Art in London - A Mid-Year Review

London Elephant Parade

It's half-way through the year, and we have all been working anxiously to either keep our jobs or prove ourselves in our new ones. I was at the pub with work mates and the conversation turned to culture. Did we remember what it was?

So here's a synopsis of the best in art and culture - with some hints on what's coming up.

The Real Van Gogh
The Artist and his letters at the Royal Academy finished in April, I would not be surprised if you missed the exhibition - it was a big sell out! Suddenly the masses were out to see his works, basking in the prints of the irises, and the sunflowers by Vincent.

Grace Kelly, Style Icon
For the fashionistas amongst us, Grace Kelly, Style Icon is running at the Victoria and Albert until 26 Sep 2010. Forget shopping or waiting for you Hermes Kelly bag, go and see this spectacular exhibition. She was a popular Hollywood actress in the '50s, starred in Alfred Hitchcock films, and was Princess of Monaco. My friend and I were absorbed with the black and white film clips of her travels and significant events. We left feeling it was her that made the dresses!

Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings
Can this year get any better? Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings runs until 25 Jul 2010 at the British Museum, featuring Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and many more artists from the 1400s. This is an exhibition of drawings, some not intended by the artists to be displayed to the public, which makes the exhibit even more interesting. You will see how artists re-work their drawings over and over again, some of which went on to become their significant paintings. Throughout Tube stations you will see a drawing of a women: Head of a Woman, and the exhibition will show you that this was drawn by more than one artist. Is this copying? I'll leave you to make up your mind.

The London Elephant Parade
At this point, I can hear your voices. "I'm stuck in the office all day, the last thing I want to do is visit a museum. I would much prefer to eat and drink al fresco." Then open your eyes as you travel around, and you will see one or more of the 250 colourful glass fibre model elephants on the streets of the capital as part of the The London Elephant Parade 2010. This a public exhibition of elephants around the world, and on 23 June, they will all be moved to Chelsea for viewing for one week, 23 June-2 July at Chelsea Royal Hospital. On the 3rd of July they will all be auctioned off by Sotheby’s, so if you are looking to buy some interesting art, you can make your bid.

Summer Exhibition
Lastly, the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, running 14-22 Aug 2010, is not to be missed. This is a collection of new and established artists, and the public will have the opportunity to purchase originals and prints. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration to get away from your computers and Blackberries (and for the lucky folks, their iPads) during the weekend.