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The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Barbican Bauhaus
Bauhaus - Art as Life at the Barbican Centre (photo: Getty Images)

Art

The Barbican Center, London EC2: Bauhaus - Art as Life, until 12 August

The largest Bauhaus exhibition to be staged in the UK for 40 years, this show comprises a rich, diverse spectrum of work from the infamous art school known for its utopian ideals to shape post-world-war society through their philosophy of “art as life”. The show celebrates the varied artistic faculties that comprised the school during its “turbulent” 14-year history, displaying an engaging scope of work from both Bauhaus masters and students, including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Gunta Stölzl.

The Queen's Gallery, Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist, until 7 October

The Buckingham Palace gallery space opens its door for its largest ever display of the Renaissance polymath’s anatomical drawings. The artist intended to publish his groundbreaking series of medical sketches based on human and bestial cadavers, though his death in 1519 meant the staggering collection was effectively lost for almost 400 years. Today we can acknowledge da Vinci’s pioneering contribution to cataloguing and deepening our understanding of the human body. 

 

Music

Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham: Cheltenham Jazz Festival, until 7 May

This self-proclaimed “start to the summer” runs through the bank holiday weekend and features top British and international jazz stars, including the acclaimed Guy Barker Orchestra and festival artist in residence Paloma Faith. Supplementary events like the Screening Room, a specially designed “boutique cinema”, and the Jazz Fringe Stage, featuring un-signed talent, make this vibrant event a staple in the summer music calendar.

 

Opera

Barbican Center, London EC2: Einstein on the Beach, until 13 May

Phillip Glass and Robert Wilson’s seminal and rarely preformed avant-garde work finally gets a revival almost twenty years after its last UK production. The non-narrative, four-act opera features Glass’ classically minimalist score composed for synthesizers and woodwinds as well as abstract dance sequences choreographed by Lucinda Childs. At five hours long (the audience is permitted to enter and exit at their liberty), this is unconventional theatrical immersion on a dazzling scale.

 

Literature

The British Library, London NW1: Writing Britain - Wastelands to Wonderlands, opens 11 May

This new exhibition charts the literary role of the British landscape - from the foundational legacy of romanticist William Blake through to 21st century mavericks like JG Ballard. Featuring over 150 works and a myriad of supplementary videos, letters, photographs, maps and drawings, the exhibition promises to “allow visitors to read between the lines of great works of English literature, discovering the secrets and stories surrounding the work’s creation, shedding new light on how they speak to the country today.”