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Christmas events at Westminster Abbey

Events preview

WESTMINSTER Abbey has four special events taking place on December 10, 2016.

Carols with the Westminster Abbey Choristers – from 12pm to 1pm. Entrance ticket to the Abbey is not required.

Sing your favourite carols alongside Choristers from the famous Westminster Abbey Choir. This takes place in The Chapter House and entry is via Dean’s Yard, SW1P 3PA.

Christmas Crafts – from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm. Entrance ticket to the Abbey is not required.

Make your own Christmas cards in the beautiful medieval Chapter House.

Both events are free and booking is not required.

Follow the Star – from 10am to 12pm. This is for Westminster Abbey ticket holders and is suitable for families with children aged 3+.

Make a unique decoration for your Christmas tree in the beautiful setting of Westminster Abbey.

The Christmas Story for Families – at 12pm. This is for Westminster Abbey ticket holders and is suitable for families with children aged 3+.

Tour the Abbey and hear the Christmas story.

NB: All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Ed Balls, Ore Oduba and Lesley Joseph confirmed for Strictly Tour

Ed Balls

Event news

FORMER Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, sports presenter Ore Oduba and actress Lesley Joseph are the latest celebrities announced to appear on the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour, which kicks off in Birmingham on January 20, 2017.

They will join fellow celebrities Louise Redknapp, Danny Mac and Daisy Lowe on the 10th anniversary tour, alongside tour host Anita Rani, and the new tour judging panel of Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Karen Hardy.

Ed Balls, described by many as the ‘people’s champion’, became the 10th celebrity to leave the TV series on Sunday night, after losing in the dance-off to Judge Rinder. On joining the tour, Ed said: “My time on Strictly has been incredible. I’ve been overwhelmed by the huge support I’ve had from the public voting for me. Going on tour is going to be another first for me and I plan to give it everything I’ve got for the audiences across the country.”

Ore Oduba, who scored 36 for his Paso Doble on Saturday night’s show said: “Taking part in Strictly has surpassed my wildest dreams. So much so it’s difficult to imagine life without it! The live tour means I don’t have to wake up from this Strictly dream. I can’t wait to travel the country with my friends and meet the fantastic audience that made our whole experience possible.”

Lesley Joseph

Lesley Joseph, best known for playing Dorian Green in the popular television series Birds of a Feather, exited the series in week five. On joining the tour she said: “This has been a very special Strictly series and I am very proud to have been part of it. But now I can’t wait for the tour. I’m getting ready to put my dancing shoes back on and hit the dance floor again!”

The full tour line-up, including the professional dancers, will be announced soon.

The 30 show spectacular will open at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham on January 20, before continuing to the biggest entertainment venues across the UK: Metro Radio Arena Newcastle, Sheffield Arena, The SSE Arena Glasgow, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, First Direct Arena Leeds, Manchester Arena, Liverpool’s Echo Arena, The SSE Arena Wembley, and finally The O2 in London on February 11 and 12.

Read more about the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour 2017.

America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s - Royal Academy of Arts

Exhibition preview

FROM February 25 to June 4, 2017, the Royal Academy of Arts will present America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s, an exhibition chronicling the turbulent economic, political and aesthetic climate that dominated the decade following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Drawn from collections across the USA, America after the Fall will showcase forty-five seminal paintings by some of the foremost artists of the era. For the very first time, Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic, 1930 (Art Institute of Chicago), will be exhibited outside North America.

The exhibition will also feature works by Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keefe, Philip Guston, Edward Hopper, Alice Neel and Jackson Pollock.

The devastating impact of the Great Depression, brought about by the Wall Street Crash and followed by the Dust Bowl, caused America to enter the 1930s in flux. Over the next decade, the consequences of economic insecurity and social hardship, fuelled by mass urbanisation, industrialisation and immigration, reverberated throughout the country, as it struggled to rebuild.

Artists endeavoured to capture these rapid changes, seeking to redefine American identity in their work, inadvertently creating a debate over what would become the national art form.

This focused survey of American art is marked by the rich diversity of artistic output. Artists experimented with styles ranging from Abstraction to Regionalism and Surrealism, in order to engage with issues including populism, labour and social protest.

Regardless of style, many artists hoped their work could help repair a democracy damaged by economic and political chaos. These artistic developments were also a precursor to the major post-war movements of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.

America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s will be arranged around thematic sections. Industrial Life will examine how artists addressed the power of manufacturing and labour. Urban Life will capture the role of the city and mass entertainment. Looking to the Past will reveal how artists in the Depression era looked back at American history, myths and culture for inspiration.

Country Life will show how Regionalist artists, such as Thomas Hart Benton idealised the rapidly disappearing rural America. The trauma of the period, whether from the rise of Fascism or economic uncertainty, will be explored in Visions of Dystopia. Finally, Looking to the Future presents work by artists such as Arthur Dove and Jackson Pollock, who created dynamic paintings that abandoned figuration and served as a foundation to Abstract Expressionism.

Among the exceptional works that represent this decade in American history will be Georgia O’Keeffe, Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses, 1931 (Art Institute of Chicago), Charles Sheeler, American Landscape, 1930 (Museum of Modern Art, New York), Jackson Pollock, Untitled, c. 1938-41 (Art Institute of Chicago), Philip Guston, Bombardment, 1937 (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Edward Hopper, Gas, 1940 (Museum of Modern Art , New York), Alice Neel, Pat Whalen, 1935 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York) and Thomas Hart Benton, Cotton Pickers, 1945 (Private Collection).

These ground breaking paintings highlight the relationship between art and national experience, demonstrating how creativity, experimentation and revolutionary vision flourished during a time of great uncertainty.

America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s has been organised by the Art Institute of Chicago, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and Etablissement public du musée d’Orsay et du musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.

America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. Authors include Judith A. Barter, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of Art, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Gilda and Henry Buchbinder Associate Curator of American Art, Annelise K. Madsen, Assistant Curator of American Art, all at the Art Institute of Chicago; Sarah L. Burns, Professor Emerita at Indiana University and Teresa A. Carbone, Program Director for American Art at the Henry Luce Foundation.

America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s Gallery.

Image: Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930. Oil on beaver board, 78 × 65 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, friends of American Art Collection, 1930.934.

Admission: £13.50 full price (£12 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free – available online at or by calling 020 7300 8090.

Times: Daily from 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.30pm); Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

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

New Contemporaries - ICA, London

Janina Lange, Shooting Clouds # 2, 2015. HD Video, 5min 12sec.

Exhibition preview

SHOWCASING new and recent fine art graduates, New Contemporaries returns to the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London from November 23, 2016 to January 22, 2017.

The panel of guest selectors comprising Anya Gallaccio, Alan Kane and Haroon Mirza have chosen 46 artists who now join an illustrious roster of New Contemporaries alumni that includes Tacita Dean, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst, Mike Nelson and Laure Prouvost amongst many others.

Selected artists for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016 are:

Victoria Adam, Katja Angeli, Diana Anghel, Saelia Aparicio Torinos, James Berrington, Jack Bodimeade, Anna Bunting-Branch, Leah Carless, Michael Cox, David Donald, Jemma Egan, Kate Fahey, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Harry Fletcher, Mary Furniss, Roxman Gatt, Christopher D.A. Gray, Jamie Green, Thomas Greig, Byzantia Harlow, Sebastian Jefford, Seungjo Jeong, Alfie Kungu, Janina Lange…

…Lana Locke, Georgia Lucas-Going, Sophie Mackfall, Karolina Magnusson-Murray/ Leon Platt, Richie Moment, Zarina Muhammad, Richard Nicholson, Mooni Perry, Lisa Porter, Alicia Reyes McNamara, George Ridgway, Rodrigo Red Sandoval, Zsofia Schweger, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Ruth Spencer Jolly, Oriele Steiner, Margreta Stolen, Reece Straw, Maryam Tafakory, Tenant of Culture and Jack West.

This year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries brings together artists working across a range of media with traditional techniques and materials used alongside digital applications and processes. Themes including the mass-produced, socio-economics, gender equality and cultural identity feature, with the resulting exhibition being both a social commentary and an indication of this emerging generations’ preoccupations.

Of this year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Kirsty Ogg, Director, said:

New Contemporaries acknowledges that it is increasingly difficult for emerging artists to continue to operate in the UK. Through our annual exhibition and partner initiatives, our objective is to support emerging practitioners, with the intention to make artists’ practices sustainable in the long-term. This year’s exhibition at the ICA demonstrates the continuing strength of work coming from British art schools, and the importance of critical platforms from which emerging work can be seen and discussed.”

Gregor Muir, outgoing ICA Executive Director, commented:

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming back Bloomberg New Contemporaries. For 70 years, the ICA has been at the forefront of cutting edge arts and culture offering a living space for artists to experiment with ideas. Supporting emerging artists sits at the very core of our ethos and we’re proud to give talented creatives a platform to exhibit their work. Each year, the varied works explore different themes of inquiry and this year’s selection deals with key contemporary issues such as identity, materiality, technology and urban living.”

With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, this year’s participants will also benefit from access to a number of professional development opportunities intended to make their practice more sustainable in the long term. These include one-to-one and peer mentoring delivered in partnership with Artquest; a national network of studio bursaries; the shaping of elements of the public programme at ICA; and access to other partner projects such as Stop Play Record and Syllabus II. Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported New Contemporaries since 2000.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 6pm, except Thursday, 11am – 9pm, closed Monday. Day Membership priced at £1 except Tuesdays.

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH


Christmas 2016 at Foyles

Events preview

FOYLES is celebrating Christmas with festive events galore this winter: from late night shopping to children’s storytelling, crafting and gift-making for all the family.

Events are taking place across London, as well as Foyles branches in Birmingham, Bristol and Chelmsford. The world famous Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road will also play host to two flagship seasonal events: Snowball and the Christmas Craft Fair.

Snowball is Foyles’ first ever one-day winter children’s festival. This ticketed event is being held on Saturday, November 26 (9:30am – 5:30pm) on Level 6 at 107 Charing Cross Road.

Families can expect a day jam-packed with arts and crafts, storytelling and author visits – from Matt Haig’s The Girl Who Saved Christmas and queen of historical fiction Emma Carroll talking about her most wintery books, to art activities with children’s authors Jennifer Higgie and Lisa Stickley.

Festive storytelling will also take place at Birmingham and Stratford branches on Saturday, November 26 (11am – 12 noon). Foyles will retell Raymond Briggs’ cherished tale, The Snowman, as well as The Snowman and the Snowdog, appealing to all ages. There will be opportunities to get creative too as visitors can design their very own snowdog and snowflake Christmas decorations.

The Snowman and The Snowman and The Snowdog continue to be celebrated in Bristol, on Sunday, December 4 (2 – 3pm), Chelmsford on Saturday, December 10 (11am – 12 noon) and Charing Cross Road, London on Sunday, December 11 (2 – 4pm).

On these occasions, retellings of the classics stories are accompanied with Gingerbread Snowman decoration… and tasting afterwards. Families can also meet the huggable Snowman at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall earlier the same day (11am – 12 noon), where Snowman stickers and mince pies will be provided.

The launch of the second Foyles’ Craft Fair takes place on Thursday, December 15 (from 5:30pm) where a choir, mulled cider and plenty of mince pies will accompany evening shoppers as they explore the Craft Fair. All weekend long, Friday, December 16 to Sunday, December 18, the opportunity remains to peruse the delectable selection of gifts for loved ones at 107 Charing Cross Road: from hand-made cards to elegant brooches, from deluxe chocolates to ceramic jugs, the festive Craft Fair will feature over 30 exhibitors.

The seasonal activities don’t stop there: free crafting events with MT ‘Washi’ Masking Tape are taking place in Birmingham, on Saturday, December 10 (11am – 12 noon), Bristol, on Saturday, December 3 (11 – 11:30am), Chelmsford, on Sunday, December 4 (2 – 2:30pm) and Stratford on Saturday, November 19 (2 – 3pm).

Using the thin Japanese rice paper, which comes in a multitude of colours and patterns, visitors can create unique and personalised Christmas cards and decorations. All materials will be provided, and there will be complimentary mince pies too.

Megan Brown, National Events Coordinator at Foyles, said:

“This Christmas, Foyles has created magical experiences for our customers, from hands-on craft sessions and gingerbread tasting for the whole family to relaxed shopping evenings complemented with mulled cider. There is something for everyone at Foyles this Christmas.”

Many of the events are free to attend. For more information and to book tickets visit

The X Factor Live Tour 2017 (updated)

Exhibition preview

ON SUNDAY, November 6, 2016, live on the ITV show, it was announced that the Final Eight would take to the road on The X Factor Live Tour 2017.

And they are 5 After Midnight, Emily Middlemas, Four of Diamonds, Matt Terry, Ryan Lawrie, Saara Aalto, Sam Lavery and Honey G!

Previously Posted: You will watch them compete week after week for your vote, and you can now see the X Factor finalists perform their biggest hits in an arena near you, as dates for The X Factor Live Tour 2017 are announced. Tickets go on sale this Friday (October 7, 2016).

Kicking off in Nottingham on February 23, The X Factor Live Tour 2017 is a country wide arena tour that will travel to Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cardiff, Dublin, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle with contestants performing classic songs and viewers’ favourites from the TV series.

Attended by over three million people, The X Factor Live Tour has been one of the most successful annual arena tours in the UK for the past twelve years. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this year’s stars live in an arena near you.


Thursday, February 23 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena

Friday, February 24 – Birmingham Genting Arena

Saturday, February 25 – London The O2 (Matinee and Evening)

Sunday, February 26 – Liverpool Echo Arena

Tuesday, February 28 – Aberdeen AECC

Wednesday, March 1 – Glasgow Braehead

Friday, March 3 – Sheffield Arena

Saturday, March 4 – Manchester Arena (Matinee and Evening)

Monday, March 6 – Bournemouth International Centre

Wednesday, March 8 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Friday, March 10 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena

Saturday, March 11 – Leeds First Direct Arena

Monday, March 13 – Belfast The SSE Arena

Tuesday, March 14 – Dublin 3 Arena

Thursday, March 16 – Brighton Centre

Tickets: from £20 (plus booking fee). Limited availability Family Tickets (4 tickets maximum 2 adults) are available from the venue box offices, select ticket agents and the official hotlines – and or by calling 0844 811 0051 and 0844 826 2826.

For Belfast, call 0844 277 4455 or visit and for Dublin call 0818 719 300 or visit

Woodberry Wetlands First Christmas

Photo by Penny Dixie

Events preview

FOLLOWING a massive restoration project in conjunction with the unveiling of London Wildlife Trust’s Woodberry Wetlands urban nature reserve in May, the Grade II listed Coal House opened its doors to the public for the first time since its construction in 1833.

Now operating as the bustling Lizzy’s at the Coal House café by day, the former coal store and kitchen situated on the banks of Stoke Newington’s East Reservoir celebrates its first holiday season with a series of cosy evening events, superb festive lunches and exclusive private dining opportunities.

These special evenings allow visitors to witness stunning twilight views and experience the unique serenity of nature and wildlife at the wetlands in the heart of the city after hours. Events will take place from November 30 to December 22, 2016, and are available by advance booking only.

Full details and booking information for each event is available from

WEDNESDAY WINTER WARMER events take place on Wednesdays from December 7 to December 21 from 7pm – 10pm at the Coal House, 226 Lordship Road (via Woodberry Wetlands main entrance), London, N16 5HQ.

Tickets: £25 + booking fee. Advance booking online via or by calling 07971 315746.

A Celebration of Christmas Beer and Bratwurst – December 7.

Resident expert and group director at The Craft Beer Co, Tom Cadden, presents the best of the 2016 seasonal offerings before they disappear into the new year. Expect to taste a wide range of spicy, strong and eccentric ales by Belgian, Scandinavian and German stalwarts as well as from the latest trending British breweries.

Your host will fill your head with endless information about collecting, brewing techniques, ingredients, flavours and styles while you fill your stomach with bierkeller style sausages, homemade mustard and pickles. Price includes a minimum of eight beer samples, sausage baguette and pickle selection. Vegetarian option available.

Artisan Cheese and Wine Tasting Evening – December 14.

Award-winning local artisan cheese maker, Philip Wilton of Wildes Cheese, explains the process of cheese making and how to identify quality in flavour and texture followed by a tasting of their unique range of cheeses. As a perfect accompaniment, independent wine merchant and collector, Matt James from The Bordeaux Cellar will choose an exceptional variety of grapes and blends to compliment the cheeses on offer and will be in attendance to present and discuss the wines. Price includes a minimum of five wine and cheese selections.

Candle Making, Cake and Cocktails to Warm Your Cockles – December 21.

Quaff delicious mulled wine, spicy apple cider and other warming winter cocktails whilst learning to cast your very own handmade festive scented candle with award-winning luxury eco fragrance and candle making experts, Beauty Handmade. As the candle creations set, guests will have the chance to enjoy a selection of Lizzy’s famous home made cakes and a very special seasonal live music performance. Price includes all materials and personal candle souvenir, entertainment, choice of one hot cocktail drink and cake selection.


Lizzy’s at the Coal House Christmas lunch and festive private dining package includes mince pies and mulled wine upon arrival, three course set menu and tea/coffee. There is also a fully licensed bar serving a wide selection of wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks. Full menus and wine list are available from the above website.

From November 30 to December 22: Christmas lunch is available weekdays from 2pm to 6pm for parties of eight or more. Exclusive private dining packages are available Thursday to Saturday from 7pm to 10pm for parties of 20 or more. 18+ adults only. £29.50 package price per person.

All profit from events at Woodberry Wetlands are invested into London Wildlife Trust’s conservation work and its nature reserves.

John Phillips: Vanitas Print Series - londonprintstudio

John Phillips Vanitas X (2016)

Exhibition preview

JOHN Phillips’ exhibition entitled Vanitas Print Series will be on display at londonprintstudio from November 18, 2016 to January 14, 2017.

At first glance, the Vanitas seems to look back to the mid 19th century – the world of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, the paintings of Henri Fantin-Latour and William Dyce, Swinburne’s Garden of Proserpine. We could go back even further to Holland in the 17th century. Yet the Vanitas prints emerged from contemporary technical experiments.

In his work, John Phillips combines photographic and digital techniques with the manipulation of light. This print series Vanitas is the culmination of experimental work shown in his 2014 Captive Light exhibition. Each of the Vanitas images is a technical tour de force, in which the artist combines up to 1400 image components to imbue his subjects with an eerie hyper-reality.

Phillips’s Vanitas XVII sold out at the 2016 Royal Academy Summer exhibition. One of the best selling prints in the show, it aroused considerable interest. There are over 20 prints in the exhibition, some large scale, some small, all reflecting Phillips’ current subject of discarded flowers.

Phillips said: “With the increasing proliferation of photographic imagery and the recording of all aspects of our lives, there is a need to reclaim photography as a route to creating startling images. The Vanitas prints seek to reclaim the discarded and overlooked, and reference a tradition of Western genre painting. Still life and its metaphorical meaning nature morte is the theme of Vanitas, redolent with fading beauty and mortality.

“Early adopters of technologies are frequently constrained by the types of images created by the technologies they supersede. As McLuhan succinctly proposed “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” The problem we all face when using new media is realising the possibilities that they offer. Vanitas playfully explores this issue through images that are unique to digital technologies, which simultaneously reference the past.”

John Phillips (b.1951) is an artist, photographer and printmaker who lives in London. He studied fine art at Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University), and has a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Brighton. His work is held in a number of public collections. As a designer and curator he retains a strong interest in socially engaged art practice. Active in arts debates, he is a regular platform speaker at print seminars and conferences in the UK and abroad.

Vanitas themes in Art History

‘Vanitas’ (the Latin term for vanity) was a genre common in Holland and Flanders in the first half of the seventeenth century. Vanitas paintings are often an appreciation of everyday household objects, or fruit and flowers. These apparently simple subjects give rise to a comparison with vain and futile human ambitions. The genre may have been inspired by a phrase from the Bible: Vanity of vanities; all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1).

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5.30pm.

londonprintstudio, 425 Harrow Road, London, W10 4RE

Elmo Hood: Down the Rabbit Hole - Westbank Gallery

Exhibition preview

ELMO Hood’s solo show, Down the Rabbit Hole, will be on display at Westbank Gallery from November 10 to November 24, 2016.

Taking his inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and his long-standing fascination with playing cards, Down the Rabbit Hole, Elmo Hood’s latest solo exhibition – his largest to date – centres around rich and intricate compositions of Kings, Queens, Jokers, Madmen and the odd Rabbit..

Moving gradually away from the urban pop art style he was originally associated with, Elmo Hood’s new body of work consist of large gilding and oil paintings, created using a mix of brushes and pallet knives, which give his work a uniquely rich texture and 3-D effect.

Also featuring in the show – and for the first time in a UK exhibition – will be a series of Elmo Hood’s world-famous Playing Cardscollages which he creates by cleverly cutting, burning and/or drawing over traditional playing cards to depict images of love, heartbreak, hope and betrayal.

To coincide with the exhibition, Hood will also launch his latest collaboration with luxury leather brand OMCSU, featuring men and women’s jackets painted with unique designs inspired by the show.

Originally from Southampton, Elmo Hood is one of the most exciting young artists currently working in London. Specialising in portraiture, Hood’s unique and colourful style combines spray paint, acrylic, oil paint and gilding. His famous playing card collages gained him millions of fans and a vast celebrity following around the world.

Elmo Hood has exhibited in London, Paris, Munich and New York and recently had his work auctioned off at the Houses of Parliament.

Westbank Gallery, 3-5 Thorpe Close, London, W10 5XL

The American Dream: pop to the present - British Museum

Flags. Digital Image. © 2012 MoMA, N.Y.

Exhibition preview

THE AMERICAN Dream: pop to the present, the UK’s first major exhibition to chart modern and contemporary American printmaking, will be on display at the British Museum from March 9 to June 18, 2017.

Sponsored by Morgan Stanley and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art, The American Dream: pop to the present will explore the creativity of a medium that flourished through some of the most dynamic and turbulent years in US history and that accompanied a period when its wealth, power and cultural influence had never been greater.

The exhibition will include important loans from institutions such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC as well as works drawn from the British Museum’s extensive collection of prints.

Using more than 200 works by 70 artists, the exhibition will trace the creative momentum of American art over the past six decades – from the moment pop art burst onto the New York and West Coast scenes in the early 1960s, through the rise of minimalism, conceptual art and photorealism in the 1970s, to the practices of living artists working today.

Many of America’s greatest artists will feature, including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Chuck Close, Louise Bourgeois, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol, all of whom engaged with printmaking to create some of the most enduring images of recent years.

The exhibition will explore the innovative techniques and unprecedented scale, boldness and ambition that made American printmaking an ideal expression of the USA’s power and influence, as well as how the medium addressed contemporary social issues such as race, AIDS, and feminism.

Large prints designed to be seen en masse, such as Warhol’s Marilyn, the minimalist linear inflections of the sculptor Donald Judd or the monumental woodcut Stowage by the African American Willie Cole on the legacy of slavery, will be shown alongside those on a smaller, more intimate scale, including artists’ books by Ed Ruscha, Ida Applebroog and others.

Some American artists made prints that related closely to their work in other media, and this crossover will be shown in works such as Andy Warhol’s Little Electric Chair painting alongside his series of ten screenprints of the same subject and Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture of the Three-Way Plug juxtaposed with his Floating Three-Way Plug etching.

A revolutionary and enduring change in the production, marketing and consumption of prints took place in the 1960s. Inspired by the monumental, bold and eye-catching imagery of post-war America, a young generation of artists took to printmaking with enthusiasm, putting it on an equal footing with painting and sculpture and matching their size, bright colour and impact.

Meanwhile, the growth of an affluent middle class in urban America also opened a booming market for prints that was seized upon by enterprising publishers, print workshops and artists. Artists were encouraged to create prints in state-of-the-art workshops newly established on both the East and West Coast. The widening audience for prints also attracted some to use the medium as a means for expressing pungent, sometimes dissenting, opinions on the great social issues of the day.

American prints provide a vivid and varied commentary on a period of great change for US society. Works celebrating America’s famed enterprise and ingenuity include Rauschenberg’s rocket-sized Sky Garden from his Stoned Moon print series (marking the 1969 moon landings) whilst other works touch on darker themes such as President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the Vietnam War, the struggle for civil rights, the AIDS crisis and issues of gender and identity.

The confidence and assertiveness of America in the post-war boom years has given way to a gradual disintegration of the American Dream as the very notion of the country’s exceptionalism has been critically questioned by artists.

The creative momentum unleashed in the 1960s persists to this day as American artists continue to explore the vital and expressive potential of printmaking as an integral part of their aesthetic, with its ability to reach a broader audience and address wider social and political issues.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “The American Dream is an extremely exciting project for the British Museum, highlighting the extraordinary holdings of American prints and drawings in the collection. The Museum has been building up this collection of modern and contemporary works since the hugely successful exhibition The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock in 2008.

“We are very grateful to Morgan Stanley and the Terra Foundation for helping us to stage this ambitious show. As we near the next US election it is the perfect time to reflect upon the impact of the US over the past decades and how artists have reflected on and responded to this period of change.”

Robert Rooney, CEO of Morgan Stanley International, said: “We are delighted to partner with the British Museum on this ground-breaking exhibition. With many of the prints being exhibited for the first time here in London, the show provides a fascinating perspective on American culture and society over the last fifty years.”

Elizabeth Glassman, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art, stated: “We congratulate the British Museum on this exceptional exhibition, which examines and illuminates a salient period in American history through key developments and figures in the printmaking medium. The American Dream inspires new perspectives on American art and ultimately amplifies the Terra Foundation’s mission to foster the worldwide exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. We are proud to partner in this rich cross-cultural dialogue.”

Tickets: £16.50, children under 16 free. Booking is strongly recommended – call +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or visit

Opening times: Monday to Thursday, 10am to 5.30pm; Friday, 10am to 8.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5.30pm. Last entry 80 minutes before closing time.

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