October 14, 2010


Cardinal John Henry Newman

Cardinal Newman (1801-90), who was beatified on 19 September by Pope Benedict XVI, had close connections with the city of Birmingham, where he founded the Oratory School and where he would be buried. A wide range of objects and artworks associated with him are now on display in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 6 January 2011. Poignant personal items include a pot filled with sharpened quill pens and a shell engraved with a scene of the Immaculate Conception. Newman's public life is reflected in his robes, jewelled mitre and gold pectoral cross; and William Thomas Roden's Portrait of His Eminence Cardinal Newman (1879), commissioned to commemorate his elevation to cardinal.

New York

Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968

The story of Pop Art often focuses on male artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol. A new exhibition at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which forms part of the Brooklyn Museum, challenges the stereotype by collating more than 50 works by women who worked within the Pop Art idiom. Niki de Saint Phalle, for example, achieved fame for her brightly coloured sculptural groups of "Nanas" or archetypal female figures, many still on display in European and North American cities. Also on show is Martha Rosler's Vacuuming Pop Art, a photo-montage of a woman cleaning a corridor lined with archetypal pop images, which addresses the sexism of the movement. The exhibition runs from 15 October to 9 January 2011.


Men Should Weep

In 1998, the National Theatre compiled NT2000, its list of "one hundred plays of the century", by asking playwrights, actors, directors, journalists and other theatre professionals to name the 20th-century English-language dramas they saw as most significant. Ena Lamont Stewart's Men Should Weep, set in a Glasgow tenement in the 1930s, appeared alongside works by Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter. Amid the desperate poverty of the Depression, the unemployed John Morrison and his wife Maggie preside over their large extended family; tensions erupt when their troubled son Alec turns up drunk. First produced in 1947 and revived in the 1980s, the play will run at the National Theatre for 16 performances from 18 October to 7 November.


Shining Lights: The Story of Scotland's Lighthouses

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the completion of the world's first rock lighthouse, the Bell Rock near Arbroath. Built on a partially submerged outcrop in the Firth of Forth, it was designed by Robert Stevenson, whose family was responsible for virtually all of the 208 lighthouses on Scotland's long and treacherous coastline. An exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland (running from 15 October to 3 April 2011) traces the development of lighthouse technology over 2,000 years, from the Pharos of Alexandria through the towers topped with bonfires in 17th-century Scotland to the fully automated systems that control the country from a single room in Edinburgh. Objects on display include pictures and charts as well as three-faced clocks and giant optics.



The Cinémathèque française is hosting an exhibition, with screened excerpts from many films, on blondes and brunettes in the cinema. Running until 16 January 2011, it looks at how films have reinterpreted figures such as Ophelia, Lilith, Medusa and Rapunzel, and draws parallels with the imagery of pre-Raphaelitism, Art Nouveau, Surrealism and Pop Art. It considers how Hollywood tended to cast blondes as faithful wives until the 1930s but as vamps in the following decade, and how directors and stars - from Louise Brooks to Penelope Cruz - have driven fashion trends. The exhibition is accompanied by a book, which appropriately includes "a short encyclopaedia of hair", as well as a boxed set of DVDs.

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