Royal variety show

Edinburgh may be famous for its castle and performing arts festival, mixing royal glamour with the last word in bad-taste repartee, but now it’s making its case as a major destination for art. The Edinburgh Art Festival is now in its fourth year, and the variety of programming is impressive/ these elevated insights will give the stageplayers with their bathos a run for their money. At Inverleith House, newly printed photographs taken in Memphis in 1974 by US pioneer William Eggleston will be shown for the first time, so fans will be beating a path to the door. Similarly famed for basking in colour, Dundee-born David Batchelor is creating a huge atrium installation of found, pound-shop detritus, amassing a brilliant collection of colour from mundane bits and bobs (shame that lighting designer Stuart Haygarth is nowadays plundering exactly this territory). The Corn Exchange Gallery is promoting Royal College of Art graduate Frances Richardson, while an Andy Warhol retrospective and two Picasso shows – one of drawings, the other focusing on the post-war period – offer some heavyweight historical perspectives. But the real buzz will come from all the contemporary shows – Rachel Whiteread, Alex Hartley and Nathan Coley lend the festival some critical mass. Above all, make a date to see John Stezaker at Stills, who plays on our continuing fascination with portraits by transforming ‘found’ faces from film stills and archive images with implied character, by literally supplanting views into other places on to them. It’s a simple trick, but the visual combinations are beguiling.

Edinburgh Art Festival runs from 26 July to 2 September. Check individual venues for specific dates of shows

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