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CRITIC'S CHOICE

REVIEW

Maidenhead in Berkshire is a bit short of architecture until you reach the Thames. There, just 200m apart, are Robert Taylor's urbane 18th-century ashlar stone road-bridge and a stunning brick railway viaduct with broad elliptical arches by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It carries the main line - the old Great Western Railway - from Paddington Station to Bristol Temple Meads, both of which are buildings by Brunel.

2006 is the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth, and his adopted hometown of Bristol has plenty of celebrations planned, with fireworks and new lights on Clifton Suspension Bridge on 8 April; Brunel and the Art of Invention at Bristol City Museum from 15 April; and an exhibition at Alec French's SS Great Britain Heritage Centre (AJ 16.03.06).

But there are many events elsewhere, including lectures and conferences, all listed on the dedicated website ( www. brunel200. com), and Bristol Cultural Development Partnership is about to publish a book of newly commissioned essays, Brunel: In Love With The Impossible (£17.95).

Brunel would recognise the scenes in Alexandre Vitkine's photographs at Hackelbury Fine Art, 4 Launceston Place, London W8, until 22 April. The show is called Industrial Silhouettes, and that's just what they are: late-1960s images of construction, cranes, power lines and the like (see picture).

They're very graphic, with their extreme contrasts of black and white, and they're often arresting. But one can't help remembering that Rodchenko and other artists did this kind of thing in the 1920s, so really these are rather derivative ( www. hackelbury. co. uk).

It's Rodchenko's period that the V&A explores in its latest large-scale survey show, Modernism: Designing A New World 1914-1939, which runs from 6 April until 23 July. The museum's last attempt at an architecture and design blockbuster, its Arts & Crafts exhibition in 2005, was badly flawed - will this be better? The V&A is publishing a heavyweight catalogue to the show, edited by curator Christopher Wilk, and a slimmer book by Tim Benton called The Modernist Home, while Dan Cruickshank fronts a fourpart TV series on Modernism for the BBC.

For forthcoming events visit www. ajplus. co. uk/diary

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