Private View held by Richard Andrews
An American Passion For British Art: Paul Mellon's Legacy marks the centenary of the birth of one of the world's greatest collectors of British art, with a selection of major works from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art. It provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience some of the finest works of British art from the 15th to early 20th centuries. The exhibition features more than 150 works, including prints, drawings, paintings, rare books and manuscripts, with many objects that have not been seen in Britain they were purchased. Among these are early Americana and exceptional rare books and manuscripts including works by William Blake. Items range in scale from miniatures by Hilliard and small scale works on paper, to large scale oil paintings. The representative collection of great British watercolours includes paintings by JR Cozens, Thomas Girtin, Richard Parkes Bonington and Paul Sandby. The oil paintings featured comprise works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Stubbs Constable, Canaletto, Hogarth, and Turner - including his outstanding marine painting, 'Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed' on view in the UK for the first time since it was purchased in 1966. Royal Academy of arts until 27th January.
Laura Ford: Rag And Bone is a newly created group of sculptures inspired by characters from the stories of Beatrix Potter. Ford creates installations that are both magical and macabre, working with a variety of materials, from fabric and other found objects, to more traditional materials such as plaster and bronze. She stitches lifesize children from materials often regard as homely, like chintz or gingham, but they have no faces, and she often adds a further disturbing twist by deforming them. Similarly, duvets become hunchbacked old women, and sleeping bags become shuffling tramps. Thus the works here, childlike and playful, belie more serious issues as the figures stand out in the cold, homeless and hungry. Some of Potter's best known characters are set to surprise: Badger is searching through the dustbin for food, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the hedgehog, is a bag lady, pushing a laden pram overflowing with all her belongings, Tod, the fox, wrapped in blankets, is a reminder of the homeless sleeping in city streets. The sculptures comment on the parallel worlds that exist in towns and cities, the sanitised spaces of consumerism, and the homeless and disenfranchised who often exist on their margins. By casting characters from Edwardian children's tales in contemporary urban situations, Ford asks questions about a throwaway culture, while the sentimentality of Potter's original stories is given a far darker undercurrent. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate until 2nd December.
The World As A Stage is an exhibition that explores the relationship between visual art and theatre. It brings together a group of 16 international contemporary artists, and comprises a selection of large installations, sculptures, performances, films, participatory works and events. The theme is the extent to which a sense of theatre, or spectacle, has an impact upon the visitor's experience. The centrepiece is Rita McBride's 'Arena1997', a fibreglass sculpture in the form of stadium seating, which is being used to stage live performances during the exhibition. Other artists featured are Pawel Althamer, Cezary Bodzianowsky, Ulla von Brandenberg, Jeremy Deller, Trisha Donnelly, Geoffrey Farmer, Andrea Fraser, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jeppe Hein, Renata Lucas, Roman Ondak, Markus Schinwald, Tino Sehgal, Catherine Sullivan and Mario Ybarra Jr. Different elements of theatre - backstage, actors, props and audience - are considered in relation to art and exhibition making. Works are displayed both inside and outside the exhibition space, drawing attention to the theatrical nature of the everyday, and incorporating the viewer into the work, as both willing participant and oblivious performer viewed by others. So watch - and watch out. Tate Modern until 1st January.
Pop Art Portraits is the first exhibition to examine the role and significance of portraiture within one of the world's most popular and influential art movements. A visual dialogue between American and British Pop, it brings together 52 key works by 28 Pop artists working on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s. These include major portraits by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as works by lesser known artists such as Mel Ramos, alongside those of Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield. The exhibition examines these artists' shared engagement with depicting the famous, using images taken from advertising, pop music, cinema, comic books, magazines and newspapers. It also shows how Pop Art exploded the conventions of portraiture, creating a new genre of fantasy portraits, using images drawn from popular culture. The display is divided into six sections: Precursors Of Pop; Portraits And The Question Of Style; Fantasy And Fame; Film; Marilyn; Innocence And Experience. The Marilyn section is one of the highlights of the exhibition, bringing together works by British and American Pop artists in the context of their shared obsession with images of Marilyn Monroe. This section focuses on one of the principal themes of the show: the way Pop portraits transformed familiar images into works of art of great technical virtuosity, lasting originality, and enduring fascination. National Portrait Gallery until 20th January.
Justin Coombes: Urban Pastoral is an enticing and unsettling collection of Justin Coombes magical photographs. Using slide projection and other unconventional lighting techniques, Coombes projects images onto buildings or interiors at twilight, and then re-photographs the scenes using long exposures. Developing his technique further, in this exhibition Coombes has used more direct interventions in the landscape, such as subtly rearranging objects to create tableaux that are both recognisable and unnerving. Toxic skies and strange effects charge the banal with a striking atmosphere, recreating the sense of romance, adventure and threat he found upon first moving to London after a childhood spent in the countryside. In 'Urban Pastoral', a recollection of Coombes's mother landscaping their Devon garden, is recreated on a South London allotment - tempestuous blue clouds, barbed wire fences, a scarecrow and looming tower blocks undercut the idyllic nature of the memory; in 'Vanitas with Fox', the urban predator is caught in the headlights of a car whilst scavenging in rubbish, with a skull design on a cardboard box the fox has torn open; and in 'Bully', a group of kids assembles in a council estate playground, loitering with ambiguous intent, the mist of an early dawn shrouding the scene with a sense of melancholy distance. Other new photographs are incorporated into Coombes's short video and performance pieces, where the literary and historical aspects of his image making are brought to the fore. BCA Gallery, Bedford, until 1st December.
The Golden Age Of Couture: Paris And London 1947 - 1957, explores one of the most glamorous and remarkable decades in fashion history. Starting with the impact of Christian Dior's New Look after the Second World War, it looks at the work of Dior and his contemporaries during the period when haute couture was at its height. The launch of the New Look signalled the return to luxury and elegance after wartime austerity, and a group of designers, Dior, Christobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain in Paris, and their London counterparts Norman Hartnel and Hardy Aimes, quickly attracted worldwide attention for elegance and glamour combined with impeccable tailoring. The production of couture was important to the prestige and economy of both France and Britain. While traditionally catering for wealthy private clients, the couture houses also sought new markets, and as the decade progressed, they created perfumes, opened boutiques and licensed their designs to foreign manufacturers. By the late 1950s, the leading couture houses had ceased to be the product of their individual designers, and had become global brands. Over 100 dresses are on display, including daywear, cocktail and evening dresses made for society and royalty, alongside photographs by Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon, and original Hollywood and documentary film. Accompanying these are audio recordings, textiles and archive material, such as letters and bills of sale. As well as the finished products, the exhibition looks at the design process, the skills and techniques of makers in the workshops, the undergarments and insides of the dresses, employed to create the look, and the effect these new fashion houses had on the revival of the economies of France and Britain. Victoria & Albert Museum until 6th January.
Seduced: Art And Sex From Antiquity To Now explores the representation of sex in art through the ages. It features around 300 works, spanning over 2,000 years, including Roman marbles, Indian manuscripts, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, Chinese watercolours, Japanese prints, 19th century photographs and modern and contemporary art. There are works by around 70 known artists, including Nobuyoshi Araki, Francis Bacon, Aubrey Beardsley, Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois, Chris Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin, Jean-Honore Fragonard, Henry Fuseli, Gustav Klimt, Jeff Koons, Leonardo ds Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Rembrandt van Rijn, Auguste Rodin, Giulio Romano, Egon Schiele, J M W Turner and Andy Warhol. The exhibition runs the gamut from Francois Boucher's 'Leda and the Swan' to Robert Mapplethorpe's 'X Portfolio' - and includes a plaster cast of a bronze fig leaf for Michelangelo's sculpture of David from the Victoria & Albert Museum, specially made to spare Queen Victoria's blushes. It claims to 'provide the historical and cultural framework to explore the boundaries of acceptability in art', and aims to 'generate a lively public debate about shifting attitudes towards sexually explicit imagery', or maybe it's just a good piece of marketing, like the 'over 18s only' entry restriction. Barbican Art Gallery until 27th January.
Objects Of Instruction: Treasures Of The School Of Oriental And African Studies launches a new gallery featuring the School's rich but little known artistic and archival collections, bringing together a broad range of interesting and beautiful objects from across Asia and Africa. The show is divided into five geographical areas: East and South East Asia, South Asia, the Himalayas, the Middle East and Africa, together with a section on 'European views of Asia and Africa', reflecting the 'Orientalist' perspectives of early explorers and traders. Among this wealth of material are illustrated Islamic manuscripts, from Persia, Armenia, Crimea, Turkey and India, with gold leaf and lapis lazuli dye, including a luxurious Mughal copy of the Anvar-i Suhayli, a book of animal fables; Chinese and Japanese paintings and prints; many lavishly illustrated books, including one with oriental drawings of animals, and a Sumatran 'book of magic'; varied ceramic objects from the Middle East and East Asia, including from Ming dynasty China; decorative Buddhist manuscripts and sculptures from South-East Asia, including a Khmer stone lion sculpture from Cambodia, and a 200 year old alabaster sculpture of seated Buddha, once the property of King Thibaw of Burma; newly restored 18th century Tibetan silk hangings donated by the 14th Dalai Lama; contemporary African paintings and textiles; and important archaeological collections from East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London until 15th December.
Louise Bourgeois is the first major survey in Britain of the work of the French born artist. It spans seven decades of varied and prolific artistic output, ranging from small scale experimental works, to large scale installations from the 1980s and 1990s. Beginning with Bourgeois's earliest drawings, prints and paintings, the show features more than 200 works in many different materials, including her most recent works using fabric, such as 'Couple IV', 'The Three Horizontals' and 'Rejection'. Over her long career Bourgeois has worked in dialogue with most of the major international avant-garde artistic movements of the 20th century, from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism to Conceptual art, but has always remained uniquely apart, inventive and often at the forefront of contemporary practice. Engaging in a wide variety of both modern and traditional techniques Bourgeois has explored her themes in a great variety of styles from abstraction to the realism of the ready-made. The exhibition includes many well known pieces, such as 'Personages', 'The Blind Leading the Blind', 'Cumul I', 'Arch of Hysteria', 'Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)', 'Seven in Bed' and on display in Britain for the first time, Bourgeois seminal work, 'The Destruction of the Father', which is approximately 12ft long by 8ft high and 8ft deep, made of rubber, latex, wood, fabric and lit with a red glow. The piece references a family dinner table, headed by a tyrannical father and husband, surrounded by a family rendered terrified by his dominance, who are driven to suddenly attack and devour him. In addition, 'Maman', one of a series of giant spiders, standing around 27ft high, is on display outside the gallery. Tate Modern until 20th January.
At Home: Portraits Of Artists From The Royal Academy Collection explores the rich variety of representations of artists in the Academy's collection, built up since its foundation in 1768. The works range from C R Leslie's tiny, intimate picture of his friend John Constable, via A G Walker's depictions of studio life, to grand formal images such as Giuseppe Ceracchi's bust of Reynolds, George Frederic Watts's portrait of Lord Leighton, and Charles West Cope's magnificent Victorian group, 'The Council of the Royal Academy', depicting eminent Royal Academicians selecting works for the Summer Exhibition of 1875. Alongside these are Thomas Gainsborough and John Bellany's revealing self-portraits, Joshua Reynolds's depiction of his theatrically dressed studio assistant Giuseppe Marchi, and an early portrait of Laura Knight by her husband-to-be, Harold Knight. The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of artists' public and private lives, aspirations and achievements, and holds up a mirror to the inner life of the Academy itself as a home from home for British artists over the last 250 years. Royal Academy of Arts until 27th November.
Dan Shipsides: Radical Architecture offers Dan Shipsides response to the ideas about public access to - and interaction with - landscape, promulgated by 19th and 20th century figures such as social critic John Ruskin, activist Benny Rothman (instigator of the 1932 Mass Trespass over Kinder Scout) and avant-garde climber Joe Brown. Shipsides makes art from rambling in the countryside, but unlike Richard Long, who 'rearranges' nature into art as he goes, Shipsides recreates it indoors when he gets home. Shipsides has visited significant sites in the Peak District that were made accessible and internationalised by the pioneering vision of the aforementioned individuals, and has used the experience to create a climbable sculpture, based on a rock climb at The Roaches. A fragmentary text, 'Angels Wall', gives a taste of the installation's strenuous physicality and multifaceted cross referencing. It is accompanied by drawings and images based around other rock climbs in the Peak District. Alongside are works by Ramsey Richard Reinagle, John Ruskin, and Grete Marks, giving the background to the radical outdoor movements of the 19th and 20th centuries that inspired Shipsides. Presumably this is what makes it art - rather than just a climbing wall you would find in an activity centre. Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, until 25th November.
The Changing Face Of Childhood: British Children's Portraits And Their Influence In Europe looks at how the representation of children in British art changed over the centuries, and how these changes were taken up by European artists. In the 1630s Van Dyck painted Charles I's children as innocent creatures subjected to the established style of courtly representation. 100 years later Gainsborough set new standards, with keenly observed renditions of child like behaviour, and subjects who were placed in their own environment. As painted by Joshua Reynolds, and his successor Thomas Lawrence, they were no longer stiffly posed miniature reflections of their aristocratic parents, but genuinely child like, running wild in landscapes that reflect their personalities. This new way of seeing children as independent characters became popular throughout Europe, and as a result, European artists like Angelika Kauffman travelled to England to see the works, and contributed to the wide dissemination of this 'modern' portrait type. All over Europe in the second half of the 18th century interest in children's portraits spread, not just among the nobility, but among the newly emerging bourgeoisie. Highlights include Gainsborough's 'The Painter's Daughters', Peter Lely's 'Young Man as a Shepherd', Joshua Reynolds's 'Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire and Her Daughter Lady Georgina Cavendish', Thomas Lawrence's 'The Children of Lord George Cavendish', Henry Raeburn's 'The Allen Brothers', William Beechy's 'Sir Francis Ford's Children Giving a Coin to a Beggar Boy' and Francis Cotes's 'The Young Cricketer: Portrait of Lewis Cage'. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 4th November.