Who, What & Where: @sohoplace, Auschwitz photographic exhibition and art

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Who, What & Where: @sohoplace, Auschwitz photographic exhibition and art

Our round up of what's coming your way in the world of entertainment and culture

Nica Burns @sohoplace
Nica Burns @sohoplace

THEATRE: Feel the Burns

No one could accuse Nica Burns of holding back when it comes to opening new stages. The Jewish theatre superstar already co-owns and operates six venues in her Nimax group, but now she has performed a miracle and opened the first new-build West End theatre in 50 years. @sohoplace opened last week despite all the difficulties presented by the redevelopment of Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road station. The auditorium actually sits directly above the new Elizabeth line, but  tube noise was no match for Nica who has the Vaudeville (home to Six until Oct 29 then 42 Balloons) the Palace (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ) and the Apollo in her stable. @sohoplace  not only boasts wonderful acoustics and perfect sightlines from every seat, it has opened with the aptly-named play Marvellous, based on Neil Baldwin’s memoir about  overcoming his learning disabilities to lead an adventure-packed life. Marvellous runs for six weeks until As You Like It comes in on Dec 6, but Nica has chosen to run the venue as not-for-profit with earnings going back into @sohoplace. For that, she deserves a standing ovation. sohoplace.org


EXHIBITION: Seeing Auschwitz

See Auschwitz as you’ve never seen it before in a new exhibition in South Kensington. Seeing Auschwitz is a collection of 100 photographs of the camp that have survived to the present day, with an audioguide that includes testimonies from survivors. The images, captured by perpetrators, victims and liberators, provide unsettling perspective and stark evidence of mass murder, but also show the humanity of the people who perished there.

Lead curator and one of the world’s leading experts on the Holocaust, Paul Salmons says: “They look like faithful portraits of an instant, but these photographs are not neutral sources at all: we are looking at a piece of reality but seen from the Nazi perspective. It is necessary to stop and analyse them to really see what each image truly reveals, not only about the place and the moment, but also about their own authors, the people portrayed, and even about ourselves as viewers”.

Seeing Auschwitz is at 81 Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 3LD. seeingauschwitz.com

ART: Egoist Artist

An unseen, never-before-exhibited painting by British Jewish artist Mark Gertler (1891-1939) is being auctioned at Chorley’s later this year and is expected to fetch up to £8,000. Still Life with Earthenware Vessel and Blue Ewer has been in the private collection of art connoisseur, Lt Colonel Murray ‘Victor’ Burrow Hill, DSO, MC (1887-1986) for over 100 years. It is believed Victor may have acquired the work directly from the artist in the same year it was painted, which was during Gertler’s stay with fellow artists in France in 1922. Gertler was born in Spitalfields to impoverished Polish Jewish immigrants. He took night classes in art at Regent Street Polytechnic, before winning a national art competition that would inspire him to apply for a scholarship from the Jewish Education Aid Society. On attaining it he was able to study at the esteemed Slade School of Art. Although highly accomplished and having several patrons, he spent much of his life juggling his finances and in mental despair. He had an unpredictable, slightly arrogant personality – after a visit to Virginia Woolfe in 1916, she exclaimed: “Good God what an egoist.” Despite this, he was much admired and was the subject of many characters in books, such as Loerke in D H Lawrence’s Women in Love. He committed suicide in 1939.


ART HOUSE: House Painting

If you’re the sort of artist who needs inspiring surroundings, setting up your easel in Marc Chagall’s old house might suit. Typically in penury, most creatives couldn’t afford to live in the home of a famous painter, but Chagall’s house in High Falls, upstate New York, is on sale at a bargain £212,000. It is only a two-bed-one bath, but think what you could achieve in this shingle house on half an acre. Chagall shared the property with his much younger lover, Virginia Haggard McNeil, an artist and British diplomat’s daughter who had been his housekeeper in New York City. Chagall had lost his wife Bella when he moved there, so it was a time of sadness, but a prolific period for work as he produced 100 paintings including Self Portrait with Wall Clock. The Belarus-born artist was also visited by the FBI at the house because of his leftist politics, which led to him being denied a visa. Understandably Chagall sold the house in 1952 and moved back to France.


PAINTER: What’s Cooking

Known locally as the artist who captures people, Barbara J Lewis has travelled further than Belsize Park with her most recent work, Service! The large painting is of the frazzled chefs in the kitchen of Michelin star restaurant Theo Randall at the Intercontinental. Barbara, who trained as a portraitist in Florence, is available to paint you in your kitchen should you fancy.



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