Art / Exhibitions

Kino/Film

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Gallery for Russian Art and Design (GRAD), London, until 29 March

Cinema was in its infancy when revolution in Russia toppled the old order in 1917. From the beginning photography and film were seen as important educators by the new workers' government.

Lenin argued that finance for film should be divided between the popular and a cinema that widened the base of the revolution. For millions film brought the outside world into the their lives. Film could only be "real".

Hannah Hoch

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Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, until 23 March

Hannah Hoch was one of the great revolutionary artistic innovators of the early 20th century. Along with Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz and John Heartfield she led the way in developing what has become known as photomontage or collage.

The avant-garde Berlin Dadaist group, of which Hoch was a member, was the most politically developed of the Dadaist groupings that sprang up across Europe and the US from around 1916. The Berlin Dadaists would use their new method of working not as a mere innovative technique in their "art practice" but, crucially, as a weapon.

Women at Work and Sylvia Pankhurst

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Tate Britain
Both until 23 March

Tate Britain reopened in November. The oldest part of the building has been restored, combining some of its most architecturally impressive parts with new elements. New learning studios and archive space follow the opening in May of new galleries to display "the best of British art."

£45 million has been spent on the overhaul and it's clear that a lot of the cash has come from big business. One space has been named the Sackler Octagon, while rooms that focus on particular artists or themes are given to us by BP.

Paul Klee

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Tate Modern, London. Until 9 March 2014

Paul Klee has been described as "the left's favourite artist". This reputation stems in no small part from the use by the German critic and writer Walter Benjamin, in a typically poetic analogy, of one of Klee's works in his Thesis on the Philosophy of History:

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

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If you are brought up in the North like me, you tend to be force-fed Lowry as a symbol of Northern grit and working class art in contract to the fancy art of the London establishment.

His work is seen as straight talking stuff and "much loved" - no art school rubbish here. I naturally grew up loathing him.

This exhibition shows him in a wider context. In fact, nearly all I thought about him was wrong. He was not working class but brought up very upper middle class and only fell into the lower middle when he was in his 20s. He was not self taught and based his art on late French impressionism - until the 1940s he was shown more in Paris than in Britain.

The Power of Print: Leonard Beaumont Rediscovered

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By day Leonard Beaumont was a newspaper printer - by night an artist who caught the mood of the times. Beaumont, who worked in the art department of the Sheffield Telegraph in the early part of the last century, spent his evenings making art. The self-taught prolific artist's skilful etchings and vibrant modernist linocuts have rarely been seen.

But now an exhibition in his home city belatedly shows off the best of his graphic and dynamic prints and etchings.

It is his prints, influenced by Futurism and the Vorticists, which are by far the most exciting.

A fine example is the 1932 lino print called Grinders, a striking monochrome image of two men sharpening knives which is clearly symbolic of Sheffield's steel industry.

The work has a real sense of rhythm typical of movements that revelled in the speed of modern life and the triumph of mechanisation.

Saloua Raouda Choucair

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Although recognised in Lebanon today, this is the first major international showing of paintings and sculpture by the 97-year-old Choucair. She was one of the first to interpret Arabic aesthetics through the medium of Western abstraction as strands of modernism developed post-war.

Comprising 120 works, many of which have never been seen before, this exhibition brings together paintings and sculpture made by the artist over six decades.

Two experiences seem to have had a great influence on Choucair's work. The first was a visit to Egypt in 1943 where she developed a profound love of Islamic design and architecture. The second was a few years in France in the 1940s, where she embraced modernism and joined the studio of the great painter Fernand Leger before returning to Beirut. She also drew influence from the celebrated modernist architect Corbusier.

Paris 1901: Becoming Picasso

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In 1901, a 19-year-old Picasso, his self-confidence so clearly displayed in the self-portrait Yo Picasso, broke into the Paris art scene. This was the capital of the art world in Western Europe and the place where any aspiring artist had to make it. It was the home of the avant garde, with whom Picasso identified at Els Quatre Gats cafe in Barcelona, and among whom he was already making a mark.

It was also the political reference point for many Catalans, who looked north to the more exciting, progressive and forward looking Paris rather than the artistically and politically conservative world in Madrid.

In an exhibition at the Galerie Vollard - from which several exhibits are on display here - Picasso showed works revising many of the themes of Post-Impressionism. He also echoed the styles of great painters before him, from Manet and Renoir through Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan

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Souzou presents works that are often of a very personal nature, not always intended for exhibition or the art market. This is a collection of drawings, paintings and sculptures produced by people using art therapy as part of their treatment for "a variety of different cognitive, behavioural and developmental disorders". But it is much more than that, and a hugely enjoyable show in its own right.

The exhibition is arranged into three groupings: "Language and Making", "Representation and Relationships" and "Culture and Possibility". The boundaries of these categories are fairly loose, and a lot of effort has gone into creating a continuity of themes throughout the exhibition.

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