Travel for art’s sake
Make an exhibition of yourself at one of the winter’s coolest art events. Here are 10 art events guaranteed to draw out your cultural cravings
Museum of Modern Art in New York. Photograph: Getty Images
PEARL AT THE V&A
As this lustrous exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (on now, runs until January 19th) shows, these little oyster babies are not just white, they come in a range of colours. Find out about the only jewellery that has its own length lexicon: collar, choker, princess, matinee, opera and steaming rich rope.
The exhibition pays homage not just to the pearl itself, desired for millennia, but to the lore that surrounds it. Full of little gems such as the fact that you have to open 2,000 oysters to find your pearl and that at its heart is not so much the fabled grain of sand but a parasite.
As well as lusting over their lustre, the most important characteristic of real pearls, you’ll find out how cultured pearls are made, and it’s not by going to the theatre. The trick is to insert a bead into an oyster and have it thinly coated in nacre, as opposed to being entirely made of it. vam.ac.uk
COOL WORKS AT FRIEZE LONDON
If you’re planning a trip to London this autumn, don’t miss Frieze London and Frieze Masters (October 17th-20th) which take place at either end of Regent’s Park and, together, make up one of the biggest events on the city’s art calendar.
Frieze London focuses on contemporary art while Frieze Masters will show work made before the year 2000. Between them they will attract around 60,000 visitors including artists, collectors, critics and looky loos. Each has a full programme of talks, panel debates and lectures as well as artists’ commissions completed during the event and film and music projects. Don’t miss the Sculpture Park in the park’s English Garden, with new works by both established and emerging artists.
WHISTLING PAST THE THAMES
Fans of Whistler – and how can you not love a person who paints his mother? – will make a date with An American in London: Whistler and the Thames (October 16th to January 12th) at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London.
The American-born artist, most famous for a portrait he did of his mother when his intended model didn’t turn up, arrived in London in 1859 and shook up the contemporary art world.
This major exhibition includes paintings of Chelsea and the Thames River, along with prints, drawings, watercolours and pastels, culminating in the display of some of his Nocturnes, including Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge.
It was one of his Nocturnes that nearly ruined him, when he sued critic John Ruskin for having likened it to “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face”.
Whistler won the libel case but only in a Pyrrhic sense. He was awarded a nominal farthing in damages and the costs were split, bankrupting him.
RETURNER TO THE SEA
Turner and the Sea (November 22nd to April 21st) takes place, fittingly, at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, and promises to be the first full-scale examination of the artist’s lifelong fascination with H2O, in all its moods.