Exhibition Archive

  1. Royal_academy_summer_exhibition_poster_list

    I never thought I’d use the word irreverent to describe the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Since 1769 the RA has taken a fairly unwavering and conservative approach to the world’s largest open submission exhibition, hanging up to 1,000 works by both amateur artists and great names. Long the lacklustre foxhole of stuffy Academicians and part-time painters, this year marks the greatest effort the RA has made yet to reinvigorate the English summer stalwart.
     
    It’s no surprise that the man behind the brightest, boldest edition yet is Michael Craig-Martin, this year’s curator and the artist best known for his Pop Art palette and his tutorship of YBA trailblazers Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas. Among his modernisms for the show is the decision to repaint the three central galleries in colours lifted straight from his work: hot pink, turquoise and baby blue. Far from playing to mere spectacle, Craig-Martin’s trademark penchant for polychrome is a bold statement that does away with both the white cube mis-en-scène of contemporary art and the fusty grandeur of the Academy. Regular attendees might also notice he has made the print galleries more central.

  2. 9.koons_tulipanes-itsnicethat-list

    There’s been a lot of conversation in the studio recently about art exhibitions that beg to be photographed, and they don’t come much more Instagrammable than the Jeff Koons retrospective. Having started out at New York’s Whitney Museum and then progressing to Paris’ Centre Pompidou, the show has just begun the final leg of its journey at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, where we attended the opening last week; to take a selfie with the balloon dog, among other things.

  3. 8_red-with-red-1_2007_%c2%a9-2015-bridget-riley.-all-rights-reserved_-courtesy-karsten-schubert_-london-itsnicethat-list

    Bridget Riley’s work is utterly fascinating to me. Her enormous geometric canvases, ranging from illusory patterns to orderly explosions of colour have developed over the course of her career to create an extensive oeuvre exploring every dark corner of shape and form. Behind the expansive canvases lies a deeply methodical approach which, although invisible to the viewer, is the concrete foundation to her work, and in this new UK retrospective at the De La Warr Pavilion the accompanying studies will be displayed alongside the finished canvases. Spanning 50 years worth of her curve paintings and including more than 30 paintings and studies, it looks set to be a show to remember.

  4. Ema-itsnicethat-list

    Musician and multi-media artist EMA has launched a call-out to members of the public to send her their “sacred objects,” which she will digitally destroy as part of a performance piece called I Wanna Destroy (Sacred Objects from Suburban Homes). The piece will take place as part of her residency in Station to Station: A Three Day Happening at the Barbican this summer, and will take the form of an immersive performance and installation featuring music, visuals, and a virtual reality environment for Oculus Rift.

  5. Ruth_van_beek_rehearsal_it's_nice_that_list

    London is the most Instagrammed city in the world, but this week photography has hit the capital like never before. Over the next four days some 70 galleries have taken up residence under Somerset House’s neoclassical roof, bringing together a mix of vintage and contemporary prints for the largest photography fair ever held in London.

  6. Camper_life_on_foot_its_nice_that_list

    Shoes are functional. They keep our feet dry and safe from the elements but we have an ingrained desire to take the humble shoe beyond this purpose. We like to make them into objects we can admire, play around with and explore. For Spanish footwear brand Camper, this sense of fun is at the heart of what they do and we’re given a glimpse of this creativity in a new exhibition at the Design Museum. Life on Foot marks the 40 year anniversary of Camper and takes us on the journey from collection conception all the way to the shop floor.

  7. David-hockney-perspective-should-be-reversed-itsnicethat-list

    David Hockney never fails to astound me. He’s likely the most prolific British painter, printmaker and photographer our generation will see, and rather than settle down into one comfortable style – he has entertained more than a few over the course of his 50-year and counting career – he continues to set himself new lines to cross. He pushes back on the boundaries he had set himself the last time around. 

  8. Brooklyn-museum-basquiat-itsnicethat-list

    There are few artists who have had the impact in their entire careers that Jean-Michel Basquiat achieved in his 28 years. The self-taught Brooklyn-born artist was inspired by everything he came into contact with, creating work influenced by hip-hop, politics, advertising and children’s drawings to perfectly encapsulate the culture he inhabited. As such his notebooks – filled with sketches, fragments of poetry and personal observations about race, class and culture – have been elevated to the status of sacred relics. Luckily for us, these relics are currently on show at The Brooklyn Museum, offering a never-before-seen glimpse into his inner life.

  9. David-jien-its-nice-that-list

    “The serpent no longer slumbers! He is awoken! Who shall deliver us from this affliction? Deep corruption has befallen our lands. Lo, Formosa has fallen, Shakran and his black words have immersed deep within our peoples. We have forgotten our ways and are divided, father against son, mother against daughter. The reptilian plague promises pleasure and power. We have lost many kin to its deception, they now fill the ranks of Shakran’s saurian swarm. Those fortunate enough to elude the intoxicating clutch have found refuge under a different regime. Pilgrims have flocked together from all corners of the land in search of a new Formosa, Exodus dawns.”

  10. Kenzo-doty-list

    As with every year, the sprawling, disparate, all-over-the-shop nature of the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year show is both the brilliant thing about it and the thing that makes it so utterly disorienting. Having an Escher-inspired mobile game (Monument Valley) share space with the Google self-driving car and a sanitation system for remote, off-grid areas (Eawag’s Blue Diversion unit) makes even the least design-oriented visitor surely question the nature of what “design” itself means. Should it look beautiful? Should it make our day easier? Should it help the planet? Should it save lives?

  11. Hw-rocksteadycrew-2-int_copy

    A typeface without a name or a known designer is the subject of a new exhibition that chronicles its use in the 70s and 80s throughout a variety of subcultures. Heated Words: Initial Research is a show curated by Rory McCartney and Charlie Morgan, examining this typeface – one that existed only as physical iron-on flock lettering, and was appropriated by New York street gangs and b-boys, as well as band like The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite.

  12. Va-alexander-mcqueen-int-list

    This week saw the opening of the V&A’s much-lauded exhibition of Alexander McQueen’s life’s work, Savage Beauty, a show which attempts to paint McQueen in all of the forms he appeared throughout his career. The experience is almost overwhelming in its presentation of the designer as a visionary, and I left the press view with lists of adjectives covering every available inch of paper I could reach: perverse, sexual, primitive, distorted, gothic, mourning, melancholy. None of them quite seemed to cover it.

    Senior research assistant Kate Bethune worked on the exhibition for around 18 months in the lead up to its opening. “It’s been an absolutely privilege to work on,” she explained to us in a busy corner at the press view yesterday, as the show exhibited in a similar form at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art several years back, there’s a sense that Savage Beauty has now come home. “London was the heart of McQueen’s world,” Kate continued. “He was born here, he was raised in the East End, he attended Central Saint Martins, trained at Savile Row as a tailor and established his fashion label here. It really meant everything to him.”

  13. David-james-uma-thurman-int-list

    Lucien Freud, Kate Moss, Joaquin Phoenix…it reads like that list of dream dinner party guests you have to reel out in awkward “getting to know you" games. But it’s more than that: this all-star list is just a sliver of the cast that creative director David James has worked with over the years. David has been creative director at AnOther Magazine for the past decade, creating iconic images with photographers including Craig McDean, Willy Vanderperre and Nick Knight. If you missed out on getting the mags IRL, don’t fret: today sees the launch of Everything that Matters – an online retrospective of David’s editorial work. It makes for a lovely little scroll, even if it does make us feel pretty old to think that the time that’s passed since 2005 is retrospective-worthy.

  14. Andrew-bruce-_-anna-fox_-norman-tebbitint-list

    If ever you needed a reminder of the occasionally ludicrous caricatures that have made up British politics, a new show of images of the Spitting Image puppets will be in London just before the election in May.

  15. Neil_kenlock_untitled_young_woman_seated_on_the_floor_at_home_in_front_of_her_television_set_c-_type_print_london_1972__neil_kenlock_victoria_and_albert_london-int-list

    The new exhibition at London’s V&A Museum, Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s -1960s came as the result of a conscious decision by the organisation to broaden and enrich its collection, curator Marta Weiss explained at the opening yesterday. “Over the last seven years the V&A has been working with Black Cultural Archives to acquire photographs either by black photographers or which document the lives of black people in Britain,” Marta says, “a previously under-represented area in the V&A’s photographs collection.”

  16. New-listdr-lakra's-record-covers-collection.-magnificent-obsessions_the-artist-as-collector_-barbican-art-gallery.-%c2%a9peter-macdiarmid_-getty-images

    I’ve always been quite partial to bric-a-brac, but it’s never been more compelling to me than while I was wandering around the Barbican’s new exhibition Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector yesterday. The show is effectively a paean to the idea that you are the stuff you keep, and as such it’s a hoarder’s dream.

  17. Paul-rand-list

    Designs that transcend time, the fripperies of fashion and taste and the brand they’re attached to are ones that ensure their place in the canon; and one man who created such work is Paul Rand.

  18. Vivianesassen-pinkinslee-int-list

    Very few photographers straddle art and fashion photography as successfully as Viviane Sassen, a fact London’s galleries are very much aware of at the moment. The Dutch photographer has only just seen the end of In and Out of Fashion, an experimental show at The Photographers’ Gallery which used large-scale projected slideshows moving quickly across large, temporary walls in the dark space to the accompaniment of a melodious and hypnotic soundtrack. Yet today the ICA is opening another show of Viviane’s work, entitled Pikin Slee.

  19. List

    In 1915, two years before the Russian Revolution took place, an exhibition took place in St Petersburg which turned the art world upside down. Entitled The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10, it included one of Kazimir Malevich’s now iconic black square paintings, a profound and original offering in a 20th Century society which repressed modern ideas almost as furiously as it bred them, and it’s this spirit of radical thinking in the midst of a restrictive society which sits at the root of the Whitechapel Gallery’s new exploration of abstract art, Adventures of the Black Square.

  20. List

    With photography now a ubiquitous medium gifted to everyone for the price of a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that it was once the preserve of only a select few pioneers, whose experiments with light-sensitive chemicals and simple mechanical structures gave birth to something we all take for granted today. But a new show at The Science Museum’s Media Space seeks to remind us of the pioneering endeavours of modern photography’s forebears.

  21. List

    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

  22. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  23. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  24. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  25. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.

  26. Main

    Right now, illustrator-turned artist extraordinaire Jordy van den Niewendijk is probably having a nap. For the last few weeks he’s been rushing around the world getting his work together for a very exciting solo show at New York’s trendy Moiety Gallery. It’s safe to say Jordy is one of our favourite artists, and to see his work evolve aesthetically over the years yet still cling on to that trademark style is great, a little bit like watching one of those cool videos of flowers blooming in slow-mo.

  27. Mp

    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.

  28. List

    In 1963, the Royal College of Art held an exhibition celebrating 15 years of the school of graphic design. In the show’s catalogue, Professor Richard Guyatt remembered the days when the term was adopted by the college. “With a certain sense of relief, but not much conviction, the name ‘Graphic Design’ was chosen,” he wrote. “No one was quite sure what it meant, but it had a purposeful ring…”

  29. 4list.-charles-jourdan_-spring-1976-%c2%a9-guy-bourdin

    In the summer of 1979, several legs boarded a ferry travelling from Dieppe to Plymouth. However unlike most other legs making the journey, these didn’t have any feeling in their toes.

  30. Main1

    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

  31. List

    Designing for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year must be in many ways a dream project, in many ways a nightmare. Creating graphics that can seamlessly place disciplines as disparate as graphic design, furniture, product and architecture comfortably next to one another takes skill and an eye for leaving said projects to speak for themselves. Ok-RM’s graphics did just that, sitting back to let the viewer to make their own decisions about each project on its own merit, regardless of how it was made or by whom. Clean, well-spaced and scant typography work with clever colour-coding to form an overall aesthetic that more than deserves its place alongside the best designs of the past 12 months.

  32. List

    Listen up digital art types! If you’ve got great idea for a project that you haven’t been able to make happen, The Space may just be able to help. The not-for-profit venue has launched an open call to help a creative make that one crazy idea a reality, with funding and mentoring on offer. They say: “Nothing’s off limits; this is about pushing the boundaries and the project can take their point of departure from any artistic discipline, from music and film to visual arts and gaming.”

  33. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  34. Main

    Imagine a dream world in which the heavy task of town planning was given over to the artists and creatives whose visions could ignite the city and bring out its most defining features. Some cities in the world are known for their cultural heritage: Nantes wasn’t one of these until 15 years ago, and since then it’s been a slow burn fuelled by the imagination of a group of risk-takers coralled by French public art impressario Jean Blaise and his curator David Moinard.

  35. Avlist1._alexander_rodchenko_costume_design_for_bedbug_1929__a._a._bakhrushin_state_central_theatre_museum

    For years I ventured no further than the hallowed halls of the lower floors of the V&A. And then, one day, like Lucy and Edmund tiptoeing upstairs to discover Narnia, I crept into the Theatre and Performance Galleries and found another magical wardrobe.

  36. List

    There are several cool job titles found in British history and Constable of the Tower of London is right up there. The Duke of Wellington took the office on route to becoming Prime Minister and made several major innovations including draining the moat, closing the Royal Menagerie and shutting down the taverns within its walls. All of which makes him sound like a prize spoilsport, but in fact after his tenure the Tower was both better-equipped for its military purposes and drawing more visitors than ever.

  37. List

    The South London Gallery describes Lawrence Weiner, whose new exhibition All in Due Course opened there last Friday, as a “reluctant pioneer of conceptual art,” which must be one of the coolest epithets going. The American artist has been creating his typographic wall sculptures since the 1970s when he first pioneered his unique medium which he maintains is not conceptualism but a kind of sculpture made using “language + the materials referred to.”

  38. Blist25.-simon-norfolk_-a-secuirty-guards-booth..._-herat_-2010-2011.-burke_norfolk.-courtesy-simon-norfolk

    Once upon a time, the church spires of New York offered an unrivalled view of the city. But in photographer Berenice Abbott’s Manhattan of the 1930s, skyscrapers shot up on every side and suddenly there were windows and back streets, balconies, construction sites and advertising billboards all crying out for a camera to capture their unique perspective of the metropolis. Changing New York is Abbott’s anatomy of the town, dissecting it, discovering its dramatic angles, dappled shadows and dilapidated dwellings. Her work is a fitting opening for the Barbican Art Gallery’s Constructing Worlds exhibition, exploring architecture and its relationship to the world through more than 250 images from 18 artists.

  39. Gwlist18

    Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ll have heard of it, because Gone With The Wind is still, 75 years after its release, the most successful blockbuster of all time. David O. Selznick’s multi-Oscar winning film has weevilled its way deep into the American – and the world’s – subconscious, creating so vivid a cultural memory we’re almost tricked into believing we lived through it all too. Even a lass like me, “southern” only in the east London sense of the word.

  40. Eslistst-columba's-wells_-londonderry-(derry)-_-n-ireland_-1965-(c)-edwin-smith_-riba-library-photographs-collection

    Edwin Smith’s England is a faraway place, and yet a familiar one. It’s a land inhabited by long-skirted ladies with perms, where brass cash registers are used on high streets fronted by butchers and bakers and grocers. No surprise then that the people’s poet Sir John Betjeman dubbed Smith a “genius at photography” because he has, in his vast collection of photographs of city and countryside, inside and outside, captured the essence of the now-distant England portrayed in the writer’s verse.