Our pick of this week’s art events: 23 – 28 May

RA Recommends

Published 22 May 2015

From international photography event Photo London to a Magna Carta tapestry by Cornelia Parker RA, we guide you through the week’s top art events.

  • Photo London

    Somerset House, London, until 24 May 2015
    The capital’s photography enthusiasts have a new site for pilgrimage: Photo London, the first edition of an annual fair dedicated to the medium, presenting over 70 top-notch photography galleries from around the world. A fair of the same name (the hyphenated Photo-London) was staged for a few years in the early Noughties, but didn’t last the distance. This new incarnation, from different organisers, seems to have the quality and mix of exhibitors just right, allowing visitors to encounter in Somerset House’s elegant rooms everything from vintage 19th-century salt prints by Gustav Le Gray to mid-century masters like Diane Arbus (below) and contemporary stars such as Candida Höfer.

  • Diane Arbus, Young couple on a bench in Washington Square Park, N.Y.C

    Diane Arbus, Young couple on a bench in Washington Square Park, N.Y.C, 1965.

    Photograph. © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC.

  • Lee Miller and Picasso

    Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 23 May – 6 September 2015
    Photography and art’s intersection found form in the relationship between Lee Miller and Picasso, the subject of a new show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Great friends, they produced many portraits of each other, and the show features over 100 images by the American photographer as well as the painter’s wonderful Portrait of Lee Miller as l’Arlesienne (1937, below). Miller was known for her adventurousness as a war reporter, but in many of the images she shows an eye for the everyday human encounter, picturing Picasso as relaxed and humane character rather than the protean monster of legend.

  • Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller

    Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, 1937.

    Oil on canvas. 81 x 60 cm. Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2015.

  • Cornelia Parker: Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

    British Library, London, until 24 July 2015
    Cornelia Parker has the midas touch, or the skill of the alchemist, combining ideas and mediums to create works of conceptual gold. The Academician’s latest commission is a 13-metre-long tapestry that has been unveiled in the British Library to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta this year. In a nod to the new possibilities for democracy that the digital era affords, she has embroidered a representation of the Wikipedia page that discusses the famous charter. The process has also been apt: she asked to embroider sections over 200 individuals, ranging from prisoners and lawyers to writers and celebrities, all of whom have a connection to the law and human rights.

  • Cornelia Parker at work on Magna Carta (An Embroidery), 2015

    Cornelia Parker at work on Magna Carta (An Embroidery), 2015

    Photo: Joseph Turp

  • Pre-pop to Post-human: Collage in the Digital Age

    The Crescent, Scarborough, 23 May – 12 June 2015
    The internet is also the subject of an interesting group show of contemporary art touring the country, its latest stop being Scarborough. The show uses as inspiration Eduardo Paolozzi RA’s series ‘Bunk’, a famous array of post-war Pop Art collages that brought together high and low culture images in unlikely combinations; the artists, who include RA Schools alumnus Adham Faramawy (below), mix and match images and ideas in myriad ways to connect to the character of our current digital era.

  • Adham Faramawy, Wet Look/Dry Wall 2

    Adham Faramawy, Wet Look/Dry Wall 2, 2013.

    Courtesy the artist and Hayward Touring, Southbank Centre © the artist 2015.

  • Corin Sworn: Max Mara Art Prize for Women

    Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 19 July 2015
    Five years ago the Whitechapel in the East End of London launched a biannual art prize dedicated to women artists; Laure Prouvost, the last winner, went on to win the Turner Prize, partly thanks to the installation she made at the Whitechapel first. Corin Sworn is the latest recipient, and her exhibition to coincide with the award draws on the rich tradition of the Commedia dell’arte, the eccentric dramas performed by 16th-century troups of Italian actors. Painters including Watteau once reimagined these actors in paint, but here Sworn uses costumes, props, stage furniture and videos to stage a strange theatrical tableau.

  • Corin Sworn, Installation view at Whitechapel Gallery

    Corin Sworn, Installation view at Whitechapel Gallery, 2015.

    Stephen White, Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery.