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Westminster Abbey - kids go free at half-term

Photo credit: Amy Murrell

RUB shoulders with Kings and Queens at Westminster Abbey this half-term with free entry for children, from Saturday, February 11 to Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Families can experience a memorable day out discovering the nation’s coronation church – where royal weddings and state occasions have taken place for hundreds of years – with an adult ticket (£20) providing free entry for up to three children. For larger groups, there is a 15% discount on family tickets throughout the week.

Children will enjoy exploring the Abbey’s thousand years of history with a new Family Trail, packed with fun activities and special things to look out for, which has the added incentive of a badge for all who finish it!

The week begins on Saturday, February 11 with a special Family Day. Visitors can join in activities throughout the day, finding out about coronations, making their own crown to take home, and hearing the world-famous Abbey choir. Activities run from 10am – 1.30pm (free with Abbey entry ticket).

There’s also the chance to unwind in the Cellarium Café, housed in the Abbey’s former 14th century store. The Cellarium is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, and offers a free meal for the under 12s with every adult main meal purchased.

Terms and conditions

The Kids Go Free and 15% discount promotions are not valid for use in conjunction with any other offer, concession, or discount.

Promotion is valid from Saturday, February 11 to Saturday, February 18, 2017 only.

A child is 16 years and under.

The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race 2017

Exhibition preview

AS ALWAYS, the annual Great Spitalfields Pancake Race will take place on Shrove Tuesday, which this year falls on February 28, 2017.

To take part in the relay race you need to get together a team of four people suitably dressed up (or down) . Bring your own frying pan and the pancakes will be provided.

The race will be run along Dray Walk at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane and all you have to do is toss the pancake a couple of times en route. The heats will start at 12.30pm followed by the finals and the prize giving.

The winners will be presented with a beautifully engraved frying pan! The best dressed team will also receive a prize. And there will be prizes for the best behaved team and the runners up and scrumptious pancakes for all entrants.

Every year The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race is organised to raise funds for London’s Air Ambulance, the charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people in the capital. So far 35,863 patients have been treated. The charity’s helicopter flies from the roof of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

To enter a team, email info@alternativearts.co.uk for an application form and get yourselves sponsored or bring a donation on the day for London’s Air Ambulance, registered charity no: 801013.

The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race is organised by Alternative Arts.

Exhibitions at Rich Mix - January/February 2017

Exhibition preview

RICH Mix has a number of exhibitions and events lined up for the coming weeks.

China Quick Fix – in the Lower Café Gallery from Monday, January 16 to Saturday, January 28. Free.

British artist, Bill Aitchison, has been living in China and documenting quick-fixes for the last three years and has assembled an archive of them, which will hang at Rich Mix for 12 days in January.

BFI Film Academy Gala Screening and Awards Ceremony – in the Main Space on Saturday, January 21 at 1pm. Free.

An awards ceremony will follow the screening of five BFI film academy student films.

Connected Seeds Exhibition – in the Lower Café Gallery from Tuesday, January 31 to Sunday, February 12. Free.

Through an interactive Connected Seed library, photographs and sound, this exhibition links living seeds to the stories of the east London growers who produced them.

A Celebration of Seeds – in the Main Space and Lower Café Gallery on Wednesday, February 1 at 10am. Free.

The day offers opportunities for networking with experienced and novice growers around East London, stalls, free vegetarian lunch and exhibition tours – a chance to learn about seed-saving, seed sovereignty, and community growing spaces.

Banishanta The World of Sinners – on the Mezzanine floor on Thursday, February 2 to Sunday, February 26. Free

A solo exhibition by the award-winning photographer Shahadat Hossain, looking at the lives of sex workers on Bangladesh’s Banishanta island.

The Lived Experience of Climate Change: A Story of One Piece of Land in Dhaka – in the Main Space on Thursday, February 2 at 7pm. Free.

Following a screening of this eye-opening documentary, the audience will be invited to engage with the dilemmas faced by slum dwellers affected by climate change.

Kaisle Grai, Abondance, Masol and Video Vexens present Road Gals LDN – in the Main Space on Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30pm. Tickets: £5, £2 concession. Tower Hamlets + Hackney Residents Free.

Documenting LDN Girls in Grime + Hip Hop and showcasing new talent across the arts, this event is a night of sharing and cross-arts collaboration between female live artists, MCs, and DJs in London.

Love Revolution – in the Main Space on Monday, February 13 at 3pm. Tickets: £5 (20% ticket comp for Tower Hamlet/Hackney residents)

#IITSPIRATION teams up with Fashion Meets Music to deliver a one-day festival of fashion, music and creative collaboration inspired by love, revolution and the power of transformation.

People of Colours Launch – on Tuesday, February 14 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £8, £5 in advance.

People of Colours (POC) is a creative collective seeking to promote diversity in the film industry. Showcasing and supporting excellent POC talent and highlighting emerging directors.

A Piece of a Whole – in the Lower Café Gallery from Thursday, February 16 to Saturday, February 25.

An installation exploring ostracism and the tensions within our communities. Using personal testimonies and pottery it is an invitation to glue back together the fragmented pieces of our society.

Phakama presents Rise Up – in the Main Space on Sunday, February 19 from 3pm – 4:40pm. Free. (reserve at Box Office)

Young people have been exploring the theme of anger through a series of workshops – see what they have to say in an afternoon of devised performances.

For more information or to book tickets, call 020 7613 7498 or visit www.richmix.org.uk/.

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave - British Museum

Exhibition preview

A NEW exhibition, Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave, will be on display at the British Museum (Room 35) from May 25 to August 13, 2017.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) has long enjoyed a strong international reputation and is considered by many to be Japan’s greatest artist. In May of this year the British Museum will stage the first exhibition in the UK to focus on the later years of the life and art of Hokusai, featuring his iconic print The Great Wave of c. 1831 and continuing to the sublime painted works produced right up to his death at the age of 90.

Supported by Mitsubishi Corporation, Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave will provide new insight into the prodigiously productive last thirty years of Hokusai’s life and art from around 1820 to 1849.

The exhibition will adopt a new approach to explore Hokusai’s later career in thematic as well as chronological terms. The exhibition will shed light on Hokusai’s personal beliefs and his spiritual and artistic quest through major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books. Many have never been seen before in the UK and can only be displayed for a limited length of time.

From iconic landscapes and wave pictures to deities and mythological beasts, from flora and fauna to beautiful women, from collaborations with other painters and writers to still lives – the works on show will be extraordinarily varied, with objects drawn from the British Museum’s superb collection and many loans from Japan, Europe and the United States.

There will be a rotation of about half the artworks midway through the exhibition run for conservation reasons. Due to their light sensitivity some works can only be displayed for a limited amount of time, to preserve the vivid colours. Each rotation will tell the same story, but there will be the opportunity to see a selection of different works in each half. The exhibition will feature around 110 works in each rotation. The exhibition will be temporary closed from July 3-6, 2017 for this rotation.

Hokusai’s most iconic print, The Great Wave will be featured, a fine, early impression acquired in 2008 by the British Museum with the assistance of the Art Fund. Hokusai created this world renowned masterpiece when he was about seventy. Mt Fuji and its wider spiritual significance was a model for Hokusai in his quest for immortality during his later years. The print series Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji (published around 1831-33) revived Hokusai’s career after personal challenges of the late 1820s.

The Great Wave, with its use of deep perspective and imported Prussian blue pigment, reflects how Hokusai adapted and experimented with European artistic style. Also shown will be a rare group of paintings from the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, done in a unique European-influenced style, which were commissioned from Hokusai by employees of the Dutch East India Company in about 1824-1826.

Throughout his career, and particularly in the later years, Hokusai’s paintings brought vividly to life an extraordinary bestiary of dragons, Chinese lions, phoenixes and eagles, and forcefully energised depictions of mythological figures and holy men.

He also continued to use landscape and wave imagery as a major subject and he became increasingly interested in exploring in his art the mutability and minutiae of the observable world – particularly birds, animals and plants and other natural subjects. Hokusai based his exploration of the outside world on his subjective identification with his surroundings rather than any objectively ‘scientific’ or technical approach.

For Hokusai and his contemporaries the perceived world could connect seamlessly with a world of powerful ‘unseen’ forces and agencies. Ghosts and vengeful spirits inhabited a closely parallel world that was believed could easy spill into ours. The exhibition will display a magnificent hanging loan from the Metropolitan Museum in New York Red Shōki, the demon-queller, who could protect your home against the scourge of smallpox.

In the late 1820s Hokusai suffered many personal challenges, including the death of his wife, illness, and financial woes caused by an errant grandson. His daughter Eijo (art name Ōi, about 1800-after 1857), herself an accomplished artist, quit an unsuccessful marriage to return and care for her aged father, and to work with and alongside him.

The exhibition will explore their modest living circumstances, displaying their portraits and drawing on the recollections of Hokusai’s pupils. The artist considered that he was passing on ‘divine teachings’ to his pupils, to craft artists and to the world. He published numerous brush drawing manuals, notably Hokusai manga (Hokusai’s Sketches, 15 vols, 1814-1878) which spread his artistic style and reputation widely into society.

The exhibition will feature two magnificent painted ceiling panels of wave subjects loaned by Hokusaikan, Obuse, done in 1845 for a festival cart. From his eighty-eighth year until his death at age ninety, Hokusai’s extraordinary last painted works show that the artist had indeed reached a sublime realm in his beliefs and art. He fervently believed that his skills as an artist would continue to improve the older he got and impressed all these last paintings with a talismanic seal reading ‘Hundred’.

The exhibition results from a close curatorial collaboration with Dr Shūgō Asano, leading Hokusai scholar and Director of the Abeno Harukas Art Museum, Osaka, where a similar exhibition Hokusai – Fuji o koete will be shown from October 6 to November 19, 2017.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the British Museum’s exhibition on the world renowned Japanese artist Hokusai. Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave is an extremely exciting project for the British Museum, highlighting our extraordinary Japanese collections. We are hugely grateful to Mitsubishi Corporation for their long standing partnership with the British Museum and their generous support for this exhibition.”

Haruki Hayashi, Executive Vice President, Regional CEO Europe and Africa of the Mitsubishi Corporation, said: “Mitsubishi Corporation is proud to build upon its ongoing partnership with the British Museum to support this new exhibition. We are strongly committed to sharing Japan’s rich culture and promoting Anglo-Japanese relations, as epitomized by our sponsorship of the Museum’s Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries over the past decade. Hokusai is one of the most distinguished of all Japanese artists, and we are honoured to be playing a part in sharing his life’s work with an international audience”.

The British Museum and Dr Angus Lockyer, Lecturer in the Department of History at SOAS University of London, have been awarded a major research grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The project, Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society which started in April 2016, focuses on Hokusai’s last three decades, and the exhibition is underpinned by its research. The research project will continue until March 2019.

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave edited by Timothy Clark, with essays by Timothy Clark, Angus Lockyer, Ryōko Matsuba, Shūgō Asano and Alfred Haft and a preface by Roger Keyes, will be published by Thames & Hudson, £35.

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave Gallery

Image: Clear day with a southern breeze (Red Fuji) from Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji. Colour woodblock, 1831. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Tickets: £12, children under 16 free. Group rates available. To book, call +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or visit www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/hokusai.

Opening times: Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 5.30pm; Friday, 10am to 8.30pm. Last entry 80 minutes before closing time.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Show Off Silks: Victoria Rowley Exhibition at Nam Long Le Shaker

Exhibition preview

NAM Long has paired up with a brave new talent for an upcoming art exhibition, Show Off Silks, on display at Nam Long Le Shaker from February 2 to March 2, 2017.

Artist Victoria Rowley, who has transformed conventional techniques in printmaking by combining dyes with bleach, sea kelp and pigment to reinvent the medium, will be exhibiting a selection of 14 works from her series of artworks made in 2015 and 2016.

The works for sale in this event are Victoria Rowley’s hand-printed silk artworks which originate from her realistic pencil drawings. Having studied at Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion, she is knowledgeable of the arts in both an experimental and commercial sense. She has already made successful collaborations with renowned female nude photographer Grace Vane Percy and Harvey Nichols.

Speaking about her work, Victoria Rowley said:

“I present the phallus and the flower as opposite but related forces, like Yin and yang, and reflect on the influence of their harmonious relationship. The changing significance of the phallus has continued to interest me greatly because of it’s history and roman iconic depictions. Roman phallic objects were worn and displayed to bring good fortune. Conversely the flower has always been associated with womanhood and represented as a variety of romantic symbols. I most often use the orchid flower by itself. As well as being a modern feminine symbol, the orchid was also regarded by the ancient greeks as an emblem of virility. ”

Image: Victoria Rowley with her artwork, Psyche for Haiku. Photographed by Grace Vane Percy.

Nam Long Le Shaker, 159 Old Brompton Road, London, SW5 0LJ

Transvangarde 2017 - October Gallery

Tian Wei, Money Makes the World Go Around, 2015. Stainless steel, 14 x 107.5 x 35 cm. Courtesy October Gallery (detail).

Exhibition preview

FROM February 2 to March 18, 2017, October Gallery is presenting Transvangarde 2017, an exhibition of outstanding works by an international array of contemporary artists including, Tian Wei, Alexis Peskine, Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ and selected works by Brion Gysin and Kenji Yoshida amongst others.

These artists, who have all migrated from one country to another, share their particular visions of the world by using their work to express their trans-cultural experiences.

October Gallery first presented a solo exhibition by Tian Wei in 2014. Born in Xi’an, Wei subsequently studied in Hawaii. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011. The gallery will exhibit a new sculptural work and paintings by this truly trans-cultural artist.

Wei’s abstract calligraphic works are designedly cross-cultural. Using oriental script, his bold expressions on canvas amazingly resolve themselves into words understandable in English. Tian Wei’s artistic vision seamlessly integrates the East with the West and for this reason, his work is both timely and timeless.

Transvangarde 2017 introduces Alexis Peskine, who was born in 1979 in Paris. Peskine’s work focuses on questions of identity. His powerful portraits are literally nailed into wooden planks, and pay tribute to the many individuals undertaking the dangerous boat journeys from North Africa to Europe.

He uses the nail as brushstroke, driving them in at different depths to create a relief and to introduce a third dimension. ‘The nail’ for Peskine represents transcendence – it expresses pain as well as the force of resistance. Alexis Peskine lives and works between Dakar, Senegal and France.

Nepalese Govinda Sah’s works on canvas suggest an infinite universe, the invisible space portrayed by the cloud. The artist will exhibit paintings from his ‘Margate Series’, a new body of work influenced by Turner. Sah displayed a solo exhibition at Tibet House, New York, in 2013 and recently at October Gallery in 2016. He lives and works in Margate, England.

Transvangarde 2017 will exhibit evocative paintings of Marrakech in the 1950s and original calligraphic abstractions by multi-faceted artist Brion Gysin, whose wide range of original ideas were a source of inspiration for artists of the Beat Generation in Paris. Gysin introduced his close friend, writer William S. Burroughs, to the techniques of ‘cut-ups’.

This exhibition will present an intriguing work based on the interior of the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic light sculpture that can evoke a hypnagogic state, invented by Gysin in the 1960s.

Also on display will be selected works by Kenji Yoshida, whose ethereal gold, silver and precious metals on canvas unite a restrained tradition of Japanese appliqué work with that of an abstract modernist aesthetic. In 1993, the powerfull qualities of Yoshida’s work were recognised when he was honoured as the first living artist ever to be given a major solo exhibition at the Japanese Galleries of the British Museum, London.

Before his death, an exhibition in 2008, took place in the main hall of UNESCO in the centre of Paris – the city that reciprocated his choice in making it his home after leaving Japan in 1964, by adopting him as one of her own artists and providing him with a studio for life.

Admission: Free.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12.30 to 5.30pm.

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL

Telephone: 020 7242 7367

Website: www.octobergallery.co.uk/

Richard Mosse: Incoming - The Curve, Barbican Centre

Exhibition preview

BARBICAN Art Gallery has invited conceptual documentary photographer and Deutsche Börse Photography Prize winner Richard Mosse to create an immersive multi-channel video installation in the Curve.

In collaboration with composer Ben Frost and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, Mosse has been working with a new, powerful telephoto military camera that can detect the human body from a distance of more than 30km and accurately identify an individual from 6.3km, day or night. He has used this technology to create an artwork about the migration crisis unfolding across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Narratives of the journeys made by refugees and illegal migrants are captured by this thermal camera which records the biological trace of human life. Projected across three 8 metre-wide screens, the video installation is accompanied by a visceral soundtrack blurring ambient field recordings with synthetic sound design to create an overwhelming, immersive experience.

Richard Mosse: Incoming opens in the Curve on Wednesday, February 15 and will be on display until April 23, 2017.

At a time when, according to the UN, the world is experiencing the largest migration of people since World War II, with more than a million people fleeing to Europe by sea in 2015 – escaping war, climate change, persecution and poverty – Richard Mosse’s film presents a portrait of migrants made with a camera that sees as a missile sees.

The film bears witness to significant chapters in recent world events, mediated through an advanced weapons-grade camera technology that reads only heat, and is blind to skin colour, capturing glowing bodies crossing dangerous waters, drowning at sea, or sleeping in makeshift camps, presenting a story of humans struggling against the elements for survival.

Richard Mosse said: “I am European. I am complicit. I wanted to foreground this perspective in a way, to try to see refugees and illegal immigrants as our governments see them. I wanted to enter into that logic in order to create an image that reveals it. So I chose to represent these stories, really a journey or series of journeys, using an ambivalent and perhaps sinister new European weapons camera technology.

“The camera is intrusive of individual privacy, yet the imagery that this technology produces is so dehumanised – the person literally glows – that the medium anonymizes the subject in ways that are both insidious and humane. Working against the camera’s intended purpose, my collaborators and I listened carefully to the camera, to understand what it wanted to do – and then tried to reconcile that with these harsh, disparate, unpredictable and frequently tragic narratives of migration and displacement.”

Mosse is renowned for work that challenges documentary photography. For Infra (2011) and The Enclave (2013), a six-channel installation commissioned by the Irish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, Mosse employed a now discontinued 16mm colour infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome that transformed the lush green landscape of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo into vivid hues of pink to create a surreal dreamscape.

Questioning the ways in which war photography is constructed, Mosse’s representation of the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Congo advocates a new way of looking.

In Breach (2009), Mosse embedded with the US Army in Iraq to document American military occupation of Saddam Hussein’s palace architecture. He has also worked extensively along the US-Mexico border, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Balkans, Haiti, Pakistan, Iran, and other locations.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said: “We are delighted to have co-commissioned Richard Mosse to make this utterly compelling new film work for The Curve. Blurring the boundaries of journalism and conceptual documentary photography, this is a haunting and humane portrait of the millions who are fleeing from wars and persecution.

“At least two years in the making, Mosse illuminates a tragedy that has unfolded without us seeming to have the means to prevent it, a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions that remains largely hidden and continues to ask questions of us all.”

Image: Richard Mosse, Safe from Harm, South Kivu, eastern D.R. Congo, 2012 ©Richard Mosse. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and carlier|gebauer, Berlin.

Admission: Free.

The Curve opening times: Saturday – Wednesday, 11am – 8pm; Thursday and Friday, 11am – 9pm; Bank Holidays, 12pm – 8pm.

The Curve, Barbican, London

Tel: 0845 120 7550

Website: www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery

British Museum - major exhibitions for 2017

The British Museum

Season preview

AS WELL as The American Dream: pop to the present, the British Museum has three major exhibitions planned for 2017, plus The South Asia Season 2017 and the re-opening of The Joseph E Hotung Gallery for China and South Asia.

Beyond the Great Wave (title TBC) – in Room 35 from May 25 to August 13.

This exhibition focuses on the last thirty years of Japan’s most renowned artist’s, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), career from around 1820 to 1849. It features a broad selection of works – from the iconic print Great Wave of c. 1831, to sublime painted works done right up to his death at the age of 90.

The exhibition examines Hokusai’s personal beliefs through major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books – many never seen before in the UK.

Hokusai continued to use landscape and wave imagery as a major subject during his later years, but his interest in nature, in exploring the mutability and minutiae of all phenomena in his art, was increasingly tied to a spiritual quest.

The exhibition is upported by Mitsubishi Corporation.

Treasures of the Scythians (title TBC) – in The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery from September 14 to January 14, 2018.

The Scythians were one of the great nomadic civilisations of antiquity. First mentioned by the Assyrians in the ninth century BC, admired by Herodotus and respected enemies of the Achaemenids, they developed a powerful alternative economy which for centuries dominated the huge region stretching from Siberia to the Black Sea.

This exhibition includes royal Scythian tombs in Siberia and Kazakhstan and shows objects of exceptional beauty which would not normally survive. They include multi-coloured rugs, fur-lined garments and accessories, unique horse headgear, beautiful gold objects and much more.

This exhibition is based on exceptional loans, mostly from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and includes new archaeological discoveries and scientific discoveries.

Faith and Society (title TBC) – in Room 35 from November 2 to April, 18 2018.

Faith and Society, the fourth collaborative project between the British Museum, BBC and Penguin, looks at what objects reveal about the role and expression of beliefs in the lives of individuals and communities through time and around the world. It will show that ever since the emergence of our own fully modern human species over 100,000 years ago, people have expressed beliefs in a mixture of ideas and actions usually focused on supernatural entities in the search for the meaning of life.

Objects will reflect the need to symbolise feelings beyond words and reveal familiar and recurrent human concerns about the passage of life from conception to death and sometimes beyond. Beliefs support natural human desires for good health, happiness, security, hope, comfort, identity, protection and power to such an extent that the project might ask whether our species should be known as Homo religiosus rather than Homo sapiens.

A radio series and book by Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, will accompany the exhibition.

The South Asia Season 2017

The British Museum’s South Asia Season 2017 brings together different strands of activity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and UK cultural ties. The season includes: two spotlight tours, one of an important sculpture of Ganesha, the other on the theme of The music of courtly India to selected UK venues; An Object Journeys display at Manchester Museum, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the continuing development of the joint British Museum/Manchester Museum South Asia partnership gallery and long term loans to Devon and Durham.

Gallery opening – The Joseph E Hotung Gallery for China and South Asia in November 2017.

The British Museum will reopen the Joseph E Hotung Gallery for China and South Asia in November 2017. The new display will include a new narrative for China and South Asia which will bring the story up to the present day. The redisplay will allow the Museum to add new types of objects to the gallery such as paintings and textiles which need regulated conditions for display. These will complement the existing types of objects on show, such as sculpture, ceramics, lacquer, jade and metal ware.

Updated interpretation, new lighting and design will allow this extraordinarily rich collection to be better seen and understood by the Museum’s seven million annual visitors.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Website: www.britishmuseum.org/

What's On at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Events preview

THE NATURAL History Museum Ice Rink is open throughout the festive period (excluding Christmas Day) and New Year, until January 8, 2017. Read more. But there’s more than just ice-skating to entertain visitors.

Kids Skating Courses

After this four-day intensive skating course, your little ones will be whizzing around the rink. Children aged 6-16 and of any level, are welcome and will be taught by one of the Natural History Museum Ice Rink’s own fully qualified NISA coaches. Tickets available here.

Available dates: Monday, December 19 to Thursday, December 22; Tuesday, December 27 to Friday, December 30; and Monday, January 2 to Thursday, January 5.

Christmas Crafts with Drink Shop Do

Drink Shop Do will host a series of Christmas Craft session in the Alpine Café Bar. Get in the festive spirit with warm seasonal drinks while creating something handmade and personal, right in time for Christmas. All sessions will include free card making.

The themed sessions are taking place on the following dates, no booking required:

Saturday, December 17 from 9am – 12pm. Ornament Decorating (£5), Mug Decorating (£5), Reindeer Piñata (£10).

Sunday, December 18 from 9am – 12pm. Stocking Decorating (£5), Hat Making (£10).

Wednesday, December 21 from 5pm – 8pm. Ornament Decorating (£5), Mug Decorating (£5), Reindeer Piñata (£10).

The Natural History Museum Ice Rink welcomes over 130,000 visitors each year and boasts a glistening centrepiece – the 9-metre Swarovski Christmas tree, with 6,000 fairy lights and over 1,000 crystal ornaments. There’s the Swarovski ice photo opportunity, which allows guests to take a festive photo memory home with them. Overlooking the ice rink, the first-floor Café Bar and open-air balcony will provide an opportunity for guests to relax, enjoy seasonal treats and watch the skating.

John Baldessari at Marian Goodman Gallery London

Exhibition preview

FROM January 10 to February 25, 2017, Marian Goodman Gallery is presenting a new series of works by John Baldessari, Miro and Life in General. This is the artist’s second major exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, London.

Throughout his career, John Baldessari has explored the correlations and contrasts between painting and photography, and between image and language. Beginning with his early text and photo-text paintings from the 1960s, he has explored these dichotomies through hybrid compositions of photography, text and painted images.

His 2010 Tate Modern retrospective, Pure Beauty, highlighted these early text-and-image paintings as well as his influential 1980s photo-based works, which explore the cultural and artistic impact of mass media; a topic that reverberates to this day.

However, in the last five years, in series such as The Doubles, 2011 and 2012 and Pictures & Scripts, 2015 (his last body of work shown at Marian Goodman Gallery, London), Baldessari’s focus has turned to the art historical canon and he has made the medium of painting the central subject of his work.

These earlier series juxtapose images from 15th – 20th century paintings with texts from art history, popular music, and film noir, in order to deduce new meaning from art history and to create new ways of seeing.

The current series, Miro and Life in General, continues this investigation into the history of painting. Each work features a detail from one particular Miro painting and pairs it with a seemingly incongruous, classic, Hollywood film still, which Baldessari refers to as “Life in General”. Each pairing is further partnered with a word – “Reliable”, “Necessary”, “True”, “Unfailing” etc. – each a synonym of the other. Neither the original root word, nor the specific Miro painting are revealed, asking viewers to respond their own way and to create their own new composite meaning.

This pairing of disparate elements from art history, popular culture and language, both dissembles the canon, and reassembles it in a new form. As a towering figure of 20th century American conceptual art and as one of the most influential teachers of a generation of artists, Baldessari’s new works ultimately questions the very nature of the artist’s place within the canon of art history itself.

Pop-up shop

Marian Goodman Gallery London will open a pop-up John Baldessari shop from February 18 to February 25, 2017. The shop will have for sale a number of editioned prints, objects, t-shirts and other ephemera created by the artist, as well as a comprehensive collection of monographs about Baldessari, including the first three volumes of his catalogue raisonne.

Image: John Baldessari, Miró and Life in General: Reliable, 2016. Varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint, 95 ₁₁⁄₁₆ × 49 in (243.1 × 124.5 cm).

Marian Goodman Gallery London, 5-8 Lower John Street, Soho, London, W1F 9DY