March's Exhibition Edit
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After February's stream of headline grabbing blockbusters, March has been slightly lower key. It's not begged for attention and we really respect that about it. Our picks of the exhibition openings this month include the lowdown on the terrifying power of electricity; the bursting American Dream in print; and contemporary photographers capturing this strange time we find ourselves in. Whack this lot in a list and start ticking them off please, honey.
The Wellcome Collection are always pushing our curiosity buttons, and they're at it again with a show that gives the full lowdown on electricity's staggering impact on humankind. Split into the themes of generation, supply and consumption, this includes everything from the first flickering of life in Frankenstein to the electric chair. Man has done its best to understand, unlock and master its terrifying power and, as we gave our teeth a thorough, electrified brush this morning, it's pretty clear we've cracked it.
Imagine being one of those overlooked, hidden genius types who only starts getting the credit and adulation you're due when you've kicked the bucket. Yes, you. That sounds just like you in fact. It also sounds a lot like Maria Lassnig, the Austrian avant-garde painter who mastered 'body awareness painting' — capturing how the body feels: the aches, genitals, depressions and desires that come from within. At a time when topics like depression and body awareness seem pretty prevalent, this survey of Lassnig's work seems right on time.
It's time for the big one in terms of contemporary photography: an award showcase of four photographers all making some kind of impact in the world. Which is all any photogapher wants, despite what they may say. With work including postcards documenting a strange and eventful life, the evolving face of a Los Angeles community, and a part-fictitious East-Asian road trip, this is about delving into truth and fiction, doubt and certainty and the relationship between the observer and the observed. A poignant snapshot of the world.
America has had a really wild time of it in the last 60 years. There's been JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11, Vietnam, the AIDS crisis and all kinds of racism and gender politics. It's been the series we can't tear ourselves away from. Artists, as ever, have been the bold ones reacting to all this stuff and they found a really strong medium in print, inspired by billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects. This show is full of original pieces from big names reflecting the deep divisions in society; divisions that continue to resonate pretty loudly today.
What says spring more than flowers, you're asking yourself. And the answer is nothing, but you knew that because it was rhetorical. Rebecca Louise Law is an artist with a bit of a thing for the natural and she's created an installation here which is very pleasant indeed: 10,000 blue, purple, yellow and white irises suspended with copper wire, floating within the gallery space. The idea of this is to highlight the beauty of change and the process of preservation. A good reason to fly out to Greenwich.
Re-appropriating images is something that's been done since imagery was a thing. Starting in the 60s to the present day, this group show is full of photography and art that demonstrate the power of pictures in shaping ideas about gender, race and sexuality. As non-fictional images from magazines, movies and television are transformed into fictional pieces, this will certainly make you think twice about what lies beyond the image. In fact, we're pretty sure you'll never look at an image in the same way again which will be awfully tiring, but at least you'll be woke.
It's been 100 years since Russia's revolution and London is doing a fair job in marking it. There's already a show on at the Royal Academy and this offers a nice contrast: an imaginary Moscow dreamt up by a bold new generation of architects and designers in the 1920s and 1930s who had fresh, radical visions to impart upon the Soviet Empire. They had all kinds of crazy notions for communal living, aviation and recreation. It never actually happened, but let's not dwell on that eh.