Bond Street art stroll
This Saturday is the last chance to see the joyful works by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly on view at Halycon Gallery on New Bond Street. The exhibition has pleased large crowds since December, when we posted this video of highlights. Visit the Fine Art Society two doors down the road, which presents a new group show of experimental photography, and then drop in on Old Bond Street’s Vigo Gallery, where ten contemporary artists exhibit works exploring what it means to be British.
John Piper and the Church
As well as painting English churches in evocative oils, watercolours and gouaches, John Piper (1903-1992) brought art into their heart with designs for clerical garments and memorable stained-glass works, including the spectacular Baptistry Window of Coventry Cathedral.
From this weekend, Dorchester Abbey near Oxford celebrates the artist’s ecclesiastical pieces with a major exhibition of over 70 works.
Stan Douglas: Midcentury Studio
In his new show at Victoria Miro, contemporary Canadian artist Stan Douglas presents black and white photographs staged to seem as if they were taken by a photojournalist in the 1940s and 50s. Some images aim for authenticity, like the brawl in Hockey Fight, 1951 (2010); others are more strange and suggestive, calling attention to their own deceit.
Stan Douglas, 'Hockey Fight, 1951', 2010. Digital fiber print mounted on Dibond aluminum. Framed: 61 3/4 x 98 1/2 x 3 inches, 156.8 x 250.2 x 7.6 cm. 68kgs., Image: 43 x 82 inches, 109.2 x 208.3 cm. Edition of 5 plus 2 APs.
Giuseppe Cavalli: Master of Light
Islington’s Estorick Collection reveals the work of Italian photographer Giuseppe Cavalli (1904-1961) to a wider audience from this week. Cavalli bucked the post-war trend for Neo-Realism to concentrate on still lifes, nudes and landscapes.
His carefully composed, dream-like images are notable for their lack of shadow, as if bleached by the bright seaside sunlight of Senigalli, the town on the Adriatic coast where the artist settled. Relatively unknown outside his native country, Cavalli’s output influenced a generation of post-war Italian photographers, a selection of whom are also included in this show to help contextualise his work.
Vision Quest – A Ritual For Elephant & Castle: A film by Marcus Coates
British artist Marcus Coates uses Shamanism as an artistic medium, encouraging communities to travel on psychic journeys in order to solve their daily problems. In his video Journey to the Lower World (2004), for example, Coates engaged inhabitants of a Liverpool tower block in an esoteric Siberian ritual at a time the building was slated for demolition. Wearing the antlers of a stag, the artist attempted to become a conduit for animal spirits that might guide the residents. The performance was funny but also productive, as it encouraged participants to talk to each other about their uncertain future.
He has recently been working with residents of London’s Elephant & Castle to help them develop an alternative vision for their neighbourhood’s redevelopment. His feature-length film documenting the process is screened in the area’s old-fashioned shopping centre until 29 April, in one of its disused department stores.
Marcus Coates, 'Vision Quest - A Ritual for Elephant & Castle'. Commissioned & Produced by NOMAD. Photo by Nick David, 2009.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine