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Malevich: Revolutionary of Russian Art at Tate Modern ★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

This exhibition traces some of the most turbulent periods in Russia’s history, from the fall of the Tsars to the Revolution via the First World War. The artist started out producing figurative images, learning from European household names like Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse, whose work was displayed in Moscow. He quickly built a reputation as a talented artist.

It didn’t take long for Malevich to develop his own style, distinct from the Europeans who influenced him. Blending elements of Cubism and Futurism, his paintings draw on a consistent, bold colour palette and angular geometry of form. 

Malevich’s work became more and more abstract, reaching an esoteric crescendo with his infamous Black Square. For many, it sits alongside Duchamp’s Readymade urinal as a turning point in modern art. For others, it falls firmly into the ‘my five-year-old could have done that’ category. Two versions are featured, so you can make your own mind up.  

As the years went by, Malevich came full circle and returned to his figurative beginnings. With the social upheaval of 1917, and civil war two years later, he struggled to maintain focus, and abandoned painting altogether for a time. He returned to it in the late 1920s, creating stark and controversial works depicting the plight of peasants. Stalin’s stranglehold on the arts meant he fell out of favour during the last years of his life.

This is an interesting exhibition, but one with a potentially limited appeal. At £14.50, it’s pretty steep, but likely to find favour with die-hard modern art fans looking to expand their knowledge. 

Malevich: Revolutionary of Russian Art is at Tate Modern until 26 October 2014. Admission is £14.50 (£12.50 concessions). 

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Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger Than Fiction at the Science Museum ★★★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

Spoiler alert: All is not as it seems in this bold and thought-provoking exhibition from Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta. Through botanical illustration, photography, stellar cartography and even taxidermy, the artist presents an exhibition of pure science. Because we can see the evidence - and it’s in the Science Museum - we know what we see before us is true. Or do we? 

Through six diverse bodies of work, Fontcuberta has staged a series of elaborate hoaxes. So elaborate, in fact, that many visitors will surely come away believing at least some of what they have seen to be true. All the exhibits are presented as fact, and the illusion is only shattered upon reading the accompanying leaflet.

You’ll never look at museums in the same way again.   

Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger Than Fiction is at the Science Museum until 9 November 2014. Admission is £8 (£5 concessions). 

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Gilbert + George: Scapegoating Pictures for London at White Cube Bermondsey ★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

Writ large across the walls of the White Cube are many of Gilbert and George’s mantras. ‘Quality not quantity’ is sadly not one of them. This latest collection of collage work from the infamous artistic duo is vast, but still manages to say very little: burkas might be scary and club kids might be naughty seem to be the main messages. Compared to some of the work in their back catalogue, this is seriously disappointing. 

Gilbert + George: Scapegoating Pictures for London is at White Cube Bermondsey until 28 September 2014. Admission is free.

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© Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation © Henry Moore Foundation

Body + Void at the Henry Moore Foundation ★★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

If you’re looking for a day trip to escape the city, look no further than the lovely Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire. Their annual summer exhibition features a great selection of work from the man himself, accompanied by pieces from some of the contemporary artists he has inspired.

In amongst the familiar seated women and reclining nudes can be found new commissions by Richard Deacon and Richard Long. There are also some well-known pieces from the likes of Damian Hirst, Anthony Gormly and Sarah Lucas. 

The open-air sculpture park is a real treat, as you’re encouraged to touch (if not climb upon) the outdoor works. This is particularly welcome given the tactile quality of much of Moore’s work. And when you’ve worked up an appetite wandering round the 70 acre site, be sure to enjoy a well-deserved roast dinner at The Hoops, opposite. 

Body + Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art is at the Henry Moore Foundation until 26 October 2014. Admission is £12.50 (concessions from £5.90). On Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays until the end of August, there is a minibus service from Bishops Stortford Station. Full details of the timetable can be found on the Foundation website.

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Travel Photographer of the Year at the Royal Geographical Society ★★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

London has plenty to offer in all seasons, but there is something particularly special about the summer - not least for art lovers. We all know about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Serpentine Pavilion, but this show is more of a well-kept secret.

Travel Photographer of the Year is a showcase award for travel photographers - both professionals and amateurs, including young photographers. The standard of entries is so high that it’s hard to tell them apart.

If we’re being brutally honest, some of the subject matter feels a bit hackneyed. With the low cost of travel and ease of photosharing, we’re all travel photographers now. Some of the wildlife shots, while lovely, are instantly forgettable, although the portraiture remains compelling.

What makes TPOTY so special is the stunning surroundings of the Royal Geographical Society. London hosts a few outdoor photography exhibitions, but none are in such delightful locations as this jasmine-scented sunken garden. A brilliant way to enjoy the sunshine.

Travel Photographer of the Year is at the Royal Geographical Society until 17 August 2014. Admission is free.

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Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach Photograph © 2014 John Offenbach

Smiljan Radić Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery ★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

London’s summer season is well underway, and there’s no better way to mix culture with sunshine than a trip to the Serpentine Pavilion. Now in its 14th year, the seasonal event provides a showcase for one lucky designer.

This year’s structure is created by Chilean Smiljan Radić. His organic structure is somewhere between a pebble and a spaceship. While the concept is brilliantly original, the execution leaves much to be desired - it’s all a bit papier mâché for this reviewer. That said, it’s still a very unusual place to enjoy tea in the park.  

The Serpentine Pavilion is open until 19 October 2014. Admission is free.

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Radical Geometry at the Royal Academy ★★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

The brief for this collection of work isn’t entirely clear, and neither is the accompanying interpretation. Nevertheless, it’s really rather lovely. Don’t expect to have heard of any of the artists featured, but in a way that lack of context is part of the charm. It is art for its own sake.

Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection is at the Royal Academy until 28 September 2014. Admission is £11.50 (£8 concessions).

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Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album at the Royal Academy ★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

Legendary actor and director Dennis Hopper spent a good portion of his life taking photos, and this recently discovered collection is part of the result. Hopper shot mostly portraits, of friends and significant people of the day, and more than a few scantily-clad ladies. 

More than 400 images are featured, all in black and white, and almost all in the original size of 24 x 16 cm. As a result, it’s a bit overwhelming, and they start to become much of a muchness toward the end. The entire room given over to more abstract work adds little to the collection, and a tighter edit focusing on portraiture would have given this more impact. That being said, the good ones are very good. 

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album is at the Royal Academy until 19 October. Admission is £11.50 (£8 concessions).

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Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture at the Design Museum ★★★

Rob Kidd, Editor

Louis Kahn is an American architect credited with bringing a lighter side to brutalism. He is best known for libraries, art galleries, town halls and other municipal buildings in the eastern United States, particularly his native Philadelphia. While less well known here in the UK, fans of many of London’s most iconic structures (particularly the Barbican and the Southbank Centre) will find much to delight in this survey of his work. 

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture is at the Design Museum until 12 October 2014. Admission is £8.80 (£6.60 concessions).

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