Richmond upon Thames
An exhibition at the Riverside Gallery in Richmond upon Thames (from 4 December to 26 February 2011) explores the collisions and collaborations between the worlds of science and art through 26 works addressing themes such as Darwin's theory of evolution, disease and dissection. Selected from 650 submissions from more than 130 international artists, they span a variety of media and disciplines from astrophysics to botany. They include, for example, startling images created by experiments with mould growth and "landscapes" representing the effects of early morning drizzle. Alex Baker, the artist-in-residence, will be producing a series of ink drawings using sound, as well as presenting his techniques in workshops for the local community.
Although she was only 22 when she died in 1981, the much-analysed work of the US photographer Francesca Woodman has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Detroit, Dublin, Paris, New York and Rotterdam. A show at Victoria Miro in London (until 22 January 2011) brings together around 50 photographs from the archive of 800 she produced, starting with her first Self-portrait at Thirteen in 1972. Much of her work features her own body, often naked, in empty or sparsely furnished rooms, clinging to a doorframe, transfixed by a mirror or dodging shadows. Yet although Woodman constantly performed for the camera, her identity remains fluid and mysterious, with her face frequently cut off by the picture frame, hidden behind a mask or a curtain of hair.
Northern Art Prize 2010
An exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery (until 6 February 2011) features the work of the four shortlisted artists. Lubaina Himid is fascinated by the impact of the African diaspora on contemporary British culture. One of her works juxtaposes images of Victorian jelly moulds, linked to the sugar trade and slavery, with images of the leading figures of the civil rights movement. Alec Finlay explores how we relate to landscape in an era of climate change. Haroon Mirza creates assemblages using household objects such as furniture, lamps and television sets that generate music evocative of themes ranging from club culture to religious faith. And David Jacques contributes a photo essay of post-industrial landscapes accompanied by an expose of corporate malpractice. The winner will be announced on 20 January 2011.
Of Gods and Men
The winner of the Grand Prix at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Of Gods and Men, is directed by Xavier Beauvois. It tells the story of seven French Trappist monks who had long lived in harmony with the local Muslims in the monastery of Tibhirine, Algeria. In an incident that remains mysterious to this day, in 1996 they were kidnapped and later found beheaded. Although the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria claimed responsibility, there have also been rumours that the Algerian army accidentally killed the monks during a botched rescue attempt. Filming took place in an abandoned monastery in Morocco and the actors prepared for their parts by spending a week at the Tamie Abbey in Savoy and a month learning Cistercian and Gregorian chant. Of Gods and Men opens in three London cinemas - the Curzon Mayfair, the Curzon Richmond and the Renoir - on 3 December.
For a few brief years before he died of an overdose in 1988, the graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat worked with Andy Warhol and became one of the most celebrated painters on the New York scene. Deeply influenced by the urban landscape around him, he forged a unique vision in distinctive bold works drawing on the imagery of voodoo and the Bible as well as the great heroes of black music and sport. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his birth, the Musée d'Art Moderne is holding the biggest-ever exhibition of his works in France (until 30 January 2011) which brings together about 100 of his major works.