mon 30/11/2020

London galleries

Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life, Wellcome Collection

Poster for the First International Hygiene Exhibition, 1911

Weeds, memorably, have been described as merely being plants that grow where we don’t want them. Walking through the Wellcome’s fine new exhibition, we can conclude that the “dirt”, too, is merely material appearing out of its appropriate...

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Art Gallery: The Wellcome's Dirt - The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life

'Monster Soup, commonly called Thames Water' imagines what pestilent creatures may be found in the Thames

There have been exhibitions, indeed even a whole museum, dedicated to cleanliness: the Deutsches Hygiene Museum in Dresden, for instance (image 9), which was founded for the purpose of public education in hygiene and health, but which later embraced...

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Antoine Watteau, Royal Academy and Wallace Collection

As a young man searching for a way to make a living in Paris, Antoine Watteau briefly tried his hand at engraving fashion plates. He seems to have had a natural affinity for cloth and drew its folds and creases with such apparent ease that you can...

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Terje Isungset's Ice Music, Somerset House

Clichés about the frozen North aside, music from the Nordic countries is often described as redolent of glacial landscapes or icy wastelands. But the music of percussionist Terje Isungset goes further – his instruments are carved from Norwegian ice...

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Never the Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts), Camden Arts Centre

Simon Starling’s wonderfully eccentric exhibition Never the Same River (Possible Futures, Probable Pasts) will inevitably mean more to those who have visited the Camden Arts Centre regularly over the years. Places gradually acquire a patina of...

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Cézanne's Card Players, Courtauld Gallery

Give me a small side order of Cézannes over a great feast of Gauguins any day. This small, perfectly formed survey will surely be noted as one of the best exhibitions this year, the type of exhibition at which the Courtauld Gallery clearly excels:...

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'Things' Ain't What They Used To Be

'Things' is a modern play on the traditional cabinet of curiosities

The public works for free. That is the founding principal of modern broadcasting culture. It phones radio stations with its air-filling thoughts on this and that. It monopolises Saturday nights on primetime in singing and dancing and plate-spinning...

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Corinne Bailey Rae, Somerset House

Corinne Bailey Rae: from breezy summer hits to autumnal intensity

Was this a Corinne Bailey Rae audience or a Somerset House audience? “We’re Somerset House fans,” I heard one posh punter proudly tell some friends. Then later I heard a woman talking about the Florence and the Machine gig that she’d missed earlier...

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Resonances at the Wallace Collection

'Classical babe' Natalie Clein is expressive with Walton and Bach

It's an admirable project: to recast the interiors of stately homes as immersive artworks, a musical recital combined with sound installations designed to make the viewer look anew at their surroundings. Certainly as I entered the hallway of...

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Bill Fontana: River Sounding, Somerset House

'River Sounding': 'The ship’s bell seems to toll with maudlin finality'

The fountains have been switched on at Somerset House, and I watched a group of tourists giggling as they picked their way through the water jets. They obviously hadn’t noticed the cheerful sound of running water coming from the edge of the...

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Identity, The Wellcome Collection

Perhaps we think we’ve got the whole thing more or less sewn up in the nurture versus nature debate. DNA profiling, gene studies, twin studies, inherited traits - this is the stuff we read about almost daily and it is all meant to tell us who we are...

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Frieze Week: Art, Parties, People

If there is one thing which I should impress upon you about the Frieze Art Fair, it is do not believe what anyone else says (a good principle for reviewing generally): go and see it yourself this weekend. It is a great day out: Regent’s Park is...

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