Private View held by Richard Andrews
Tell Me A Picture is an alphabetical anthology of twenty-six pictures with a sense of story, assembled by the Children's Laureate Quentin Blake, best known as the illustrator of Roald Dahl books. His aim is to encourage young viewers to engage with a wide range of striking and imaginative images. There are no titles for the pictures on the walls of the gallery as viewers are invited to imagine for themselves the different stories or situations. Entrance to the exhibition is free, and there is an interactive talk for children aged 5 to 11 and their families each Saturday at 2.30pm. In a unique move the exhibition can also be seen online. Visitors are encouraged to submit their own stories based on the situations represented in the pictures, and can also read other visitors ideas. They can then find out what Blake has to say, together with information on the pictures and their artists. The online exhibition can be found on the National Gallery web site via the link opposite. National Gallery until 17th June.
Kerry Stewart is a pop sculptor whose work has been likened to a waxworks with a surreal edge. Her tragi-comic life size figures of pregnant schoolgirls, nuns, ghosts and monsters all have a strong attitude in the mysterious and intriguing situations they portray and stories they tell. The naïve quality of the hand coloured fibreglass, plaster and silicon models suggest both a childlike view of the world and a sense of the outsider. This exhibition in the Project Space, brings together two new works - a couple on holiday in France and a young woman getting ready for a night out - with three recent pieces. They combine to produce a group that is both humorous and dark, and which directly engages the viewer in a shared daydream. Stewart came to prominence in the mid '90s as one of the Young British Artists at the Saatchi Gallery. Tate Liverpool until 22nd April.
Views From The Edge - the Great British Coast draws on a collection of newly commissioned works from the National Trust Photographic Library to take visitors on a tour of the coast of the British Isles. It celebrates the diversity, unpredictability and beauty of the British coastline, highlighting many areas of dramatic natural beauty such as the White Cliffs of Dover and the Giant's Causeway, as well as reflecting the pleasures of being beside the sea. Positioned next to the permanent display The Future Of The Sea, the exhibition focuses on the marine environment and contemporary issues affecting the coast today. The photographs record the distinctive coastal geography and flora, the ways in which people use the coast for work and play, and the challenges and opportunities facing this unique environment. Photographers whose work figures strongly in the exhibition include Joe Cornish, David Norton, Ian Shaw and Leo Mason. National Maritime Museum until 1st October.
Goya: Drawings From His Private Albums offers evidence supporting the claim that Francisco Goya was the first modern artist. Over a period of thirty-five years he distilled his more intimate thoughts and perceptions of Spanish society in a series of albums of drawings. This exhibition is the first to concentrate exclusively on these, bringing together over 100 of the finest drawings from all eight albums, including some which have only recently come to light. The albums were broken up and dispersed after his death and are now scattered widely throughout the world. These drawings demonstrate Goya's powers of observation and invention. They include bizarre flights of fantasy, nightmare and biting satire, and show his imagination at work on a vast range of subjects: the spectacle of carnival, the traumas of war and religious persecution, images of childhood and old age, eroticism, madness and witchcraft.
Brassai: The Soul Of Paris reveals through his iconic black and white images, a bygone era of café society, shady dance halls and the ordinary lives of Parisians at the dawn of the Modern Age. Brassaï started life as a journalist, but his desire to illustrate his articles with his own images, led him to start photographing his surroundings, capturing the mood of Paris by night and the beauty of the city streets in the rain. This major retrospective, organised by the Pompidou Centre, presents over 200 vintage silver salt prints from Brassaï's own archive, alongside his drawings and small sculptures. It includes shots of Paris by day and night, nude studies, classic portraits of Picasso, collaborations with Salvador Dalí for the Surrealist publication Minotaure, and photographs of graffiti and found objects from the Parisian streets. Brassaï shows us Paris as he saw it: twilight at the Eiffel Tower, the market at Les Halles, the Place de la Concorde and backstage at the Moulin Rouge. His images capture the private moment in the public place, and always find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Goya/Brassi at the Hayward Gallery until 13th May.
Making Chocolate is one of three new features which have just opened at the home of British chocolate in Bournville. It tells the story of chocolate through the centuries from the Aztec rainforest of Central America to Victorian England. Visitors can follow the journey of chocolate across the continents from its origins as cocoa to liquid chocolate in the factory in a new multi-sensory cinema. They can visit the chocolate Coronation Street, see the set where the credits were created, and learn some of the tricks of the animator's trade. To accompany this there is a chance to review forty years of television advertisements. Cadbury World continuing.
Bacon's Eye is the first opportunity to see a wide range of newly discovered material attributed to Francis Bacon. During his lifetime, Bacon was always adamant that he worked directly onto canvas, without making any preliminary studies. However since his death, a large number of works on paper have been discovered, appearing to offer new insights into his working methods - and personal obsessions. Shortly before he died Bacon gave a parcel of papers to Barry Jule, containing over 1000 photographs, sketches and collages, apparently collected or created by him, which have yet to be fully catalogued. One prominent item is 'The X Album', a collection of seventy oil sketches in a photograph album that apparently belonged to Bacon's nanny. They relate to his work from the '50s and '60s and include many nudes, portraits and studies of facial malformations. Consisting of over 300 works on paper, the exhibition includes items from the Joule archive and recognised works by Bacon from the Tate Gallery. These pieces are presented alongside a small number of paintings illustrating new ways of looking at Bacon's work. Barbican Gallery until 16th April.
Rembrandt The Printmaker celebrates the most original printmaker of all time with over two hundred prints, drawings and oil sketches, covering the full range of styles and subjects for which he is famous. These include self-portraits, vignettes of everyday life, character studies, landscapes and scenes from the Bible. Always experimental, and deploying a variety of technical innovations, Rembrandt often reworked prints by scratching at his copper plates many times to improve and extend their expressive power. He also printed from plates before they were finished, producing images which allow us to follow his thinking as his ideas developed, as do the preparatory drawings and related oils which are also included. Rembrandt not only produced prints, but built up an extensive collection of prints of others, by which he was inspired to create his own imaginative and personal interpretations of a subject. He depicted the realities of human life, embracing the ugly and mundane as well as the beautiful, an approach not generally taken up by other European artists until the 19th and 20th centuries. This exhibition draws from the collections of The British Museum and the Rijksmuseum to present the most comprehensive display of Rembrandt's prints ever assembled. The British Museum until 8th April.
David Bailey: Birth Of The Cool concentrates on the work from the early years of the career of Britain's best known photographer, presenting both the familiar and previously unseen masterpieces from the years 1957 to 1969. Many of the now iconic images of the '60s were created by Bailey, here represented by portraits of Jean Shrinpton, John Lennon, Catherine Deneuve, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, the Kray twins, Cecil Beaton, Sylvia Plath and other seminal figures. It is arguable whether he simply recorded the important people and events of the period, or in fact actually created them. In Bailey, the photographer himself became a pop icon, and it was he who was the inspiration for the central character Antonioni's film Blow Up. Bailey continues to work, and part of the exhibition juxtaposes the '60s images with his new Cool Britannia series from the '90s, which includes portraits of Naomi Campbell, Damien Hirst and Jarvis Cocker. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 22nd April.
The Smell Of Fear brings a new dimension to the Britain's famous dinosaur pit. The world's most advanced robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex is not only lifelike in movement and sound - but smell. Oils including Dragon's Breath and Swamp have been blended to create the realistic odour of its breath, which would have smelt of the remains of rotting flesh trapped between its teeth. At three quarters full size, it stands 4m high and nearly 7m long. The gallery also contains 15 complete dinosaur skeletons as well as life-size robotic models of three vicious Deinonychus. This is the first event in 'Year Of The Predator', which will include an exhibition featuring robotic models of a great white shark, an interactive chameleon, and a deadly Sydney Funnel Web spider, opening in the summer. Natural History Museum continuing.
Sigmar Polke: Music Of Unclear Origin is the first major exhibition in Scotland of works by Polke, one of Germany's foremost painters, and the largest collection ever shown in the UK. He came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, with works similar in style to the Pop Art being made in Britain and America at the time. Polke borrows freely from numerous and widely varying sources, including advertising and popular culture - he likes to deface ads with cartoons and captions. A prodigious output combines a range of different subjects and styles (often combined/juxtaposed in one work). The most consistent feature is a blown up newsprint style, similar to Roy Lichtenstein, in which he applies the paint dot by dot using a pencil eraser. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 18th March.
Imperfect Beauty: The Making Of Contemporary Fashion Photographs could be considered another milestone on the "Culture Lite" road. An ephemeral industry, which is already treated more seriously than it deserves, receives less scrutiny than it demands. With the phenomenal growth of magazine titles fashion imagery has never been so widely available. In the last decade, the distinctions between editorial and advertising photography as well as fine art and commercial styles have blurred, resulting in unprecedented opportunities for fashion image-makers. This exhibition displays examples of the world of fashion magazines, design of contemporary beauty products and fashion styling and asks "how they did it". First hand interviews with internationally renowned photographers, art directors and stylists feature alongside examples of their work. Contributors include Juergen Teller, David Sims, Melanie Ward, Fabien Baron and Nick Knight reflecting on their inspirations, working practices and perceptions of their industry. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th March.
Julian Opie, the Brit Artist whose trade mark is signage man, has his work everywhere already, thanks to the Best Of Blur album marketing campaign. To top that, this exhibition doesn't just hang on the walls but almost reaches out and grabs people in off the street. As befits his retail experience, the gallery windows are filled with female nudes. Opie's style is something akin to a 21st century version of Egyptian hieroglyphs - the stick man simplicity of heavy black or white outlines on plain slabs of colour. Two dimensional figures are given a three dimensional twist by being painted on the side of piles of building blocks. Portraits are reduced to the barest minimum of visual information about a face needed to convey its individuality. Is it real art reflecting contemporary logo-land obsession, or the latest King's new clothes? Are the pop heroes he paints any more real than Tintin who they resemble? Opie's process is to scan a photograph, electronically reduce it to the barest essentials, and then reproduce the result in as many forms as possible. Is he not a direct descendant of Warhol? Lisson Gallery, London until 17th March.