Lucian Freud at Royal Academy
Perhaps the 20th-century’s most celebrated portraitist, Lucian Freud also portrayed himself with great regularity. Spanning nearly seven decades from 1939, his self-portraits give a fascinating insight into both his psyche and his development as a painter. Seen together, they are an engrossing study of the process of ageing. Confronting his self-image anew with each work, he depicted himself in youth as the Greek hero Acteon; then later in life in sombre reflection; and – fittingly, for a great painter of nudes – naked but for a pair of unlaced boots at age 71. Due to popular demand, the RA has extended its opening hours to 8pm every Saturday until 3rd December. The exhibition is also open until 10pm on Fridays.
6 Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, W1S 3ET; until 26th January
Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at National Portrait Gallery
More than 150 years after the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood first exhibited in 1849, Pre-Raphaelite Sisters explores the overlooked contribution of 12 women to this iconic artistic movement. Featuring new discoveries and unseen works from public and private collections across the world, it reveals the women behind the pictures and their creative roles in the Pre-Raphaelite movement up to 1900. Expect poems and artworks from the likes of Christina Rossetti, Georgiana Burne-Jones and Effie Millais.
St Martin’s Place, Covent Garden, WC2H 0HE; until 26th January
Bridget Riley at Hayward Gallery
Hayward Gallery has devoted a major retrospective exhibition to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, it is the largest and most comprehensive display of her work to date. Tracing both the origins and the evolving nature of Riley’s innovative practice, the exhibition brings together her iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, early figurative works and recent wall paintings. Alongside her best-known pieces, the exhibition will include rarely seen drawings, studies and preparatory materials that offer an insight into the artist’s working methods from 1947 to the present day. Look out too for ‘Continuum’, Riley’s only three-dimensional work.
337-338 Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX; until 26th January
Trevor Paglen: From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’ at Barbican
Trevor Paglen’s new exhibition is part of the Barbican’s Life Rewired season, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything. In the arts hub’s Curve gallery, Paglen has installed approximately 30,000 individually printed photographs, pinned in a complex mosaic of images along the length of the curved wall. Taking as a starting point ImageNet – a widely shared, publicly available collection of images that is also used to train artificial intelligence networks – Paglen queries the content of images chosen for machine learning. ImageNet contains more than 14m images organised into more than 21,000 categories. In most cases, the connotations of image categories and names are uncontroversial (‘strawberry’, say, or ‘orange’) but others are classified under ‘debtors’, ‘alcoholics’ and ‘bad persons’. These definitions hint at a world in which AI machines will enable different forms of judgement against humankind. A fascinating installation.
Silk Street, Clerkenwell, EC2Y 8DS; until 16th February
Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary at Whitechapel Gallery
With simple materials like clay, paper and ink, Anna Maria Maiolino constructs a fascinating world rooted in human conditions such as longing, fragility and resistance. This is the artist’s first retrospective in the UK, spanning six decades of work. Born in Italy during World War II, Maiolino has lived in Brazil since 1960. The highlight of the show is her prints from the 1960s, and her radical shift during the 1970s, moving from figuration to a dynamic abstraction. Created under the radar of Brazil’s military regime, Maiolino’s politically charged films and photographs explore repression and hunger. A varied, powerful exhibition.
77-82 Whitechapel High Street, Whitechapel, E1 7QX; until 12th January
Cars: Accelerating The Modern World at V&A
In its 130-year history, the car has become one of the most loved, contested and influential innovations in the world. It has revolutionised manufacturing and transformed how we move, forever changing our cities, environment and economies. Cars: Accelerating the Modern World brings together 15 diverse cars to tell extraordinary stories about design and the car’s impact on the broader world. The vehicles include the first production car in existence; an autonomous flying car; a converted low-rider; and a 1950s concept car. Many have never been on show in the UK before, and their display will be juxtaposed with a diverse collection of products, fashion, graphics, photography and film to draw connections to wider spheres of design and public life.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL; from 23rd November
Dora Maar at Tate Modern
During the 1930s, Dora Maar’s provocative photomontages became celebrated icons of surrealism. Her eye for the unusual translated to her commercial photography, including fashion and advertising, as well as her social documentary projects. In Europe’s increasingly fraught political climate, Maar signed her name to numerous left-wing manifestos – a radical gesture for a woman at that time. Her relationship with Pablo Picasso had a profound effect on both their careers. She documented the creation of his most political work, ‘Guernica 1937’. He painted her many times, including ‘Weeping Woman 1937’. Together they made a series of portraits combining experimental photographic and printmaking techniques. In later life, Maar withdrew from photography. She concentrated on painting and found stimulation and solace in poetry, religion and philosophy, returning to her darkroom only in her 70s. This exhibition spans Maar’s long career, setting it in the context of work by her contemporaries.
Bankside, SE1 9TG; from 20th November
Steve McQueen Year 3 at Tate Britain
Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen is set to unveil his portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils. Using the medium of the traditional school class photograph, this vast new artwork is one of the most ambitious portraits of children ever undertaken in the UK. It offers us a glimpse of the capital’s future, a hopeful portrait of a generation to come. McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photograph taken by a team of specially trained Tate photographers. The subjects included children from state primaries, independent schools, faith schools, special schools, pupil referral units and home-educated pupils. Their photos have been brought together in a single large-scale installation, capturing tens of thousands of Year 3 pupils in a milestone year in their development.
Millbank, Westminster, SW1P 4RG; from 12th November
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at National Portrait Gallery
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 is a leading open-to-all international competition. It celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world. Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition showcases a diverse range of images and tells the fascinating stories behind the creation of the works, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family. The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait while capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. The exhibition of 57 works features all of the prize winners, including the winner of the £15,000 first prize.
St Martin’s Place, Covent Garden, WC2H 0HE; until 16th February
Tutankhamun Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at Saatchi Gallery
In residence at the Saatchi Gallery until May 2020, this highly anticipated exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, and is the final chance to see these world-heritage artefacts before they return to Egypt for good. Visitors will explore the life of King Tutankhamun and the discovery that captivated the world through more than 150 pieces from the tomb – three times the quantity that has travelled in previous exhibitions. In Los Angeles, the exhibition was among the most successful in the history of the California Science Center, while in Paris it became France’s most attended exhibition of all time with over 1.4m visitors. We suggest booking in advance.
King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY; until 3rd May
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