LONDON WE ALL WANNA CHANGE THE WORLD
To those who can’t remember the Sixties, for whatever reason, the V&A is offering a refresher course. “Records and Rebels: 1966-1970” will transport viewers to the last half of the decade, when students were taking to the streets and revolution was in the air. For the curators, the team behind the hit David Bowie show, the personal is, of course, political: they will explore the global civil-rights movement, environmentalism and the rise of consumerism in tandem with the music, the sex, the miniskirts and the riots. More than 200 LPs from the collection of DJ John Peel, the cult radio presenter, will form the backbone of the show.
V&A, Sept 10th–Feb 26th 2017
ROME FOLLOW THE HERD
The sheer scale of the endeavour is astounding: when Gustavo Aceves’s peripatetic exhibition “Lapidarium” opens in Rome on September 15th it will already have doubled in size to around 40 sculptures, mostly of horses, each up to eight metres high and 12 metres long. It will still have a long way to go. “Lapidarium” premiered in Berlin. After Rome, it heads to Istanbul, Venice and Paris before reaching Aceves’s native Mexico in 2018. By then, he intends it to include 100 monuments. Rome could prove the most memorable setting. His colossal horses – of bronze, wood, iron and granite, some filled with human skulls, others aboard boats – will stand in the heart of the old imperial capital: at the Colosseum, by Trajan’s market, in the Forums and alongside the Arch of Constantine. The artist’s inspiration came from the four giant horses above the porch of St Mark’s cathedral in Venice. Possibly having started life in Rome, they travelled to Constantinople where they were looted by the Venetians before being filched by the French. Aceves wants us to remember that Western culture is a product of migration and mingling. He sees his work as a challenge to the fear of the outsider that is spreading through the West.
PARIS CALLS OF THE WILD
There is a basement in the 14th arrondissement where you can hear the sawing of grasshoppers, the bark of sea lions and the songs of humpback whales. Nature gave us the gift of music; an immersive exhibition at the Fondation Cartier reminds us of our debt. The centrepiece of “The Great Animal Orchestra” draws on nearly 5,000 hours of sound recordings of the natural world made by the ecologist Bernie Krause, and translates these howls and chirrups into data points on an immense graph illuminating the walls; a kind of musical notation revealing that, just like a violin, each species has its own acoustic signature, its own timbre. Better book your seat fast, though, before the curtain falls on this ensemble. Since Krause began recording almost 50 years ago, over half the habitats in his archive have gone silent. The culprit is the planet’s loudest species: Homo sapiens.
The Great Animal Orchestra Fondation Cartier, until Jan 8th 2017
MEXICO MEXICO THE GRATEFUL DEAD
In Mexico at midnight on October 31st, the gates of heaven open. First the angelitos, spirits of deceased children, descend and reunite with their families. After that, on November 2nd, the adults join the party. Most Westerners like to avoid the subject of death, but Mexicans dance with it. What evolved to become the modern Day of the Dead was once celebrated for an entire month in the Aztec calendar, and dedicated to the goddess of the underworld, Mictecacihuatl. Christian conquistadors, rather than cracking down on it, assimilated the heathen holiday by moving it to All Saints’ Day. The result is a strange mix of the Christian and the indigenous, a day for the dead that is a celebration of life. Expect papier-mâché skeletons, sugar skulls and chocolate coffins alongside trucks brimming with flowers: marigolds and blood-red terciopelos, which provide explosions of colour next to the clacking, monochrome bones (in some places, relatives are literally exhumed). The festival is split between the home, the street and the cemetery. For a visitor, Mexico City is a good bet: enjoy the street parties that inspired the opening scene of the latest James Bond film, “Spectre”, and come nightfall head to the cemetery in San Gregorio Atlapulco to witness the festival’s more reflective, bittersweet side.
Día de los Muertos Nov 1st & 2nd