Our pick of this week’s art events: 20 – 26 February

RA Recommends

Published 20 February 2015

From sublime salt prints at Tate Britain to textile sculptures at the Hayward Gallery.

  • Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840–1860

    Tate Britain, London 25 February – 7 June
    Put down your camera phone this week and visit Tate Britain’s show of early photography, from a time when an image’s quality was a matter of chemical experiment rather than megabytes. The two famous pioneers of the medium were from either side of the Atlantic, William Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre, and the former’s invention – sublime salt paper prints – is the subject here, with very rare and fragile examples on view from the Wilson Centre for Photography.

  • Jean-Baptiste Frenet, Horse and Groom

    Jean-Baptiste Frenet, Horse and Groom, c.1855.

    Photograph, salted paper print from a glass plate negative. © Wilson Centre for Photography.

  • The New Sculpture

    Sculpture Victorious, Tate Britain, London 25 February – 25 May and The New Sculpture, Fine Art Society, London 25 February – 19 March
    For those who want to spend even longer in the Victorian era, another show of 19th-century British art opens alongside Salt and Silver – a spotlight on the period’s sculpture. Pre-Raphaelite paintings tend to get all the attention when it comes to exhibitions of Victorian art, but there was a concurrent movement called ‘The New Sculpture’, where artists made the most of technical innovations to produce dynamic images of the human body. Highlights include the pivotal piece Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1877) by former RA President Frederic, Lord Leighton. The Fine Art Society presents a show of sculptures to coincide, including a cast of Alfred Gilbert RA’s Eros, which, from its position in Piccadilly Circus, is surely the most famous work connected to the movement.

  • Sir Alfred Gilbert MVO RA , Eros

    Sir Alfred Gilbert MVO RA, Eros, Conceived c.1893.

    Inscribed George Mancini / FAS 5 / 10 Edition 5 of 10.

    Aluminium with a stainless steel armature, raised on a bronze scroll and supported by a bronze fountain base. 483 cm.

  • Sheila Hicks: Foray Into Chromatic Zones

    Hayward Gallery, London 23 February – 19 April
    Textiles become paintings, sculptures and architecture in the work of Shelia Hicks. Whether cascading from a ceiling, coiling across a floor or wall, or tightening into distinct freestanding masses, the American artist’s site-specific fibre works surprise both eye and expectations. The Hayward Gallery Project space presents her recent large-scale works from this week – an overdue debut in a UK public gallery for the octogenarian artist, whose art magically weaves together the influences of Pre-Columbian textile practice and American Minimalism.

  • Sheila Hicks, Cordes Sauvages Pow Wow

    Sheila Hicks, Cordes Sauvages Pow Wow, 2015.

    Linen, cotton, acrylic fibres. Variable. Photo by Cristobal Zanartu.

  • Realism in Rawiya: Photographic Stories from the Middle East

    Impressions Gallery, Bradford until 16 May
    A touring exhibition of the work of photographic collective Rawiya reaches Bradford this week. The group is comprised of female photojournalists working across the Arab world, and the show focuses on their works in relation to gender and identity, including Myriam Abdelaziz’s images of women taking part in the Egyptian uprisings and the series ‘Mothers of Martyrs’ by Newsha Tavakolian, a photographer from Iran who turns her lens on those who lost loved-ones during the country’s war with Iraq.

  • Newsha Tavakolian, Untitled

    Newsha Tavakolian, Untitled, 2011.

    From the Listen series.

    © Newsha Tavakolian. Realism in Rawiya is a touring exhibition by New Art Exchange, Nottingham.

  • Patrick Staff: The Foundation

    Chisenhale Gallery, London until 12 April
    Tom of Finland is a central figure in Patrick Staff’s new film installation, which premiers at Chisenhale Gallery this week. The Finnish artist’s homoerotic images have an iconic place in queer culture, but rather than focusing on his life, Staff’s film examines the American organisation that preserves and promotes his art, the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles. In particular Staff concentrates on the community that has built up around the Foundation, as an example of how an archive moves from the visual to also become something social.

  • Patrick Staff, The Foundation

    Patrick Staff, The Foundation, 2014.

    Still. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Co-produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol.