There is always an abundance of great exhibitions in London, but (and maybe the terrible weather conditions are making indoor activities particularly tempting at the moment!) we are really loving exploring London galleries this month. Here are a few favourites…
The EY Exhibition – Paul Klee at the Tate Modern, until 9th March
This has to be one of the very best exhibitions currently in London, and even if you feel you are familiar with the paintings of Paul Klee, as you walk through the various rooms, following his development chronologically, you will find much more to discover and appreciate. With elements of cubism, surrealism and pointillism in his work, he remained above all, an individualist and a great creative innovator who had an enormous influence on subsequent artists such as Rothko and Miró.
Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, until 22nd June
We loved this exhibition, which is a wonderfully personal journey of how Paul Smith began with a tiny shop in Nottingham, to become the fashion influence he is today. His obvious joy in just seeing something magical in the most mundane things (‘every day is a new beginning’), personifies this modest and very intuitive designer – who even pops into the exhibition himself from time to time to chat to visitors, as we were lucky enough to experience.
Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House, until 2nd March
With Fashion Week this week, it is fitting that this celebration of the extraordinary life and wardrobe of Isabella Blow, is on for another couple of weeks. A late British patron of fashion and art, she is credited for having nurtured and inspired numerous artists and designers, notably Alexander Mc Queen and Philip Treacy. There are some wonderful clothes on display, and some video footage – we left with a both a feeling of admiration, and also a degree of sadness and compassion, for this eccentric and very individual figure who was committed to what she believed in, and pushed the boundaries of convention in the fashion world.
Bailey’s Stardust at the National Portrait Gallery, until 1st June
This is a fantastic exhibition, and much bigger than we even expected, but then David Bailey’s very prolific career has spanned more than 50 years. The exhibition is presented as themes, rather than chronologically so visitors can appreciate the huge range of subjects he has captured on camera – from East End gangsters to musicians, actors and models, to his travels in India, Papua New Guinea and Australia. With 250 framed photos, the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the work of one of the world’s greatest photographers.
Hannah Hoch at the Whitechapel Gallery, until 23rd March
Hannah Höch, whose career spans the period from 1910 – 1970, is mainly known for her influence on collage. Splicing together images taken from fashion magazines and illustrated journals, she created a humorous and moving commentary on society during a time of tremendous social change. Along with her fellow Berlin Dadaists, she opposed the traditional art forms of Weimar Germany and sought to express the chaos and political change after the First World War. As the first major exhibition of her work in Britain, the show puts this inspiring artist in the spotlight.
Richard Hamilton at the Tate Modern, until 26th May, and the ICA, until 6th April
This recently opened two venue exhibition is a collaboration between Tate Modern and the ICA, representing Richard Hamilton’s impressive output during 60 years of collage, installation, painting and printmaking. Widely regarded as a founding father of Pop Art, the exhibition includes the installation of ‘Fun House 1956′ which, as a centrepiece of the exhibition, combines images from movie-posters, magazines and art history. The depiction of Mick Jagger in the series ‘Swingeing London 67′, as well as images of other celebrities such as Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe, show Hamilton’s continued interest in popular culture. Along with this, there are examples of political art from the later Thatcher and Blair eras.