credit: Robert Gray
If you’re trying to put a collective name on it, London museum exhibits are a bit of a mish-mash of culture at the moment; from quasi-factual Sherlock artefacts to concrete tunnels five metres tall. Variety, however, seems to be its biggest strength.
Conflict, Time, Photography
Tate, until 15th March
Capturing the aftermath of conflict has been a hot topic of late, what with the WWI centenary and current unrest in Ukraine. However the Tate’s instalment into the documentation of war relates more to its impact on landscapes than it does its scars on humanity, including cityscapes torn apart by war, and barren, arid valleys famous for the battles that took place there. ‘Highlights’ include a recovered pocket watch stopped at the time Fat Man dropped on Nagasaki, and a portrait of a marine taken directly after a fire fight.
Post Pop: East Meets West
Saatchi Gallery, until 23rd February
If you’re into ideas of Mickey Mouse holding hands with Lenin and Jesus, this is most likely the exhibit for you. Of course, just like most things in the Saatchi Gallery, everything here is avant-garde, but in some instances it’s difficult to like though easy to appreciate. Themes of the obscene, grotesque and absurd are common here.
Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die
Museum of London, until 12th April
Sherlock fans, rejoice – a plethora of Sherlock Holmes artefacts accumulated throughout the years is on display at the Museum of London, from Conan Doyle’s original 1885 tea-coloured manuscript to the scarf and coat worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series. Highlights also include a poster depicting Sherlock coming face-to-face with Jack the Ripper and early 20th century interviews with Conan Doyle himself.
Richard Tuttle: I Don’t Know
Tate Modern, until 6th April
There are some that think this exhibit lives up to its name but, for others, Richard Tuttle’s latest exploits are as postmodern as they come. His ‘flying machine’ – a gargantuan sculpture inhabiting Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – is a structure difficult to ignore, even for those allergic to art. The whole thing resonates freedom in spite of its seemingly unfinished allure.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Natural History Museum, until August
The annual and hugely popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year is currently in full flow for this year. Though it’s not quite up to scratch with previous iterations, the exhibit is still an impressive collection of photographs that both convey the serenity of nature and wildlife and our subjugation of it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the exhibit, we’d recommend you rectify that immediately.
History Is Now
The replica surface-to-air missile (at least I hope it’s a replica) stationed outside the Hayward has been making some headlines, and it’s turned out to be a nice little publicity stunt, but is it worth the hype? People are pointing to yes – artists have successfully captured the essence of what it is to be British in their collection of artefacts, deadpan and at times miserable though it may be. Think anti-war protests, the depression, and food banks instead of the Monarchy, the Spice Girls and digestives.
Breakthrough: Crossrail’s tunnelling story
London Transport Museum
It may sound like a feature article from Premier Construction News, but in terms of surprisingly interesting exhibits, Crossrail’s attempt is a breakthrough in itself. Here you’ll see, above all else, the extent of the five-metre tunnels that will make up the Crossrail network when they’re finished in 2019. Of course, the setup is more pedagogical than aesthetic, but the miniature concrete sculptures might win some hearts.
Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize
National Portrait Gallery, until 22nd February
The Portrait Gallery is a favourite London gallery to many, and with annual exhibits such as the BP Portrait Award and Taylor Wessing Prize, it’s quite easy to see why. Sixty portraits grace the walls this year, with the usual emphasis on contemporary shots of family, friends, and the odd famous face or two.