Private View held by Richard Andrews
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.
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.
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.
Victorian Artists In Photographs: G F Watts And His World is a remarkable exhibition of photographs of the Victorian art world, many exhibited for the first time. The display features some 160 images of the leading artists of the day and their studios, including George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, George Cruickshank, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Lord Leighton, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, E J Poynter, Lady Butler, Alma Tadema, Val Prinsep and Philip Morris, together with their models, wives and families, including Fanny Cornforth, Phoebe 'Effie' Cookson, Dorothy Dene, Edith Holman Hunt and Margaret Burne-Jones. In addition, there are rare images of royalty and politicians, including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli; influential thinkers, such as John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin and J S Mill; literary figures, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, George Elliot and Wilkie Collins; and members of the theatrical profession, such as Ellen Terry. The 100 year old Arts & Crafts building, created by Watts and his wife, which houses his extensive studio collection, was the first purpose built art gallery in Britain dedicated to the work of a single artist. Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford, until 31st December.
Vaulting Ambition: The Adam Brothers, Contractors To The Metropolis In The Reign Of George III tells of how in the 18th century, four Scottish brothers embarked on an architecturally ambitious regeneration scheme for a huge brownfield site in the centre of London, to be known as the Adelphi. Drawings from the Adam collection - one of Royal Terrace almost 9ft long - are displayed alongside paintings of the Adelphi, together with documents, drawings, paintings and portraits, many never on public display before. It focuses on the Adam brothers and on the rupture in their relationships, caused by the uncertain nature of their grand venture, the bank crashes of 1772, and their recourse to a Lottery to escape financial disaster. They were sons of the most eminent 18th century Scottish architect William Adam, and their business became the biggest building company of the age, encompassing supply, materials, contracting and speculative development on a breathtaking scale - at its height employing 3,000 men. In many ways the scheme set the template for modern metropolitan development. The Adelphi was a showcase for elegant new architecture, setting standards for urban development throughout Britain. The exhibition also explores the subsequent speculative projects of the Adams in Portland Place and Fitzroy Square in London, as well as Robert's visionary designs for Bath, and his proposals for Edinburgh and Glasgow. It also reveals how these Scottish entrepreneurs promoted their scheme, installed anchor tenants within the development to attract potential investors and purchasers, targeted clients of high net worth, faced down a potentially devastating financial crisis and in the end, were forced to pay an exceptional price for their 'vaulting ambition'. Sir John Soane's Museum, London until 12th January.
The Turner Prize: A Retrospective is the definitive Turner Prize exhibition, featuring works by all the winning artists since it began in 1984. From Anish Kapoor to Damien Hirst, and Gilbert & George to Grayson Perry, it presents a snapshot of cutting edge British art from the last 24 years. The exhibition explores the history of the prize with a chronological selection of key works by the winning artists such as Malcolm Morley, Richard Deacon, Rachel Whiteread, Douglas Gordon, Wolfgang Tillmans and Tomma Abts, alongside documentation of over 90 short listed artists. Key works in the display include Gilbert & George's 'Drunk with God' (a photo montage featuring their usual themes), Antony Gormley's 'Testing a World View' (body casts again, this time bent at the waist), Damien Hirst's 'Mother and Child Divided' (the sliced up cow and calf), Martin Creed's 'Work # 227: The lights going on and off' (the clue is in the title) and Simon Starling's 'Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2)' (is it a shed, is it a boat, is it a sculpture?). Created to draw greater public attention to contemporary art, the Turner Prize has played a significant role in the growing interest in British art, and since the mid 1980s the visual arts scene in Britain has changed beyond recognition. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to reflect upon some of the most significant moments in the recent history of British art and the reception of the prize by the press, by artists and by the public. It may impress with the vigorous questioning of accepted artistic ideas - or it may seem a question of The Emperor's New Clothes. It's in the eye of the beholder. Tate Britain until 6th January.
The Naked Portrait is the first exhibition to focus on 'naked portraiture' as a strand in the art of the last century. The title is borrowed from Lucian Freud, who has used it for many of his paintings. In contrast to the wider genre of the 'nude', naked portraiture engages with the specific identity of an individual sitter, subverting portraiture's usual concerns with social facade, status and self-image. This exhibition brings together many of the most significant artists of the last century, and features over 160 examples of the genre, embracing painting, photography and sculpture, through the work of over 70 artists from Pierre Bonnard to Tracey Emin. By revealing the widespread interest in naked portraiture as a subject throughout the period depicted, the exhibition also examines the rapidly changing cultural and moral landscape of the last century. It includes paintings by Francis Bacon, Vanessa Bell, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Saville and Stanley Spencer; photographs by David Bailey, Helen Chadwick, John Coplans, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Boris Mikhailov, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Wolfgang Tillmans and Sam Taylor-Wood; and sculpture by Dan Brown, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marc Quinn and Auguste Rodin. Themes within the exhibition challenge the received notions of ideal physical beauty, age identity, the artistic exploration of love and desire, the projection of 'otherness' in terms of social class, race, or celebrity, and the fundamentals of the human ageing process and mortality. The exhibition features portraits of both well known subjects, such as Linford Christie, Germaine Greer, Dustin Hoffman, Christine Keeler, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolf Nureyev, Georgia O'Keefe and Charlotte Rampling, and uncelebrated subjects, known intimately only by the artists. Many of the images also represent the artists themselves. Compton Verney, Warwickshire until 9th December.
The Suburban Landscape: Two Hundred Years Of Gardens And Gardening explores the history of the suburban landscape over the last two centuries, and considers the significance of gardens and gardening in the making of what became the most 'English' of landscape environments. Over 86% of England's population lives in so-called 'suburban' areas, the 'typical' suburban home having a garden front and back - the opportunity to have a garden being one of the main attractions of suburban living. Suburban gardens are private areas, but because they are connected together and visible to each other, they also form part of the larger, collectively owned public landscape. This wider suburban landscape is also defined by public green spaces such as parks, playing fields and grass verges. Residents of suburbia have always been encouraged to be gardeners. This exhibition examines how people learned to garden, how the practice of being a gardener changed over time, what sorts of expert advice was available to novice and experienced gardeners at different times, and how people use their gardens: a children's play area, a relaxation space or a functional area for the washing line and the vegetable patch. It also reflects how the suburban garden is now influenced by environmental concerns, with many introducing wild flowers, and a growing demand for species that survive the hotter summers. This exhibition looks at the evolution of the suburban landscape as a whole, including the development of parks and open spaces. It also considers the evolution of the smaller, 'private' sphere of gardens and gardening. Over the last two hundred years, the nation's passion for the private suburban garden has contributed to the development of the wider, public suburban landscape with which we are familiar today. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire until 24th February.
Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for six miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. Among featured tableaux in this year's free show are 'Decodance' designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, and monsters from Dr Who. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from 8pm to midnight most nights.
The Festival Of Light is an accompanying programme of events and contemporary light installations. These include 'Artificial Sunshine - The Story Of The Illuminations' exhibition, where visitors can get up close to working illuminations, and see original drawings and diagrams dating back to the 1930's; Andy McKeown's 'Kaleidoscopia', in which images provided by visitors are kaleidoscoped and projected on to buildings across the town; Blachere Illumination's 'Wonderland', a sparkling canopy curtain of LED lights floating as if suspended in mid air, mysteriously supporting 6 giant chandeliers; Michael Trainor's giant mirror ball installation 'They Shoot Horses Don't They?' spectacularly illuminated by Greg McLenahan; and Kate Walker's 'Rain', consisting of multiples of lamp-worked glass with water inside, suspended on fibre optic lighting, like a cloud suspended in space made up of hundreds of glass raindrops. Blackpool Promenade until 4th November.
The Memory Of Place is a site specific installation by Scottish glass artist Keiko Mukaide, which draws on religious ceremony from her native Japan, to create a site of ritual contemplation, using fire, water, glass, stone and light. It is Keiko's response to her sense of the sadness and emptiness of the space, the visual remains of the former church's medieval interior, with the stained glass, gravestones and carvings remaining from its past as a sacred site, and the discovery by geomancer Graham Gardner of energy ley, underground streams and blind springs beneath the building. Keiko has constructed a pool of water, which fills the nave of the church, flowing towards the transept, where a suspended column of glass rods is dramatically top lit, suggesting a spiritual path to a higher place. It was inspired in part by the Japanese religious ceremony, Shoro nagashi, in which people release lanterns on to a river in mid summer, symbolising their ancestors' spirits ascending to heaven, and reflecting the timeless bond between them and those who went before. Visitors are invited to become involved with the installation by lighting a votive candle and floating it on the pool. St Mary's Church, Castlegate, York until 28th October.
Picasso: Fired With Passion concentrates on Picasso's work in ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and photography. It draws upon Picasso's output from 1947 to 1955, during a significant period of his life when he was working at Vallauris in southern France. Over 100 objects reveal the diversity of his work across different media. In addition, personal photographs and mementos, give a sense of both work and life, and his friendships with contemporaries, such as the artists Jean Cocteau and Georges Braque photographer Lee Miller and surrealist painter, poet, and historian Roland Penrose. Highlights include brightly coloured plates decorated with fish and birds, a jug with a stylised female figure, a vase entitled 'Aux Danseuses', a ceramic vase 'Chouette' and a silver platter. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh until 28th October.