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The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop
The pop art phenomenon entranced artists all over the world from Latin America to Asia, throughout Europe and the Middle East. Although popular culture including advertising, movies, music and packaging gave artists the impetus to create visually stimulating and engaging works that celebrated consumer culture, it also gave them the means to critique the political and social climate. This exhibition of over 200 works created between the 1960s and 1970s reveals how artists from different countries put their individual spin on pop art.
Ai Weiwei always promised to come to London to open the show himself if he ever got his passport back, and the briliant news is that he has just received his passport from the Chinese authorities. Which means, he's free to travel outside of China and will be in London for the launch of the exhibition in September.
Goya: The Portraits
The first ever show to focus on the portraits by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Spain’s leading artist in the late eighteenth century and one of the most psychologically revealing painters of all time, is set to be a highlight of autumn 2015. Two masterful and deeply moving self-portraits are among the important international loans. Painted in 1793-95, ‘Self-Portrait in the Studio’ shows Goya backlit against a window, his features silhouetted against the brilliant white of the sun. He’s at the height of his powers (by this point, he was court painter to King Charles III; later he would be appointed painter to Charles IV and Ferdinand VII) yet a mysterious illness had recently left him completely deaf. A quarter of a century later, in ‘Self-Portrait with Doctor Arrieta’ (1820) he paints himself after another illness, weakly gripping the bedsheet, his grasp on life apparently slipping away while his doctor administers medicine. Whatever was in the glass did the trick; Goya lived for another eight years, during which he painted his famously bleak ‘Black Paintings’ which, alas, are far too fragile to travel.
The Amazing World of MC Escher
Having busted the block with its summer show of Eric Ravilious, Dulwich Picture Gallery looks set to have another hit on its hands with this survey of the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898–1972). He of the impossible perspectives, gravity defying waterfalls, buildings morphing into bodies and, most famously, stairs rising inexorably to nowhere is the subject of this retrospective comprising nearly 100 prints and drawings stretching across his career. Escher set out to become an architect in 1918 and started to work as a printmaker shortly after. But it’s not surprising that he became truly famous in the 1960s, when his mind-melting images chimed with the pervading mood of the era and his prints were bought in their thousands by students, stoners and anyone groovy and far-out to put on their walls. Escher remains immensely popular, and his influence has been massively influential on popular culture. Possibly because of his general popularity, museums shows of his art are relatively rare, making this full-scale retrospective (which comes to London from the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh) one of the most anticipated shows of autumn. You can expect to see all the greatest hits – including ‘Day and Night’, in which two flocks of birds, one white, one black, emerge magically from the centre of the image to head towards daytime and night, and ‘Drawing Hands’ (1948) where two hands seem simultaneously to draw each other on a single page.
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