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BFI LOVE at the British Museum

Event preview

THIS Autumn, the BFI will rekindle the nation’s passion for film and television’s most enduring love stories with a major UK-wide season dedicated to LOVE, running from late October to the end of December 2015.

A special Summer Love Weekend at the British Museum over the August Bank Holiday (August 27 – 29) will act as a curtain raiser for the main project.

Sunset screenings of romantic classics in the historic grounds of the British Museum include A Room with a View (1985), Badlands (1973) and The Princess Bride (1987). They will be screened consecutively from Thursday, August 27 to Saturday, August 29, 2015.

For the fourth year running, the BFI will transform the British Museum and project the films onto a huge, state-of-the-art screen, accompanied by a stellar sound-system to thrill audiences of up to 1,200 each night.

Opening the weekend on Thursday, August 27, will be Merchant-Ivory’s elegant production of A Room with a View, adapted from E M Forster’s witty Edwardian novel and starring Helena Bonham-Carter in one of her earliest screen roles.

A moment of passion threatens to overturn everything when Lucy, a young Englishwoman touring Italy with her older cousin (Maggie Smith), finds herself un-chaperoned in the ravishing Tuscan countryside. Featuring a wonderful British ensemble cast including Simon Callow, Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis, A Room with a View boasts stunning location photography and exquisite period styling, and is a feast for the senses.

On Friday, August 28, there will be a screening of Terrence Malick’s extraordinary and beautiful portrait of lovers on the run, Badlands. Filmed in the summer of 1972, but set in a dreamlike and indistinct 1950s America, the film follows 15-year-old Holly (Sissy Spacek) as she falls, against her father’s wishes, for charismatic local greaser Kit (Martin Sheen), trusting implicitly in her protector despite his increasingly violent and anti-social behaviour.

Concluding the weekend on Saturday, August 29, will be a screening of Rob Reiner’s endlessly quotable cult classic The Princess Bride. Buttercup’s (Robin Wright) dreams of a life with farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) don’t go quite as she might wish when she hears of his apparent tragic death at sea. Heartbroken, she acquiesces to bad guy Prince Humperdinck, but is kidnapped by an unforgettable trio of outlaws and set on a path to adventure.

This timeless cult fantasy combines New York wit, classic British character acting, and knowing but heartfelt story-telling to brilliant effect.

Details of the full programme for BFI LOVE, including screenings, events, film and DVD releases, special guests and more, will be revealed on Tuesday, September 15 at BFI Southbank.

Brion Gysin: Unseen Collaborator - October Gallery

My Window in Peggy Guggenheim Palazzo

Exhibition preview

OCTOBER Gallery is presenting Unseen Collaborator, a solo exhibition of works by Brion Gysin – until October 3, 2015. The exhibition features previously unseen drawings, paintings, photography and a film about the complex artist.

Neo-calligrapher, master of line, multimedia revolutionary and cultural historian, Gysin’s experiences in New York, Tangier, Paris and London influenced his seminal artistic productions. William Burroughs called Gysin, ‘the only man I truly respect’.

Brion Gysin (1916 – 1986) was born in England and studied at the Sorbonne and his first exhibition in 1935, was with Picasso, Arp, Bellmer, Brauner, de Chirico, Dali, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Magritte, Miro, Man Ray, Tanguy at Galerie Quatre Chemins, Paris.

Later, his drawings were taken down and expelled from the Surrealist Group by Paul Eluard at the orders of André Breton.

His journey to the Algerian Sahara in 1938 influenced his work greatly. Gysin was a multifaceted artist whose fertile mind and wide range of original ideas were a source of inspiration for artists of the Beat Generation in Paris, as well as to innovative artists and performers such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Keith Haring, and Laurie Anderson in the next generation.

Painter, writer, sound poet, tape composer, lyricist, and performance artist, Gysin is remembered particularly for his evocative paintings of the North African desert in the 1950s and his original calligraphic abstractions based on Japanese and Arabic scripts.

The chance discovery by Gysin of the cut-up technique (later developed and refined by William S. Burroughs) and the concept of permutated poems gave rise to new and original forms of sound art wordplay, striking not only in print but also in recordings or live performance. Gysin’s inventive ideas also extended to the Dreamachine and to collages of text and photographs.

Brion Gysin’s first US retrospective exhibition was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in June 2010.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday, 12.30 – 5.30pm (view by appointment only in August).

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

Tel: 020 7242 7367


Vivian Maier at Beetles and Huxley

Exhibition preview

THE WORK of sensational secret street photographer, Vivian Maier, will be on display at Beetles+Huxley from August 4 to September 5, 2015.

Vivian Maier was a professional nanny who, unbeknownst to those that knew her, used her spare time to scour the streets of Chicago and New York, using her trusty Rolleiflex, to shoot up to a whole roll of film each day.

Unknown in her lifetime, she left an outstanding body of work composed of more than 100,000 negatives and undeveloped ro ll films.

Her recent ascent from recluse to revered artist is phenomenal, and has become one of the most remarkable stories in the history of photography.

Her photographs show her exceptional eye for detail and flair for composition. They are witty and intelligent, and charged with a strong sense of empathy. She took photographs of the downtrodden as well as the well-heeled, of youth and of age. Maier was endlessly inspired by the lives around her.

If it had not been for a chance discovery at a Chicago auction in 2007, the world would still be unaware of her vast oeuvre and undeniable talent. Maier held the accumulation of her passion for photography in storage lockers, as she had no permanent home of her own. Undeveloped film, negatives and prints from her storage locker were auctioned off when Maier fell on hard times later in her life.

John Maloof, an amateur historian, bid blind on a box packed with negatives taken from Maier’ s locker. What he found inside would change his life, and the history of photography, forever.

Beetles+Huxley are delighted to present an exhibition of exquisitely hand printed photographs, made from the artist’s original negatives. The show will span some of Maier’s most fascinating photographs, many never seen in London before. The exhibition will showcase her street photography alongside her ingenious and intricately staged self-portraits.

Maier died aged 83, before her work was publicly recognised or any of her prints exhibited. Her works are now receiving the international critical acclaim that they deserve. Widely celebrated, her works have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Munich and London.

Maier herself is also the subject of two hugely successful and award-winning documentary films. Her name now stands alongside those of the other great photographers of the twentieth-century, including Brassai, Walker Evans, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Admission: Free.

Times: 10am to 5.30pm.

Beetles and Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DE


The World of Charles and Ray Eames - Barbican Gallery

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled The World of Charles and Ray Eames will be on display in the Barbican Gallery from October 21, 2015 to February 14, 2016.

Charles and Ray Eames are among the most important designers of the 20th century. Their enduring influence is widely acknowledged and continues to be celebrated worldwide.

The World of Charles and Ray Eames is a major new exhibition surveying the careers of Charles (1907 – 1978) and Ray (1912 – 1988) Eames and the extraordinary work of the Eames Office: a ‘laboratory’, active for over four decades, where the Eameses and their collaborators and staff produced an array of pioneering and influential work – from architecture, furniture, graphic and product design, to painting, drawing, film, sculpture, photography, multi-media installation and exhibitions, as well as new models for education.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said: “Charles and Ray Eames’ creativity, innovation and talent knew no bounds. I am thrilled Barbican Art Gallery is staging the first major UK exhibition in over 15 years about the life and work of this formidable couple. We are delighted to be working with the Eames Office and Eames Foundation whose generosity, dedication and support has been invaluable. It promises to be an unmissable show for all Eames fans and a joyful discovery for everyone.”

The work of the Eames Office is characterised for most people by designs for furniture and products, yet their avid interest in addressing the needs of any given problem led them to design and communicate using a wide variety of tools and media.

The story of the Eames Office is that of the trajectory of visual and material culture in the post-war period of the last century. Charles and Ray Eames moved fluidly between the mass-production of objects for everyday use and the transmission of ideas through exhibition, film or installation, in anticipation of the global ‘information age’. They were driven by philosophical ideals that favoured knowledge, discovery and discipline; embraced the potential of technology and science for the common good; and saw no separation between life and work.

Eames Demetrios, director of the Eames Office, said: “For Charles and Ray, design was not simply a professional skill, it was a life skill – more than that, it was an essential attribute of life itself. And not pretentiously, on the contrary, they never stopped: challenging themselves to make their most iconic designs better and better – all the while having fun. The unprecedented array of objects and stories at the Barbican is not simply for admiration, but inspiration to folks in myriad fields. That’s why the Barbican’s show is so important.”

Bringing together over 380 works, the exhibition presents the world of Charles and Ray Eames through objects and projects produced during their lifetime, offering an opportunity to re-examine their work and legacy, and the legacy of post-war modernism. It also features a wealth of documentation and contextual material from the professional archive of the Eames Office as well as artefacts from their personal collections.

Charles and Ray Eames collaborated and associated with the leading artistic figures of the 20th century and their immediate circle included Buckminster Fuller, Alexander Girard, Sister Corita Kent, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, Eero Saarinen, Saul Steinberg and Billy Wilder.

Alongside a rich array of Eames designs, the exhibition includes material which highlights the importance of these relationships to the Eameses’ life, philosophy and working processes.

Structured thematically, the exhibition presents a complex portrait of these internationally celebrated designers in the context of the inner world of their Office and network, alongside the political, cultural and social conditions which enabled and influenced their work.

The Eameses’ pioneering ‘multi-media architecture’ and preoccupation with different modes of visual communication, particularly film and photography as tools for modelling ideas, is foregrounded as the most vital and relevant legacy of their oeuvre. These ground-breaking installation projects were developed for both corporate and government clients and aimed to popularise burgeoning computer technologies or present visions of America at home and abroad in the context of the Cold War.

An in-depth look at the Eameses’ pedagogical work and self-initiated projects reveals an enduring interest in learning and creativity and their fascination with diverse cultures, modes of play and rituals. The exhibition also addresses Charles and Ray Eames’ impact on 20th century concepts of modern living: their editorial ‘eye’ and mastery of form and material yielded some of the most iconic designs of all time, not least their own home – a construction continually celebrated since its completion in 1949.

The World of Charles and Ray Eames is produced in collaboration with the Eames Office and many exhibits, never before displayed in the UK, are on loan from the Eames Family and Eames Office, as well as a range of public and private collections worldwide.

Key highlights include an experimental study for the moulded plywood nose cone of a military aircraft from The Museum of Modern Art, New York; an extraordinary full scale model of La Chaise (1948 – 1950), the first moulded plastic chair created by the Eameses for MoMA’s International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design, also on loan from MoMA; a range of prototype furniture from the Vitra Design Museum, Basel; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; two 3-screen slideshows and a wide selection of the Eameses’ innovative films from both the Eames Office and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC….

…a newly commissioned 1:50 scale model of Case Study Houses #8 and #9, produced by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners; a large scale ‘model’ installation of Think, the multi-screen film presentation shown in the Ovoid Theatre of the IBM Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 – 1965 recently restored by the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; and two of the original production panels used to make the influential film Powers of Ten, also from the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

The Barbican Gallery, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS


Alex Chinneck installation and exhibition for London Design Festival 2015

THIS September, in collaboration with Greenwich Peninsula, the London Design Festival has commissioned A bullet from a shooting star, a Festival Landmark Project and outdoor installation at Greenwich Peninsula by British sculptor Alex Chinneck, taking the unconventional form of an inverted electricity pylon.

The 35-metre high structure has been designed to be seen from a distance, and can be viewed from North Greenwich Station, the Emirates Airline cable car, the Thames Clipper service, Canary Wharf and all planes that fly to and from City Airport. Illuminated at night, the work acts as a literal beacon and will project a maze of latticed shadows.

A bullet from a shooting star contains a combined length of 1186m of steel weighing 15 tons. There are 450 pieces of steel with 900 engineered connection points. The foundations will include 19m deep piles within 78m³ of concrete.

Referencing the industrial history of the site which once included the largest oil and gas works in Europe and a steelworks, Alex Chinneck will create a lattice of steel, that resembles an upside down pylon, leaning at a precarious angle as though shot into the earth.

The construction and materials will reflect the same visual and material language of multiple structures across the Peninsula, particularly the redundant gas tower located on site while also evoking the idea of power generation and supply.

To complement the external installation, NOW Gallery will house Straight jacket star jumps, a 20-metre-long curled up pylon on display from September 19 to January 10, 2016. The work creates a physical and material tension between the object and the glass space in which it stands. Like a ship in a glass bottle, the wound-up 20-metre-long pylon defies logic to fit within the 7-metre-high space, coiling under apparent tension to fit within the room.

Both installations defy logic through structural deception by presenting the same object in a very different way: A bullet from a shooting star is outstretched and confident whereas Straight jacket star jumps is reserved, recoiled and contained.

Chinneck’s indoor and outdoor works have been conceived to share a dialogue that links the East and the West of the Peninsula. Physically separated yet sculpturally connected they will encourage visitors to explore both areas of the expansive and extraordinary district and unravel its rich history.

Alex Chinneck says: “Every project I produce is contextually sensitive and so each installation responds to the environment that supports, surrounds and includes it. It is this philosophy that distinguishes the sculptural decisions behind the two installations. In a similar fashion to my previous projects, which have seen bricks bend, stone hover and tarmac curl, the effortlessly rolling metal transcends its material nature by assuming an apparent and pleasing flexibility.”

Jemima Burrill, NOW Gallery curator, says: “The enigmatic nature of Alex Chinneck’s exploration of materials made him the perfect candidate for a NOW Commission. We are always looking for work that will surprise and delight our audiences giving them an insight into a design world but at the same time questioning what design is.

“Chinneck is also creating a significantly larger work in collaboration with London Design Festival on the peninsula. His investigation of the pylon theme stretches and curls up, exploring how this significant form can work in different environments. Chinneck’s past work both in scale and ambition left us sure he would respond to both spaces in an exciting and unusual way. We look forward to seeing the results.”

Admission to gallery: Free.

Times: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm.

NOW Gallery, The Gateway Pavilions, Pavilion Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 0SQ


Exhibitions at Rich Mix - July/August 2015

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

Road Block Project – in the Mezzanine Gallery until July 31. All day. Free.

The Road Block Collective is a group of artists and activists who explore how power inscribes itself in urban space through architecture and images.

Glass and Mirrors – in the Lower Café Gallery until July 31. Free.

Digital Creative and Photographer Brad Hobbs presents a uniquely British perspective on the capital with a collection of prints taking a slice of life in London.

Merging Inks – in the Main Space on July 30 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £7, £5 in advance and concessions.

An international visual arts and music event blending creative talent from across the world, live, resulting in an exhibition produced in front of the audience.

Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival: Treehouse – in the Main Space on August 12 at 7pm (doors). Free.

After the success of the premier TreeHouse, Mathieu Ajan returns showcasing spectacular art both on canvas and stage. The evening kicks off with a photographic exhibition accompanied by the work of film makers, with live performances ranging from monologues, acoustic music and spoken word. There will also be a special guest on the night.

Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival: Take Me To Rio – in the Lower Café Gallery from August 4 to August 20. Free.

Take me to Rio will showcase artists who in different ways have explored this year’s chosen theme – Faith – through their individual practice and will facilitate workshops during the exhibition alongside invited educators, elders, storytellers, young academics, artists and engaging more young people, especially Somali young people.

For more information visit

Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Manga now: three generations - British Museum

Chiba Tetsuya (b. 1939),  Fair Isle Light House Keepers Golf Course, Scotland . Ink and colour  on paper, 2015. Loaned by the artist. © Chiba Tetsu ya.

Exhibition preview

CELEBRATING the tenth anniversary of Asahi Shimbun sponsorship, Manga now: three generations will be on display at the British Museum (Room 3) from September 3 to November 15, 2015. Admission is free.

This Asahi Shimbun Display will feature newly commissioned and recent works by a trio of celebrated Japanese manga artists: Chiba Tetsuya, Hoshino Yukinobu and Nakamura Hikaru.

The display will explore the diverse appeal of manga and show how it has evolved over recent generations through the work of three living artists. It will also give a rare opportunity to see the original artwork that forms the basis for mass-printed manga.

Manga is a graphic art form that developed in the early 1900s based on traditional Japanese artistic and literary genres. Integrating text and image into compelling narratives, manga has grown to be a vital part of global popular culture.

The British Museum will showcase a developing strand of its Japanese collection through these three never-before exhibited artworks.

The prominent manga artist, Chiba Tetsuya has been creating best-selling manga for over 50 years, a number of which have been made into animated series for TV and film. He is best known for his sports manga, which address struggle, failure and eventual redemption through single-minded dedication to a single sport.

The display will feature Chiba Tetsuya’s Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland (pictured). A young golfer is depicted weighing his options on this remote course with the Fair Isle lighthouse in the background. Having played the Old Course at Saint Andrews twice in the past, the artist hopes to next play this course and has created this work specifically for the display.

Hoshino Yukinobu returns to the British Museum’s Asahi Shimbun Display for a second time, following Manga: Professor Munakata’s British Museum adventure (November 2009 – January 2010) and his subsequent manga book with the same title published by British Museum Press.

Hoshino Yukinobu works from his mountainside studio in Sapporo, and specialises in the science fiction genre. Trained in traditional Japanese painting, he typically draws all of his work by hand, and when colour is needed scans the drawings and adds colour by computer. Here Hoshino Yukinobu has drawn, entirely in shades of ink, a seemingly three-dimensional portrait of his newly created character Rainman, especially for this display.

Nakamura Hikaru represents the most recent generation of artists and one of the leading manga artists in Japan. She specialises in comic manga of everyday life. The British Museum will feature a cover artwork from her series Saint Oniisan, which tells the story of Jesus and The Buddha sharing a small flat in modern day Tachikawa, a suburb of Tokyo.

The artwork presented in this display depicts Buddha drawing a manga with Jesus helping him, a work created by Nakamura Hikaru first by hand, then scanned and finally coloured using a computer. Her works have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, but not yet into English.

The acquisition of the works by Nakamura Hikaru and Hoshino Yukinobu have been funded by the JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund.

Free related gallery

Japan: The Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries – Rooms 92–94

The art, religion, entertainment and everyday life of emperors, courtiers and townspeople can be explored through objects dating from Ancient Japan to the Modern period. Artefacts range from porcelain and Samurai warrior swords, to woodblock prints and twentieth century Manga comic books.

Public programme: lectures and events

Start local, go global: manga in world culture, a gallery talk by author Helen McCarthy – in Room 3 on Friday, September 18 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Drawing manga: practice and context – in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre on Saturday, October 10 at 2pm. Free but booking is essential.

Illustrator Hugo Yoshikawa’s live demonstration will show you how to draw your own manga! Using a visualiser to project his drawings onto a big screen, Hugo will explain his process and discuss manga illustration in a wider context with manga historian and curator Paul Gravett.

Shōjo manga: Girls’ Comics from Japan, a gallery talk by Paul Gravett, historian, critic and curator and Akiko Hatsu, manga artist – in Room 92 on Tuesday, October 20 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Manga now, Ukiyo-e then, a gallery talk by Tim Clark of the British Museum – in Room 3 on Thursday, November 5 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Manga now at the British Museum, a gallery talk by Nicole Rousmaniere of the British Museum – in Room 3 on Wednesday, November 11 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Big swingers and geezer girls: golf manga in post-war Japan – in the BP Lecture Theatre on Friday, November 13 at 1.30pm. Free but booking is essential.

Golf took off in post-war Japan and was chronicled in manga. Angus Lockyer, SOAS, reveals how golf and manga have served each other, through boom, bubble and lost decades, documenting the slow transformation of Japanese society.

Otaku Attack! おたくアタック ! – in the Great Court and Samsung Digital Discovery Centre on Friday, November 13 at 6pm.

An evening of manga-inspired entertainment and digital activities to celebrate the Asahi Shimbun Display, Manga now. Cosplayers welcome!

Also on display at the British Museum: Triumph and disaster: medals of the Sun King (until November 15, 2015).

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

Tel: 020 7323 8181


Dressed by Angels - The Old Truman Brewery

Dressed by Angels

Exhibition preview

DRESSED by Angels, an exhibition featuring iconic costumes from the worlds of film, TV and theatre, will be on display at The Old Truman Brewery from October 2, 2015 to January 3, 2016.

This brand new interactive exhibition tells the story behind the world’s greatest costume house, presenting visitors with an irresistible mix of costumes, drama and history.

Angels Costumiers has been dressing the world for 175 years, including countless Oscar and BAFTA Award-winning films, and Olivier and Tony Award-winning theatre. Over seven generations of one family, Angels has become the premiere costumier to the world. This is their story – in costumes.

From Lawrence of Arabia to Titanic, Dickens to Lillie Langtry, and from Military to Royalty, all have been dressed by Angels. Visitors will get exclusive access to costumes from films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Star Wars, The Iron Lady and The Grand Budapest Hotel; TV shows Morecambe and Wise, Dr Who, Only Fools and Horses and Downton Abbey; and the blockbuster musical Wicked.

Over 100 costumes have been carefully selected from Angel’s illustrious back catalogue for display. Visitors will see bespoke costumes made for Fred Astaire, Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier, Tom Baker, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep, to name just a few. Alongside the costumes will be photographs and fascinating letters and artefacts, providing an insight into showbiz history.

Dressed by Angels will be launched exclusively in London, using costumes to take visitors on a journey through Victorian London up to the present day. The exhibition will feature many interactive elements to allow visitors a hands-on experience which will include digital games, measurement tapes and forms and how to use them, interactive media displays and a workshop room where people can learn the intricate craft of costume progress from design to finished product.

Beginning in the sooty, fog bound London of the early Victorian era, where Covent Garden’s Seven Dials was focus of a vast number of immigrants all plying their trade, visitors will be introduced to Charles Dickens and his most memorable characters. During this time, London’s theatre and dance halls started to flourish – all of them needing costumes… Enter Daniel Angel.

Founder of Angels, Daniel Angel had come to England as a tailor by trade. He got his start by acquiring clothes from the estates of the deceased and hiring them out to Londoners. The rest, as they say, is history!

Visitors will then travel through the dance hall days into the early 20th century and with it a diversification into military uniforms for the two World Wars; on into rooms highlighting the Ealing Comedy years, the Swinging Sixties and the musical blockbuster explosion of the 1980s alongside many iconic costumes from television from the 1979s to the present day.

The centre point of the exhibition will be instantly recognisable costumes from Titanic, Indiana Jones and Cate Blanchett’s Queen Elizabeth I to name just a few.

The exhibition finishes with a look into the world of fancy dress and how so many of these costumes have their beginnings in the elaborate original film and theatre originals.

A variety of workshops led by industry experts will be scheduled for evenings throughout the run and will go on sale in September (more details to be announced in due course). Topics will include: Special Effects Make Up; The Inside Story: Anecdotes from the Industry; Costume for Large Events and From Design to Reality.

Tickets: Adults £16; Children (to 16) £9; Concession (seniors, students, disabled passes) £13.50; Family (4): £45; Family (5) £54; Groups: (8+) £12.50; School groups £8 – available now on 020 3773 8995 or online at

Times: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10am – 6pm; Thursday, 10am – 8pm; Friday and Saturday, 10am – 7pm; Sunday, 10am – 6pm. (Please note: Last entry 90 minutes before closing).

The Old Truman Brewery, Loading Bay, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR

Ralph Steadman: Printin’ Backwuds - Lazarides Editions

Ralph Steadman

Exhibition preview

FROM July 17 to August 13, 2015, Lazarides Editions is presenting Printin’ Backwuds, an exhibition looking back at over 50 years of fine art prints by one of the world’s most renowned and politically charged cartoonists, Ralph Steadman.

Steadman’s direct and impulsive drawing style brought a new level of savagery to British political cartooning in the 1960s, and has continued to have huge impact throughout his influential and extensive career.

Steadman is best known for his long term partnership with Hunter S Thompson, who he first collaborated with during a trip to the Kentucky Derby in 1970, and in doing so formed one of the most acclaimed artistic collaborations of the 20th century. It was here that the pair first developed the ideas and methods of Gonzo journalism that would go on to define their careers.

The widely adored Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas series brought both Steadman and Thompson worldwide recognition and led them to being considered counter culture royalty. This immersive ‘Gonzo’ approach to Steadman’s work would not only nurture his partnership with Thompson, right up until Thompson’s death in 2005, but allow Steadman to become one of the most sought after commercial artists in the world.

In a year that has seen cartoons profoundly affect international relations, Printin’ Backwuds will reference Steadman’s extensive career and his ongoing experimental relationship with the fine art print.

On show will be over 30 rare works from the artist’s archives, including never-before-seen prints that have been counter signed by Hunter S Thompson and others that bare the bullet holes from the gun of William Burroughs.

Lazarides Editions are releasing four brand new limited edition prints with Steadman, marking the release of his forthcoming book Nextinction which has been created in collaboration with conservationist and film-maker Ceri Levy. Nextinction (published by Blooomsbury) will be launched at the exhibition reception on Thursday, July 16.

The exhibition will also host the grand unveiling of an exclusive ‘Vintage Dr Gonzo’ limited edition bronze sculpture, as well as a screening of For No Good Reason, the 2012 documentary that guides us through the work and life of this living legend.

Lazarides Editions, 22 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD


Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts

Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera, 2010. Marble, 39.2 x 39.8 x 19 cm. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio. Image courtesy Ai Weiwei. (c) Ai Weiwei.

Exhibition preview

FROM September 19 to December 13, 2015, the Royal Academy of Arts is presenting a landmark exhibition of the Honorary Royal Academician, Ai Weiwei.

Although Ai is one of China’s leading contemporary artists, his work has not been seen extensively in Britain and the Royal Academy will present the first major institutional survey of his artistic output.

The exhibition will include significant works from 1993 onwards, the date that marks Ai Weiwei’s return to China following more than a decade living in New York.

Ai Weiwei will create new, site-specific installations and interventions throughout the Royal Academy’s spaces.

On his return to China in 1993, Ai began to work in a direction that was both embedded in Chinese culture and reflected the exposure he had had to Western art during his twelve year sojourn in the US.

Citing Duchamp as ‘the most, if not the only, influential figure’ in his art practice, Ai continues to engage with creative tensions between complex art histories, conceiving works with multiple readings in the process. To this end he employs traditional materials and interventions with historic objects throughout his work from Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BCE) to Qing dynasty (1644-1911) architectural components and furniture.

By creating new objects from old, Ai challenges conventions of value and authenticity in modern-day China. These artworks include Table and Pillar, 2002, from his Furniture series, and Coloured Vases, 2015.

Ai works in a variety of different contexts, scales and media. He transforms materials to convey his ideas, whether in wood, porcelain, marble or jade, testing the skills of the craftsmen working to his brief in the process. Some pieces take months to create and pass through lengthy periods of experimentation, pushing the boundaries of the formal qualities of a material.

Sculptures such as Surveillance Camera, 2010 and Video Camera, 2010, both masterpieces in craftsmanship, monumentalise the technology used to monitor, simultaneously rendering it useless and absurd.

A new artwork, Remains, 2015, will also be included in the exhibition. Fabricated in porcelain, the work replicates in meticulous detail a group of bones that were recently excavated at a site of a labour camp that operated under Chairman Mao in the 1950s.

One of the key installations within the exhibition will be Straight, 2008-12, part of the body of work related to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. Fabricated from ninety tonnes of bent and twisted rebar (the steel rods used in the construction of reinforced concrete buildings), collected by the artist and straightened by hand, it is a sober monument to the victims of the earthquake.

The subject of destruction, whether by demolition or as a consequence of natural disasters is one of a number of recurring themes and motifs that Ai returns to within his body of work.

Ai Weiwei said: “I’m honored to have the chance to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts. Tim Marlow and the rest of the exhibition team have a history of producing outstanding exhibitions. I’m very happy to be a part of it. This exhibition is my first major survey in London, a city I greatly admire. The selected artworks reflect my practice in recent years, and also include new works made specifically for this show.”

Tim Marlow, Artistic Director and co-curator of the exhibition, said: “Ai Weiwei is one of the most important artists in the world today but his work has not been seen anywhere near as much as it should have been in the UK. This exhibition will begin to redress that balance and give an extensive new audience the chance to experience a creative phenomenon that is at once radical, political, architectural, historical, poetic, materially inventive and transformative…even before they’ve walked through the Courtyard.”

Adrian Locke, co-curator of the exhibition said: “Working with Ai Weiwei has presented us with new challenges but his ability to comprehend space, even without having experienced it first hand, and the clarity of his vision for the use of that space in relation to his work has been revelatory.”

In 2011, Ai was detained for 81 days by the Chinese authorities. In an act of solidarity and support from his fellow artists and architects, Ai was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in May 2011.

This exhibition will follow in the Royal Academy’s tradition of celebrating its Royal Academicians, continuing the strand of programming that has showcased some of the most significant living artists including Anish Kapoor, David Hockney and Anselm Kiefer.

Ai Weiwei has not been able to leave China since 2011 when his passport was confiscated. The exhibition has been developed in close collaboration with Ai, who has taken an architectural approach to the layout of the exhibition, within the Royal Academy’s spectacular Main Galleries, befitting the monumental character of many of his pieces.

The artist has virtually navigated the spaces from his studio in Beijing, through video footage of the galleries and architectural plans. The curators have also made regular visits to his studio.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions from Tim Marlow, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Arts, Adrian Locke, Senior Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, John Tancock, independent art historian and Daniel Rosbottom, Head of the School of Architecture at Kingston University and co-director of drdharchitects.

Ai Weiwei Gallery

Tickets: £17.60 full price (£16 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free. All tickets include a multimedia guide. Tickets are available daily at the RA or visit Groups of 10+ are asked to book in advance. Telephone 020 7300 8027 or email

Times: Daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5.30pm); Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Tel: 020 7300 8000

Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from July 4 to September 27, 2015.