News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd November 2004


Robert Frank: Storylines is the first solo exhibition in Britain of work by one of the world's most important living photographers. For more than fifty years, Frank has broken the rules of photography and film making, challenging the boundaries between the still and the moving image. Having trained in his native Switzerland, he emigrated to New York in 1947 and began working for Harper's Bazaar and Life. Frank developed a technique of combining realism with the narrative potential of photographic sequencing, which enabled him to capture the poetic qualities of everyday life, travelling extensively in South America, post Second World War Britain and Paris, and rural United States. In the late 1950s he abandoned traditional photography and concentrated on making films, pioneering a revolutionary approach that combined autobiography, poetry, and emotion with gritty realism. Frank returned to photography in the 1970s to make complex constructions, containing multiple prints in black and white and colour, as well as stills from films and videos. The exhibition includes over one hundred and fifty black and white photographs never before displayed outside America, and three films. These include images from 'Peru' 1949, 'London' 1951-52, 'Black White and Things' 1952, 'Wales' 1953, 'Chicago' 1956 and 'The Americans' 1958, the groundbreaking series of photographs of everyday life which changed the language of post war photography. Tate Modern until 30th January.

The Pissarro Family At Home is a selection of works by the Impressionist Camille Pissarro, and subsequent members of the Pissarro family, drawing on the Pissarro Family Archive, a gift made by the widow and daughter of Lucien Pissarro in 1950, giving an insight into the Pissarro family's domestic life spanning three generations. It includes a number of oil paintings by Camille Pissarro, his eldest son Lucien, and Lucien's daughter Orovida, as well as drawings, sketchbooks, letters, and other documentary material. An unusual aspect of the Archive is the number of family portraits, revealing that although not generally known for their portraiture, the human figure occupied a prominent position within the work of Camille and Lucien throughout their careers. The Pissarros also painted many landscapes of where the family lived and worked, and they drew friends and visitors who came to their homes, usually in informal or intimate settings. Highlights include Camille's 'View from my Window, Eragny-sur-Epte', his most successful experiment in the pointillist style; 'Mme Pissarro sewing beside a Window', an intimate portrait of his wife absorbed in a domestic task; and a portrait in oils of Lucien. Among the paintings by Lucien are views of the house and garden at The Brook, Hammersmith, where he settled in 1900, and portraits of his parents, wife, and daughter. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford until 2nd January.

Must-Have Toys features favourite toys from the last 100 years, brought together for the first time, in the most comprehensive collection of desirable toys ever assembled in the UK. The toys have been selected from both classics - like the teddy bear, which first appeared in 1903, through Meccano, and the Spacehopper, to Beyblades - and surprise best sellers of one particular year - such as Britain's Combine Harvester, the number one toy in 1978. The exhibition reflects how design and technology has influenced the toy industry, with plastic first used to make toys for babies in the 1930s, moving on to the creation of Mr Potato Head, Lego and Bob the Builder. Dolls have always been popular, but in the Swinging Sixties, Sindy and her arch rival Barbie were new and radical teenage dolls, who took their look from the fashion world around them. Sindy was the first toy in Britain to star in her own television commercial. Boys had to wait for Action Man who became popular in the 1970s. In more recent years the influence of film and television has revolutionised the toy industry, with the emergence of merchandise, which started with Star Wars, paving the way for Buzz Lightyear, Power Rangers, Tracy Island and Harry Potter. There are hands on opportunities for children (and adults) throughout the exhibition, including a giant snakes and ladders game and Twister, plus a programme of activities and events scheduled at weekends and during the Christmas holidays. Museum Of Childhood At Bethnal Green until 9th January.


Great Escapes examines and illustrates some of the extraordinary escape attempts made by Allied servicemen from German prisoner of war camps in the Second World War. It compares fact - much of which seems too far fetched to be true - with the fictional versions seen in the films The Wooden Horse, The Great Escape and Colditz. The ingenuity employed in engineering the escapes themselves - be it tunnelling under, or flying over the walls - and subsequent survival - supplying clothes and identity papers to avoid recapture - is revealed. The exhibition includes the first public display of objects recently excavated from the original tunnels. Among the exhibits are forged identity tags and papers, rubber stamps carved from boot soles, a Monopoly game used to smuggle in hacksaw blades, tins from Red Cross parcels converted to shovels, and German currency concealed inside records. Also on display are replicas of the wooden vaulting horse used as the cover for tunnelling at Stalag Luft 111, and the glider constructed but never actually used at Colditz. In addition to the original artefacts, interactive and hands-on displays allow children and adults to try on disguises, forge an identity pass, crawl through an escape tunnel, find out facts about escape attempts, and use their ingenuity to plan their own escape route from Colditz. Imperial War Museum, London until 31st July.

A Gentle Madness: The Photographs Of Tony Ray-Jones provides an opportunity to view a body of work rarely seen or discussed, by one of the foremost observers of 'The English'. Tony Ray-Jones produced his finest work between 1966 and 68 in the form of a sardonic and surreal portrayal of the seaside resorts, customs and festivals of England. The youngest son of the British painter Raymond Ray-Jones, he studied graphics and photography in London before gaining a scholarship to study at Yale. There he developed his vision and began working on assignments for magazines in New York. Ray-Jones returned to Britain in 1965 charged with the dynamic spirit of the New York photography scene, and employing a fresh viewpoint, set about his major project of documenting everyday English eccentricity. Rituals such as sunbathing on a cloudy day in Brighton, a beauty contest in Southport and daft carnival costumes in Skegness were exhibited in two of the earliest solo photography shows in London, and published posthumously as A Day Off. The series has become a landmark in the history of the medium, leaving its mark on a new generation of British photographers. Faking It: Between Art Photography And Advertising demonstrates the visual parallels that occur between art photography and advertising. Through a series of fabulous, staged images, it reveals the surprising crossovers between art and advertising photography, by identifying themes, props, poses and styles that are common to both kinds of studio practice. National Museum Of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford until 9th January.

Iron Ladies: Women In Thatcher's Britain is the first exhibition to consider the impact of 'Thatcherism' on British women in the 1980s, and to look at the ways in which Margaret Thatcher's presence as a role model affected women's lives. Cold war ideology, political and social protest and the changing status of women in the workforce are all examined, alongside consideration of Margaret Thatcher's experiences as Britain's first female prime minister, and her subsequent legacy for women and the women's movement. Using a wide range of original material, including previously unseen visual and archival documents, recordings, photographs, posters, leaflets, badges, memorabilia and clothing of the period, the exhibition addresses central issues from this defining period of recent history. Artifacts used conjure up representations of the Eighties include a gym outfit with leg-warmers beside a Jane Fonda video, a red and white polka dot baby-doll dress beside The Sloane Rangers' Handbook, and of course, one of the legendary handbags. An extensive programme of talks, study days and events accompany the exhibition. Women's Library until 2nd April.

Raphael: From Urbino To Rome is, surprisingly, the first major exhibition of paintings and drawings by the great Renaissance painter to be held in Britain. In little more than a decade, between 1500 and 1513, Raphael transformed himself from a competent master of provincial church decoration into one of the greatest painters who ever lived, whose compositions influenced Western art up to the 20th century. This exhibition follows Raphael's dramatic stylistic evolution from his origins in Urbino to the works he produced under the patronage of Pope Julius II in Rome. It meticulously explores the meaning and historical context of his works, reveals the techniques he used, and how these developed, with early cartoons and sketches of alternative compositions alongside the finished paintings. Drawing on collections world wide to complement the gallery's unrivalled holding of Raphael's early works, including the recent controversial acquisition 'The Madonna of the Pinks', the exhibition features a number of paintings never seen in Britain before. Highlights include 'The Holy Family with the Lamb', 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', The Vision of a Knight' and 'The Entombment', plus the 'Alba Madonna' from National Gallery of Art in Washington, the 'Conestabile Madonna' from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the 'Saint George' and 'Saint Michael' from the Louvre in Paris and the 'Self Portrait' from the Uffizi in Florence. National Gallery until 16th January.

Somewhere Everywhere Nowhere is an exhibition of international contemporary art selected from five of France's FRACs (Fonds Regionaux d'Art Contemporain) which were set up in 1983 to collect, commission and present the art of our times. It looks at notions of place, space and context, from landscapes to interiors, embracing a wide range of media, including film, photography, sculpture and video. The works by major French and international figures - Lothar Baumgarten, Alighiero e Boetti, Dominique Gonzalez-Forester and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others - reflect the breadth and quality of the contemporary art being collected. Among the works are photographs of industrial sites by Bernd and Hilla Becher; Willie Doherty's traumatised suburban landscapes; Jeff Wall's cibachrome of a man holding an exploding carton of milk, mounted on a huge light box; Chen Zhen's bits of urban detritus in an industrial-looking glass case; Didier Marcel's architect's model of a building in the process of being demolished; Erwin Wurm's film of a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space projected onto a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space; Douglas Gordon's compilation of fragments taken from 'Star Trek'; and Andrea Fraser's video of a visitor responding over-enthusiastically to an audio-guide's description of the Guggenheim Bilbao. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh until 28th November and Dundee Contemporary Arts until 4th December.

Asia: Body Mind Spirit explores Asia's holistic approach to medicine - which advocates a balanced relationship of body, mind and spirit - through over two hundred rare and beautiful objects. The materials on display include decorated manuscripts, rare acupuncture charts, early medical texts, and artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs from India, Tibet, China, Japan and other Asian countries. There is a real Chinese pharmacy, complete with drawers of herbs, and a reconstruction of a Tibetan chapel with protective banners. Other highlights include: a Nepalese Ayurvedic painting of the human body depicting channels and organs annotated in Sanskrit; a Korean scroll on acupuncture; a Japanese block print showing the first recorded use of anaesthesia in surgery; a Batak amulet used to protect against poison; a Japanese woodcut depicting a Chinese surgeon operating on a wounded war hero, who is playing go to distract his attention from the pain; a folio from a 14th century Persian horoscope showing the influence of planets on health; a Burmese illustrated text on the life of the Buddha; a 16th century text depicting Mahavira, founder of the Jain religion; and a new work commissioned from London artist Chila Kumari Burman showing how images of Eastern complementary medicine have become a familiar part of the 21st century Western life. The Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, London W1 until 12th December.


William Hodges: The Art Of Exploration is the first ever major retrospective of the 18th century world landscape painter, whose career as an artist took him to New Zealand, the South Pacific and India, travelling with Captain Cook on his second three year voyage, and across India under the patronage Warren Hastings and the East India Company. The exhibition reveals Hodges's bold, almost impressionistic style, and shows how his originality expanded the scope of British landscape painting to include subjects that reflected European exploration across the world. The works also demonstrate his technical skill for painting 'en plein air', a technique that caused controversy when the Impressionists bought it to the fore a century later. The subjects of his paintings of Tahiti, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands were a revelation at the time for audiences in Europe with no knowledge of these scenes and cultures. Among these are the monuments of Easter Island, a waterspout at Cape Stephens, and an Antarctic iceberg. After returning from the Pacific, Hodges became the first professional landscape painter to work in India. The exhibition, of 56 oil paintings and over 20 works on paper, includes many works that have not been on display since Hodges's lifetime, and this is the first time that the Pacific and Indian pictures have been seen together. Queen's House, The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 21st November.

A Garden Of Fans is an exhibition of over 100 fans with floral motifs of every kind from Europe and Asia. In the 17th century fans were a status symbol and sported serious subjects such as copies of classical paintings with scenes deriving from mythology and history on the font, but flowers were often painted on the reverse (the side which was held up to the face). Tulips, much in vogue at that time, took pride of place beside the rose, the flower of Venus, goddess of Love. There were also hyacinths, jasmine and carnations, popular at the court of Louis XIV. The 19th century, particularly towards the end, with the emergence of Art Nouveau, produced spectacular fans painted with life size blooms of botanical precision, which were often signed. As trade with the East increased, artists and craftsmen from Europe were influenced and inspired by the importance of flowers in Japanese culture, and the way flowers were used in art in China. Also on display is a recent acquisition, an important fan painted around 1889 by Walter Richard Sickert, which cost £90,000. In gouache on vellum, it depicts the Music Hall artiste Little Dot Hetherington performing on stage at the Old Bedford Theatre in Camden. The spot lit performer, raising her face to the gods as she sings the song "The boy that I love is up in the gallery", is copied from an earlier Sickert painting, and has been slightly amended to suit the fan leaf shape, with which Sickert and his contemporaries were experimenting. The Fan Museum, Greenwich until 19th November.

Bodies Revealed: The Exhibition features a display of dissected full human specimens, plus hundreds of individual organs, allowing visitors the chance to see close up how the body works, and how organs are affected by disease. The specimens have been preserved using a process called 'polymer preservation', so that they can be examined long term, without deterioration due to natural decay. The same technique was used by Professor Gunther von Hagens, the gentleman that looked as though he had just stepped out of a Hammer Horror film, who dissected a body live on television, (no, not a live body) for the Body Worlds exhibition in 2002. This time the specimens are the work of the less alarming Dr Roy Glover, and the University of Michigan. His laboratory has supplied preserved human specimens for medical instruction in more than 125 undergraduate and postgraduate medical programmes, biotechnology companies, health education agencies and museums. All of the bodies and organ specimens in the exhibition came from individuals who chose to donate their bodies to medical science for the purpose of study and education. Possibly the most impressive exhibit is a figure showing the delicate knitting of the entire blood vessel system. Nevertheless, with the cirrhotic livers, shrunken lungs and ectopic pregnancies on display, plus the location on Blackpool's Golden Mile, it does evoke the memory of a Victorian freak show. Winter Gardens, Blackpool, until 14th November.