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Around the Galleries.

London pairs modern and contemporary British artists with international names, while New York offers Old Masters--and an intriguing connection to Melville's Moby-Dick

For Eric Ravilious, the Sussex Downs in summer were 'the very colour of tea'. Midwinter may be descending on London, but the Towner Art Gallery has decided to bring the warmth of Sussex to the city. At the 31st edition of London Art Fair (16-20 January), the Towner presents 'The Living Collection', an exhibition of 25 works which together highlight the Eastbourne museum's history of collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. With works by Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Duncan Grant, the exhibition also reveals how the Sussex countryside has influenced artists over the years.

The display is the latest of the imaginative collaborations with museums for which the event has become known. The fair itself continues to provide a platform for the best of modern and contemporary art from the UK and beyond. More than a hundred UK and international galleries are assembling at the Business Design Centre in Islington this year. The emphasis on modern British masters is carried on by Crane Kaiman Gallery, with work by Ben Nicholson, Anthony Caro and Henry Moore, and in an exhibition of Graham Sutherland's drawings at Christopher Kingzett Fine Art (Fig. 1). Elsewhere, there are some innovative groupings: JGM Gallery presents abstract works by Western painters alongside Aboriginal Australian art. The latter includes the vivid abstract canvases of Bob Gibson Tjungurrayi, who paints from the remote town of Tjukurla in the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. With her major exhibition still at the Whitworth in Manchester, the textile artist Alice Kettle presents work at Candida Stevens Gallery, addressing the global refugee crisis; her disturbing portrait Stitch Head Textile (2008) appears to deal with the violence of displacement. At TAG Fine Arts, a new work by British-Bulgarian artist Yanko Tihov also glances at immigration; Europe 2019 maps the borders of Europe with national passport covers. Meanwhile, the subject of this year's Apollo event in the talks programme, on Saturday 19 January, is 'Modern British Art and Photography'.

The relationship between art, national identity and globalisation is also a theme of the curated Art Projects section. A major feature is Dialogues, in which pairs of galleries are invited to collaborate. This year's exhibitions, overseen by Brazilian writer and curator Kiki Mazzucchelli, are bringing together the work of contemporary artists in Latin America and Europe. Similarly, this year's Photoso, curated by Tim Clark, displays the work of British and Irish photographers such as David Moore and Leonie Hampton alongside a number of international artists who have never been shown before in London, including Mariela Sancari from Mexico and Amak Mahmoodian from Iran.

This year is Herman Melville's bicentennial, and at the Winter Show, which returns to the Park Avenue Armory in New York from 18-27 January, the great American writer is honoured in an unusual way. 'Collecting Nantucket, Connecting the World'--this year's loan exhibition--includes the only surviving artefact from the wreck of the whaleship Essex, destroyed by an enraged sperm whale in 1820, an event that was the main source of inspiration for Moby-Dick (1851). Focusing on the 125-year history of the Nantucket Historical Association, the exhibition ranges from portraits of admirals to scrimshaw, revealing how a diverse collection of art, artefacts and antiques can evoke a profound sense of place.

The 70 exhibitors taking part in the 65th edition are likewise hoping to tempt collectors with an eclectic mix of fine and decorative arts and antiquities. Apter-Fredericks is bringing a remarkable pair of Chinese nodding figures from the mid 19th century, decked out in their original costumes (Fig. 3), while at Olde Hope Antiques there is a remarkable 'crazy quilt' from America, stitched between 1880 and 1920, with the small appliqued figure at its centre hemmed in by chaotic jarring geometries. For antiquities, head to Charles Ede; the gallery presents a Roman marble torso of Hercules from around the ist-2nd century AD. Don't miss the Tiffany stained-glass window from 1900 at Macklowe Gallery, in which a verdant landscape is crowded from view by glittering purple wisteria in the foreground. For more contemporary work, visit Joan B. Mirviss's gallery--it presents the contemporary Japanese artist Takahiro Rondo's porcelain and cast-glass sculpture Wave (2016)--one of a number of that title--in which the fluid, languorous lines of the glazed finish contrast sharply with the bulky rectangular form of the sculpture itself.

Elsewhere in New York, Les Enluminures is hosting 'Holy Hoaxes': an exhibition of medieval forgeries collected over nearly five decades by William Voelkle, the recently retired curator of manuscripts at the Morgan Library. Look out for the work of the notorious Spanish Forger, who created more than 200 fake medieval miniatures in the late 19th and early 20th century. This month also sees the 13th edition of Master Drawings New York: to coincide with the city's Old Master auctions, a number of the city's specialist dealers and galleries hold exhibitions along the Upper East Side. Colnaghi have collaborated with Artur Ramon Art to put on an exhibition of 'Spanish Master Drawings: from Cano to Picasso'. Galerie J. Kugel is focusing on French Renaissance portraits--including Leonard Limosin's astonishing enamel-on-copper depiction of Henri II (c. 1553; Fig. 2); meanwhile, Findlay Galleries is offering a beautiful pastel sketch by Pissarro of two cordonniers at work. Other household names among the modern masters on show include Kandinsky at Stephen Ongpin Fine Art (showing at Adam Williams Fine Art) and Schiele at Wienerroither & Kohlbacher. Be sure not to miss Constant Montald's grisaille gouache of a snowy pond in winter at Ambrose Naumann Fine Art: with its pristine snowy whites set against the deep, dull grey of the pond, the sketch will make you shudder with cold.

January Calendar

London Art Fair Business Design Centre, London 16-20 January

'Holy Hoaxes: A Beautiful Deception. Celebrating William Voelkle's Collecting' Les Enluminures, New York 17 January-2 February

The Winter Show Park Avenue Armory, New York 18-27 January

Master Drawings New York Various venues, New York 26 January-2 February

Caption: 1. Le Serpent, 1978, Graham Sutherland (1903-80), gouache, 48.3 X 73.5cm. Christopher Kingzett Fine Art at London Art Fair
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Author:Reilly, Samuel
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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