Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Reintarnation

We have all seen that clever little email from the Washington Post's Style Invitational competition where you can only change one letter of the word to get a new meaning haven't we?

If you are after a chuckle then, I recommend you follow me to the latest Style Invitational ...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Dressing Gowns Are So Now!

Part I


It was 8 o’clock and I had to go to bed. I was perusing the bookshelf in my Grandmother’s holiday house in Grace Town for a new book. The Carpetbaggers? Nah, looks like it has too much of that ‘adult material’ that is really too boring for a nine-year-old. Bloodlines? Ick, that had so much ‘adult material’ it put me off trashy novels for quite a while thanks. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? It was a thin paperback, just the title and author on a discreet rainbow squared background. Considering how it changed my life, it really should have had

DON'T PANIC!

on it as well.

I settled down in bed and started reading. I finished about 2am, which was definitely my very first extremely late night due to a book, and when I got up the next morning I read it all over again, trying to work out if I had dreamt the entire thing.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is my first concrete book memory, my first taste of the humour of a generation of English writers and I have not looked back since. From 42 to towels and just how one can fly (you have to throw yourself at the ground and miss!), the wonder of Douglas Adams’ writing is a preciously personal experience for me; I am convinced that I developed my humour and my writing style under the influence of my Dad, Douglas and Alan Coren.

Part II


It was 10 o’clock and the sun was as strong here in the backyard of my first house in England as it was in Australia, left just three days ago. I had The Salmon of Doubt in my hand, the only book deliberately carted across the world so I could read it on the soil of Douglas Adams’ country. I had wanted to go to England for so long to meet him and since his death had robbed me of that, I at least had to read his tribute in the right country.

In the next 20 months I was able to observe the land that produced Douglas and Arthur Dent and I fell in love with a country and it's special absurdities that were often more disturbing than anything Douglas could have dreamt up.

Part III


It was 6 o’clock and I was straining the muscles of my feet bouncing up and down on my toes to see over the crowd to the movie stars on the bright blue carpet. It was my very first Leicester Square Premiere and I was feeling simultaneously embarrassed and excited.

Embarrassed because Ozy and Ely were patiently standing next to me listening to me repeat the same three phrases;

‘Stephen Fry is going to be here!’ *bounce* *bounce* *crane*

‘Sam Rockwell is so hot’ *elbow annoying girl next to me*

and ‘I am SO excited!’ *heft camera* *eye up the cute male TV presenters in the press pit*

and kindly holding an extra camera and notebook for the autographs.

I was excited because this was the premiere of the one movie for which I really, REALLY wanted to share in the excitement. The saga to get The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on screen has been decades in duration and it had always been present in the part of my life that housed Douglas, Arthur, Ford and friends.

For my first premiere I was quite lucky – I didn’t wait for long, I was in the perfect place to get photos and autographs and it was clement weather. Ozy and Ely were instrumental in getting me to conquer my politeness and elbow the crowd so I did get autographs and I walked away from my moment of High Geekiness with a hard-to-beat grin on my face.

The autographs? Arthur Dent himself, Martin Freeman; Zooey Deschanel, who plays the lovely Trillian and Anna Chancellor, a coup for me more for her role as Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice than her role in this movie.

The biggest star? Stephen Fry. I’m sorry, but my adoration of the man leaves me almost unable to articulate it in words. Suffice to say that two quotes from his great friend Douglas Adams will do the trick –

‘a brain the size of a planet’
(Marvin the Paranoid Android)

and

‘that is the least benightedly unintelligent organic life form it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting.’
(paraphrased from Marvin again)

The biggest surprise? Movie stars really are titchy little people. REALLY small. Like I said, titchy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Aunt Petunia was mean to me!

The weekend past I was a steward at the very luvvie Oxford Literary Festival, and that Harry Potter's Aunt Petunia was mean to me!

After so much literary wonderfulness, I am reluctant to indulge in luvviness myself, so I will not natter on about the commentators and authors I listened to (John Humphries and Terry Pratchett amongst numerous others) or spotted in the crowd (Colin Dexter), but I am going to share the two best incidences of the two days.

First amusing moment was Fiona Shaw and Saffron Burrows turning up for the session on Writer's Block that Fiona was hosting. Fiona is a national acting icon in Britain, and Harry Potter's nasty aunt is by far her least important role, which must be why she point-blank refused to give me an autograph. To think I broke my golden rule of not asking for autographs that I have kept for almost 15 years too. She should have been more conscious of the honour; the last autograph I got was from Ricky Grace!

Both women were unnaturally skinny, Saffron was tall and slightly unkempt too, and they roared around the building like two schoolgirls on red cordial, peering into the windows of other sessions and being generally rather strange. *phft* Actors.

It was the last session, a talk on Mary Wollstonecraft, which yielded the best anecdote. In the front row were Natalie and Esther, both from my UWA politics tutorial class 2000. Natalie's face had tugged at my memory sometime during the day, but it was her Triple J backpack that clinched it for me, so I introduced myself and we started trying to work out how we knew each other. I think ole U-dub can be proud that it was represented by two delegations of graduates that weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Advertising Feature

Internet-geek time everyone.

I have a website. You are reading it at the moment. I only have in the format of a blog because blogger is the easiest platform for me to publish on the net and no-one liked the ezBoard forum anyway.

Thus, I do not consider myself a real blogger, I just publish my writing on the net.

But what I *AM* is a complete sucker for people mentioning me on the net.

Monica mentioned me quite a few times on her blog Th'inkwell but that was because I lived with her.

Matt links to me on his blog Creativity on Demand but that is because I used to live with him.

I love those two links, but they are ones I didn't earn. What I did earn were these three little gems of Claire’s minor presence on the net.

BIG MENTION NUMBER ONE – Miss C’s blog. I found Catriya’s blog when a flash of boredom drove me to press the next blog button. I landed on a post about her plans for an ex-boyfriend and didn’t look back. I don’t think I have ever read a better commentator on my generation’s experience of looking for love. I finally contacted Catriya privately when I realized that she had been on exchange to Australia and we are now offline correspondents.

BIG MENTION NUMBER TWO – JP’s website. JP is a very good friend of Kristen’s and a friend of mine from first year. He was in the UK for a short time and we went out for an entertaining day at the museums. He now links to my blog, which I had not expected at all. If you look carefully both Kristen and I star in his photo galleries.

BIG MENTION NUMBER THREE – Reference.com. Jacinta mentioned the other day that when she wanted to find my blog she searched for ‘insanely sociable’ on google. Curious, I did the same thing. Hilariously, my post 'Complimenting talent with talent' is listed as a reference for complimenting on Reference.com. I am now both published AND referenced!

The internet is definitely a strange place.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'll see you on page 42

WARNING: Plot Spoilers

I am currently devouring Robin Hobb's most excellent Liveships trilogy, enjoying once again an author that is fearless in her writing. Hobb, along with the equally ruthless George R R Martin, has my eternal regard because she is not a sentimental author, allowing the most hideous hardships to overtake her heroes over and over again until you feel fate-ravaged yourself and wish desperately she would stop creating such cruel realities and indulge in some old school positive tweaking of the plotlines. Reading until 2am on a school night because I just met these guys and they are going through a rough patch, I remembered a heartfelt book review I knocked up at the start of the year.

A week before I left Perth for London and needing cheap entertainment due to budgetary restraints, I got my greedy hands on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and lay in bed for nine hours straight getting back into life at Hogwarts. At 3am that morning I let the book slam to the floor, numbed with disappointment. I was so new to the art of writing that I had not the vocabulary to articulate my deep-seated displeasure with the book Rowling had foisted on the fans, except to surmise that she had obviously become too big to be ruthlessly edited.

Two years later, in the dull lull of my time on counter I picked it up again and spent the first three quarters of the book wondering what I had been banging on about last time. I was hooked all over again, laughing out loud in pleasure as usual, and it was not until the last quarter of the book, after Harry looks into Snape’s pensieve, that I remembered my previous disappointment. This time I was able to put my finger on exactly what I don’t like about the book.

Harry’s rages perfectly set the book in the claustrophobic maze of a teenager’s mind, but the actual descriptions of the feelings raging in him needed to be tightened. The use of caps for his yelling was a stylistic gaff that jarred each time and the mirroring of his raised voice in Bellatrix Lestrange’s maniacal screeching was one of the contributing factors for the mess that is the ending of the book. I found myself immune to caps screaming by the time we got to Lestrange’s histrionics and felt like bellowing a ‘SHUT UP EVERYONE!’ myself. Rowling is so adept at conveying the attitude of the speaker in their words – anything the twins say, especially their hilarious display of careless cruelty when teasing Ron for his goalkeeping skills – yet Harry’s rages are clumsily executed using font, not prose, and start feeling repetitive. Typeset does not compelling reading make!

I love Rowling’s work for her sharp plots, for each baddie hidden in the one place you just didn’t look and for the fascinating magical creations that read like an inventor’s fantasy, charming you when you are first introduced, then go on to play key parts in the plot. In Phoenix Rowling is again in fine form; Grimaud Place, the paintings of the Headmasters, the Ministry of Magic and the Room of Requirement are brilliant and the flying memos are my nomination for most practical literary creation. Snape’s pensieve memory is a moment of painful genius, along with Umbridge’s pen and the Weasley’s exit; Rowling once again proves that she can invest real horror into the ordinary. But these set pieces are strangely sidelined, playing minor roles in the plot and deserting the climax when we are least expecting an echoing hole in the narrative. The less said about Grawp the better, he is the equivalent of the proverbial big purple elephant in the room with us.

The closing talk with Dumbledore is the most disappointing dénouement I have read since the Power of One. Shockingly anticlimactic, it somehow renders Harry’s suffering during the book less poignant. I understand the need for Dumbledore’s points on the primacy of love, but in the previous books he taught lessons in both Harry's own personal humanity and the inhumanity of his worldly legacy. The lack of the usual strong messages make the devoted reader ache with emptiness. Rowling has some terribly important lessons on entering the adult world to reveal in the next books and it would have been nice for Dumbledore to foreshadow some of them.

The adult themes of the next books are going to ensure that the strongest character of the Potter-verse comes into his own. Severus Snape is surely one of the most polarizing villains, save perhaps the infinitely readable Tyrion in A Song of Ice and Fire, because he is the most painfully human character in the book. As each thread of the relationship between Snape and the Marauders is revealed, Rowling uses Snape to illustrate the tangled web of friends and enemies that is created when one generation grows from childhood to adulthood, the intertwining threads of accumulated actions, of familiarity and contempt turning clear childish air to suffocating adult grayness. Snape is the purest example of Rowling’s multifaceted characterization and overwhelming humanity.

When I am sad and alone, as I was when I picked up Phoenix the second time, I like to retreat to a world that holds someone as knowledgeable as Dumbledore, as steady as McGonagall, as brave as Hermione, as incurable as the twins and as inhumanly flawed yet humanly perfect as Snape. Meeting up with old friends really is just as easy as turning a page.

The State of Claire

Friends, Family, Visitors

Today we stand at the start of an uncertain eight months for our State. Having failed in our negotiations with Great Britain for residency the State is conceding defeat and returning to Australia. While deeply regretting our passionate love for Britain could not move mountains, nor, indeed, the Visa and Immigration Department, the State is proud that our feelings are truly ambivalent, as we must leave the land of Intellectual Paradise for the land of Physical Paradise.

During our final four months of residence in Great Britain, the State will be engaged in various activities that naturally occur with disengagement. Many new friends are to be left behind and time must be spent cementing relationships, a state of alertness for last minute opportunities for the State to remain in Great Britain must be maintained and plans drawn up for the Return to Paradise. These activities are, in their very nature, apt to make the State completely self-absorbed and potentially extremely dull as we stare inwards, trying to ensure the best for our State.

Whatever the outcome of the next eight months, the State is eternally grateful for the continuing good wishes and patience of her Allies.


But seriously, I am turning into a rather dull stick, for while I may be in the current state of being perfectly happy whether I remain home in Great Britain or whether I go home to Australia, I am always aware that my plans may be running before a different wind in the next six to eight months. Not being willing to commit yourself lest a better opportunity arise leaves you mentally and emotionally fatigued with the uncertainty and the excitement.

And so I issue this disclaimer for all readers and correspondents – I am currently completely preoccupied with packing up my life in the anticipation of going home, but with the hope that I will get to remain at home. The State of Claire is thus uncertain.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

April Museum Calendar

Shakespeare's Globe

2005 THEATRE SEASON THE SEASON OF THE WORLD AND UNDERWORLD

The 2005 summer theatre season at Shakespeare’s Globe has been announced as The Season of The World and Underworld. Three plays by Shakespeare - The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale and Pericles – will be joined by an adaptation of The Storm by Plautus. This Graeco-Roman comedy has been adapted by Peter Oswald whose previous work for the Globe, The Golden Ass, was a huge hit in 2002. In addition to these productions, two company projects will explore voice and the use of masks on the Globe stage.

The Season of The World and Underworld, which begins on 6 May, will examine the influence of classical Greece on Shakespeare’s works. The season will finish on 2 October with The Tempest. It will be Mark Rylance’s final performance as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

The Natural History Museum

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Tickets £5, £3 concessions, £12 family
The power, beauty and extremes of nature are all captured on film in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Celebrating its twenty-first year, this annual competition, organised by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, is the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world. The resulting exhibition reveals the drama and variety of life on Earth, showcasing an unforgettable selection of images ranging from serene landscapes and amazing insights into animal behaviour to thought-provoking scenes illustrating our impact on the natural world.

Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper
In partnership with The Royal British Society of Sculptors until October 2005. Admission: FREE
Sculptor and environmental artist Diane Maclean has created a site-specific Sculpture installation for the Museum in response to our science collection and Building.

Super-sensing T. rex returns - Prehistoric giant roars back to life
T. rex makes a dramatic return to the Museum's Dinosaur Gallery. Unlike previous animatronic models, this one uses its 'senses' to spot prey - including unsuspecting visitors. Also on display will be the fossilised lower jaw of the first T. rex ever discovered and visitors can examine T. rex teeth that measure a staggering fifteen centimetres.

Wildlife Garden
Free until October 2005
Escape the city and wander through the tranquil habitats of the Wildlife Garden. Opened 10 years ago as our first living exhibition and set in the Museum grounds, the Wildlife Garden reveals a range of British lowland habitats, including woodland, meadow and pond. The garden also demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city. Please note that the garden is closed during bad weather.

DARWIN CENTRE LIVE
Darwin Centre Live is a varied programme of free events where Museum curators and researchers talk about their work, recent scientific discoveries and the Museum's vast collections.

COMING EVENTS

Face to Face
28 May - 18 September 2005. Admission: FREE
James Mollison's beautiful and emotive ape portraits highlight the vitality and Intelligence of these magnificent and threatened animals, and their similarity to humans.

Diamonds
9 July 2005 - 26 February 2006. Admission: CHARGED
Celebrating the natural and cultural power of these extraordinary gemstones, this blockbuster exhibition will showcase some of the world's most impressive diamonds and will reveal the fascinating story of their evolution from deep in the Earth to the red carpet.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005
October 2005 - April 2006. Admission: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family
Organised by the Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is the most prestigious and successful event of its kind in the world.

Science Museum

Future Face
Future Face asks questions about the human face and identity and considers what faces might look like in the future. As digital faces become as 'real' as live ones, and as even face transplants become a reality, how will our notions of identity be affected? Drawing from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, the Hollywood Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Museum, the exhibition will feature over 200 historical and contemporary photographs, paintings, multimedia installation and objects.

The Dana Centre
Join us at the Dana Centre as we explore the science of luck, look at environmental crises and trade opinions in a nanotechnology card game. We'll also be going digital with the two-day Cybermusic festival and an evening exploring women's use of technology.

Imperial War Museum

Great Escapes
This special exhibition features some of the extraordinary escape attempts made by Allied servicemen from German prisoner of war camps in the Second World War and will look at the fact and fiction surrounding The Wooden Horse, The Great Escape and Colditz. Interactive and hands-on displays will allow children and adults alike to try on disguises, forge an identity pass, crawl through an escape tunnel, find out fascinating facts about escape attempts, and use their ingenuity to make their own escape from Colditz.

The Children’s War
To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, this major exhibition will look at the conflict through the eyes of British children. It will provide a moving insight into the lives of evacuees who had to adjust to separation from family and friends and to children who stayed in towns and cities during the Blitz.

Visitors can find out more about evacuation, the threat of gas attacks, air raid precautions, rationing, school and work, pastimes and entertainment, VE Day celebrations. As well as being able to go inside an Anderson shelter, visitors can walk through a recreation of a wartime house and view sections of a 'prefab' home. Outside the house, the victory celebrations of 1945 and hopes and plans for the future will be featured around original sections of a ‘prefab’ home. Interactors and those who lived through the war as children will make regular appearances to bring the exhibition to life by sharing their memories and experiences.

Among the items on display will be mementoes and toys belonging to Kindertransport children who came to Britain from Germany in 1939; a baby’s gas mask: an evacuee’s label and teddy bear; touching letters written by children and their servicemen fathers; wartime books, toys and games; and a commemorative Victory china cup given to a child on VE Day.

The Children’s War exhibition, which will run for three years is part of Their Past Your Future – a £10 million, 15-month programme of commemorative and educational events led by the Imperial War Museum to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, supported by the Big Lottery Fund through their Veterans Reunited programme.

The National Portrait Gallery

Lee Miller : Portraits
Wolfson Gallery, Admission £7/£4.75
Lee Miller (1907-77) was one of the most extraordinary photographers of the twentieth century. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed surrealist photographer in her own right. This exhibition presents 120 of her black-and-white portrait studies and includes intimate portraits of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Marlene Dietrich.

To celebrate our Lee Miller: Portraits exhibition, Curzon Soho presents two special events focusing on the surrealist environment that fed her. The first part of the programme will try to recreate Lee Miller's social universe by showing films by friends of her at the time. The second one will concentrate on the view of female surrealist filmmakers.

Through the Lens of Surrealist Women
Friday 15 April, 6pm £5/£4

An Afternoon with Lee Miller's Friends
Sunday 17 April, 12pm £6/£5

Frida Kahlo : Portrait of an Icon
This selection of fifty photographs of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-54) includes both black and white images, and some previously unexhibited works in colour, from throughout her life. They follow the artist's transition from precocious child to famous artist, documented by many leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Lola and Manuel Bravo, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham.

Conquering England – Ireland in Victorian London
Until19 June in the Porter Gallery. Admission Free
Examining the Irish presence in London during the Victorian period this exhibition focuses on artists, politicians and theatrical impresarios who helped shape changing perspectives on Ireland. The show also explores the lives and work of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and W.B. Yeats. Works in a wide range of media are featured, from oil paintings, drawings and prints to contemporary magazines, books and manuscripts.

Thursday 7 April, 7pm
The Letters of Lytton Strachey: Paul Levy in conversation with Michael Holroyd
A discussion with Strachey's biographer to celebrate the publication of Paul Levy's The Letters of Lytton Strachey and the recent acquisition by the National Portrait Gallery of Dora Carrington's portrait of Strachey.

Friday 8 April, 6.30pm
Trillium Quartet
Trillium return to the Friday concert series with the unique sound of saxophone and brass as well as a cosmopolitan mix of repertoire including ingenious arrangements and new works written for them by leading UK composers

Thursday 14 April, 7pm
THES Debates: How will history judge Lord Nelson?
Tickets: £5/£3 concessions (includes a glass of wine)

'Has history been kind to Lord Nelson?' With Andrew Lambert and Professor Jane Purvis.

Friday 15 April, 6.30pm
Tim Lapthorn Trio
The Tim Lapthorn Jazz Piano Trio plays a complete mixture of jazz standards, original compositions, blues and folk songs.

Friday 22 April, 6.30pm
Music in Britain in the late Nineteenth Century
This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of William Yates Hurlstone, one of Britain's might-have-been great composers before his death at the age of twenty-nine. This concert will include compositions for the unusual combination of clarinet, bassoon and piano by Hurlstone, Charles Harford Lloyd and Elgar, as well as a newly written work commissioned for this ensemble by Jeremy Thurlow.

Friday 22 April, 7pm
Tickets: £5/£3 concessions
John Berger, the internationally acclaimed writer and critic explores what Titian means to him as a writer and father in a deeply personal, illustrated reading with his daughter Katya. This special event forms part of Here Is Where We Meet, a London-wide season celebrating the work of John Berger and running from 4 April to 18 May.

Thursday 28 April, 7pm
Film: Cult of Kahlo
Tim Niel's documentary explores the life and afterlife of the iconic painter, including interviews with Frida's friends and family as well as Tracey Emin and Salma Hayek, who played Kahlo in the 2002 feature film. Courtesy of BBC Four (60 mins).

Friday 29 April, 6.30pm
Conquering England Music Series: An Exploration of Folk Song
Julian Hubbard (baritone) and Richard Peirson (piano) presents a recital that explores Irish and British folk songs, including folk song arrangements by Thomas More and Percy Grainger.

National Maritime Museum

SEABRITAIN 2005
SeaBritain 2005 is a major year long celebration of the sea, culminating in the Trafalgar Festival with events marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's death. Events of all sizes will be taking place all over the country throughout the year, including the NMM's own Nelson & Napoleon exhibition.

Nelson and Napoléon

Nelson & Napoléon will examine how the men earned their reputations, their personal lives and the political and military conditions that brought them to the fore. The exhibition will show the impact of the French Revolution and Napoléon on Britain and will look in depth at the Battle of Trafalgar.

It will examine Nelson’s tactics and challenge some myths about the battle and the two leaders, offering new insights based on the very latest research – much of which is being carried out at the National Maritime Museum.

Coast Exposed Events
Throughout April there will be a range of events for families and photography enthusiasts at the Queen's House, inspired by our current exhibition, The Coast Exposed.

Family fun day: On the Coast
Sunday 24 April, 11.00-16.00, free admission
Enjoy a day of activity-packed fun exploring coastal themes and photographic processes. Join artists in a range of practical workshops and see lively performances inspired by the natural wonders of our coastlines.

See shores
Sundays in April, hourly from 12.00-15.00, free admission
Children are invited to explore light, photography, colour and collage in this series of lively creative workshops.

Study day for photography students
Friday 29 April, 11.00-16.00
£5 (or free for students with an NUS card)

An exciting study day combining advice on how to become a photographer with speakers such as exhibiting Magnum photographer David Hurn, and Martin Barnes, Curator of Photography at the V&A.

Summer 2005 Courses

Victoria and Albert Museum

Spectres : When Fashion Turns Back
Through the clothes of leading, cutting-edge designers, Spectres explores the influence of the past on the present and illustrates how the power of the historical muse shapes fashion today.

The exhibition brings together beautiful historic costumes by designers such as Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, with clothes by today's leading designers including Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dries Van Noten and Hussien Chalayan.
Admission free

Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway's wardrobe 1896-1938
Queen Maud of Norway, daughter of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, was renowned for her fashionable style. Her clothes document an extraordinary era of fashion history, from the decorative but elaborate dress of the Victorian era to the streamlined chic of the 1930s.

This display includes some 50 outfits comprising elegant evening dresses, smart tailored suits and simple day dresses, sporting ware, sumptuous state gowns and accessories.
Admission free

International Arts and Crafts
The Arts and Crafts movement was one of the most far-reaching, influential and popular design movements of modern times. Emerging in Britain in the late nineteenth century, it was quickly adapted in America, continental Europe and Scandinavia, until its final manifestations as the folk craft movement in Japan.

This will be the first major exhibition to explore Arts and Crafts as a truly international style. 300 objects from museums and private collections around the world will be on display including furniture, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, paintings and sculpture.
Ticketed

Inside Out: British Architecture and Garden Design since the Renaissance
Admission Free
The Renaissance ignited a new-found interest among architects to explore the relationship between buildings and landscape. To this day, some architects' designs fit harmoniously within their settings: others create buildings that stand proud of everything around them.

GALLERY TALKS
There are free gallery talks every day at 13.00.

The National Gallery

Caravaggio : The Final Years
Caravaggio (1571 - 1610) was at the height of his fame as the most original and powerful painter of his day, when in May 1606, he killed a man in a duel. With a capital sentence on his head, he was forced to flee Rome, never to return.

During the remaining four years of his life, Caravaggio's art underwent a dramatic transformation as he moved restlessly from Naples to Malta to Sicily. He continued to use intensely observed realism and dramatic lighting to endow his paintings with a compelling sense of actuality. However, the mood of the pictures became more introspective as he probed the human condition more acutely and with greater sympathy than ever before.

This exhibition will concentrate on this relatively little known period in Caravaggio's career. It will bring together paintings from the remote centres in which he worked so that his profound late style can be fully appreciated for the first time.

There is a calendar of events for this exhibition here.

Wednesday Lates
The Gallery is open late every Wednesday from 6-9pm. Come to the Sainsbury Wing foyer for live music, talks & bar.

Tate Modern

Joseph Beuys
Actions, Vitrines, Environments
Joseph Beuys is considered to be one of the most influential figures in modern and contemporary art and this is the first UK exhibition dedicated to his work.

Believing that art had the power to shape a better society, Beuys communicated his often radical social and political views through three main activities - actions, vitrines and environments. His 'actions' or performances are explored through records of these momentous events and several vitrines, presenting objects which Beuys considered to be socially significant are on show. Also featured are a number of Beuys' large-scale 'environments', including his seminal work The Pack.

August Strindberg
Painter, Photographer, Writer
Celebrated as a prolific writer of plays, novels and poetry, August Strindberg was also an extremely radical painter for his time.

Turning to painting when his capacity as a writer failed him, Strindberg found inspiration in the awe-inspiring landscape around his native Stockholm. He painted the waves, rocks and ever-changing skies in a vast array of colours and moods. Although landscapes in subject matter, these works can also be seen as symbolic self-portraits offering an illuminating insight into the mind of this often-troubled genius.

Tate Britain

Anthony Caro
Sir Anthony Caro is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest living sculptors. Surveying fifty years of Caro's career, this major retrospective at Tate Britain features the seminal steel sculptures from the early 1960s, through to his most recent works.

Don't miss the chance to explore his large scale 'sculpitecture', Caro's architecture-inspired sculptures which include a major new commission, created especially for Tate Britain.

This exhibition presents a wider and more comprehensive assessment of the work of this pre-eminent artist than has ever been seen before.

Turner Whistler Monet
Turner Whistler Monet is an extraordinary exhibition which draws on the influences and relationship between three giants of nineteenth century art. This exhibition has already been a huge success in Toronto and Paris and its arrival at Tate Britain is eagerly anitcipated.

JMW Turner, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet each changed the course of landscape painting and this exhibition, featuring 100 paintings, watercolours, prints and pastels, traces for the first time the artistic dialogue between them. The exhibition is sponsored by Ernst &Young.

Whistler and Monet were friends and collaborators who shared a deep admiration for the work of Turner. Their work and aims made a vital contribution both to the development of Impressionism, the art movement that emerged in the 1870s, and the evolution of a symbolist landscape. On close examination, a pattern of themes and variations begun by Turner appears to have been developed in the artistic interchange between the younger artists Whistler and Monet.

For artists committed to working from nature and seeking beauty in contemporary environments, industrialism and its pollution presented an aesthetic dilemma. They directed their focus increasingly on transient effects of light and weather and revisited their subjects under varying conditions, experimenting with innovative painting techniques, adapting the tentative quality of the sketch, delicate veils of watercolour wash, and the chalky quality of pastel to their oil paintings, which led to accusations of lack of detail and finish. The exhibition focuses on views of the River Thames, the Seine and the city and lagoon of Venice, works which were controversial in their own day but are now seen as some of the most poetic, evocative images of nature ever produced.

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections beginning with a room displaying some of Turner's oils and watercolours that were on view in London when Whistler and Monet visited and from which they went on to develop their own distinctive effects. This is followed by a room showing Whistler and Monet's early views of London, capturing its unique atmospheric conditions and beginning the transition from a realist to an impressionist approach to landscape. Whistler's Nocturnes, magical and dreamlike paintings of London by night, are given a section of their own.

Monet's paintings of Mornings on the Seine echo the Nocturnes and are displayed along with Turner's views of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, showing both artists working in series. Whistler and Monet returned to London in the 1880s and 1890s and these later views of the city form the next room. It includes the extraordinary views of the Houses of Parliament by Monet and Whistler's charming lithographs depicting his panoramic view from the Savoy hotel. The exhibition closes with the three artists' visions of Venice. From Turner's watercolours of vast lagoon expanses, shimmering light and reflections to Whistler's shadowy forms and distinctive light effects to Monet's synthesis of the two, all three artists found inspiration in this sublime city.

The British Museum

Wealth of Africa: 4000 years of Money and Trade
Room 69a Admission Free
Africa has a long and rich history, spanning ancient kingdoms, colonialism and independence. The story begins with the use of weighed metal in ancient Egypt, and with Africa’s earliest coins in Cyrenaica (modern-day Libya) in the sixth century BC. The wealth of Mali, Zimbabwe and the Swahili coast show Africa’s power and influence before the arrival of European colonisers and slave traders, whose legacy still lingers. Links between money and identity are explored through changes to coinage during the spread of Christianity and Islam, along with the designing of currencies in the twentieth century for newly-independent African countries.

Views from Africa
Starts 28 April Admission Free
Discover a uniquely African story of encounters with Europe over the last 500 years. From masquerade masks to exported salt cellars, many of the objects featured in Views from Africa depict Europeans directly. Others explore Europe's diverse influences - the sacred, comic, economic and fashionable - among African communities and cultures. Through the challenges of trade, religion, war and peace, Views from Africa reflects not only the most personal experiences but also a dynamic social engagement with change.

Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector
Room 90 Admission free
The print collection of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus, is the earliest known to historians. The prints themselves were dispersed long ago, but an inventory preserved in Seville describes 3200 engravings, woodcuts and maps. The exhibition presents a partial reconstruction of this collection with around 150 prints by all the most important Renaissance printmakers. Included are works from Italy by Antonio Polllaiuolo, Marcantonio Raimondi and Giovanni Battista Palumba; from Germany by Albrecht Dürer, Albrect Altdorfer, Hans Baldung and Hans Weiditz; from the low countries by Lucas van Leyden and Jost de Negker. Many are large format prints such as maps that have rarely been exhibited. A highlight of the exhibition is a stencil coloured genealogical tree of the House of Charles V by Robert Peril that is 7.3 metres long.

OTHER NEWSLETTERS AND WEBSITES OF INTEREST

ICA
Kultureflash
The British Film Institute
Geffrye Museum
The Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Dance
Curzon Cinemas

Exhibition closing dates – free unless otherwise indicated.

17/04/05 Wildlife Photographer of the Year / Natural History / ticketed

02/05/05 Joseph Beuys : Actions, Vitrines, Environments / Tate Modern / ticketed
08/05/05 Spectres : When fashion turns back / Victoria and Albert
15/05/05 August Strindberg : Painter, Photographer, Writer / Tate Modern / ticketed
15/05/05 Turner Whistler Monet / Tate Britain / ticketed
22/05/05 Caravaggio : The Final Years / National Gallery / ticketed
22/05/05 Frida Kahlo: Portraits of an Icon / National Portrait
30/05/05 Lee Miller : Portraits / National Portrait / ticketed

05/06/05 Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector / British Museum
19/06/05 Inside Out: British Architecture and Garden Design since the Renaissance / Victoria and Albert
26/06/05 Wealth of Africa / British Museum

24/07/05 Views from Africa / British Museum
24/07/05 International Arts and Crafts / Victoria and Albert / ticketed
31/07/05 Great Escapes / Imperial War / ticketed

18/09/05 Face to Face / Natural History

01/10/05 Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper / Natural History
31/10/05 Wildlife Garden / Natural History

13/11/05 Nelson and Napoléon / National Maritime / ticketed

08/01/06 Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway's wardrobe 1896-1938 / Victoria and Albert

26/02/06 Diamonds / Natural History / ticketed