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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Exhibition Review: Frank Bowling at Tate Britain from 31 May to 26 August 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Tate Britain presents the first major retrospective of work by Frank Bowling. This comprehensive exhibition spans the full range of Bowling’s six-decade career, bringing together rarely seen works and the artist’s best known works. Bowling was born in Guyana (then British Guiana) and moved to London in 1953. While serving in the RAF he met Keith Critchlow, who introduced him to the London art scene. Although Bowling was initially interested in poetry, he went on to study at the Royal College of Art alongside David Hockney and R.B Kitaj and became the first Black artist nominated as a Royal Academician.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Bowling’s early work reflected the political and social turmoil around him but he was always keen not to be pigeon holed in one particular genre. At this time the artist used figuration and abstraction in his work.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1966, Bowling moved to New York and spent most of the following decade in the city. The large canvas of Bowling’s Variety Store 1967 provide evidence of the artist’s ability to use a number of different elements in his work.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gradually his work became more abstract, Ten of Bowling’s celebrated ‘Map Paintings’ created during this period are featured in the exhibition. These paintings comprise fields of colour overlaid with stenciled maps of the world which often allow Latin America and Africa dominate the canvas.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Bowling in the 1970s began to experiment with ‘Poured Paintings’, in which the artist would pouring acrylic paint from different heights to create rivers of colour and fluidity.

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The rooms in the exhibition entitled Cosmic Space and More Land than Landscape includes works that began to build texture on the canvas using a wide variety of objects.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

There is a change of pace in the Water and Light room in which Bowling in his Great Thames series combines his abstract paintings with light that is a reflection of his admiration for British landscape painters such as Turner and Constable.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The last two rooms called Layering and Stitching, and Explosive Experimentation illustrates that despite his advanced years, Bowling is still experimenting with stitching canvases together to create a variety of effects.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This attractive and enjoyable exhibition provides evidence that the work of Frank Bowling deserves greater recognition. The artist has always been considered something of an outsider in the art world. One of the possible reasons for this is the artist has been difficult to pin down to a particular school due to his constant experimentation. However a common theme throughout all is work is a vibrancy and dynamic use of colour. Even at 85, Bowling is still exploring with geometry and the fluidity of paint on canvas, this exhibition is a testament to Bowling’s confidence to find his own artistic voice  and his ability not to pander to fad and fashion.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review- Lee Krasner: Living Colour at the Barbican Art Gallery from 30 May to 1 September 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Barbican Art Gallery presents the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984). The exhibition entitled Lee Krasner: Living Colour features nearly 100 works, many are on show in the UK for the first time and covers her 50-year artistic career.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Krasner is considered one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism, however her importance as an artist has been eclipsed by interest in her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Krasner was born in Brooklyn in 1908 and studied art in New York, some of her early self portraits and life drawings are featured in the exhibition.

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The opening of the Museum of Modern Art in 1929 had a considerable influence on her art especially the work of Picasso and Matisse. In 1937, Krasner joined the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, where she made friends with Ray Eames, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.

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The section in the exhibition called War Service Windows illustrates Krasner’s work for the War Service Project where she supervised fellow artist Jackson Pollock.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1945, Krasner married Jackson Pollock and they moved to Springs, Long Island, Krasner began to work on her Little Images series which features Mosaic Table.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the summer of 1956, Krasner painted a series of paintings that were unlike anything she had painted before. The paintings under the title of Prophecy features contorted body forms and may have reflected Pollock’s problems with alcoholism. Pollock was to die in a car crash in August 1956 and Krasner became a widow at 47.

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Krasner took over Pollock’s studio and began to tackle larger scale paintings, the dark Night Journeys series indicates this was a difficult time with Krasner also losing her mother.

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In the early 1960s, the dark period of Night Journeys gave way the exuberant colour of the Primary Series. Inspired by her artistic hero Matisse, Krasner produced large dramatic paintings full of energy and life.

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This style of painting was overtaken in the 1970s by a move to more hard abstract forms with a colourful but more subdued palette.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A fascinating filmed interview in the exhibition gives some insight into the life of Lee Krasner and portrays her strength as a person and an artist. She often acknowledged that the lack of attention to her work had often been a blessing because she could have freedom to follow any particular direction that interested her.

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This intriguing exhibition provides some of the attention that her work deserves in Europe. Although Abstract Expressionism often goes in and out of fashion, this exhibition illustrates the wide range of Krasner’s work over a 50 year period.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets , visit the Barbican website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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London Sculptures: The Young Lovers by Georg Ehrlich in the Festival Gardens in London


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Two Lovers statue by Georg Ehrlich features a young man and woman joined in an embrace in Festival Gardens with a dramatic backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was installed in the garden in 1973.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Georg Ehrlich was a Austrian sculptor who was born and studied in Vienna, during the First World War he served in the Austrian Army. After short stays in Munich and Berlin. he began to get some recognition for his etchings and lithographs. But returned to Vienna in 1924, and began to concentrate on building a career as a sculptor.

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In 1930 he married the artist Bettina Bauer. After the rise of the Nazi’s, Ehrlich decided that it was too dangerous for them to be in Austria and they moved to London. Ehrlich became a British citizen in 1947 and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1962.

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Ehrlich’s work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1932, 1934, 1936 and 1958 and he won a gold medal at the Paris World Exposition in 1937.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The artist has works in the Tate Gallery, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. He died in Switzerland in 1966 and was buried in Vienna.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Exhibition Review: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at the Queen’s Gallery from 24 May to 13 October 2019


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace presents a major new exhibition entitled Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing which features over 200 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in over 65 years. The exhibition marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death and follows a series of 12 simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo’s drawings from the Royal Collection at museums and galleries across the UK, which have attracted more than one million visitors.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Royal Collection has one of the largest collections of Leonardo’s drawings which cover a wide range of the artist’s interests. The exhibition features works on painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

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Although Leonardo da Vinci is famous for his paintings, in his lifetime he completed only around 20 paintings. The exhibition explores Leonardo as the ‘Renaissance man’, full of varied interests and skills. Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is organised both chronologically and thematically and include artistic projects that stretched on for years or even decades.

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Whilst many artists use drawings for a quick outline or for practice, Leonardo’s drawings are often very different with remarkable detail. His approach would be considered today ‘scientific’ with the drawings accompanying ideas about anatomy, mechanics, light, water, botany and much more.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The first room includes the well known portrait of Leonardo by his pupil Francesco Melzi (A portrait of Leonardo c.1515–18) and the leather bound album created by sculptor Pompeo Leoni around 1590.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The album contained around 600 drawings and entered into the Royal Collection during the reign of Charles II.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include anatomical studies include The fetus in the womb (c.1511), The heart and coronary vessels (c.1511–13) and The cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman (c.1509–10). Leonardo was allowed to dissect 30 human corpses with the intention of compiling an illustrated treatise on anatomy.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Remarkably there are the only six surviving preparatory studies for the Last Supper (1495–8), the painting still exists but it has been drastically changed over the centuries and these drawings give impressions of how it would looked originally.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Leonardo was fascinated by the natural world and drew landscapes, studies of water, flowers and animals. There are many drawings of horses throughout Leonardo’s work, which including studies for three equestrian monuments that were never completed.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Among the drawings are a series of sketches that he used in preparation for the now lost painting Leda and the Swan.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Leonardo is not known for his cartography skills, but a series of drawings including A map of Imola (1502) were created using highly accurate techniques of measurement.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Preparatory studies for paintings include studies for Salvator Mundi (c.1504–8) and The Madonna and Child with St Anne and a lamb (c.1508–19).

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

All the drawings are not with serious intentions, Leonardo did drawings of costumes for court events, head studies, satires on growing old, grotesque people and animals.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the last sections is much darker, his drawings of the Deluge can be interpreted as the artist looking towards his own mortality.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This remarkable exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to understand why Leonardo is seen as the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’. Not only was his range of interests broad but he indulged them all with a scientific outlook that was often years or centuries ahead of his time. His artist skills are shown even in smallest drawings with incredible levels of detail and beautiful execution. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see a large number of extraordinary works and gain some understanding of why we still are fascinated by the many talents of Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years since he died.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review: Secret Rivers at the Museum of London Docklands – 24th May to 27th October 2019

The River Thames has played a vital role in the development of London, however for centuries there were a series of waterways in the capital that have mostly disappeared. The history of some of these waterways is the focus of a new major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. The exhibition entitled Secret Rivers uses archaeological artefacts, art, photography and film to reveal the stories of London’s rivers, streams, and brooks, exploring why many of them have been lost over time.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition begins by looking at some of the ‘Secrets of the Thames’, one of those secrets is over 250 Bronze Age human skeletal remains that were found in Mortlake. Whilst the remains confirm the presence of human habitation in this period, but how and why they died in this location remains a mystery.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Sacred Rivers section includes remains from Roman Londinium found in the Walbrook River, during archaeological excavations there is evidence that Roman Londoners used the Walbrook to transport goods, metal working and other industrial activity. Other objects found like Venus figurines and stylii seem to have a more ritual intention.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Biography of a River section tells the story of the River Fleet which was considered London’s most important river after the Thames. Known for centuries for being clogged up with filth, the exhibition shows the Fleet is a very different way with a oil painting called Entrance to the River Fleet by Samuel Scott. The artist was a disciple of Venetian painter Canaletto and shows the Fleet entrance with a bridge across that looks more like Venice than London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

An unusual find from the Fleet in the exhibition is a medieval oak triple toilet seat from the mid 12th century, the toilet would have been for private use in a building in Fleet Street.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Poverty and Pleasure section illustrates that the rivers and streams were often used for a number of reasons. When the River Westbourne was blocked in Hyde Park it created the Serpentine Lake which often froze in the winter. A comic painting entitled Skating on the Serpentine, 1786 by Thomas Rowlandson shows people from a variety of social backgrounds ‘enjoying’ a skate upon the ice.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A less enjoyable water view is Folly Ditch, Jacob’s Island, 1887 by James Lawson Stewart, this area was considered a disease hotspot because of poisoned water open ditches. The area was made famous by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist, it was where murderous Bill Sikes comes to a sticky end.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Many of the rivers and streams were utilised by the large scale sewerage works in the 19th century especially those constructed by Joseph Bazalgette. During the construction of the London sewerage system the rivers became covered by culverts and used as storm sewers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The rivers may have disappeared from sight but the names often carried on in the area and gained an almost mystical quality. The River Effra, Fleet, Neckinger, Lea, Wandle, Tyburn, Walbrook and Westbourne in particular began to intrigue various people in the 1990s and the ‘Daylighting’ section looks at the Still Waters project by the Effra Redevelopment Agency. Although much of this project was a ‘spoof’ on London developers, the idea that rivers could be restored to the daylight began to be taken seriously.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Toward the end of the exhibition, artists look at the idea of ‘renewal’ with Data Flow, 2019 by Michael Takeo Magruder and a series of modern books that reference the old rivers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This interesting and engaging free exhibition tells the largely unknown story of London’s lost rivers and streams. These waterways played an important role in the function of the city, however as the city grew, so did the waste that was often dumped into the water. The rise of water borne diseases like cholera led to action in the form of modern sewers developed during the 19th century. Therefore it is quite ironic that there is a movement to bring these rivers back into the ‘daylight’, as the exhibition illustrates for centuries these waterways were far from idyllic but full of all manner of filth and disease.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the Museum of London Dockland website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review: Manga at the British Museum – 23 May to 26 August 2019


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The British Museum presents the largest exhibition of manga ever held outside of Japan. Manga is the generic name for Japanese comic books or graphic novels which are often serialised in magazines and are now read by a global audience. Manga has developed into multi-billion-pound industry that embraces anime, television, film and gaming. Despite its modern visual style, manga’s original style is associated with the great 19th-century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai whose drawings of people, animals and nature were published as ‘Hokusai Manga’.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition begins by exploring the the influences upon manga, whilst some artists have looked way back into Japan’s past for inspiration, it is considered that cartoonists Kitazawa Rakuten and Okamoto Ippei are the first modern manga artists. Their work inspired manga legend Tezuka Osamu who created Astro Boy.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Over the 20th and 21st century, manga has evolved with a wide range of styles and subject matter. This particularly Japanese form of immersive story telling with unique characters and embracing universal issues has now grown to be a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the remarkable Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain loaned by the Waseda University Theatre Museum, Tokyo. At 17 metres long and 4 metres high, this giant curtain was originally made to be displayed between acts at the Shintomiza kabuki theatre and is displayed along one wall of the Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery. Created in 1880 by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai, the curtain features painted demons and ghosts which create worlds of reality and fantasy. Due to its fragile nature, this will probably the last time the curtain will travel outside Japan.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Throughout the visually stunning displays are works from a number of internationally famous manga artists; including Tezuka Osamu (Astro Boy and Princess Knight), Akatsuka Fujio (Eel Dog), Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball), Inoue Takehiko (Vagabond and REAL), Oda Eiichirō (ONE PIECE), Hagio Moto (Poe Clan), Takemiya Keiko (The Poem of Wind and Trees), Kōno Fumiyo (Gigatown) and Higashimura Akiko (Princess Jellyfish).

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Visitors can enter a rendering  of the oldest surviving manga bookshop in Tokyo, explore artists drawing and understand some of the processes of producing the incredible range of manga. Although manga is considered for the young, the exhibition provides evidence that there really is something for all ages.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the great success stories in the genre is ONE PIECE written by Oda Eiichirō which broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most copies sold for the same title by a single author. The story chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his band of pirates as they travel the seas in search of the world’s greatest treasure, the legendary ‘One Piece’.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Another great success story is Studio Ghibli whose films like Spirited Away has recieved global acclaim, at the end of the exhibition on some large screens you can see the master at work and clips from the films.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition tells the remarkable story of how a Japanese visual medium conquered the world. Part of Manga’s appeal is that it can use a variety of sources and produce something original with universal themes. Whilst respecting the past, manga often deals with issues of the present and predicts some future advances.

Tagame Gengoro – © 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

However within these global adventures, traditional themes like being true to yourself and friendship are considered very important. Manga with all its outlandish characters is often more concerned with different types of human identity. Playing with your identity is all part of the genre which allows readers to immerse themselves in characters with various large Cosplay events.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

For more information and tickets, visit the British Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

A Short Guide to Mudchute Park and Farm on the Isle of Dogs

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A short distance from the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf is one of the largest city farms in Europe. This strange mix of urban and rural makes Mudchute Park and Farm a unique attraction for visitors.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Isle of Dogs is one of the fastest growing parts of London with a large number of developments, however this is relatively recent phenomenon. Up to the mid 18th century, the vast majority of the Isle of Dogs was uninhabited and used as pastures for animals.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The large open space where the Mudchute Park and Farm now stands was once grazing land until the mid 19th century when during the building of the nearby Millwall Docks led to the space being used for storage of millions of bricks. After the docks were completed, the area was used to dump the mud that was dredged from Millwall Dock. This mud was transferred from the dock to the field by a pipe leading to the area being called Mudchute. Over time the mud accumulated to create small hills and bumps, but towards the end of the 19th century there was concerns when the mudfield was considered a health hazard and the pipe which was discontinued in 1910.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After the first World War, the area was used for allotments . At the beginning of the Second World War, the land was used for gun placements to attack the aircraft bombing the docks ( there is an Ack Ack gun in the farm to pay tribute to those who risked their lives). After the war, there were a number of schemes to use the land for housing. However a campaign by local residents and supporters led to the creation of an urban farm in 1977.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Since then Mudchute Park and Farm has developed into one of the largest city farms in Europe covering 32 acres and is maintained largely by local volunteers. The farm and park has worked hard to create diverse environment that attracts all forms of wild life.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Farm animals have been introduced over the years to give visitors a variety of experience, with a strong educational aspect with close ties with local schools and other community groups.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst most visitors come from the local area, the farm and park has increased its visibility to attract visitors from further afield.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Mudchute Park and Farm is one of the hidden gems of London providing a wide range of rural pleasures near to the urban jungle of Canary Wharf.

For more information and tickets , visit the Mudchute website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Exhibition Review – AI: More than Human at the Barbican from 16 May to 26 August 2019

The Barbican presents a major new exhibition: AI: More than Human which provides a survey of creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence and explores the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology. The exhibition tells the story of AI, from its ancient roots in mythology, Lovelace and Babbage’s early experiments in computing, to AI’s major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day.

AI: More than Human features cutting-edge research projects, from DeepMind, Jigsaw, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL), IBM, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Google Arts and Culture, Google PAIR, Affectiva, Lichtman Lab at Harvard, Eyewire, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wyss Institute and Emulate Inc.

The exhibition begins with a section entitled The Dream of AI which considers the human desire to bring the inanimate objects to life which goes back to ancient times. Artist and electronic musician Kode9 presents a newly commissioned sound installation on the golem. A mythical creature from Jewish folklore, the golem has influenced art, literature and film for centuries from Frankenstein to Blade Runner . Stefan Hurtig & Detlef Weitz look at the way artificial life forms have been imagined in film and television.

The next section called Mind Machines explains how AI has developed through history with a focus on innovators who tried to convert rational thought into code. This section includes some of the pioneers of early AI such as Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage; Claude Shannon’s experimental games; Alan Turing’s efforts to decipher code in World War II; Deep Blue vs chess champion Garry Kasparov; IBM’s Watson, who beat a human on US gameshow, Jeopardy ! in 2011; and DeepMind’s AlphaGo, which became the first computer to defeat a professional in the complex Chinese strategy game Go in 2016.

Also in this section is MIT CSAIL’s SoFi – a robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the sea and Sony’s 2018 robot puppy, aibo, who uses its database of memories and experiences to develop its own personality. Google PAIR’s project Waterfall of Meaning is a glimpse into the interior of an AI.

Artist Mario Klingemann’s piece Circuit Training invites visitors to take part in teaching a neural network to create a piece of art. Visitors will first help create the data set by allowing the AI to capture their image, then select from the visuals produced by the network, to teach it what they find interesting. The machine is constantly learning from this human interaction to create an evolving piece of live art.  In Myriad (Tulips) , artist Anna Ridler looks at the politics and process of using large datasets to produce a piece of art.

The next section, Data Worlds explores the practical applications of AI to improve commerce, change society and enhance our personal lives. Affectiva, the leader in Human Perception AI demonstrates how AI can improve road safety and the transportation experience. In Sony CSL’s Kreyon City , visitors plan and build their own city out of LEGO and learn how the combination of human creativity and AI could represent a promising tool in major architecture and infrastructure decisions.

Data Worlds also addresses important ethical issues such as bias, control, truth and privacy. Scientist, activist and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Joy Buolamwini examines racial and gender bias in facial analysis software.

The final section entitled Endless Evolution looks at the future of our species and also the possibility of a creation of a new species. reflecting on the laws of ‘nature’ and how artificial forms of life fit into this. Massive Attack mark the 20th anniversary of their landmark album Mezzanine by encoding the album in strands of synthetic DNA in a spraypaint can. Alter 3, created by roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa with artificial life researcher Takashi Ikegami and Itsuki Doi uses a deep learning system, Alter learns from its experiences and works with humans to define new perspectives of co-existence in the world.

Architect, designer and MIT Professor Neri Oxman presents ongoing projects from her research lab, The Mediated Matter Group at MIT. The Synthetic Apiary explores the possibility of a controlled space in which seasonal honeybees can produce honey all year round. Vespers , explores what it means to design (with) life. From the relic of the ancient death mask to the design and digital fabrication of an adaptive and responsive living mask.

MIT’s Open Agriculture Initiative looks at ensuring our food security for the future with their AI-driven ‘personal computer farms’ that optimise the development of crops in tabletop-sized growing chambers. It hopes to bring controlled agriculture into the household, by gathering crop-growing data from a network of farms and sharing it with the wider public. Lichtman Lab at Harvard and Eyewire both look at mapping the brain in their research projects and the implications this could have for our health.

The exhibition ends with a short film produced by Mark Gorton, Visionaries , which lets thinkers and experts Danielle George, Amy Robinson Sterling, Kanta Dihal, Yoichi Ochiai, Francesca Rossi and Andrew Hessel speak about their vision of singularity and the future.

This fascinating exhibition uses digital media and immersive art installations to enable visitors to interact directly with exhibits to experience some of AI’s capabilities first-hand. However behind the high tech is some important questions about AI like What does it mean to be human? and what are the ethics behind the development of AI? For all the remarkable recent developments and useful practical applications, the development of certain aspects of AI has been incredibly slow. The dream from the 20th century of a world full of robots that can fully replicate humans has not really happened. Part of the reason is that human beings are remarkably complex and whilst it is easy to replicate certain simple functions, ideas such as consciousness and imagination are more difficult concepts to replicate.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets , visit the Barbican website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
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Exhibition Review- Global Dickens: For Every Nation Upon Earth at the Charles Dickens Museum from 14th May to 3rd November 2019

A new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum explores the global appeal of the famous author and the impact of his considerable travels on his life and writing. In an age when a ‘viral’ picture can travel around the world in seconds, it is worth considering how difficult it was for a 19th century writer to have global appeal. Whilst it was possible for writers to achieve fame around the British Empire, to sell books in other parts of world was difficult due to a number of factors.

This exhibition provides evidence that although Dickens is considered a quintessentially British writer obsessed by London, the reality was his work influenced people all around the globe. Unlike many 19th century writers, Dickens travelled extensively across Britain, Europe and America and both wrote about these places but also gave talks and performances creating a new type of international celebrity.

These travels were not without their problems, his criticism of American society in Martin Chuzzlewit and in his travelogue American Notes caused a considerable backlash, remarkably he returned to America many years later and was more popular than ever.

The exhibition features a hand written letter from Dickens to his friend William Macready in 1868 describing his impressions of Niagara Falls.

Part of Dickens appeal was his stories often had universal themes which were used and adapted in many different cultures. The exhibition give some idea of the way that Dickens has been used for inspiration ranging from Manga comics to numerous films, Dickens remains the most adapted writer of all time for TV and film.

The exhibition features a Russian poster for a theatre production based on Dickens, A poster for a production of Edwin Drood starring Claude Rains, and a Dutch translation of Dombey and Son.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a copy of David Copperfield that went to the Antarctic on the 1910 Scott expedition. Its grubbiness indicates that it was well used by those on the ill fated expedition.

This fascinating small exhibition offers an opportunity to consider Dickens as one of the earliest global celebrities, his fame is not restricted to the past with many Dickens festivals still being held all over the world. Dickens never limited himself but was fascinated by his travels and used his journalistic and creative powers to provide his readers with stories of the world outside of Britain. In a fast changing world, Dickens often provided a record of the effects of major political and social changes in a number of countries.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Visitors to the exhibition are free to explore the Charles Dickens Museum, The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material, including the desk at which he wrote Great Expectations.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Great London Sculptures: The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin in Victoria Tower Gardens

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Visitors to the Houses of Parliament, often ignore the Victoria Tower Gardens nearby. The gardens offer some wonderful riverfront views and have pieces of art to admire. One of the largest and most prestigious is The Burghers of Calais, by French sculptor, Auguste Rodin.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Appropriately, considering it is within the shadow of the Houses of Parliament it represents the idea of freedom from oppression. The sculpture is based on an incident during the Hundred Years War, Calais had been surrounded for a year by English soldiers under King Edward III when in 1347, six leading citizens of Calais, the Burghers, offered to die if Edward spared the rest of the town’s people.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

It was this moment of heroic self-sacrifice that Rodin captures in his sculpture. In the end, an intervention by Edward’s wife, Queen Philippa pleaded on the Burghers behalf and they and the people of Calais were allowed to leave.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Rodin was commissioned to undertake this work of art in the 1880s and his original sculpture was completed in 1889 and took pride of place outside Calais town hall. Rodin later made a number of casts, this one was bought by the National Art Collection Fund in 1911 and the artist himself came to London to give advice on where the sculpture should be erected.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This particular sculpture was cast in 1908, installed in 1914 and unveiled in 1915. Over the last century, the sculpture is considered to be one of Rodin greatest works and further casts have been installed in museums and art galleries all over the world.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here