho' and 'Through A Looking Glass', which combines two versions of the mirror scene from Taxi Driver out of sync, so they appear to talk to each other. The Royal Botanic Garden is showing a complete collection of his wall texts in Inverleith House; the video installation 'Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake)', combining a child who thinks she has seen the Virgin Mary, The Song Of Bernadette and The Exorcist, in the Caledonian Hall; and 'Plato's Cave', one of three new works, in the Wash House. Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh until 14th January.
Dutch Winter Scenes is a timely exhibition focussing on winter landscapes. In the 17th century, north western Europe suffered a series of unusually severe winters, known as 'The Little Ice Age'. Snowfall was heavy, and canals and rivers regularly froze over. Intent on portraying their surroundings as naturalistically as possible, Dutch landscape painters grappled with the aesthetic possibilities and practical problems of capturing these icy conditions. Through increasingly harsh winters, they continued to find inspiration in their frigid surroundings, experimenting with composition, colour and the effects of light. In the highly competitive Dutch art market, winter scenes became a popular specialisation. Interpretations varied, with some artists focussing on the pleasures or hardships of the winter weather, while others explored the evocation of winter light and the frost filled atmosphere. These intriguing paintings celebrate the resilience of the Dutch people as they go about their daily business, even finding joy in the winter weather. Probably the best known work on show is Hendrick Avercamp's circular 'A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle'. Among the other artists whose works are featured are Jan Beerstraaten, Jan van Goyen, Aert van der Neer, Isack van Ostade, Adriaen van de Velde and Esaias van de Velde. National Gallery until 2nd January.
Alan Fletcher: Fifty Years Of Graphic Work (And Play) features a selection of work from the archive of one of the most influential figures in the history of British graphic design. Co-founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s, and Pentagram in the 1970s, his enduring legacy includes the identities of Pirelli, Reuters and the V&A, while more recently as Creative Director of Phaidon Press, he had a major impact on book design, with titles such as The Art Book and The Silver Spoon. He was also instrumental in the setting up of the Design and Art Directors' Association - D&AD. Fletcher synthesised the graphic traditions of Europe and America into witty and personal style. He called himself a 'visual jackdaw', forever on the lookout for something others might overlook, to take back to his studio and transform. The exhibition explores the ingenuity of Fletcher's commercial work for high profile clients, including Olivetti, ICI, Penguin, Shell and Lloyds, alongside personal projects in lettering, collage and illustration, with which he entertained himself and the public. This retrospective, charting his journey from art school to guru, includes many of his best known works, including the bus poster for Pirelli, which made it appear that the passengers were wearing its slippers; the photo-fit portrait of Prince Charles for the National Portrait Gallery; the brand name EVIAN rearrainged as NAIVE; and the classic shapes poster for Designers' Saturday London Event 1982. Design Museum, London until 18th February.
Featuring Walls: Celebrating Three Centuries Of Wallpaper Decoration marks the opening of a permanent display space for a unique collection of historic and modern wallpapers, featuring some 30 visually inventive decorations. The exhibition, which is curated by Christine Woods, Britain's only full time curator of wallpapers, reflects many of the social and cultural currents at work when the papers were made. They range from exquisite 18th century English floral patterns, block printed and stencilled on hand made rag paper, through exotic 19th century French drapery and chinoiserie confections, to 20th and 21st century examples. This display illustrates the range of wallpaper, as a signifier of social status, a source of imaginative inspiration and a reflector of cultural preoccupations. It is certainly not just the predictable good taste William Morris - although of course he and the Arts and Crafte Movement are represented. Among the highlights are: Les Prodigues, a risque Parisian decoration from 1855, revealing the hangover aftermath of an orgy of demimonde indulgence, more suitable for a brothel than a bourgeois living room; Lantern Frieze, from 1930, showing the twin influences of the 'Orient' with colourful depictions of lanterns and blossoms, and the first 'talkies' as these are set in a filmstrip; Peter Jones's Sikhara from 1971, a jazzy geometric design echoing the rise of pop, bold enough to blur your vision; and artist Abigail Lane's Bloody Wallpaper, a red silkscreened work based on a photograph of a New York murder scene. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 30th September.
David Smith: A Centennial provides a comprehensive survey of the distinctive work of one of the most innovative and influential American sculptors of the 20th century. Smith was a pioneer 'welder artist', constructing pieces out of iron and steel sheets and wires, rather than employing traditional casting methods. He is best known for his diverse large scale metal pieces, constructed from used machine parts, abandoned tools and scrap metal. In the 1930s and 1940s, influenced by Surrealism and Constructivism, he created hybrid figural sculptures, and in the 1950s, he began to work in stylistic series, ranging from the complicated abstract drawings-in-space of the 'Agricolas' to anthropomorphic and totemic sculptures incorporating machine parts such as the 'Sentinels' and 'Tanktotems'. In the 1960s, his work grew in scale, and became more concerned with abstraction, as in his series of 'Voltris', 'Wagons', and 'Cubis'. This exhibition of almost one hundred pieces comprises the largest selection of his work ever shown in Europe. It encompasses Smith's early experiments with found objects in the 1930s, his exploration of both animate and inanimate forms within interiors from the 1940s, and his examination of landscape in the 1950s. Iconic pieces on display include works never seen before in this country, such as 'Australia 1951' and 'Cubi XXVII', together with 'Saw Head', 'Star Cage', 'The Letter', 'Reliquary House' and 'The Forest'. Tate Modern until 14th January.
Twilight: Photography In The Magic Hour comprises around 50 works by international contemporary artists who have explored the visual and psychological effects of twilight, when sensibilities change and potential-laden atmospheres emerge, facilitating the subversion of normality, the darker side of fantasies and the fairytale gone awry. The works are: Robert Adams monochrome 'Summer Nights' series, taken along the Eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, focusing on trees, sky and the shape of the land; Gregory Crewdson's 'Twilight' and 'Beneath the Roses' series, elaborately constructed cinematic tableaux of bizarre, primeval rituals staged in pristine suburbs; Philip-Lorca diCorcia's 'Hollywood' series, with hustlers and drifters along Sunset Boulevard at the moment when natural light and artificial light are in perfect balance; Ori Gersht's new film installation, and his 'Rear Window' series, recording dramatic twilight skies above London; Bill Henson's photographs of Australian landscapes at dusk, showing industrial 'no-man's lands' that lie on the outskirts of cities, peopled by androgynous figures; Chrystel Lebas's 'Abyss' series, using panoramic long exposures to capture the eerie atmosphere of forests at dusk in France, Germany and Japan, and 'Between Dog and Wolf' her triptych made in the Arctic circle; Boris Mikhailov's 'At Dusk' series, taken in Kharkow in the Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union; and Liang Yue's 'Several Dusks', shot on the streets of Beijing, where the haziness of dusk is precipitated by dust, sandstorms and pollution. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th December.
Vive la Parisienne examines the portrayal of women in Parisian life in the late 19th century, at a time when the Impressionist movement was capturing the emerging modern world with spontaneity and life. The exhibition focuses on how the leading exponents of Impressionism were concerned with life in the city centre and the portrayal of the 'Parisienne'. It explores how women and their activities formed a large part of the artists' subject matter, and reveals the wide spectrum of approaches, comparing the settings for these paintings and their sitters, and examining the role of the modern woman in Paris - from chorus girls and artists' models, to the domestic realm and polite society of the middle and upper classes. Works on display include Degas' 'Chanteuse de Cafe-Concert', Pissarro's 'Mme Pissarro Sewing Beside a Window', Helleu's 'Portrait', Toulouse-Lautrec's 'La Passagere du 54', Renoir's 'Misia Sert' and Cassatt's 'Portrait of a Woman'.
Liz Rideal: Fall, River, Snow is the premiere of a unique film installation, shot at Niagara, Burleigh Falls and Big Cedar in Canada this year. It is in three parts entitled 'Water Drape', 'Ice Steam', and 'Deer Portrait', is projected outdoors onto the natural landscape of a lake and trees, and focuses attention on the mesmeric power of scenery. Shot on Super 8, these silent films are a meditation on the beauty of the natural world, tracking the movement of water, snow packed firm on land, a lake, wheeling gulls, camouflaged deer moving through woodland, a double rainbow, and the snow laden branches of trees.
Compton Verney Art Gallery, both exhibitions until 10th December.
Francis Bacon: Paintings From The 1950s explores the major themes that interested Bacon between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, affording an unprecedented insight into his imaginative powers, as well as his constantly evolving sources and techniques. This was the period during which Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his career, from the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees, through the early Popes and portraits of Van Gogh, to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation. For a painter whose imagination so rarely strayed beyond the walls of dark claustrophobic interiors, there were even glimpses of landscape, recollections of Africa and the South of France. It was a period that saw Bacon still searching for himself, and eager to explore a variety of impressions and take all kinds of risks. Throughout his life, Bacon carefully controlled the way his work was selected and presented, ensuring that in all exhibitions the emphasis was placed on his most recent paintings - especially on the late triptychs. As a result, works from the earlier half of his career have received much less attention. This exhibition attempts to rectify that, and among some seventy paintings, including 'Study (Imaginary Portrait of Pope Pius XII)', 'Two Figures in a Room' and 'Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh I', which some people consider to be his greatest work, there are a number that have rarely been seen in public before. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th December.