Exhibition – David Goldblatt | Johannesburg 1948 – 2018 (Goodman Gallery)

Exhibition, Goodman Gallery, London, until 25th August 2020 
David Goldblatt | Johannesburg 1948 – 2018

Header image: Margaret Mcingana, who later became famous as the singer Margaret Singana, at home, Sunday afternoon, Zola, Soweto, October 1970

Born in 1930 in Randfontein, David Goldblatt’s photography captured a reality of living through South African apartheid that was never shown on the news, his images conveying a very real picture of life and the people in his homeland; he is famously quoted as saying, “I was drawn not to the events of the time but to the quiet and commonplace where nothing ‘happened’ and yet all was contained and imminent”.

Domestic worker on Abel Road, Hillbrow, March 1973

His interest in taking photographs started at a young age, but running the family business sidelined his pursuits behind the camera until 1963, when he sold the company to focus solely on a career in photography. Having become a part of numerous artistic circles in Johannesburg, he was able to integrate with a wide range of groups in the community which, in turn, allowed him access to shoot in situations and capture portraits where others couldn’t. As his love for photography grew, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop to allow for visual literacy and photographic skills to be taught to the younger generation. He went on to receive numerous awards and honorary doctorates and to have his work exhibited worldwide.

Baby with child-minders and dogs in the Alexandra Street Park, Hillrow, 1972

This latest exhibition captures his view of Johannesburg from 1948 until his death in 2018; the shots included will provide an important social document for many years to come. Excerpts from the press release below:

Left: An office worker from Tsmeb on holiday,
in a rooming house on Abel Road, Hillbrow, March 1973
Right: Rochelle and Samantha Adkins, Hillbrow, 1972

‘Goodman Gallery presents Johannesburg 1948 – 2018, the acclaimed South African photographer David Goldblatt’s first major solo exhibition in London since 1986. Renowned for a lifetime of photography exploring his home country, Goldblatt produced an unparalleled body of work within the city of Johannesburg, where he lived for 70 years. At age 17, Goldblatt would hitchhike from Randfontein, the small mining town where he was born, into Johannesburg. He walked around the city until the next morning, talking to night watchmen and following his intuition: “People would ask me what I was doing, and I would say, ‘I’m poeging. I’m walking around the city; I’m learning the city, and trying to take photographs.” This process became the foundation of his practice.

Coronation Restaurant in the Diagonal St Fruit Market, January 1962

The exhibition maps Goldblatt’s evolution of work in a city divided by structural racism and subject to waves of trauma and resistance. Goldblatt was engaged in the conditions of society – the values by which people lived – rather than the climactic outcomes of those conditions. He intended to discover and probe these values through the medium of photography…

Schoolboy, Hillbrow, June 1972

David Goldblatt died at his home in Johannesburg in June 2018. Working until shortly before his death, he remained, to the last, “a self-appointed observer and critic of the society into which I was born”. In 2011, art critic and social commentator Mark Gevisser described Goldblatt as “the doyen of South African photography” who cast “so clear an eye over the South African landscape […] that he has become the country’s visual conscience”.’

Portrait photographer and client, Braamfontein, 1955

David Goldblatt | Johannesburg 1948 – 2018 is on now at Goodman Gallery until 25th August 2020

Goodman Gallery, 26 Cork Street, London W1S 3ND
Opening times Mon – Fri 11am – 5pm
As with all public spaces, if you’re feeling unwell please stay at home to keep everyone safe

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Goodman Gallery; photos are © David Goldblatt, please do not reproduce without agreement

Intro by Siobhan

6th August 2020

Exhibition – Bill Brandt | Henry Moore (The Hepworth Wakefield)

Exhibition, The Hepworth Wakefield, 1st August – 1st November 2020
Bill Brandt | Henry Moore

Header image: Bill Brandt, Henry Moore, 1948, gelatine silver print, Hyman Collection London © Bill Brandt / Bill Brandt Archive Ltd – reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation

Photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983) and sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986) first met during the Second World War, when they were commissioned by the UK government to create images of civilians sheltering from the bombings of Blitz in the London Underground. Over 50 years later, this initial link forms the basis of an exhibition currently housed at The Hepworth Wakefield, newly reopened since the weekend.

The Hepworth Wakefield © Hufton & Crow

Bill Brandt is recognised as one of the masters of 20th century photography, his work ranging from social documentary to surrealism. His role as staff photographer for the Home Office brought him to the wartime role – he had already been capturing life in the capital for some years, contributing to magazines and publishing two books, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). His later work included distorted nudes, portraits and landscapes.

Bill Brandt, Nude, East Sussex Coast, gelatine silver print, 1960,
Bill Brandt Archive London © Bill Brandt / Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

In the 1940s, Henry Moore was commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to produce illustrations  of the work being carried out in collieries where the ‘Bevin Boys’ were conscripted to mine for the coal used to fuel armaments factories. The style of these drawings and those that he made of the mass air raid shelters are very similar, using wax crayon, watercolour, pen and ink. Better known for his monumental brass sculpted forms, Moore went on to become one of the best known names in sculpture, his influence still strong amongst many successors.

Henry Moore, Two Piece Reclining Figure No 4, 1961, bronze
The Hepworth Wakefield (Wakefield Permanent Art Collection)
Photo © Jonte Wilde

The exhibition charts the journey of both artists as their paths continued to cross over the years. Further details from the press release below:

‘Organised in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art, the exhibition will bring together over 200 works including major sculptures, iconic photographs, drawings, little-known photo collages, unprinted negatives and rare original colour transparencies. Bill Brandt | Henry Moore will reveal the interdisciplinary range of these two artists, exploring how they both responded creatively to the British landscape and communities during the turbulent times in which they lived.

The exhibition will open with the moment the artists met in 1942 when Brandt photographed Moore in his studio to accompany a 10-page spread in Lilliput magazine juxtaposing the two artists’ shelter pictures. Brandt was a regular contributor as a photojournalist to Lilliput, a magazine known for its innovative photographic features, and this issue was the first time the two artists’ work was shown side-by-side.

Both artists were often drawn to similar subjects – leading up to and during the Second World War, there was a focus on ordinary people, the home and labour. Brandt’s bleakly evocative photographs of impoverished mining communities and families in the North of England taken in the late 1930s reflect social deprivation. Moore’s later sketches documenting the civilian war effort at his father’s colliery in his home-town of Castleford, although similar in theme, present a more optimistic view…

Henry Moore, Pit Boys at Pit Head, 1942,
pencil, pen, ink, wax coloured crayon & watercolour wash
The Hepworth Wakefield (Wakefield Permanent Art Collection)

The exhibition will reveal the important relationship for both artists between 2D images and 3D objects. Moore will be presented as a sculptor and draftsman who made a serious commitment to photography both as a creative medium and a means of presenting his work. On display will be little-known photographs of his sculptures, drawn on and collaged together to develop new ideas for future sculpture. Brandt will be revealed as a photographer who looked to sculpture as a subject and as a way of considering nature, landscape, and the human body, as exemplified by a series of rare colour transparencies of sculptural rock formations on the beach.

Bill Brandt |Henry Moore will also examine the complicated relationship between pictures and objects, between ‘primary’ works of art and ‘secondary’ published images used as an important means of disseminating their work to a wide public, and the material nature of the printed photograph.’

Bill Brandt | Henry Moore runs at The Hepworth Wakefield from 1st August – 1st November 2020, after which it will move to Sainsbury Centre, Norwich from 21st November 2020 – 28th February 2021. The exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, Hiscox and The Hepworth Wakefield Contemporary Circle.

Social distancing means that numbers in the gallery at any one time will be limited and this may result in short waits during busy times. No cash payments are currently being accepted and booking is advisable; please check the website for updates before visiting and if you are feeling unwell please stay at home.

The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 5AW 
Opening times are currently restricted to Wed – Sun 10am – 5pm
Tickets £7.50 / £5 / free for Members, Wakefield residents and under 16s; various permanent exhibitions and the gallery gardens are open free of charge

Sir Michael Craig- Martin, Pitchfork (Yellow), 2013
on display in The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
Photo © Nick Singleton

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Hepworth Wakefield and are copyrighted / owned as credited

Intro by Siobhan

4th August 2020

Exhibitions – Tate Reopening

Header image: Tate Modern
The Blavatnik Building Stairwell 3 © Iwan Baan

Exciting news for art lovers as Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives all open their doors to the public again today, having had no option than to close over the past few months to meet quarantine regulations.

Visitors will finally be able to access the galleries and collections, including some exhibitions that have been given specially extended run dates and others that will be starting at a new later date to allow more viewings. This offers a very welcome return to accessing the arts and seeing some outstanding pieces of work up close.

Current and upcoming exhibitions are listed below; there’s sure to be something in amongst this selection to tempt you…

Tate Britain (London)

© Tate Photography

Aubrey Beardsley – until 20th September 2020

Steve McQueen Year 3 – until 31st January 2021

Turner’s Modern World – 28th October 2020 – 7th March 2021

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – 18th November 2020 – 9th May 2021

Installation view – Steve McQueen Year 3 at Tate Britain © Tate
(part of a huge project to photograph Year 3 pupils across London)

Tate Liverpool

© Rachel Ryan Photography

Mikhail Karikis – 27th July 2020 – 22nd November 2020

Don McCullin – 16th September 2020 – 9th May 2021

Don McCullin, Liverpool c. 1970
© Don McCullin

Tate Modern (London)

The Blavatnik Building © Iwan Baan

Hyundai Commission: Kara Walker Fons Americanus – until 8th November 2020

Andy Warhol – until 15th November 2020

Bruce Nauman – 7th October 2020 – 21st February 2021

Zanele Muholi – 5th November 2020 – 7th March 2021

Bruce Nauman, VIOLINS VIOLENCE SILENCE 1981–2
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2019

Tate St Ives

© Dennis Gilbert

Naum Gabo – until 27th September 2020

Haegue Yang – 24th October 2020 – 3rd May 2021

Haegue Yang – Installation view of The Great Acceleration,
Taipei Biennial 2014, Taiwan, 2014
Photo: Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Maria Balshaw, Director, Tate said: “I’m thrilled to be reopening our galleries and can’t wait to welcome visitors back. While you’ve been away, we have worked hard to ensure our spaces are safe and accessible for everybody. We have also extended many major exhibitions and commissions, all of which feel as powerful and relevant today as they did when they first opened.”

Additional safety measures require timed tickets to be purchased in advance (for paid and free exhibitions) and card or contactless payments to be used for any purchases inside the galleries. One way routes and hand sanitiser will be in place and visitors are recommended to wear a face covering (mandatory in shop sections which may be on your route so best to have one with you). Bear in mind that while toilets are open, cloakrooms and lockers are still closed. Full details, along with opening times and links to buy tickets are on their website – please check all information before visiting any of the sites and if you’re feeling unwell, please stay safe and stay home.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4BB

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG

Tate Website (all galleries)

Words by Siobhan
Photos and details reproduced with permission from Tate – all images are copyrighted as detailed above

27th July 2020

Exhibition – Shirley Baker: A Different Age (James Hyman Gallery – Online)

Online Exhibition, James Hyman Gallery, 22nd June – 26th July 2020
Shirley Baker: A Different Age

Header photo: Manchester 1985

‘James Hyman Gallery is pleased to present an online exhibition of largely unseen photographs by Shirley Baker, selected from the photographer’s estate. The exhibition includes her rare colour work as well as iconic black and white images.’

Manchester 1965

Shirley Baker (1932 – 2014) is one of Britain’s most fascinating yet unexplored social documentary photographers, particularly considering the era in which she started actively shooting. A woman practicing street photography in post-war Britain was a rarity, her gritty, expressive style a poignant reflection of the times. Shirley’s pictures show the flip-side to the hype of London’s swinging 60s, instead concentrating on the reality of the local people in the area around her Manchester home. From traditional flat caps to the vintage style and sometime glamour of the working class, the images are beautifully composed without being posed, her work continuing to record urban life over the following decades.

For those who question the validity of street photography, Shirley Baker’s pictures go a long way to explaining how, especially over time, capturing the everyday scenes around us offers an important visual timeline as good as any history book, memories for some and a chance to better understand the past for others.

Top left: Manchester (Man with Pigeons) 1967
Top right: Stockport Road, Stockport 1967
Bottom: Chester 1966

Further details here from the press release:

The exhibition focuses on Shirley Baker’s celebrated street scenes photographed around Manchester and Salford and explores her depiction of older adults.

Nan Levy, Shirley Baker’s daughter, who has curated the show with James Hyman, explains, “Having been in lockdown for the past weeks and only just being allowed out, it made me think of our elderly folk who are still unable to see their loved ones. They cannot even visit their sons and daughters or take pleasure from playing their grandchildren for fear of catching the virus. I have put a collection of Shirley’s photographs of the elderly taken from the 60s to the 80s showing them taking pleasure from the simple things in daily life that sadly are not possible at the moment”.

Manchester 1968

Shirley Baker, writing of her motivations captures a world of street life that seems like a distant memory, “I love the immediacy of unposed, spontaneous photographs and the ability of the camera to capture the serious, the funny, the sublime and the ridiculous. Despite the many wonderful pictures of the great and famous, I feel that less formal, quotidian images can often convey more of the life and spirit of the time”.

Untitled 1983

All images are reproduced courtesy of the Shirley Baker estate and James Hyman Gallery. The online exhibition is live on the gallery’s website now until 24th July 2020.

You can see more of Shirley Baker’s photography here.

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

6th July 2020

Exhibition – Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers (Design Museum)

Exhibition, The Design Museum, London, 1st April – 26th July 2020
Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers

Header shot: Kraftwerk © Peter Boettcher

Just four weeks from today, The Design Museum in London will be opening a new exhibition which looks set to be a must-see for any fans of electronic music and the technology attached to it. With immersive audio-visual experiences and a chance to see exhibits and installations from the world of electronica, this could feel more like a night out than a visit to the museum. Take 3D trips with icons of the scene Kraftwerk and The Chemical Brothers and bring back memories of the pulsing dancefloors of the rave scene – all the while marveling at how this genre has spanned the decades and remains at the forefront of new music today.

Left: Jean Michel Jarre’s virtual studio, photo © Gil Lefauconnier
Right: MR 808 Interactive by ROBOTS SONIC, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

Full details from the press release below:

‘The Design Museum in London launches a new exhibition exploring the hypnotic world of electronic music, from its origins to its futuristic dreams. Discover how design, technology and innovation powered the genre in the work of visionaries including Kraftwerk, The Chemical Brothers, Jeff Mills, Daphne Oram, Jean-Michel Jarre and Aphex Twin. Experience the museum premiere of electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers’ sensory spectacle by creative studio Smith & Lyall, featuring mesmerising visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. This exhibition makes connections between electronic music and contemporary design, fashion and art, including works from Charles Jeffrey of Loverboy, Andreas Gursky, Peter Saville, Boiler Room, The Designers Republic, Christian Marclay, Jeremy Deller and more.

The Chemical Brothers, The O2, 30th Nov 2019 © Luke Dyson

Grab your headphones and plug into the first music-themed exhibition at the Design Museum, from Wednesday 1 April 2020 – featuring a club-like environment where lighting and video are synched to a specially curated soundtrack by French DJ Laurent Garnier. Complete with a new series of live AV experiences, visitors will be transported by multi-sensory installations. This is your chance to step inside the visual world of The Chemical Brothers, featuring elements of their legendary live show, as visuals and lights interact to create a three dimensional immersive experience by Smith & Lyall – inspired by the psychedelic duo’s acclaimed No Geography Tour. Delve into the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s Collapse and celebrate 50 years of legendary group Kraftwerk with a 30 minute 3D experience.

Kraftwerk © Peter Boettcher

Left: Peter Keene, In Search of Daphne, The Oramics Machine Revisited,
A Work in Continual Progress 2015-2018

Right: Jeff Mills’ Supernatural costume, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

An adaptation of the hugely popular exhibition from Musée de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris, the London showcase will put a spotlight on UK electronic and rave culture. Featuring over 400 items, the exhibition is divided into 4 sections: Man and Woman Machine, Dancefloor, Mix and Remix, and Utopian Dreams and Ideals. The journey begins with a timeline of revolutionary instruments and the innovators who pioneered them, including Donald Buchla, Tadao Kikumoto for the Roland Corporation and Daphne Oram for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. As well as an ‘imagined’ music studio from electronic music innovator Jean-Michel Jarre, a dynamic light installation by 1024 architecture, the Moog 55 synthesiser and the iconic TR-808. Travel to warehouses and dancefloors across the world in celebration of rave and club culture. Explore the design process behind the vinyl sleeves of Tomato and Underworld, fetish fashion by iconic queer designer Walter Van Beirendonck, objects from the iconic Haçienda club and turn back time with large-scale images of rave culture by Andreas Gursky. Expect to see clothing by Charles Jeffrey of Loverboy, projections of dancers from all corners of the globe including New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow and relive the moment of ecstasy experienced by many on the dance floor.’

Vanity Flightcase by Bruno Peinado, photo © Gil Lefauconnier

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers runs from 1st April – 26th July 2020
The Design Museum, 224-228 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG
Opening times: Mon-Thur & Sun 10-6, Fri-Sat 10-8 (10-9 on selected Fridays)
Standard tickets Mon-Fri Adult £16, Child £8, Sat-Sun Adult £18, Child £9; various concessions and group tickets are also available, please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Design Museum and are copyrighted as credited

Intro by Siobhan

4th March 2020

 

Exhibition – Masculinities: Liberation through Photography (Barbican, London)

Exhibition, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 20th February – 17th May 2020
Masculinities: Liberation through Photography 

Header photo: Rotimi Fani-Kayode – Untitled, 1985
© Rotimi Fani-Kayode, courtesy of Autograph, London

Across society there are many traditions and expectations; how we look, think and behave are all subject to comment by the press and the opinions of others on social media. Thankfully, views from the past about what should be perceived as ‘masculine’ are being challenged and are changing as a result. Still, there is huge disparity in this between different cultures and backgrounds and the chance to consider this in visual form makes up the subject matter for a new exhibition at The Barbican, opening its doors in February.

Photo: CatherineOpie – Rusty, 2008
© Catherine Opie, coutesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles
and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography features a wealth of big name photographers as well as some newer names in the arena. Having begun to take photos as a child with a gifted Kodak Instamatic, LA based Catherine Opie has risen in stature to exhibit in galleries across the US and internationally, her portraiture and social commentary shots famed around the world and now displayed here. Also included is the work of Rotimi Fani-Kayode. Arriving in Brighton as a child having fled the Nigerian civil war, he went on to study photography in New York before returning to the UK to produce an esteemed body of work, both technically and socially, before his death in 1989. He is quoted as saying, ‘On three counts I am an outsider: in terms of sexuality; in terms of geographical and cultural dislocation; and in the sense of not having become the sort of respectably married professional my parents might have hoped for. Such a position gives me the feeling of having very little to lose’; a statement that underlies the essence of this exhibition as it sets out to encompass masculinity in all its forms and realities.

Photos: Left – Hal Fischer – Street Fashion: Jock from the series
Gay Semiotics, 1977/2016
courtesy of the artist and Project Native Informant London

Top right – Catherine Opie – Bo from ‘Being and Having’, 1991
Collection of Gregory R Miller and Michael Wiener
© Catherine Opie, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles,
Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York

Bottom right – Sunil Gupta – Untitled 22 from the series Christopher Street, 1976
courtesy of the artist and Hales Gallery
© Sunil Gupta all rights reserved, DACS 2019

Details from the press release below:

‘Barbican Art Gallery will stage Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, a major group exhibition that explores the ways in which masculinity is experienced, performed, coded and socially constructed as expressed and documented through photography and film from the 1960s to the present day. The exhibition brings together over 300 works by over 50 pioneering international artists, photographers and filmmakers such as Laurie Anderson, Richard Avedon, Rineke Dijkstra, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Peter Hujar, Isaac Julien, Annette Messager and Catherine Opie, alongside a lesser-known and younger generation of artists including Cassils, Sam Contis, George Dureau, Karen Knorr, Elle Pèrez, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Hank Willis Thomas, Karlheinz Weinberger and Marianne Wex among others.

With ideas around masculinity undergoing a global crisis and terms such as ‘toxic’ and ‘fragile’ masculinity filling endless column inches, the exhibition will chart the representation of masculinity in all its myriad forms, rife with contradiction and complexity. Touching on themes of patriarchy, power, queer identity, race, sexuality, class, female perceptions of men, heteronormative stereotypes and fatherhood, the works in the exhibition present masculinity as a largely unfixed performative identity shaped by cultural, political and social forces, with photography and film central to the way in which masculinity is shaped and understood.

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography is part of Inside Out, the Barbican’s year-long programme exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.’

Photo: Peter Hujar – David Brintzenhofe Applying Makeup (II), 1982
© 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC
courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography runs from 20th February – 17th May 2020
Barbican Centre, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS

Opening times: Sun-Wed 10-6, Thurs-Sat 10-9, Good Friday 10-9, Easter Monday 10-6
Standard tickets Mon-Fri £15, Sat-Sun £17 – please check the website for concession prices and for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Barbican and are copyrighted as credited

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Unconnected to the exhibition but a valuable resource for those who may need it, The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths every day. Their website advises, ‘Anyone can hit crisis point. We run a free and confidential helpline and webchat – 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems’. If you need to speak to someone or would like to support their cause you can find CALM here.

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

21st January 2020

 

Exhibition – The Clash: London Calling (Museum of London)

Exhibition, Museum of London, 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020
The Clash: London Calling

Header photo – At the London Calling video shoot on the River Thames, 1979 © Pennie Smith

A band firmly born into the punk scene, over time The Clash introduced elements of reggae, dub, rockabilly, funk and ska into their music, bringing a whole new range of genres to a much wider audience. Their double LP London Calling was met with enthusiasm from music critics and fans alike and the album quickly cemented its place in rock history. In a review written shortly after its release, Rolling Stone’s Tom Carson wrote:

‘Merry and tough, passionate and large spirited, London Calling celebrates the romance of rock & roll rebellion in grand, epic terms. It doesn’t merely reaffirm The Clash’s own commitment to rock-as-revolution. Instead, the record ranges across the whole of rock & roll’s past for its sound, and digs deeply into rock legend, history, politics and myth for its images and themes… It’s so rich and far reaching that it leaves you not just exhilarated but exalted and triumphantly alive’.

Now 40 years since it hit the shelves, a new exhibition celebrating the album and the band has opened its doors, offering a glimpse behind the scenes and recalling some great memories along the way.

Photos: Left – Handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones © The Clash

Top right – A preliminary sketch by Ray Lowry for the cover artwork of the 1979 album London Calling by The Clash circa September 1979  © Samuel Lowry

Bottom right – A lyric fragment in Joe Strummer’s handwriting for the song Lost in the Supermarket, the 4 lines in black ink on the reverse of an Ernie Ball custom gauge strings paper envelope, the lyrics representing the chorus of the song  © Casbah Productions Ltd

Details from the press release:

‘The Museum of London is pleased to announce that the highly anticipated The Clash: London Calling, a free exhibit showcasing a collection of over 150 items from The Clash’s personal archive including notes, clothing, images and music, many previously unseen, is now open and free to view until 19th April 2020.

When The Clash’s third album London Calling was released in the winter of 1979, it was clear that the band had made an instant classic, an era defining masterpiece which still stands as one of rock’s all-time greatest albums.

London Calling was, and is, a hugely compelling melting pot of musical styles, driven by a passion for action and a fierce political anger, with music and lyrics which remain as relevant today as they were on release. As well as showcasing influences and context for the writing and recording of the seminal double album, this new exclusive exhibit at the Museum of London will also examine how the capital influenced The Clash as they became the most popular British band of the 20th century’.

Photos: Left – A 1950’s Gibson ES-295 with a white finish inside a hardshell contour case with orange plush lining; the guitar was used by Mick Jones during recording of the London Calling album and in the music video for the title track of the album, released as a single in December 1979 © The Clash

Top right – White shirt and leather jacket worn by The Clash © The Clash

Bottom right – Simonon’s Fender Precision bass was damaged on stage at The Palladium in New York City on 20th September 1979, as Simonon smashed it on the floor in an act of spontaneous and complete frustration © The Clash

The exhibition includes some instantly recognisable pieces alongside newly displayed items. Visitors will have the opportunity to view Paul Simonon’s smashed bass, the resulting photo of which appeared on the iconic album cover, a handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones showing the final and correct order for all 4 sides of the album, one of Joe Strummer’s lyric notebooks and Topper Headon’s drum sticks, his only remaining items from this time. Additionally there will be previously unshown photos by legendary rock photographer Pennie Smith and original drafts from cartoonist and artist Ray Lowry’s sketchbooks, including the preliminary and final drafts for the album artwork.

Whether you’re a fan of the band, the era or just general music history, this exhibition will take you on a nostalgic journey while highlighting the differences between making music in the 70s and now. You can also become your own tour guide by downloading the free Smartify app to discover more detail about the artefacts on display as you look around.

If you’re in London in the next few months, take a trip down memory lane and check out the stories behind an album that has become, in its own right, a classic of our time.

Photo – The Clash on stage © Pennie Smith

The Clash: London Calling runs from 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Opening times: Daily 10-6, galleries close at 5.40, closed 24th-26th December
Free entry – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from the Museum of London and are copyrighted as credited

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

6th December 2019

 

Exhibition – Photography Season (National Museum Cardiff)

Exhibition – National Museum Cardiff, opening 26th October 2019
Photography Season 2019 -2020
– ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander  
– Bernd and Hilla Becher: Industrial Visions
– Martin Parr in Wales

Launching its new photography season, National Museum Cardiff opens its doors to a trilogy of exhibitions featuring four of the most respected and influential photographers in their fields, each with distinctive and recognisable styles and an underlying honesty in their work.

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August Sander was an early proponent of taking portraits which truly represented the subjects without ‘tricks and effects’ to create an accurate record of people living and working in Germany. In today’s environment his style would be seen as reportage with no filters. Sander is quoted as saying, ‘By sight and observation and thought, with the help of the camera, and the addition of the date of the year, we can hold fast the history of the world’.

Photo: August Sander, Secretary at West German Radio in Cologne, 1931

Press release excerpt:
‘ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander presents over 80 photographs by August Sander (1876-1964), one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. The portraits are drawn from Sander’s monumental project, People of the Twentieth Century, through which he aimed to capture a true portrait of the German nation and of the time. Sander photographed people of all ages and backgrounds, from farmers, policemen and politicians to bricklayers, secretaries and artists. His subjects, always anonymous, are titled by profession or social class and categorised into 7 distinct groups; The Farmer; The Skilled Tradesman; The Woman; Classes and Professions; The City; The Artists and The Last People.

ARTIST ROOMS is supported by Arts Council England, Art Fund and Creative Scotland and is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and The Tate. The exhibition has received additional support from the Colwinston Charitable Trust.’

26th October 2019 – 1st March 2020

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Applying a similar philosophy to Germany’s industrial architecture, Bernd and Hilla Becher were aware of the evolving face of the horizon as developments in technology changed things forever. Bernd noted that he ‘was overcome with horror when I noticed that the world with which I was besotted was disappearing’ and the couple set about recording as many structures as they could to preserve knowledge about them.

Photo: Bernd & Hilda Becher, Blaenserchan Colliery, Pontypool, South Wales, 1966

Press release excerpt:
‘Bernd and Hilla Becher: Industrial Visions brings together 225 photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher, two of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Since the 1960s their work has reinforced photography’s international currency as art. As founders of what is now known as the ‘Düsseldorf School’, the Bechers influenced a new generation of artists including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth.

For over 50 years, the Bechers collaborated on a project to document industrial structures across Europe and the USA. Their photographic inventory included winding towers, blast furnaces, cooling towers, gasometers, grain elevators, water towers and lime kilns. In 1965, the Bechers made their first visit to Wales and returned in 1966 after receiving a British Council Fellowship. Based at a campsite in Glynneath, they explored the south Wales valleys and made an extensive series of photographs that now stand as monuments to a lost world of labour that were once central to the social fabric of industrial communities.

The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Russell Roberts and has been kindly supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust and the Henry Moore Foundation.’

26th October 2019 – 1st March 2020

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The third exhibition features the sardonically sincere pictures of Martin Parr, one of our finest photojournalists with an eye for capturing the wit and charm in an everyday scene. His approach, he says, is that ‘With photography I like to create fiction out of reality. I try to do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist’. His twist results in a series of photos that, while adding in the unexpected, draw memories and emotions that are vivid and real.

Photo: Snowdonia, Wales, 1989 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Rocket Gallery

Press release excerpt:
‘Martin Parr in Wales features photography by Martin Parr, one of the most influential and prolific photographers working today. Over the last 40 years, he has recorded people, places and cultures in the UK and beyond, exploring themes of leisure, consumption and communication. His humorous and affectionate portrayal of modern life has changed the way we understand society and its many nuances.

Parr has always been drawn to Wales, having lived just over the border in nearby Bristol for 30 years. In that time, he has undertaken several editorial and cultural commissions, covering subjects from working men’s clubs to coal mining. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a selection of Parr’s work in Wales from the mid-1970s to 2018. His photographs – many of which have never been exhibited before – explore different aspects of Welsh life and culture, from male voice choirs and national sports to food, festivals and the seaside.

This exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Martin Parr. It has been kindly supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.’

26th October 2019 – 4th May 2020

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Photography Season 2019-2020 runs from 26th October 2019 – end dates as listed above for each exhibition

National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
Opening times: Tues – Sat 10-5, galleries close at 4.45, open most bank holiday Mondays, closed  25th – 26th Dec and 1st Jan
Free entry – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from National Museum Cardiff and are copyrighted as credited

Words by Siobhan (quoted sections from official press release)

23rd October 2019

Exhibition – Shot in Soho (The Photographers’ Gallery)

Exhibition – The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 18th October 2019 – 9th February 2020
Shot in Soho 

(Header shot: The Colony Room Club, 1999-2000 © Clancy Gebler Davies, courtesy of the artist)

The corner of London’s west end filled by Soho has long been a colourful, creative and inclusive part of the capital. Sometimes painted as the seedier side of city life, Soho has remained a magnet for writers, actors and musicians and has welcomed in the LGBTQ+ community. The famous Berwick Street Market saw Marc Bolan working on his Mum’s stall in the 60s, became a haven for food lovers and record collectors and was the location for that cover from What’s the Story (Morning Glory). The writer Virginia Woolf described Soho as a space ‘filled with fierce light’ and ‘raw voices’. There are ongoing concerns about the redevelopment of the neighbourhood but, whatever happens, there will always be a vibrant history attached to the area and this has been channelled into a new exhibition, Shot in Soho, opening tomorrow.

Shoes Polisher, Rocky II, etc, Piccadilly, 1980 © William Klein, courtesy of the artist

Extracts from the press release:

Shot in Soho is an original exhibition presented at The Photographers’ Gallery celebrating Soho’s diverse culture, community and creativity at a time when the area is facing radical transformation. The imminent completion of Cross Rail (a major transport hub being built on Soho’s borders) in Autumn 2019, makes the area a prime target for development and threatens it existence as a place of unorthodoxy and independence…

From market-place to movie-set, sex shop to coffee bar, crime scene to cabaret, Soho has always been an unfolding and complex spectacle, central to the music, fashion, design, film and sex industries alongside being a vibrant hub for LGBTQ+ communities. It has also, across the centuries, been home to a variety of immigrant communities from the French Huguenots, through Italian, Maltese, Chinese, Hungarian, Jewish and Bengali cultures.

Shot in Soho offers a timely opportunity to see the area through the lens of renowned photographers, such as William Klein, through a rare presentation of his candid 1980s Sunday Times commissioned photo essay; Anders Petersen, through a selection of his 2011 Soho series, which capture the neighbourhood with his trademark lyrical melancholy; Corinne Day, whose images take us off the streets into her Brewer Street home where some of her most iconic editorial and personal work was shot; as well as work from less familiar figures such as Times photographer Kelvin Brodie’s night-time forays with police teams, John Goldblatt’s strip club dressing room scenes and Clancy Gebler Davies’s work in The Colony Room Club. The exhibition features a commission from artist, Daragh Soden who will present a new body of work focusing on Soho’s reputation as a place of connection, performance and the pursuit of love…’

Above: Untitled, from the series ‘The Undressing Room’, 1968 © John Goldblatt, courtesy of the artist’s estate

Below right: Men hiding their faces / 69 Sauna & Massage © William Klein, courtesy of the artist

Shot in Soho runs from 18th October 2019 – 9th February 2020

The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW
Opening times: Mon – Sat 10 – 6, Thurs lates 5 – 8, Sun 11 – 6
Admission: £5 / £2.50, free after 5 daily, under 19s go free, members go free – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

Images are copyright of the photographer credited

Words (excluding press release extracts) by Siobhan

17th October 2019

Exhibition – Linda McCartney Retrospective (Kelvingrove)

Exhibition – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, 5th July – 12th January 2020
The Linda McCartney Retrospective 

(Header shot: The Beatles at Brian Epstein’s home in Belgravia at the launch of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, London 1967)

Details from press release:

‘A major retrospective of photography by Linda McCartney will be shown in the UK for the first time at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow from 5 July 2019 to 12 January 2020. The Linda McCartney Retrospective, which is curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, features iconic names and moments in music from the 1960s along with more intimate and emotional later work by this acclaimed and prolific photographer.

The retrospective also includes one of Linda McCartney’s diaries from the 1960s, displayed in public for the first time and bringing new insight into the contemporary music scene of the era and the beginnings of her photographic career… (also included will be) her cameras, photographic equipment and vintage magazines that have been uncovered from her expansive archive. The range of material to be displayed reflects the McCartney family’s passion for Linda’s work and their desire for the extensive contents of her archives to be accessible to a wider audience.

Mary, Paul and Heather, Scotland 1970

Sir Paul McCartney said, ‘Linda would have been so proud of this exhibition being held in Scotland, a country she loved so much and spent so many happy days in.’

Stella McCartney said, ‘Through these images you meet the real mother I knew. You see her raw and deep talent and passion for her art, photography. Ahead of her time on every level this mother of four still held her camera close like a companion, she captures the world around her through her eyes and this can be seen on the walls around the exhibition. Her humour, her love of family and nature and her moments framed with a slight surreal edge… Scotland was one of her favourite places on earth, and so many images were taken there. Enjoy her passion and compassion…’

The exhibition was first shown at the Kunst Hausn Wien Museum, Vienna and subsequently at The Pavillon Populaire, Montpellier and Daelim Museum, Seoul.’

Left: Self portrait, Sussex 1992 Right: Linda McCartney taken by Eric Clapton, 1967

In so many ways, Linda McCartney was ahead of the curve. A respected musician, photographer, animal rights campaigner and pioneer of vegetarian food long before it held the lifestyle status it does today, her talent and ethos are to be admired for a multitude of reasons.

Aretha Franklin modelling for Mademoiselle, Los Angeles 1968

Photography may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you hear her name but this collection includes shots that display a real skill in capturing the spirit of the people and places around her. The images show a natural flair for catching a picture at exactly the right moment and suggest that the subjects were completely at ease with her behind the lens. Subjects encompass the 60s, family (including self portraits), animals and nature – particularly in the beautiful county of Argyll, home to the family farm and inspiration for Wings’ huge hit Mull of Kintyre. 

If you’re in the Glasgow area over the next 6 months, the exhibition looks to be a great place to visit and be sure to allow time to look round the permanent collection at Kelvingrove too; it’s full of great historical and contemporary pieces in a stunning environment.

The Beatles, Abbey Road, London 1969

The Linda McCartney Retrospective runs from 5th July – 12th January 2020

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG
Opening times: Mon – Thurs and Sat 10 – 5, Fri and Sun 11 – 5
Admission: Adult £7, Concession £5, Under 16 free entry – please check the
website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Glasgow Life; photos are copyright of Linda McCartney unless otherwise credited

Words (excluding press release extract) by Siobhan

5th July 2019

Exhibition – Get Up, Stand Up Now (Somerset House)

Exhibition – Somerset House, London, 12th June – 15th September 2019
Get Up, Stand Up Now – Generations of Black Creative Pioneers 

(Header shot: Fashion Shoot Brixton Market 1973 © Armet Francis)

Last week saw some inspiring new installations arrive within the Neoclassical walls of London’s Somerset House; Get Up, Stand Up Now is a collection that not only forms an important documentation of black creatives in Britain but also provides a vibrant treat for your eyes and ears.

Introduction from press release:

‘This summer, Somerset House celebrates the impact of 50 years of black creativity in Britain and beyond, with a landmark exhibition showcasing art, film, photography, music, literature, design and fashion. It is the first time that this distinguished group of approximately 100 artists are represented together, with their work articulating and addressing the black experience and sensibility, from the post-war era to the present day.

Historic artworks and new commissions sit alongside items from personal archives, much of which has never been seen by the public before. Through these original photographs, letters, films and audio clips, the exhibition connects the creative, the personal and the political, reflecting how artists have responded to the issues of our times.’

From the series ‘We are the Same’ © Campbell Addy

Get Up, Stand Up Now is curated by visual artist Zak Ové and begins close to home with work by his father, Trinidad born Horace Ové, who is widely credited as being the first black British feature film director (Pressure, 1975). Along with a group of his Windrush generation peers, Horace broke down barriers that encouraged younger multicultural artists to develop their own creativity and voices. Screenings of a selection of his films will form part of the exhibition. Amongst his contemporaries also exhibited are social documentary photographers Armet Francis, Charlie Phillips and Vanley Burke, often referred to as ‘the Godfather of black British photography’.

Still from Neneh Cherry, Kong 2018 © Jenn Nkiru

Elsewhere in the exhibition you can find exquisite stills and film from visionary artist and director Jenn Nkiru and stunning shots from high fashion photographer and film-maker Campbell Addy, photographer and visual activist Ajamu and Benji Reid, who describes his work as ‘choreo-photolist’, where theatricality, choreography and photography meet in a single or series of images. The exhibits individually are head-turning; in their entirety they form a fascinating collection of artistry covering the last 5 decades.

From Circus Master Series 1997 © Ajamu

Musical creativity also plays an integral part in the exhibition, with an exclusive soundtrack mixed by producer DJ Jillionaire streaming inside the gallery, a display of instruments and objects selected by musicians and live percussive performances on scheduled dates. And fashion is high on the agenda too, with a varied selection of sculptural exhibits including an Afro-futuristic cowboy from luminary designer Mowalola Ogunlesi.

Holding onto Daddy © Benji Reid 2016

All in all, Get Up, Stand Up Now offers an immersive experience covering all aspects of the arts. Given the obvious display of talent, it raises the question beautifully of why there isn’t more diversity on show at mainstream exhibitions across the country.

For anyone able to visit this coming weekend (22nd – 23rd June), there are some additional special celebrations taking place to mark National Windrush Day with Generation Get Up!

A host of free interactive events will encompass exclusive film screenings and talks (including a Q&A with actor, director and writer Kwame Kwei-Armah) and pop up studio Backgrounds offering the option to have a free professional portrait taken and share stories of identity and heritage, creating a new collective portrait of Britain today. There will also be an enticing selection of African and Caribbean street food stalls to tempt you before or after your visit.

Top left: Ishmahol Blagrove’s Free Speech Now
Top right: Yinka Shonibare’s Self Portrait (after Warhol)
Bottom: Yinka Shonibare’s Revolution Kid (Calf) and Sanford Biggers’ Woke
All 3 installation shots © Peter Macdiarmid

Get Up, Stand Up Now runs from 12th June – 15th September 2019

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Opening times: Mon – Tues and Sat – Sun 10 – 6, Wed – Fri 11 – 8 – please check the website for variable admission prices and further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Somerset House and are copyrighted as credited

Words (excluding press release extract) by Siobhan

19th June 2019

 

 

 

Exhibition – Iconic Bowie (Dimbola Museum & Galleries)

Exhibition, Dimbola Museum & Galleries, Isle of Wight, 7th June – 18th August 2019
Iconic Bowie

From the flame-haired glam and stacked platforms of Ziggy Stardust to the stark, dark persona of the Thin White Duke, David Bowie leaves an imprint of creativity, experiment and style that defies convention and comparison. A pioneer musically and visually, his imagery is instantly recognisable and has opened doors for future generations to have the confidence to be themselves, whatever that means and however it looks.

A new exhibition celebrating Bowie’s remarkable contribution to the world will be opening its doors at the Isle of Wight’s Dimbola Museum & Galleries just in time for this year’s festival-goers to drop in. The show includes photography, painting, vinyl art and sculpture and takes a look at some lesser known local connections as well as housing pieces from established industry contributors. It looks set to be a fascinating visit.

Bowie © Terry O’Neill

Details from the press release here:

Iconic Bowie is a major retrospective of the extraordinary life of David Bowie. A journey in which the Isle of Wight witnessed his first public musical performance at a Corf Scout Camp, Shalfleet in 1958 and Bowie’s last UK live show headlining at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2004.

Iconic Bowie showcases both stunning and intimate portraits of Bowie by some of the world’s greatest photographers. The photographs, from the extensive Iconic Images archive, were taken over his phenomenal 50 year career and draw into focus the remarkable contribution Bowie made to culture, music and art. These portraits contain rare moments, the force of Bowie’s unique nature and his personality on film. Each image is an illuminating artefact of one of the greatest artists that has ever lived.

‘Great portrait photographers do a rare thing through extraordinary alchemy that renders light, exposure, emotion, soul, sorrow, joy and beauty forever fixed in time. Iconic Bowie contains images that startle the world and provide an illuminating insight into the astonishing career of David Bowie.’ (Brian Hinton, Chairman of Dimbola Museum and Galleries)

There is a brilliance in capturing the sound, spirit, aesthetics and unearthly metamorphosis of Bowie. The Iconic Images archive is one of the biggest collections of David Bowie imagery under one house. Terry O’Neill, Kevin Cummins, Markus Klinko, Justin de Villenuve, Milton H Greene and Gerald Fearnley all had important roles throughout the visual life of this singular artist. Through the collective lens of these creative photographers, a true visual image of Bowie the artist was realised.

Kevin Cummins first photographed Bowie on his Aladdin Sane tour of 1972- 1973, went on to photograph and be influenced by him throughout his career and can remember the effect of seeing Bowie on stage… ‘I went to see David Bowie when I was in my teens. I had never seen anything like that on stage and I had seen various things which were all very flashy and very showy. Now, it may seem normal but at the time nobody really had that kind of theatricality in rock ‘n’ roll.’ (Kevin Cummins)

Bowie © Kevin Cummins

To celebrate Bowie’s influence on art and culture, Dimbola has invited contemporary British sculptor Guy Portelli to curate an artists’ response to Bowie in the Charles Hay Gallery. The collection, featuring artists Keith Haynes, Chris Myers and Guy Portelli, will show artworks inspired by the music and iconic imagery of David Bowie.

Exploring the Isle of Wight/Bowie connection there will be a rare display of ephemera tracing Bowie’s early footsteps on the island. These include copies of The Bowie Bureau (1977-1982), a magazine produced by two long-standing friends and sent from their Ventnor home to destinations throughout the world as well as adverts from Bowie’s three early appearances at Ventnor Winter Gardens with Davy Jones & the Lower Third in the summer of 1965.

The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Wightlink, Solo Agency, Style of Wight and The Seaview Hotel. All exhibition images are limited editions and available to purchase.’

Iconic Bowie runs from 7th June – 18th August 2019 

Dimbola Museum & Galleries, Terrace Lane, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9QE
Opening times: 7 days a week 10 – 5 – please check the website for admission prices and further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Dimbola Museum & Galleries and are copyrighted as credited

Words for introduction by Siobhan

21st May 2019

Exhibition – Joy for Ever (The Whitworth)

Exhibition – The Whitworth, Manchester, 29th March – 9th June 2019
Joy for Ever: how to use art to change the world and its price in the market

A new exhibition opening its doors on Friday takes a look at the life, work and impact of artist and social reformer John Ruskin. The parallels between his quest for equality in the 1800s and current concerns around discrimination and accessibility in today’s society can’t fail to strike a chord. The content includes a huge variety of subject matter and artistic technique, all set in The Whitworth’s beautiful building and surroundings.

John Ruskin and Manchester – a synopsis:

Born into a prosperous home in 1819, John Ruskin travelled extensively around Europe with his parents, developing a keen interest in art and architecture. Over time, he became troubled by the comparison between some of the beautiful places he visited and what he considered to be a grimy capitalist environment on his return. In adulthood he became a famed art critic then began to speak out as a lecturer, berating property developers for prioritising profit over the wellbeing of their communities, industrialists for not treating their workers properly and the Victorian bourgeoisie as a whole for neglecting the welfare of the poor. In 1857 Ruskin voiced a particularly scathing attack on the city of Manchester in response to The Great Art Treasures exhibition, a huge collection of artworks amassed from wealthy private owners, epitomising everything he found unjust and unbalanced. His views were not appreciated by the conservative magazine and publisher he wrote for and led to his essays being pulled from publication; he proceeded to publish them instead in his seminal book Unto This Last. He went on to set up The Guild of St George (originally St George’s Company and still a charity today) to pursue his vision of a better society where communities would live more happily working within a network of rural, sustainable farms and be given access to education and museums. Quite what he would make of today’s society where the vulnerable have their benefits withdrawn and food banks are a growing trend is something to ponder. There is no little irony in the fact that the exhibition opens on the day that was due to see the dawning of Brexit but instead finds us amidst a political meltdown of enormous proportions. 

Facade of The Doge’s Palace, Venice – The Vine Angle, 1907.5, John Ruskin © Manchester Art Gallery / Bridgeman Images

Exhibition details:

‘In the 200th anniversary of his birth, The Whitworth responds to the artist, art critic, teacher and social reformer John Ruskin – in a year when his words seem as relevant now as they did then, in a climate of perceived ecological, political and social catastrophe. Ruskin was complex, difficult and flawed, as well as profound. He also hated Manchester, and therefore it seems fitting that the city responds with equal complexity and irreverence.

Joy for Ever combines The Whitworth’s renowned collection of art and design with archival documents, contemporary installations, a cast of the wall of Westminster Hall, a road building, textiles, politics, pictures, a protest on the EBacc by local school children and commissions from Manchester based design studio Standard Practice and Grizedale Arts from the Lake District.

Peter Hodgson and Laure Prouvost, Tile Panel, 2016, Photo by Adam Sutherland

In the first gallery, the displays respond to Ruskin’s question: how can an art collection be used for wider social advantage? Here some of the Whitworth’s collections are curated by the gallery’s Handmade group, who meet regularly as part of a city-wide campaign to develop Manchester as an age-friendly city, alongside Year 9 pupils from Hyndburn Academy in Blackburn in protest against the introduction of the EBacc that devalues arts education in schools.

The next gallery focuses on the relationship between art, architecture and ideas of good governance, speaking of how Gothic style was appropriated in the 19th century and became the architecture of state and commercial power. Ruskin admired the city of Venice as a model society, in which its Gothic buildings were created by the mutual cooperation of architect and craftsman, forming much of his thinking on the relationship between labour and happiness. Depictions of Gothic architecture by Ruskin’s favourite artists JMW Turner and Samuel Prout from The Whitworth’s collection will be displayed.

Jorge Otero-Pailos’ Ethics of Dust, a large-scale latex cast directly from the wall surface of Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament, will be displayed alongside wallpaper designs by Augustus Pugin and Alfred Waterhouse’s designs of Manchester’s neo-Gothic Town Hall.

Both images above: Jorge Otero-Pailos – The Ethics of Dust, Westminster Hall, London, 2016. Commissioned and produced by Artangel, Photos by Marcus J Leith

A new moving image work by Greek artist, Aikaterini Gegisian is included. This draws from the archives of the US Library of Congress and explores the breakdown of the European Union manifested in both the Greek debt crisis and Brexit.

Picture above & header picture: Third Person (Plural): Episode 1: Centrifuge, 2018-19 film stills courtesy of Aikaterini Gegisian

The final gallery explores art’s role in education and social design. Ruskin believed that drawing from nature helps shape our understanding of citizenship. He had a huge teaching collection, often making and commissioning copies of paintings and drawings of natural specimens as tools for instruction. Here a selection of drawings from Manchester’s collections alongside an original lecture diagram, plaster casts of leaves and models of feathers borrowed from The Ruskin Museum are presented. Manchester design studio Standard Practice has been commissioned to make a series of drawing lecterns for visitors to make drawings inspired by the collections on display.

Grizedale Arts marks its 10 year anniversary of projects in Coniston, the town where Ruskin lived for the last 28 years of his life and where he implemented many of his social experiments on craft, farming, water supply, dairy producing etc. This exhibition will present a mini survey of around 100 projects they’ve created to date, such as the Honest Shop, mini library and exhibitions of local crafts with a series of connected making workshops and talks.’

Joy for Ever: how to use art to change the world and its price in the market runs from 29th March – 9th June 2019 – free entry

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER
Opening times: Monday – Wednesday 9-5, Thursday 9-9, Friday – Saturday 9-5, Sunday 10-5 – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Whitworth and are copyrighted/owned as credited

Words for introduction and synopsis by Siobhan

27th March 2019

Exhibition – There Is A Light (Manchester Central Library)

Exhibition, Manchester Central Library, 11th Oct 2018 – 22nd Feb 2019
There is a Light that Never Goes Out

(Header shot: Buzzcocks © Jill Furmanovsky)

Amidst the early furore of punk, Manchester’s Buzzcocks created arguably the first DIY record with their independently released Spiral Scratch EP. It is apt then that the opening photo in this exhibition of the local music scene is one of Buzzcocks, now complete with hastily scribbled neon post-it notes stuck to a board below, tributes to the late, undeniably great Pete Shelley. The picture shows the band standing in front of rows of library books – subjects Fiction and Romance, begging the question was the location carefully found to match the song or is this maybe where the title came from?

Mark E Smith © Howard Barlow

Featuring artists past and present, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (‘a photographic celebration of Manchester’s rock music history’) is currently making its home in the first floor exhibition hall at Manchester Central Library. Presented by Rockarchive, it is curated by their founder and acclaimed photographer, Jill Furmanovsky and music writer Jon Savage, a noted journalist and author of the rise of punk narrative England’s Dreaming. Here, Jill explains how the exhibition came about…

‘Manchester is a city inextricably linked to its musical heritage.

When my Oasis DNA exhibition finished showing at this library in 2017, the idea of a Manchester rock music exhibition seemed a natural follow up. So in collaboration with writer Jon Savage and with help from the Manchester Digital Music Archive, we pulled together this unique collection of photographs.

We decided to concentrate on showing gritty images of those bands and musicians whose music is so deeply rooted in Manchester, one cannot imagine rock music or the city itself being the same without their contribution. Many of these are the bands and musicians that formed in the wake of punk, at a time when Manchester’s music scene was expanding in a unique and inimitable way.

So long is the reach of the city’s collective musical talent, we could have created an exhibition twice the size of this one. However, sadly we have not been able to feature every band or image we would have liked and the curators had some hard decisions to make.

We are thrilled to be showcasing work by many of the UK’s most talented music photographers, including Manchester based Kevin Cummins and his brilliant colleague, Pennie Smith, whose pictures of The Stone Roses shown define the very essence of a band that gel together effortlessly. Other contributors either lived locally and recorded the scene, or worked extensively with Manchester bands. They include Paul Slattery, Steve Double, Peter Walsh and Howard Barlow, who all had strong relationships with the musicians they worked with. A number of historic photographs from my own Manchester archive are also shown here.

The final section of the exhibition reflects Manchester’s vibrant and diverse current music scene, with photos of many of the contemporary acts who continue to keep the flame of Manchester music alive today. We have also devoted a wall to the musical outpourings and audience response that helped people express their grief and defiance after the tragic events at Manchester Arena in 2017.

Manchester’s musical legacy continues to dominate even to this day in a city whose light will never go out.’

(Jill Furmanovsky and the Rockarchive Collective)

Oasis © Jill Furmanovsky

An excellent collection documenting artists who have had a huge impact on music in the UK and internationally, There Is A Light offers an opportunity to see first hand some classic, instantly recognisable shots of the likes of Joy Division, The Fall, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Oasis as well as lesser seen photos and numerous other acts who have played a part in the colourful history of the city’s music scene.

The final wall gives an indication of the ongoing talent in Manchester, including contemporary photos of Blossoms, Jane Weaver and Pale Waves to name just a few. Through the punk clubs and Tony Wilson’s Hacienda days with Factory Records, there are numerous reference points that will be of interest to fans of the music and the city alike. And for any music photographers out there – a chance to consider how some of these most memorable shots were conceived before the multitude of editing software available today came into play; lots to think about and take inspiration from.

A Guy Called Gerald and Graham Massey from 808 State play live at Victoria Baths during Tony Wilson’s Other Side of Midnight show © Peter J Walsh

Unsurprisingly, the exhibition has already attracted thousands of visitors and there’s still plenty of time to drop in. Oh, and that Buzzcocks photo? Back to Jill…

‘It was a typical music press type shoot in August 1977. No assistants, no lighting. Just me and the band with their press officer, in this case supremo Alan Edwards, walking about, stopping to take pictures by road signs, street art, in a fish and chip shop, on a climbing frame in a children’s playground, and finally in a local library where the band stood in front of two book shelves labelled Fiction and Romance. As scholars of punk will know, there is a Buzzcocks song of that name. The question that has still not been answered definitively, not even by the band themselves, is which came first, the picture or the song? I still maintain the picture came first…’

Joy Division © Jill Furmanovsky

Many of the photos in the exhibition can be purchased as prints from Rockarchive – with some already iconic images in the mix there’s no doubt these will be collectors’ pieces of the future. Further details are available on their website.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out runs until 22nd February 2019 – free entry

Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square M2 5PD
Opening times: Monday – Thursday 9-8, Friday – Saturday 9-5, Sunday closed – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images are reproduced with permission from Rockarchive and are copyrighted by the photographer credited

Additional words by Siobhan

8th January 2019

V&A Dundee

The Victoria and Albert in London is one of the largest design museums in the world as well as being one of the longest established, founded way back in 1852.

Its new family member, V&A Dundee, is a baby in comparison, a project almost 10 years in the making, opened to the public in September 2018. Designed by award-winning Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (also charged with designing the Olympic Stadium for Tokyo 2020), the striking building in made up of curved concrete walls supporting 2,500 rough stone panels, set to replicate a Scottish cliff-face and resembling the shape of a ship. Sitting on the waterfront with the River Tay as its backdrop, it somehow manages to blend in and stand out all at once.

V&A Dundee houses examples of Scottish design from fashion to furniture; music fans will appreciate the inclusion of record sleeves designed by Glasgow’s David Band for Aztec Camera and Altered Images. For fans of another famous Glaswegian, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Oak Room has been painstakingly reconstructed as it would have been seen originally in Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tearooms in the early 1900s.

Additionally, temporary exhibitions, events and activities will run throughout the year and there is a cafe, restauarant and a range of suitably aesthetically pleasing items available in the gift shop all on site. It will be interesting to see how the museum develops and hopefully brings new business and tourism alike to the area and its community.

V&A Dundee, Riverside Esplanade DD1 4EZ

Free entry, some exhibitions have an entrance fee

Opening times: Monday – Sunday 10-5 – please check the website for further details and prices of current exhibitions before visiting

Words and photos by Siobhan

4th January 2019

Exhibition – Martin Parr (Manchester Art Gallery)

Exhibition, Manchester Art Gallery, 16th Nov 2018 – 22nd Apr 2019
Martin Parr: Return to Manchester 

‘Martin Parr shows how the lives of Mancunians have changed but also reveals how there is continuity in how we live our lives.’

(Header shot  above: Ashton-Under-Lyne, Yates Wine Lodges, 1983)

Manchester Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of photographer Martin Parr’s work. The collection offers a wry, observational social commentary on the city and its characters. Parr has a knack of capturing the ordinary in an extraordinary way; each shot suggesting a story to be told.

Manchester, Moss Side, 1970

Parr studied photography in Manchester in the early 70s but was hooked in much earlier whilst accompanying his amateur photographer grandfather, learning how to use a camera and helping to develop and print the shots at home. His pictures are honest and far from glamorous at times, but reflect an affection and respect for his surroundings and a place that has clearly had a significant impact on his life. His earlier black and white photos carry an air of nostalgia, some proudly posed, others caught in a moment. The picture below is from a set taken with the residents of June Street in 1973 in collaboration with Daniel Meadows. The pair set about finding the ‘real Coronation Street’ and gained agreement from the families living there to take portrait shots in their front rooms. It’s fascinating to see the variety of furnishings and ornaments on display and obvious to see the subjects’ pride in their homes; moments that wouldn’t have been available for much longer as the street was scheduled for demolition at the time.

Salford, Greater Manchester, ‘June Street’ in collaboration with Daniel Meadows, 1973

A variety of other early projects included in the exhibition document patients at the Prestwich Mental Hospital, ‘Love Cubes’ (in which Parr photographed couples separately and you can play the game of trying to match them up before seeing the shots of them together) a photo set depicting some of the regulars at Yates Wine Lodges and another portraying bad weather, where his use of flash brings a clever contrast to the dark and wet surroundings.

The introduction of bold colours into his work documents the changing environment around him up until the present day. The birthday party shown below is celebratory in its focus and brightness. The tattooed barber underneath gives a nod to traditional cut-throat shaving in modern surroundings, slightly threatening at first glance but with the subject actually using the most delicate of methods. Both shots draw the eye with their vibrancy and careful composition.

Manchester, Levenshulme, Royal Nawaab, 21st Birthday Party, 2018

While some photography exhibitions only show a small number of pieces, there are hundreds of photos here spanning Parr’s career and filling the entirety of the second floor. Some of the later colour shots will remain as part of the gallery’s permanent collection but you would be wise not to miss out on the ones that won’t. This is a captivating stroll through the decades with one of the UK’s finest photojournalists and well worth setting aside some time for.

Manchester, Barton Arcade, Barber Barber, 2018

Martin Parr: Return To Manchester runs until 22nd April 2019 – free entry

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
Opening times: Monday 11-5, Tuesday – Sunday 10-5, first Wednesday of every month open until 9 – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images are reproduced with permission and are © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Rocket Gallery apart from ‘June Street’ which is by Martin Parr and Daniel Meadows

Words by Siobhan

2nd January 2019