Our pick of this week’s art events: 26 June – 2 July

RA Recommends

Published 26 June 2015

From Jackson Pollock’s pivotal series of black pourings to the monumental sculptures of Phyllida Barlow RA, we guide you through the week’s top art events.

  • Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots

    Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, 30 June – 18 October 2015
    In the late 1940s, Jackson Pollock questioned the value of technique when he pioneered his famous action paintings. Turning Western tradition on its head by splattering and dripping paint onto canvases laid flat on the studio floor, Pollock’s artwork favoured process over subject matter. Perhaps lesser known are his series of black pourings, made between 1951 and 1953, which are the main focus of a major exhibition at Tate Liverpool. As Frank Bowling RA suggests in his recent RA Magazine article, these later works such as Number 14 (1951; below) seem to develop from the artist’s unconscious or as the show’s title suggests, his ‘Blind Spots’.

  • Jackson Pollock, Number 14

    Jackson Pollock, Number 14, 1951.

    Oil paint of canvas. 1493 x 2721 x 63 mm. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015.

  • Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World

    Tate Britain, London, 24 June – 25 October 2015
    The opening of the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire in 2011 did much to restore the public’s interest in Barbara Hepworth’s work, and yet there remains a feeling that the sculptor hasn’t received the recognition she deserves. That is all set to change, however, as Tate Britain celebrates a plethora of her abstract carvings and resplendent bronzes. Her first major London retrospective for almost 50 years, ‘Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World’ features over 100 works, including some of her best-known pieces such as Pelagos (1946; below), which can be seen alongside sculptures by her contemporary Henry Moore and predecessor Jacob Epstein.

  • Barbara Hepworth, Pelagos

    Barbara Hepworth, Pelagos, 1946.

    Sculpture, Elm and strings on oak. 430 x 460 x 385 mm. © Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

  • Phyllida Barlow RA: Set

    The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 27 June – 18 October 2015
    Since her Duveen Commission at Tate Britain last year, Phyllida Barlow RA has continued to gain momentum in the art world, as her sculptures have increased in scale. Her most ambitious project to date, Barlow’s new installation Set, at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh promises to reach for the rafters, clamber its way through the space and entice the viewer into an imaginative world of materiality. Out of the use of modest materials such as cardboard, plywood, plastic and paint emerge monumental sculptures that play with our experience of living and looking.

  • Phyllida Barlow, dock

    Phyllida Barlow, dock, 2014.

    Installation view of dock installed at Tate Britain.

    Photo: Alex Delfanne.

  • Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening – A project by Doug Aitken

    Barbican Centre, London, 27 June – 26 July 2015
    Back in 2013, American artist Doug Aitken invited a host of cross-disciplinary creatives on a 4,000-mile train journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific to create an ever-changing and spontaneous series of experimental projects. Now Aitken brings his nomadic ‘happenings’ to London for 30 days, pulling together more than 100 international and UK-based artists in a collaboration that will take over the Barbican Centre’s indoor and outdoor spaces. See artists, musicians, choreographers and filmmakers exchange ideas at one-off events, including appearances from Royal Academicians Richard Long, Gillian Wearing, and Bob and Roberta Smith.

  • Olaf Breuning, Smoke installation

    Olaf Breuning, Smoke installation, 2015.

    Doug Aitken, Station to Station, 2013. Photo © Brian Doyle courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York.

  • Drawn from the Antique: Artists & the Classical Ideal

    Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 25 June – 26 September 2015
    The practice of artists drawing from ancient sculptures and plaster casts has played an important educational and inspirational role in Western art for more than 400 years. The quest of Renaissance masters to perfect the idealised proportions and anatomy of antique statuary produced the first Italian academies that would diffuse the practice across France, Holland and Britain.

    Architect John Soane RA championed the study of the classical in his own teaching as well as his personal collection of antiquities. In the exhibition ‘Drawn from the Antique’, set in the context of his beloved home, visitors explore the honing of the classical form in rarely seen loaned works by artists such as Rubens, JMW Turner RA and Henry Fuseli RA.

  • Edward Francis Burney, The Antique Academy at Old Somerset House

    Edward Francis Burney, The Antique Academy at Old Somerset House, 1779.

    Pen and grey ink with watercolour wash. 335 x 485 mm. © Royal Academy of Arts, London 03/7485.

  • Canaletto: Celebrating Britain

    The Holburne Museum, Bath, 27 June – 4 October 2015
    Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), known popularly as Canaletto, was famed for his city scenes of Venice. Favoured by English collectors, Canaletto forged a lucrative business by transferring his subject matter from the views of Venice to Britain’s latest achievements in architecture. Fixated on recording faithful views, the artist often used a camera obscura for topographical authenticity and frequently visited England to hone his designs.

    Among Canaletto’s meticulous paintings now on show at the Holburne Museum are British landmarks still recognisable today. From his painting of William Kent’s Palladian Horse Guards building to his view of the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral (below), each work celebrates an affluent British nation and its marvels of engineering.

  • Canaletto, The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards Westminster

    Canaletto, The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards Westminster, c1750-1.

    Oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015.