Private View held by Richard Andrews
London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public free access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, boasts a record number of locations this year. Over 550 buildings both historic and new will include Dulwich Picture, Courtauld Institute and Royal Academy galleries, Geffrye, London and Wellington museums, British and Peckham librararies, Banqueting House, Chiswick House, Royal Courts of Justice, Aldwych Underground Station, Freemasons Hall, Great Eastern Hotel, Lloyd's, No 1 Poultry, Channel 4, Royal Opera House, and BBC Bush House, Broadcasting House and Television Centre. There are also 15 different conducted walks taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. In 1999 over 370,000 visits were made during the two days. Entrance is free, and some venues include accompanying special events. To obtain a directory call 09001 600 061 or see the London Open House web site via the link from the Other Festivals section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 23rd and 24th September.
FaceOn brings together recent work from international photographic artists who explore the relationship between themselves and their subjects in video and installation works, colour photographic tableaux, performance documentation film and family portraiture style. Philip Lorca DiCorcia has photographed the male prostitutes on Santa Monica Boulevard and produced a catalogue of wares. Jennifer Bornstein befriends strangers and takes group snapshots with them. Adam Chodzko offers a video of interviews with now ageing orgy extras from Ken Russell's film The Devils, reflecting on their 15 minutes of fame (and shaving their heads). A symposium with the curators and some of the artists on 25th October will explore issues raised in the exhibition. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 28th October.
Gerrit Dou: Rembrandt's First Pupil although little known now, was probably the most famous Dutch painter of his day, and this exhibition places him back on the list of household names with Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. Remaining in Leiden when his master moved to Amsterdam, Dou established a school specialising in small-scale, highly-detailed and jewel-like images. He was fascinated by trompe l'oeil effects, often setting his scenes behind illusionistic curtains or stone niches, as if his paintings were windows opening onto a miniature world. Dou is one of the great painters of light in the history of art. He painted a variety of subjects, including portraiture, still-life and religious images, but is most renowned for scenes of daily life - mothers with children, painters in their studios, scholars, musicians, astronomers, schoolmasters and shopkeepers - packed with details, many of which carry symbolic messages. This exhibition, which has been organised by the National Gallery of Art Washington, bring together thirty-five of the finest of Dou's paintings from all periods in his career. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 19th November.
Spitfire Summer marks the sixtieth anniversary of the events of 1940 when Britain stood alone, supported only by the Commonwealth and a handful of governments in exile, facing the threat of imminent invasion by German forces. Paintings, posters, photographs, newsreels, radio broadcasts, letters, diaries, newspapers and personal mementoes chronicle the turning point of the Second World War. The exhibition starts with Winston Churchill's appointment as Prime Minister, illustrated by the typescript of his first speech to the nation as leader; and moves through the Dunkirk evacuation, with exhibits such as a blood-stained flag used as an emergency bandage by the crew of the Massey Shaw; the Battle of Britain, including a love letter written by a pilot to his fiancée shortly before he was killed; and the Blitz with shelter life and bomb damage reflected in the works of artists and photographers such as Henry Moore and Cecil Beaton. Full details from the Imperial War Museum web site via the link opposite. Imperial War Museum until 26th November.
Our Finest Hour is a new audio-visual presentation of the events leading up to the British victory over the German Luftwaffe commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Battle Of Britain. It mixes a narrated story with video, sound and light to give a realistic impression of the air war over South East England, and the bombing of London in the Blitz. Britain's National Museum of Aviation is located at the former RAF Hendon, a fighter station during the Battle of Britain and a transport station for the remainder of World War II. The collection of over seventy aeroplanes provides visitors with a close-up look at every type of aircraft, from the bi-planes at the beginning of the last century, through the Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber of World War II, to the Harrier and Tornado of the modern RAF. The Royal Air Force Museum continuing.
City Soldiers is a permanent exhibition in one of the three new galleries which opened in July as part of a Millennium project by the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside. It tells the story of The King's Regiment and its links with Liverpool since 1881, giving an insight into regimental life and duties in times of peace and war, as well as what it is like to be married to a soldier. Using video, audio and the museum's collection of objects, visitors get a glimpse of life on patrol in the colonies, experiences of the two world wars and the life of the Regiment today. In the battle gallery a drum beat fills the air and the floor vibrates with the roar of cannon, giving a feel of life in the front line. Exhibits include the wrecked remains of regimental silver hit by a shell in the Siege of Ladysmith during the Boer War. The exhibition also reveals how today's Regimental ceremonies and traditions are rooted in the past, and explores the impact of war on the lives of soldiers and their families through personal mementoes and commemorative medals. The Museum Of Liverpool Life continuing.
creating SPARKS is a month long festival co-ordinated by the British Association, whose aim is to promote the cross fertilisation of arts and sciences. It is a collaboration of the main cultural institutions in South Kensington: Imperial College, The Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Geographical Society, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Leading figures in the sciences and arts are taking part in individual and continuing performances, experiments, workshops, talks, conferences and exhibitions, with many interactive elements in which visitors can become involved. Highlights include Devious Devices - specially commissioned automata inspired by Terry Gilliam, Walking With Woodlice - helping visitors to discover biodiversity in their own back gardens, Big Bazaar - carnival and street theatre in Exhibition Road, and interactive games exploring genetic modification. Further information from the creating SPARKS web site via the link opposite. South Kensington, London until 30th September.
Heaven And Hell And Other Worlds Of The Dead is a Millennium inspired exhibition which confronts the question "What happens after we die?" It explores the diversity of views and beliefs about the afterlife, using material from around the world over the last 6,000 years. Exhibits include Egyptian mummies, Tibetan temple hangings, Mexican sugar skulls, a mask of Princess Diana, a soul boat, a passport to hell, and even a Ghanaian coffin in the shape of a Mercedes-Benz. Companions for the dead have been a popular theme throughout history, with Incas having their servants buried alive with them, Mexicans taking spirit guide dogs, and Singaporeans still supplied with paper versions of anything they might need - including mobile phones. From the local culture, and on a more practical level, there are corpse collars (like modern day bicycle locks) which were used to prevent body snatching by the likes of Burke and Hare. Royal Museum Edinburgh until 11th February.
Paul Klee: The Bürgi Collection comprises over 140 oils, drawings, watercolours and prints from all stages of Klee's career. Rolf Burgi, a family friend, looked after his affairs when Klee fled from the Nazis to Switzerland in 1933, and preserved his work from confiscation by the state. This legacy remains the largest and most outstanding collection of Klee's work and is still in private hands. It has never before been exhibited as a whole and this is the only British showing. Klee was essentially a doodling draughtsman, whose definition of drawing was "taking a line for a walk", a comment which underlined the humour he brought to his work. A picture was finished when he "stopped looking at it, and it started looking back". Klee constantly experimented with different styles, subjects techniques and materials, often using oils, watercolours and graphite in the same picture. Painting on almost anything, including glass, wood, paper, hessian, newsprint, plaster and celluloid, he once even used the duster kept under his chin while playing the violin. Klee was a considerable influence on post-war art, especially in Britain where his theories were adopted by amongst others, Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 22nd October.
New British Art 2000: Intelligence, proving that Tate Britain is not to be outdone by its new sibling down the river, is the first in a series of major exhibitions of contemporary British art to be held every three years, and is the largest loan exhibition ever staged at Millbank. It comprises works by twenty-two contemporary British artists, whose approach is that of "agents at large in society", gathering, sifting and transforming the raw data of our life, critically examining our environment, the way we live and our relations with each other. Works include Sarah Lucas' Life's A Drag Organs, in which two burnt out cars decorated with unsmoked cigarettes suggest a pair of lungs; Bob and Roberta Smith's Protest, where visitors can record their protests (at anything, including the exhibition), a weekly selection of which will be sign written onto the walls; and Gillian Wearing's Drunk, a three screen video projection made in collaboration with a group of street drinkers in South London. It's reassuring that the Tate remains unfazed by continual mutterings about Kings and clothes. Tate Britain until 24th September.
Breathless!: Photography And Time examines the camera's ability to freeze and capture a moment in time, as typified by Harold Edgerton's images of a bullet emerging from an antique gun, a milk drop exploding into a coronet and a bullet cutting through a playing card from side to side. Using some of the most important and stunning works from the national collection, it presents nothing less than a history of the art of photography. The show offers examples of most of the major processes from the daguerrotype and calotype onwards, including photogram, cameraless photography, an image projected onto seed and grown as grass, and a camera obscura image. It charts how the reduction in exposure times, from 40 minutes in 1839 to a fraction of a second a century later, was exploited by the pioneers. Images presented are both breathtaking as technical feats and also true art. The works of celebrated photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, W Eugene Smith and David Hockney are juxtaposed with those of trail blazing amateurs and emerging new talents. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th September.
Defining Features: Scientific And Medical Portraits 1660-2000 is much more interesting than its bald description "portraits of scientists, doctors and technologists from the foundation of the Royal Society to the present day" would lead you to believe. It includes the first ever electronic portrait. Tom Phillips has created a ten minute video sequence in which a scan of his brain dissolves (with the aid of Tipp-Ex) into a portrait of Susan Greenfield (Director of the Royal Institution who is currently being brainy in all media) and back again. The piece, which was specially commissioned for this exhibition, uses over 200 pieces of artwork - sketches, video and photographs - to create a mesmerising and almost imperceptibly changing work. It is shown on a state of the art 28-inch vertical flat screen no thicker than a canvas. National Portrait Gallery until 17th September.