Paolozzi at 100

Modern Two, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, until April 21

This exhibition marks the centenary of the birth of one of the great titans of 20th-century art. And, if you think of his bronze sculpture Newton outside the British Library in London, the giant body parts in Edinburgh’s Picardy Place (aka, the Manuscript of Monte Cassino) or even (and most appropriately) his glowering vision of Vulcan that towers over the gallery cafe of Modern Two, a maker of titanic art.

Born to Italian parents in Leith in 1924, Paolozzi was something of a titan himself.

The photographer Jorge Lewinski once called him “a brooding brute”, and at times he had a reputation that was described as “mercurial” by those wanting to be kind and “difficult” by those who did not.

And yet it is impossible to imagine 20th-century British (never mind Scottish) art without him.

One of the pioneers of British Pop Art (not a label he cared for), the author JG Ballard once noted: “If the entire 20th century were to vanish in some huge calamity, it would be possible to reconstitute a large part of it from Paolozzi’s sculptures and screenprints.”

In other words, Paolozzi was the artist of the modern world.

This exhibition in Modern Two sees two rooms filled with work dating back to the late 1940s and reflects his public art projects, his collaborations with Wedgwood and his mosaic designs for the Tottenham Court Road Underground station.

The Herald: Paolozzi at 100Paolozzi at 100 (Image: free)

Stage and Screen: Designs from the James L Gordon Collection

The Hunterian, Glasgow, until February 25

It’s the last few weeks of this collection of set and costume designs for theatre and film which features work by David Hockney, Cecil Beaton and Paul Nash and includes designs for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.


Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, until June 2

This exhibition drawn from the collection looked after by Fife’s museums includes work by the likes of William McTaggart, LS Lowry, Elizabeth Blackadder, Anne Redpath, the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys. Which is as good a reason as any to visit Dunfermline. Throw in the fact that the exhibition is free and the excellent Granary Cafe is on hand too and you have no excuse not to visit.

The Herald: Warhol at the DovecotWarhol at the Dovecot (Image: free)

Andy Warhol

The Textiles Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, until May 18

“Andy Warhol looks a scream/ Hang him on my wall …” Chance would be a fine thing, Mr Bowie. Still, at least we can see some of Warhol’s work hanging on the walls of the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh between now and May.

This exhibition, as the title suggests, is dedicated to the Pop Artist’s textile designs created in the days before The Factory, when Warhol was not yet the coolest, most controversial artist in the world, but a commercial illustrator. We’re told to expect visions of ice cream sundaes, toffee apples, buttons, lemons and jumping clowns.

Organised by London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, this colourful, bold exhibition is a reminder of the work of Warhol before he became “Andy Warhol the artist”. His pre-Pop era, if you like. The result is a harbinger of spring in the dreich days of a Scottish winter.

Mach 2

The Stirling Smith Gallery and Museum, Stirling, until April 7

Scottish artist brothers David and Robert Mach team up for this new exhibition at the Smith in Stirling which sees sculptures, vases and portraits made out of pins and sweet wrappers. The result is a cheeky comic exhibition that often celebrates the history of art while poking gentle fun at it at the same time.

The Herald: Cafe Royal BooksCafe Royal Books (Image: free)

Cafe Royal Books

Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, until February 10

You’ll have to hurry to catch this, but it is really worth the effort. Over the last 12 years, Craig Atkinson has published more than 600 zines containing postwar British photography that take in everything from hippies at Stonehenge in the 1970s to Nelson Mandela’s visit to Glasgow in 1993. You can browse through hundreds of issues at this thrilling exhibition. This is all our yesterdays.

Sir William Gillies and the Scottish Landscape

Aberdeen Art Gallery, until November 10

Opening today, this exhibition, drawing on Aberdeen’s own collection, celebrates the landscape art of the Haddington-born painter who died in 1973. The result is a glory of colour and form.

Michelle Williams Gamaker: Our Mountains are Painted on Glass

DCA, Dundee, until March 24

There’s still plenty of time to catch Sri Lankan-British visual artist Michelle Williams Gamaker’s film installation at the DCA, which investigates and reinterprets classic British and Hollywood cinema and their representations of colonialism. Visual pleasure combined with visual activism.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran: Idols of Mud and Water

Tramway, Glasgow, until April 21

Talking of Sri Lankan artists … This has been running since last November but if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, this first solo exhibition of ceramic sculptures by Sri Lankan-born, Australian-based Nithiyendran mixes totemic figures with a very modern sensibility. We’re saying it’s exuberance at scale.

Yevonde: Life and Colour

Laing Gallery, Newcastle, until April 20

Fancy a fly day trip across the Border? Yeah, me too. And next to Liverpool, Newcastle is my favourite English city. (We can all accept that London is a case apart, right?) And there’s an added reason to venture down to north-east England this winter with the news that the recent National Portrait Gallery exhibition of the photography of Madame Yevonde is now on show at the Laing Gallery in the city.

Madame Yevonde, aka Yevonde Philone Middleton (nee Cumbers), was one of the great eccentrics of English photography, dressing up society ladies between the wars as Greek goddesses and taking their pictures in vivid Vivex colour.

The first photographer to exhibit colour photographs in Britain, she was a formidable woman; a suffragette whose photographic career stretched over 60 years and brought her into contact with the likes of John Gielgud, Vivien Leigh, George Bernard Shaw and various members of the royal family. Her motto was “be original or die”. And just in case Andy Warhol thinks he’s something special, she had a pop song written about her too, courtesy of London 1990s indie band Animals That Swim.

“Let’s have a riot of colour all over the place …” What do you mean, you don’t know the words?