sat 30/05/2020

Visual Arts Galleries

Avedon Warhol, Gagosian Gallery

Marina Vaizey

It is an inspired pairing: iconic images by the American photographer Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and the painter, printmaker and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987), almost all of whose mature work was based on the photographic image. They are together in a large exhibition at Gagosian, Britannia Street, itself one of the largest and most elegant commercial art spaces in London, designed by that cultural architectural duo Caruso St John.

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Lumiere London 2016

David Nice

To liberate traffic-choked city streets for pedestrians, to suspend phantasmagorical, literally high art above their heads and give a sense that London belongs to them: that’s an admirable vision, surely. Artichoke has been wowing the crowds since it brought Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant to town in 2006. Its festivals of light have drawn crowds and prestige to Durham in three alternate years, and to Derry-Londonderry. Could Lumiere work in as diffuse a city as London?

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Søren Dahlgaard’s Dough Portraits

theartsdesk

Can a portrait really be a portrait if we can’t see a person’s face? And what if the reason we can’t see their face is that it is covered with a lump of dough? Is it a joke? And if it is a joke, is it on us or them? Or perhaps it is a joke about art itself: doughy masks aside, Dahlgaard’s portraits are in every other way conventional, and dough is not so dissimilar to clay, a venerable material in the history of art.

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The Amazing World of MC Escher, Dulwich Picture Gallery

theartsdesk

Walls that are floors, floors that are walls, and stairs that go up to go down: in the brain-befuddling art of MC Escher (1898-1972) the mundane everyday meets a world of paradox in which the rules of gravity, space and material reality are thrown into disarray.

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High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson, The Queen’s Gallery

Marina Vaizey

“High Spirits” is a multi-layered title: the caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) was himself a heavy gambler and a heavy drinker, continually using up his material assets in such pursuits. His high spirits extended to the Georgian society he satirised with such robust good humour; high society and even low society attracted his interests, while he also expended enormous energy detailing political and sexual intrigues.

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Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, The Queen’s Gallery

Marina Vaizey

What is it about Vermeer? Just mention the name and there will be queues around the block. Its true that there are a handful of other artists with that charisma, but none so rare as Vermeer. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is not only the subject of a recent novel and a film, but also a kind of poster for Holland as a whole, and the star of the recently reopened Mauritshaus in the Hague.

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Portraits from the 2015 Taylor Wessing Prize

theartsdesk

At first glance David Stewart’s Five Girls 2014, the winning entry in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, is a very ordinary scene. Five young women sit behind a table, obligatory mobile phones within reach and lying amongst the remains of a rather dismal-looking lunch.

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Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, Victoria & Albert Museum

Marina Vaizey

Every object tells a story, nowhere more so than in a museum. The Victoria & Albert has been busy retelling as many stories as it can by rearranging, refurbishing, adding and subtracting from the millions of objects it has at its disposal to display, study and conserve.

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The World of Charles and Ray Eames, Barbican

Marina Vaizey

Chairs, chairs, chairs, as far as the eye can see. Plywood or plastic shells, some decorated with hilarious drawings of jolly nudes by Saul Steinberg (main picture), others in all the colours you can imagine – stacks, in rows, alluring and all so familiar. As it is an exhibition, there is an air of reverence – heaven forbid that you actually have a chair to sit on! - but these chairs have been design icons for well over half a century.

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Gallery: Philip Jones Griffiths' Vietnam

theartsdesk

The most celebrated reportage to come out the Vietnam War was Michael Herr’s Dispatches, rightly acclaimed as the most visceral journey into the dark heart of America’s first military defeat. But unlike all wars before it, Vietnam was a genuinely visual conflict, brought into the homes of the public via television and photojournalism. And among its most accomplished witnesses were two British photographers.

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