The Independent London Newspaper


ART: Bolshevism, and America - a year of art for 2017

ART: Bolshevism, and America - a year of art for 2017

2017 - Bolshevism, Black Power, Bloomsbury and bombs - a year of art! A look at the year's art highlights.

Published: 6 January, 2017


A YEAR for the Russians or the Americans, 2017, but with other star players to add to the mix.

To commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution the Royal Academy of Arts is to present a landmark show focusing on a “momentous period” in history between the year of the October Revolution and 1932 “when Stalin began his violent suppression of the Avant-Garde”. 

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 will have paintings, photographs, sculptures, film, posters and porcelain by artists such as Chagall, Kandinsky, and Malevich alongside the Socialist Realism of Brodsky, Deineka and others.

Running from February 11 to April 17, it will feature more than 200 works and include loans from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as well as significant pieces from private collections. 

Tate Modern similarly will mark the centenary of the October Revolution which, it notes, “heralded a wave of innovation and design in Russia” with two exhibitions. Red Star Over Russia, from November 8, will explore developments in Russian and Soviet art over five decades, from 1905 to Stalin’s death in 1953. And the work of contemporary artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov will be explored in a retrospective opening on October 10. 

But neither the RA nor the Tate will ignore the US. From February 25 to June 4, America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s at the RA will offer the first chance to see Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic, 1930, in this country (pictured, below). And from September 23 a major exhibition will celebrate Jasper Johns.

Tate Modern’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power opens on July 12 and will span the period 1963-83, looking at “Black Art”, how it was defined across America, and its relevance to the civil rights and other political movements.

Later in the year Dulwich Picture Gallery will focus on the work of American John Singer Sargent, the first UK show in nearly 100 years devoted to the American artist’s watercolours. From the Alps to Venice and more, it will have 80 of his paintings, exploring another side to the famous portraitist. Sargent: The Watercolours opens on June 21. 

Another highlight show at Dulwich, opening on February 8, promises to be Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), the first major exhibition devoted to her, with 100 paintings, ceramics, fabrics and photographs of “a pivotal player in 20th century British art” and, of course, Bloomsbury.

Watch out for many more, but among major shows worth considering in the first six months must be: David Hockney, Tate Britain, from February 9; Wolfgang Tillmans, Tate Modern, February 15; Eduardo Paolozzi, Whitechapel Gallery, February 16; The American Dream, pop to the present, British Museum, March 9; People Power: Fighting for Peace, Imperial War Museum, March 23; Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends, National Portrait Gallery, March 23; Queer British Art, Tate Britain, April 5; Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic, National Gallery, April 26; and Alberto Giacometti, Tate Modern, from May 10.

Then from July look out for major shows featuring the Impressionists, Modigliani, Dalí, Duchamp, Cézanne, Matisse, Rachel Whiteread, Tove Jansson, and more.

On January 13, in Canonbury, The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art reopens with its first show after a major refurbishment. War in the Sunshine: The British in Italy 1917-18 is to include rare images from official war artists and photographers. 

And, for those with cash to splash, London Art Fair returns to the Business Design Centre in Islington’s Upper Street from January 18 to 22, with prices ranging from a modest few pounds to the millions. 

The choice is yours.



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