London’s Cultural Banquet. What to Feast your Eyes upon in the coming weeks.

Here is my pick of some things to go and see over the next week or two…

James Turrell at PACE Gallery (Green Park)

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PACE Gallery offers up some of the most exciting cross-medium art events and exhibitions world wide. Last year Jay-Z graced their New York space for 6 hours to perform his song ‘Picasso Baby’ whilst Marina Abramović circled him like an ethereal bird, alongside other many other performative artists. Sounds strange – but it was fascinating. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMG2oNqBy-Y&feature=kip) The gallery showcases and represents some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today; James Turrell being one of them. I first encountered Turrell’s work in Venice during the Biennale and his work utterly astounded me.  Working mainly through the medium of LED light in installed spaces, Turrell’s work is mesmerizing and completely immersive. Intensely bright rectangles of changing colours seep out of their ‘frames’ towards you. Upon experiencing his work ‘Acton’ a friend of mine actually back away in shock from the uncertainty of not knowing where his art begins and ends.

At the PACE gallery’s space behind the Royal Academy, Turrell’s work is currently on display. His pieces are beautiful, immersive and refreshingly different. Go and take a look.

Paul Klee at Tate Modern (Southwark)

I love going to the Tate Modern. We are lucky in London that we have Sir Nicholas Serota serving up incredible exhibitions and innovative rehangs of the vast Tate collections. The new galleries are a complete marvel. He has taken us ‘off the conveyor belt of art history’ and thrown us into the middle of a visual feast. And the banquet beheld in their temporary exhibition space upstairs was a glorious German affair. The Paul Klee retrospective on display is an in-depth insight into the mind of one of the most fascinating avant-garde artists. Tracing his trajectory from beginning to Bauhaus and beyond, I was completely surprised by what I saw. The medium in which he works and the inventive nature in which he approaches it sets him apart from his peers. Click here to see the exhibition page: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/ey-exhibition-paul-klee-making-visible

Sensing Spaces at The Royal Academy (Green Park)

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I’ve visited this too many times to count now. This exhibition pushes to the fore the immense power architecture has as an art to affect the way we feel and interact with space around us. Seven leading architects have transformed the Royal Academy’s main galleries into a different world where the large and little, light and dark, enclosed and open meet us and make us use our senses. Check out my review of the exhibition from February on this blog. https://forageforart.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/truly-splendid-sensing-spaces-at-the-royal-academy/ 

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Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (Cinemas near you)

Wes Anderson’s latest offering is rocking cinemas currently. I am dying to see this before the week is out. It seems that everyone is talking about it and the conversations they are having are wonderful; It places a Northern Renaissance portrait called ‘Boy with Apple’ as the central point of conversation. I particularly enjoyed reading Jonathan Jones’ article tearing it apart as an art history in-joke – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/mar/07/grand-budapest-hotel-boy-with-apple Why not?! As per Wes-usual the cast is stellar – anything that includes Bill Murray in it is going to have me hooked.

Carol Mavor ‘Blue Mythologies’ book reading at The Photographers Gallery (Oxford Circus), Thursday 13th March

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Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour (Photo from The University of Chicago Press)

She’s an art history lecturer and visual artist fascinated by the wonders of photography, childhood, memory, time and fairytales. She was my professor at university and an eccentric inspiration. She is in town to do a reading of her new book ‘Blue Mythologies’. Having attended previous Mavor readings, it’s truly an experience. I never entirely know whats going on but the fluidity and rhythm to her writing and reading combined is fairly intoxicating.

Diverse Maniere: Piranesi, Fantasy and Excess at The Soane Museum (Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn)

I cannot rate the Soane Museum more highly. It is a unique experience and one of the greatest national treasures. Entering the museum is like entering a different universe; the mind of its creator, Sir John Soane himself. This temporary exhibition builds upon works by Giovanni Battista Piranesi in the collection. An imaginative draftsman of the highest order, seeing Piranesi’ works is a completely pleasurable experience whether its of an imagined landscape filled with Roman ruins or one of his universally-sized prisons.

Here Jonathan Jones sums up the exhibition: “In a delightful exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, Piranesi’s dreamlike prints are shown next to objects that translate his extravagant notions – table legs shaped like goats’ limbs with faces on them; a teapot that rests on a tortoise and has a bee for a spout – into the three-dimensional world.”

If its your first time to the Soane you are in for a treat!

Bailey’s Stardust at The National Portrait Gallery

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This exhibition lets you hang out with all the cool kids. Portraits of Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Grayson Perry, Meryl Streep, The Stones, and so many more adorn the walls. Not only this but you also get to follow Bailey across his travels to far distant countries and see the extraordinary people that are captured by his lens.

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Bailey’s Stardust is presented thematically across a series of contrasting rooms and illustrates the extraordinary range of subjects that Bailey has captured: actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels; many of them famous, some anonymous, all of them unforgettable.” (National portrait Gallery)

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I particularly loved the collection of photos he captured of his wife and muse Catherine Bailey. The intimacy of their relationship and adoration in the eye of the photographer is present in the pictures of her; Her beauty took my breath away.

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