Cartier-Bresson — Portraits: Tete-a-Tete E:-:iii‘ii:ai'gh: National Gallery Of Liedeir; Art until Stir: J May
As the tete-a—téte of the title suggests, this retrospective of the French photographic master is all about intimacy. Cartier-Bresson, now 90, selected the 120 portraits himself and they form a memorable gallery ranging from some of the greatest figures of the 20th century — Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, Samuel Beckett — to complete unknowns.
The big names are not snapshots of celebrities caught off-guard but revealing portraits taken with the subjects’ full awareness, and usually in their own environment. Often Cartier-Bresson has so perfectly caught their essence — rather than perhaps a more offbeat side - that his pictures take on an almost definitive air. It tends to conform to our usual idea of the characters, but is no less intriguing for this.
So the writer Harold Pinter looks moody and intense staring full-on at the lens, while Martin Luther King is poring over this work with no time for diversions. And Tony Hancock: he’s slumped at the bottom of a flight of stairs and looks worried, depressed, even suicidal. A 1971 portrait of Ted Hughes, at 3ft high, is one of the largest on display and gives the late poet his epic due; while at the other end of the scale, the author Somerset Maugham, decked out in white shorts and shirt, comes across as a peevish colonial.
Part of the fun comes from
reading thoughts from the sitters’ expression. Robert Oppenheimer, glasses on the desk and pipe in his mouth, appears brilliant but troubled. Or is it because we know him as the inventor of the atomic bomb who opposed the H-bomb and was in turn treated as a security risk? Equally it’s tempting to say Monroe looks
In camera: Cartier-Bresson’s portrait of Jean-Paul Satre
Made In Leith E :': .' ;7 live: Terr-ital until Sat 3
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Big Foot: One of David Shearer’s paintings at the Oceaneering Multiflex
swan—song for Leith's Oceaneering lvlultiflex building before its demolition to make way for the proposed Ocean Terminal. Described as a (OITIITillllIIy project, Made In [."lf/l aims to target
vulnerable, but that could be hindsight.
As well as the famous shots — a glowering, bare- torsoed Picasso and shadowy Francis Bacon — Cartier- Bresson’s portraits of Iranian peasants, Indian transvestites and a lone Chinese eunuch are just as impressive. (Sam Phipps)
not only the art-going public but local residents and businesses
The Oceaneering Multiflex Is a staggering setting for an assortment of Visual candy Rightly given~the most corrimanding space are the masswe paintings of DaVid Shearer and the sculpture of Keyin Dagg. The vaulted space and the works are mutually complementary, and Dagg's installation of scaled-down houses, cast in sand, are a cool comment on prefab (jul-de-s‘ac mediocrity. His collaboration With John Hunter on a wood and MDF Conservatory is like-Wise powerful
Not all the work is as strong, but \vith around fourteen artists and no overall theiiie, variety is the spice of Made In Leith. Susan Mowatt's tapestries on tne second floor fill the space With floating figures, while lvlo\.vatt's largest piece is a juxtaposition of sturdy \veavmg With delicate and tact:le shapes which are both painterly and seductive. Aeneas Wilder's wooden structure accompanied by a Video, on the other hand, is due to evolve throughout the show's run, thanks to audience interaction With the work (Will Silk)
Vertigo Glasgow: The Old Fruitmarket until Sun 16 May «scam
Watch any sci-fi film and a sense of menace or other worldliness is almost always screamed out in the film's architecture — sky scrapping towers, zippy modular transport systems and high level walkways populated by peOpIe wearing all-in-one shiny suits. Now as we approach the butt end of the 20th century, we have it all save, thankfully, the suits.
Vertigo: The Strange New World Of The Contemporary City — one of three major shows during Glasgow’s reign as 1999 City of Architecture and Design — illuminates the current state of modern city-building. And it’s quite a sci-fi city. There’s the World Financial Centre in Shanghai which, at 460 metres, will be the tallest building in the world and the vast Californian Ontario Mills, a shopping mall of mega proportions.
While it may be understandable that the show's curator, Rowan Moore, is reluctant to pass judgement on these various architectural fantasies on the fast track to reality, it would nonetheless be a more meaty show if there was an interrogation of the ideas that kick-started this architectural wonderworld. It would also prevent the show from occasional dips into promotional trade fair-ism — this is particularly true in the section given over to the Millennium Dome. We need someone to answer back to Tony Blair. (Susanna Beaumont)
The Queen is Dead & Hot In The City
Edinburgh: Stills Gallery until Sat 24 Apr & Collective Gallery until Fri 9 Apr wwwa
Stills and Collective, in conjunction with Where The Wild Roses Grow at Glasgow’s Transmisson, are showing work by artists from Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. So what are the connections?
Following the split of the mega Aussie rock band Cold Chisel and the fall of Thatcher in Britain in the early 90s, both Glasgow and Melbourne have upped their cultural currency as contemporary art centres. Now Edinburgh's galleries are beginning to do likewise.
At the Collective is Jacinta Schreuder's Video-piece Smart-Girl Action, which was filmed in an artist’s Edinburgh studio and iii Melbourne. Power dressed with 805 styling, music and editing, she achieves the same vigour that Cindy Sherman did in her film stills. Schreuder's Turn Me Loose IS a Lois Lane-like cartoon self-
' portrait: she needs no Superman to save
Stills can also claim credit for its commitment to dragging contemporary art to Edinburgh’s attention. Their show, Curated by Toby Webster of Glasgow's The Modern Institute features Martin Boyce, Jim Lambie and Victoria Morton along Wllli the visiting Danius Kesminas and Kate Beyon. Work meets and collides, showing up diVisions and highlighting global concerns. Who said Australia is 12,000 miles away down under? (William Silk)
STAR RATINGS .s e s s: it unmissable .-. ‘3 s: .2 Very good a v. Worth a shot st Below average :9 You’ve been warned