Galleries - August - 2012

D aniela Ribeiro ‘Sun 2’, 2012, epoxy resin, oils & acrylics on fibreglass at Alpha Gallery. Monica Metsers ‘Lechuguilla’, 2009, oil on board at Abbot Hall. F rom Alla Moda, at King’s Lynn Arts Centre, photo Graham Rae. James Tissot ‘The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth)’ c.1876 (detail), from Migrations at Tate Britain (photo Tate photography). “the shifting borders between art, design and architecture”, the glamorous and stylish pieces here appealing particularly perhaps to the large French community on her doorstep. Olympic Deadlines Quite apart from the numerous shows currently running with Olympic-related or inspired the- mes, there is another rather more unlooked for implication there, namely that a number of major public gallery shows in London are all going to be closing on the same day – 12 August – ie as soon as the main Games, and consequently its visitors, have largely gone home. Among the more significant of these you need to catch if you haven’t already – are the V&A’ s remarkably suc- cessful, given its huge historical scope, survey of post-war culture, ‘British Design 1948-2012’, and its complementary, engaging and inspiring counterpart/antecedent at the Barbican, ‘Bauhaus: Art as Life.’ And also closing on that selfsame day are Tate Britain ’s fascinating and highly appropri- ate (Olympically-speaking), ‘Migr- ations’ show and the Royal Aca- demy’s 244th expression of a peculiarly British institution, the ‘Summer Exhibition’. Admittedly a rather more internationally flav- oured show now than it used to be, this is, nonetheless, essentially still very British in character and one would love to know what overseas visitors make of it . . . Summer Treats As the more eagle-eyed among our regular readers may perhaps have already noticed, we have inaugurated a new regular listings spread dedicated to bringing together in one place some of the best of the special shows being mounted each month in public spaces around the country. With the summer holidays very much in mind, I thought it might be helpful to pull out a few plums from among this month’s specials. Working from west to east and then heading north my eye was caught first by Tate St Ives ’ wel- come tribute to veteran American realist painter Alex Katz – acc- essible but hugely stylish stuff. No less of a delight is the work of a visionary realist from an earlier age, Stanley Spencer’s ‘Earthly Paradise’, a splendid loan show of his work to celebrate the founding, some 50 years ago, of his artistic memorial, the Stanley Spencer Gallery in the Thames-side village of his birth and visual inspiration. Dropping south to Surrey don’t miss the brilliantly revamped Watts Gallery’ s Dickens tribute ‘Dickens and the Artists’ or, in a more 20th C. vein, the Peter Blake A NTENNAE 6. GALLERIES AUGUST 12 Recession Proof? London’s astonishing resilience as an art market never ceases to amaze me. One would have tho- ught that this really had to be the hardest of times to set up a new gallery space, particularly given the stratospheric property markets (rental-wise) of Mayfair and Ken- sington yet, here I am, reporting on a further two, extremely ambi- tious openings, the Alpha Gallery in Cork Street and the S&D Gallery in Thackeray Street, just off Kensington Square. But, think- ing counter-intuitively, that may be the point, and these districts' cur- rent powerful magnetism as a home for the internationally weal- thy makes them ideal places to set up galleries such as these, that both deal in essentially high-end, contemporary work by European- based artists. The Alpha, currently showing Portugese-born, Paris- trained artist Daniela Ribeiro’s dra- matic paintings on cosmic them- es, has another useful point of attraction, its substantial collection (50 or so) of posthumous Rodin sculptures covering most of his famous subjects. Meanwhile, over at the S&D Gallery, named after the initials of its dynamic French-born owner Barbara Sonnet-Djebali, the em- phasis is very much on 3-D work, its largely French based roster of artists exploring, as she puts it,