Just a quick ‘heads-up’ to advise you to tune into tonight’s The Culture Show on BB2 (at 7.00pm, repeated at 12.20am Friday morning). The programme will be exploring “the past, present and post-election future of British comic art” which is the focus of a new exhibition, Rude Britannia: British Comic Art at the Tate which opens on 9th June.
And if that’s not enough to persuade fans of all things cult to tune in, they’re also be a Noel Clarke interview (that’s Mickey from Doctor Who) in which the writer, actor and director will be discussing his latest film, 4,3,2,1.
Put together with some the country’s best-known cartoonists and comedy writers, Rude Britannia: British Comic Art at the Tate explores British comic art from the 1600s to the present day and the exhibition also includes a number of special events, detailed on its dedicated web site. Bringing together a wide array of paintings, sculptures, film and photography, as well as graphic art and comic books, the exhibition celebrates a rich history of cartooning and visual jokes.
The room on the Absurd is curated by comedian Harry Hill, and includes such diverse materials as Alice in Wonderland illustrations, David Shrigley’s sculpture, and films by Edwina Ashton and Oliver Michaels. Within the Bawdy, Donald McGill’s ‘smutty’ seaside postcards, can be seen with works by artists as different as Aubrey Beardsley, Sarah Lucas, and Grayson Perry.
The rooms exploring Politics, Social Satire and Cruikshank’s Victorian masterpiece The Worship of Bacchus, have been put together with Gerald Scarfe, Steve Bell, and the cartoonists from Viz. These show the power of comic art as a form of social and political commentary throughout history, from satires of Georgian society by Rowlandson and Gillray to Spitting Image’s damning Thatcher puppet.
Looking at comedy that is both timeless and of-its-time, Rude Britannia contrasts contemporary artists such as Angus Fairhurst with key historical pieces, and covers everything from Hogarth to the YBAs.
Gasp, cringe, or have a sly chuckle: Rude Britannia will certainly cause a reaction. See politicians brought down to size and the great and the good exposed; blush at the saucy postcards and laugh out loud at the slapstick fun – but watch out for that banana skin!
• BBC Culture Show: www.bbc.co.uk/cultureshow
• Tate Britain is at Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. Tel: 020 7887 8888 E-mail: email@example.com. Web: www.tate.org.uk/britain/. Entry is free except for major exhibitions: Entrance to Rude Britannia is £10, Concessions £6. Open every day 10.00–18.00. Last admission to exhibitions