Our pick of this week's art events: 20 - 26 June
By Sam Phillips
From the NPG's annual BP Portrait Award to Academician Fred Cuming's serene seascapes.
BP Portrait Award
National Portrait Gallery, London, 26 June–21 September
The National Portrait Gallery’s annual celebration of contemporary portraiture is wildly popular, sometimes bringing over 300,000 to its exhibition space, and, in 2014, drawing entries from a record number of 2,377 artists.
This year is its silver anniversary – 25 years young – and I’m looking forward to visiting the exhibition to put together my own personal shortlist to rival the official selection announced in April. My favourite of the actual shortlist is Thomas Ganter’s Man with a Plaid Blanket, in which Ganter’s subject – a homeless man – is represented with dignity as well as visual flair. The painting’s golden background, bright yellow behind the chain-link fence on which the man rests, reminds me of a religious icon.
Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, 25 June–19 September
One of a famous generation of German photographers schooled at the influential Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Candida Höfer is renowned for capturing interior architecture in incredible detail and at a super-large scale. Now in her 60th year, the artist presents at Cork Street’s Ben Brown Fine Arts a series dedicated to the sumptuous spaces of the Villa Borghese, which, while featuring the world-famous art collection amassed by Cardinal Borghese, is so lavish it could be thought of as an artwork in itself.
Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, 26 June–2 July
Masterpiece has emerged as one of the country’s most important art fairs for its particularly broad mix of fine art, antiques and design. It's a place for people of catholic tastes: one can wander the isles and enjoy everything from modern British paintings (Offer Waterman & Co) and contemporary photography (Atlas Gallery) to Aztec masks (Galerie Mermoz), Kangxi period blue-and-white porcelain (Amir Mohtashemi) and 15th-century illuminated manuscripts (Les Enluminures).
Phillip King RA’s highly inventive sculptures are installed in Masterpiece’s grounds, to coincide with the Academician’s 80th birthday and a concurrent exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery. Fiona Maddocks recently visited the sculptor’s studio for RA Magazine – read her interview with the great man.
Skarstedt, London, 27 June–8 August
Skarstedt brings together from Friday artworks by Francis Bacon, George Condo, Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol that, respectively, pay homage to the past masters of Velázquez, Picasso, Baselitz, Goya, De Koonig and De Chirico – we are reminded that, as always, artists respond as much to their peers and predecessors as the world around them.
Fred Cuming RA
Adam Gallery, London, 24 June–10 July
Adam Gallery’s new exhibition demonstrates Fred Cuming RA’s remarkable gifts in representing both landscape and seascape at a variety of scales. The Academician can capture a sense of absolute stillness – a full moon at sunrise over a flat sandy spit – as easily as a one of tumult, such as a high tide engulfing a beach.
Painter, Painter: Dan Perfect, Fiona Rae
Nottingham Castle, 3 May–6 July 2014
Finally, a reminder to visit Nottingham Castle to see the two-person exhibition of paintings by Dan Perfect and Fiona Rae RA, who are life partners as well as artistic associates. This Saturday – 28 June – would be a good day, as they are in conversation at the venue with Wayne Burrows in an afternoon event. Read Richard Cork’s interview with the pair in the latest RA Magazine.