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Basquiat at the Barbican – 21st September 2017 to 28th January 2018

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­-1988). Basquiat came to the attention of the Art world in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel. His vibrant, raw imagery, abounding with fragments of bold capitalised text, offers insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young black artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK; not a single work of his is held in a public collection. Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK, and opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 21 September 2017.

More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, writing, performance, film and television, placing him within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings, notebooks and objects are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and archival material, capturing the range and dynamism of Basquiat’s practice over the years.

Highlights of the Barbican’s exhibition include a partial reconstruction of Basquiat’s first body of exhibited work, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York / New Wave at P.S.1 in February 1981. Fifteen works are brought together for the first time in over 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of fellow artists and critics. The exhibition continues with an exploration of his energetic, often collaborative work as the prodigy of the downtown scene; from the birth of SAMO© to his relationship with Warhol. In the downstairs spaces, new scholarship sheds light on some of his most acclaimed paintings and drawings. A famously self-taught artist, Basquiat sampled from an extraordinary breadth of source material – from anatomical drawings to bebop jazz to silent film .

For more information , visit the Barbican website here

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Gladiator Games return to Londonium : Roman fun at the Guildhall – 25th to 28th August 2017

Photo © Museum of London

Beneath the historic Guildhall in the City of London is the site of London’s only Roman amphitheatre whose remains were uncovered by archaeologists over 30 years ago under the courtyard.

In August, new gladiatorial battles will commence at the very location where Roman gladiators fought 2,000 years ago. Eight thrilling afternoon and evening events will take place across the August Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 25-Monday 28 August 2017.

Photo © Museum of London

Gladiators in full, magnificent battle dress will enter the arena before packed crowds and fight a series of powerful battles – intense clashes of steel swords, brightly decorated shields, spears and shining armour. The audience will become a big part of the action, taking sides and encouraging the emperor to save or spare each stricken fighter.

Photo © Museum of London

The Gladiator Games are performed by Britannia, the collective renowned for its work on the BAFTA-nominated CBBC programme, Horrible Histories, and the celebrated Ridley Scott film, Gladiator. Each performance is the result of research into events in the 1st century A.D., using images drawn from Roman coins, paintings, sculpture and mosaics, surviving commentaries and archaeological finds.

Photo © Museum of London

Accompanying the main event will be a special Roman festival, which will bring the audience closer to life in Londinium, the largest city in Britannia from around AD50 to 410 and a major international port. Musicians will perform, Roman clothes and equipment will be made, crafts demonstrated and explained, and the Museum’s experts will invite the audience to examine and handle real Roman artefacts. Below ground, close to the ruins of the amphitheatre, there will be a special small display of artefacts from the Museum of London that looks at representations of gladiators in Londinium.

Photo © Museum of London

The Games form part of a three-month festival that will celebrate the unique Roman heritage at the heart of the capital, hosted by the City of London Corporation. The festival, called Londinium, is made up of exhibitions, walks, talks, theatre, film and special events, taking place from 28 July – 29 October 2017.

For more information and tickets , visit the City of London 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 – Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave at the British Museum from 25th May to 13th August 2017

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) has long been considered to be one of Japan’s greatest artists and from the 25th May, the British Museum presents the first exhibition in the UK to focus on the later years of the life and art of Hokusai, featuring his iconic print ‘The Great Wave’ of c. 1831 and the painted works produced right up to his death at the age of 90.

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave will explore the last thirty years of Hokusai’s life and art from around 1820 to 1849 and consider some of the themes that inspired much of his work. The exhibition will illustrate the importance of Hokusai’s personal beliefs and his spiritual and artistic quest through major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books. Many have never been seen before in the UK and can only be displayed for a limited length of time.

Although Hokusai is best known for the Great Wave, the exhibition will show a range of the artist’s work which features landscapes, wave pictures, deities, mythological beasts, plants and beautiful women. The works and objects are drawn from the British Museum’s collection and many loans from Japan, Europe and the United States.

The exhibition begins with evidence that Hokusai in the 1820s was beginning to be influenced by European artistic styles. The rare group of paintings from the 1820s for the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, were commissioned from Hokusai by employees of the Dutch East India Company.

It was in this period that Hokusai suffered a number of personal setbacks including the death of his wife, illness, and financial woes caused by his grandson. His daughter Eijo (art name Ōi, herself an accomplished artist, quit an unsuccessful marriage to return and care for her aged father, and to work with and alongside him. It was against this background that Hokusai began to start work on the print series Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji (published around 1831-33) which made his reputation and revived Hokusai’s career.

Hokusai’s most iconic print, ‘The Great Wave’ is featured with an early impression acquired in 2008 by the British Museum. Hokusai created this world famous masterpiece when he was about seventy.

The set of prints of Mt Fuji and surrounding area possessed considerable spiritual significance for Hokusai. It was the search for a spiritual essence that informed Hokusai’s style, his painting of birds, animals and plants and other natural subjects saw them as part of a mysterious natural world.

Part of this world was ghosts and vengeful spirits who inhabited a parallel dimension, the exhibition displays a magnificent hanging loan from the Metropolitan Museum in New York of Red Shōki, the demon-queller.

Particularly in his later years, Hokusai’s was fascinated by the mythical world of dragons, Chinese lions, phoenixes and eagles, and mythological figures and holy men.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is two magnificent painted ceiling panels of wave subjects loaned by Hokusaikan, Obuse, done in 1845 for a festival cart.

This fascinating exhibition offers the opportunity to discover Hokusai’s extraordinary career beyond the Great Wave. Remarkably the latter part of his life was often his most productive using his unique style to paint traditional Japanese subjects. Looking closely at the works provide evidence of the artist’s skill to make his subjects ‘ come alive ‘ with dynamic intention.

There will be a rotation of about half the artworks midway through the exhibition run for conservation reasons. Due to their light sensitivity some works can only be displayed for a limited amount of time, to preserve the vivid colours. Each rotation will tell the same story, but there will be the opportunity to see a selection of different works in each half. The exhibition will feature around 110 works in each rotation. The exhibition will be temporary closed from 3-6 July 2017 for this rotation.

See Video Review here

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave at the British Museum

25 May – 13 August 2017

Tickets £12.00, children under 16 free

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book 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