Private View held by Richard Andrews
Puppet Worlds puts one of the oldest theatrical traditions into a global context, and also illustrates that its audience is by no means restricted to children. Every kind of puppet is here, from British end of the pier Punch and Judy, whose ancestry is much more complex than you would imagine - Punch first proclaimed "the way to do it" in Naples in the 17th century - via 4ft tall characters from the Sri Lankan puppet folk opera, and Malaysian shadow puppets, to satirical glove puppets from Uzbekistan which are employed to discuss social issues. Traditional Chinese and Indian puppets sit alongside present day British favourites such as the original Andy Pandy and Flower Pot Men. Among the highlights are rod puppets from Indonesia, where shows are performed at celebrations of births, weddings, harvest and other community occasions, which represent characters from the Mahabharata, including Yamadipati, the God of Death. On display for the first time are a set of water puppets, which belong to a performance art unique to Vietnam. They are used to depict life in the countryside, such as rice planting, fishing and wrestling, and also to tell more exotic stories, in which supernatural creatures like the unicorn, dragon and phoenix appear. To operate them, the puppeteers stand waist deep in water behind a screen, manipulating the puppets by the use of underwater rods and strings. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill London SE23 until 2nd November.
COBRA: Copenhagen Brussels Amsterdam showcases the work of a group of artists and writers who took their name from the three cities where many of the participants lived - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Working between 1948 and 1951, artists associated with COBRA proclaimed a radical new art based on experimentation and collaboration. Influenced by the traditions of myth and tribal art, and the instinctive and untutored art of children and the mentally ill, these artists were motivated by a belief in the role of art as a social and political force, and sought spontaneous, experimental and anti-elitist forms of expression. In the newly won post war freedom, anything classical, considered or disciplined as out. This exhibition is the first major show of the movement in the Britain, and presents works by 20 artists, with paintings and drawings by key figures including Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Constant, Cornelle, Asger Jorn and Carl-Henning Pederson. They are exuberant, colourful, vigorous and brash - epitomising what the movement set out to achieve. In addition to the paintings, there are also films, publications and manifestos by other members of the group. Baltic, Gateshead until 21st April.
British Blondes celebrates the perception that from Greek goddess Aphrodite to pop goddess Madonna, blondes have always had more fun, by bringing together photographs of some the best known British blondes from the 1930s to the present day. Blonde hair has come to signify beauty, power and status, and the display looks at blonde bombshells from the worlds of politics, fashion, music, film and media. Highlights include Margaret Thatcher by Norman Parkinson, Twiggy by Allan Ballard, Diana Dors by Cornel Lucas and Joely Richardson by Alistair Morrisson, plus Diana, Princess of Wales, Patsy Kensit and Barbara Windsor. The sublime to the 'gor blimey indeed. National Portrait Gallery until 6th July.
Blondes is a complementary selection of sixty images from the world's largest image archive, demonstrating the mystique and sexual allure of blondes around the world, achieved through a combination of childish innocence and knowing seductiveness. Representatives here include Brigitte Bardot, Jerry Hall, Jean Harlow, Grace Kelly, Carole Lombard, Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner and of course, Madonna. The exhibition also features a selection of blonde men, including Michael Caine, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Fortunately there is no distinction made between natural and (strongly featured in this exhibition) acquired blondness. Hulton Getty Images Gallery, London until 26th April.
The Adventures Of Hamza is a display of paintings illustrating epic tales of heroism, magic and bravery. They depict the exploits of Hamza, a mythical character, supposedly the uncle of Muhammad, who travelled the world with his band of heroes battling against a host of adversaries. Commissioned by the great Mughal emperor Akbar about 1557, the paintings are rare survivors from one of the most unusual manuscripts produced during Mughal rule, and represent a crucial turning point in the development of Mughal art. The tales, which were popular with all ages, were told by professional storytellers across the Persian speaking world, including the Mughal empire. The beautifully coloured dramatic illustrations, present a cast of larger than life characters in exotic costumes, inhabiting a world where heroes confront and make great escapes from giants, sorcerers, sea monsters and dragons, rescue princesses, or manoeuvre their hapless foes into comical predicaments through sheer guile. The unusually large volumes of the Hamzanama text took more than 100 artists, gilders, bookbinders and calligraphers fifteen years to complete, and originally contained 1400 illustrations, though fewer than 200 are known to have survived. This exhibition, comprised of sixty eight paintings from various collections, is the first time they have been seen in this country. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th June.
Real/Surreal: Photographs By Lee Miller is an exhibition of images showing the full range of the extraordinary personal and commercial portfolio of one of the most remarkable photographers of the twentieth century. Few others have had a career than spans fashion shoots for Vogue and the documentation of concentration camps as an official American army correspondent in the Second World War. Originally a Vogue cover model in New York herself, she fell in love with Surrealist artist Man Ray in the 1920s and moved to Paris. There she rapidly became part of the avant-garde art world, and became associated with many artists, including Picasso, Max Ernst and Roland Penrose. Influenced by Ray, she developed her own unique style - bold, surreal and hard edged, experimenting with floating heads and negative images. Miller carried this approach over into her war pictures, creating images that give the reality of combat a further striking twist of horror. After the war she changed course again, married Penrose and settled in rural Sussex. Whitworth Gallery Manchester until 27th April.
Text And Image: German Illustrated Broadsides Of Four Centuries is a collection of the equivalent of public information films from the 15th century - quite soon after the invention of printing with movable type - until the 18th century. Illustrated broadsides are single sheets of paper printed on one side with woodcuts or engravings and text, which were sold for use in a variety of contexts: for information, instruction, contemplation, and entertainment. Displayed in both public and domestic environments, the broadsides were often pinned or stuck to walls and furniture. Though many thousands of copies were printed in several European countries, especially Germany, their unusually large size and fragility have meant that very few have survived. Although some major artists and authors produced broadsides, many of the images and texts are anonymous. This selection, of which all the sheets are rare and many unique, illustrates a number of themes including Religion, Death, City Life, Peasants, Women, Jews, and Witchcraft. British Museum until 21st April.
The Glass Aquarium is an exhibition of the work of 19th Century glass makers Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf, who made thousands of glass models of squids, sea-slugs, cuttlefish, jelly fish and other sea creatures from their tiny studio in Desden. Exquisite in its fine detailing and startlingly real, their work is a remarkable example of the fusion of design, craftsmanship and industrial production from the Victorian era, at a time when the public was fascinated by the recently discovered science of marine exploration. It was described then as "an artistic marvel in the field of science, and a scientific marvel in the field of art". There is something wholly appropriate about the transparency and delicacy of glass being used to represent the wonders of marine life. The exhibition also includes contemporary pieces by a number of artists including Dorothy Cross and Mark Francis whose work is informed by the Blaschkas. Castle Museum & Art Gallery Nottingham until 6th April.
From Warehouse To My House: Loft Style In The Domestic Interior is an exhibition of photographs by David Secombe, exploring the ways in which the loft style has been adapted to different types of building. The domestic spaces photographed for this project include the genuine - old industrial buildings that have been converted into living spaces, the bizarre - architect designed modifications to a Georgian period property, and the created - new-built properties that look to the industrial aesthetic for their inspiration. All of the interiors are in London but are not restricted to a single neighbourhood. This show, which includes the words of the people who inhabit the photographed interiors, focuses on personal, contemporary taste and style in the urban living room.
Gutted: An Exhibition Of Photographs By Etienne Clement is a collection of images of abandoned domestic interiors, taken at the Holly Street housing estate in Hackney, East London, as the tower block was being stripped and prepared for demolition by explosives. Clement endeavoured to capture the echo of recent occupation and to record the empty shell of a discredited piece of urban planning. What has been left behind, and the condition in which these interiors were found, lead the viewer's imagination on a journey of speculation about the hidden stories that lie in these empty, uninhabited domestic spaces. Geffrye Museum, London until 25th May.
Eggebert And Gould present four installations combining drawings, photomontages, light boxes, collage and projections that consider television and the aeroplane as modern devices for collapsing distance and seeing the world. They reflect on a past optimism, when television was seen as a medium that would result in real communication between people and nations, and when it was thought that cheap international travel would bring people together. This is contrasted with the reality of intrusive CCTV surveillance, and the threat of terrorism that aeroplanes now carry. Birthplace Of Television refers to the locality's position as the site of the first transmission of a television image by John Logie Baird. Going Places reflects on the growth of global tourism with a Foreign Office map of no go areas. Alpine Archipelago looks at artificial landscapes created when plants are transported across the world from their natural homes. Knowing Places examines how television facilitates an escape into an imaginary world rather than encouraging engagement with the real one.
There is a permanent exhibition about John Logie Baird, who conducted experiments and placed his first patent for "seeing by wireless" in Hastings in 1923. There is an early televisor and scanning disc, together with a collection of letters written by Baird to his financial backer Will Day, relating to his pioneering work, which go into great detail about his ideas for transmitting and receiving television images. Hastings Museum And Art Gallery 01424 781155 until 6th April.
Star Trek - The Adventure is a £24m 'multi-media interactive experience through four decades of Star Trek adventures, where stars, creators and state of the art technology will come together to reveal the secrets of the creative process'. The show is receiving its world premiere in a 7,000 sq metre 'hi-tech climate controlled environment' (that's tent to you and me) in Hyde Park - the biggest event to be staged there since the Great Exhibition of 1851. The extravaganza (at last something which actually deserves the word) offers the first chance for civilians to experience the interiors of various generations of the Enterprise at first hand, including a red alert on the bridge; the transporter room, where they can experience being 'beamed up'; and the engineering bay with the latest technology, together with hundreds of props, costumes and artifacts, and interactive demonstrations and simulators. Last (and by no means least) there is more merchandising on offer than you would think possible in one universe. "It's an exhibition Jim, but not as we know it." Entertainment crosses the final frontier. Star Trek - The Adventure, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park until 30th March.
Shopping: A Century Of Art And Consumer Culture brings the nation's number one leisure activity into the art gallery. It is an exhibition that had to happen, now that shopping has overtaken the mere satisfaction of physical necessities, and the browsing, selection and purchase of commodities has become one of the defining activities of modern urban life. The show comprises over 240 works, beginning with 'Your Supermarket 2002' by Guillaume Bijl, a recreation of a Tesco Metro, with shelves of fresh food, drinks and household products - and even checkout tills - but nothing is actually for sale. There are photographs by Eugene Atget, Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans chronicling the disappearing world of small shops and specialist stores in Paris, New York and elsewhere. Early examples of art's crossover into the commercial sphere include Frederick Kiesler's studies of shop windows, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's application of Bauhaus principles to the presentation of objects, and highly theatrical window displays by The Surrealists. Installations include recreations of Claes Oldenburg's 'The Store'; Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein's 'The American Supermarket', where real foods such as Warhol's signed stacks of Campbell's soup cans are mixed together with works such as Robert Watts' chrome fruits and multicoloured wax eggs; and Damian Hurst's 'Pharmacy', where thousands of packets are arranged with clinical precision. Tate Liverpool until 23rd March.
Albrecht Durer And His Legacy surveys the work of the man who became the first international artist. By exploiting the new technologies of printing, he ensured that his works were known across Europe, making him a master of the multiple image and an international celebrity four and a half centuries before Andy Warhol. His AD monogram became a trademark, recognised and respected across the Renaissance world. The exhibition looks at Durer's achievements as a draughtsman, engraver and printmaker, and how his widely disseminated and innovative imagery influenced not only his contemporaries, but also the artists and craftsmen of succeeding generations. Among the works included are: the earliest known group of watercolour landscapes drawn from nature to have survived in the history of western art, which he painted during his first visit to Italy; the virtuoso engraving 'Adam and Eve' with its numerous related studies; one of the largest prints ever produced, the 'Triumphal Arch' made for the Emperor Maximilian; the drawing 'Praying Hands', never before seen in this country; and the three master prints of 1513-1514, 'Knight, Death and the Devil', 'Melancholia' and 'St Jerome in his Study'. The impact of Durer's work on other artists is reflected in works from Germany, Holland and Italy (Rembrandt among them), and his long-standing influence on ceramic designs from 16th century majolica to 18th century Meissen. British Museum until 23rd March.