Private View held by Richard Andrews
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 - some events are already running. South Kensington, London from 6th to 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.
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.
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.
Walking On Eggshells is a "Found Object" experience created and installed by Julian Walker, using 6004 items from the natural history collection of Wollaton Hall. The title piece is a mass of birds eggs which have been put together beneath a 15ft long glass walkway built into the gallery floor. A 30ft piece on the gallery's main wall is made up of shark's teeth, each of which is labelled with a Biblical character, set into a grid. Then there are the toy aeroplanes. As they used to say on Night Gallery: "Explain it we cannot, we only know that it has happened." The Yard Gallery, Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 0115 915 3920 until 22nd October.
Buckminster Fuller: Your Private Sky demonstrates the wide range of work produced by the American scientist, philosopher, designer, architect, artist, engineer, entrepreneur, mathematician and pedagogue. Richard Buckminster Fuller is best known for the invention of the geodesic dome - the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. His lifelong goal was the development of what he called "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science" - the attempt to anticipate and solve humanity's major problems through the highest technology by providing "more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources." Fuller worked simultaneously on plans for houses, cars, boats, furniture, domes and television transmitters, all to be mass-produced using the simplest and most sustainable means possible. This exhibition provides the first opportunity in this country to assess the vast range of his creative output through models, drawings and artefacts from his personal archive. Design Museum until 15th October.
Men of the Clyde: Stanley Spencer's Vision At Port Glasgow is the result of a commission in 1940 from the War Artist's Advisory Committee to paint a series of works documenting the activities of Lithgow's shipbuilding yard. The English painter Stanley Spencer spent the next five years completing the task, and during that time painted a remarkable commemorative series of large pictures depicting the shipyard workers. The men in these monumental paintings are an extraordinary mixture of Stalinist "worker as hero" and renaissance "Paradise Lost" angel. For the first time the works are hung as Spencer intended, with the long narrow panels (some six yards in length) arraigned round a central altarpiece as in a medieval chapel. They are displayed alongside works from Spencer's later Resurrection series, his personal tribute to the people of Port Glasgow, which symbolise the rebirth and regeneration of Glasgow after the war. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 1st October.
The Wonders Of The Universe Star Show is designed to create a first hand experience of space travel using the first installation in Europe of Digistar II, a state-of-the-art projection system. As well as producing the conventional stars and planets of the night sky, which has been the London Planetarium's business since 1958, it uses computer graphics to bring virtual reality to a three-dimensional journey through space. Unlike mechanical projectors, which give only an Earth-based view of the heavens, Digistar II can simulate with complete accuracy a journey through galaxies to the edge of the known universe, or even recreate the Big Bang. The show starts on Mars in 2502 and includes close encounters with a Supernova (the death of a massive star) the exploration of a black hole and a close look at our sun. London Planetarium continuing.
Eat Drink And Be Merry: The British At Table 1600-200 at Kenwood House is the ultimate visitor experience, combining the current passion for food and drink with the ongoing interest in stately homes in one package. If a visit also includes a lakeside concert in the evening, then every sense can be nourished at one location. Replica banquets from different periods are laid out in five rooms, using the authentic furniture, table settings, silverware, glassware, china, ornaments and decorations. Meals featured include the Duke of Newcastle's 1698 Windsor Castle feast and Mrs Beeton's recommendations for an 1892 breakfast. In addition there are paintings and lithographs of many more gourmet occasions, from An English Family At Tea to Fatal Effects Of Gluttony. Kenwood House, London, 020 8348 1286 until 24th September.
The Norman Foster Studio - Exploring The City is a major retrospective of the work of Foster and Partners, one of the world's leading architectural practices, whose reputation in Britain was partially established by the design of the building which houses the exhibition. However it is the prestigious international projects for which the practice is best known, such as the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters and Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong, the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt (Europe's tallest building), and the rebuilding of the Reichstag in Berlin. This exhibition reveals the diversity of the work of Foster and Partners, from urban planning, airports and railway stations, museums and universities, stadia, office buildings and private houses through to furniture and industrial design. Using models, prototypes, interactive material, video, film and slide projections, it offers an insight into the creative processes of Foster's studio. Almost the most interesting are the materials relating to projects which were never built. With immaculate timing the wobbly Millennium Bridge controversy has appeared to keep the Studio's feet firmly on the ground - if that's not an oxymoron. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th September.
Dan Dare At 50 is an exhibition of artwork and memorabilia celebrating Britain's first and best known spaceman, whose exploits were regaled on the front page of the Eagle comic in the 1950's. In addition to original artwork, it includes ray guns, walkie talkies, jigsaws, games and recently rediscovered pre launch dummy copy of the Eagle, in which Dan Dare was a Spacefleet Pardre - a real Sky Pilot. As with all the best sci fi many of the fantastic inventions have since come to pass. British Cartoon Centre, London, 020 7278 7172, until 8th September.
Friends Of Thomas The Tank Engine are to make a special appearance at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Kent's famous mainline in miniature. Sir Topham Hat (the Fat Controller) will be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly, Henry and Gordon will steam around showing all the other Really Useful Engines how to keep the trains on time, and Basil the Bug will look after the very Troublesome Trucks. Meanwhile Devious Diesels will be waiting for a steam engine to not quite make it, while Bulgy the Bus plots to take passengers away from the railway. First opened to traffic in July 1927 as the World's Smallest Public Railway, the RH&DR now covers a distance of over 13 miles from the Cinque Port of Hythe to the lighthouses and power station at Dungeness. For those who like their railways even smaller, the Toy and Model Museum at New Romney includes a OO gauge layout featuring computer controlled trains that depict expresses, freight trains and branch operations from all over Europe, and from different periods in time. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway 2nd and 3rd September.