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Exhibition Review – Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics at the Barbican Art Gallery from 8 September 2022 – 8 January 2023

Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics is the first survey in the UK of the work of American artist Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) and the first major exhibition since her death in 2019. The exhibition explores Schneemann’s diverse and interdisciplinary work over six decades.

The exhibition features over 300 objects, from the Carolee Schneemann Foundation, as well as numerous private and public collections. Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics brings together paintings, sculptural assemblages, performance photographs, films and large-scale multimedia installations, as well as rarely seen archival material including scores, sketches, scrapbooks, programmes and costumes.

Although today, the personal and political are often enmeshed by many artists, Schneemann using this approach in the 1960s and 70s was considered radical. Schneemann often took her own body as a model and starting point to recognise and challenge how history had defined the lives and bodies of women.

Although predominantly known as a performance artist, she considered herself foremost a painter. Opening the exhibition are the artist’s rarely seen early gestural paintings, including Aria Duetto (Cantata No.78): Yellow Ladies (1957) and Pin Wheel (1957), a kinetic painting activated by the potter’s wheel on which it is mounted.

In her early works on canvas, Schneemann was influenced by American Abstract Expressionism and Paul Cézanne, but was desperate to find her own style.

From the early 1960s, she experimented with ‘painting-constructions’ and ‘box-constructions’. For the assemblage Colorado House (1962), she slashed, ripped and reconfigured what she considered to be failed paintings, while for the diorama-like Pharaoh’s Daughter (1966), she filled a wooden box with glowing lights, slides of biblical scenes and mirrors.

The exhibition charts Schneemann’s radical work using her own body as a medium, key works from this period include a series of photographs from Schneemann’s first solo performance Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions for Camera (1963), in which she staged a series of gestures amid a sprawling environment of materials.

For Up to and Including Her Limits (1976), she hung naked from a harness suspended in the corner of a paper-lined stage set, creating gestural abstract marks with crayons as she swung back and forth in a trance-like state.

In the early 1960s Schneemann was living in New York City and was part of the downtown scene. She became a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, a group of avant-garde interdisciplinary artists including Yvonne Rainer, Lucinda Childs, Trisha Brown, David Gordon and Steve Paxton, who took everyday gestures and materials as their medium.

Schneemann described her group performances as ‘kinetic theatre’, incorporating complex movement scores, sets, lighting, sound and technical innovations. Numerous performances are represented through photographs, films, scores, sketches, notes and costumes, including one of Schneemann’s most iconic performances Meat Joy (1964).

A focused section of the show shines a spotlight on Schneemann’s time spent in London. The city provided the context for several of her experimental performances, including Round House (staged at the Roundhouse in 1967, as part of a line-up that included poet Allen Ginsburg, anti-psychiatrist R.D. Laing and Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael, among others), Naked Action Lecture (performed at the ICA in 1968), and ICES STRIP/ISIS TRIP (performed on roller skates on a train travelling from London to Edinburgh in 1972).

The final section of the exhibition includes a series of works that address the precarious nature of life and the politics of human suffering in the context of the Vietnam War, the Civil War in Lebanon, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the artist’s own fight with cancer.

This fascinating exhibition illustrates that Schneemann was a radical pioneer who often often had to deal with considerable hostility to her work. Using deeply personal experiences in art can lead accusations of being narcissistic and a number of feminists raised this criticism of Schneemann’s work. Her later work concentrated on local and global politics especially related to how images from the media are diluted to obscure the suffering of war victims. Schneemann may not be widely known outside of the art world, but this exhibition is an opportunity to access her legacy in feminist art history.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Barbican website here

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William Kentridge at the Royal Academy from 24 September to 11 December 2022

In September 2022, the Royal Academy of Arts will host a major exhibition of the work of the internationally celebrated South African artist, William Kentridge. Working closely with the artist and his studio, this ambitious and immersive exhibition has been specifically curated for the Royal Academy and will encompass the broad repertoire of Kentridge’s forty-year career. It will bring together important works spanning from the 1980s through to the present day, including charcoal drawings, animated films, a mechanical theatre, sculptures, tapestries and performance pieces.

William Kentridge, Drawing for The Head & The Load (The trumpets we used to blow), 2018.

William Kentridge is known for his distinctive drawings, animated films, performances, and largescale productions. While at times his work is semi-autobiographical, he also uses history to highlight the inequities, barbarity, and absurdities of the modern world. A particular area of focus is the European colonisation of and the ongoing post-colonial legacy across the African continent. The issues of racial inequality combined with social, political, and economic injustices are a critical component of Kentridge’s work. For many years Kentridge has also worked closely with a group of creative collaborators including composers, dancers, stage designers, puppeteers, weavers, printmakers, and metalsmiths.

William Kentridge,The Conservationists’ Ball, 1985.

A selection of Kentridge’s early, rarely-seen drawings from the 1980s and 1990s will be presented, including three triptychs displayed together for the first time and the most significant work from the period, The Conservationist’s Ball, 1985. Around 25 large charcoal drawings, made for the creative process of the eleven animated Drawings for Projection, will also be shown. An extensive selection of drawings from the entire series will be displayed together with five of the eleven animated charcoal-drawing films made between 1989 – 2020.

Several further important films, performances and installations will feature in the exhibition. A key installation will be Black Box / Chambre Noire, 2005, a mechanical theatre piece including puppets and projections, which interrogates the harrowing story of the massacre of the Herero people in Namibia, now considered the first genocide of the twentieth century.

Ubu Tells the Truth, 1997, is a sharply critical animated film referencing the play Ubu Roi (1986) by French symbolist writer Alfred Jarry, which reveals the brutality of the apartheid system in South Africa. Alongside the film, Kentridge will create a large site-specific wall drawing to complement the film. Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2015, is a three-screen projection which reflects on modern Chinese history and Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Two of Kentridge’s films will have their first UK presentations in the exhibition; the short, animated film, De como não fui ministro d’estado, 2012 and Sibyl, 2019.

Willliam Kentridge, Comrade Tree, I Report to You, 2020.

Amongst the most recent works, made in 2021 – 2022, will be a sequence of large-scale tapestries, created especially for the Royal Academy galleries and made in the Stephens Tapestry Studio in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. There will also be a group of large flower drawings, as well as a selection of Kentridge’s distinctive tree drawings. Many of these include rubrics, recalling a tradition that dates back to medieval manuscripts to emphasise certain words within a text. Conjunctions of words are gathered by Kentridge and used in his drawings in an apparently random manner.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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Maria Bartuszová at the Tate Modern from 20 September 2022 to 16 April 2023

Tate Modern will present the UK’s first major exhibition of the work of Maria Bartuszová (1936-1996), an artist who created a world of sculpture on her own terms using innovative methods in plaster casting. From raindrops and eggs to the human body, Bartuszová took inspiration from organic forms and cycles in the natural world. Spanning the breadth of her remarkable 30-year career, this show will reveal a prolific body of tactile, sensual, and evocative sculptures, shaped by the artist’s personal experiences and deep love of nature.

Bringing together over 50 of Bartuszová’s delicate plaster works alongside bronze casts and aluminium reliefs, many of which have never been shown in this country before it will offer a rare chance to discover how this little-known artist created her own world of abstract sculpture.

Although born in Prague, Bartuszová spent the majority of her career in Košice, the second largest city in what was then Czechoslovakia, near the border with Hungary and Ukraine. Closed off from direct contact with European and global events during the Cold War, she worked in relative seclusion, with few opportunities to exhibit during her lifetime. Despite this, Bartuszová built an outstanding legacy of around 500 sculptures which remain a testament to her unique vision and persistent experimentation.

The exhibition will explore how Bartuszová worked inventively and quickly, using the fleeting and liquid process of casting to create simultaneously solid and delicate artworks. In the early 1960s, she created abstract shapes by pouring plaster into rubber balloons and moulding it using pressure and tension, a method she coined ‘gravistimulation’.

Maria Batuszová in her studio in Košice, Slovakia, with her sculptures c.1987 – photo: Gabriel Kladek

Experimenting further in the 1980s, Bartuszová developed a new practice of plaster shaping she termed ‘pneumatic casting’, in which she blew air into balloons and poured plaster over their surface. This created empty, negative volumes and ever more fragile, hollow shapes resembling shells and eggs – described by the artist as “a tiny void full of a tiny infinite universe”. Works from Bartuszová’s Endless Egg series will be displayed alongside elaborate eggshell clusters such as Untitled (1984), expressing feelings of personal crisis in their fragility and destruction.

Bartuszová continually explored ways in which sculpture could engage the imagination and activate the senses. In the mid-1960s she began creating plaster sculptures composed of interlocking shapes, such as Folded Figure (1965), and later bronze and aluminium puzzle-like sculptures such as Folded Figure, Horizontal, Haptic, (1974 cast 1975) which could be taken apart and reassembled to spark creative thinking. A range of rarely seen archive photographs by art historian and photographer Gabriel Kladek document how her sculptures were innovatively used in expressive workshops for blind and partially sighted children.

The exhibition will also highlight how forms and themes that the artist developed in her studio were brought into public spaces through her state-funded commissions for buildings, monuments, playgrounds and fountains. The elongated droplets of Rain (1963) are echoed in the bronze fountain she created for the Institute for Physically Disabled Children in Košice (1967–71), while her geometric wall-based works inspired her monumental reliefs for the Southern Slovak Paper Mill (1973–5) and Eastern Slovak Steelworks (1974). Visitors will also discover the futuristic models Bartuszová designed for playground climbing frames and slides and explore the making process behind her monumental public sculpture Metamorphosis, Two-Part Sculpture (1982) at the entrance to the Košice crematorium.

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

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Lucian Freud: New Perspectives at the National Gallery from 1 October 2022 – 22 January 2023

The National Gallery stages a landmark exhibition to mark the centenary of the birth of the great 20th-century artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011.)

This first major survey of his paintings for 10 years will bring together a large selection of his most important works from across seven decades – spanning early works such as Girl with Roses from the 1940s; to Reflection with Two Children (Self-Portrait) in the 1960s and right through to his famous late works.

This exhibition seeks to present new perspectives on Freud’s art, focusing on his tireless and ever-searching commitment to the medium of painting.

From his most intimate pictures to his celebrated large-scale canvases, Lucian Freud: New Perspectives will give visitors the opportunity to see the wide range of work and the artistic development of one of Britain’s finest figurative painters.

Lucian Freud: New Perspectives will include more than 60 loans from museums and major private collections around the world including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate; the British Council Collection; London and the Arts Council Collection, London.

A connoisseur of European painting and regular visitor since his earliest days in London, Lucian Freud had a close association with the National Gallery. ‘I use the gallery as if it were a doctor,’ Freud told the journalist Michael Kimmelman. ‘I come for ideas and help – to look at situations within paintings, rather than whole paintings. ‘

For more information and tickets, visit the National Gallery 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 attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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To Be Read At Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts and the Supernatural at the Charles Dickens Museum from 5 October 2022 to 19 February 2023

A new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum entitled To Be Read At Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts & the Supernatural celebrates Dickens’s interest in the paranormal. Opening in time for Halloween, the exhibition runs from 5 October 2022 – 19 February 2023 at 48 Doughty Street, Holborn, the home of Dickens and his family in the late 1830s.

Charles Dickens wrote twenty ghost stories throughout his life, published from 1836 onwards. From A Christmas Carol to The Signal Man, to elements of Bleak House and Nicholas Nickleby, as well as The Chimes and The Trial for Murder.

The exhibition brings together a collection of objects, posters, letters and books to reveal just how much Dickens enjoyed creating eerie scenes, disturbing characters and building tension to toy with the emotions of his audiences. It will be accompanied by a new programme of events, including after-hours house tours, as well as haunting soundscapes in Dickens’s home.

Among the highlights of the exhibition:

The first public display of a letter from Dickens to his spiritually-minded acquaintance, William Howitt, in which Dickens asks whether Howitt can suggest a haunted house that his friend might visit. On 31 October 1859, Dickens writes to Howitt about ghosts and asks whether he knows of “any haunted house whatsoever within the limits of the United Kingdom where nobody can live, eat, drink, sit, stand, lie or sleep without sleep-molestation” as he has a friend ready to pit himself against it.

Charles Dickens’s own copy of The Haunted Man, his 1848 ghost story. Dickens physically altered copies of his books for his public readings, adding stage directions and, in this edition, uses different coloured inks to indicate deletions, express emotions and emphasise emotive words.

The first depiction of the four ghosts from A Christmas Carol. Pencil sketches by Dickens’s illustrator, John Leech, which were used in preparation of the full colour illustrations that featured in the first edition of the book in December 1843. While Dickens was undeniably fascinated by the notion of ghosts and hauntings, he was certainly skeptical, becoming more so as he grew older. The skepticism finds its way into A Christmas Carol, as illustrated by this passage:

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.
“I don’t,” said Scrooge.
“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?”
“I don’t know,” said Scrooge.
“Why do you doubt your senses?”
“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats.”

The power of Dickens’s ‘in person’ performances of his tales was notorious, and he enjoyed evoking emotions in his live audiences, as well as his readers, with ghostly stories. He performed his ghost-laden A Christmas Carol reading 127 times and, after writing another Christmas book, The Chimes, gathered a crowd so he could test out the effects of the book.

Dickens was a lifelong admirer of ghostly fiction and influenced many who followed him, including Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell. As a boy, Charles Dickens read the weekly horror magazine, The Terrific Register, later admitting that it had “frightened my very wits out of my head.” It is possible that its weekly publication influenced the way that Dickens marketed his own work, releasing his books in serial format. When he became an editor, a popular feature of his magazines Household Words and All the Year Round was the special Christmas number, which included, at various times, ghost stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, Charles Collins, and Amelia B. Edwards.

Exhibition and Museum Information

To Be Read At Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts & the Supernatural
The Charles Dickens Museum, 48-49 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX
Dates: 5 October 2022 – 19 February 2023.
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm, Wednesday – Sunday (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)

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

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Milton Avery: American Colourist at the Royal Academy from 15 July – 16 October 2022

Milton Avery (1885 – 1965) has long been recognised in the United States as one of the most important and influential twentieth-century American artists. Avery’s compositions, taken from daily life and which include portraits and landscapes have a major influence on artistic generations.

Avery played a vital role in the development of Abstract Expressionism through his close association with some of the younger exponents of the movement, such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Adolph Gottlieb. His work defies easy categorisation; ranging between American Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism, although he was not formally associated with either movement.

Milton Avery: American Colourist at the Royal Academy will cover the full development of Avery’s career. He was famously prolific, and this survey will feature a careful selection of 70 works, including many of his celebrated paintings from 1910 to the 1960s. The last retrospective of his work was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1982 and this will be the first ever solo exhibition of Milton Avery in Europe.

The first section, Early Work, will feature work from 1910 up until the late 1930s, covering his main themes; the landscape, the city and the domestic. A number of these works have never been publicly exhibited before. The influence of the American Impressionists and Avery’s early appreciation of the landscape will be revealed. Paintings will include Blossoming, 1918 through to Fishing Village, 1939.

In the second section, Portraits, there will be paintings of his family, friends and self-portraits. Featured here will be a portrait of his friends in The Dessert, 1939 and Self-Portrait, 1941. From the early 1940s he ceased formal portraiture but retained the figure in his work.

A section entitled Innovation in Colour and Form will chart the period of innovation from the mid-1940s when Avery developed a system of flattening the compositional forms of his paintings into abstracted tonal planes. It was this development which established him as a major American colourist. Key works in this section will include two portraits of his daughter March, Seated Girl with Dog, 1944, and March in Brown, 1954, as well as Husband and Wife, 1945.

And finally in Late Work, paintings from the 1950s to the early 1960s will reveal a continuing influence of European Modernism, particularly Henri Matisse, as Avery increasingly employed non-associative colours in his compositions. There is a strong focus on the landscape and a further paring down of the detail of the subject. These works will show the extent to which Avery perfected his unique ability to balance colour and form in increasingly abstracted compositions, as seen in Black Sea, 1959, and Boathouse by the Sea, 1959.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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Lucian Freud: Family Matters at the Freud Museum from 6 July 2022 to 29 January 2023

The Freud Museum honours what would have been the centenary year of British painter Lucian Freud (1922-2011), the Museum stages its first ever exhibition of the great portrait artist’s work. Lucian Freud: Family Matters will feature paintings, drawings, family photographs, books and letters, all drawn from galleries and private collections, the Museum’s archives and members of Lucian Freud’s family. Some of the items have never, or very rarely, been seen in public before.

The exhibition will run from 6 July 2022 to 29 January 2023 at the Freud Museum at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, the final home of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the founder of psychoanalysis, and his daughter Anna Freud (1895-1982), the pioneering child psychoanalyst.

Lucian Freud made a major impact on British art history. Like his grandfather, Sigmund, Lucian was fascinated by the human condition and often using family and friends as his subjects, over a 60-year career.

Photograph of Ernst, Clement, Lucian and Stephen Gabriel Freud taken on holiday in Hiddensee, Germany
© Freud Museum London

Taking place in the intimate setting of the Freud family home, the exhibition will focus on works related to Lucian Freud’s childhood, family and friends. It will explore some less well-known aspects of his life, including his love of reading, and lifelong fascination with horses, as well as his relationships with the two former occupants of 20 Maresfield Gardens: his grandfather, Sigmund and his aunt, Anna.

Palm Tree by Lucian Freud (1944)
Pastel, chalk and ink on paper
© Freud Museum London

Alongside Lucian Freud’s paintings and drawings, the exhibition will include illustrated childhood letters, books he owned and book covers he designed, and his sole surviving sculpture, Three-legged Horse (1937) and early painting, Palm Tree (1944), which he gave to Anna.

Photograph of Clement, Lucian and Stephen Freud, c. 1933
© Freud Museum London

While part of a calendar of Lucian Freud centenary exhibitions across the country in 2022, the exhibition’s intimacy and family connections add a unique dimension. Public events will complement the exhibition and an accompanying outreach programme will include specially constructed exhibition visits and art workshops for families and groups in the local community.

The Freud Museum: The house at 20 Maresfield Gardens remained the Freud family home until Anna Freud’s death in 1982. Anna bequeathed the house to become a museum and the Freud Museum opened its doors to the public in 1986. The Freud Museum exists to promote the intellectual and cultural legacies of Sigmund and Anna Freud for the learning and enjoyment of all.

Information

Lucian Freud: Family Matters

The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London NW3 5SX.

Dates: 6 July 2022 – 29 January 2023.

Opening hours: 10.30am – 5pm, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

For more information and tickets, visit the Freud 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.
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Exhibition Review: Summer Exhibition 2022 at the Royal Academy from 21 June to 21 August 2022

The Royal Academy presents this year’s Summer Exhibition, which is back to its position in the London Summer scene. The 254th Summer Exhibition is a unique celebration of contemporary art and architecture, providing a vital platform and support for the artistic community. British sculptor Alison Wilding RA co-ordinates this year’s Summer Exhibition, and working with the rest of the Summer Exhibition Committee, will explore the theme of Climate.

Artists exhibiting new work this year include artistic duos Harvey & Ackroyd, The Singh Twins, and Special Olympics GB Athlete and artist Niall Guite.

Other artists invited to exhibit this year include Royal Academy Schools graduate Clara Hastrup, Dominica-born British painter Tam Joseph, sculptor Kathleen Ryan, conceptual artist Simon Starling, sculptor Gavin Turk, Brazil-based artists Denilson Baniwa and Sallisa Rosa, and art-activist Jerilea Zempel.

Newly elected Royal Academicians Michael Armitage, Peter Barber and Ryan Gander have submitting works, as well as newly elected Honorary Academician Pipilotti Rist.

Royal Academicians Rana Begum and Níall McLaughlin are working collaboratively and curate the architecture sections across two galleries, alongside artworks.

Alongside the Summer Exhibition this year will be a large-scale, immersive installation designed specifically for the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard by the renowned Spanish artist and 2020 Royal Academy Architecture Prize winner, Cristina Iglesias. Iglesias has explored themes of nature, climate, and the environment throughout her career, and the installation for the RA, Humid Labyrinth Room (with Spontaneous Landscape), has been conceived to bring the experience of intimacy and landscape to a public urban space.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the great English Art traditions, it is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition being established in 1768 whose long line of exhibitors reads like a Who’s Who of British Art. Some of the earliest exhibitors included the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner, however the exhibition prides itself that it offers a snapshot of contemporary art.

Part of the fun is walking around the exhibition and spotting work by established artists, work that particularly caught my eye was Covid Bell by Grayson Perry, Sunset by Eileen Cooper, Lost Boat Party by Jock McFadyen and The Dream Emporium by Mick Rooney.

Each room offers a kaleidoscope of colour and images in a range of media, from painting, printmaking, film and photography to sculpture and architectural works.

Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang in the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received over 15,000 entries, of which around 1200 works, in a range of media, will go on display. This open, inclusive and democratic show supports the artistic community and art education.

The majority of works in the Summer Exhibition are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work. Funds raised support the exhibiting artists, the postgraduate students studying in the RA Schools and the not-for-profit work of the Royal Academy.

This fascinating exhibition has a large number of wonderfully eclectic works on display, there is really something for everyone regardless of your particular artistic taste. The Summer Exhibition is one of the highlights of the art world and usually attracts a wide range of visitors. It also offers a rare opportunity to buy works from well-known and not so well-known artists with prices ranging from a few hundred to over a hundred thousand pounds.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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Mary Gillick: modelling The Queen’s portrait at the British Museum from 2 June to 31 July 2022

In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, the British Museum will open a new, free display centring around female artist Mary Gillick’s (1881–1965) portrait of Elizabeth II. This was for the first ever coin featuring The Queen, designed 70 years ago in 1952 and issued in 1953. The Asahi Shimbun Display Mary Gillick: modelling The Queen’s portrait will showcase the production and reception of the coin, which was the young Queen’s first depiction on British currency.

Bust of Queen Elizabeth II r., wearing laurel wreath. Reproduced by permission of the artist © The Trustees of the British Museum

Gillick’s portrait of The Queen combined modern design with Italian Renaissance influences, building on her experience as a medal maker. Her iconic design remained in circulation on coins in the UK until the 1990s. In addition, the design has been adapted for use on British commemorative stamps since 1966 and still appears on the Maundy money given out by The Queen each Easter, indicating its continued importance.

Plaster model for the obverse of a coin. Mary Gillick, 1952. Bust of Queen Elizabeth II r., wearing laurel wreath. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Selected to design the coin from a number of invited artists, the identity of Gillick as the artist remained a secret for months. When details of the design were finally announced, the choice of a female artist in her seventies garnered great interest from the press and public. Gillick was thrust into the limelight, with photos of her posing with her design printed in newspapers all over the nation and abroad. Despite this initial interest and her long career as a sculptor, Gillick remains a much-neglected artist. As well as commemorating The Queen, this exhibition will recognise Gillick’s significant contributions to sculpture and medal design, exploring her life and work.

Struck bronze uniface medal. Mary Gillick, 1941. Bust of John Cadman, First Baron Cadman of Silverdale, r. Nude female figure kneeling l., holding up oil-lamp. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Gillick was admired by prominent figures in the art world, such as Sir Kenneth Clark.She trained at the Royal College of Art where she discovered Renaissance medals. A medal by the celebrated ‘inventor’ of the medal, the 15th century Italian painter Pisanello, will be displayed alongside her work. Gillick was inspired by what is often termed the golden age of medal design, modernising Pisanello’s style to suit 20th century Britain. Other significant commissions such as a portrait of prominent suffragette Ida Wylie, commissioned by Wylie’s lover Rachel Barrett, and depictions of an airman who shot down a Zeppelin over England during the First World War will also be on view along with preparatory drawings.

Struck bronze medal. Mary Gillick, 1945. Bust of Charles Chree, l. Nude cherub standing to front, wearing laurel wreath and holding up scroll with graph. © The Trustees of the British Museum

A highlight of the display will be items presented to the British Museum by the artist’s family in 2005, which included medals created by Gillick from the 1910s to the 1950s, a set of large-scale plaster models of her portrait of The Queen, and documents relating to the new coins. Drawings and photographs loaned from the Henry Moore Institute will demonstrate the creative process in full.

This display is part of the celebrations marking Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. On Saturday 11 June the Museum is holding The Platinum Jubilee Party with family friendly activities on offer. Visitors will have the chance to create their own Mary Gillick style portrait of The Queen in a workshop run by artist David Allsop. Individual portraits taken with an onsite photobooth will be decorated and made into an enormous collaborative card that will be sent to the Royal Household. Other activities include making decorative crowns with the independent jewellery brand Tatty Devine and a performance by London-based brass band No Limit Street Band.

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.
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Exhibition Review – Feminine power: the divine to the demonic at the British Museum from 19 May to 25 September 2022

The British Museum presents the first major exhibition to explore female spiritual beings in world belief and mythological traditions around the globe.

This exhibition brings together ancient sculpture, sacred artefacts and contemporary art from six continents to explore the diversity of ways in which femininity has been perceived across the globe, from the ancient world to today.

It explores the embodiment of feminine power in deities, goddesses, demons, saints and other spiritual beings, associated with diverse areas of human experience, from wisdom, passion and nature, to war, mercy and justice.

Objects from cultures across the globe are displayed together for the first time including painted scrolls from Tibet, Roman sculpture, intricate personal amulets from Egypt, Japanese prints and Indian relief carvings alongside contemporary sculptures.

The exhibition includes over 70 unique objects, drawn from the British Museum’s world-class collection complimented by rare loans.

For the first time, the British Museum has invited special guest contributors to respond to the themes in the exhibition, sharing their personal and professional viewpoints. The video and audio thought-pieces addressing each section will encourage discussion around the universal themes of the show. The contributions conclude the exhibition alongside an area for visitors to share their responses as part
of the conversation.

The special guest contributors include: Dr Leyla Hussein, psychotherapist and award-winning international campaigner against violence against women will reflect on Forces of Nature; Professor Mary Beard, classicist, author and broadcaster will speak to Passion and Desire; award-winning writer and presenter of the podcast How To Fail, Elizabeth Day, will explore Magic and Malice; former British Army Major and human rights lawyer, Rabia Siddique, will share her thoughts on Justice and Defence; and Deborah Frances-White, the writer and comedian best known for her podcast The Guilty Feminist, will explore the theme of Compassion and Salvation.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a newly acquired icon of the Hindu goddess Kali by Bengali artist, Kaushik Ghosh, the first contemporary 3D representation of Kali in the British Museum collection. Kali is one of the most prominent and widely venerated goddesses in India who is loved and feared for her formidable power as a goddess of destruction and salvation, who transcends time and death.

Since the late first millennium AD, Lilith has been known within Jewish demonology as the first wife of Adam and the consort of Satan. Her origins are thought to lie in Mesopotamia. The exhibition includes a ceramic incantation bowl from 500-800 AD Iraq, featuring a rare early image of Lilith in female form.

On loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the sculpture, Lilith (1994), by American artist Kiki Smith. Smith’s sculpture is cast from the body of a real woman, her eyes of blue glass directly confront the viewer as she crouches on all fours against the wall.

This fascinating exhibition explores how feminine power has played a vital role in world belief and mythology. This role has led to a number of representations that often shape cultural attitudes towards women and gender identity. Modern artists and writers are beginning to use these representations to challenge some of these stereotypes and look at more balanced views of women in many different societies.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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

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