exhibitions · London · Museum · review

London – The National History Museum

This past month has been quite a busy one, I’ve moved to London and in a typical fashion of exploring a new city took the first opportunity to be a tourist. While I’ve visited the majority of London’s museums, most of my memories are ten years old. It seemed the perfect time to take the tube to South Kensington and visit the National History Museum.

I expected the dinosaurs, the fossils and grand scale of the exhibitions – one thing that surprised me was the architecture. Hintze Hall was astonishing, a masterpiece of the victorian era and something my younger self hadn’t noticed or appreciated. Regardless of the displays and taxonomy this room now held, it was the stonework, bridges and arches that held my attention.

The experience from start to finish was impressive, entering through the Earth’s core and being taken on a journey across the atmosphere from the Earth’s beginning to today. It’s a perfect spot for half term this week with a range of exhibitions everyone will enjoy.

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exhibitions · fashion · galleries · gallery · review · war

Manchester Art Gallery: Fashion

As I’ve been back in Manchester for a few weeks, I thought it was about time I headed into town for some culture. Manchester Art Gallery has opened two new fashion exhibitions over the summer, and I was eager to go and take a look.

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

img_8016I picked up my first ever copy of Vogue in 2010, the queen of fashion magazine, Vogue, is celebrating 100 years in print. The exhibition featured a range of popular portraits to depict each decade alongside a timeline of all 100 years of vogue. From it’s mid-war starting point to the present day, you can see before your eyes the continued cycle of fashion — covers from the 60’s wouldn’t look out of place today.

I loved the styles of the 1920’s, and the patterns that once came with each copy of vogue, making me itch for my sewing machine. The covers over the century also depict some of the most memorable moments from British culture – the rolling stones, Lady Diana’s wedding and death to current pop stars and icons. It’s a tribute to British culture. A timeline of our history. Beautifully photographed, designed and coordinated. Vogue is timeless, and long may it reign over British fashion.

Fashion & Freedom

img_8009Another exhibition commemorating a centenary, Fashion & Freedom explores the drastic move in fashion within the First World War to the 1920’s. This shift, arguably, is one of the the most dramatic movements of fashion. We move from tight corsets, big skirts to shapeless dresses and even trousers in a decade. Has any other fashion movement altered women’s wear so quickly?

It was intriguing to compare mid-war fashion to the work of students from across the country today, holding similarities in style but differing drastically in fabric choices, colour and expression. The exhibition once again proved the resilience of fashion, it’s impact even within the darkest days.

If you’re in and around Manchester, these are two exhibition not to be missed, both free and at the centre of the city there’s no excuse for seeing a century of fashion.

 

Broadway · exhibitions · London · Musical · play · review · Theatre · West End

Curtain Up at the V&A

IMG_6145As the Olivier Awards turn 40, the V&A has created an exhibition exploring the last four decades of theatre, plays and musicals on West End and Broadway. It was evident I needed to go and have a look.

Featuring backstage details, first scripts, notes and editorial requests, I felt as though I was getting a small glimpse into the hidden side of theatre. The exhibition held design plans, amazingly scaled model boxes, costume designs and even lightening plans, it shows just how much work is required to begin the staging process, let alone the ongoing work once a production has started.

There were interactive elements, allowing you to arrange the sound of Hairspray, balancing the singers and musicians alike. Equally a lighting deck presented the many spotlights and various coordination of lighting available to the light managers each evening. It showcased the work required for each production to even exist, the detail of plans and notes to ensure each show is perfect.

I also learned a lot more of the world of theatre, various facts and figures were presented across the exhibition, showing the difference between West End and Broadway productions but also the similarities and incredible records some productions held to their name.

IMG_6147It was great to see the set and costume designs for one of my favourite shows: Matilda, to see the essence of the character in each sketch and the grand scale of the stage. Alongside stepping into the stage of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, allowing you to feel the confusion Christopher goes through on stage.

If you’re around London and a theatre fan, it’s an exhibition not to be missed. The exhibition is at the V&A until 31st August before it moves to New York.

exhibitions · fashion · gallery · London

Shoe: Pleasure and Pain

Friday evening saw me taking advantage of the V&A’s late opening and head to their Shoe: Pleasure and Pain exhibition.

Although I’ve had an interest in fashion for quite a while, I’ve never thought shoes had the same appeal. That for some reason they weren’t as detailed, descriptive of really differed from one another. I have been clearly proven wrong.

shoeShoes throughout time have altered with fashion, and as our tastes change we’ve gained shoes of every shape, colour and texture. Shoes with platforms, heels and straps. Shoes made for the tiny binded feet of Chinese woman. Shoes that showed status through their inability to allow you to walk. There’s such a history to our fashion choices, with reasons behind our choices of style that we mostly remain oblivious to.

The exhibition portrayed the story of the shoe, not just in its evolution and history, but the designing and manufacturing processes. We were given an insight to the designer’s world, explanation to why a heel shape is chosen or a range is created.

Following the organised and aesthetically pleasing style, the V&A is famous for, this exhibition, regardless of your knowledge of shoes, is a must.

shoes wood        Shoe drawings

Shoe: Pleasure and Pain is at the V&A until January 2016.

art · exhibitions · galleries · Saltaire · Yorkshire

Salts Mill

The MillFollowing the artistic theme my blog is currently making, its seems the perfect time to introduce one of my favourite places; Salts Mill. As the largest permanent collection of David Hockney’s work in the UK, and holding a fabulous bookshop, homeware store and other little retail spaces it’s certainly well worth a visit.

The Mill began life in 1853 as Sir Titus Salt opened up in the heart of the industrial revolution. Now hosting Hockney’s art work and his most recent exhibition The Arrival of Spring, the character and history of the building enriches the mill experience. Although Hockney is not my favourite artist, the bright colours and innovation found through his work manages to amaze me. His determination to move his artwork ever forward, embracing technology while capturing his homeland of Yorkshire.

The Arrival of Spring    The Arrival of Spring

Salts Mill

The exhibition is colourful, bright and open. The surrounding shops holding books and stationery that I cannot stop myself from buying. You can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering around, and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Salts Mill is in Shipley, West Yorkshire open 10:00-5:30 every day.

art · exhibitions · leeds · review

Going Going Gone…

Going Going GoneLeeds College of Art holds their Foundation Diploma in Art & Design end of year show this week, and being the twin of one of the student I was able to take a peak on their opening night.

For the most part, I’ll admit contemporary art tends to go over my head; yet the foundation’s show held some beautiful pieces, art work that was clever, presentations that made me think. There were aspects that were a little more interactive; a show almost. Performances of animations to a girl sewing the jumpsuit she was currently wearing, were just the start.

Going Going GoneEach room was bursting with art work and inspiration; models, photos, textiles, projectors to depict the many art forms of this imaginative group of students. I, however, found myself most attracted to the art of nature; both camouflage in the form of a leaf cloak to the observational writing embedded into bark. Then in a different interpretation the aspects we associate with nature, yet in a new format; a world formed out of words and coral mad from metal.

Leaf Cloak        Metal Coral

Going Going Gone

The exhibition encapsulated a range of art, although at times it felt a little cluttered as though some pieces needed more room, more detail to allow the full impact to arrive. Equally the projects could have been placed alongside the final pieces; allowing the full story of each piece of art to be shown.

If you’re in the Leeds area hurry to this showcase of work, by the 28th May it’s going, going, gone…

Leeds College of Art; Going Going Gone 22nd-28th May 2015.

art · exhibitions · galleries · review

The Whitworth Gallery

Moving slightly away from the literature theme my blog has so far taken, to an adventure around Manchester.

The Whitworth -1

The main port of call is the newly reopened and refurbished Whitworth Gallery, after its closed doors of the past two years it’s no wonder I could both hear and see the fireworks on its opening night. With the space bright and open, it’s an inviting mix of the old 19th century red brick to the great glass walls giving a largely modern feel. This theme follows through inside, most prominently in the portraits gallery, the modern and contemporary mixed with tradition portraiture. Although on first impression there is almost too much to look at, by having such contrasts surrounding each piece, it’s individual and distinctiveness arrises on its own. However these were by far not my favourites pieces, I’ve learnt I prefer more interactive art something to really study, explore and discover within.

The Whitworth -2Cold Dark Matter (pictured above) proves this the most, with a literal explosion of objects, meaning and interpretation awaiting each new visitor. Then the distribution of shadows makes the whole thing expand, I also enjoyed the room filled with the out cuts of poppies, echoing the lives lost after this centenary year. Something so small, but equally effective. A collection of embroiled definitions (pictured left) also fascinated me, viewing contrasts as a part of one another and placing the question if one can function without the other. I was also quite pleased my linguistic skills meant I could read the phonetic transcription.

There is much more to be explored, although the exhibitions don’t take long to go around, I’d be impressed if you’re able to fill half a day here. With a light and bright café, serving an array of food, lunch may help pad out an afternoon. Other then that with a disappointingly small shop it’s worth a visit; just be aware two hours may be its limit.

The Whitworth -3          The Whitworth -4

The Whitworth           The Whitworth

The Whitworth Gallery is situated on Oxford Road, Manchester.