Child's ring token. Mid eighteenth century. Courtesy Foundling Museum London. Hidden Stories of the Foundling Hospital
The Foundling Museum, until 19 May 2013
A refuge for orphans and deserted children is not the first venue that comes to mind when one thinks of London’s most significant art galleries, but the Foundling Hospital, established in 1739, had one of the city’s most important collections of eighteenth-century paintings, following donations of works from its supporters in the arts like William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough RA and Sir Joshua Reynolds PPRA.
The Foundling Museum in Brunswick Square now holds and displays these works for public view, as well as mounting interesting shows about the history of the hospital. A moving new exhibition ‘Fate, Hope & Charity’ presents the everyday objects that were left by mothers with their babies. Coins, jewellery, poems and other tokens tells of the bond between mother and child, as well as some of the desperate circumstances that led to their separation.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, until 27 May 2013
Royal Academician Richard Deacon curates an exhibition of the work of sculptor Garth Evans at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the first major survey of the artist for over two decades.
Garth Evans, 'Untitled No. 2', 1974-75. Courtesy the artist and Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Manchester-born Evans was one of the few British artists who embraced something of the same path as the American Minimalists, producing eloquent geometric forms from industrial or synthetic substances such as rubber, fibreglass, plywood and polythene. He exerted a strong influence on younger British artists such as Deacon, who was one of his students, and this exhibition should bring help bring his art to prominence once more.
Kenneth Anger: Icons
Sprüth Magers London, 23 March - 20 April 2013
Anyone interested in the history of avant-garde film should pay a visit to Mayfair gallery Sprüth Magers London from Saturday, which shows an exhibition of photographs, scrapbooks, letters and memorabilia from the collection of Californian filmmaker Kenneth Anger.
'Inside the Pleasure Dome', Kenneth Anger's personal Movie Museum House in Hollywood. Photo: Michael Montfort. Courtesy of Kenneth Anger and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.
The Octogenarian artist, now retired, is known for his highly influential short works whose subject matter, which included homoerotic and occult themes, was transgressive for its time. His rich, imagistic visual style influenced both independent artists and mainstream directors, as well as early music videos.
Geoffrey Farmer, The Surgeon and the Photographer, 2009–13 (detail). Paper, textile, wood, metal. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Purchased with funds from the Jean MacMillan Southam Major Art Purchase Fund, Phil Lind, Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund, Canada Council for the Arts Acquisitions Assistance Program and the Michael O'Brian Family Foundation. Photo: Scott Massey. Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon and the Photographer
The Curve, Barbican Centre, 26 March – 28 July 2013
Vancouver-born Geoffrey Farmer produces collages in three dimensions rather than two, laboriously assembling print material and found objects in entertaining installations.
His acclaimed piece for Documenta 13, Leaves of Grass, comprised a diorama of 16,000 LIFE magazine photographs, immersing the viewer in the visual culture of twentieth-century America.
His first display in a UK public gallery takes place next week at the Barbican in London. Farmer presents 365 collaged hand-puppets whose images are formed from pages ripped out of second hand books.
All the books were taken from one of the artist’s favourite bookshops in his native city. The shop was about to close, so Farmer took the opportunity to reincarnate its contents in the new sculptural forms on view.
Lynn Chadwick, 'Bullfrog', 1951. Bronze. 66cm(h). Edition of 9. © The estate of Lynn Chadwick. Lynn Chadwick: Evolution in Sculpture
Abbot Hall, 28 March - 15 June 2013
An extensive survey show of the work of sculptor Lynn Chadwick RA is staged next week across two Cumbrian sites: Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Blackwell Arts & Crafts House.
Although he was known primarily as part of the 1950s ‘Geometry of Fear’ generation of British sculptors, a group whose metal abstractions expressed existential anxiety, Chadwick was responsible for a diverse range of works, including mobiles, animal forms and human figures (albeit humans with a prism or cube for a face).
This is the first major show of the Academician’s art since an exhibition at the Tate in 2004, a year after his death.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine