News
News
News

Three to see: London

The American Dream is unravelled at the British Museum while Claude Cahun is unmasked at the National Portrait Gallery

by José da Silva, Hannah McGivern, Louisa Buck  |  10 March 2017
Three to see: London
Andy Warhol's Jackie II (Jacqueline Kennedy II) is on show at the British Museum. (From 11 Pop Artists, vol. II, 1965, published 1966 © 2016 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London)
“Repetition adds up to reputation,” Andy Warhol once said—and that is the power and one of the allures of printmaking, says Stephen Coppel, the curator of The American Dream: Pop to the Present (until 18 June). The British Museum show focuses on US printmaking over six decades, beginning with works from the 1960s that “matched the ambition of the age”, Coppel says. Among these is the huge seven-foot-tall Sky Garden (1969) by Robert Rauschenberg, which was commissioned by Nasa to celebrate space travel and has been recently acquired by the museum. The show is divided into themes exploring the war in Vietnam, the AIDS crisis, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the demise of the American Dream through more than 200 works by 70 artists.

In Gillian Wearing’s photographs, she has masqueraded as Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, her mother, brother, grandfather and her younger self. In 2012, she posed as the cross-dressing French Surrealist Claude Cahun, who made her own slippery self-portraits more than 80 years earlier. Works by the two artists went on view together for the first time this week in Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the Mask, Another Mask (until 29 May) at the National Portrait Gallery. The show seems “particularly timely” in light of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales, says the exhibition’s curator, Sarah Howgate.  

Alex Baczynski-Jenkins live work at the Chisenhale Gallery, suggestively titled The tremble, the symptom, the swell and the hole together, closes this Sunday (12 March). The piece uses movement, dance, music and the spoken word to “trace queer affinities across social practices, art forms and time frames in which bodies simultaneously experience pleasure and deficit”, according to a press statement. One of the highlights of the performance is an absorbing sequence of minutely observed gestures and tender exchanges between a trio of performers, which included the meticulous painting—and blowing dry—of each other’s fingernails. 

• Click here for a complete list of previously recommended London shows

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.

Accept cookies