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Berenice Sydney: Dancing with Colour - SALON at Saatchi Gallery

Berenice Sydney, Untitled, 1966, oil on canvas.

Exhibition preview

SALON, in collaboration with Mallett and Dreweatts 1759, has announced Dancing with Colour, a selling exhibition of paintings by the British artist Berenice Sydney (1944 – 1983) – from June 23 to July 8, 2018.

This show, remarkably the first presentation of her work staged at a major public art gallery in over thirty years, is comprised of a selection of oil paintings and works on paper that reflect Berenice’s – as she was professionally known – signature lyrical and highly animated graphic style.

Her paintings, notable for their fluency of form and movement, are inscribed with her passion for music and dance – she studied classical ballet, guitar and flamenco – as well as the sense of liberation and freedom of expression which prevailed in Britain during the 1960s.

Paintings such as Untitled (1966), and Lady Enjoying the Sun (On the Beach) (1966), both of which are featured in Dancing with Colour, are typical of her work, in that they reflect the influence of cubist and fauvist vocabularies that were central to Berenice’s practice, in contrast to the then-prevailing Pop Art aesthetic.

Although she died shortly before her thirty-ninth birthday, her work was widely shown in Britain and abroad in her lifetime and is held in over 100 important private and public collections; these include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate and the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

Of her first solo show at the Drian Galleries in London in 1968, the critic Marina Vaizey in Arts Review praised Berenice’s drawings based on Greek myths as ‘neo-classical in technique and vaguely reminiscent of the famous period of Picasso, arguing ‘a tough self-training’ and as being ‘coherent and elegant exercises.’

One of the most expressive and original artists working in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Berenice’s oeuvre spans paintings, drawings, prints, children’s books, costume design and performance. She travelled widely throughout her life, including to Greece, the Aegean islands and Egypt; the history and mythology of which provided subject matter for many of her paintings.

She continued to explore themes in her work relating to Persian mythology, Christian symbolism and Greek mythological subjects as well as referencing Ancient Egyptian art, creating a hieroglyph of her professional name and working on papyrus.

As her style developed, Berenice abandoned figurative representation for total abstraction, in which geometric or freely composed forms created rhythmic and harmonious compositions. The multifaceted experiments of this nature have been described as depicting her own ‘floating cosmos’. As is witnessed in another featured painting, Untitled (1983), the vortex-like compositions of these later works generate a dynamic structural frame that expresses joy, exhilaration and the artist’s extraordinary freedom of spirit.

Philippa Adams, Senior Director, Saatchi Gallery said: ‘SALON is delighted to be working with Mallett and Dreweatts 1759 to bring this fascinating artist to wider public attention. Berenice Sydney was a brilliant colourist who uniquely combined British and European sensibilities in her work, with an enduring appetite for experimentation that was, tragically, cut short.’

Jennie Fisher, Head of Pictures, Dreweatts 1759 said: ‘Mallett in association with Dreweatts 1759 is very excited to present this exhibition of works by Berenice Sydney. SALON at the Saatchi Gallery provides an intimate venue and the unique opportunity to review and re-position her work within the wider spectrum of 20th century British art. Her vibrant paintings and works on paper reflect influences as diverse as Greek mythology and flamenco dancing, all executed with a flamboyant lyrical style’.

Proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the Royal Academy Schools. A spokesperson said: ‘We are delighted that proceeds from the Berenice Sydney exhibition will contribute towards an award to a student studying at the Royal Academy Schools. The award will be made at the annual Premiums Exhibition and will give vital support to the development of the recipients work in their final year of study.’

SALON, Saatchi Gallery’s new project space has been created to present the work of leading international artists who have had limited exposure in the UK. Located in its own self-contained space at the Saatchi Gallery, this new venture will collaborate with galleries and artists’ estates in selling exhibitions, and is directed by Philippa Adams, Senior Director, Saatchi Gallery.

Image: Berenice Sydney, Untitled, 1966, oil on canvas.

Website: www.saatchigallery.com/

Address: Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4RY*

Circa's Peepshow comes to London's Underbelly Festival

Peepshow

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FROM Wednesday, June 27 to Sunday, August 18, 2018, Circa are at London’s Underbelly Festival with Peepshow, an exciting European premiere that turns cabaret on its head, literally.

Join ‘the rockstars of the circus world’ as they embark on a seductive dance through the hall of mirrors that is your imagination. Peepshow ‘lurches from the thrillingly acrobatic to the comically playful with teetering towers of balanced bodies, extreme bending and devilishly precarious aerials’.

By the makers of the smash-hit shows Humans, Beyond, Wunderkammer and Closer, Peepshow combines some of the finest acrobatic talent on the planet under the direction of circus visionary Yaron Lifschitz to create an exhilarating ride into the beautifully bizarre recesses of your mind.

Playing with the extreme physicality of this troupe of phenomenal acrobats, Circa blur the lines between movement, dance, theatre and circus. Exploring the concept of looking and being looked at, Peepshow uses circus to explore themes of gender and sexuality on the stage.

Yaron Lifschitz said: “I hope that Peepshow is one of those shows which is able to transform people’s expectations, bringing us new sensibilities with unexpected pleasures, and bridges the world between art and entertainment. Peepshow is the latest in Circa’s latest post-cabaret adventure. These take the form of cabaret and Circa’s medium of circus, add some extra ingredients (in Peepshow’s case a nightclub, a dream and ideas of looking) and shake. They shake so hard things break, stick together and turn wonderfully weird. The resulting cocktail is a fantasia designed to thrill and delight.”

Taking over Underbelly’s spiegeltent with a nightclub vibe, most of Peepshow’s music is an original track written by Ori Lichtik (Batsheeva Dance Company) with an interlude of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics). Peepshow lets audiences see the world from the other side of the mirror.

Circa Contemporary Circus is one of the world’s leading performance companies. To date, Circa has toured to 39 countries across six continents and in 2016 alone performed over 450 times to over 180,000 audience members locally, nationally and internationally. As a champion of live performance, Circa manages arTour and was the Creative Lead for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games arts and cultural programme.

Circa acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Times: Tuesday, June 27 to Friday, July 13 at 7.45pm; Tuesday, July 17 to Friday, August 17 at 7.30pm; Saturday at 7pm and 9.30pm; Sunday at 7pm.

Running time: 70 minutes.

Underbelly Festival, Jubilee Gardens, off Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Website: www.underbellyfestival.com/

Bolshoi Ballet In Cinema announces 2018/19 Season

Carmen Suite, E. Fetisova.

THE 2018/19 Bolshoi Ballet in cinema season showcases some of ballet’s greatest classical works performed by the world’s finest dancers creating a unique cinematic experience.

Four classical ballets (La Sylphide, Don Quixote, La Bayadère and The Sleeping Beauty) will be shown on the big screen alongside the beloved Christmas tale The Nutcracker. The evocative 1920’s jazz ballet The Golden Age and Edward Clug’s latest choreographic work Petrushka alongside Carmen Suite completes the season.

The season opens on November 11, 2018 with the Bolshoi’s production of La Sylphide live from Moscow. One of the world’s oldest surviving ballets, La Sylphide tells of the story of James who on the day of his wedding is awoken with a kiss from an ethereal winged creature, a Sylph. Entranced by her beauty, James risks everything to pursue this unattainable love.

La Sylphide has been re-staged for the Bolshoi by August Bournonville expert Johan Kobborg and is performed to music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold. Starring the Bolshoi Ballet Principals, Soloists and Corp de Ballet, this production is the ultimate romantic masterpiece.

Alexei Fadeyechev’s acclaimed staging of Don Quixote follows on December 2, 2018. Inspired by stories of brave knights, Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful servant Sancho Panza set out on an adventure to meet his ideal woman, Dulcinea. Bolshoi Principal dancers Ekaterina Krysanova (Kitri) and Semyon Chudin (Basilio) lead a spectacular cast of toreadors, flamenco dancers, gypsies and dryads in virtuosic dancing that is quintisentially Bolshoi.

Set to music by Léon Minkus, the production also stars Alexei Loparevic (Don Quixote), Olga Smirnova (The Queen of the Dryads), Anna Tikhomirova (a street dancer) and Kristina Krysanova (Mercedes).

A festive tradition for the whole family, the timeless classic The Nutcracker is broadcast live from the Bolshoi stage for two hours of enchantment and magic on December 23, 2018.

On Christmas Eve, Marie’s Nutcracker doll magically transforms into a prince taking them both on a wonderful adventure. Along with Tchaikovsky’s cherished score, Yuri Grigorovich’s choreography, the Bolshoi’s Principals, Soloists and the accomplished Bolshoi Corps de Ballet, this promises to be the perfect pre-Christmas treat for the whole family.

January 20, 2019 sees live from Moscow one of the greatest works in classical ballet history La Bayadère. Set in India, it tells the tragic love story of the temple dancer Nikiya and the warrior Solor. When the Rajah and his daughter Gamzatti discover their forbidden love it gives way to heated passions and murderous intrigue.

Featuring dazzling sets, costumes and one of the most iconic scenes in ballet, the “Kingdom of the Shades,” this production is a must see. With choreography by Yuri Grigorovich and music by Léon Minkus, it stars the Bolshoi’s Principals, Soloists and Corp de Ballet.

The resplendent fairytale ballet The Sleeping Beauty can be seen on March 10, 2019. Princess Aurora succumbs to the curse of the Evil Fairy Carabosse on her sixteenth birthday, falling into a deep slumber of one hundred years. Only the kiss of a prince can break the spell.

A classic fairytale ballet, The Sleeping Beauty features scores of magical characters including fairies, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, and the beautiful young Princess Aurora performed by Olga Smirnova. It also stars Semyon Chudin (Prince Désiré), Alexei Loparevich (The Evil Fairy Carabosse), Yulia Stepanova (The Lilac Fairy), Vitaly Biktimirov (Catalabutte), Artemy Belyakov (Bluebird), Anastasia Denisova (Princess Florine) and the Bolshoi Soloists and Corp de Ballet.

With choreography by Yuri Grigorovich set to Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score, this is classical ballet at its finest.

Yuri Gregorovich’s celebration of the 1920’s The Golden Age can be seen on May 7, 2019. A young fisherman Boris falls in love with Rita. He follows her to The Golden Age cabaret, a favorite nightly haunt and realises that not only is she is the beautiful dancer “Mademoiselle Margot”, but also the love interest of local gangster Yashka. It stars Nina Kaptsova (Rita), Ruslan Skvortsov (Boris), Mikhail Lobukhin (Yashka) and Ekaterina Krysanova (Lyuska).

With its jazzy score by Shostakovich and beautiful tangos, The Golden Age is a refreshing and colourful dive into the roaring 20’s.

The final screening is a double bill of Carmen Suite/Petrushka live from Moscow on May 19, 2019.

Carmen Suite is a passionate one act ballet by Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso, originally conceived for legendary Bolshoi prima ballerina Maya Pliesetskaya. Set to music by Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin, it centres on the free spirited Carmen who finds herself caught in a love triangle. This is followed by a new contemporary work Petrushka by Edward Clug set to music by Stravinsky.

To discover where you can experience the magic of the Bolshoi in your local cinema go to www.bolshoiballetcinema.co.uk/.

Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds - Barbican Art Gallery

Exhibition preview

FROM June 22 to September 2, 2018, Barbican Art Gallery is presenting the first major UK solo exhibition of British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship.

The recipient of the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2011, Winship’s poetic gaze explores the fragile nature of our landscape and society, how memory leaves its mark on our collective and individual histories.

Winship’s oeuvre captures the ‘transition between myth and the individual’, revealing deeply intimate photographs that often appear to avoid specific contexts or any immediate political significance. The exhibition brings together an outstanding selection of more than 150 photographs, many of which have never been seen before in the UK, as well as a collection of unseen archival material.

Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds is part of the Barbican’s 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Vanessa Winship said: ‘I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be able to show what I’ve been doing these last years to an audience in my home country; to introduce older works, but also to have the possibility, for the first time, to reveal something of the new’.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican said: “It is a real pleasure to stage the first major show of Vanessa Winship’s work in the UK at Barbican Art Gallery. Highly regarded and firmly established within photographic circles, this much overdue exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to introduce Winship’s photography to a wider public, as well as to showcase a great body of her powerful, and also deeply poetic work, from early prints to more recent projects completed for the exhibition. As part of The Art of Change, and staged alongside the first UK retrospective of Dorothea Lange, this promises to be a stellar summer of two photographic greats”.

Vanessa Winship’s practice focusses on the junction between ‘chronicle and fiction, exploring ideas around concepts of borders, land, memory, desire, identity and history’. Living and working in the region of the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus for more than a decade her epic series Imagined States and Desires: A Balkan Journey (1999–2003) and Black Sea: Between Chronicle and Fiction (2002–2006) investigate notions of periphery and edge on the frontiers of Eastern Europe, displaying the human condition through a vulnerable, yet intentionally incomplete, narrative.

Capturing fragmentary images of collective rituals, means of transport and leisure activities, she presents a frieze of the human landscape in these regions, expressing society’s relationship to the terrain while remaining remote from any precise geo-political or historical events.

Also on display is the formal yet strikingly intimate series Sweet Nothings (2007), portrait photographs of school girls from Turkey’s eastern borderlands. The series of portraits, produced in an almost serial manner by Winship, draws the viewer’s attention to the individual features of the girls, particularly the affectionate messages or ‘sweet nothings’ which are embroidered on their lace collar or bodice of their uniforms.

By photographing repetitious and formal portraits she emphasises the girls as individuals, ‘unified by many things including their history, their position in society, and the fact that they are little girls from a rural place’.

Vanessa Winship is perhaps best known for winning the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2011which enabled her to undertake a new photographic series in the United States. Set upon the backdrop of the economic recession and decline of the American Dream, she dances on Jackson (2011–2012) explores the basic human connection between people while tracing the history of violence that characterises the country, from California to Virginia, New Mexico to Montana, and still impacts the population today.

Following the great photography masters including Walker Evans, Robert Adam and Robert Frank, Winship sensitively navigates the engrained scars of neglect which has transformed the once prosperous landscape. Winship includes timeless scapes of the American terrain depicting the lasting effects of a crumbling civilisation, resonating with the landscapes of her hometown estuary and discussing concepts of periphery and edge expressed in her series Humber (2010).

Turning to the eastern-European state of Georgia in her series Georgia: Seeds Carried by the Wind (2008–2010) Winship explores a country whose people celebrate the lush beauty of their land, but are also inherently melancholic due to the memory of conflict and weight of the post-Soviet economic collapse. Beside photographs of neglected Soviet sculptures, studies of contemporary Georgian people and photographs of funerary pictorial portraits are presented in colour for the first time in Winship’s oeuvre.

To coincide with the exhibition, Winship has conceived a new and ongoing photographic series, And Time Folds (2014-ongoing). Shown for the first time at Barbican Art Gallery this body of work combines black and white and colour photography with found objects to create a thought-provoking departure from her previous series.

For more information call 0845 120 7550 or visit www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/art-design.

Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful - MAC Birmingham

Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful

Exhibition preview

AUTOGRAPH ABP’s celebrated exhibition Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful is on display at MAC in Birmingham until July 1, 2018.

This show is the first major solo exhibition of photographs by the late Raphael Albert – cultural promoter, entrepreneur and photographer.

For more than three decades from the late 1960s, Albert organised and documented numerous black British beauty pageants and other cultural events, while creating a portfolio of photographs of aspiring models in his home studio.

His long and successful career as a promoter and chronicler of pageants included the establishment of Miss Black and Beautiful, Miss West Indies in Great Britain, and Miss Grenada.

These competitions celebrated the global ‘Black is Beautiful’ aesthetic of the 1970s in a local west London context: paired with the obligatory bathing costumes and high heels, Albert’s contestants often sported large Afro hairstyles, inventing and reinventing themselves on stage while articulating a particular and multifaceted black femininity as part of a widely contested and ambiguous cultural performance.

Albert’s photographs serve as testament to this profound moment of self-articulation and collective celebration in London’s pan Afro-Caribbean communities, and beyond.

The exhibition is curated by Renée Mussai, Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research at Autograph, London.

Image: Raphael Albert, Miss Black & Beautiful Sybil McLean with fellow contestants, Hammersmith Palais, London, 1972. From the portfolio ‘Black Beauty Pageants’. Courtesy of © Raphael Albert/Autograph ABP.

Admission: Free.

Opening Times: Daily from 9am to 9pm.

MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH

The Dambusters and Beyond: Celebrating the RAF - The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford

Guy Gibson. Signed photo to Gibson’s Housemaster,  ‘Freddie’ Yorke, 1940 Courtesy  St Edward’s School, Oxford.

Exhibition preview

THIS year, 2018, marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) as the UK’s aerial peace-keeping and fighting force.

Focusing on the daring exploits and ingenuity of aviation pioneer Geoffrey De Havilland, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, leader of the Dambusters raid, celebrated aviators Louis Strange and Adrian Warburton and legendary RAF flying ace Douglas Bader, this exhibition uses rare archive photography, as well as largely unseen private papers to celebrate the 100th anniversary year.

The Dambusters and Beyond runs at Oxford’s North Wall Arts Centre from June 20 until July 17 and admission is free.

The vital roles played by women also feature, from their significant contribution to the espionage activities of the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War to their role in the Air Transport Auxiliary, including flying planes from factories to the squadrons of the RAF.

Geoffrey De Havilland, Guy Gibson, Douglas Bader, Louis Strange and Adrian Warburton were all pupils at St Edward’s School Oxford, and the school will be lending previously unseen archive material to the exhibition. Through the featured individuals, the exhibition will illuminate key aspects of the RAF’s history and development, including early aviation innovations, the Dambusters raid, the Battle of Britain, iconic aircraft, Alec Cranswick and the Path Finder Force and the Jet Age.

The exhibition features material from the Archives of the Imperial War Museums, St Edward’s School, and the photographic agency TopFoto. It is curated by Dr Simon Innes-Robbins, Senior Curator at the Imperial War Museum.

Image (top): Guy Gibson. Signed photo to Gibson’s Housemaster, ‘Freddie’ Yorke, 1940. Courtesy St Edward’s School, Oxford.

Image (bottom): WAAF armourers and flight mechanics servicing a Hawker Hurricane at Sealand in Wales, May 5, 1943. © IWM (CH10090).

Admission: Free.

Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm; Saturday, 12pm – 4pm; Open from 5pm for events.

The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford, OX2 7JN

Tel: 01865 319 450

Website: www.thenorthwall.com/

London Museum of Water & Steam announces Festival of Trains

Model Railway at LMWS

Event preview

FROM Saturday, May 26 to Sunday, June 3, 2018, London Museum of Water & Steam will be open every day of the half term from 10am until 4pm for a week celebrating trains.

Highlights of the Trains, Trains, Trains! festival include Sierra Leone National Railway Museum’s ‘pop up’ museum exhibiting a narrow gauge railway which operated in the former West African British colony and the importance of the railway in the development of the country.

The installation will feature several engaging pursuits for the whole family, including Sierra Leone badge and flag making and a ‘Language of Freedom’ activity.

The Hampton Court Model Railway Society (hamptoncourtmrs.com), a prestigious hobbyist club which meets weekly in Southwest London, will exhibit their Bradley Park 16.5 mm gauge model railway layout, which depicts a set of rail served industries, throughout the Bank Holiday weekend (May 26 – 28) in the Museum’s Bouton & Watt room.

Fellow specialist enthusiasts, the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers (16mm.org.uk), whose membership is more than 4,500 strong across the UK and further afield, will also be joining in the festival fun. They will be in residence operating a model railway layout featuring 16mm live steam engines appropriately set in our main Steam Hall for the duration of the week-long festival.

LMWS’s very own steam train, Thomas Wicksteed, will be offering free unlimited rides on the Museum’s narrow gauge railway daily from 11am – 4pm and Alistair, its resident diesel locomotive, will also make a rare appearance out on demonstration wagons at various times as part of the event.

Thomas Wickesteed  Steam Engine at LMWS

The festival would not be complete without a proper ‘steam up’ and the weekends will see LMWS’s historic rotative steam water pumping engines in full steam as well as the Bull Cornish beam engine in action on May 26 and 27. These magnificent steam engines, five original to our site and others collected from pumping stations across the country, are the heart of the Museum and an impressive spectacle for everyone of all ages to behold when in action.

Children and families will also be able to enjoy an educational museum trail uncovering interesting facts about railways from around the world. LMWS lobby and gift shop will also feature a large interactive trains display and a wide selection of themed gifts will be available for purchase.

Tickets: £12.50 for adults, £11 for Students/Concessions and £5.50 for Children 5-15. Under 5s are admitted for free. 10% discount is available for online advance booking from www.waterandsteam.org.uk/.

London Museum of Water & Steam, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, London TW8 0EN

Closest underground station is Gunnersbury on the District Line and Kew Bridge on the overground East London Line

Exhibitions at Rich Mix - May/June 2018

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

Apples & Snakes present Poetry Pioneers: 35 Years, A Retrospective of Spoken Word Exhibition – until Saturday, June 30.

The exhibition opens up the archive of Apples and Snakes, charting the history of UK spoken word over four decades.

WhittyGordon Projects present Voices In Time – Monday, May 21 to Thursday, May 31.

Voices in Time is an exhibition of a short film and photo book made with young people from Hackney and elderly people, with the aim of encouraging young and older people to see each other in a different light…

Smart Works presents Fashion For Purpose: Smart Works Designer Sale – Saturday, June 2 to Sunday, June 3.

A range of designer, vintage, high street and sample pieces with all proceeds going to Smart Works charity.

Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize presents Ashurst Emerging Artists Prize 2018 – Wednesday, June 6 to Thursday, June 28.

A solo exhibition presenting the winner of the Ashurst & Rich Mix East London Emerging Artist Prize.

Scarabeus Aerial Theatre, Parliament Hill School + Sharna Jackson present We Are the Granddaughters of the Witches You Could Not Burn – Wednesday, June 6 to Thursday, June 28.

An exhibition commemorating 100 years of women’s activism, co-curated by young women, highlighting heroines in local and global fights for equality.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing - Barbican Art Gallery

Exhibition preview

THIS summer (June 22 to September 2, 2018), Barbican Art Gallery is staging the first UK survey of the American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

A formidable woman of unparalleled vigour and resilience, the exhibition charts Lange’s outstanding photographic vision from her early studio portraits of San Francisco’s bourgeoisie to her celebrated Farm Security Administration work (1935–1939) that captured the devastating impact of the Great Depression on the American population.

The show features the iconic Migrant Mother as well as rarely seen photographs of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War and several post-war series documenting the changing face of the social and physical landscape of 1950s America, including a collaboration with fellow photographer Pirkle Jones. Working in urban and rural contexts across America and beyond, Lange focused her lens on human suffering and hardship to create compassionate and piercing portraits of people and places in the hope of effecting or influencing social and political reform.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing is part of the Barbican’s 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing encompasses over 300 objects from vintage prints and original book publications to ephemera, field notes, letters, and documentary film. Largely chronological, the exhibition presents eight series in Lange’s oeuvre spanning from 1919 to 1957.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for our visitors to see the first UK survey of the work of such a significant photographer. Dorothea Lange is undoubtedly one of the great photographers of the twentieth century and the issues raised through her work have powerful resonance with issues we’re facing in society today. Staged alongside contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship as part of The Art of Change, these two shows are unmissable”.

Opening the exhibition are Lange’s little known early portrait photographs taken during her time running a successful portrait studio in San Francisco between 1919 and 1935. Lange was at the heart of San Francisco’s creative community and her studio became a centre in which bohemian and artistic friends gathered after hours, including Edward Weston, Anne Brigman, Alma Lavenson, Imogen Cunningham, and Willard van Dyke.

Works from this period include intimate portraits of wealthy West Coast families as well as of Lange’s inner circle, counting amongst others photographer Roi Partridge and painter Maynard Dixon, Lange’s first husband and father of her two sons.

The Great Depression in the early 1930s heralded a shift in her photographic language as she felt increasingly compelled to document the changes visible on the streets of San Francisco. Taking her camera out of the studio, she captured street demonstrations, unemployed workers, and breadline queues. These early explorations of her social documentary work are also on display.

The exhibition charts Lange’s work with the newly established historical division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the government agency tasked with the promotion of Roosevelt’s New Deal programme.

Alongside Lange, the FSA employed a number of photographers, including Walker Evans, Ben Shahn and Arthur Rothstein, to document living conditions across America during the Great Depression: from urban poverty in San Francisco to tenant farmers driven off the land by dust storms and mechanisation in the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas; the plight of homeless families on the road in search of better livelihoods in the West; and the tragic conditions of migrant workers and camps across California.

Lange used her camera as a political tool to critique themes of injustice, inequality, migration and displacement, and to effect government relief.

Highlights in this section are, among others, a series on sharecroppers in the Deep South that exposes relations of race and power, and the iconic Migrant Mother, a photograph which has become a symbol of the Great Depression, alongside images of vernacular architecture and landscapes, motifs often overlooked within Lange’s oeuvre.

Vintage prints in the exhibition are complemented by the display of original publications from the 1930s to foreground the widespread use of Lange’s FSA photographs and her influence on authors including John Steinbeck, whose ground-breaking novel The Grapes of Wrath was informed by Lange’s photographs.

Traveling for many months at a time and working in the field, she collaborated extensively with her second husband Paul Schuster Taylor, a prominent social economist and expert in farm labour with whom she published the seminal photo book An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion in 1939, also on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition continues with rarely seen photographs of the internment of more than 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent that Lange produced on commission for the War Relocation Authority following the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Lange’s critical perspective of this little discussed chapter in US history however meant that her photographs remained unpublished during the war and stored at the National Archives in Washington. It is the first time that this series will be shown comprehensively outside of the US and Canada.

Following her documentation of the Japanese American internment, Lange produced a photographic series of the wartime shipyards of Richmond, California with friend and fellow photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984). Lange and Adams documented the war effort in the shipyards for Fortune magazine in 1944, recording the explosive increase in population numbers and the endlessly changing shifts of shipyard workers. Capturing the mass recruitment of workers, Lange turned her camera on both female and black workers, for the first time part of the workforce, and their defiance of sexist and racist attitudes.

The exhibition features several of Lange’s post-war series, when she photographed extensively in California. Her series Public Defender (1955–1957) explores the US legal defence system for the poor and disadvantaged through the work of a public defender at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland. Death of a Valley (1956–57), made in collaboration with photographer Pirkle Jones, documents the disappearance of the small rural town of Monticello in California’s Berryessa Valley as a consequence of the damming of the Putah Creek.

Capturing the destruction of a landscape and traditional way of life, the photographs testify to Lange’s environmentalist politics and have not been displayed or published since the 1960s.

The exhibition concludes with Lange’s series of Ireland (1954), the first made outside the US. Spending six weeks in County Clare in western Ireland, Lange captured the experience of life in and around the farming town of Ennis in stark and evocative photographs that symbolise Lange’s attraction to the traditional life of rural communities.

The exhibition is organized by the Oakland Museum of California with support from the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and the Henry Luce Foundation. The European presentation has been produced in collaboration with Barbican Art Gallery, London and Jeu de Paume, Paris.

NB: The exhibition Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing, situated in the lower galleries of Barbican Art Gallery, is on at the same time as Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds on show in the upper galleries. The ticket gains entry to both exhibitions.

For more information call 0845 120 7550 or visit www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/art-design.

New Royal Academy of Arts opens on May 19, 2018

The Wohl Entrance Hall. Photo credit: Rory Mulvey.

THE Royal Academy of Arts, the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution, will open its new campus to the public on Saturday, May 19, 2018 as part of the celebrations of its 250th anniversary year.

Following a transformational redevelopment, designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new Royal Academy will open up and reveal more of the elements that make the RA unique – sharing with the public historic treasures from its Collection, the work of its Royal Academicians and the Royal Academy Schools, and its role as a centre for debate about art and architecture – alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.

One of the key features of the redevelopment is the new Weston Bridge between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus and creating a new route between Piccadilly and Mayfair. The unified campus provides 70% more public space than the RA’s original Burlington House footprint, enabling the RA to expand its exhibition and events programme, and to create new and free displays of art and architecture across the campus for visitors year-round.

Dedicated galleries and displays exploring its foundation and history in training artists, to changing exhibits and interventions devoted to showcasing contemporary works by Royal Academicians and students at the art school are at the heart of the campus. The display of the Royal Academy Collection has been curated by Royal Academicians and designed by renowned museographer Adrien Gardère.

The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries provides the Royal Academy with an impressive third suite of galleries for temporary exhibitions. Refurbished with state of the art conditions, the galleries are naturally day-lit and will support an exhibition programme of contemporary art and architecture. They will be inaugurated by Tacita Dean’s exhibition LANDSCAPE (May 19 to August 12, 2018).

Since 1768, the Royal Academy’s founding principle has been to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and architecture, which the RA has achieved through a rich public programme of discussion and debate as well as exhibitions. The creation of the new 250-seat Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, the Clore Learning Centre and the restoration of the Wolfson British Academy Room, will give the RA permanent spaces for it to thrive as a hub of learning and debate well into the future.

Animating the campus throughout the year, the RA’s new public events programme will increase in scale and ambition, featuring festivals, major talks and in-conversations, architecture awards, more hands-on creative educational activities for families, schools and community groups, as well as academic courses and classes for adult learners and the newly launched Executive Master in Cultural Leadership, reaching out to new and diverse audiences of all ages in the practice and study of art and architecture.

A new public route through the campus will integrate the Royal Academy Schools, located at the very heart of the Academy, into the visitors’ experience revealing the Academy’s important role in arts education and its long tradition of training artists. The new Weston Studio, a public project space for students and alumni, and views of the Schools’ Corridor and the newly landscaped Lovelace Courtyard, will provide visitors with a greater insight into Britain’s longest established art school.

New spaces to eat, drink and relax include the Senate Room bar and all-day restaurant located within The Dorfman Senate Rooms on the first floor. The room is a magnificent double-height space, formerly the meeting place of the Senate of the University of London. It has been fully restored to the highest conservation standards by David Chipperfield Architects. Further cafes and shops will be located either side of the Burlington Gardens entrance. Other extensive improvements have been made across the campus to create new ticket desks, bathrooms and cloakrooms.

The transformation of the Royal Academy has included the vital conservation of the Grade II listed building of 6 Burlington Gardens. Designed by Sir James Pennethorne (1801 – 1871) as the headquarters for the University of London on a site which had previously been part of the garden of Burlington House, it was regarded as a masterpiece of mid-Victorian architecture. Acquired by the Royal Academy in 2001, its former tenants included the Civil Service Commission, the British Academy and the British Museum’s Museum of Mankind.

The new David Chipperfield designed architecture, together with the careful conservation of the façade, the reinstatement of the lecture theatre and restoration of The Dorfman Senate Rooms by Julian Harrap Architects, will contribute to the nationally renowned significance of Burlington Gardens.

In its 250th year, the new Royal Academy of Arts will become a major cultural destination in central London, with year-round access to a significantly expanded public programme and with more space to make, debate and exhibit art and architecture than ever before.

Opening Weekend of the new Royal Academy of Arts

To celebrate the opening of the new Royal Academy, a weekend-long art party on May 19 and 20 will present free workshops, tours, displays, late-night performances and DJs. Highlights include performances by The Uncollective and Rachael Plays Disco; Collaborative Mural Drawing, Party Hat Making and Architectural Model Making; Rainbow participatory performance in the front hall of Burlington Gardens with Musarc; RA Collection Gallery Tours; and a Family printmaking workshop in the new Clore Learning Centre. All against a backdrop of street food and cocktail bars in the RA’s Annenberg Courtyard.

New Exhibition Spaces and Free Displays

Tacita Dean’s exhibition LANDSCAPE (May 19 to August 12, 2018) will inaugurate the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens. With lead support from Art Fund, the exhibition is part of an unprecedented collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London. It will showcase the internationally-renowned visual artist and Royal Academician Tacita Dean who will explore the genre of landscape in its broadest sense.

The magnificent new Royal Academy Collection Gallery will present The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition highlighting works from the RA Collection, including the ‘Taddei Tondo’ by Michelangelo and the RA’s almost full-size sixteenth century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, along with paintings by Reynolds, Kauffman, Thornhill, Constable, Gainsborough and Turner.

Selected by the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun, it will focus on the first sixty years of the RA, juxtaposing masterpieces from the RA’s teaching collection with Diploma Works by past Royal Academicians. The display of the RA Collection has been supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The Architecture Studio within The Dorfman Senate Rooms will provide a creative space that invites audience engagement with innovative and critical ideas on architecture and its intersection with the arts. It will open with Invisible Landscapes (May 19, 2018 to March 4, 2019), explored in three ‘Acts’ of immersive interventions looking at the impact of digital technology on society.

In contrast, recently conserved architectural casts on display in The Dorfman Architecture Court will convey the tradition of learning to draw from casts of buildings as used historically by students in the RA Schools.

Located at the entrance to the Weston Bridge, which connects Burlington Gardens to Burlington House, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery will stage site-specific installations by Royal Academicians. The first major work will be Tips for a Good Life by Bob and Roberta Smith RA (September 2018 – September 2019), on the subject of gender in the history of the RA.

Moving through to Burlington House, visitors will arrive at the Weston Studio. A changing contemporary series will bring the ethos and thinking of the RA Schools’ postgraduate programme to life with two displays a year and projects developed by students and graduates. It will open with Honeymoon, a group exhibition of works by first year students, revealing their rich use of subjects, approaches, methods and materials.

Going back in time, The Vaults will exhibit The Making of an Artist: Learning to Draw, a formidable selection of plaster casts from the early years of the RA Schools displayed together with works on paper from the RA’s teaching collection, illustrating the RA’s role in the teaching of art since the RA Schools’ foundation in 1769. Works will include anatomical casts and casts of antique sculptures, such as the Venus de Milo and Farnese Hercules, juxtaposed with recent works on related themes by RA Schools graduates.

Works on paper include a special display From The Child To The President about John Everett Millais PRA, who aged 11 started in the RA Schools where he was known as ‘The Child’. The restoration of the Vaults into a public route between the two buildings was supported by The Monument Trust.

Further interventions in Burlington House will include an installation of three-dimensional details from buildings designed by current architect Academicians. Curated by Spencer de Grey RA and displayed across a three-story vertical wall, it will celebrate the work of distinguished British architects (opens June 5).

Image: The Wohl Entrance Hall. Photo credit: Rory Mulvey.