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The Age of Salt: Art, Science and Early Photography

Exhibition preview

JAMES Hyman is presenting the latest in its series of monographic and thematic exhibitions addressing photographs from the earliest days of the medium. Entitled The Age of Salt: Art, Science and Early Photography it will be on display from February 3 to March 6, 2015.

The exhibition takes as its starting point one of William Henry Fox Talbot greatest works and one of the finest prints outside a museum. Entitled Veronica in Bloom, this exceptional print dates from the very moment in which the birth of phoography was announced.

The exhibition then traces the development of photography both through technical advance and through the forging of a new aesthetic, initially in dialogue with painting and then freed from such a relationship.

These pioneering moments include intimate untrimmed salt prints by Calvert Jones and Edouard Baldus, remarkable salt prints made in Britain, France and Italy and then the evolution of new tehniques including collodion on glass, albumen printing and forms of photomechanical engravings from heliogravures by Charles Negre and Henri le Secq through to photogalvanographs by Roger Fenton.

The Age of Salt: Art, Science and Early Photography anticipates Tate Britain’s exhibition of early salt prints entitled Salt and Silver (February 25 to June 7, 2015) and the Media Space’s Revelations: Experiments in Early Photography (March 20 to September 13, 2015).

James Hyman Gallery is the UK’s foremost commercial gallery for vintage 19th and 20th century photography. It is also a market leader in 20th century British art.

James Hyman Gallery, 16 Savile Row, London, W1S 3PL

Tel: +44 (0)20 7494 3857

Website: www.jameshymangallery.com/

Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art - British Museum

Exhibition preview

THIS spring, the British Museum will stage a major exhibition exploring the Greek experience and its preoccupation with the human form. Sponsored by Julius Baer and entitled Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art, it will be on display in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery from March 26 to July 5, 2015.

To the ancient Greeks the body was a thing of beauty and a bearer of meaning. The remarkable works of art in the exhibition range from the abstract simplicity of prehistoric figurines to breathtaking realism in the age of Alexander the Great. Giving form to thought, these works continued to inspire artists for hundreds of years and, over time, shaped the way we think of ourselves.

The exhibition will feature around 150 objects, including some of the most beautiful Greek sculpture to have survived from antiquity. In addition to iconic white marble statues, the exhibition will include exquisite works in terracotta, beautiful bronzes and fascinating vases that demonstrate the quality and inventiveness of ancient Greek craftsmen.

Outstanding objects from the British Museum, one of the most important collections of Greek art in the world, will be shown alongside extraordinary loans from other world-class collections.

Ancient Greek sculpture was both art and experience. The exhibition will present sculpture as an encounter between viewer and the object. The first such encounter will be a newly discovered original bronze sculpture of a nude athlete, scraping his body with a metal tool after exercise and before bathing. Raised off the seabed near Lošinj, Croatia in 1999, this rare survival of an ancient bronze statue will be shown for the first time in Britain after years of conservation.

For the first time, six Parthenon sculptures will be taken out of the permanent Parthenon gallery and will be installed in the temporary exhibition in order to contribute to a different narrative from their usual context.

As a supreme example of the work of the sculptor Phidias, the river god Ilissos will be shown in dialogue with the work of two of the sculptor’s contemporaries; the Townley Discobolus, a Roman copy of the lost original by Myron, and Georg Römer’s reconstruction of the Doryphoros by Polykleitos. The three great sculptors of the age, Myron, Polykleitos and Phidias, were said to have been trained in the workshop of a single master and each motivated by a strong impulse to outdo the other.

In addition to the figure of Ilissos, other examples of sculpture from the Parthenon temple will be shown in different sections of the exhibition including a metope, two blocks from the frieze, one figure from the West Pediment and one figure from the East Pediment group.

The exhibition will also explore the revival of the Greek body in the modern era following its destruction and disappearance at the end of pagan antiquity.

Prior to the arrival of the Parthenon sculptures in London in the early 1800s, Greek art was viewed through Roman copies of lost Greek originals, such as the Belvedere Torso, which will be lent by the Vatican Museum. This seated hero, perhaps Herakles, was regarded by Michelangelo as the finest fragment of classical sculpture that could be seen in his day. It will be shown alongside his drawing of Adam for the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

These masterpieces will be displayed in a unique combination with a reclining nude figure from the East pediment of the Parthenon. Thus the school of Michelangelo will be brought together with the school of Phidias for the first time.

The exhibition will explore how, in Greek art, the body acts as a pictorial language for articulating the human condition. It can represent every aspect of mortal and divine experience, in fulfilment of Protagoras’s statement “Man is the measure of all things”.

This exhibition will be the first in a series to focus on important areas of the Museum’s famous permanent collection to guide future thinking about the display of one of the most important collections of sculpture in the world, allowing for a greater dialogue between the sculptures of different cultures.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said: “This exhibition will be a celebration of the beauty and ideals of ancient Greek art. Some of the most beautiful works in the world will be brought together for the first time in a narrative exploring the highest achievements of ancient Greek artists and philosophers, exploring what it is to be human. I am hugely grateful to Julius Baer for their generous support of the exhibition”.

Adam Horowitz, Head of Julius Baer International Limited, United Kingdom, said: “Julius Baer, the international reference in pure private banking, with a large footprint in the UK, is renowned not only for its long tradition in wealth management but also for its engagement with arts and culture over many decades. Both areas rely on partnerships, which are founded on trust and sharing a common goal. We are very proud to sponsor a major exhibition at the British Museum for the third consecutive time. Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art will provide exciting and vivid insights into the human body as it was expressed in ancient Greek art and thought.”

The beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art, edited by Ian Jenkins, will be published in March 2015 by British Museum Press. Hardback £30.

Image: Marble statue of a naked Aphrodite crouching at her bath, also known as Lely’s Venus. Roman copy of a Greek original, 2nd century AD. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.

Tickets: £16.50, children under 16 free. Group rates available. To book, call +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or visit www.britishmuseum.org/.

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

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector - Barbican

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector will be on display in the Barbican Art Gallery from February 12 to May 25, 2015.

This is the first major exhibition in the UK to present the fascinating personal collections of post-war and contemporary artists, including Arman, Peter Blake, Hanne Darboven, Edmund de Waal, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Dr Lakra, Sol LeWitt, Martin Parr, Jim Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andy Warhol, Pae White and Martin Wong/Danh Vo.

Their collections range from mass-produced memorabilia and popular collectibles to one-of-a-kind curiosities, rare artefacts, and natural history specimens.

The exhibition presents a selection of objects from the collections of the artists alongside at least one key example of their work to provide insight into their inspirations, influences, motives, and obsessions.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich programme of talks and events with events in February including a Mouse Taxidermy Workshop with Margot Magpie (February 21 from 11 am to 4pm) and an exhibition tour from curator Lydia Yee (February 27 at 7pm).

February is also the last chance to see Walead Beshty’s Curve installation (until February 8) made up of 12,000 cyanotype prints made over the course of a year installed from floor to ceiling along the 90-metre long wall of the gallery.

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

Camden Arts Centre - Exhibitions for 2015

Season preview

CAMDEN Arts Centre has announced its exhibitions for 2015 and they include:

João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva: Papagaio – January 30 to March 29 (Galleries 1, 2, artists’ studio and central space).

Celebrated Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva present a magical, immersive film installation at Camden Arts Centre – their first major show in London.

The kaleidoscopic world created by 27 16mm films and two camera obscura installations, takes viewers on an imaginative journey into science, philosophy and religion. Each film examines a particular subject – a treatise on material, animal or human behaviour – that probes at the nature of truth and perception.

Ruth Ewan: Back to the Fields – January 30 to March 29 (Gallery 3)

For this major new installation at Camden Arts Centre, London based artist Ruth Ewan brings to life the French Republican Calendar.

In use from 1793 until 1805, the calendar temporarily redefined and rationalised the Gregorian Calendar, stripping it of all religious references in post-revolutionary France. Months and weeks were restructured and seasons and days renamed in collaboration with artists, poets and horticulturalists to reflect the seasonality of nature and agriculture.

Simon Martin – April 10 to June 21.

A new film commissioned by Flamin – a continuation of Martin’s Ur Feeling project. In 2012, his exhibition of the same name was shown at Camden Arts Centre and is considered as the ‘trailer’ for this new film.

Jo Baer – April 10 to June 21.

An exhibition of work by Amsterdam based, American artist Jo Baer who emerged as one of the key figures of the Minimalist art movement in the 1960s and 70s. In 1983, she dramatically announced ‘I am no longer an abstract artist’.

This exhibition will centre around Baer’s most recent series, In the Land of the Giants, drawing a lineage from her earlier minimalist works, through her experiments with what she termed ‘radical figuration’ in the 1990s, through to her current exploration of esoteric imagery.

Rose English – July 4 to September 13.

An exhibition of work by Rose English, who emerged out of the UK’s vibrant and pioneering feminist, conceptual art and dance scenes of the 1970s. She has worked across numerous disciplines, contexts and under many different guises exploring performance, installation, theatre, dance and film. This exhibition will include new work produced for the exhibition within the vocabulary of her practice of the last 40 years.

Ben Rivers – September 25 to November 29.

A major solo show by Ben Rivers will bring together many of his works, including previous seminal works and a series of new films. Alongside his solo show, Rivers will curate a group show based on the concept of ‘edgelands’.

The exhibition will draw together a selection works that have inspired his interest in the borders of society, both physical spaces – often on the deserted peripheries of cities – and conceptually, where individuals are outside the mainstream culture.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesdays late, 10am to 9pm; closed Mondays.

Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7472 5500

Website: www.camdenartscentre.org/

Oona Hassim at Woolff Gallery

Exhibition preview

WOOLFF Gallery, London, is presenting a dynamic new exhibition of paintings by artist Oona Hassim. Her solo exhibition will open to the public on the February 6, 2015 and continue until the March 6, 2015.

Oona Hassim’s unique style of painting is poised between figurative and abstract. Focusing on random crowds and the passage of life that traverses the city of London, her distinctive palette of soft greys juxtaposes with bright colourful crowds and neon lights.

The potent emblem of the city is its crowds and her new works explore the explosion of recent activity on the streets. Posing as the flaneur, the impartial spectator, allows Hassim to observe the vast charge of changing energy within the city. The works reflect the cities atmosphere – from public celebrations to reactive demonstrations – harnessing the power of mass movement and mapping the mood of its people.

Often painting people to the point of disappearance, her use of blur technique references the artist Gerhard Richter.

Her work examines the power of crowds at public demonstrations such as the Student Demo of 2012 and the Climate March in 2014. Here, she reflects upon the manner in which passionate crowds can never move freely due to the constraint of the city landscape and event marshalling. Oona Hassim records these historic events in the traditional and timeless medium of oils – the result is both tempestuous and emotive.

Oona Hassim’s works are exhibited worldwide. Woolff Gallery has worked with Hassim since 2002, during which time, her work has been received with enthusiasm by collectors. Hassim’s paintings can be found in the London Institute Collection and her works have been selected for display at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition on several occasions.

In 2012, Hassim journeyed to New York, to explore another city renowned for its speed and vibrant population. During this short period, she produced works that captured the Occupy movement and iconic areas of New York City, such as Times Square and Grand Central Station. These works will be displayed for the first time at Woolff Gallery during this exhibition.

As one of the contemporary artists who continues to express concern about the city as a paradigm for society, Oona Hassim’s work depicts its paradox of positive and negative energies and she remarks:

“Perhaps to fully understand the city, we need to grasp at all of its trajectories, its intimate corners and blinding glitter, and somehow attempt to weave together these disparate qualities.”

Admission: Free.

Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 6pm; Saturday, 11am to 5pm.

Woolff Gallery, 89 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4PU

Tel: 020 7631 0551

Website: www.woolffgallery.co.uk/

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne - RA

Exhibition preview

THE ROYAL Academy of Arts is presenting the first major exhibition in the UK to examine Rubens’ influence on art history. Entitled Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne it will be on display from January 24 to April 10, 2015.

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne is an exploration of the artistic legacy of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the most influential of Flemish painters.

The exhibition will bring together masterpieces by Rubens and the artists who were inspired by him, during his lifetime and up until the twentieth century, including Van Dyck, Watteau, Turner and Delacroix, as well as Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, Klimt and Picasso.

Rubens and His Legacy will present over 160 works, comprising paintings, drawings and prints drawn from some of the finest collections world-wide. Each work has been carefully considered for its significance to Rubens’ legacy.

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp (KMSKA) and BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts), Brussels.

Image: Peter Paul Rubens. Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt, 1616. Oil on canvas, 256 × 324.5 cm. Rennes, Musee des Beaux Arts. Photo c. MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Adelaide Beaudoin.

Rubens and his Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne Gallery

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

Tel: 020 7300 8000

Website: www.royalacademy.org.uk/

Giovanni Battista Moroni continues at the Royal Academy of Arts until January 25, 2015.

New sculptures confirmed for The Art of the Brick

In Pieces

Exhibition preview

FOLLOWING recent news that Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick is to now run in London until April 12, 2015 due to popular demand, UK promoters ExhibiTours have revealed that upon reopening on January 9 the exhibition will feature an exciting additional room displaying In Pieces, an extraordinary multimedia collaboration between the American sculptor and Australian photographer Dean West.

The photos in the series In Pieces depict scenes of Americana with an added curious twist, each photo featuring one or more LEGO sculptures hidden in plain sight.

The exhibition features highly stylized photographic representations of contemporary life that incorporate exquisitely detailed LEGO objects which also appear on display. The images have been constructed by combining West’s modern photography techniques and Sawaya’s unique sculptures made out of LEGO.

Key to the narrative and aesthetic of the photographic series, Sawaya’s sculptures are much like the construction of a digital photograph. Thousands of bricks are glued together to form recognizable objects much like the assembly of pixels in a digital image. The similarities in technology not only help shape the aesthetic of In Pieces – they are key to deconstructing the composition of each tableau.

In Pieces joins over 85 pieces of Sawaya’s sculptural work that have been on display at the Old Truman Brewery since September. These artworks are large scale sculptures, many of which are human figures such as Sawaya’s most famous piece Yellow.

The exhibition also features a T-Rex skeleton constructed from over 80,000 LEGO bricks and measuring over six metres in length, plus a specially commissioned room of dedicated British exhibits.

In addition, visitors also have the chance to see Sawaya’s recent interpretations of some of the world’s most famous artworks, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

The exhibition includes an interactive Zone inviting younger (and older) visitors to explore their creativity using the iconic bricks.

Tickets for the exhibition, which has to date attracted over 100,000 visitors to Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery, are on sale now and can be purchased from www.artofthebrick.co.uk or on 0203 773 8995.

The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race raises funds for London’s Air Ambulance

Event preview

EVERY year The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race raises funds for London’s Air Ambulance.

This year, the need for funds is even greater as a new helicopter is now required to cover for the existing aircraft while it has annual maintenance. Another helicopter will also help to extend daylight flying during the summer and reach even more patients with life threatening injuries.

Currently the trauma team of a hospital surgeon and advanced paramedic treat over 160 patients a month.

London’s Air Ambulance is based on the roof of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and costs about £5 million a year to run.

It may come as a surprise to some that this vital service for the 10 million people who live or work within the M25 is run by a charity. The Barts Health NHS Trust and London Ambulance Service support the medical staff and the government and corporate donors make contributions but the rest has to come from active fund raising and donations.

So get in training now and join in The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race. Teams of four suitably dressed up (or down) will gather to compete for the honour of becoming this year’s champions and receive a specially engraved frying pan. All entrants receive scrumptious hot pancakes.

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.

Organised by Alternative Arts, The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race takes place every Shrove Tuesday, which this year falls on February 17, 2015. And it takes place at Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.

Staying Power – Photographs of Black British Experience 1950-1990s

Exhibition preview

THE SUMMER of 2014 saw the successful opening of Black Cultural Archives (BCA) where over 3,000 people filled Windrush Square in Brixton. With nearly 20,000 visitors since the opening, the venue has programmed an exciting array of exhibitions, talks, workshops, walks, lectures, and a pioneering schools programme.

The reading room, reference library and archive collection has attracted many visitors from all over the UK and beyond. Artists and entertainers have also performed and hosted a series of special events as part of Café Club Late, the most recent hosted by award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams.

Following the triumph of the first exhibition Re-imagine: Black Women in Britain, BCA is presenting Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950-1990s from Thursday, January 15 to Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

This brand new exhibition is the culmination of a seven year collaborative project between Black Cultural Archives and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to acquire a collection of photographs that increases the representation of Black photographers and subjects within the V&A’s photographs collection and to develop broader audiences for arts and heritage.

The V&A will also present an exhibition of the same title drawn from the new collection of photographs from Monday, February 16 to Sunday, May 24, 2015.

Staying Power explores the work of a selection of photographers who were documenting Black experience from mass migration following the arrival of the Windrush in 1948 to the late 1990s and features 14 photographers: Raphael Albert, Norman ‘Normski’ Anderson, Jenny Baptiste, Pogus Cesar, Armet Francis, Colin Jones, Dennis Morris, Charlie Phillips, Ingrid Pollard, Al Vandenberg and Gavin Watson.

Highlights include James Barnor’s Mike Eghan Piccadilly Circus (1967), Neil Kenlock’s Keep Britain White (1974) and Syd Shelton’s Specials fans, Leeds Carnival Against the Nazis (1981).

Alongside the photographs there will also be a collection of oral histories from a range of subjects including the photographers themselves, their relatives and the people depicted in the images.

The curator of Staying Power is Dr Kimberly F. Keith. She has worked in museums for fifteen years both in the UK and USA, including the Children’s Museum of Seattle and the Museum of Glass: International Centre for Contemporary Art in Tacoma. She has developed educational programmes for at-risk youth and diverse audiences. Kimberley earned her PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths from University of London, researching how US and UK museum practitioners develop and engage diverse audiences in relation to disparate organisational cultures and strategic policies.

Speaking about the exhibition, she said:

“The photographs in the Staying Power exhibition gives us insight into the politics and cultural interests that shaped the Black British experience in the latter half of the 20th Century. When we see the photographs, listen to the oral histories and read the archival material on display, we gain a deeper understanding of how the past has shaped how we live in contemporary times.

“When we make the links between historical and contemporary issues we can begin to create strategies to combat discrimination and work towards social change. Black history is all our history and photographs of experiences in Black history are a powerful tool to promote dialogue in the community. I look forward to being part of the conversation.”

And Paul Reid, Black Cultural Archives, Director said:

“This is a tremendously important exhibition showing incredible photographs from highly talented photographers. Our seven year partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum working closely with a range of heritage professionals and artists, has been invaluable. Dr Kimberly F. Keith has been instrumental throughout our partnership, her outstanding work on this project is very special to Black Cultural Archives.”

Admission: Free.

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

Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London, SW2 1EF

Tel: 020 3756 8500

Website: www.bcaheritage.org.uk/

El Anatsui: Selected Works - October Gallery

El Anatsui, AG+ BA (detail), 2014.  Aluminium, copper wire and nylon string, dimensions variable. Photo: Jonathan Greet. Image courtesy October Gallery.

Exhibition preview

FROM FEBRUARY 12 to March 28, 2015, October Gallery is presenting a selection of works in metal by celebrated artist El Anatsui.

El Anatsui’s sculptural experiments with media and form have challenged the definition of sculpture itself. In particular, his metal wall-hangings have received international acclaim.

Throughout a distinguished forty-year career as both an artist and teacher, El Anatsui has addressed a wide range of social, political and historical concerns and embraced an equally diverse range of media and processes.

In 2013, one of his largest metal wall-hangings to utilize his bottle-top technique, TSIATSIA – searching for connection, adorned the façade of Burlington House. Created to coincide with the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013, this remarkable work won the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award.

The exhibition, entitled simply El Anatsui: Selected Works, will focus on a range of intricate metal sculptures.

October Gallery has worked with El Anatsui since 1993, during which time, his work has received worldwide recognition. These magnificent sculptures have been collected by major international museums, including the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, amongst others.

Over the last two decades, the works have increased in size, enhancing the external walls of museums and galleries around the world.

These larger external installations include: Ozone Layer and Yam Mound on the Old National Gallery of Berlin (2010); Broken Bridge I, on the Musée Galliera, Paris (2012) and Broken Bridge II on the High Line, New York. In 2013, the Brooklyn Museum, New York, exhibited a major solo exhibition, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui.

William S. Burroughs: Can you all hear me? is on display at October Gallery until February 7, 2015.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 12.30 to 5.30pm.

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

Tel: 020 7242 7367

Website: www.octobergallery.co.uk/