Finish your weekend in style with our guide to the best entertainment, events and places to go in London this Sunday, featuring an array of fantastic ideas that show the city at its best on this day of rest.
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Calling all teddy collectors and connoisseurs. The hugely popular Hugglets Winter BearFest is back, with around 170 stands and over 10,000 teddies for sale. There are bears for all budgets, from a few pounds to over £1,000, plus a teddy bear hospital for any well-loved or injured bears.
2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.
Damp, grey, industrial, miserable. No, not Walsall: Australia. That’s what the opening room in this show of Aussie plein air painting leads you to believe. If you’re expecting searing sunshine, baked earth and piles of discarded Castlemaine XXXX cans, you’re going to be disappointed, Crocodile Dundee. The three artists who make up the bulk of this exhibition saw something darker and greyer in their fledgling nation. Charles Conder, Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton were mates, three artists who’d seen glimpses of the cutting edge of European painting and wanted to adapt that visual vocabulary to the landscapes of home. And nineteenth-century Australia was a strikingly urbanised place. The early works here show cities in the rain, ships belching smoke into the harbour air, crowds of people gathered in grey swarms. Rainy England, where Roberts studied, weighs heavily on these images, as does the influence of the great James Whistler. It’s only in the second room that the sun properly comes out. Streeton unleashes the blue and gold in an image of rock being blasted away for railways, Roberts whips out the dusty ochre to capture a shepherd herding breakaway sheep. There’s a sweeping vision of the Hawkesbury River, undulating hills, a sleepy vista of a burbling brook. The thing is, most of these aren’t great paintings. There are glimpses of quality – especially in Charles Conder’s brilliantly bright and perfectly composed beach scene – but you can’t help but put these works in r
A showcase of board games that'll be sure to have you reminiscing about rainy days spent competing with your siblings. Over 100 objects will be on display featuring games from across the globe and some of the most iconic examples from the V&A's collection. Favourites such as Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly will also be included and a number of hands-on activiities will give visitors the chance to become part of the gaming action.
The only chance you'll get in the UK to see the work of French-born artist Henri Barande, who sought total anonymity for fifty years. Two decades ago American curator and critic David Galloway persuaded Barande to share his output but the artist will still only show his work once in a single country. The show's open for less than a month, so get your skates on.
A welcome return from the annual prize that celebrates the best of contemporary portrait photography. The mix of subjects and approaches is always breathtaking and eclectic – from grandiose formal commissions to intimate shots of loved ones.
Should one of those shady data-analysis companies trawl the art world’s literature over the past few years and look for the most frequently used words, at the top of the list, surely, will be ‘identity’. And here – drum roll – comes yet another group show on the subject, courtesy of the Zabludowicz Collection. Ed Atkins’s video piece, ‘No one is more WORK than me’, features a disembodied CGI head – Atkins recorded via motion-capture – begging for empathy: ‘Look into my eyes!’ Technology’s role in moulding identity is a point made more caustically by Amalia Ulman, who’s fast becoming the art world’s poster girl for social-media critique. Her ‘Excellences & Perfections’ project conned an entire discipleship of Instagram followers into thinking she had become an LA socialite, right down to faked boob-jobs and Kardashian-esque bullshit empowerment. Just as uncomfortable – but also staggeringly funny – is David Blandy’s lip-syncing to Syl Johnson’s 1969 classic ‘Is It Because I’m Black’. The absurdity of (the white) Blandy, dressed as a minstrel, crooning ‘I was raiiiised in the ghetto’ asks questions about cultural appropriation. Turkish artist Ferhat’s Özgür’s ‘Metamorphosis Chat’ is more like a social experiment: he gets his mum, who wears a headscarf, to swap clothes with her less conservative friend. The piece is astoundingly sad because the two elderly ladies are so cheerfully tolerant of each other’s differences. Are younger generations, locked in their silos and echo cha
History is usually written by the victors, but art history is written by white Western men in turtlenecks. That’s not totally true, some of it was written before turtlenecks were a thing, but the point remains: most of our museums, galleries and art history books are filled with art created by white Western men, chosen by white Western men and written about by white Western men. It’s what has pushed Tate Modern to go to great lengths to ‘broaden the canon’ by exploring non-Western art and under-recognised female artists. So any show at a major British institution that looks beyond Europe is a good, important and necessary thing. But the British Museum’s exhibition of South African art is frustratingly and infuriatingly wide of the mark. The idea is to present a survey of the artistic production of the whole country, from 3 million years ago to the present day. Sound broad? Too broad? Too ridiculously and stupidly broad? You’re right, it is. There are some stunning objects here, and some heart-wrenching stories. The 3-million-year-old Makapansgat pebble – a prehistoric bit of found art – is a beautiful, intriguing start to the show. Then there’s the incredible Kenilworth Head, which is shockingly lifelike, and the stunning, glittering Mapungubwe gold sculptures. After that you get into the influence of colonialism: headrests shaped like rifles, spears pulled from the body of a European lieutenant, sketches by Dutch soldiers. There’s a staggering amount of anger here – huge
The Guerrilla Girls are some of the art world’s most creative complainers, and for over 30 years now, they have been handing America’s galleries their arses on a platter. For their show at the Whitechapel Gallery, they’ve turned their attentions to Europe. This entire exhibition is based on a survey they sent out to 400 art institutions across 29 countries on the continent. In it, they demand stats for their representation of female artists, those who are gender non-conforming and artists of colour. Spoiler: it doesn’t go well. As the Guerrilla Girls announce on a banner on the front of the Whitechapel building, ‘only one quarter’ of those contacted responded (disappointingly, the Serpentine and the Saatchi Gallery were among the no-shows). The completed questionnaires are pasted onto the gallery wall, filled with the urgently scrawled handwriting of gallery directors. Put your contacts in, because there’s a whole lot of reading required for this show. Colourful posters pull out some of the best responses; when asked if it was the first time they’d collected such stats, Manchester Art Gallery replied: ‘No, we talk about these issues a lot’ – but the Guerrillas point out that their collection is still ‘80 percent male and 85 percent white’. The average representation of women artists was a pathetic 22 percent. One of the few glimmers of hope was Poland, where that figure was 28 percent and all but one of the responding galleries had a female director. Informative as all
The Saatchi Gallery's recent show of all-female artists, Champagne Life, was sold on gender. Painters’ Painters offers a line-up of nine male artists, yet it is presented as a showcase of cutting-edge contemporary painting. What kind of message does that send? In many ways, Painters’ Painters feels like a bit of a lost opportunity. Artists who use the medium are often dismissed as too traditional, rarely catching the curator’s interest, and so an exhibition of living painters who are pushing boundaries is exactly what we need right now. The set up is ambitious, with each artist getting a room dedicated to his work. It starts out hopeful with the large scale-figuration of LA painter Raffi Kalenderian. With wonky use of perspective and marbled tree-ring patterns, his canvases appear to pulsate. The drawing feels off-key at times, but his hypnotic style and garish use of green draws you in. Less appealing are the crude scenes of Martin Maloney: women rambunctiously painted in supermarkets and garden centres with McDonald’s-yellow hair and blue noses, as though drawn by a child who has run out of flesh pink crayon. The room might attack the senses, but the ‘intentionally bad’ bad-art trope has been seen too many times to now feel transgressive. Dexter Dalwood, however, pulls it out of the bag; by blending photographic elements, cartoon-strip graphics and classic techniques, Dalwood reimagines the abandoned homes of celebrities. His painting ‘Kurt Cobain’s Greenhouse’ reads lik
Improv gets a bad rap in this country, but anyone who dismisses the genre clearly hasn't seen Austentatious. This highly impressive troupe perform a completely improvised Jane Austen novel, complete with period dress and cello accompaniment, with marvellous results. Made up of Andrew Murray, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Joseph Morpurgo, Cariad Lloyd, Graham Dickson and Rachel Parris, they're all hugely talented performers, able to keep the gag rate high and the made-up story rolicking along. Tremendous fun.
This charity comedy gala is hosted by Clive Anderson, and has a line up of stand-up superstars including Rowan Atkinson, Jo Brand, Rob Brydon, Nina Conti, Angus Deayton, Harry Enfield, Michael McIntyre, Paul Whitehouse and friends. '100 Hearts' is a night to raise money for sufferers of genetic heart and lung conditions - money raised will support the Genetics and Genomics programme at Royal Brompton Hospital.
Helen Duff's 'Vanity Bites Back' was a clowning cookery show that got rave reviews from Edinburgh's food-spattered comedy critics. 'When the Going Gets Duff' is a riotously silly solo show about life's sillier side - and going by the owl-filled poster its should be a hoot.
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Michael Nadra Primrose Hill
A second London restaurant from chef Michael Nadra, following up on his lauded Chiswick original. This Primrose Hill version benefits from a canalside location and atmospheric dining areas - including a Grade II-listed horse tunnel, complete with cobbled floor and arched brick ceiling. There are Asian influences on a menu focused mostly on European classics. Expect, then, dishes such as steamed sea bass with prawn and chive dumplings, oriental greens, carrot and ginger purée and a lobster bisque alongside herb-crusted Cornish hake with lobster risotto, rock samphire and sea aster. A six course tasting menu can be matched with wines. Drinks don't play second fiddle here. A martini bar offers more than 20 classic and contemporary martinis, including dry, dirty and dickens. The Primrose martini combines vodka, St Germain and cranberry juice. More than 200 wines are available, with 16 available by the glass.