Art in the Age of Black Power

SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER, Tate Modern, until 22nd October 2017

 

Elizabeth Catlett
Black Unity, 1968
Mahogany wood
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, © Catlett Mora Family Trust/DACS, London / VAGA, NY 2017

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood to visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

It is quite startling to enter this exhibition and be confronted by copies of the Black Panther newspaper – the printed form of the ideology behind the Black Panther movement of the early sixties which wasn’t always engaged in peaceful or lawful pursuits.

Faith Ringgold (b.1930)
American People Series #20: Die, 1967
Oil on canvas,1828 x 3657 mm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase; and gift of the Modern Women’s Fund, © Faith Ringgold

There are images in varying media of many of the personalities involved in the rise of the awareness of Black Power including Aretha Franklin, Muhammad Ali and Toni Morrison.  On the more political side we have of course Martin Luther King and Malcolm X who has a painting dedicated to him by Jack Whitten on public display for the first time.  There is a fragment from The Wall of Respect in Chicago which became a powerful symbol of the Civil Rights movement.

Andy Warhol
Muhammad Ali, 1978
Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 1016 x 1016 mm
Private collection
© 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

This is a timely and far-reaching exhibition and a major celebration of a crucial but perhaps overlooked area of American art history when black artists rose to the challenge of increasing their visibility and saying out loud and clear ‘We are here!’

Roy DeCarava
Couple Walking,1979
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper, 356 x 279 mm
© Courtesy Sherry DeCarava and the DeCarava Archives

http://www.tate.org.uk

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, Haynes Fine Art London, 70 Pimlico Road, London SW1, until 7th December 2016

ANDY WARHOL American 1928-1987 (ref. 13738) 'Abstract Drawing' Tempera on paper, signed verso, drawn circa 1954 Paper size: 13.25 x 15 inches

ANDY WARHOL
American 1928-1987
(ref. 13738)
‘Abstract Drawing’
Tempera on paper, signed verso, drawn circa 1954
Paper size: 13.25 x 15 inches

What better way to open a new gallery in London than with an exhibition of twenty-seven original works by Andy Warhol?  Well this is exactly what well-known Haynes Fine Art has done with their exciting gallery space in Pimlico Road where they show early drawings, Polaroid’s and gelatin silver photographs.

ANDY WARHOL American 1928-1987 (ref. 13731) 'Debbie Harry' Unique gelatin silver print, dated 'Oct 27 1980' verso Paper size: 10 x 8 inches

ANDY WARHOL
American 1928-1987
(ref. 13731)
‘Debbie Harry’
Unique gelatin silver print, dated ‘Oct 27 1980’ verso
Paper size: 10 x 8 inches

Their managing director Tony Haynes says: “We are excited to have secured this remarkable selection of works by Warhol. They offer a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of Pop Art history by one of the world’s most famous artists.  These are fantastic entry-level works for new collectors and rare one-off pieces for seasoned buyers. ”

ANDY WARHOL American 1928-1987 (ref.13883) 'Reducing Salon' Graphite on coloured paper, drawn circa 1979 Paper size: 18 x 20 inches

ANDY WARHOL
American 1928-1987
(ref.13883)
‘Reducing Salon’
Graphite on coloured paper, drawn circa 1979
Paper size: 18 x 20 inches

The opening of the new Haynes Fine Art gallery in Pimlico Road is a major step as we celebrate 45 years of our business this year, and the arrival of a 3rd generation to the Haynes family team.  It is a deep commitment not only to our international customers but also to our belief that London is the most important and vibrant art centre in the world.”

Haynes Fine Art London Gallery

Haynes Fine Art London Gallery

www.haynesfineart.com 

A backward glance to the 60s

Pure Evil on the King’s Road, Proud Chelsea, 161 King’s Road,  London SW3, until 7th August 2016 

Michael Caine © Pure Evil

Michael Caine
© Pure Evil

One can quite understand why street artist Pure Evil (Charles Uzzell-Edwards) has such a following.  His works, inspired by 60s icons and with a Warhol-esque twist and his famous tear-mark emblem explore the darker side of people, with an added dash of humour.

Michael Cox’s Nightmare (Jean Shrimpton) © Pure Evil

Michael Cox’s Nightmare (Jean Shrimpton)
© Pure Evil

It is fitting that as a descendant of Sir Thomas More, who lived nearby, that Pure Evil should have this show on London’s famous King’s Road.

  www.proud.co.uk 

Andy Warhol, Lucy Jones and Italian Pop

Warhol Icons, Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street, London W1, until 26th June 2016

Andy Warhol Blackglama (Judy Garland) 1985

Andy Warhol
Blackglama (Judy Garland) 1985

This is the gallery’s first exhibition solely focusing on the works of Andy Warhol.  It is wide-ranging with over a hundred works on display, including iconic figures, early works and the Anatom (Rado Watches) which was one of his last works.

Andy Warhol Paramount 1985

Andy Warhol
Paramount 1985

http://www.halcyongallery.com

 

Lucy Jones, The Cycle Of Life, Flowers, 21 Cork Street, London W1, until 21st May 2016

Lucy Jones, Sitting, 2015, Oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm (c) Lucy Jones, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

Lucy Jones,
Sitting, 2015,
Oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm
(c) Lucy Jones, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

This exhibition of new portraits and landscape paintings is well worth seeing.  Her portraits are frank and also revealing of the sitter’s inner persona but handled with great understanding. Her landscapes are a personal interpretation of the countryside along the border between England and Wales and like her portraits there is a personal resonance in them.  The artist describes her process as “grabbing hold” and “pinning down” the essence and colour of the place.

Lucy Jones, Tree, 2015, Oil on canvas, 91 x 122 cm (c) Lucy Jones, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

Lucy Jones,
Tree, 2015,
Oil on canvas, 91 x 122 cm
(c) Lucy Jones, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

www.flowersgallery.com

 

Italian Pop, Tornabuoni Art, 46 Albemarle Street W1, until 18th June 2016

Mimmo Rotella Italia e Corona , 1962 Decollage on canvas 22.4 x 22.4 in / 57 x 57 cm Courtesy Tornabuoni Art

Mimmo Rotella
Italia e Corona , 1962
Decollage on canvas
22.4 x 22.4 in / 57 x 57 cm
Courtesy Tornabuoni Art

This is a heady celebration of the Italian Pop Art movement which came to the fore in the early 1960s.  The gallery’s director, Ursula Casamonti, sums it up saying “We wanted to provide a counterpoint to Italian post-war abstraction and the Milanese avant-garde that we typically show at Tornabuoni Art and present a different side to the Italian 1960s, one driven by Rome and by the people’s relationship to Italian culture and the ‘Dolce Vita’.”

The artists included in this striking show are: Valerio Adami, Franco Angeli, Mario Ceroli, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni, Mimmo Rotella, Mario Schifano and Cesare Tacchi

Cesare Tacchi, I guardiani della primavera Pop, 2006 paint on printed fabric and relief (triptych) 210 x 300 cm / 82.7 x 118 Courtesy Tornabuoni Art

Cesare Tacchi,
I guardiani della primavera Pop, 2006
paint on printed fabric and relief (triptych)
210 x 300 cm / 82.7 x 118
Courtesy Tornabuoni Art

www.tornabuoniart.com

 

 

Botticelli – two London exhibitions

Botticelli and Treasures from the Hamilton Collection, The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, until 15thMay 2016

Sandro Botticelli Centre of Hell. The full figure of Lucifer (Divine Comedy, Inferno XXXIV,2), around 1481-1495, Pen and brown ink over metal pen on parchment, 63,2 x 46,3 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Philipp Allard

Sandro Botticelli
Centre of Hell. The full figure of Lucifer (Divine Comedy, Inferno XXXIV,2), around 1481-1495,
Pen and brown ink over metal pen on parchment, 63,2 x 46,3 cm
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Philipp Allard

In 1882 the 12th Duke of Hamilton sold the collection of drawings by Sandro Botticelli which depicted scenes from Dante’s Divine Comedy as well as almost all his fabled collection of illuminated manuscripts to the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (Prints and Drawings Museum).

Sandro Botticelli Dante and Beatrice in the second planetary sphere of Paradise (Divine Comedy, Paradiso VI), around 1481-1495, Pen and brown ink over metal pen on parchment, 32,5 x 47,6 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Philipp Allard

Sandro Botticelli
Dante and Beatrice in the second planetary sphere of Paradise (Divine Comedy, Paradiso VI), around 1481-1495,
Pen and brown ink over metal pen on parchment, 32,5 x 47,6 cm
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Philipp Allard

Now we are fortunate – and I do emphasise that – to have some thirty of them in this exhibition alongside some of the illuminated manuscripts including the stunning Hamilton Bible, which appears in Raphael’s portrait of Pope Leo X in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Cristoforo Orimina Genesis (in the so called “Hamilton-Bible”), around 1350-60 book illumination and gold on parchment, 37,5 x 26,5 cm © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Cristoforo Orimina
Genesis (in the so called “Hamilton-Bible”), around 1350-60
book illumination and gold on parchment, 37,5 x 26,5 cm
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Dating from 1480-1495 Botticelli’s drawings on vellum depict scenes from the three parts of Dante’s work. In Hell and Purgatory Dante is guided by Virgil but in Paradise he is led by his beloved Beatrice. These are powerful, exquisite works and the suffering and torment depicted in the first two parts might serve as a reminder to mend our own ways where necessary.

courtauld.ac.uk

 

 

Botticelli Reimagined, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 until 3rd July 2016

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined
(c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is certainly a major show covering a period of some five hundred years and includes some fifty works by Sandro Botticelli himself. Rather strangely in my opinion the exhibition starts in a rather glitzy Global, Modern, Contemporary Section which features a whole variety of works, including scenes from Dr No and the The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which are inspired by Botticelli’s painting the Birth of Venus.

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined
(c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Botticelli was rather neglected in the three hundred years after his death but was re-discovered in the 19th century by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite group, some of whom acquired his works, and thus the second section features works by Burne-Jones, Rossetti and William Morris which reflect this interest as well as paintings by Degas and Gustave Moreau.

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Installation view of Botticelli Reimagined
(c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The third and final section Botticelli in his Own Time takes us to the master himself. There are some fine works, including five Divine Comedy drawings, to be enjoyed. Among the paintings is The Mystic Nativity, his only signed and dated painting and Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c. 1470-5) which was once owned by Rossetti. I do wonder whether the stark white walls of this section were the right foil for these works and whether the layout is a bit cramped but having said that this is a memorable exhibition for the right reasons. Botticelli certainly still reigns!

vam.ac.uk

Celebrating the Image – Three London Exhibitions

Avedon Warhol, Gagosian, 6-24 Britannia Street, London WC1, until 23rd April 2016

My camera and I, together we have the power to confer or to take away.

—Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon Audrey Hepburn, actress, New York, January 20, 1967 Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Richard Avedon
Audrey Hepburn, actress, New York, January 20, 1967
Photograph by Richard Avedon
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

 

This is a major exhibition which celebrates two outstanding post-war talents whose common link was portraiture which they often repeated or serialized. Avedon, of course through photography and Warhol through his screen prints. It is a delightful experience and well worth a visit.

Andy Warhol Miriam Davidson , 1965 Spray paint and silkscreen ink on canvas 80 1/4 x 80 1/2 inches 203.8 x 204.5cm Private Collection © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Andy Warhol
Miriam Davidson , 1965
Spray paint and
silkscreen ink on canvas
80 1/4 x 80 1/2 inches
203.8 x 204.5cm
Private Collection © 2015 The Andy Warhol
Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York.

They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

—Andy Warhol

http://www.gagosian.com

 

 

Vogue 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2, until 22nd May 2016

The Beatles, by Peter Laurie, 1964 Condé Nast Archive London

The Beatles, by Peter Laurie, 1964 Condé Nast Archive London

The British version of Vogue was started a hundred years ago during the First World War as it was no longer possible to ship Vogue from America. It was an instant hit and continues to this very day to be at the forefront of fashion design and photography as the many images in this exhibition celebrate.

 

http://www.npg.org.uk

 

 

Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern, The Eyal Ofer Galleries, Level 3, Bankside, London SE1, until 12thJune 2016

Claude Cahun, 1894 - 1954 Self Portrait 1927 Image courtesy of the Wilson Centre for Photography

Claude Cahun, 1894 – 1954
Self Portrait
1927
Image courtesy of the Wilson Centre for Photography

Some five hundred images, ranging from the beginning of photography to our “selfie” age of today illustrate how the relationship between photography and performance has developed. Sometimes it becomes serious art while at other times is more humorous and relaxed. It is a history that has strong resonance as any of us could be a “performer” caught in a camera lens.

Erwin Wurm, b.1954 One Minute Sculpture, 1997 c-print Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Erwin Wurm, b.1954
One Minute Sculpture, 1997
c-print
Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

http://www.tate.org.uk

 

A Visual Feast of Books and Food

Paul BeliveauFor the Love of Books, Plus One Gallery, 89 – 91 Pimlico Road, London SW1, until 28th November 2015

Paul Beliveau "Vanitas 15.08.19: English Musicians" Acrylic on canvas 91 x 91 cm Copyright of Plus One Gallery

Paul Beliveau
“Vanitas 15.08.19: English Musicians”
Acrylic on canvas
91 x 91 cm
Copyright of Plus One Gallery

This Canadian-based artist brings us into a world of oversized books, some real and some imaginary.  It is both a celebration and examination of culture with the books being divided by themes such as music, art and history.  I am envious of the tidy way in which he displays these tomes that reflect times present and past.

Paul Beliveau "Vanitas 11.07.12: Holbein - Grace" Acrylic on canvas 91 x 91 cm Copyright of Plus One Gallery

Paul Beliveau
“Vanitas 11.07.12: Holbein – Grace”
Acrylic on canvas
91 x 91 cm
Copyright of Plus One Gallery

http://www.plusonegallery.com

 

A Seasonal Feast by Mimi Roberts & Alice-Andrea Ewing, Potterton Books London, 93 Lower Sloane Street, London SW1, until 30th November 2015

photo 1

This is certainly an appetising show for the senses combining Mimi’s still life’s of fruit, fish and vegetables inspired by the 16th and 17th century artists of Holland, Italy and Spain with the bronze sculptures of Alice-Andrea’s ‘Organic Series’. The latter, cast directly from the natural, features chillies, aubergines, apples, walnuts and figs as the subject matter.

photo 4

http://www.pottertonbookslondon.com