Our pick of this week’s art events: 27 November – 3 December

RA Recommends

Published 27 November 2015

From a meditation on the image and idea of superstar Bill Murray to a restorative art apothecary, we bring you the must-see shows opening this week.

  • Emma Smith: Variations on a Weekend Theme

    Kettle’s Yard at The Old Bakery, 78 Akeman Street, Arbury, Cambridge, 27 – 29 November 2015
    Variations on a Weekend Theme takes its title from an unpublished manuscript by Kettle’s Yard founder Jim Ede. Emma Smith has created a space for relaxation through art, mirroring Ede’s original intention for Kettle’s Yard. The remedies offered at this ‘art apothecary’ take inspiration from the local community and so the project is imbued with a kind of modern folklore. Domestic activities of baking and yoga are elevated by reference to a collection of astrological-based diagnoses from the 17th century known as ‘The Casebook Projects’. Perhaps there is a suggestion of the celestial in Smith’s humble gestures?

  • Michael Craig-Martin: Transience

    Serpentine Gallery, London, November 2015 – 14 February 2016
    Transience, Michael Craig-Martin RA’s first solo show since 1989, takes images of obsolete technology and transforms them into a commentary on the disposable nature of innovation today. Craig-Martin’s work highlights the estrangement of form from function in the digital age. The artist not only documents the development of the objects that define contemporary society, he also critiques how they are consumed. This exhibition will make you think about function, labour, and whether a new smart phone is really necessary.

  • Artist and Empire

    Tate Britain, London, November 2015 – 10 April 2016
    The idea of empire rubs uncomfortably against 21st-century attitudes towards immigration, conquest and culture. Tate Britain investigates how the British Empire shaped artistic production and collection via 200 artworks from the 16th century to the present day. Artist and Empire asks the viewer to consider the relationship of the two terms in its title: when they work together, when they pull apart and the role of history in this ever-changing dynamic.

  • Sonia Boyce, Lay back, keep quiet and think of what made Britain so great

    Sonia Boyce, Lay back, keep quiet and think of what made Britain so great, 1986.

    Arts Council Collection.

    Charcoal, pastel and watercolour on paper. 1525 x 650 mm. © Sonia Boyce.

  • Raoul De Keyser: Drift

    David Zwirner, London, November 2015 – 23 January 2016
    The David Zwirner Gallery, an 18th-century Georgian townhouse, is clean, white, quiet and tasteful. It could have been purpose-built for a Raoul De Keyser exhibition. The late Belgian painter exercised restraint at every point in his practice. His work shuns an aggressively male school of abstraction—De Keyser finds visual harmony with Helen Frankenthaler rather than Jackson Pollock. With this show, the clue is in the name. Drift is both instructive and descriptive. The sparseness of De Keyser’s aesthetic requires sustained attention so put an afternoon aside and resist the urge to rush.

  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries

    Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, November 2015 – 25 January 2016
    The New Contemporaries programme has an illustrious history – Laure Provost, David Hockney RA and Mona Hatoum were all new contemporaries. This year the selected artists have explored themes of gender, labour, value and consumption in new work of every medium. From Juntae T.J. Hwang’s video work to Hamish Pearch’s sculptures, this is a dynamic display of the creative climate to come.

  • Allen Jones: Colour Matters

    Marlborough Fine Art, London, November 2015 – 23 January 2016
    Allen Jones RA’s new sculptures are characterised by their glossy surfaces and seductive curves. Fibreglass, acrylic, timber and stainless steel deny the viewer any sensual association with yielding flesh – Jones’s interpretation of the body is refreshingly unreal.

  • Brian Griffiths: BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity

    BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 20 November 2015 – 28 February 2016
    There is a seemingly endless list of Bill Murrays: Murray the actor, Murray the philosopher, Murray the comic, Murray the restaurateur, Murray the art house darling. This last incarnation finds material form in Brian Griffiths’ new installation at the BALTIC. Bill’s face laughs and frowns from the external walls of nine miniature buildings. His huge celebrity may dwarf every little model but the image of Murray is fractured and scattered across the vast gallery space. Griffiths’ play with scale invites us to question how we measure and experience the world as well as reminding us that there is more to Bill Murray than Ghostbusters.

  • Brian Griffiths BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity 2015

    Brian Griffiths BILL MURRAY: a story of distance, size and sincerity 2015

    Installation view, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

    Photo: John McKenzie © 2015 BALTIC