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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.
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Review : Sculpture in the City in the City of London – 27th June 2018 until April 2019


Sculpture in the City returns for its eighth year with 18 artists exhibiting work in the City of London. This year, the event features work from artists like Tracey Emin, Marina Abramovic, Sean Scully, David Annesley and Sarah Lucas.

Many of the sculptures are located alongside some of the City of London’s most iconic buildings which offers interesting perpectives between sculpture and background.

Some of our favourites include:  

Untitled David Annesley

‘Untitled’ (1969) is a mandala-like form, which satisfyingly contains smaller shapes within itself in perfect equilibrium.

UNIVRS – Michail Pirgelis

Michail Pirgelis works exclusively with authentic aviation materials, which he selects from aircraft scrapyards in the American desert.

Perceval – Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas’ sculpture Perceval – a life-size bronze horse and cart – presents a large-scale replica of a traditional china ornament, of the kind that took pride of place on many British mantelpieces forty years ago.

Stack Blues – Sean Scully RA

Part of Sean Scully’s Landline series of works, Stack Blues is a sculpture borne out of the artist’s preoccupation with the horizon. 

Numen (Shifting Votive One & Two) – Thomas J Price

In the “Numen” series Price continues his exploration of a new mythology in which the ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian traditions of monumental sculpture are deployed in the depiction of the twenty-first century social subject.

Opening the Air – Jyll Bradley

Opening the Air is a three-dimensional drawing made up of a geometric field of fluorescent Plexiglas discs or ‘coins’. The coins bear intricate etchings derived from plans of early eighteenth-century glasshouse design.

Body – Jean-Luc Moulène

Body pays tribute to the automobile as sculpture within the urban landscape.

Crocodylius Philodendrus – Nancy Rubins

As part of her series Diversifolia– which in the scientific names of plants indicates a single species possessed with a considerable variety of leaf, Crocodylius Philodendrus employs clusters of bouquet like arrangements comprised out of a variety of animal forms that explode into space in all directions.

We visited the sculptures at the weekend when the Square Mile is relatively deserted and on a weekday when the area is very busy. It is remarkable how the presence of people make a great difference in perspectives and ideas of scale.

All the sculptures offer an interesting take on the urban landscape setting.  Sculpture in the City, now in its eighth year is unusual that it places contemporary works from leading artists into an area that is an intriguing mix of old and modern.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the Sculpture in the City 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

 

Exhibition Review – The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy from 12th June to 19th August 2018

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the world’s longest running annual exhibition of contemporary art and has been held each year without interruption since 1769. To celebrate the 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy presents a special exhibition that will run alongside the 2018 Summer Exhibition, The Great Spectacle tells the story of the annual show by featuring highlights from the past 250 years.

The exhibition features over 80 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints from the first Summer Exhibition through to the present day by artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kauffman, Elizabeth Butler, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, John Everett Millais, Sir Frederic Leighton, John Singer Sargent, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Zaha Hadid, Sir Michael Craig-Martin, David Hockney and Wolfgang Tillmans, amongst others.

The exhibition begins with William Powell Frith’s, A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 exhibited in 1883, which depicts the characteristic hang of the Summer Exhibition with the familiar crowded arrangement of pictures.

The Summer Exhibition has since 1769 played an important role within London’s art world by allowing artists and architects to showcase their talents and compete with their rivals for the popular and critical acclaim.

The Great Spectacle exhibition is arranged in chronological sections: A Georgian Parade; The Rise of Genre Painting; The Triumph of Landscape; The Pre-Raphaelites Arrive; Victorian Acclaim; Dealing with the Modern; Exhibiting Architecture; Post-War Visions and New Sensations to allow visitors to take a journey through British art.

As you wander through the small intimate rooms, the story begins to unfold. Works from Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough vie for your attention as they would have done in the 18th century. 

Works from John Constable and Turner provide evidence of another golden age for British painting in the 19th century. 

The Victorians were great supporters of the Summer Exhibition which they attended in their thousands, John Everett Millais was a general favourite with the crowds.

Rodin’s The Age of Bronze provides a glimpse into the future with works by John Singer Sargent and Laura Knight providing some sense of the period at the start of the 20th century. 

Sir Winston Churchill’s Winter Sunshine, Chartwell was submitted in 1947 under the pseudonym David Winter and Pietro Annigoni’s Queen Elizabeth II attracted huge crowds when exhibited in 1955.

Peter Blake bought a sense of the 1960s which led the rise of Brit Art and artists who created works like Tracey Emin’s There’s a Lot of Money in Chairs exhibited in 2001 and Michael Craig-Martin’s Reconstructing Seurat (Orange exhibited in 2007. 

The intriguing Great Spectacle exhibition provides visitors with plenty of evidence that the Summer Exhibition is often an uneasy balance of the traditional and the new. Although we would consider Constable and Turner as traditional painters, in their day they were considered radical.

Over the period of 250 years, it is safe to say that some periods are more exciting than others but that is often seen in hindsight. People have attended the Summer Exhibition because they wanted to be amused and surprised by contemporary art. This is perhaps one constant that has changed little over the last 250 years of the exhibition.   

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

Exhibition Review : The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition at Burlington House – 13th June to 20th August 2017

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 exhibition features over 1,200 works on show, unlike many major exhibitions, many of the works in the exhibition will be on sale.

This year’s co-ordinator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ 249th Summer Exhibition is Royal Academician Eileen Cooper who explores themes of discovery and new talent. Cooper has taken on the considerable task of coordinating the exhibition, hanging over 1,200 works by artists in the space of just eight days.

This year the exhibition features work by internationally renowned artists Rosemarie Trockel, Julian Schnabel, Hassan Hajjaj, Secundino Hernández, Isaac Julien, Tomoaki Suzuki, Mark Wallinger and Sean Scully RA, as well as submissions by well known artists Gilbert & George, David Adjaye. Anselm Keifer, Cornelia Parker, Tracey Emin, Eileen Cooper and Yinka Shonibare.

Yinka Shonibare RA’s six metre high colourful wind sculpture dominates the RA Courtyard before you enter the exhibition. Part of the fun of wandering around the exhibition is trying to recognise pieces by the more well-known artists and discovering new artists from the wide range of works on display.

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.

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017

Burlington House

13 June — 20 August 2017

Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm

Friday 10am – 10pm

£15.50 (without donation £14). Concessions available. Friends of the RA, and under 16s when with a fee-paying adult, go free.

For more information or to book 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