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Edgar Degas, Damien Hirst, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Will Alsop will all make an appearance at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2011.
The year kicks off with Modern British Sculpture, the first exhibition for 30 years to examine 20th-century British sculpture. “It’s a long overdue exhibition,” said curator Dr Adrian Locke. The show will feature Hepworth, Moore and Hirst alongside Jacob Epstein, Richard Long and Anthony Caro.
March sees the opening of Watteau’s Drawings: Virtuosity and Delight, dedicated to the French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). Watteau’s subjects included theatre actors, rural labourers and children. He also created sensual depictions of nude women. “It will be quite a sexy show,” promised Kathleen Soriano, the Royal Academy’s director of exhibitions.
Eye Witness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century opens in June, showing the work of Hungarian artists who left their home country to make their names in the fields of photojournalism, fashion and art photography. The display will include 200 photos from 1914 to 1989, ranging from rural scenes to war photography and radical fashion pictures.
Degas Dancers, featuring Degas’ famous paintings and sculptures of young ballerinas, is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Curator Ann Dumas (who was responsible for this year’s Van Gogh blockbuster) hopes the show will alter people’s perceptions of Degas. Although known for his pretty pictures of dancers, Degas was a forward-thinking and experimental artist, who was “well aware of and sometimes actively involved in” early developments in photography and film, said Dumas.
The focus will turn to Russia in autumn 2011, with the opening of Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935. This exhibition will look at Russian avant-garde architecture during a brief but intense period of design and construction, with photos showing how the drive towards a new socialist society brought together radical art and architecture.
As well as these highlights, there’ll be the usual Summer Exhibition and RA Schools Show in the summer, and a series of exhibitions in the Architecture Space, including “something rather unexpected from Will Alsop,” according to Kathleen Soriano.
For more details visit www.royalacademy.org.uk