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Smoke and Mirrors at Wellcome Collection

Top Exhibitions of the Week

7 May 2019 Billie Manning

The place to come for all the best current exhibitions in London...

Spotlight On: Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic at the Wellcome Collection
What can I expect to see? The exhibition covers the range of the history and psychology of magic, from Victorian spiritualism, mediums and séances, to modern magicians’ use of misdirection, and how magicians can influence decision making – or appear to. It also reveals the close link between magic and science; illuminating the ways in which science and psychology have been used to create magic despite apparent tensions between the two.
What's the big deal? This is a fascinating and highly interactive exhibition. Old slides, posters and photographs of Victorian tricksters seem laughable now – who would believe that two men in a closed cupboard were really communicating with spirits rather than creating the sounds and movements themselves? But the exhibition goes on to show how easily we are still duped, particularly through the use of videos presenting and then explaining tricks. The exhibition links these revelations about how easily we can be influenced (a Derren Brown clip is shown, another of a televangelist who uses information fed to him through an earpiece) to the current spread of misinformation online and offline today, making for some serious reflection on the information we take in. There will also be in-gallery magic performances every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
How long have I got? Until 15 September 2019
 
sunflowers van gogh

The Best of the Rest:
Van Gogh and Britain at the Tate Britain
What can I expect to see? 
An exhibition focused on Britain's influence on Van Gogh and vice versa; you'll see some of van Gogh's sunflower still lifes and Starry Night on the Rhône, but also work from his contemporaries in Britain and beyond
How long have I got? Until 11 August

Queer Spaces, 1980 - Now at Whitechapel Gallery
What can I expect to see? An archive-based exhibition recognises and celebrates a selection of London’s most iconic LGBTQ+ venues. Check out our full review here.
How long have I got? Until 25 August

Mary Quant at the V&A
What can I expect to see? This is the first exhibition in 50-years to celebrate the iconic work of Dame Mary Quant, and displays over 120 of her original designs, as well as make-up, underwear and even her own brand of doll. Check out our full review here.
How long have I got? Until 20 February 2020

Last chance!
Dorothea Tanning at the Tate
What can I expect to see? 
A full retrospective of Tanning's work: moving from her smaller, more concrete surrealism to more abstract large paintings and cloth sculptures of her later work, as well as a whole-room installation and a short film
How long have I got? Until 9 June
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