Art / Exhibitions

Out of this World

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In his 1961 science fiction classic Solaris, the Russian author Stanislaw Lem wrote, "We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors." This fascinating exhibition at the British Library shows us how science - or speculative - fiction has imagined other worlds, terrifying creatures and utopian futures while simultaneously exploring political and social questions very relevant to our own society.

30 Years of Steve Bell

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Nicholas Garland writes in the exhibition catalogue that accompanies this exhibition that "Steve Bell is the greatest political cartoonist of the day". I would also suggest that he is perhaps one of the most important artists of his generation.

I don't mean this in the narrow sense that his drawings and mark making are those of an artist and craftsman of the highest quality who has, over the years, honed his considerable artistic ability to produce work of the finest quality.

Women War Artists

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This exhibition looks at the work of women artists from the First World War to the war in Bosnia. Included are some of the Imperial War Museum's most outstanding art, both commissioned work such as "Ruby Loftus" by Laura Knight (shown above) and women artists responding to war.

It is surprising how the official art of the Second World War in Britain is so like that of Russian Socialist Realism of the same time or for that matter the official art of Nazi Germany. All typically depict idealised workers pulling together for the nation.

The exhibition features other official artists such as Anna Airey and Linda Kitson, the official war artists of the Falkland War, but also covers women artists response to war as eyewitnesses, participants and commentators.

Joan Miro: A Blow Between the Eyes

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"To me rich and vigorous material seems necessary to give the spectator a blow between the eyes at first sight which must hit him before other thoughts can intervene. In this way poetry expressed visually speaks its own language" (Joan Miro)

Strange creatures floating in timeless space; circles and triangles and eyes in bright colours linked by fragile lines. That is the familiar Miro, childlike perhaps, magical, and free. Though he knew Picasso, identified as a surrealist and was admired by them, the world of Joan Miro's imagination escaped schools or movements.

Artocracy in Tunisia

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Artocracy is an international art project led by the French artist JR and his collaborators.

Previously JR has worked in Brazil in the favelas and on the Wall between Palestine and Israel. His next stop is said to be Egypt.

In Tunisia he worked with six local photographers. The aim is to provoke discussion with huge portraits of ordinary people in the ruins of government buildings destroyed in the revolution. Art is used to show how the world has been turned upside down or inside out, taking it out of the studio and onto the streets and areas of social conflict.

Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s

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The Barbican, London
until 22 May



The curators of this exhibition have tried to reconstruct the multimedia art scene of downtown Manhattan in the 1970s, when it became known as SoHo (south of Houston). Before it became trendy it was one of the cheapest run-down parts of town.

It was a place of old empty workshops and factories, mostly falling down, in an area which was not classified as residential. It was an area for work, but the work had long moved out.

Aghanistan: crossroads of the ancient world

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This exhibition showcases over 200 objects from Afghanistan, many of them of great beauty, produced between 4,000 and 1,800 years ago



Afghanistan was, as the exhibition's subtitle puts it, "the crossroads of the ancient world". A network of trade routes that joined China and India with Europe - sometimes called the "Silk Road" - ran through the country. For 3,000 years both ideas and commodities, including luxuries like jade and silk, moved along its 6,500 kilometres of roads.

Marxism Today

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BFI Gallery, London, Until 10 April

Two short films by video artist Phil Collins explore sympathetically the contradictions of Marxism that existed in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The first, Marxism Today, uses interviews, music and archive footage to ask the questions: what was education like in the GDR, and what happened to teachers of Marxism-Leninism after reunification?

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