Laura Thornley

Laura made the trip down South eight years ago – but still manages to retain her Northern sense of humour at all times. Her background is firmly in Visual Art, having studied both its practice and history – but truth be told, she can't get enough of culture in all its forms. When she isn't chained to her desk she can be found indulging her love of horror films and seeking out the best vegetarian food, wherever in the world that may be.
Antiquity Unleashed: Aby Warburg, Dürer and Mantegna at the Courtauld Gallery

Running alongside The Young Dürer exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery is a small show dedicated to Aby Warburg and the light he shed on Durer's influences. This was a vital moment in art history and one that has transformed how we think about images – if only the Courtauld had engaged with the ideas on a deeper level. 

Friday 25th October 2013 Read more...
Kara Walker radically challenges representations of black history at the Camden Arts Centre

Silhouettes of figures performing sex acts on plantation masters; shadow puppetry set to a 1970s porn soundtrack; graphic drawings of a young woman being lynched by gleeful white men – the content is as disturbing and shocking as ever in this, the long-awaited first UK solo exhibition of American artist Kara Walker. At the Camden Arts Centre.

Sunday 13th October 2013 Read more...
Contemporary Art Society: Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful at Whitechapel Gallery

The Whitechapel certainly have society in mind in many of their projects, and this new exhibition takes a look at the history of social change via the art scene. Focusing on the North West, Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful takes a fascinating look at the strain of inclusive socialist ideals that permeated galleries and museums around the turn of the century.

Friday 4th October 2013 Read more...
Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr

The eccentricity of the English is explored in the first art exhibition at the Science Museum's new media space. The show is both an intriguing look at the techniques of street photography and a showcase of two of the greatest talents this country has seen. Filled with humour, compassion and humanity, it's a near perfect show, despite its price tag. 

Monday 23rd September 2013 Read more...
Omer Fast's 5,000 Feet is the Best at IWM Contemporary

The new contemporary programme at the Imperial War Museum sees its first instalment with Israeli-born Omer Fast's 30-minute film. A considered and skilful look at the practices involved in modern warfare, Fast's art piece sets the bar high for the contemporary programme and gives a remarkable insight into the life of the unmanned drone plane pilot.

Thursday 15th August 2013 Read more...
Speaking in tongues: Emma Hart's Dirty Looks at the Camden Arts Centre

Dismembered tongues, sound montages and downright confusion are the order of the day in Emma Hart's exhibition Dirty Looks at Camden Arts Centre. The haphazard arrangement, cacophony of sound and vulgar detailing make up a multiple sensory experience that William S. Burroughs would have been proud of.

Friday 9th August 2013 Read more...
Reexamining performance art of the 1970s:Poetry and Performance at Richard Saltoun Gallery

Examining performance art from the 1970s and its relationship to poetry and text, Poetry and Performance at Richard Saltoun Gallery is a chance to view work by some lesser-known artists in a small but essential gallery space.

Friday 19th July 2013 Read more...
Essential viewing in social history: Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life at Tate Britain

This new exhibition at Tate Britain, skilfully put together by T.J. Clark and Anne Wagner, explores L.S. Lowry's most famous subject: the industrial landscape. Framed by the social history of his time and giving credit to the social awareness Lowry himself displayed, Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life might be London's first step towards redemption for this much-criticised artist.

Thursday 27th June 2013 Read more...
James Franco's Psycho Nacirema at Pace Gallery London

Hollywood actor James Franco is also a contemporary artist, didn't you know? His latest offering at Pace Gallery finds him doing his best Janet Leigh impression, reworking Hitchcock's classic thriller under the guidance of Douglas Gordon. But like his peers who have dared to pick up a paintbrush, should he stick to the day job?

Thursday 20th June 2013 Read more...
National art: the politics of pavilions at the Venice Biennale

In 2011, the Venice Biennale was awash with commercialism. But there is unease in the ranks as the politics in the pavilions commands our attention this time around. 2013 sees "the national pavilion" get some unexpected twists as the Chileans drown the Giardini and Deller sticks two fingers up to the Royals.

Friday 7th June 2013 Read more...
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library

The British Library's new exhibition, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion takes the journey from propaganda's known origins up until its modern manifestations. The exhibition is fun and informative – if only the curators had examined a little more about exactly who employs propaganda and rhetoric today.

Monday 20th May 2013 Read more...
Ultra-red: RE:ASSEMBLY and St. Marylebone Church of England School

How does a nine-member strong sound art collective like Ultra-red, make a multi-site collaborative art project with students and teachers from an inner-city London high school? Through the art of listening, of course. This off-site Serpentine Gallery project gets to the heart of listening, the radical way. 

Thursday 25th April 2013 Read more...
The Independent Group: Parallel of Art and Life at the Institute of Contemporary Arts

Commemorating the Independent Group's groundbreaking exhibition Parallel of Life & Art, the ICA presents rarely-seen pop culture screen prints, photographs, and archival objects. While it misses a chance to engage with the group's avant-garde spirit, The Independent Group: Parallel of Art and Life is food for thought on the issue of how we remember exhibitions.

Tuesday 2nd April 2013 Read more...
Marcel Duchamp and his anti-art legacy: The Bride and the Bachelors at the Barbican

This new Barbican exhibition takes a look at Marcel Duchamp and four of his most vocal disciples, and how they made anti-art the very essence of contemporary art today. Tracing the strands of thought in each artist's practice, this is a must-see exhibition characterizing the most radical influence on contemporary art to date.

Saturday 16th February 2013 Read more...
Keith Tyson's flowery, romantic side: Panta Rhei at Pace Gallery London

As mad scientist meets traditional painter, Keith Tyson has earned a name for himself by combining mathematical tendencies with impressive painterly skill. His new exhibition at Pace Gallery London, Panta Rhei, is a more flowery, romantic move but remains an utter pleasure.

Friday 8th February 2013 Read more...
Blinded by the Light Show at Hayward Gallery

Blinded by the light, tricked by the light, moved by the light – it's all on offer at the Hayward's new Light Show, a sensory experience brought to you by the power of the lightbulb. At times the exhibition is nothing less than mesmerising; it looks like the Hayward might be onto something again.

Friday 1st February 2013 Read more...
Charles Atlas Glacier at Bloomberg SPACE

South London Gallery's latest offsite exhibition at the Bloomsbury Space, Charles Atlas: Glacier, is intense and technically brilliant, but emotionally detached and lacking the soul that permeates his earlier work.

Monday 28th January 2013 Read more...
A window into British contemporary art: Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA

This week the Bloomberg New Contemporaries arrived at the ICA for the third year running. Generally considered the newly-graduated hot-tipped talent for the future, expectations tend to run high. Despite the disappointing gallery space, a few flashes of life mean this year's chosen few make the show worth a visit – just about.

Friday 30th November 2012 Read more...
Heiner Goebbels' Stifter's Dinge at Ambika P3

Made of of 5 pianos hanging fantastically among mist and trees, this is an elegant theatrical and mechanical masterpiece. With otherworldly detail, all sounds produced without human performers, Stifter's Dinge is not one to miss.

Wednesday 7th November 2012 Read more...
Art Prizes: Beyond the Turner Prize

Despite the years of controversy, 'bad' art and dubious judging techniques, The Turner Prize still remains the most coveted and talked about art prize. Since it rarely deserves the record draw and the amount of press it receives, I've decided to give some much-needed space to art prizes beyond the Turner Prize.

Thursday 4th October 2012 Read more...
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