© Janet Wells 2020

Janet Wells’ takes us online for her quarterly review of the Arts, Gallery and Museum scene

As I get this together for the Editor’s deadline, we are going once more into Lockdown: However, the galleries may well be about to re – open  by the time you receive this Winter Edition of the Magazine – who knows!  Of course, the same precautions will, most certainly, apply and we will only be able to buy timed tickets; there is little that can be spontaneous in this Covid 19 world.    This morning however, I found an announcement of a programme of large scale projected public art to take place near Tottenham Court Road tube station next year.  Keep an eye open for news on that.

The Royal Academy Summer (Winter) Exhibition 2020

I had supposed it that is wasn’t going happen this year:  Exhibits usually have to be submitted around March and this year we were about to go into Lockdown; but here it is and how welcome it is too!

There is a new President of the Royal Academy: She is the artist and printmaker, Rebecca Salter – the first female President of the Royal Academy.   This year’s exhibition co-ordinators are the identical twin artists, Jane and Louise Wilson – who always work as a collaborative duo.    Their main contribution in show, is a giant screen of moving LED lights entitled: I’d Walk With You But Not With Her. This is found right at the end of the exhibition in the Wohl Central Hall.

I have been reading that in order to pull off this exhibition during this extraordinary time, there have been a few problems:  There were members of the Summer Exhibition Committee that were and still are shielding and committee members that – because they live abroad – couldn’t be physically present in the studios. It appears that it was possible for them to do their hang via Zoom!!

Given the restrictions of distancing, it was also bound to look a little different this year:  The big piece that they commission to stand out in the Annberg Courtyard is absent – however this years’ proposed work will be in place in 2021.    The viewing begins from Gallery 1 – instead of the Wohl Central Hall.  There is a lightness to the galleries; not just because all the walls this year are painted white; it comes from the instruction to provide space for flow and distancing, this year’s show doesn’t have that overflowing hallmark of a RA Summer Exhibition.

© Janet Wells 2020

As expected there are a good number of works that focus on identity and climate change: In Gallery 1 and 11  They have payed tribute the late Nigerian ,  poet, curator and educator, Okwui Enwezor: A photographic assemblage of 32 black and white Ilford classic gelatin prints: Lessons of the Hour, London 1983 – Who Killed Colin Roach?    Isaac Julien CBE RA:  Blend in – Stand Out; Njideka Akunjili Crosby as well as Chris Ofilli’s standout triptych Cha Cha Cha.

As usual dotted around, there are the big names: Gillian Wearing CBE RA:  with Lockdown:  a delicate watercolour of a woman in a yellow frock, holding a full mask in her hand; Greyson Perry CBE RA: with his The American Dream – etching;  An older Anthony Green RA;  is looking at his bride, Mary and Tracy Emin RA is here and Cornelia Parker OBE RA  with Glass and it’s Shadows; then there is the avant guard film maker, John Smith, who has made a video on the recommended washing hands routine: The slowed down, rendition of the National Anthem follows you into the next gallery.

However, what is so  very special about the RA Summer Exhibition is that among all the famous, there is the work of those lesser known (possibly first time successful) artists; and as I wandered through, it was to many of these that I found myself instinctively drawn.

The Exhibition is due to close on the 3rd January.
Entry price £35.00   Free to Friends.  This exhibition raises funds for students to get free education at the RA schools 2Jan 2019

Looking ahead at the RA:

David Hockney: Ma Normandie

27th March – 22nd August 2021

In October 2018, David Hockney was staying in Honfleur for a few days: From there, he went to Bayeux to see the tapestry of Queen Mathilde again.  He was fascinated by work which reminded him of the ancient Chinese scrolls.                                       Making the passage of time feel in painting, has always been one of his major concerns – David Hockney, it appears, is a keen reader of Marcel Proust. The idea germinated in him to renew with the Norman landscape as he did in his native Yorkshire ten years earlier: to paint the arrival of spring and its unfolding – like a story.  Taken from Galerie-lelong Paris – where it has been showing.

Barbican Art Gallery

Michael Clarke: Cosmic Dance                                                                                 

Until the 23 May 2021

The Curve: A Countervailing Theory:  Toyin Ojih Odutola

Until 24th January 2021

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

Italian Threads: MITA Textile Design 1926 – 1976                                                         

30th September – 17th January 2021

Guildhall Art Gallery

Noel Coward: Art & Style

20th November 2020 – 16 May 2021

This is an exhibition that brings together never-before-seen materials from the Coward Archive

Find out more on city of London.gov.uk/noelcoward

The Freud Museum is open

20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX                                                                

They have made a few changes designed for our safety and the safety of their staff

Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 – 17.00

Adults £14; Concessions £12.00; Young Persons £9.00 children under 12 free

Book in advance online only.

The Foundling Museum

Honest Dick Leveridge: Performer, Composer and Coffee Shop owner

26th September – 28th March 2021

Exhibitions and Display:   Discover the life and works of Richard Leveridge, a leading singer on the 18th – century London Stage in this Handel Gallery display

Tate Britain

Turner’s Modern World

28th October – 7th March 2021

Turner’s Modern World : The Burning of the Houses of Parliament c1834 -5

Of course, Turner lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution; when machines replaced manpower and when political and social reforms transformed society.  This exhibition – which begins in the 1790’s – sets out to show how he transformed the way he painted to better capture this new world.

Currently booking until the 31st December 2020                                                    

Ticket:  £22.00  Free with ticket for members