Eduardo Paolozzi, 'BUNK!', 1971. Estate of the Artist 26-27 April 2012
Although Pop Art is looked back upon as a phenomenon of the Swinging Sixties, the movement emerged in Britain from the early 1950s with the work of the influential Independent Group (1952–55), a circle of artists, writers and architects whose number included Richard Hamilton, James Sterling RA and Eduardo Paolozzi RA. Over the next two days London’s ICA stages BUNK!, a conference to examine the legacy of the group 60 years since its first meeting at the venue.
The conference takes its name from Paolozzi’s proto-Pop collages of commercial images, scavenged from magazines and projected on a slide show at the ICA in that first session. Highlights of the event include a lecture on Hamilton by the highly respected Harvard art historian Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, as well as an exploration of Alison and Peter Smithson’s designs for a House of the Future (1956) by Princeton University’s Beatriz Colomina.
Juan Muñoz, Untitled, 2001. Copyright the Juan Muñoz Estate; Courtesy Frith Street Gallery London.
Until 20 June 2012
British audiences will best remember Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz for ‘Double Bind’, his intriguing installation of smaller-than-life-size figures in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2001. It was his last major work: Muñoz died unexpectedly of a heart attack that year at the height of his powers.
Co-curated by The Guardian art critic Adrian Searle, an exhibition at London’s Frith Street Gallery features some uncanny sculptures that Muñoz intended for display in ‘Double Bind’ but that did not make the final installation, on view together with a selection of the artist’s drawings and prints.
Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art
20 April-7 May 2012
The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art kicked off last week with the unveiling on Glasgow Green of a site-specific work by Jeremy Deller. The Turner Prize-winning artist, also currently the subject of a solo show at London’s Hayward Gallery, has created a characteristically irreverent work: a full-size copy of Stonehenge as an inflatable bouncy castle that, in Deller’s words, ‘is best experienced with your shoes off’. The festival presents international and Scottish contemporary artists across the city’s venues until 7 May, including German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, LA installationist Kelly Nipper and Glaswegian Karla Black, a nominee from last year’s Turner who presents beguiling new sculptures at the Gallery of Modern Art.
Jeremy Deller, 'Sacrilege', 2012. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Angela Catlin.
Last chance: until 28 April 2012
The doors of Hauser & Wirth on London’s Piccadilly close on Saturday evening on an exhibition of late gestural paintings by American artist Joan Mitchell (1925–92). Mitchell was one of the few female artists of the Abstract Expressionist avant-garde of the 1950s and 60s – a movement that art history has tended to characterise as quintessentially macho, typified as it was by the bolshy Action Paintings of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Mitchell’s early work was quite sombre (see Number 12, 1951–52, shown on occasion as part of Tate Modern’s permanent collection) but the late works on view have a freer handling and more vibrant palette, notable for bright primaries that sing out over white.
Joan Mitchell, 'Trees', 1990-91. Oil on canvas diptych. 220.3 x 400.1 cm / 86 3/4 x 157 1/2 in. © Estate of Joan Mitchell. Courtesy of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Hauser & Wirth and Cheim & Read, New York.
Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames
27 April-9 September 2012
To mark the Diamond Jubilee, Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum opens an exhibition on Friday dedicated to the Royal Family’s relationship to the River Thames, curated by celebrity historian David Starkey. Presented in the museum’s Sammy Ofer Wing that opened in July, the show includes a particularly large number of loans from the Royal Collection – about a fifth of the 250-odd objects and artworks on view.
Many of the exhibition’s paintings feature grand ceremonial scenes. Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt represented a procession over London Bridge on the night of a royal marriage (1863), a century after the Italian Canaletto captured all the maritime pomp of Lord Mayor's Day (c.1752). This latter vista can be viewed in anticipation of a similar spectacle on 3 June, when thousands of boats take to the water for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Canaletto, 'London: The Thames on Lord Mayor's Day, Looking Towards the City and St Paul's Cathedral', c.1752 ©The Lobkowicz Collections, Czech Republic.