Private View held by Richard Andrews
Royal Court Theatre: A Celebration Of Fifty Years features photographs of actors, directors and writers who have enjoyed a close association with the company renowned for its commitment to new writing and for premiering some of the seminal plays of the last fifty years. Among the classic studies are the first artistic director George Devine by Ida Kar, John Osborne by Mark Gerson, Harold Pinter and Glenda Jackson by Bill Brandt, Jonathan Pryce by Snowdon, Arnold Wesker by Cecil Beaton, Joe Orton by Lewis Morley and Sophie Okenedo by Sal Idriss. Alongside are photographs by F H Evans and Alvin Langdon Coburn of some of those who contributed to the history of the Royal Court in earlier years, including Harley Granville Barker and Lillian Mccarthy.
The Royal Ballet At 75 is a companion display marking the anniversary of the formation of Britain's national ballet company. It comprises some of the key figures who shaped the company and influenced British ballet since 1930. These include the founder Ninette de Valios and Lilian Baylis (who provided the company with its first home) by de Valios's brother Gordon Anthony, choreographer Frederick Ashton by Angus McBean, musical director Constant Lambert by Yvonne Gregory, and dancers Margot Fonteyn by Yousuf Karsh, Rudolf Nureyev by Cecil Beaton, Alicia Markova by Dorothy Wilding, Wayne Sleep and Irek Mukhamedov by Alan Bergman, and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope by Jillian Edelstein.
National Portrait Gallery until July.
Moonrise Over Europe: JC Dahl And Romantic Landscape features 'moonlights' by the Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl, one of the 19th century's foremost landscapists, his predecessors and contemporaries, including the great German Romantic Caspar David Friedrich. Dahl was fascinated by the theme of moonlight and this exhibition has as its centrepiece his 'Mother and Child by the Sea', a highly atmospheric oil painting showing a woman and her infant looking out over the moonlit water as a small boat carrying the child's father makes its way to the dark and rocky shore. The exhibition sets the painting in context with Dahl's work as a whole, and his development as a painter of 'moonlights', while studying his relationship to Friedrich, whose work has often overshadowed Dahl's. It also explores the fascination with moonlight that came to preoccupy Romantic artists in Europe during the period from the mid 18th to mid 19th centuries, including Friedrich, and such masters of the night as Carl Gustav Carus, Wright of Derby, John Russell, JMW Turner, Jean-Francois Millet, Claude-Joseph Vernet, Honore Daumier and Samuel Palmer, all of whom are represented here. This unusual exhibition offers a unique chance to see some haunting examples of Romantic landscape that have not been shown in Britain before. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham until 23rd April.
Prefabulous London explores how a new wave of modern house types may make living in a box desirable, by showcasing the modules, pods and panels that are transforming perceptions of factory-built living. From pre-assembled, fully-fitted, transport-ready house modules, to flat-pack kit homes from well-known retailers such as the German Hufhaus, modern methods of construction are increasingly being applied by developers to create contemporary, affordable and sustainable homes. The display shows how existing London housing projects from the pioneering Murray Grove to futuristic new concepts of compact-living can remove the stigma surrounding traditional prefabs, and help towards meeting the demand for an additional 32,000 new homes in the capital per year. Starting with 'A for Affordability' through 'M for Modular' to 'Z for Zero defects', the exhibition examines the implications of these innovative methods of housing construction and component manufacture. Through partnerships between manufacturers, architects and housing associations, new methods of construction are maximising design, finishes and performance to reflect higher consumer expectations and greater demands for energy efficiency. The display shows that, from demountable homes providing temporary low cost housing, to liftable, individual roof-top extension modules solving problematic access, the applications of off-site construction are broad, and have the ability to tackle many issues of modern city living. New London Architecture at the Building Centre, London until 18th March.
Dan Flavin: A Retrospective is the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of one of the most innovative figures in 20th century art, who made pieces using fluorescent light, becoming a key exponent of minimalism. The exhibition brings together over 60 light works from the 1960s to the 1990s, more than half of which are being shown in Britain for the first time. At the heart of Flavin's artistic project was the transformation of mass produced, commercially available fluorescent light tubes into works of surprising intensity and beauty. Using what appear to be very limited materials - standard two/four/six/eight foot strip lights, in less than a dozen basic colours - Flavin created an extraordinarily diverse body of work, each piece possessing its own subtle, expressive power. A pioneer of installation or 'situational' art, as he called it, Flavin described these light sculptures as 'structural proposals', relating their forms, colours and textures to the particular surroundings in which he placed them. This exhibition charts the development of Flavin's practice over his thirty year career, beginning with his 1961 experiments with electric light and painted constructions, known as the 'icons', and his first work in fluorescent light alone, the diagonal of May 25, 1963, with diverse works including corner pieces, corridors, barriers and room size installations. There are also are a selection of rare sketches, drawings, and early collage constructions in which Flavin explored his ideas. Hayward Gallery until 2nd April.
Visions Of The Low Countries: A Golden Age Of Dutch And Flemish Art brings together rarely seen works by some of the most highly skilled (but less well known) artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Jan Van Goyen, Joos de Momper II, Aert van der Neer and David Teniers the Younger. The exhibition focuses on naturalistic landscapes and seascapes, with moody highly dramatic weather effects, and scenes depicting the everyday lives of Dutch and Flemish people. These beautiful and intricately detailed paintings reflect the flourishing cultural scene in the Low Countries, fuelled by an expansion of trade and the resulting boom in the art market, as the new middle class became patrons. The period marked a major cultural shift away from mythological and religious subjects and towards a concentration on mankind's place within the natural, material and social environment.
Another Land is a contrasting and complementary display of photo-works by Nicky Coutts, inspired by the medieval Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch. Coutts has digitally removed all the blessed and damned protagonists from three of Bosch's best known paintings, 'The Garden of Earthly Delights', 'The Temptation of St Anthony' and 'The Last Judgement', leaving only the background, thus turning them into landscapes, littered with abandoned belongings.
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 1st April.
Wild Life Photographer Of The Year reveals the splendour, drama and variety of life on earth, as captured by entrants in the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world. It showcases winning and highly commended submissions to the 22nd annual event, which aims to find the best wildlife and nature pictures taken by photographers worldwide of all ages, both proferssional and amateur. The 84 images on display were chosen as the most expressive and creative from almost 17,000 entries from over 55 countries. Highlights include the almost abstract shot of a swirling flock of starlings evading a predatory peregrine falcon, by Overall Winner Manuel Presti from Italy; the Young Winner's picture, capturing an inquisitive jay perched on a snowy pine branch, by Jesse Ritonen from Finland; the Innovation Award Winner, a reflection of trees and the rays of summer sun in a tranquil river, by Michel Loup from France; the view from a snow capped mountain ridge to the fire scarred valley below hit by the last rays of the setting sun, by Adam Gibbs from Canada; and a volcano spewing out a river of orange lava against the night sky in Tanzania's Rift valley, by Oliver Grunewaldt from France. Photographic enthusiasts will find all the technical details of the camera, lens, shutter speed and film used alongside the images. Natural History Museum until 23rd April.
Watercolours By David Hockney - Midsummer: East Yorkshire 2004 comprises a series of 36 watercolours presented as a single work, painted in one creative burst during July and August 2004, around the time of his 67th birthday. For Hockney, they are a return to his roots, capturing the countryside that he first got to know intimately in his childhood and in his teenage years, and are tinged with nostalgia and memories of family and friends no longer living. Painted both plein-air and from the front seat of his car, they celebrate summer through roadside scenes, harvested fields, moorland views, townscapes such as seaside Bridlington, and the jungle garden at Burton Agnes. Their styles vary dramatically - some are executed in minute detail, while others are little more than sketches. From March 2002 through to early 2005 Hockney concentrated almost exclusively on watercolour, a currently unfashionable medium, and one with which he had previously only briefly experimented. However, Hockney determined to explore its possibilities with the same enthusiasm with which he had previously launched into other media. The resulting paintings are hung together on one wall, in six rows of six sheets each, so that the whole series can be apprehended in a 'sweep of vision' as a single work, offering spectators multiple views of a whole, rather than a series of individual subjects. The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until 19th February.
A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits Of People, Plants And Places displays recent photographs by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth of over 50 British horticulturalists and their work. The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy. The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong. The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener including Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd. The Garden Preserved reveals the living heritage of great gardens such as Cawdor Castle (Angelika Cawdor) and Stourhead (John Sales) charting grand restorations and dramatic transformations. The Garden Explored deals with plant scholarship, expedition and exploration, with Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project. Alongside each portrait is a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Ghillean Prance (Kew Gardens), Charles Jencks (The Garden of Cosmic Speculation), Arabella Lennox-Boyd (Gresgarth Hall), Ann Scott-James (Sissinghurst), Beth Rothschild (Waddesdon Manor) and Graham Stuart Thomas (Mottisfont Rose Garden). The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle until 19th February.
Turner: The Sea brings together JMW Turner's major maritime paintings with a range of rarely seen studies. Although regarded primarily as a painter of landscapes, nearly a third of Turner's works represent the sea, and he recorded the variety and beauty of the coastline, and celebrated the Britain's maritime industries and naval heritage throughout his life, in oils, watercolours and prints. Some of his most evocative images of the sea were rapidly-executed studies in watercolour, representing a direct and personal creative response to nature, which were not considered sufficiently finished for exhibition or sale. When making oils, it was not unknown for him to use his thumb in applying the paint, to create the energy of waves. In these works Turner uses the junction between sea and sky as a motif through which to experiment with the expressive use of colour and the technical possibilities of watercolour. He often omits distinguishing landmarks and focuses on the uninterrupted line of the horizon. The simplicity of the composition enables him to try different ways of depicting weather and water, using unorthodox techniques to achieve a variety of effects. The exhibition also includes a number of preparitory pencil sketches of clouds, boats and waves. Among Turner's best known works on display are 'The Prince of Orange, William III, Embarked from Holland, and Landed at Torbay, November 4th, 1688, after a Stormy Passage', 'Spithead: Two Captured Danish Ships Entering Portsmouth Harbour', and 'Venice Quay, Ducal Palace'. Tate Liverpool until 23rd April.
Henry Moore Tapestries features the sculptor's less well known works in textiles, made in the late 1970s, which have not been seen in public for some years. The designs for the tapestries were taken from earlier drawings made by Moore as preparations for sculptures, which were enlarged up to ten times their original size. The resulting pieces, made in collaboration with the Tapestry Studio at West Dean in Sussex, are over 6ft in height. They depict a series of typical Moore subjects on the theme of 'Women and Children' and include reclining women, the mother and child and the seated figure. Moore was most interested in the interpretative element of weaving, so that the individual weaver's hand would make its mark, and that the tapestries would not simply be a blown up copy of a drawing.
Nina Saunders, in her first solo exhibition, encompasses furniture, embroidery, monoprints and small bronzes. In 'Chameleon', two embroidered chairs, the design of which has been painstakingly overpainted, stand in a room hung with monoprints, which have been taken from this design, their pattern becoming weaker as the paint, from which they are printed, disappears. 'Loves the jobs you hate', a bronze cast of cleaning materials, is coupled with 'Later that afternoon', a cast of a cup of tea with digestive biscuits on its saucer, while a stuffed deer in a balaclava looks down on them. You had to be there.
New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery, Salisbury both exhibitions until 5th February.
Henri Rousseau: Jungles In Paris is the first exhibition to be held in the UK for 80 years of work by an artist who created some of the most popular and memorable paintings of the modern era. Rousseau is celebrated for his visionary jungle paintings that captivate the viewer with the lushness of their plant and animal life, painted with incredible detail and precision. Extraordinarily he never saw the tropical scenes he brought so much to life, as he never left France. Rousseau's exotic jungle paintings are the fantasies of a city dweller, constructed from visits to the zoo and botanical gardens in Paris, from postcards, books and from his imagination. These jungles offered him a dream of escape from humdrum reality to a savage and yet enchanting realm. Rousseau's unique vision was celebrated by his modernist contemporaries like Pablo Picasso and the surrealists Rene Magritte and Max Ernst, who saw his work as opening up new realms of artistic possibility. They were fascinated by his bold, primitive style and the dream like nature of his paintings. For a customs official who was self taught and only took up painting full time in retirement, this was an extraordinary accomplishment. The exhibition features 50 works, including an extensive group of jungle paintings, and draws comparisons between these and Rousseau's other main areas of artistic interest: Parisian landscapes, portraits and allegorical paintings. Also on display is a comprehensive survey of Rousseau's source materials, offering an insight into his working methods and the Paris of his time. Tate Modern until 5th February.
Dancing To The Music Of Time: The Life And Work Of Anthony Powell explores the world of one of the most important English novelists of the 20th century. Powell was a key member of a group of writers, among them Cyril Connelly, George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh, who came to prominence in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He is best known for his twelve novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time, about London society in the first half of the 20th century, taking its title from the Nicolas Poussin painting, which is featured here. The exhibition focuses on Powell's life, his friends and contemporaries, and his career as a novelist and art collector. Among the objects on display are portraits of Powell and his friends, and many original manuscripts and illustrations relating to his opus. These include typescripts of the novels, his manuscript notebook, drawings for book covers by Misha Black, Osbert Lancaster and Mark Boxer and promotional posters. Powell's acute sense of humour is evident in his scrapbooks and a photo album documenting a spoof detective mystery 'The Tranby-Croft Case' acted out by Powell and his wife, together with Francis Watson and Gerald Reitlinger during a weekend in 1937. Works of art from Powell's own collection include drawings and paintings by J F Lewis, Sickert, Vuillard and Picasso. These are seen together with letters, post cards, documents, photographs, books, furniture and other objects from his idiosyncratic Somerset home The Chantry. The Wallace Collection until 5th February.