21st Nov 2011 12:17pm | By Editor
Here's our round up of London's best arty exhibitions going on right now
Take a step back in time to the gallery’s landmark 1961 show that displayed the block-colour works of Mark Rothko in Britain for the first time. His Light Red Over Black (1957) was the first work to be bought by a British public collection. Great stuff.
Until Feb 26
77-82 Whitechapel High Street, City of London, E1 7QX
Tube: Aldgate East
Know what post modernism is? Well head here to see works infused with the complexity and contradiction typical of art from that era. Spread over three rooms, this blockbuster exhibition documents wall-sized quotes, photos of architectural flim-flam – such as the James Wines showroom for BEST products in Houston, Texas – hideous pieces of furniture, plus Grace Jones’s maternity dress, and David Byrne’s square-cut baggy suit, all displayed in a pseudo-industrial nightclub with the strains of Laurie Anderson’s O Superman played overhead.
Until Jan 15
Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Tube: South Kensington
Evocative images by George Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley, marking 100 years since Captain Scott’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole.
Until April 15
Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA
Tube: St James’s Park
As OMA opens its first building in the capital – Rothschild Bank HQ in the City – this exhibition looks at the unconventional, inventive and daring ideas of the architectural firm.
Until Feb 19
Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
A shortlist of striking portraits have been whittled down from more than 6000 entries in this prestigious prize, including Jooney Woodward’s winner, Harriet And Gentleman Jack, depicting a flame-haired girl cradling a guinea pig (pictured). You’ll also see Keira Knightley’s pouty mug, and a sunkissed Peter Crouch.
Untii Feb 12
Saint Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE
Tube: Leicester Square
This is a major retrospective of one of the world’s greatest and most enduring artists, spanning five decades. Best known for his diversity, Gerhard Richter painted in styles at opposite ends of the spectrum, from photorealism (seen in the famous portrait of his daughter, Betty) to abstract Yellow-Green, a monster painting dashed with huge brush strokes). Art buffs will spot references to Titian, Vermeer and Caspar David Friedrich, plus, 20th-century art movements such as minimalism, Op Art and Pop. Richter also often paints in response to historical moments, including Nazism in Germany, and 9/11.
Until Jan 8
Sumner St, Bankside, SE1 9TG
Tube: London Bridge
See the eclectic collection of art crafted by the Brazilian founder of the Neo-Concrete movement, which largely mixed art and everyday life. Many of Lygia Pape’s works were her response to the political repression growing in her homeland in the late Sixties and reflected the artist’s strongly critical views on Brazil’s elite.
Dec 7-Feb 19
Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
Tube: Lancaster Gate
This is a remarkable exhibition of more than 100 miniature paintings borrowed from collections in Mexico City and the Bajío region. Mexican votives are usually on tin roof tiles or small plaques, through which a believer asks a saint for help and deliverance from disaster and death. The paintings are exhibited alongside images, news reports, photographs, devotional artefacts, film and interviews to encapsulate the tradition.
Until Feb 26
183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE
Modern warfare belies a rich culture of art, film, music and fashion in the Middle East and North Africa. That subculture is given a stage at this small event, which, unsurprisingly, mostly documents conflict and political struggle.
Until Nov 30
12 Holland Park Rd, W14 8LZ
Tube: High Street Kensington
The great war photographer rests his frame not on scenes of direct warfare, but on the ones that give it context. Here, there are more than 50 black and white deeply emotive photographs, all processed in a darkroom. They include people looking confused on a Berlin street as the wall is erected in 1961. Also, the disquieting filthy bearded face of a homeless Irishman in east London, plus the urban landscapes of northern England, dated from the 1960s onwards, reflect the harsh reality of life in post-war Britain. Don McCullin quotes on an info board: “Photography isn’t looking, it’s feeling.”
Until March 4
Millbank, SW1P 4RG
Mauro Perucchetti uses Swarovski crystals, polished steel, glass and gold leaf to fashion eye-catching sculptures that serve to comment on our modern excesses.
Until Dec 24
2nd Floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
Check out the jigsaw of painstakingly detailed pencil drawings of the imaginary metropolis of Nobson Newtown. It’s utterly monumental.
Until Dec 17; FREE
6-24 Britannia St, WC1X 9JD
Tube: King’s Cross St Pancras
One of the UK’s greatest eccentrics shows off his new work, inspired by the afterlife of his imaginary world. There are vases covered in witty captions, elaborate tapestries, and the centrepiece, a richly decorated cast-iron coffin-ship. They are displayed alongside the genuine
articles from civilisations past. It’s high craftsmanship.
Until Feb 19; £10
Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
Tube: Tottenham Court Road
This exhibition sheds light on Edgar Degas’s fascination with the moving figure, particularly in the 1870s, when art and photography were closely bound, and the Impressionists, of which Degas was a leading figure, became the first to use photographs as models. Here, you see the artist’s more ambitious snapshots of movement (Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer’s Opera, Robert le Diable –1876), plus the most innovative sculpture of the 19th century, Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen (1880-81) – a wax figure in a fabric tutu, with real hair and ballet slippers.
Until Dec 11; £14
Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
The American artist is known for his outlandish and outrageous paintings, particularly his ghoulishly playful portraits depicting varied mental states, including that of the Queen. See the New Yorker’s provocative body of work in his very first retrospective.
Until Jan 8; £10
Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
Where in the Seventies, Jeff Wall, a Canadian, once railed against the orthodox with his unique use of coloured transparencies set within lightboxes, here he exhibits more traditional prints (they sell for millions). But his method has remained unchanged – Walls likes to experience a moment before even introducing a camera, then carefully composes his photographs, sometimes involving sets and actors.
Nov 23-Jan 7; FREE
25–26 Mason’s Yard, SW1Y 6BU
Tube: Green Park
A charmingly-disarming piece of theatre for all.
Your what's on guide to the top events in London this month...
A courtroom drama with its fair share of bite