Tuesday 23 July 2013

Art Shows in London and Eastbourne

Tate Britain
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

To 20 October
The critics have been rather mean-spirited about this show. Is Lowry just too popular? Is his reputation terminally tarnished by that dreadful song about "matchstalk men"? HIs simply drawn figures inhabit townscapes showing the sooty terraces where they lived, the churches where they prayed, and the bleak factories where they worked. If you scraped off the crowds, the pictures might look more beautiful, and gain more critical approval, but the grim architecture, polluted rivers and damp wastelands would have no meaning without them.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s To 16 Feb 2014
The Mud Club, the Wag Club, the outrageous clothes and makeup. Sculpt your hair any way you like it! (It's sponsored by Tony and Guy.) Dear V&A, can we have 80s décor next? Meanwhile you can get the look at mirror80.com. (More décor here.)

Dulwich Picture Gallery
An American in  London: Whistler and the Thames
16 October 2013-12 January 2014
Whistler's views of the Thames were strongly influenced by the Japanese art that was coming into fashion at the time. He put them together from sketches made on his many boat trips up and down the river at all times of the day or night. Not everybody liked his impressionist style and layers of thin paint – including art pundit Ruskin. This show includes some of his famous "nocturnes", and the sketches that preceded them.

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
The Lyons Teashop LithographsTo 22 September
In the 50s, the ubiquitous chain of Lyons Teashops commissioned well-known artists of the day – Edward Bawden, John Piper, David Gentleman, John Minton, William Scott and John Nash – to produced series of lithographs for its cafés. The vogue was for observations of Britain's landscape, buildings and social life, in a colourful English romantic style that steals from Blake, Palmer, Thackeray, Leech and Keane. They recorded funfairs, hotels, seafronts, factories, farms, fishermen and the fashions of the day. See some here.

Docklands Museum
To 27 October
The Museum of London Docklands is in a converted Georgian warehouse on West India Quay. This show includes the work of ten artists inspired by the bleak wilderness of the Thames Estuary, a place of grey water, mud, marsh, crumbling fortresses, rotting wood and rusting iron. The artworks range from photography through video to gamelan music.

And if that isn't enough, the Barbican Cinema (now moved from its basement to street level) is running a season films featuring London.

Not by Lowry

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