News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd September 2003

Commencing

The Tate has embarked on a project to provide online access to its Archive for the first time, with an initial 4,000 objects. A searchable Showcase offers an opportunity to explore the whole range of the material, and three themed Journeys provide an insight into Tate's History, the Bloomsbury Group and the art world of the 1960s and 70s as seen through the eyes of the critic Barbara Reise. Since the Tate opened in 1897 with just ten galleries, it has acquired some 59,000 works, and been at the centre of various controversies about modern art, as well as surviving two World Wars and a major flood. The History Archive looks at the buildings, its people, the war years and the flood, through personal papers, letters, photographs, models and war telegrams. The Bloomsbury Archive contains a wealth of material about the artistic group, including a large collection of photographs taken by Vanessa Bell. These form a unique visual record of the artists' lifestyle, family and friends, with rare glimpses of the group at work, as well as much correspondence (sometimes illustrated) between Vanessa Bell and her family and colleagues, including Duncan Grant and Roger Fry. American art critic Barbara Reise, who lived and worked in London, was a leading participant in the history of minimal and conceptual art, and a close friend of Carl Andre, Dan Graham and Sol LeWitt, as well as some of their British counterparts. The Reise Archive contains information relating to her life and work, which provides a behind the scenes insight into the artists and art of the period. The Archive can be accessed on the Tate web site via the link opposite.

Helena Christensen: People & Portraits comprises two different collections in the supermodel's first solo photographic exhibition. The first showcases 16 previously unseen celebrity portraits, including Orlando Bloom, Marianne Faithful, Sadie Frost, Erin O'Connor, Rankin and Robbie Williams, all wearing Levi's 501s (and mostly nothing else) to celebrate the 130th birthday of the jeans. Accompanying this is a collection of images from Christensen's personal archive, which demonstrate her talent at portraiture, and introduces her fashion photography, providing evidence that she will soon be as well known for her work behind the camera as she is in front of it. Although she has been a keen photographer since she was 17, it is only in the last few years that Christensen has made the transition from model to professional snapper. Using what she learnt while modelling over the last seventeen years, she has recently undertaken fashion shoots for magazines ranging from French Vogue, and British and French Elle, to Dazed and Confused, and a variety of commercial campaigns, as well as personal work. Proud Central, London, 020 7839 4942, until 4th October.

Editions Alecto: A Fury For Prints presents the art scene of 1960s and 70s Britain, viewed through the activities of the most important print publishers of the day. Editions Alecto were pioneering print publishers who produced and sold contemporary artists' prints at the time when Britain made a significant contribution to European and American Pop Art. By streamlining the process of production and distribution of artists' prints in the UK, Editions Alecto supported the creation of some of the most iconic images in post war British art. The company's first major publishing success, A Rake's Progress, helped launch the career of David Hockney, who travelled to California for the first time on the money he received for the sixteen etchings. Other landmark projects for the artists involved were Allen Jones' Concerning Marriages, Eduardo Paolozzi's As Is When and Patrick Caulfield's first untitled screen-print series. These are displayed alongside images by other artists whose work is equally evocative of this groundbreaking period, including Richard Hamilton, Bridget Riley and Gillian Ayres. The work of American artists is represented by prints by Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg and Ed Ruscha. Bankside Gallery, London until 28th September.

Continuing

From Palace To Parlour: A Celebration Of 19th Century British Glass is the first exhibition in London to illustrate the extraordinary diversity and sumptuousness of Regency and Victorian British glass. The multitude of new manufacturing and decorative techniques of the period are represented, from the rediscovery of the ancient Roman art of cameo engraving, which spawned a new luxury industry, to the introduction of mould pressed glass for the masses, with its multiplicity of shapes, colours and commemoratives, plus intricate wheel engraving and deep intaglio cutting which brought clear glass back into fashion in the latter part of the century. Highlights include a crystal throne upholstered in scarlet velvet, which was made for a Maharaja; a place setting from the famous Regency service made for the Prince of Wales by Perrin Geddes & Co; the Copeland Vase, which took its engraver Paul Oppitz 243 days to complete, gold enamel reverse decorated armorial plates from the Royal Service of Queen Victoria; an enamelled and relief gilded vase by Jules Barbe; a Persian style cameo vase made in 1890 by Stevens and Williams; and rare examples of varnished glass, the production of which was so dangerous that it was banned a year after it was invented. The exhibition, comprising over 250 magnificent objects, is curated by The Glass Circle, and provides a rare public opportunity to see many pieces lent by its members. The Wallace Collection until 26th October.

Grounded is a series of ambiguous photographic perspectives on the natural world by Helen Sear. The pictures, depicting what at first sight appear to be vast expanses of deserted land beneath dramatic and atmospheric skies, turn out in fact to be close ups of the hides and backs of a number of different animals. Sear's technique is actually quite simple. She takes isolated images of the animals' bodies and digitally montages them into backgrounds of sky. The results however, are remarkable and almost painterly evocations of real landscapes. As well as this group, the exhibition also includes 'Still… A Landscape In Ten Pieces'. This is a series of fragmented photographic details taken from one negative image of a diorama she found in the natural history museum in Darmstadt in Germany. Sear creates new dramas by juxtaposing individual images of the various rabbits, birds and deer in new relationships. Impressions Gallery, York, 0904 654 724, until 4th October.

Photojournalism 1930 - 1970 presents an intimate picture of life in the middle of the 20th century through recent gifts to the museum's photographic collection. These are working pictures, destined for newspapers, and news magazines such as Life and Picture Post, which reflect both everyday events and defining moments in history. They cover a period of technological change in the medium, as new cameras and techniques made it possible to capture images more spontaneously, at high speed, and over longer distances, thus enabling the dubious emergence of today's paparazzi. Among the snappers whose work is included are Ernst Hass and Gisele Freund from the archives of the John Hilleson Agency, Erich Salomon, and David Seymour, a founding member of Magnum. The display is grouped into four themes. Celebrity, contrasts elaborately staged portraits of Gloria Swanson and Virginia Woolf, with unguarded backstage images of Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner and John Gavin. Politics includes individuals, such as a candid shot of William Randolph Hearst in a hotel room, taken from outside through an open window, and events including participants in a splendid official banquet, and a rare pro-Vietnam rally. Citizens at work and play ranges from immigrants disembarking from a ship to their new home, through to the opening of the first theme park. Modernities contrasts idealised visions of an antiseptic, streamlined modern future with the actualities of famine and conflict. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd November.

A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits Of People, Plants And Places displays recent photographs by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth of over 50 British horticulturalists and their work. The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy. The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong. The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener including Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd. The Garden Preserved reveals the living heritage of great gardens such as Cawdor Castle (Angelika Cawdor) and Stourhead (John Sales) charting grand restorations and dramatic transformations. The Garden Explored deals with plant scholarship, expedition and exploration, with Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project. Alongside each portrait is a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Ghillean Prance (Kew Gardens), Charles Jencks (The Garden of Cosmic Speculation), Arabella Lennox-Boyd (Gresgarth Hall), Ann Scott-James (Sissinghurst), Beth Rothschild (Waddesdon Manor) and Graham Stuart Thomas (Mottisfont Rose Garden). National Portrait Gallery until 19th October.

Boyle Family is the first retrospective ever held of four artists: Mark Boyle, Joan Hills and their children Sebastian and Georgia. Boyle and Hills began working together in the early 1960s, making junk assemblages, staging the first Happenings or Performance Art events held in Britain, inventing the psychedelic light show, and touring with Soft Machine and Jimi Hendrix. As they grew up, Sebastian and Georgia joined the family business of producing artworks. This exhibition includes assemblages from the early 1960s, film and photography, and many of the extraordinary 'Earth Surfaces' for which they are now best known. 'Earth Surfaces' are reproductions of small areas of the earth's surface in hyper-realistic low relief panels of astonishing detail, usually about 6ft square. The subjects are selected at random by throwing darts into maps of the world, and their plan is to record 1000 locations. The outdoor sites include city, country and coast, with pavements, roads, muddy tracks, sand, bricks, ploughed fields, mosaic paths, gravel, cobbles, snow and ice - the only surfaces to have beaten them so far are the Pacific Ocean and a Japanese paddy field. Using their own secretly developed techniques, (so secret that security cameras are turned off while the pieces are assembled) involving casting in resin and special paints, the Boyle family have created hundreds of seemingly exact facsimiles, which even on close inspection, seem to be the real thing. These are given a surrealist twist by bringing them indoors and turning them through ninety degrees from horizontal to vertical to hang them on a wall. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 9th November.

The Geffrye Museum is located in a Grade 1 listed group of fourteen almshouses, a chapel and their gardens, built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers as retirement homes for its pensioners and widows. Within this setting it shows a specialist collection of English furniture and decorative arts in a chronological series of period rooms. These reflect the changing social habits and values that have influenced the style of domestic interiors over the past 400 years, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, through the refined splendour of the Georgian period, and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity, seen in a 1930s flat, and a mid century 'contemporary' style room, plus a late 20th century living space in a converted warehouse in a recently opened extension. In addition to its furniture, the museum has over the years acquired a collection of complementary decorative art, paintings, personal memorabilia and archives relating to English domestic interiors. Outdoors, the gardens provide an accompanying series of period 'garden rooms', including an award winning walled herb garden. Now one of the museum's almshouses has been fully restored to its original condition, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of London's poor and elderly in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Geffyre Museum continuing.

Concluding

Elizabeth brings together over 350 objects in the greatest collection ever assembled of personal items, paintings, jewellery, manuscripts, fine art objects and exhibits exploring the life and reign of Elizabeth I. Under the guest curatorship of current historical authority hottie David Starkey, Britain's first golden age is celebrated, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Elizabeth's death. Exhibits encompass both the state and the personal, ranging from the transcript of Elizabeth's first speech as Queen, to her pearl, ruby and diamond locket ring, containing miniature portraits of herself and her mother, Anne Boleyn. Among the rarely or never before seen artefacts are her minister William Cecil's shopping list of the good points of her suitor, Francis Duke of Anjou; an orpharion (a musical instrument similar to a lute) made for Elizabeth; the last letter sent by the love of her life Robert Dudley, which she kept in a casket under her bed for 15 years until her death; her leather gloves and riding boots; portraits of Elizabeth and her courtiers by Nicholas Hilliard, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and Elder, Isaac Oliver and George Gower; and drawings made at the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Inevitably virtual reality has muscled in on actual reality with an interactive Elizabethan Discovery Gallery, which explores her life with 'multisensory learning displays'. Curious how all museums now labour under the bizarre delusion that seeing something on a screen is somehow a more real and valuable experience than seeing the actual object. National Maritime Museum until 14th September.

A Private Passion: Harvard's Winthrop Collection is the first opportunity to view a unique collection outside its home. In the early decades of the 20th century, Grenville L Winthrop, a New Yorker and Harvard graduate, assembled a remarkable collection of paintings and drawings by French, British and American artists of the 19th century. They include the finest group of works by Ingres outside France, including 'The Bather', and major canvasses and sheets by David, Gericault, Delacroix, Moreau, Renoir, Seurat and Degas. British works, beginning with Blake and Flaxman, include important Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Edward Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and a suite of drawings by Aubrey Beardsley. The Americans include Whistler, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer. The collection, finally amounting to some 1,000 paintings and 3,000 objet d'art, was semi secret and no works were seen outside Winthrop's Upper East Side mansion during his lifetime. On his death in 1943 the collection passed to the Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it remained until now. The National Gallery until 14th September.

Peter Blake: Commercial Art 1960-2003 is a retrospective of the commercial work of one of the inspirational figures in the Pop movement of the 1960s, who created some of the most imitated images of the last century. Blake's work extends across a diverse range of media, including watercolour, drawings, prints, collage, painting and sculpture, but there have been few opportunities to view his commercial art before. Throughout his career Blake has worked prolifically, producing art work and graphics for album covers, posters, invitations, calendars and advertisements, as well as illustrations for magazines and books. This exhibition ranges widely, from the recent poster to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf, to posters for Live Aid, Madame Tussauds, and the London Film Festival. It also shows the printed and original artwork from the 60s covers produced for the Sunday Times Magazine, early covers for Penguin paperbacks, illustrations for the annual Trickett & Webb calendars, postage stamps, phone cards, Wedgwood plates, and Babe Rainbow, the archetypal 60s glamour girl, originally commissioned to be printed on (now very valuable) tins. Blake is renowned for his avid interest in popular culture, and his influential collage designs for record covers include the legendary Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Band Aid single Do they know it's Christmas?, and most recently Paul Weller's Stanley Road. London Institute Gallery until 11th September.