Pick of the Week 2016

May's Picks selected by Chris Lethbridge

May 23-29

20 Years of the RIBA Stirling Prize

The Architecture Centre
Until Sunday 21 August

The Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architectural award. Since 1996 it has been presented each year to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture.

'This Pick of the Week is by way of a modest tribute to the late Zaha Hadid, two times Stirling Prize winner and a creative genius whose output transcended architecture, art and design. We’ll be lucky to see the likes of her again. As something of an architecture buff, I recall thumbing through the pages of the international journals when I was a student and bewailing the apparent paucity of exciting new buildings in the UK. Since then, the emergence of both Architecture Centres and the Stirling Prize in the 90s has done much to raise the level of debate in this country. Their presence has substantially contributed to increased awareness and opportunity for good new buildings and so we should support them. Arguably, if we want good art, we must also have good architecture.'

Guest Editor Chris Lethbridge

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May 16-22

Vertigo Sea by John Akomfah

The Exchange
Until Saturday 25 June

John Akomfrah’s acclaimed video installation Vertigo Sea.is a sensual, poetic meditation on man’s relationship with the sea and an exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration and conflict.

'Prick someone hailing from the South West and it is likely they will bleed a little salt water.  Even those of us living in the peninsula’s landlocked hip joint feel connected through the herring gulls that make their way up the river courses. Our ancestors made their living from the sea. It’s who we are. So it’s unsurprising to find the presence of the sea a constantly threading through the entries on the VASW website. It’s there as a physical force shaping both land and lives. Loved and feared, it sustains and destroys, provides us with living and leisure. It’s a repository of memory, a receptacle of history for good and ill. I have chosen this exhibition as representative of the importance of the sea to our culture partly because the fluidity of video is such an appropriate medium for maritime iconography and partly because the show is at Penzance’s excellent Exchange.'

Guest Editor Chris Lethbridge

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May 9-15

Bath Society of Artists 111th Annual Exhibition

Victoria Art Gallery
Until Saturday 4 June

Now in its 111th year, this hugely popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. Any artist aged 18 or over can submit work for possible selection.

'Open exhibitions are a fixture of the visual arts calendar and this is one of the best of the breed, attracting as it does submissions from across the region. It’s hardly a secret that there are those within the visual arts elite who are a tad sniffy about open shows. Indeed, in one or two metropolitan areas they have been unceremoniously given the push from aspirant civic galleries hungry to be seen as ‘cutting edge’ by their peers. This is a sorry mistake, for open exhibitions are important to the visual arts ecology. Hugely popular, they are a democratic experience, offering something for everyone and attracting wide audiences many of whom may not be habitual gallery goers. In a scene increasingly skewed towards lens based and digital work, they offer much needed exposure to artists who might otherwise struggle to see their work in a public space - and in doing so they remind us of what most artists continue to make. They are also many a young person’s first experience of an art exhibition, perhaps providing the catalyst that encourages them to take up art themselves.'

Guest Editor Chris Lethbridge

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May 2-8

Site Festival - Open Studios

Site Festival
7-8 and 14-15 May 11-6pm

Each year more than 80 artists open their studios to the public for two weekends in May in Stroud Town, Slad and Painswick valleys, Nailsworth, the Golden Valley, Bisley, and more!

'It’s that time of year again when artists open their doors to the public. Therefore I’ve chosen the Site Festival Open Studios to represent the embarrassment of riches enjoyed by this region when it comes to Open Studio events. For those who love art, craft and design, what could be more fun than to travel around our beautiful towns, villages and countryside on a fine weekend visiting artists and seeing their work in the places where it’s made.'

Guest Editor Chris Lethbridge

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What's On

Free art classes for over 50s

SPACE, 6 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0BH

Sunday 06 December 0217 – Wednesday 28 March 2018

Radical Clay: Teaching with the greatest potters of the 1960s

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1RL

Saturday 22 July 2017 – Sunday 10 June 2018

Sculpture Class at Bath Artists' Studios

Bath Artists' Studios, The Old Malthouse, Comfortable Place, Upper Bristol Road, Bath, BA1 3AJ

Thursday 07 September 2017 – Thursday 14 December 2017

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: