Arts Radar: 14 September

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This week's a bit of an eclectic one; with crummy old portraits, a beloved Irish poet, life-saving graphic design and... chlorine? Think vintage photos with a quirky modern twist, a whole exhibition about pools, and a final project by two dying artists in love with life and in love with each other. So get your thinking caps on and your pricey lenses out, and go see some art - then write about it in your diary, 'cause you're so retro like that.
As the son of two English teachers, Beal's known for translating canon literature (like T.S. Eliot and Shakespeare) into stunning visual interpretations, which he's been showcasing since the ripe old age of 24. Here Beal represents various scenes from three Heaney poems, mainly depicting wrinkly guys donning flat caps and crumpled shirts. Often compared to Francis Bacon, Beal is one to watch and this collection shivers and jolts with energy and good vibes.
Calling the super-thoughtful and highly technical work of Julie Cockburn collages doesn't quite do them justice. But sometimes the Dojo Bank of Vocab runs dry, so collages is what you're getting. She begins by hunting for vintage 1940s-1970s photos of poised strangers, then she attentively builds upon these nostalgic black and white images with meticulous hand embroidery, requiring seriously nimble handy work and harkening all the way back to before the #nofilter age.
Turns out, there's a lot more to graphic design than meets the trusting, unaware eye. Wellcome Collection explores the role that graphic design has played, and continues to play, in relation to our health. There will be plenty of objects to gaze at, including elaborate advertising campaigns from the 80s, anti-smoking imagery, neon pharmacy signs and powerful campaigns raising awareness of dementia.
There aren't many sights that get our imagination going more than the sight of a swimming pool. Whilst Hockney has definitely done what he can to own that space, this new exhibition invites various artists from the UK and the US to present their version of the faithful swimming pool. Now that summer’s over, you may as well head along to this one and imagine you’re back on the poolside, because unless you happen to have befriended someone rich in Hampstead, you're not seeing one anytime soon.
Cookie Mueller was pretty damn cool; as an actress, writer, art critic, author, fashion connoisseur and Nan Goldin’s muse, she was the ultimate '80s New York icon. This exhibition showcases her final project made in collaboration with her husband, artist Vittorio Scarpati, during their tragic battle with AIDS. ‘Putti’s Pudding’ is a book made up of snippets of Mueller's writing and Scarpati's self-portraits mark a final attempt for the pair to take back control, to find an artistic voice, to talk about pain, love, loss, and hope the best way they know how. Through art. And what fun and thought-provoking art it is too.
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