After a £10 million refurbishment project, Foster and Partners' Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia reopens this coming Sunday, 21 May. Whatever reservations one might have about the experience of looking at art in this building - the uncharitable would say it makes works look like items in an upmarket B&Q (AJ 14.08.03) - there's no doubting the quality, interest and individuality of the Sainsburys' collection, so it's good that it's accessible again.
Perhaps, along with a new entrance; a new link between the centre and the Crescent Wing; a new shop; and a refurbished café, some of those problems for viewers will have been addressed, but as they're intrinsic to the whole warehouse concept of the building, that's not too likely. The opening show, which includes pieces from other collections, is called Pacic Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia from 1760-1860 and it runs until 13 August ( www. scva. ac. uk).
Pictured is one of the inclusions.
Two other exhibitions in eastern England sound promising. De Sign, which opens today at the University of Essex Gallery at Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, features seven artists (including Langlands and Bell) who claim to 'deconstruct the way architectural language shapes our perception and interaction with space'. Perhaps a trip to the Essex campus does that job quite well in itself, and anyone planning to visit might want to look up the AJ's special issue (20.09.72), in which John McKean explores its contradictions and failings at length. 'Movement in the building must be purposeful; there is no space open to relaxed usage', is one of his comments, more far reaching than it seems at rst. De Sign continues until 8 June (details: ahugo@essex. co. uk).
While Firstsite awaits its new building by Rafael Viñoly, due for completion at the end of 2007, it continues to stage shows at The Minories, 74 High Street, Colchester.
The latest of these, An Indoor Heaven, has an architectural avour, featuring as it does the Brazilian artist Brígida Baltar 'who will develop a new installation across four gallery spaces using the fabric of her Rio de Janeiro home'. It can be seen until 24 June ( www. firstsite. uk. net).