Art & Culture — 30 November 2011
Craigie Aitchison (1926–2009) Portrait of Alton Peters 1983 oil on canvas 10 Downing Street, London

That got your attention, hey?  There are undoubtedly some brilliant blockbusters on this season but what with the coverage these shows get (TV, newspapers, sides of buses) it’s easy to overlook what else is on.  Scout London is here to help you move beyond the marketing hype and press junkets by telling you about some of the less well advertised but equally stimulating exhibitions and displays in London at the moment.

And if you’re only reading for the Da Vinci tickets, that was just a shameless advertising ploy to reel you in.  There are no tickets.  Sorry.

Government Art Collection: Selected by Cornelia Parker
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vein
Whitechapel Art Gallery
Until 4 December 2011 (be quick!)

Choosing from the Government Art Collection (and, boy, do they have a collection), Cornelia Parker has made art from art by curating works ranging from Anthony van Dyck to Martin Creed into a colour spectrum installation around the gallery.

The Power of Making
Until 3 January 2012

Produced in collaboration with the Crafts Council this exhibition displays an eclectic range of pieces and concentrates on the craft and innovation involved in making each of them, from bio-implant embroidering via Savile Row tailoring to a life-size crocheted bear. Yes, that’s right.  Life-size. Crocheted. Bear.

Comedians: From 1940s to Now
Private Eye: Photographs by Lewis Morley
National Portrait Gallery
Until 8 January 2012

Comedians charts 70 years of British comedy, with over 50 portraits including Kenneth Williams, Victoria Wood and five recently acquired works on display for the first time – the Johnny Vegas is not to be missed.  Photographers include Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz and Lewis Morley, whose work for Private Eye is also on display in a nearby room.

Hokusai’s Great Wave
British Museum
Until 8 January 2012

An iconic masterpiece and an inspiration to countless other artists, learn more about the inspiration for and influence of Under the Wave, off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami-ura), as it’s less commonly known.

Modern Syrian Art
British Museum
Until 9 January 2012

Most modern art history and modern art collections hugely favour American and Western European art.  So much so that you might be forgiven for thinking no-one else was producing art in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  But they were!  And here’s a chance to see what was happening in Syria with this display taken from the British Museum’s collection.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011: In the Presence
Until 15 January 2012

Previewed here earlier today, New Contemporaries selects the work of recent graduates for the UK’s art schools and has been doing so since 1949.  Artists selected over the years include David Hockney, Antony Gormley, Mark Wallinger and Simon Starling – see if you can spot the future big hitters!

Photography: New Documentary Forms
Tate Modern
Until 31 March 2012

A display of newly acquired work that explore and question the power of photography as a documentary medium.  Each room displays a project from Luc Delahaye, Mitch Epstein, Guy Tillim, Akram Zaatari and Boris Mikhailov with subjects ranging from studio photography in Beirut to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BP British Art Displays:
Thin Black Line(s) and Don McCullin
Tate Britain
Until 18 March 2012

As part of the re-hang of collection galleries, Tate Britain has included these two ‘special one-room focus displays’.  Thin Black Line(s) concerns the radical generation of young Black and Asian women artists and their contribution to British art in the 1980s, engaging with the difficult social and political issues of the time.  Don McCullin focuses on the war photographer’s broader practice including his remarkable photographs of post-war Britain and his imposing landscape work of the 1980s.

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