Culture24/7: Light, dark, death and relief in our Science and Nature picks for November

By Ben Miller | 31 October 2012
A photo of figures silhouetted against a projection of mountains inside a darkened gallery
Eyjafjallajökull goes Public in West Bromwich this month© Joanie Lemercier of AntiVJ
Death, disaster and pain feature in our Science and Nature highlights for November. But glorious Transatlantic landscapes, the usual amazing specimens at the Grant Museum and a Scottish expeditioner lighten the lowdown, while The Public celebrates light and dark...

Breed: The British and Their Dogs, The Manchester Museum, Manchester, until April 14 2013

Bardolph the 19th century bloodhound champion, the victorious bulldog Silent Duchess, Carlyle the windswept collie and Nagrajdai, Oudar, Golub and Ooslad – all owned by the Duchess of Newcastle, are among the redoubtable - stuffed -  canine characters in this fascinating examination of a national obsession.

Light up Digital, The Public, West Bromwich, from November 7

A video projection drawing inspiration from the apocalyptic Icelandic volcano explosion of 2010 forms the molten core of The Public’s cutting-edge video celebration of light and dark. (Deep breath) Eyjafjallajökull is the multisensory 3D brainchild of French artist Joanie Lemercier and, having toured worldwide, its arrival in the Black Country is a coup for the gallery.

Pain Less: The Future of Relief, Science Museum, London, from November 8

The origins of pain are pursued in excruciating detail in the Antenna gallery, explaining how geneticists decode DNA to find out how pain works in the body and how our brains interpret it. Six billion painkillers are thought to have been prescribed across the country last year, and this show reveals some of the latest research behind them.

Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea, National Maritime Museum, London, from November 9

Crashing waterfalls, dramatic rapids, placid ponds, raging rivers and icescapes – it’s all here in a retrospective for the American photographic pioneer whose monumental landscapes might just have made him the most popular cameraman in his country’s history. Previously unseen shots feature in more than 100 works arriving from the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts.

Curious Anatomys, Royal College of Physicians, London, until December 31 2012

Curious Anatomys revisits the centuries old set of anatomy tables as rare as their usage was gristly, bringing human veins, nerves and arteries dissected in the 17th century and arranged onto wooden panels.

Death: The Richard Harris Collection, Wellcome Collection, London, from November 15

An incredible, if somewhat macabre winter exhibition at the Wellcome, which presents 300 works collected by Chicago-based former antique print dealer Richard Harris, assembled across five themed rooms. Human remains, installations based on the Day of the Dead, Incan skulls, Rembrandt paintings and a chandelier made of 3,000 plaster-cast bones are a few exhibits we could mention.

Dr Livingstone, I Presume?, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, from November 23

Galvanising the friendship between the NMS and National Museums of Malawi, where David Livingstone first travelled 152 years ago, this show tells the globetrotting story of the Scottish medical pioneer and explorer. Singular highlights include a gold sample he sent to the museum from Mozambique and a cross made with wood from the tree under which he was buried.
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