Blakean Summer Shows

With continuing interest in the art of William Blake, Summer 2010 promises to be a lively time to see either his work or art inspired by his paintings.

June began with the unveiling of a new painting that will almost certainly be recognised as a major contribution to Blake’s reception. William Daniels presented his William Blake II, created from rubbish and detritus, at the Newspeak: British Art Now, part one of which opened at the Saatchi Gallery on May 30 and runs there until October 17. Including work by Steve Bishop, Anthea Hamilton and Henrijs Preiss as well as Daniels, it has been attracting very favourable reviews in the press, with Blake II – based on the Thomas Phillips portrait of 1807 which can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery – receiving particular praise.

Another exhibition that opened this month and include Blake’s works or installations inspired by him is The Alchemy of Things Unknown at the Khastoo Gallery in Los Angeles. Drawing together art, writing and other media by figures such as Kenneth Anger, Austin Osman Spare and Marilyn Manson as well as Blake, the exhibition aims to explore mystic traditions and creativity, drawing particularly on Carl Gustav Jung’s theories of the creative unconscious as espoused in The Red Book. It runs from June 10 to July 31.

Elsewhere, you can see examples of Allen Ginsberg’s photography at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC in Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg until September 16, as well as examples of Blake’s art as part of the Watercolour in Britain: Tradition and Beyond show at Sheffield Museums, running from June 17 to September 5, while the Larkhill Gallery in Bath has Blake’s illustrations to The Book of Job and other prints until July 10. Finally, Blake’s work is also included in the Drama & Desire: Artists and the Theatre exhibition which includes his art alongside that of Edgar Dégas and Aubrey Beardsley at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and which will open to the public until September 26.

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