Galleries - December 2012

Bermondsey Street in 2009. If you haven’t been yet, December is a good time to go with a whole lot of events and celebratory shenanigans and, as always, the visceral thrill of watching him (and the many others he supports) blow their stunningly beautiful glass live. Free theatre, no less. Meanwhile over in Chelsea Michael Hoppen celebrates with a huge, 130-work show, ‘Finders Keepers’ in which he publicly unveils the treasures of his personal collection. Ranging from anonymous 19th C. images to classic post-war items it is splendidly idiosyncratic, more concerned with wonderful individual images than with some overarching scheme and all the richer for it – Peter Wrinch- Schultz’s Man with Bees provides a fairly strong clue as to its general flavour . . . Don’t Miss: Part One Most of the public gallery shows we list on page 57 run well into January when I’ll cover Part II of the highlights, but meanwhile make sure you catch two that are closing this month or early next. ‘Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past’ at the Estorick Collection (to 23 December) and ‘Richard Hamilton: The Late Works’ at the National Gallery (to 13 January). The first represents a wonderful rediscovery, an artist who started out as a late futurist – its founder Marinetti considered him one of as this is one which looks at Blake’s extensive body of work ‘off the page’ so to speak – pencil, pastel, watercolour or etching needle are among the media he uses here to explore his own subtle observations and imaginative world. It is interesting how they all tend to focus around distinctly ambiguous relationships – between friend and family, young and old, humans and animals. Funny and sad and full of the joys and disappointments that such subject matter inevitably evokes, you can see just how he is coming to be viewed as rather a national treasure. 35 + 20 In terms of their artistic interests there couldn’t be more of a contrast between two galleries currently celebrating significant anniversaries – London Glassblowing Studio its 35th (and founder Peter Layton’s own 75th) and Michael Hoppen, probably London’s oldest photography specialist, its 20th. Peter Layton’s life has been extraordinary, from quite modest beginnings in Bradford in the late 50s where he became an art school friend of David Hockney via a glass-blowing epiphany in America in 1962 and the establishing of his London Glassblowing Studio in an old Rotherhithe warehouse in the mid-70s, to his latest move to a huge, exhilarating space in ANTENNAE 14. GALLERIES DECEMBER 12 Romania Calling There are two countries which occupy Caroline Juler’s closest affections – Wales and Romania – and, as far as Galleries is concerned, the latter is now to exert the stronger gravitational pull! Which means her regular missives to us on the state of Welsh art have come to an end, as she needs to spend more time researching for a scholarly book on the culture surrounding transhumance (the seasonal movement of sheep flocks from one pasture to another) and traditional shepherding in the Carpathian Hills of Romania. It’s nearly 14 years since she began writing for us and we will miss her vivid, well-informed ‘insider’ ( well inside, as she lives in the remotest part of the Preseli Mountains in West Wales) view of things artistic in the Principality. We all wish her the very best of luck with her researches. National Treasure? There is something so eternally young at heart about Quentin Blake’s witty and edgy book illustrations for children – most notably for Roald Dahl where, to my mind, he counts almost as a co-creator of the legend – that it seems impossible that he turns 80 this month. But, there it is, and Marlborough Fine Art is commemorating the event with a show of his work. Don’t go expecting the familiar however,