An occasional, and highly selective, pick of current and forthcoming exhibitions.
Joan Mirό, A Star Caresses the Breast of a Negress (Painting Poem),1938
The big opening of the month is Mirό at Tate Modern, 14th April – 7th September. This is the first major retrospective of Joan Mirό in the UK for 50 years! Read Joan Mirό: A Life in Paintings, by Tim Adams. Links to reviews will be added later.
Two exhibitions are currently celebrating the sensuous and virtuoso drawings and paintings of Antoine Watteau: Esprit et Vérité: Watteau and His Circle is at the Wallace Collection until 5th June, and Watteau: The Drawings is at the Royal Academy also until 5th June. Read Laura Cumming's review.
The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 is at the V&A until 17th July. The exhibition examines the romantic and bohemian world associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and the ideals of 'art for art's sake' and examines a wide range of media in both the fine arts and the decorative arts. Read The Aesthetic Movement by Fiona MacCarthy, and Beautiful Rebels: the Daring art of the Aesthetic Movement, by Jonathan Jones.
Paul Graham: Photographs, 1981-2006 will be at the Whitechapel Gallery from 20th April - 19th June. Paul Graham was one of the 'new generation' of British photographers of the 1980s whose adoption of colour photography arguably transformed the documentary tradition. Read interviews with, and articles by, Graham at American Suburb X and Paul Graham Archive, and an interview with Sean O'Hagan in The Guardian.
Brian Griffin, Trotters Reaching Out, from "The Black Country"
Brian Griffin, a near contemporary of Paul Graham, is showing photographs of "The Black Country" at The New Art Gallery, Walsall, until 18th June.
Time Capsule, work by Roman Ondák,is at Modern Art Oxford, until 20th May.This is the first major British showing of this Slovakian artist. The gallery website describes the exhibition as follows:
Ondák’s work has a conceptual and performative focus and at its core, an interest in transferring real life experiences into the context of art… Time Capsule, makes direct reference to the incident at the San José mine in Chile in 2010, in which 33 miners were trapped for 69 days.… Stampede, reflects on the movement of people through spaces. For this work, Ondák will stage a performance involving a large crowd of people prior to the exhibition, the traces of which will be left evident in the Gallery.
Compton Verney is showing Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson, until 5th June. Nicholson (with Christopher Wood) famously ‘discovered’ Alfred Wallis the retired seaman in St Ives. Following the death of his wife, Wallis took up painting ‘for company’. Using scraps of of drift wood and cardboard his untutored representations of ships and the St Ives struck the sophisticated Nicholson as the ‘real thing’ and influenced his own work.
The Wellcome Collection has been responsible for a fascinating series of exhibitions drawing on its resources in the history of medicine. Recent examples have included Skin, Madness and Modernity, and Exquisite Bodies - an examination of the anatomical model. The current exhibition promises to be equally engaging: Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life is on until 31st August. Read review by Laura Cumming.
Official poster for the First International Hygiene Exhibition staged in Dresden, Germany, during 1911