News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th March 2003


The Adventures Of Hamza is a display of paintings illustrating epic tales of heroism, magic and bravery. They depict the exploits of Hamza, a mythical character, supposedly the uncle of Muhammad, who travelled the world with his band of heroes battling against a host of adversaries. Commissioned by the great Mughal emperor Akbar about 1557, the paintings are rare survivors from one of the most unusual manuscripts produced during Mughal rule, and represent a crucial turning point in the development of Mughal art. The tales, which were popular with all ages, were told by professional storytellers across the Persian speaking world, including the Mughal empire. The beautifully coloured dramatic illustrations, present a cast of larger than life characters in exotic costumes, inhabiting a world where heroes confront and make great escapes from giants, sorcerers, sea monsters and dragons, rescue princesses, or manoeuvre their hapless foes into comical predicaments through sheer guile. The unusually large volumes of the Hamzanama text took more than 100 artists, gilders, bookbinders and calligraphers fifteen years to complete, and originally contained 1400 illustrations, though fewer than 200 are known to have survived. This exhibition, comprised of sixty eight paintings from various collections, is the first time they have been seen in this country. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th June.

Real/Surreal: Photographs By Lee Miller is an exhibition of images showing the full range of the extraordinary personal and commercial portfolio of one of the most remarkable photographers of the twentieth century. Few others have had a career than spans fashion shoots for Vogue and the documentation of concentration camps as an official American army correspondent in the Second World War. Originally a Vogue cover model in New York herself, she fell in love with Surrealist artist Man Ray in the 1920s and moved to Paris. There she rapidly became part of the avant-garde art world, and became associated with many artists, including Picasso, Max Ernst and Roland Penrose. Influenced by Ray, she developed her own unique style - bold, surreal and hard edged, experimenting with floating heads and negative images. Miller carried this approach over into her war pictures, creating images that give the reality of combat a further striking twist of horror. After the war she changed course again, married Penrose and settled in rural Sussex. Whitworth Gallery Manchester until 27th April.

Text And Image: German Illustrated Broadsides Of Four Centuries is a collection of the equivalent of public information films from the 15th century - quite soon after the invention of printing with movable type - until the 18th century. Illustrated broadsides are single sheets of paper printed on one side with woodcuts or engravings and text, which were sold for use in a variety of contexts: for information, instruction, contemplation, and entertainment. Displayed in both public and domestic environments, the broadsides were often pinned or stuck to walls and furniture. Though many thousands of copies were printed in several European countries, especially Germany, their unusually large size and fragility have meant that very few have survived. Although some major artists and authors produced broadsides, many of the images and texts are anonymous. This selection, of which all the sheets are rare and many unique, illustrates a number of themes including Religion, Death, City Life, Peasants, Women, Jews, and Witchcraft. British Museum until 21st April.


The Glass Aquarium is an exhibition of the work of 19th Century glass makers Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf, who made thousands of glass models of squids, sea-slugs, cuttlefish, jelly fish and other sea creatures from their tiny studio in Desden. Exquisite in its fine detailing and startlingly real, their work is a remarkable example of the fusion of design, craftsmanship and industrial production from the Victorian era, at a time when the public was fascinated by the recently discovered science of marine exploration. It was described then as "an artistic marvel in the field of science, and a scientific marvel in the field of art". There is something wholly appropriate about the transparency and delicacy of glass being used to represent the wonders of marine life. The exhibition also includes contemporary pieces by a number of artists including Dorothy Cross and Mark Francis whose work is informed by the Blaschkas. Castle Museum & Art Gallery Nottingham until 6th April.

From Warehouse To My House: Loft Style In The Domestic Interior is an exhibition of photographs by David Secombe, exploring the ways in which the loft style has been adapted to different types of building. The domestic spaces photographed for this project include the genuine - old industrial buildings that have been converted into living spaces, the bizarre - architect designed modifications to a Georgian period property, and the created - new-built properties that look to the industrial aesthetic for their inspiration. All of the interiors are in London but are not restricted to a single neighbourhood. This show, which includes the words of the people who inhabit the photographed interiors, focuses on personal, contemporary taste and style in the urban living room.

Gutted: An Exhibition Of Photographs By Etienne Clement is a collection of images of abandoned domestic interiors, taken at the Holly Street housing estate in Hackney, East London, as the tower block was being stripped and prepared for demolition by explosives. Clement endeavoured to capture the echo of recent occupation and to record the empty shell of a discredited piece of urban planning. What has been left behind, and the condition in which these interiors were found, lead the viewer's imagination on a journey of speculation about the hidden stories that lie in these empty, uninhabited domestic spaces. Geffrye Museum, London until 25th May.

Eggebert And Gould present four installations combining drawings, photomontages, light boxes, collage and projections that consider television and the aeroplane as modern devices for collapsing distance and seeing the world. They reflect on a past optimism, when television was seen as a medium that would result in real communication between people and nations, and when it was thought that cheap international travel would bring people together. This is contrasted with the reality of intrusive CCTV surveillance, and the threat of terrorism that aeroplanes now carry. Birthplace Of Television refers to the locality's position as the site of the first transmission of a television image by John Logie Baird. Going Places reflects on the growth of global tourism with a Foreign Office map of no go areas. Alpine Archipelago looks at artificial landscapes created when plants are transported across the world from their natural homes. Knowing Places examines how television facilitates an escape into an imaginary world rather than encouraging engagement with the real one.

There is a permanent exhibition about John Logie Baird, who conducted experiments and placed his first patent for "seeing by wireless" in Hastings in 1923. There is an early televisor and scanning disc, together with a collection of letters written by Baird to his financial backer Will Day, relating to his pioneering work, which go into great detail about his ideas for transmitting and receiving television images. Hastings Museum And Art Gallery 01424 781155 until 6th April.

Julia Margaret Cameron: 19th Century Photographer Of Genius showcases the work of one of the most important, yet least known figures in the history of photography. Presented with a camera as a gift from her daughter, at the age of 48 she embraced photography with a passion bordering on obsession. Cameron's subject matter consisted exclusively of portraits and fancy dress historical tableaux. From a well-to-do colonial background in India and Ceylon, she came to Britain with an entree into artistic, political and scientific society. With her portraits she created many of the images of great Victorians by which we know them best. These include Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, John Herschel (who coined the term 'photography'), Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ellen Terry, Anthony Trollope and G F Watts. Taking inspiration from Arthurian legends, allegorical tales, classical literature and the Bible, she would create heroic scenes employing her servants, friends, and even passers by as human props. Cameron claimed that her style - luminous, and slightly out of focus - was entirely accidental, but she brought to photography something of the qualities of her pre-Raphaelite painter contemporaries. She still holds the record for the highest auction price paid for a 19th century British photograph of £147,000 in 2001. This exhibition brings together over 100 of Cameron's greatest images. National Portrait Gallery until 26th May.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall opened this week on the waterfront at Falmouth, over looking one of the world's largest deep water harbours. The design by Long and Kentish resembles a series of wooden boat sheds around a lighthouse, which provides a lookout point. The interior is divided into two areas. The Virtual, houses all the interactives, without which any new museum is incomplete, including Nav-station, giving an insight into the art of navigation and meteorology; Start Line, showing the many ways boats have been used throughout history; Set Sail, providing an experience of what it is like in different kinds of boats under varying weather conditions; and Tidal Zone offering information about how tides are formed, and an underwater view of the harbour. The Reality, features Flotilla, a selection from the collection of over 140 craft of all sizes and shapes suspended in the air; a collection of artefacts from Cornwall's maritime past; a workshop, with boat builders using a variety of techniques - traditional and contemporary - to build, repair and restore boats, who are happy to explain their craft; and Waterfront, a large pool with fans providing changing wind currents, where visitors can try their hand with radio controlled model sailing craft. In addition, there is a library with over 10,000 maritime books and local archive material, a gallery celebrating Cornwall's rich maritime history; and a special exhibition area, which currently has life size paintings and large scale woodcuts of boats by James Dodds. National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth continuing.

Titian is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to the work of the 16th century Venetian artist. Nobody thought more about colour and light than Titian, and few individuals have had a greater influence on the development of Western painting. Titian's landscapes visualised a golden age, and his portraits of Kings, Dukes and Popes tempered realism with compassion, without being overtly flattering. This show features some of his most famous works, and is the first opportunity to see the gallery's resident collection alongside paintings of similar quality from around the world, including 'Flora' from the Uffizi, 'Danae' and 'Pope Paul III' from Naples, 'The Madonna Of The Rabbit' from the Louvre, 'The Entombment' and 'Philip II' from the Prado, and 'Clarissa Strozzi' from Berlin. It also reunites the four paintings of Alfonso d'Este's 'camerino d'alabastro' - Bellini's 'The Feast of the Gods' (with additions by Titian), 'Bacchus And Ariadne', 'The Worship Of Venus' and 'The Andrians' - for the first time since 1598. The exhibition shows the extraordinary range of subjects and styles executed by Titian during his unusually long career, and uses new historical and scientific art discoveries to re-examine his techniques. National Gallery until 18th May.


Shopping: A Century Of Art And Consumer Culture brings the nation's number one leisure activity into the art gallery. It is an exhibition that had to happen, now that shopping has overtaken the mere satisfaction of physical necessities, and the browsing, selection and purchase of commodities has become one of the defining activities of modern urban life. The show comprises over 240 works, beginning with 'Your Supermarket 2002' by Guillaume Bijl, a recreation of a Tesco Metro, with shelves of fresh food, drinks and household products - and even checkout tills - but nothing is actually for sale. There are photographs by Eugene Atget, Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans chronicling the disappearing world of small shops and specialist stores in Paris, New York and elsewhere. Early examples of art's crossover into the commercial sphere include Frederick Kiesler's studies of shop windows, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's application of Bauhaus principles to the presentation of objects, and highly theatrical window displays by The Surrealists. Installations include recreations of Claes Oldenburg's 'The Store'; Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein's 'The American Supermarket', where real foods such as Warhol's signed stacks of Campbell's soup cans are mixed together with works such as Robert Watts' chrome fruits and multicoloured wax eggs; and Damian Hurst's 'Pharmacy', where thousands of packets are arranged with clinical precision. Tate Liverpool until 23rd March.

Albrecht Durer And His Legacy surveys the work of the man who became the first international artist. By exploiting the new technologies of printing, he ensured that his works were known across Europe, making him a master of the multiple image and an international celebrity four and a half centuries before Andy Warhol. His AD monogram became a trademark, recognised and respected across the Renaissance world. The exhibition looks at Durer's achievements as a draughtsman, engraver and printmaker, and how his widely disseminated and innovative imagery influenced not only his contemporaries, but also the artists and craftsmen of succeeding generations. Among the works included are: the earliest known group of watercolour landscapes drawn from nature to have survived in the history of western art, which he painted during his first visit to Italy; the virtuoso engraving 'Adam and Eve' with its numerous related studies; one of the largest prints ever produced, the 'Triumphal Arch' made for the Emperor Maximilian; the drawing 'Praying Hands', never before seen in this country; and the three master prints of 1513-1514, 'Knight, Death and the Devil', 'Melancholia' and 'St Jerome in his Study'. The impact of Durer's work on other artists is reflected in works from Germany, Holland and Italy (Rembrandt among them), and his long-standing influence on ceramic designs from 16th century majolica to 18th century Meissen. British Museum until 23rd March.

Simon Periton - New Work gives a contemporary slant to the ancient Chinese craft of intricate paper cutting. Put very simply, Simon Periton makes doilies, cutting them by hand from layers of coloured paper to create complex visual and sculptural effects. Patterns consist of symbols from sources as diverse as occultism, colonialism, Islam, punk, Pop Art and politics, and the prettiness of his work belies the seriousness of the cultural references. Periton has made a new piece in metal foil especially for this exhibition, which hangs over the windows like intricate lace curtains, in a response to the domestic proportions of the room. It sounds simple, but the results are anything but. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds until 16th March.