VISUAL ARTS

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Beck's Newcontemporaries, Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3 (0171-435 2643)1 Aug-21 Sept

This year's New Contemporaries, the art world's annual showcase for emerging talent and traditionally a hunting ground for dealers in search of the next big thing, opened at the Cornerhouse in Manchester at the end of May to an almost universal chorus of disappointment and disapproval.

It comes to London next week with a new title (it's now called Beck's Newcontemporaries) and a new press release proclaiming "a striking departure from previous years". Not, as we have come to expect, a springboard for the stars of the future, but a rather more thoughtful engagement with "the spirit of experimentation and inventiveness with new ideas and processes". At least that's what they tell us.

Mindful of the Manchester reception, this all sounds like a quick fix in reply to the critics, although Gillian Wearing, one of the selectors who is herself a New Contemporary of a few years back, and is now tipped for the Turner Prize, has taken things a step further by publicly complaining about the standard of the work that they had to choose from.

Certainly much of the work on show doesn't quite add up - experimentation for its own sake is a pointless exercise - but it isn't all as bad as some reports would have us believe. Worth watching for the future are Pedro Gomes, a young artist who makes doodled pen marks on huge pieces of paper which reveal themselves at a distance as drawings of rooms, rather like computer generated images or stills from a fuzzy video, and Jemima Brown, whose video and photo record of life with her blow-up doll is always diverting and sometimes quite clever.

EYE ON THE NEW This week new Australian art at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. In Place (Out of Time) takes 12 Australian artists of both European and Aboriginal descent and sets out to replace the usual divisions with a shared sense of a common culture. Until 2 Nov (01865 722733)

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