Category: Exhibitions

BP Portrait award shortlist announced

April 13 2011

Image of BP Portrait award shortlist announced

Guess which one the media have picked up on? Yup - the one with the naked model handcuffed to a rock (aka, Holly). More here

Leonardo loan to London still at risk?

April 13 2011

Image of Leonardo loan to London still at risk?

Picture: AP

In Poland, some conservation experts are still advising against letting Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine travel to London for the National Gallery's Leonardo exhibition. They believe it is too fragile to be moved. They don't seem to be bothered about the flimsy case they carry it about it, however.

A final decision on whether it can also travel to Berlin and Madrid is expected soon. 

Rembrandt heads East

April 13 2011

Image of Rembrandt heads East

Picture: Hyde Collection

A Rembrandt rarely seen in Europe will be lent to the Louvre's forthcoming exhibition, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus. Christ with Arms Folded belongs to the Hyde Collection in Glenns Falls, NY. The exhibition runs from 21.4.11 to 18.7.11.

Miro's Pubes

April 12 2011

Image of Miro's Pubes

Picture: Fondacio Joan Miro

If, like me, you're looking forward to the new Miro exhibition at Tate Modern (opens 14th April), then can I suggest you don't read the press reviews until after you've been? Since most of them adhere to the Guff Rule - the less paint on a canvas, the more guff a critic invents to describe it - you'll be robbed of the open mind necessary to appreciate Miro when you finally see the works yourselves. Check out Adrian Searle in The Guardian, describing Painting on White Background for the Cell of a Recluse, above:

There's nothing much to the three white canvases. No colour, no forms. Each enormous canvas is painted with a single black line over an unevenly primed white ground. You can tell where the slender brush has run out of paint, is recharged, then continues on its way with the same unknowable purpose, like the passage of an ant or a bird in flight, or the journey the eye makes along a horizon. Or like a long hair lost in the bedsheets, a memory of something or someone.

Exhibitions in the recession

April 12 2011

Image of Exhibitions in the recession

Picture: New York Times

There's an interesting piece by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times about the impact of the recession on loan exhibitions in the US. Last year's Picasso exhibition at the Met was made up exclusively with Met-owned works. 

...many museum directors are finding virtue in necessity. Shows built largely from in-house collections have drawn well, they say, and curators are introducing the public to unsung treasures.

“If the recession has compelled us as museums in this country to focus even more intensely than we have in the past on our collections, that’s a good thing,” said Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art. “Because they’re our primary responsibility.”

Ex Met director, Philippe de Montebello, demurs:

“No collection, no matter how large and rich the museum, is ever deep enough and rich enough in any single area that it can be explored in depth...” 

Is part of the problem the prohibitive expense that has built up around loans? I remember an exhibition here at the gallery in 2007, which included a number of museum loans. One item had to be flown business class with a curator (who needed to be put up in a pricey hotel) - while another arrived in the handbag of someone who came on the tube. The latter object was far more valuable, and to be honest had travelled far more safely too. 

Women war artists at the IWM

April 8 2011

Image of Women war artists at the IWM

Human Laundry, Belsen, 1945, by Doris Zinkeisen. Picture: Imperial War Museum

A new exhibition of paintings and drawings by women war artists opens tomorrow (until 8th Jan 2012) at the Imperial War Museum. A selection of images and more details here, buy the catalogue here

Sir Charles Eastlake exhibition at the National Gallery

April 6 2011

Image of Sir Charles Eastlake exhibition at the National Gallery

A new exhibition at the National Gallery will celebrate the life and achievements of its first director, Sir Charles Eastlake. Art for the Nation (27th July - 30th October) will exhibit some of the works he acquired for the gallery, and the notebooks from his acquisition trips to Italy. Eastlake was also an artist, who was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1850. More on him here

Happy Birthday, Mr President

April 5 2011

Image of Happy Birthday, Mr President

A painting by Gerrit van Honthorst that belonged to James Madison has been restored in time to hang back in its original place in his home, Montpelier, in time for the 4th President's 260th birthday. More here.

Manet at the Musee D'Orsay

April 5 2011

Image of Manet at the Musee D'Orsay

Picture: AFP

Manet - the Man who Invented Modern Art, opened today at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. 140 works, including 84 paintings, closes July 3rd. Richard Dorment gives it 4 stars, and even a video. 

Worth jumping on the Eurostar.

Better glaze that Gauguin...

April 4 2011

Image of Better glaze that Gauguin...

Picture: BBC

A picture by Gauguin on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington has been attacked during an exhibition.

Susan Burns pounded Two Tahitian Women and tried to rip it from a gallery wall on Friday, officials said. The 1899 painting, which depicts two women's bare breasts, was behind a plastic cover and was unharmed. She was charged with attempted theft and destruction of property and is being held pending a mental evaluation.

Re-joining Monet's Water Lilies

April 4 2011

Image of Re-joining Monet's Water Lilies

Picture: Kansas City Star

One of Monet's Water Lily triptychs has been reunited for the first time in thirty years at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas. The three individual panels belong to the St. Louis Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins. More here

Turning Deaccessioning into Art

April 1 2011

Image of Turning Deaccessioning into Art

Next month, I shall be taking part in a conference at the National Gallery on whether major galleries should begin deaccessioning. However, one gallery has jumped the gun: Tate has announced a collaboration with a Turner Prize contender to create an interactive deaccessioning exhibit.

Store/Sell/Destroy No.4 promises to take Michael Landy’s Art Bin concept to a whole new level. A number of low-value, damaged, and less popular paintings will be deaccessioned and shredded, and rewoven into a giant quilt. The stuffing will be made of pulped frames. 

The artist, Korean performance interpretive specialist Ei Pri Fuh, will then sleep under the quilt for the duration of the exhibition. In order to make the installation participative, both Fuh and Tate are hoping that the quilt will be large enough to allow visitors to sleep under it too, subject to a health and safety assessment.

Fuh’s agent said;

Store/Sell/Destroy No.4 will be a commentary on accessioning, deaccessioning and reaccessioning through the creation of a temporal cacophony of orchestrated multi-linear collisions between spatially and historically remote works, set within a rich inheritance of reductive aesthetics. 

Fuh said:

I hope it will be warm.

At the end of the exhibition, the quilt will be sold to benefit Tate’s acquisition fund. 

Update 2.4.11: This was a joke.

That Picasso - too expensive?

March 28 2011

Image of That Picasso - too expensive?

Picture: Tate

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones isn't sure if the The World's Most Expensive Painting (which I mentioned earlier) is really worth the money. Now that it's on display at Tate Modern, Jones asks:

...is it worth the money?

To my surprise, the answer is no. It comes as a surprise because I love Picasso. If money was just numbers (and in the world of high finance and art sales, perhaps it is just numbers), I would not blink at any price quoted for one of his paintings. But this is not la-la land. It is a troubled world with a troubled economy, and the blame for the problem, all sides agree, has something to do with bubbles, credit gorges, fantasy economics. And yet, ever more impossible prices are being paid for paintings.

For now, this Picasso is all about its price tag, and the display at Tate Modern is poisoned if you know its damned value.

I think I agree. However, I see that Jones has changed his tune since this reductionist rant when it was sold at auction in 2010:

The sale of Picasso's 1932 painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust for a new world record price of £70m is a tragedy. Unless it turns out that the anonymous purchaser is a public museum – almost certainly not the case – what has happened here is a theft of world culture, art history and beauty from we, the people, by the super-rich. One of the last great surprises of 20th-century art has come and gone, photographed in the sale room on its journey from one private collection to another. If it appears in exhibitions in the future that will be the result of curators fawning to some billionaire for a peep at what, in reality, should be the cultural property of us all.

Jones is evidently a man of good taste, and doubtless has some nice art of his own. But I bet he wouldn't like it if I walked into his living room, nicked a painting off the wall, and said 'this belongs to the people!' 

British Museum Shakespeare Exhibition in 2012

March 21 2011

Image of British Museum Shakespeare Exhibition in 2012

Picture: National Portrait Gallery

The British Museum is to hold a major Shakespeare exhibition in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. There are few details at the moment, but I'm most interested in which portrait of him they will exhibit.

Above is the National Portrait Gallery's 'Chandos portrait' of Shakespeare - which for me is the best example. Quite a few newspapers, books and magazines these days illustrate the 'Cobbe portrait' which was recently proclaimed 'the only surviving portrait of William Shakespeare painted from life'. Alas, it is most definitely not him

PS - if you're really keen on the idea of the Shakespeare exhibition, you can apply here to be a project curator - £22,907 p.a. Entries close 1st April. 

Five Star Watteau

March 15 2011

Image of Five Star Watteau

Picture: Royal Academy. Detail of Nude Man Kneeling, c.1715/16, Louvre.

The Royal Academy's new exhibition of Watteau's drawings has been given five stars by Alastair Sooke in the Daily Telegraph.

The RA has a selection of the drawings in high-res here

Museum of London new exhibition

March 14 2011

Image of Museum of London new exhibition

Picture: Museum of London. Detail from 'Buy a Rat or a Mouse Trap?' by Rowlandson.

This looks like it's worth a visit; a new exhibition at the Museum of London of rarely seen paintings, drawings and prints showing how London's poor were depicted from the 17th to the 19th century. Exhibition curator Francis Marshall said;

'The Museum of London’s extensive art collection contains many items which are rarely displayed for conservation reasons.  This show offers the chance to see some of our gems: delicate watercolours and prints depicting gritty London subject matter.'

Entry is free, and the show runs from 25th March to 31st July 2011.

More Caravaggio in Rome

March 11 2011

Image of More Caravaggio in Rome

If you're a Caravaggio fan, it's a good time to go to Rome. Not only is there the exhibition of Caravaggio documents in the State Archives, but now a new exhibition at the Museo Diocesano brings together sixty masterpieces by Caravaggio and his contemporaries. It opens today, until 3rd July.

Unsettling sculpture of the week

March 9 2011

Image of Unsettling sculpture of the week

Meet Petra, a life-size sculpture of a female German riot officer. Petra is squatting and urinating. The piece has caused a stir in Germany, but has also won a prestigious prize from the Lienneman Foundation. Its creator, Marcel Walldorf, said;

'The public response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I don't understand why people are attacking Petra. She even contains a special mechanism by which a liquid can be made to flow out of her genitals. But to avoid damaging the gallery's floor, I have substituted a puddle of simulated urine made from gelatine for this exhibition.' 

Important Turners donated to Abbotsford

March 9 2011

Image of Important Turners donated to Abbotsford

Picture: Art Fund. Left, Abbotsford, right, Newark Castle. 

Two watercolours by JMW Turner have been donated to Abbotsford, Walter Scott's home. They were painted in 1831 to illustrate the 1833 edition of Scott's poems. The donor, Phoebe Barrow, chose to donate them through the Art Fund so that they were safeguarded in perpetuity - a smart move in this world of increasing deaccessions. More here

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the museum...

March 4 2011

Image of Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the museum...

Tate Modern will host a Hirst retrospective in 2012 as part of its plans for the Cultural Olympiad.

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