A giant blow-up of a young Michael Caine, with his trademark black-rimmed glasses perched on his head, greets the visitor on arrival at the gallery, and sets the theme for the greater part of the exhibition, for David Bailey is most famous for his pictures of the glamorous and famous. In our celebrity-obsessed age, do we really need a large-scale exhibition of portraits of – well – celebrities? Clearly, Bailey and the National Portrait Gallery think so, and, judging by the crowds seething enthusiastically through the rooms, this is set to be London’s most popular museum show of 2014.
‘Hockney, Printmaker’ coincides with the 60th anniversary of David Hockney’s first print and celebrates his long and diverse career as a printmaker. David Hockney is Britain’s best-known and arguably best-loved artist, and one of our most talented and innovative printmakers. Showcasing over 100 works, including rare early lithographs from his time at Bradford College of Art in the 1950s (a Self Portrait redolent of Stanley Spencer) and his recent experiments with the iPad and iPhone (Rain on the Studio Window, 2009), this engaging exhibition offers an insightful and entertaining overview of Hockney’s long career. Read my review here
Hot on the heels of the unveiling of the fabulous newly hung British collection, Tate Britain throws open a pair of giant pink hospital doors to showcase the work of two complementary British artists, Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume. Presented as two parallel exhibitions (a single ticket admits visitors to both), each offers a survey of the work of painters whose names have become indelibly associated with two great movements in modern British art – Pop Art and the Young British Artists (or YBAs). Both movements were an attempt to bring art back into touch with the real and the everyday, in exciting new ways.
In a remarkable exhibition at the National Gallery, the late Richard Hamilton, doyen of the Pop Art movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and a leading British artist with an international following, has left a beautiful and startling legacy in an exquisitely executed visual study of the fundamentals of the artist’s craft.
This autumn’s blockbuster exhibition, Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at Tate Britain, is a sumptuous display of much-loved paintings by the core of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt – together with works by their disciples, as well as sculpture, textiles, furniture and glass. Five years in the making, this is the chance to see around 180 works brought together, and is the largest survey of the group since 1984. Read my full review here
The Soane Museum, former home of the architect, Sir John Soane, who designed the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery, is a treasure trove of the eccentric and eclectic right in the heart of London – and one of my favourite museums. Read about my visit and what antiquities, objets and oddments lie behind the door of No. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Field here.
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