March 17, 2011


Guy Ben-Ner: Spies

Since the early 1990s, Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner has filmed a series of videos starring himself and his family: domestic dramas taking place within the intimacy of their own home or, in one well-known work, in Ikea showrooms. He remains fascinated by the ethical and other boundaries between his artistic and personal lives. This exhibition at the Site Gallery in Sheffield (19 March-14 May) is his first UK solo show in a public gallery. It incorporates existing works such as Drop the Monkey (2009), which documents 25 trips Ben-Ner made between Tel Aviv and Berlin over the course of a year, living in one city while his girlfriend was in another. Also on display is the newly commissioned Spies, which draws on the biblical story of the 12 spies sent out by Moses to scout the land of Israel.


The Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies (Zits)

Typical. There you are, minding your own business when the zombie apocalypse kicks off, making the commute to work an even more disagreeable experience. Luckily, Dr Austin, the University of Glasgow's theoretical zombiologist, is on hand to help. The scholar is now undertaking a series of lectures to publicise the work of the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies (Zits). Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the lecture, Zombie Science 1Z, aims to inspire public interest in the biological sciences through live demonstrations and multimedia presentations explaining how zombieism might occur, its effect on humans and how to prevent and, ideally, cure it. The good doctor will lecture at 8pm every Thursday for four weeks at the Queen Margaret Union, before touring comedy clubs, science festivals and Scottish schools later in the year. The fun starts on 17 March.


Spike Milligan's Puckoon

It is 1922, Ireland is being partitioned and the Ulster Boundary Commission has just drawn the new border straight through the small town of Puckoon. The church has been separated from its graveyard and booze is now 30 per cent cheaper in one corner of the pub. Life and death in the divided village will never be the same again. Spike Milligan's 1963 comic novel Puckoon has long been admired for the anarchic bravura that also characterised his writings and performances for stage and screen. This production by the Big Telly Theatre Company, based in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, has already had two sell-out tours across the province and the Republic of Ireland. Londoners now have a chance to sample its dizzying absurdity and irreverence at the Leicester Square Theatre (until March).


John Makepeace: Enriching the Language of Furniture

Although he has produced work for major department stores, John Makepeace is now most famous for his exquisitely produced, beautifully laminated and endlessly inventive one-off commissions for private clients. Few other people can challenge his position as a creator of furniture that ranks as a serious form of contemporary art. Who else could produce a cabinet in the form of a zebra? But although Makepeace has been a leading figure in UK design for half a century, this is the first solo show to pay tribute to his achievements, and brings together 25 pieces from public and private collections (at Somerset House until 15 April). Running alongside this exhibition from 17 to March is Pick Me Up, the UK's first contemporary graphic art fair, launched to great success last year.


'42': Women of Sierra Leone

When she turned 42 in 2008, British photojournalist Lee Karen Stow realised that she had reached roughly the mid-point of her life - but also the age that represented the average life expectancy for women in Sierra Leone. This exhibition at the International Slavery Museum (until 15 April) consists of 42 images of women there, celebrating the variety of their lives, as well as their "beauty, spirit, hope and value to society", whether in drab domestic surroundings or visiting an aquarium, alone in hospital, dancing on a balcony or trying on a wedding dress.

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