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RA Festival of Ideas at the Royal Academy from 2nd to 6th May 2019

The RA Festival of Ideas returns to the Royal Academy of Arts which brings together a variety of fascinating people in art, literature, film, design, dance and music for five days of discussion, debate and creative thinking in the Royal Academy’s Benjamin West Lecture Theatre.

The festival is rooted in the Royal Academy’s heritage of rigorous debate and will explore culture, creativity and critical thinking through a series of interviews, conversations and panel discussions, as well as classes in the RA’s historic Life Room.

Thursday 2 May

Grayson Perry RA, one of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists, talks art, sex and creativity with psychotherapist Philippa Perry. Chaired by Tim Marlow, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language interpretation. (7pm)

Friday 3 May

Award-winning director Ken Loach talks to writer and critic Francine Stock about his 50-year career in film and the reactions his work has provoked, particularly in Britain. (12:30pm)

World renowned designer Sir Paul Smith discusses how the world constantly inspires him, leading him to look for ideas in everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. (2.30pm)

Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah talks to writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton about his lifelong passion for theatre and the joys and challenges of opening it up to wider audiences. (6.30pm)

Having composed his first song at the age of 9, Neil Tennant, the singing half of Pet Shop Boys speaks to BBC Radio 4 presenter John Wilson about pop, poetry and the art of song writing. (8.30pm)

Saturday 4 May

In Rewriting the past: Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse, two of the UK’s best-selling historical novelists, talk to the writer and broadcaster Alex Clark about their different approaches to exploring the past, and what the genre can reveal that eludes historians. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (1.30pm)

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the RA Schools, Life drawing at the RA invites participants to follow in the footsteps of generations of artists in a life drawing class in the RA’s historic Life Room, led by an expert tutor. (2.30pm)

Posy Simmonds, one of the UK’s most famous female cartoonist, reveals her penchant for difficult and dangerous women and why she loves poking fun at the middle classes. In conversation with journalist Claire Armitstead. (3.30pm)

The Turner prize nominated artists, identical twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson RA discuss their fascination with politics, surveillance and conflict and the challenges of working together. Chaired by the Artistic Director of the RA, Tim Marlow. (5.30pm)

Sunday 5 May

In a provocative lecture entitled How the education system is crushing creativity, author, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen argues that the education system is strangling the arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (12.30pm)

The British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Three Daughters of Eve, talks to BBC presenter Razia Iqbal about gender, politics and identity in her work. (2.30pm)

Future of Feminism: Yomi Adegoke, Laura Bates, Candice Carty-Williams and Natalie Hayne presents a panel discussion with four leading feminists looking at what it means to be a woman in 2019, the era of Trump and #MeToo, and how they see the future of feminism. Chaired by the author and broadcaster Bidisha. (4.30pm)

Monday 6 May

Poet, playwright, broadcaster and educator Lemn Sissay MBE talks to writer and critic Alex Clark about how poetry saved his life and why language has the power to transform society. (11am)

Clio Barnard, the award-winning film maker behind The Arbor, talks to writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet about the social and political inspiration behind her work. (1pm)

Hofesh Shechter, the internationally-acclaimed dancer, choreographer and composer, reflects on how it feels to be an artist in a highly politicised world, with writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton. (3pm)

Having made seven films about lesser-known artists for the BBC, Michael Palin, the award-winning actor, writer, comedian and presenter speaks to broadcaster Martha Kearney about falling in love with painting and why he thinks it works so well on the small screen. (5.30pm)

Family Events

Friday 3 May

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors, reveals the secrets behind creating her most memorable characters and why she’ll never stop writing, in conversation with BBC Arts Correspondent Rebecca Jones. (4.30pm)

Saturday 4 May

In The art of children’s illustration, talented storytellers and illustrators Cressida Cowell and Chris Riddell discuss the art of marrying words and pictures and treat audiences to live drawing on stage. (11am)

In the workshop How to train your dragon, audiences are invited to draw real life chameleons, geckos and bearded dragon lizards, inspired by the fantastical worlds of Chris Riddell and Cressida Cowell, led by Wild Life Drawing. (12.30pm and 3.15pm)

Sunday 5 May

In Designing a best-selling children’s book, author, illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and designer David Mackintosh reveal how they go about forming their popular creations. (10.30am)

A Family illustration workshop explores the art of illustration, as visitors learn about the techniques of Lauren Child and David Mackintosh, the team who bring Charlie and Lola to life, led by illustrator and educator Julie Vermeille. (12pm and 2.30pm)

Monday 6 May

Professional comic book artist Kev F. Sutherland, who writes and draws for The Beano, Doctor Who and Marvel comics, leads a Comic Art Masterclass, where participants can make a comic of their own (10am and 1.30pm)

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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 – Only Human: Martin Parr at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 March to 27 May 2019

The National Portrait Gallery presents a new exhibition entitled Only Human: Martin Parr which features works by one of Britain’s best-known and acclaimed photographers.

The exhibition brings together some of Parr’s best known photographs with new work by Parr never exhibited before. The exhibition examines national identity, both in the UK and abroad with a special focus on Parr’s well known observations of Britishness.

Parr made his reputation as a photographer in the 1980s, exploring the world of leisure activities. Parr carries on this theme with photographs of trips to the beach, tennis tournaments and a day at the races. It is these places where the public and private meet and where people can play with their identities, dressing up in a variety of ways. Another popular theme for Parr is dancing, the photographer documents people dancing across the globe.

Although best known for his portraits of ordinary people, Parr has photographed celebrities throughout his career. The exhibition features a selection of portraits of personalities often in unusual settings, most of which have never been exhibited before, including Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Pelé.

A lesser known aspect of Parr’s work is his self-portraits, for over thirty years, Parr has visited studio photographers, street photographers and photo booths across the globe to have his portrait taken. The section entitled Autoportraits explores portraiture and portrait photography with a wide range of serious and humorous settings employed by professional portraitists.

Parr’s Photo Escultura is a group of shrine-like carved photo-sculptures commissioned from the last remaining traditional maker of this type of work in Mexico City.

The exhibition features a section of the British Abroad and Parr’s well known study of the British ‘Establishment’ including recent photographs taken at Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex, Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the City of London, revealing the eccentricities and ceremonies of elites in British life.

In the final room, new and previously unseen photographs reveals Parr’s documenting the social climate in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

The exhibition also includes a pop up ‘caff’ and shop which has lots of ‘paraphernalia’ developed from Parr’s photography.

This fascinating and entertaining exhibition provides plenty of evidence that the ‘British identity’ is often an ‘illusion’ produced for public display. In a public arena, people often dress up in a way that illustrates their ‘Britishness’. But how representative is this show of patriotic fervour ? Images like those in the exhibition seem to perpetuate and challenge stereotypes in equal measure. Underlying the humour of Parr’s work, there is serious questions of how ‘identity’ is forged by the individual and wider society.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the National Portrait 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 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 – Michael Jackson: On the Wall at the National Portrait Gallery – 28 June to 21 October 2018


The National Portrait Gallery presents a new exhibition entitled Michael Jackson: On the Wall which explores how Michael Jackson has inspired some of the leading names in contemporary art. This major exhibition spanning several generations of artists across all media coincides with what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday (on August 29, 2018).

While Jackson is considered one of the most iconic cultural figures of the 20th century for his music, videos, dance, choreography and fashion, his impact on contemporary art is less well-known and is the focus for this exhibition.

The Michael Jackson: On the Wall exhibition brings together the works of over 40 artists, drawn from public and private collections around the world, some of the artists featured include : Maggi Hambling, David LaChapelle, Catherine Opie, Yan Pei Ming, Grayson Perry, Donald Urquhart, Kehinde Wiley, Andy Warhol and many more

As you enter the exhibition, visitors can see a Michael Jackson representation by Keith Waring before Kehinde Wiley’s Equestrian portrait of King Phillip ( Michael Jackson) perhaps making a statement that the ways that Kings of history and Kings of Pop are projected have some similarity.

David LaChappelle takes this worship further with Jackson featured in a number of religious poses.

A series of videos show Michael Jackson in performance which provides evidence of his innovative live shows and music. However this is only one part of why Jackson fascinates artists and the exhibition asks why so many contemporary artists have been drawn to Jackson as a subject.

One of first artists drawn to Jackson’s iconic status was Andy Warhol who created images in his famous pop art style. A room in this exhibition explores this relationship between Warhol and Jackson.

A large cut out of Mark Ryden’s Dangerous from 1991 takes visitors from one part of the exhibition to another section which includes Michael Jackson’s remarkable ‘dinner jacket’ by Michael Lee Bush and Sex and Drugs and Earthenware by Grayson Perry.

With so many portraits of Jackson, we can see how he changed his appearance dramatically over the years and how his ‘persona’ became more complex as he grew older.

Many iconic figures of the 20th century had a self-destructive streak like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, Michael Jackson’s story was not quite so simple with a number of issues that tarnished and challenged his reputation.

It is this ‘fallen idol’ stage that often attracts artists like Maggie Hambling who captures Jackson when he was facing charges about ‘child abuse’.

This exhibition is like its subject matter, entertaining but a little bizarre, the reality of a child star who became one of the most famous musical artists in the world has often been subsumed by myth and legend. Therefore it may not be a surprise that artists often portray Jackson as a mythical figure in mythical settings.

This exhibition may be a celebration of Michael Jackson artistic endeavours but provides some evidence of the dark underbelly of fame. It is this light and dark that seems to fascinate contemporary artists and the wider public, this exhibition is likely to be very popular and it may be worth booking in advance.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the National Portrait 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 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 : The 250th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy – 12th June to 19th August 2018

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.

This year, the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition, and to mark this momentous occasion, the exhibition is co-ordinated by Grayson Perry RA.  Perry, alongside the Summer Exhibition Committee, celebrate the democracy of the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show by exhibiting a range of art being made in this moment in time with the theme of ‘Art Made Now’.  For the first time, the Summer Exhibition spreads across the new RA and the streets of Bond Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Regent Street St. James’s with Royal Academicians Rose Wylie, Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker and Joe Tilson decorating the streets with an installation of over 200 flags.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include the Anish Kapoor’s monumental sculpture Symphony for a Beloved Daughter, which is installed in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.

In the Main Galleries, David Hockney shows two vast new works which combine photographs taken from many view-points into a single monumental image. 

The Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos show an enormous textile body Royal Valkyrie in the Central Hall.

Further artists exhibiting include Mona Hatoum, Antony Gormley, Michael Landy, Richard Long, Bob and Roberta Smith, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jane and Louise Wilson, Bruce Nauman and Ed Ruscha.

Piers Gough curates the Architecture Gallery which features models of varying sizes and mediums.

This year, the exhibition features over 1,300 works on show, unlike many major exhibitions, many of the works in the exhibition will be on sale.

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

The Summer Exhibition offers a platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their work in front of a large international audience. The Summer Exhibition also plays a practical role in training young artists, it raises funds to finance the current students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe.

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’s summer and 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

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

 

WOW – Woman of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre – 7th March to 12th March 2017

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 WOW – Women of the World is a global festival celebrating the achievements of women and girls and also looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their potential and contributing to the world. With a diverse range of talks and debates, music and performance, parties, a marketplace, networking and much more, the festival brings together women and men to speak about how they are making the world a fairer place and why it matters.

WOW – Women of the World has happened in London, Derry-Londonderry, Cardiff, Cambridge, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ethiopia, New York, Australia and Baltimore.

This festival celebrates the achievements of women and girls and also looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their potential and contributing to the world. The festival is celebrating its seventh year and offers  a week of talks, debates, concerts, film, comedy and workshops.

Past speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Julie Walters, Shami Chakrabarti, Gordon Brown MP, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Caitlin Moran, Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry, Sandi Toksvig, Leymah Gbowee, Patrick Stewart and Christine Lagarde.

The 2017 programme is now on sale, with information on Day and Weekend Passes as well as one–off events with Sandi Toksvig and Gillian Anderson.

For more information , visit the Southbank 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

London Craft Week – 3rd to 7th May 2016

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London Craft Week returns bigger and better with a programme of over 130 events across the city, featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands.

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The highly successful first London Craft Week held last year had 20,000 visitors and a cast including HRH The Prince of Wales, Grayson Perry and 350 makers.  The week allows visitors to meet and talk to some of the world’s most respected makers and artists. Visitors will see world-class fragrances being developed scent by scent, diamonds being cut & polished, porcelain being hand painted, silver being shaped, glass being blown and Chinese calligraphy being performed live. All against the backdrop of London in locations as diverse as Selfridges to Chelsea Physic Garden.

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The London Craft Week 2016 programme is held at venues including museums and galleries, studios and workshop spaces, as well as shops and luxury brands.

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Some of the highlights include:

Mulberry Autumn Winter 2016 Capsule Collection Launch , Wedgwood at the V&A , Commissioning Luxury Interiors with Helen Chislett , Vanguard Studio Tour , Behind the Scenes Workshop Visit to Asprey with Cocktail Tasting , Watchmaking at Vacheron Constantin, From Crowns to Headdresses at Garrard and Wang Dongling at the British Museum

About half of the events are free to attend and open house so no need to book. Other events need pre-booking at the Craft Week website.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the London Craft Week 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

 

Gallery Review : Facing History, Contemporary Portraiture at the Victoria and Albert Museum – 27th July to 24th April 2016

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From July, the V&A presents Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture, a display of 80 prints and photographs that explores the variety of artists’ responses to the idea of portraiture over the last 20 years. On display will be work by over 20 artists including Julian Opie, Grayson Perry, Thomas Ruff, Maud Sulter and Gavin Turk.

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The display illustrates how contemporary artists have taken inspiration from traditional modes of portraiture such as portrait miniatures, medals and death masks to produce new works.

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Mr and Mrs Perry (2005) by Grayson Perry imitates the crude style of early 19th century woodcuts using lino-cut on printed pattern papers. Other highlights include Gavin Turk’s Portrait of Something that I’ll Never Really See, Thomas Ruff’s Blue Eyes series and Brian D. Cohen’s Man with Eyes Closed (Walter White).
Eleven works from the series Forty Fridas (2011-12) by Ellen Heck explores different women dressed as Frida Kahlo considering ideas about identity and individuality.

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Part of the inspiration for the display was  the acquisition of the series Made Up Love Song by Bettina von Zwehl, taken in the style of silhouette portrait miniatures, the 34 photographs portray a V&A Visitor Services Assistant.

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As one of the oldest genres in painting, portraiture is constantly evolving and this display offers some insight into contemporary interpretations. Many artists have adapted and subverted the more traditional methods of presentation to offer something modern and contemporary.

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Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture is shown at the V&A in gallery 88A, and gallery 90 at the V&A in the Julie and Robert Breckman Prints and Drawings Gallery. The gallery will be open from 27th July 2015 to 24th April 2016 and admission is free, if you are looking for a different take on portraiture it is well worth a visit.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information , visit the Victoria and Albert 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 the 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