What’s On – London Art and Design Events October 2016
London art and design events October 2016 brings together two blockbuster exhibitions devoted to rebels – over 400 years apart: Caravaggio at the National Gallery and the 60s exhibition at the V & A.
If we are so spoiled for choice every October, the reason can only be Frieze: that great gilded honey pot, with collectors and curators heading for London in their droves. Look out in particular for Amanita at the Dadiani Gallery and Adriaen van de Velde at Dulwich Picture Gallery. At the vanguard of the new eclecticism is the most excellent PAD, to which all the visiting collectors will be making a most determined beeline. Finally the hyperreal backlit images of Wildlife Photography is unmissable as entertainment – and a valuable record of what we are unfortunately destroying.
12 October 2016 – 15 January 2017 at National Gallery, London
‘Beyond Caravaggio’ brings together exceptional works by Caravaggio and the Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, and Spanish artists he inspired. This is the first exhibition in the UK to explore the influence of Caravaggio – and the phenomenon known as Caravaggism – on the art of his contemporaries and followers.
After the unveiling of Caravaggio’s first public commission in 1600, artists from across Europe flocked to Rome to see his work. Seduced by the pictorial and narrative power of his paintings, many went on to imitate their naturalism and dramatic lighting effects.
Paintings by Caravaggio and his followers were highly sought after in the decades following his untimely death at the age of just 39. By the mid 17th century, however, the Caravaggesque style had fallen out of favour and it would take almost three hundred years for Caravaggio’s reputation to be restored and for his artistic accomplishments to be fully recognised.
Main Image: Cupid asleep in a Landscape, Orazio Riminaldi, about 1628-30. © National Trust Images/John Hammond
BATTLE OF IDEAS
22 - 23 October 2016 at Barbican, London
There’s nothing quite like the Battle of Ideas! This lively annual weekend festival initiated by the Institute of Ideas and organised and supported by a wide range of partners and sponsors, makes virtues of free-thinking and lively exchanges of views on many and varied topics. The festival – now in its twelfth year – has scores of sessions and over 2,500 are expected to attend. There will also be hundreds of insightful and thought-provoking speakers from all over the world, representing a wide range of disciplines and points of view.
This year’s programme includes a varied roster of topical debates on subjects such as populism, the American elections and the rise of the Donald; Brexit and the related issues of cosmopolitanism, sovereignty, the economy, farming and food self sufficiency; the turbulence among traditional political parties; the attempted coup in Turkey, the soft coup in Brazil; cultural appropriation and the return of Brutalism.
“But this is no counsel of despair” says Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, “The dramatic vote for Brexit showed an increasing willingness to engage with politics after decades when it seemed Margaret Thatcher’s dictum – ‘there is no alternative’ – had been proven right for all time. There is so much to talk about – not just politics, but culture, education, science and technology, too. And the Battle of Ideas epitomises how we should conduct those debates – serious but not po-faced, heated but respectful, challenging received wisdoms and new orthodoxies alike… Expect to leave the festival inspired and invigorated!”
AMANITA – RUSSIAN ALPHABET- SELECTED WORKS
29 September – 31 October 2016 at Dadiani Fine Art, Cork St, London
Amanita’s faultless craftsmanship stuns and delights viewers; his capacity for outstanding endurance is reminiscent of medieval manuscript illustrators. It takes him many weeks of extremely skilful and patient work to finish every graphic piece.
‘Amanita’s work is mesmerising, not only for his phenomenal craftsmanship with ink, but also for its wry political humour in the vast context of Soviet history.’
– Thomas Heatherwick
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR 2016
21 October 2016 – 20 September 2017 at Natural History Museum, London
It’s a bittersweet pleasure to admire these ingenious photographs of the amazing creatures who co-habit this planet with us. That is because this year’s exhibition rather poignantly comes moments after a rather sobering CITES meeting. CITES has announced that we are facing a global “extinction crisis” facing many species that is the most critical in its history.
So I wonder if when we look at clever photographs of foxes or monkeys in urban environments, we stop to think that they are here because we are squeezing them out of their habitats? When we look at stunning photographs of shoals of fish – do we realise that we are emptying the oceans of life?
The legitimate global imports of wildlife products are now worth more than $300bn (£200bn) a year; and when you add that to that the ruinous black market trade that has collapsed elephant and rhino numbers – then we see the scale of the problem. The question is who will stand up for animals? Meanwhile we can be entertained by this well-intentioned show.
3 – 9 October 2016 at Berkeley Square, London
Once again one of the most exciting exhibitions for both collectors and decorators returns to London’s Berkeley Square. Inspiring a unique spirit of collecting, PAD epitomises how modern art, photography, design, decorative and tribal arts interact to reveal astonishing combinations and create the most individual and staggering interiors. Prominent international galleries from major cities across Europe, North America and Asia come together to offer an exceptional panorama of the most coveted and iconic works available on the market today.
PAD is a place to discover and acquire pieces of museum quality with a distinct history. PAD cultivates eclecticism, authenticity and connoisseurship with passion and flair. Its boutique setting is designed to inspire collectors, art consultants, museum experts, interiors specialists, design practitioners and the public alike, making PAD the only event of its kind.
ADRIAEN VAN DE VELDE – DUTCH MASTER OF LANDSCAPE
12 October 2016 – 15 January 2017 at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
The Dulwich Picture Gallery once again brings us another exciting exhibition of a little known great master. This is the first ever exhibition devoted to the Dutch painter and draughtsman Adriaen van de Velde (1636 – 1672). Van de Velde tragically only lived until the age of 35, but this prolific artist – whose many masterpieces were to earn him posthumous fame – is recognised as one of the finest landscape artists of the Dutch Golden Age.
A Dutch Italian, Van de Velde represents a point of artistic cross-communication across borders, fusing agricultural landscapes in Holland with mythological Arcadian scenes in Italian settings. Compared by the renowned art historian Wolfgang Stechow (1896-1974) to Mozart’s chamber music, Van de Velde’s paintings are delicate, carefully composed and demonstrate his mastery of lighting effects as well as the human figure.
As well as bringing together 60 works, the exhibition will reunite these paintings with their preparatory studies in red chalk or pen and ink for the first time. The exhibition will offer not only a survey of the artist’s oeuvre but also a rare glimpse of a seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painter at work, from conception to completion.
YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION? RECORDS AND REBELS 1966-1970
Until 26 February 2017 at the V & A, London
This blockbuster of an exhibition examines whether the finished and unfinished revolutions of the late 60s and its counterculture changed the way we live today and think about the future. Exploring the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s, expressed through some of the most popular music and performances of the twentieth century alongside fashion, film, design and political activism.
The extraordinary volume and diversity of exhibits and cacophony of colours and sounds is appropriately mind-blowing. There’s Barbarella of course, Twiggy-themed coathangers, the Sergeant Pepper uniforms, John Peel’s record collection, and CIA handbills that aimed to disrupt the Black Panther movement. If that isn’t enough there’s also a whole room carpeted with fake grass, recreating the Woodstock festival on vast screens, which you can enjoy from the obligatory bean bag. As you leave – the suggestion is correctly made that 60s counterculture led to the green movement; rather confusingly however the exhibition also suggests that it led to the rise of home computers and the internet.
Following on from one blockbuster after another, like the amazing McQueen show and 2013’s wildly successful David Bowie Is – that is still touring three years on – Martin Roth, the director will be bowing out with style.
WINTER ART AND ANTIQUES FAIR – OLYMPIA
31 October – 6 November at Olympia, London
The Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia returns to London for the 26th year with an impressive dealer lineup of 100 of the world’s leading specialist exhibitors. The exhibition is a key event in the art and antiques winter calendar, with dealers showing around 33,000 items from antiquity to the present day and prices ranging from £100 to £1million.
The show is popular with collectors, interior designers and those looking for exceptional pieces for stylish interiors. A full programme of talks accompanies the exhibition. Look out for interior designer Rachel Laxer, who will be discussing her formula for creating interiors that increase in value over time.
FRIEZE ART FAIR
6 – 9 October 2016 at Regent’s Park, London
The art market bonanza gets underway with the 14th edition of Frieze Art Fair this month, bringing together 160 of the world’s leading galleries representing over 1,000 artists. In 2016 the fair will debut a new gallery section, The Nineties, recreating seminal exhibitions from the decade, alongside the return of sections Focus and Live – platforms for emerging galleries and performance art respectively. Look out for the immersive light installation by James Turrell.
Frieze London coincides with Frieze Masters and the Frieze Sculpture Park. The Sculpture Park will be open from 5 October 2016 – 8 January 2017. Selected by Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park), 20 works by 20th century masters and contemporary talents will be placed throughout the English Gardens of The Regent’s Park, creating a free outdoor exhibition at the centre of London.
THE DECORATIVE ANTIQUES AND TEXTILES FAIR
27 September – 2 October 2016 at Battersea Park, London
This very popular and enjoyable show is unusual in that it has responded to decorators seeking unusual antiques and 20th century designs for home interiors. There is much that is genuinely idiosyncratic and prices are generally affordable. Exhibitors are encouraged to show their wares in room sets, which is an inspiring way to see how items may be displayed.
The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair was launched in 1985, the first to specifically unite the antiques and interior design trades. Today there are three events a year: a Winter Fair in January, a Spring Fair in April and an Autumn Fair during the busy ‘design season’ in late September./p>
Until 30 October 2016 at Tate Modern, London
A century after her New York debut, Tate Modern presents a major retrospective of the American modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe. This is the first important solo institutional exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK for a generation. O’Keeffe’s work is reviewed in depth and her place in the canon of twentieth-century art is reassessed. The exhibition situates her within the artistic circles of her own generation and also indicates her influence on artists of subsequent generations.
Recognised as a foundational figure of American modernism, O’ Keeffe – who was born in the late 1880s – has secured a central place within the mainstream art world from the 1910s to the 1970s. This exhibition will relate her practice back through the American tradition of landscape painting – in which she excelled – as well as forward to anticipate the gendered landscapes and statements of feminist artists of later generations. For this reason, as well as her enduring engagement with abstraction and landscape, the serialised, increasingly economic and stylised paintings of the southwestern locations called the ‘Black Place’ and the ‘White Place’, will be at the heart of the exhibition.
A fascinating perspective of the exhibition is O’Keeffe’s professional and personal relationship with Alfred Stieglitz; photographer, modern art promoter and the artist’s husband. Stieglitz gave O’Keeffe access to the most current developments in avant-garde art. She – however – employed these influences and opportunities to her own objectives. Though sometimes turbulent, this was a largely fruitful relationship that brought about reciprocal influence and exchange.
Of course the enduring popular notion is that O’Keeffe was simply a painter of flowers – and this is a conception she faced during her lifetime. This exhibition will consider these remarkable flower works in the context of her overall production as multi-layered images. Rather ambitiously the show aims to demonstrate their connection to abstraction, gendered imagery, bodily analogy and Freudian interpretations, and to her spiritual engagement with the landscape.
Until 9 October 2016 at Tate Britain, London
Pablo Bronstein is the latest in a series of celebrated British artists to create a site-specific work in response to the imposing Duveen galleries which sit at the heart of Tate Britain.
Bronstein is known for his interest in pre-20th century European design and architecture and for creating often satirical performances which fuse modern and historic elements commenting on art and its place in society.
This, his most ambitious project to date, takes inspiration from the neo-classical surroundings of the Duveen galleries and the artist’s interest in the Baroque period to create a continuous live performance. Dancers will move through the galleries interacting with architectural elements, creating a spectacle not to be missed.
Until 30 October 2016 at the Palace of Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles has put on a number of high profile exhibitions over the last eight years – and this year is the turn of the extraordinary Olafur Eliasson. Anyone who ever saw his striking installation – ‘Weather Project’ (2003) – in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, will never forget it. That powerful installation was viewed by more than two million people.
The exhibition – that is well worth travelling out for – comprises of pieces of radically different scale and medium both within the palace and also outside in the gardens. The exterior works all relate to the various states of water – fluid, fog, and glacial. The most astonishing piece is a monumental waterfall in the canal on the central axis of the garden, made possible by a tall crane. This spectacular device references an unrealised design by Andre Le Notre.
Inside the chateau, mirrors and light are variously used to confuse perceptions. This appears to be a nod to the magnificent sun of his Turbine Hall installation. The Sun King himself would doubtless have approved.
STATES OF MIND: TRACING THE EDGES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Until 16 October 2016 at Welcome Collection, London
The Welcome Collection always put on art exhibitions that mine the deeper scientific bedrock of art and creativity. This series of changing installations is no exception as it examines perspectives from artists, psychologists, philosophers and neuroscientists to interrogate our understanding of the conscious experience.
The focus is on phenomena such as somnambulism, mesmerism, and disorders of memory and consciousness, the exhibition looks at ideas around the nature of consciousness, and in particular what can happen when our typical conscious experience is interrupted, damaged or undermined.
VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
V&A, Kensington, London
The V&A – which is of course many people’s favourite museum in London – is flying high, having been named Museum of the Year 2016. It has won the UK’s largest arts prize, for providing visitors with what judges called an unforgettable experience. The London museum was praised for an exhibition programme that included its most visited ever show, an Alexander McQueen retrospective, and the opening of restored permanent galleries devoted to European arts and crafts from 1600-1815. More than 493,043 visitors from 87 countries went to the McQueen show – Savage Beauty – making it the museum’s most visited exhibition.
From its excellent temporary exhibitions on subjects as varied as Botticelli, Bowie or underwear, to its magnificent collections and beautiful spaces and Italianate courtyard, the V&A is one of the best experiences in town.
SERPENTINE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAMME 2016
Until 9 October 2016 at Hyde Park, London
For 16 years the Serpentine Pavilion has become an international site for architectural experimentation, presenting inspirational temporary structures by some of the world’s greatest architects. In fact it is also one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world, and a much anticipated London event. As always, the brief is to design a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café that is open to all throughout the summer. With the aim of introducing new talent into the UK’s built environment, architects are selected from those who are yet to build a permanent building in the UK.
This year there will be not one – but four architects each commissioned to design a 25 m2 Summer House. The inspiration for the Summer Houses is the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical style summer house, built in 1734 and a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery.
Bjarke Ingels Group’s structure is described as an ‘unzipped wall’ that is transformed from straight line to three-dimensional space, creating a dramatic structure that by day houses a café and by night becomes a space for the Serpentine’s Park Nights programme of performances. Kunlé Adeyemi’s contribution is an inverse replica of Queen Caroline’s Temple – recomposed into a sculptural object. Barkow Leibinger was inspired by another, no longer extant, 18th Century pavilion also designed by William Kent, which rotated and offered 360 degree views of the Park. Yona Friedman’s Summer House takes the form of a modular structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different formations and builds upon the architect’s pioneering project La Ville Spatiale begun in the late 1950s. Asif Khan’s offering takes its cue from the fact that Queen Caroline’s Temple was positioned in a way that would allow it to catch the sunlight from the Serpentine lake.
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