Galleries - January 2014

S ean Scully ‘Stare’ 1984, © Sean Scully At Pallant House Studio 65 ‘Leonardo’ Sofa, 1969 at Barbican Art Gallery Modernist initiative and ran with it – a stunning show! Finally some reminders about shows we have covered an edition or two back that are still on through the month, or are in fact closing during its course. Most notable among the former is the very handsome show at Ben Uri, ‘Uproar!’, which, as part of its centenary celebrations this year, commemorates the first 50 years of The London Group (1913-63) with 50 works by 50 artists. Epstein, Bomberg, Nevinson, Moore and Lowry are among the luminaries and with museum quality loans this is a show absolutely not to be missed. In the same category is Tate Modern ’s Paul Klee show, discussed last month, while among the significant shows that are closing in January, the National Gallery ’s handsome Viennese portrait exhibition, ‘Facing the Modern’ ends on the 12th, as does Dulwich ’s excellent ‘Whistler and the Thames’. Further afield, do try to catch Pallant House ’s tremendous Sean Scully show of triptych pieces from the last 40 years before it finishes on 26 January. And by then it’s nearly February and ‘can Spring be far behind?’ – especially after all that art . . . N U reverie on the other, with a profound human sympathy. No wonder Baudelaire regarded him as one of the most important men ‘in the whole of modern art’, while his influence is to be found in the work of artists from Degas through Picasso and Bacon to Rego, Kentridge and Blake in our own time. Meanwhile over at the Barbican that wonderful moment in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s, when the West finally threw off the doom and gloom of the immediate post-war period and exuberantly embraced modern material culture, is splendidly celebrated in their current winter show ‘Pop Art Design’. All the big names from both sides of the Atlantic are here – Warhol, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein Judy Chicago and the Eames Brothers in the USA, Blake, Hamilton, Allen Jones and Tilson in the UK and Sotsass, Ettore Pesce and Castiglione in Europe – though the emphasis here is much less on the fine art side of things and much more on exploring Pop Art’s integral relationship to design – something that, remarkably enough, hasn’t ever really been done before. In that sense its influence is still very much with us at a time when the boundaries between art, architecture and design are more porous and dynamically creative, in the UK at least, than ever .The good old 60s took up the 10 GALLERIES JANUARY 2014 PUBLIC EYE Beating Sad . . . Seasonal Affective Disorder, that is, for which, given the number of excellent public gallery shows on through January, or much of it, there is now no excuse art-wise. Time was when most of the big London spaces tended to shut their main shows as soon as the Christmas holidays were over, but some at least do seem to have learnt the lesson and the city is still surprisingly full of some brilliant things to see. Where to start? The Royal Academy perhaps, where the great 19th C. French Realist painter and social commentator Daumier has his first major London show in over half a century. I remember the first, as an art-history student, at the old Tate, when his astoundingly sharp and satirical caricatures, nailing the political corruptions and social pretensions of both the Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III’s Second Empire regimes, chimed perfectly with the mood of the Swinging 60s, Beyond the Fringe and all that! Then he largely disappeared from view which makes this new show most welcome and, at a moment of ever-widening wealth gaps and anodyne social commentary, more than timely. The paintings and sculptures are equally remarkable, observing and chronicling the everyday lives of the poor, cholera epidemics and all, on the one hand and themes of judgement, spectatorship and