The Band

I can’t recall the last time I saw anything as intensively inventive as this story of a couple of 1970s’ one-hit wonders struggling to cope with their decline and dreaming of a comeback, a doomed fantasy brought to life in a mesmerising one-hour mash-up of dance, theatre, mime, acrobatics, cabaret, clowning, music, film and aerial skills.
The show at the Albany was devised and performed by Laban-trained Eleni Edipidi and Nathan Johnston of the Levantes Dance Theatre and triumphantly succeeded in being at once funny, sad, exuberant, reflective, celebratory and elegiac in equal measure. The terrific soundtrack ranged from George Ezra’s ridiculously chirpy Cassy O to Connie Francis’s heartbreaking version of I’m Sorry I Made You Cry by way of a breathless take on Teach Me Tiger by April Stevens. But it was the breakneck performances of Edipidi and Johnston – who incidentally has the most expressive eyebrows I’ve ever seen – that made this show so fantastic and created a multi-faceted, multi-sensory, multi-disciplinary melange of magic through their remarkable artistry and vision. 

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Howard Hodgkin/Eduardo Paolozzi

Two of the great names of contemporary British art have exhibitions within a couple of miles of each other in London and a same-day viewing underlines both the contrasts and similarities in their methods of making art. Hodgkin, whose paintings of friends grace the National Portrait Gallery till June 18, is, of course, the supreme colourist, the figures of his subjects all but lost in the gorgeous tones of his deceptively simple splurges of colour. On the other hand Paolozzi, whose work is being given a retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery till May 14, is noted for the precision of his sculptures and, even more so, of his designs. Yet his use of bold colours, particularly in his graphics, must surely owe a debt to Hodgkin. And Paolozzi’s love of uncompromising lines and boundaries strikes a chord with those heavily painted but nonetheless rigid frames that surround Hodgkin’s portraits. Both men’s work is worth as much of your time as possible, Hodgkin’s for the sheer visceral joy of his palette and Paolozzi for the astonishing range of media he used: bronze, aluminium, chrome, wood, paper, ceramics, watercolour, silkscreen, monotype, pen and ink, pencil, fabrics, wallpaper, collage, mural and mosaic immediately spring to mind. Amazing! You won’t be disappointed…

Michael Clark/Sotheby’s 

The legendary choreographer has broken new ground by curating a sale of contemporary art for top auction house Sotheby’s. Clark insisted there are strong parallels between dance and art because both were full of movement and said: “Your eye is always in motion whether it’s following a piece of my choreography or the line of a figure in a painting.” The sale netted more than £2million, which included £18,750 for Knot, an artwork created from cigarettes by Clark’s friend Sarah Lucas, £168,750 for a piece made from five painted sheets of lead by Gunther Forg, £4,000 for an untitled sketch by Sigmar Polke, £7,500 for a topless photo of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol and – the No1 seller – £200,000 for Yoshitomo Nara’s Abandoned Puppy, Waiting. 

Marc Quinn

The unique treasure house of Sir John Soane’s Museum is so stuffed with paintings, drawings, statues, ceramics, furniture, rugs and other artefacts collected by the great architect from almost every corner of the world and covering almost every century of human civilisation that it’s hard to imagine how a dozen sculptures by the former YBA could possibly hold their own. Yet not only do they retain an uncompromising identity they also actually enhance the marvels surrounding them thanks to the essential truth they represent – the depth of love that raises our species above the planet’s zillions of other life-forms. Quinn’s pieces, all featuring his own hands embracing, caressing and even kneading the naked flesh of his partner, the dancer Jenny Bastet, shine north in their pure whiteness among the timeworn and faded beauty of the museum’s permanent collection (which incidentally includes four fabulous Hogarth paintings on the theme of elections). The contemporary starkness of the works, collectively called Drawn From Life, epitomise the latest phase in the evolution of art – and they are not found wanting. Soane would undoubtedly have approved. This brilliant exhibition runs at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields museum until September 23.