Month: April 2012

Coventry and Warwickshire offer the best in big-name art shows

Paula Rego, The Bride’s Secret Diary, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby Borough Council © Paula Rego
THIS spring the London art world features a host of big-name exhibitions – but you can avoid the crowds and still see some excellent works in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.
In London, you can be sure to be in a big crowd seeing exhibitions of works by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, and shortly the Bauhaus design exhibition.
But at Compton Verney there’s lesser-known Gainsborough landscapes on show, plus in Into the Light great works by Renoir, Cezanne, Sisley, Monet, Whistler, Pisarro and lots more great artists. And although you pay to get in, there’s also the great permanent collection, with the naïve art on the top floor offering lots of treats.
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has all the fantastic Rugby Collection on show for the first time, 175 items, including a good selection of women artists – Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Prunella Clough, Maggi Hambling – and other well-known names such as Leon Kossoff, Bryan Wynter, Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud. It would be mad to miss it. (see a full review in the Coventry Telegraph on May 4)



Coventry City’s day of glory lives on in The Herbert’s exhibition

SO today the Coventry City football season ended fairly ignominiously, but in The Herbert fans were still wandering around reliving the club’s most glorious day.
The largest exhibition on at the Coventry city centre gallery at the moment is From Highfield Road to Wembley Way, celebrating the Cup victory 25 years ago. There are pictures of all the team, as they are now, and a brief biog mostly stating what they’re now up to which is fascinating.
There’s the story of how Coventry reached the final, and lots of cabinets of memorabilia from the time, including the Coventry Evening Telegraph front page about the victory, and some bizarre items, such as a knitted set of all the players!
Fans are invited to write down their memories and put them up on the wall along with any pictures from the time. There’s some great reminiscences and some amusing 1980s looks in the photos. I wonder if the many fans for whom the day is a drunken blur now regret missing so much. For others it sounds like they had the time of their life.
Coventry City fans shouldn’t miss this one, and if some new visitors stop to have a look around the fantastic Coventry and Warwickshire watercolours exhibition, and the photos from Gaza in the Peace and Reconciliation Gallery that will be even better.

Compton Verney Gainsborough exhibition shows artist’s favourite landscapes

AN EXHIBITION of landscapes by an artist known for his portraits has revealed lots more varied work than Gainsborough is normally known for.
Gainsborough painted his 18th century portraits for a living, but apparently once said he was “sick of portraits” and wanted to paint landscapes “in quietness and ease”. The exhibition Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations at Compton Verney art gallery is the first for 50 years devoted to his landscapes, and brings together lots of works from public and private collections.