Our pick of this week’s art events: 27 June - 3 July
By Sam Phillips
From Quentin Blake's whimsical illustrations to Matthew Barney's surreal films.
Quentin Blake: Inside Stories
House of Illustration, London, 2 July–2 November 2014
An exhibition of work by the very-much-loved Quentin Blake, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy, opens a new venue in King's Cross dedicated to his noble art form: the House of Illustration. From hard-hitting political satire to luscious images for advertising campaigns, illustration in all its forms will have a long-overdue home in this House from now on. Blake’s roughs and storyboards feature in the exhibition alongside his final works, allowing us to understand how the artist developed his images in collaboration with writers such as Roald Dahl and Michael Rosen.
Barbican Centre, London, 3 July–14 September 2014
Twelve years after the Barbican’s groundbreaking exhibition ‘Game On’, a paean to videogame culture that continues to tour around the country, the London arts centre stages what should be a similarly successful showcase of digital developments: ‘Digital Revolution’, a celebration of recent breakthroughs in digital media, from Christopher Nolan and co’s visionary work on the film Inception (2010) to a collaboration between will.i.am and sound artist Yuri Suzuki. Expect crowds.
Serpentine Pavilion 2014: Smiljan Radic
Serpentine Gallery, London, 26 June–19 October 2014
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion now seems a central strand of the Season, alongside longstanding events such as the RA Summer Exhibition, Wimbledon and Glyndebourne. As the sun comes out, before you know it another imaginative structure has been installed on the lawn in front of the Kensington Gardens gallery. This year’s pavilion by the Chilean architect Smiljan Radi? appears like an alien ship fallen to a preshistoric Earth.
Ryan Gander: Make every show like it's your last
Manchester Art Gallery, 3 July–14 September 2014
Ryan Gander is a quintessential contemporary conceptual artist, working across different disciplines and media to query our preconceptions. At last year’s Documenta (an acclaimed festival of art every five years in the Germany city of Kassel), he took over the Fridericianum museum’s main exhibition space with one work, I need some meaning I can memorise (The Invisible Pull) (2013), comprised of…. a gust of wind. Expect similarly allusive and elusive work on view from Thursday at his major exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.
The Cremaster Cycle, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 28 June 2014
River of Fundament, London Coliseum, 29–30 June 2014
Matthew Barney is famous for his spectacularly speculative series of films The Cremaster Cycle (1994–2002), seen as a landmark in contemporary American art. All five are screened in order in an all-dayer at the Whitechapel this Saturday. Barney’s weird worlds feature his invented mythical characters who act as archetypes, representing how our formative biological processes connect to society and storytelling.
The best explanation of the series that I’ve found is on the dedicated Barney website of New York’s Guggenheim; I saw the cycle of works there in 2003, during a major exhibition on the artist.
Sunday and Monday see the Barney bonanza continue at the London Coliseum, with the London premiere of the film River of Fundament, made in collaboration with the composer Jonathan Bepler and inspired by Norman Mailer’s evocative 1983 novel Ancient Evenings.