Private View held by Richard Andrews
Game On: The History And Culture Of Video Games presents the forty year history, contemporary culture, and future of video games, in the biggest non-commercial show ever staged in Britain. This very interactive exhibition explains the game design process from the conceptual drawing through to the finished game, and identifies the key creative people who make them. It examines developments in hardware technology from Space War and the huge console computers in arcades of the early 1960s, to the recently launched X-Box, Game Cube and Playstation 2, illustrating how content and technologies are interrelated in advancing new ideas. The Games Family area has 35 playable games in the 3 genres of Thought (derived from existing board games), Action and Simulation. It assesses the influence games have had on culture in Europe, North America and Japan, particularly in relation to cinema, pop videos and other visual media. Eight new commissions from contemporary artists, architects and designers responding to current game technology look towards the future of games. Further information and an online game can be found on the Game On web site via the link opposite. Barbican Gallery until 15th September.
The Beatles Story, the award winning attraction, has been refurbished and extended, providing an even more Magical History Tour around the world's greatest group. There are now eighteen separate features that create a time warp to Liverpool in the 1960s. In addition to experiencing Beatlemania as it began in The Cavern, where the Beatles played no less than 292 times, visitors can now see exhibits from their formative years, including the instruments played by The Quarrymen; stroll through the cobbled streets of Hamburg past the Star Club; see the office of Mersey Beat; visit Abbey Road studios with the original microphones used at recording sessions; pass through a Yellow Submarine; tune in to a psychedelic experience; and enter The White Room with John Lennon's Steinway piano on which he composed Imagine. Also on display are rare photographs and film footage, artefacts, memorabilia, and a unique opportunity to not only hear, but feel the music. Further information and a virtual tour can be found on The Beatles Story web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. The Beatles Story, Liverpool continuing.
Shimmering Substance examines the texture and substance of art - its physical quality and surface - the title being taken from a 1946 Jackson Pollock painting. The shimmering is expressed not just in paintings (both representational and abstract), but also in a variety of media, employing water, foam, clay, glass and glitter. These are used in everything from a beaded curtain, to Sarah Dobai's video installation with water cascading in front of the image, to Kate Bright's paintings of gleaming lakes with silver and gold glitter applied like old fashioned Christmas cards. The other artists whose work is featured are Enid Baxter Blader, Mel Bochner, Tom Chamberlain, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Alexis Harding, Roger Hiorns, Rachel Howard, Marilyn Minter, David Musgrave, Ernesto Neto, Lawson Oyekan, Rudolf Stingel, Lawrence Weiner and Pae White. Arnolfini, Bristol until 23rd June.
Matisse Picasso brings together major works by the two giants of modern art, who between them originated many of the most significant developments of 20th century painting and sculpture. The exhibition provides an opportunity to compare and contrast Matisse's expressive use of colour and line, alongside Picasso's stylistic virtuosity through a series of over thirty groupings of paintings and sculpture. Juxtapositions of portrait, still life and landscape, demonstrate both their affinities and their differences. The show traces the artists intricate relationship from its beginnings in Paris in 1906, when they first met regularly in the studio of the collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein, to the period after Matisse's death in 1954, when Picasso paid tribute to him in his work, both directly and indirectly. In spite of their initial rivalry, each artist came to acknowledge the other as his only true equal, and in old age they became increasingly close personally, and increasingly important to each other artistically. The largest part of the exhibition is devoted to the early years, when there was open rivalry between them leading to intense creative innovation, which produced some of the greatest art of the century. Tate Modern until 18th August.
Brighton Museum has reopened after a £10m Lottery funded transformation, which is part of a larger regeneration scheme in and around the Royal Pavilion. The museum has been turned back to front, and there is now a new entrance from the Royal Pavilion Gardens. Layers of conglomerated dark 'mend and make do' hessian and hardboard have been removed, and windows unblocked, to let in the light and reveal the splendour of the architecture, with soaring Gothic ceilings, sumptuously carved door frames and white walls. The treasures it contains are similarly revitalised by the new methods employed in their presentation. The city is celebrated in a new Images of Brighton gallery, and a temporary Brighton on Film exhibition, which chart its history as a place of pleasure and scandal. These cover everything from Georgian caricatures to a 1999 phone box card. The Fashion & Style gallery naturally centres on George IV, with new items that have never been seen before, but also ranges from Lady Holmon's extensive trousseau, to newly collected street fashion of punks, hippies and Goths. Equally treasured items include the original Salvador Dali Lips sofa and one of local lad Fat Boy Slim's shirts. Brighton Museum continuing.
Liam Gillick: The Wood Way is the artist's first major solo show in Britain, bringing together work made since the mid 1990s. Using pine planks, brightly coloured Plexiglass panels and aluminium, these works are a unique mixture of sculpture, installation and architectural remodelling. This 'Changing Rooms with pretensions' technique has created something like a series of 3D walk through Mondrian paintings. A labyrinthine construction offers a journey through a series of thresholds, vistas and dead-ends. If you take 'the wood way' (from the German expression Holzweg), you have taken the wrong route and are lost in the woods, with its connotations of fairytale enchantment. Text pieces running across the gallery walls, photographs, piles of glitter and a new limited edition artwork reveal the range of Gillick's source material, recording prior experiences. Gillick has taken over the whole building with a makeover that includes the auditorium and café. Ensuring the spaces fully interactive, free yoga classes will take place throughout the show. Whitechapel Gallery until 23rd June.
Gio Ponti - A World celebrates the achievements of one of the most influential European architects and designers of 20th century. A painter, poet, writer and teacher, as well as an architect and designer, Ponti led Italy's post war design renaissance. He also founded and edited the much respected architecture magazine Domus. Sixty years of work in thirteen countries spanned the extravagant Villa Planchart in Caracas (known as the Butterfly House) to the La Pavoni espresso machine that came to symbolise La Dolce Vita in the 1950s. Along the way, it took in stage sets and costumes for La Scala Milan; the Casino at San Remo, decorated with enormous playing car motifs; Murano glassware; the elegant Superleggera Chair, which is still in production after 40 years; Taranto Cathedral, conceived as 'a sail'; the interiors of four liners; and the recently newsworthy Pirelli Tower, dubbed 'Europe's first true skyscraper' in Milan. Ponti was influential not just because he was so prolific, but because much of his work was in collaboration with other artists, designers and craftsmen. Design Museum until 6th October.
The Deep claims to be the world's first Submarium - a fusion of aquarium and state of the art 'interactives' - which tells the story of the world's oceans through time, latitude and depth. Visitors travel in an underwater lift through Europe's deepest tank, containing 2.5m litres of water. This provides a home for seven species of shark, including Britain's only grey reef shark, plus other species from all the world's oceans, such as the humphead wrasse, which grows to the size of a small car. Having arrived on the seabed, visitors can then walk beneath 10 metres of water, with sea creatures circling above them. Features include a recreation of the Big Bang, the geology of the seabed explaining how gas and oil deposited are formed, and the different ocean environments from tropical coral lagoons to the icy wastes of Antarctica. This is a £45m project, half funded by the Millennium Commission, housed in a landmark building by Terry Farrell & Partners, which was inspired by natural geological land formations. The Deep, Hull continuing.
Return Of The Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries provides the first opportunity in this country to see the finest possible examples of a whole artistic tradition formerly invisible to western audiences. In 1996 workmen clearing land in the town of Qingzhou in Shandong Province in eastern China unearthed a hoard of more than 400 Buddhist sculptures. The discovery of these figures, buried for over 900 years, is one of the most significant archaeological finds of recent times. It offers a remarkable insight into the nature and tradition of Chinese Buddhist art, and is immensely important for the history of Buddhism. The high quality and vast number of the sculptures has left archaeologists speculating as to why so many Buddhist figures, dating primarily from a 50 year period in the sixth century, were buried in a carefully constructed pit within the precincts of a monastery. Many of the statues are in remarkably fine condition, still bearing the original blue, red, green and ochre paint, and a number also retain the gold applied to the face and body of the Buddha to indicate his sun-like radiance. The Royal Academy of Arts until 14th July.
Cutting Edge: An Exhibition Of British Cutlery And Place Settings does exactly what it says on the tin, featuring five thousand years of the cutler's art. In a collection of knives, forks and spoons ranging from the New Stone Age to the 1950s, it provides a complete overview of the design and evolution of British cutlery. Over 500 pieces, including Neolithic flint, Celtic and Roman bronze and Georgian and Victorian silver, show the beauty and diversity of these everyday objects. The displays are arranged both in thematic and chronological order, with table settings including the appropriate replica food, which bring the exhibition to life.
Cutting Design complements the historical exhibition with the work of contemporary London designers. Some pieces function as cutlery, some as art pieces and others as jewellery. Materials used include silver, stainless steel and ceramics, and techniques incorporate casting, firing, piercing, waterjet cutting and hot forging. Designers featured include William Warren, Susana Shaw, Diana Greenwood, William Phipps, Lucian Taylor, Maike Dahl, Jonathan Levien and Nipa Doshi, Kay Ivanovic, Lisa Marklew and Rebecca de Quin. Geffrye Museum until 2nd June.
Behind The Mask is an examination of portraiture, considering three different themes: the face, the private personality, and the public front. It aims to find out to what extent portraiture can penetrate beneath surface appearance, and reveal to the viewer the real person being portrayed. The exhibition explores the techniques, symbols and messages that are used to convey information about both the outer appearance, and the inner personality of the subject, and how truthful these depictions are. It features the first showing outside London of the National Portrait Gallery's first ever 'conceptual portrait', Marc Quinn's Genomic Portrait of Sir John Sulston. This uses Sulston's DNA, so that whilst not depicting the geneticist's features, it is an exact representation of the sitter, in that it presents the viewer with a detail of his genome, and therefore carries the actual instructions that led to his creation, capturing all that is unique about him. Other artists represented include Francis Bacon, Louis-Leopold Boilly, Michael Clarke, Victoria Crowe, Gilbert and George, Goya, David Hockney, Alphonse Legros, Lewis Morley, Henry Raeburn, Ceri Richards, Kurt Schwitters, and Andy Warhol. Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne until 25th May.
American Sublime is a collection of over one hundred 19th century epic landscapes on heroic scales - Niagara Falls 10ft tall by 8ft wide - most of which have never been seen in Europe before. These Great Pictures toured American cites in eagerly awaited single painting exhibitions as soon as they were completed, theatrically lit and swagged with velvet drapes, with audiences offered opera glasses. They were the equivalent of the Cinerama travelogues of 100 years later. Through them, the American people became acquainted with landmarks of their country of which they could only dream. These paintings reflect the awe and wonder with which artists of the European tradition responded to the vast and magnificent wilderness of a virtually unexplored and uninhabited continent. Turner and Constable inspired many of the artists, which is (presumably) how they find their place here. The painters include Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Sanford Robinson Gifford and Thomas Moran, who were the artistic equivalents of wagon train pioneers. Locations range across the Grand Canyon, the Catskill and Rocky Mountains, Yosemite Valley and icebergs off Newfoundland. A revelation. Tate Britain until 19th May.