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Cultural Olympiad

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Cultural Olympiad

David Hockney, The Road Across the Wolds, 1997

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Cultural Olympiad
London: Cultural capital of the world
London 2012 Festival
Other major cultural highlights
Other major cultural highlights
Other major cultural highlights
Other major cultural highlights
Hockney, Freud and Hirst
Hockney, Freud and Hirst
Hockney, Freud and Hirst
2012 World Shakespeare Festival
Mine to Medals
London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters
 

 

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad has been dubbed the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements. After four years of wide-ranging events, the Cultural Olympiad culminates with the 12-week London 2012 Festival, which runs alongside both Games this summer. For ticket information please visit the official website.

 
 

London 2012 Festival

The UK's biggest ever festival

 

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival , which runs in venues and open spaces all over the capital from 21 June 2012 (Midsummer's Day) until 9 September 2012 (the last day of the 2012 Paralympics). During the 12 weeks, leading artists from all over the world will descend upon London to be a part of the UK's biggest ever festival.

Celebrating both the Olympics and Paralympics through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation, the London 2012 Festival  will feature commissions from the likes of dancer Akram Khan, actress Cate Blanchett, director Mike Leigh, artist Tracy Emin, the singer Damon Albarn and the late painter Lucian Freud.

Whether you're into circuses, carnivals, fashion, opera, African music, sculpture, Shakespeare, dance or the paintings of David Hockney - to cover but a handful of bases - there'll be something for you in a programme which boasts more than 1,000 events and which will reach an estimated audience of 10 million people. And while some major events will be ticketed, the majority will be free and easily accessible for everyone, adding to the party atmosphere and feel-good vibe of the Games.

Like the trickle-down effect Team GB hopes to have on the sporting aspirations of the entire nation, the London 2012 Festival  intends to leave a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK for many years to come. For more information and ticketing details please visit www.london2012.com/festival.

 
 
 

London: Cultural capital of the world

Artists competing with athletes to take centre stage

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters Twelve artists have put their thoughts on the Olympics to paper for the official Olympic and Paralympics posters for London 2012. The Tate Britain is giving visitors the opportunity to admire the pieces at a free exhibition during the Cultural Olympiad, the public can also sign up to receive information on how to purchase limited edition prints of the art. The posters include Rachel Whiteread's take on the Olympic Rings, which are also meant to represent marks left by drinking glasses to symbolize the memories of a social gathering. Another piece is Chris Ofili's For The Unknown Runner; this is a blend of a super-athlete and a mythical creature running past a watching crowd; the figure is outlined with a vase motif, representative of the Ancient Olympic Games. Further official posters were created by artists including Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodkin, Martin Creed, and Bridget Riley.
2012-06-212012-09-23 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank, London London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Exhibitions

Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 21st June - 23rd September 2012

 

While the Beijing Olympics were all about China underlining their new super-power status, London 2012 is more about London reasserting its position as one of the world's most historical, eclectic, cosmopolitan and cultural capital cities. You see, London 2012 won't simply be about the athletes – thousands of artists will also be jostling at the start line in a bid to promote London (and the UK) as a major international cultural destination.  It's no surprise the London 2012 Festival is being billed as the most ambitious cultural programme to take place in our lifetime – and while it's centred on London, events all over the UK should reach an estimated 10 million people.

The 30th Cultural Olympiad actually got started back in 2008 but the movement really gathered steam when Tony Hall, head of the Royal Opera House, got involved in 2009 and appointed as director, one year later, Ruth MacKenzie, the former boss of Scottish Opera, Chichester Festival Theatre and Manchester International Festival. With almost £100m of lottery money at her fingertips, MacKenzie has been rather busy... While the London 2012 Festival will have its beating heart in the capital itself, events will take place all over the UK, with mini-hubs in Edinburgh, Derry/Londonderry, Belfast, Birmingham and, of course, Stratford – the site of the Olympic Park in East London.

On top of the official London 2012 Festival programme and the Cultural Olympiad, there will also be all manner of independently organised smaller events set up all over the capital - by individuals, clubs, venues, bars etc. - riding the coat-tails of the Olympics, if you will. We'll have them all covered here on LondonTown.com in our events pages so you won't miss a beat.

 
 
 

2012 World Shakespeare Festival

37 of the bard's plays in 37 different languages

 

With 2012 being the year to be proud to be in London, it's well suited that the celebrations of all things British continue and what better way than with a four month long World Shakespeare Festival. With a vast number of events taking place this will be a major celebration of the "world's playwright".

As well as nationwide, events will take place all across London including performances at Roundhouse, the National Theatre, the Barbican, the British Museum and, of course, Shakespeare's Globe. The events include performances of the famous plays such Twelfth Night and Macbeth as well as Globe to Globe: 37 Shakespeare plays in 37 languages. So, prepare yourself for an "All's Well That Ends Well" in Gujarati, "The Comedy of Errors" in Dari, "The Merchant of Venice" in Hebrew and a Lithuanian "Hamlet".

Further events include Worlds Together, an international conference that explores the importance of art in young people's lives from Shakespeare time through to modern times, and Staging the World Exhibition at the British Museum, telling Shakespeare’s works anew and showing a rich array of maps, medals, armour and other treasures associated with the prolific author. For the full festival guide visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk.

 
 
 

Hockney, Freud and Hirst

New exhibitions for heavyweights of English art

 

Lucian Freud Portraits – at the National Portrait Gallery (9 Feb to 27 May) – features the most ambitious exhibition of the work of the late great artist for a decade (and includes the portrait completed just before his death last July). This five-star exhibition focuses on 70 years of portraiture and includes more than 100 paintings and works, including iconic and rarely-seen portraits of Freud's lovers, friends and family ("the people in my life").

One of those great friends was David Hockney, who exhibits a collection of new landscape works at the Royal Academy (21 Jan to 9 April). Spanning a 50-year period, David Hockney – A Bigger Picture is the first of the London 2012 Festival Countdown events and, keeping up with social norms of the day, includes some of Hockney's recent iPad drawings as well as many depictions of his home county, east Yorkshire.

Later, come sprint, there's a Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate Modern (4 April to 9 Sept), where the iconic (not to mention opinion-dividing) artist will be bringing together renowned pieces of work in what should be a spectacular exhibition. Think of his controversial life-size pharmaceutical room, his diamond-encrusted skull and his 14-foot tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde inside a glass tank – all under one roof.

 
 
 

Other major cultural highlights

Hitchcock to Damon Albarn – via a bit of Titian

 

There are so many to name – but here's a quick run-down. Damon Albarn, the Blur and Gorillaz musician, invites you into the weirdly wonderful world of Dr Dee, a real-life astrologer, alchemist, magician and spy from the 16th century. This new opera - entitled Dr Dee: An English Opera - at the ENO (25 June to 7 July) is directed by Rufas Norris and opened to critical acclaim at the Manchester International Festival.

The young British-German artist Tino Sehgal fills the Tate Modern's vast space at the Turbine Hall for the Unilever Series (17 July to 28 Oct). No word on what the installation will entail, but Sehgal's radical and innovative works have a tendency to eschew objects and consist purely of live encounters between people.

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 (11 July to 23 Sept), from the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery, based around three Titians, including one important recent acquisition. This project features three new ballets, each inspired by a Titian painting, and several new Titian-influenced works by contemporary artists, including Chris Ofili and Mark Wallinger, which will hang alongside the originals in the museum.

Britain's largest-ever poetry festival, Poetry Parnassus (26 June to 1 July), will take place on the South Bank and feature 205 poets, one from each of the Olympic nations.

The Genius of Hitchcock features one-off screenings of restored Hitchcock classics, with live music, at Wilton's Music Hall (The Pleasure Garden – 28-29 June) and the Barbican (The Lodger – 21 July).

Talking of the Barbican, the Sunday Times has labelled it London's "standout venue for 2012" with highlights that include Juliette Binoche in Mademoiselle Julie (20-29 Sept), Cate Blanchett in Gross und Klein (13-29 April), the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in Britain for 40 years (3 May to 12 Aug), the British premiere of Philip Glass's opera Einstein on the Beach (4-13 May) – and much, much more.

For a younger generation, BBC Radio 1 is putting on what it claims to be the biggest ever free live music event on Hackney Marshes (23-24 June). Confirmed acts across the six stages include Leona Lewis, Plan B and Tinie Tempah.

Award-winning British film director Mike Leigh has made a 35-minute short film called Running Jump, which centres on a particularly chaotic day in the likes of a family in east London. The film, which stars Eddie Marsan, will run at a venue as yet to be decided (21 Jun to 9 Sept) and reflects on sport in everyday life.

 
 
 

Mine to Medals

The story behind the prizes on the podium

 

For some this British Museum exhibition may be as close as they'll get to an Olympic gold medal - despite their best endeavours. Mine to Medals: the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games medals (until 9 Sept) shows the discs designed by British artist David Watkins that will be earned, through sweat and years of hard training, by the winning athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games. This display, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad, tells the story of the designs of the medals - from design to mine to their production at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales.

Medals have been awarded to winning athletes since the first modern Olympics in 1896, and these modern medals continue that tradition combining traditional elements - the front of the medal always depicts the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike - with emblems that are specific to London (a ribbon represents the River Thames) while a dished background suggests the bowl shape of a modern stadium.

 
 
 

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters

Free exhibition at Tate Britain

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters Twelve artists have put their thoughts on the Olympics to paper for the official Olympic and Paralympics posters for London 2012. The Tate Britain is giving visitors the opportunity to admire the pieces at a free exhibition during the Cultural Olympiad, the public can also sign up to receive information on how to purchase limited edition prints of the art. The posters include Rachel Whiteread's take on the Olympic Rings, which are also meant to represent marks left by drinking glasses to symbolize the memories of a social gathering. Another piece is Chris Ofili's For The Unknown Runner; this is a blend of a super-athlete and a mythical creature running past a watching crowd; the figure is outlined with a vase motif, representative of the Ancient Olympic Games. Further official posters were created by artists including Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodkin, Martin Creed, and Bridget Riley.
2012-06-212012-09-23 Where:
Tate Britain, Millbank, London London, SW1P 4RG
Category: Exhibitions

Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station

 

Dates: 21st June - 23rd September 2012

 

Twelve artists have put their thoughts on the Olympics to paper for the official Olympic and Paralympics posters for London 2012. The Tate Britain is giving visitors the opportunity to admire the pieces at a free exhibition during the Cultural Olympiad, the public can also sign up to receive information on how to purchase limited edition prints of the art. The posters include Rachel Whiteread's take on the Olympic Rings, which are also meant to represent marks left by drinking glasses to symbolize the memories of a social gathering. Another piece is Chris Ofili's For The Unknown Runner; this is a blend of a super-athlete and a mythical creature running past a watching crowd; the figure is outlined with a vase motif, representative of the Ancient Olympic Games. Further official posters were created by artists including Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodkin, Martin Creed, and Bridget Riley.

 
 
Sophie Wallace

EDITOR

Sophie Wallace

17th September 2014

 

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