Friday 12 October 2018

Art Shows in London

Wellcome Collection
Euston Road
To 3 March 2019
Living with Buildings 
How do buildings affect our health? From the Finsbury Health Centre to Betjeman's "overbright canteens" intended to cheer up the workers. Perhaps Lubetkin's building will look like this again one day.

National Gallery
Mantegna and Bellini 
To 27 Jan 2019
Two giants of the Renaissance. Expect Madonnas, saints and Doges in atmospheric landscapes.

Royal AcademyLondon
To 10 Dec
Art and objects from the Pacific islands – giant canoes, personal ornaments and images of gods.

British Library
To 19 Feb 2019
Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
The invading Normans did their best to rub out all memory of the Anglo-Saxons: they demolished buildings of any size, replaced all Anglo-Saxon functionaries, and forced us all to speak French. They persuaded us that our history began in 1066 and anything before that was "the Dark Ages" during which nothing happened. However, the Anglo-Saxons wrote breathtaking poetry, worked intricate jewellery and illuminated jewel-like manuscripts – marvel at them here. Hwaet!

University College London Gallery
Gower Street
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 1-5pm
The gallery is in the South Cloister: from the main entrance in Gower Street, turn right. The gallery is small, but sculpture is dotted around the university buildings. The university owns the archive of the Slade School of Art, which used to occupy these premises. When I visited, the gallery was showing drawings of drapery by Slade students of the 1930s. Mainly women, the students used each other as models. They studied drapery because it was part of the traditional curriculum. An artist did many studies of figures and clothes before putting them together in a large-scale painting of some significant moment from history. This kind of painting was hardly fashionable by the 30s, but the students clearly appreciated the discipline of observing anatomy and drapery. Accompanying the drawings are modern works on the theme of textiles. As the interwar students used an old-fashioned method of study for their own purpose, the modern artists have used them as inspiration. I was most struck by a large "McCall's" paper pattern. The receptionist and I discussed what it could possibly become - a sombrero? A handbag? Perhaps another young artist will come along and both make and wear this impossible garment. (The exhibition rotates.)

Victoria and Albert MuseumLondon
To 24 Feb 2019
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt 
I've never played a videogame, and I feel I've missed out on a whole art movement. Now I can catch up: the V&A promises concept art, and immersive installations relevant to the most popular videogames. At least I've heard of Minecraft – and Game of Thrones. And today's art students might find it useful to draw each other in medieval robes if they want to work in this field.