The Arts Society Magazine

The Arts Society Magazine


COVER IMAGE: Portrait of a dissident, the artist Ai Weiwei. Image credit: Courtesy Ai Weiwei studio/photograph Gao Yuan


Despite the challenges, there’s a tangible sense of energy (against the odds and cuts) in the
arts right now. Delayed by the pandemic, we have a flurry of openings, here in the UK and
further afield. In Bengaluru in India, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) opens this
month, showing its collection of 60,000 works for the first time. Charleston in South Carolina
will see the International African American Museum open its doors in the first half of the
year. In the UK, Edinburgh’s ambitious transformation of the Scottish National Gallery is
planned to go on show this summer. London’s National Portrait Gallery reopens in June post
a multimillion-pound renovation; and a smaller, more intimate but equally compelling site in
the capital also reopens after a £3m project. Handel & Hendrix in London, in Brook Street, was home to two giants of music history: George Frideric Handel (at number 25) and Jimi Hendrix (number 23). Explore the site’s new offerings from May. 

Among the spring exhibitions to catch will be Ai Weiwei’s major new show at The Design
Museum. One of the most influential artists of our time, with activism as a constant,
we ask Weiwei, among other things, for his views on current protest, such as the work of
Just Stop Oil. Find his answers in our interview inside. One of the highlights of spring, too,
will of course be the coronation of King Charles III. What better opportunity, we thought, to
look back to the canny, innovative art collecting of his forebears, Charles I and II, and muse
on what is to come in this new Carolean age. We’ve also dived into the tale of one of the
globe’s most unique patterns – tartan – and, finally, we explore the story behind one of the
art world’s most mysterious figures. The work of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint lay in the
shadows for the longest time. This year we’re invited to discover why that is no longer so.

Sue Herdman, Editor

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