News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th May 2004


Town House Treasures: Sir William Holburne Of Bath is a selection from the remarkable collection of fine and decorative art of Sir William Holburne. Born into a distinguished naval family, he saw action at the Battle of Trafalgar when he was only twelve years old, and later became a notable traveller. Over three decades, both at home and abroad, he collected works of art on a huge scale, acquiring over 5,000 objects, including Italian maiolica, Renaissance bronzes, 17th century Dutch paintings, European porcelain, English silver and Wedgwood ware. The entire collection can now be found at the Holburne Museum of Art, situated in a town house in Bath. This exhibition displays some of the best pieces, with fine paintings (including Jagger's portrait of the man himself), spectacular silver, porcelain, miniatures and other objet d'art, giving visitors a chance to compare and contrast Holburne's treasures with the Sir Richard Wallace's resident collection. The Wallace Collection until 6th June.

Fantasy Architecture 1500 - 2036 brings together imaginative, fantastic and visionary schemes for a better world - some practical, some wholly fanciful. These visions of the future remained on paper due to lack of funds, political change, or because technically they were ahead of their time. The exhibition features over 120 projects by world famous architects, displayed with plans, drawings, paintings, maquettes, collage, film and computer animation. Among the buildings that might have been are Asymptote's New York Virtual Stock Exchange, with streams of financial data as a dynamic virtual environment; Joseph Paxton's monumental ten mile Great Victorian Way, combining shops, hotels and restaurants with an elevated railway; MVDR's tower block for pigs; and Martin Riuz de Azua's Basic House, an inflatable portable dwelling that packs away in its owner's pocket. There are also projects by such legends as Robert Adam, Archigram, Charles Barry, Etienne Louis Boullee, Santiago Calatrava, Hugh Maxwell Casson, William Chambers, Serge Chermayeff, Charles Cockerell, Peter Cook, Foreign Office Architects, Galli Bibiena Family, Foster and Partners, Buckminster Fuller, Future Systems, Erno Goldfinger, Zaha Hadid, Inigo Jones, Edwin Lutyens, Erich Mendelsohn, John Nash, Claes Oldenburg, Alison and Peter Smithson, John Soane, Softroom, Vladimir Tatlin, Tecton and Clough Williams Ellis. Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland until 3rd July.

Pleasurelands - 200 Years Of Fun At The Fair brings the world of the funfair alive, showing both the magical illusion of the fair, and the reality of life behind the scenes. There are actual carousel horses, dodgem cars, and sideshows - including slot machines from the 1940s and 1950s - on which visitors can play. These join posters, models, photographs, films, lighting and sound effects to recreate the spectacle, illusion, experience and reality of the fairground. The exhibition examines the changing use of technology in sideshows - mirrors, optics, projections and lights - in creating the illusions of magic and mystery. The dynasties of show men and women of fairground families are celebrated, such as the knife throwing Shufflebottoms and the circus owning Smarts, through memories, photographs and mementos. The reality of life on the road is also examined, revealing the reality of this highly organised community, and the drawbacks of their transitory lifestyle. The materials in the exhibition are drawn from the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield. Croydon Clocktower, Croydon, 020 8253 1030 until 5th September.


Barbican Art Gallery celebrates its re-opening after a 1m makeover designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan, which has provided an additional 140 sq metres of display space and new reception area, thanks to the bridging of the central void and removal of a staircase, with two exhibitions that demonstrate the new adaptability of the space. Tina Modotti and Edward Weston: The Mexico Years, in the upper level, is the first major exhibition in the UK of photographs by two key figures of Modernist photography. It features over 150 vintage images, including some never before exhibited, and focuses on their work during the 1920s in post-Revolutionary Mexico, when the two photographers worked together, and considers their role in Mexican Modernism, and how the period impacted on their careers. Helen Chadwick: A Retrospective, on the lower floor, is a comprehensive display of large installations by one of the most important British artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s, who specialised in creating art from waste products. The scale on which she worked meant that they would have been difficult to accommodate before the refurbishment. Among the 70 pieces present are the self portrait based 'Ego Geometria Sum', 'The Oval Court', 'Cacao' - a fountain of hot bubbling chocolate, and 'Piss Flowers'. Barbican Art Gallery until 1st August.

Newnham Paddox Art Park, the 30 acre open air lakeside art gallery, opens its second season with 60 new works in contemporary and classical styles for viewing and purchase, in a unique wooded setting. The park is part of a 1,000 acre Grade 1 listed 18th century romantic landscape designed by Capability Brown on the 3,000 acre estate of the Earl and Countess of Denbigh. Among the new artists whose work is featured are Michael Rizzello, John Baldwin and James Butler. Returning artists include David Begbie, Dawn Benson, Mick Chambers, Peter Clarke, Sukey Erland, Nic Fiddian-Green, Alan Gibbs, Amy Goodman, Bruce Hardwick, Christa Hunter, William Lazard, Nick Lloyd, Lyell, Michael Lyons, Sylvia Macrae Brown, Rob Maingay, Justin Neal, Walenty Pytel, Jane Rickards, Elizabeth Studdert, Brian Taylor, Thomas Tatnell, Gail van Heerden, Diane Whelan and Althea Wynne. Ceramicist Mark Isley is using the summerhouse as his studio throughout the season, and visitors can watch him throw and turn pots, and Raku fire them in a purpose built kiln. Wooded walks afford five views of the lakes and park, which contains many rare specimen trees that have been collected by previous generations of Denbighs on their journeys abroad since 1433. Newnham Paddox Art Park, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, Thursdays to Sundays until 17th October.

Prisoners Of The Tower, explores the incarceration of many of the most interesting and intriguing prisoners of the Royal fortress on the Thames, including Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Thomas More, Princess Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, Walter Raleigh and Rudolf Hess. The exhibition also tells the stories of lesser known prisoners, from the very first in 1100 (who also became the first prisoner to escape), to the 20th century Germans accused of espionage. It reveals the conditions in which they were kept - many prisoners of state in relative luxury, exploding the Victorian myth of dripping dungeons, the punishments that some endured, the variety of reasons for being 'sent to the Tower', and the numerous attempts to escape, as well as the ultimate fate that awaited many prisoners. The exhibition includes unique personal possessions, rare documents and artefacts, furniture, clothing, models, film footage, works of art, and manuscripts written by prisoners themselves, including: the personal Prayer Books of Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn; papers containing the signature of Rudolf Hess; the Episcopal Staff and Ring of Bishop Flambard, the first Tower prisoner; and the actual chair in which Josef Jakobs, the last prisoner to be executed at the Tower, was shot. The Tower of London until 5th September.

The Secret State reveals for the first time, the true extent of Britain's preparations for nuclear attack during the Cold War. Based on recently released secret documents held in the government archive, it shows how woefully poor our chance of survival would have been, had the doomsday scenario of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union taken place. In addition, the intelligence reports, minutes of meetings, notes and memoranda prepared by ministers and senior civil servants, illuminate the background, including the methods by which espionage was conducted, why and how our nuclear deterrent was built, and how secrets were betrayed to the Russians. The most secret files deal with the nuclear retaliation procedures in the 1960s, spelling out what would have happened if the Prime Minister had survived the first missile assault, how he would have responded, and also that an RAF officer, the Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, was authorised to retaliate on his own initiative if the Prime Minister had been killed. Perhaps the most compelling files are those that deal with the fate that would have awaited the British people had an attack succeeded: millions dead instantly; radiation poisoning eventually killing millions more; the Prime Minister and a small war cabinet evacuated to secret bunker; the country broken into 12 self contained mini kingdoms, each run by a cabinet minister from underground 'regional seat of government'; the military and the police dispensing absolute and rough justice; and the near impossibility of restoring the essentials of life for the survivors. The National Archives, Kew until 30th October.

Ben Nicholson And The St Ives School is an exhibition of the work of a unique artistic community. Ben Nicholson first came to prominence in the 1930s as a pioneer of abstract art, although he retained a life long interest in the depiction of landscape and still life. In 1939, Nicholson and his wife, the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, moved to St Ives in Cornwall, where they lived for the next 20 years. During this period Nicholson and Hepworth became prominent members of a celebrated artists' colony, which included Naum Gabo, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. The work of the group, in landscape and abstract paintings, and sculpture, illustrates a response to, and enthusiasm for, their Cornish surroundings. This exhibition comprises paintings from throughout Nicholson's long and prolific career, from his Cumbrian landscape 'Walton Wood Cottage No.1', to his abstract 'White Relief ' and the later 'Green Goblet and Blue Square'. These are accompanied by works from other members of the group, including Hepworth's celebrated 'Wave', and Frost's 'Black and White Movement in Blue & Green II'. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 13th June.

Li Zhensheng: Red-colour New Soldier presents the only known existing photographic documentation of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in China between 1966 and 1976. These were times when child turned against parent and pupil against teacher, with tens of thousands of young revolutionaries mobilised as Red Guards, while countless others were executed, imprisoned or sent to work camps, accused of being enemies of the masses. Starting in 1963, the photographer Li Zhensheng spent almost 20 years working for the Heilongjiang Daily, a Communist newspaper in Northern China, with full access to events. His unique archive of images conveys the madness of this time: stage-managed public trials, recantations, the cult of personality, mass demonstrations, executions and re-education campaigns. In 1969 Li himself was sent to a 're-education school' in a desolate rural region north of Harbin for two years. When the new Chinese leadership ordered the destruction of all evidence of what happened, at great personal risk, Li hid and preserved thousands of photographs in his furniture and under his floorboards, and these were later smuggled to the West. This exhibition brings together over 130 of his photographs, along with personal documents from the period.Hou Bo & Xu Xiaobing: Mao's Photographers features photographs taken by Hou Bo, who worked with her husband Xu Xiaobing at the heart of the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda machine. They were close to Mao from the period leading up to the Revolution through to the end of his life, producing many of the iconic images, from Mao's declaration of the People's Republic of China in 1949, to his swim in the Yangtze River at the age of 73 in 1966. During the Cultural Revolution, as the personality cult that engulfed Mao came to its height, his image and Little Red Book of quotations were distributed in their millions throughout China. Hou Bo's portraits appeared in nearly every office, factory, classroom, shop and home, showing Mao as a charismatic leader, a teacher, a strategist and an internationalist. This exhibition includes over 60 photographs of the most notable political figures of these years, including not only the widely disseminated portraits of Mao, but intimate shots of him with his family, that have rarely been seen.The Photographers' Gallery, London until 30th May.


The Humour Of Embarrassment: H.M. Bateman's 'The Man Who' Cartoons celebrates the acquisition of 61 prints of 'The Man Who' cartoons by Bateman, one of the foremost British cartoonists of the early 20th century. These drawings originally appeared as colour double page spreads in The Tatler in the 1920s and 1930s, during one of the most glamorous periods of its history. A Bateman drawing is frequently characterised by an immensely expressive and rhythmical line, with characters convulsed by the intensity of their emotions. In 'The Man Who' cartoons, individuals, through ignorance, impudence or folly, do 'The Thing That Isn't Done', and draw the wrath or derision of society down upon their heads, as with 'The Guardsman Who Dropped It' or 'The Shop Assistant Who Lost His Temper'. Bateman's originality is based on the way he drew people: not as they looked, but as they felt. If they are embarrassed, people say they feel very small, and Bateman took the phrase literally. As well as the original Bateman drawings, the exhibition also features a number of more recent pastiches by contemporary cartoonists, such as Ralph Steadman, John Jensen, Dave Brown and Steve Bell. There are accompanying illustrated talks about Bateman's work by his biographer Anthony Anderson, and cartoonist Les Coleman. The Cartoon Art Trust Museum, London until 22nd May.

Roy Lichtenstein is the first major retrospective of the American father of Pop Art in the UK for 35 years. Lichtenstein shot to international fame with his paintings based on cartoon characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Popeye - but it was his blown up comic strip scenes of wartime action and romantic melodrama, such as 'Whaam!', 'Ohhh Alright' and 'In The Car', and his paintings of everyday objects culled from advertising, including 'Coffee Cup', 'Golf Ball' and 'Radio' that established the Pop Art movement. These paintings surprised and shocked the public in the early 1960s twice over. Firstly, for their precise, mechanical style: big, brash and immediate, in bold primary colours (often created by dots as in the original comic strips) within thick black outlines. Secondly, for their provocative use of subjects, taken from the worlds of commerce and popular culture. From the late 1960s onwards Lichtenstein extended the range of his imagery, applying the same techniques to still lifes, figure studies, landscapes and interiors. He examined colour, pattern and form, spatial illusions and the styles and iconic images of modern life, with increasing complexity and an ironic humour. This exhibition presents over 80 paintings and drawings, spanning nearly 40 years, providing an opportunity to see not only his most famous works "in the flesh" but also some relatively little known pieces. Viewed in retrospect his work reveals a simplicity, economy and subtlety that far outstrips the other pillar of the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol. Hayward Gallery until 16th May.

Thurston Hopkins: The Golden Age Of Reportage is a retrospective of one of the great generation of photographers who transformed British photojournalism while working for Picture Post, the journal of record in the 1950s. In a career spanning four decades, Hopkins became known for his acute ability to depict the human condition through images that convey great sensitivity, while taking a creative approach to their sometimes widely varied material. Hopkins's work reflected the extraordinary contrasts in the years following the Second World War: the social whirl of the toffs in Mayfair and Kensington, and the extreme poverty in the slums of the East End of London and Liverpool; the 'other world' glamour of visiting Hollywood film stars, and the familiar bomb site wreckage that lay round every corner. They were all captured in the final flowering of the medium of the black and white image. Hopkins exploited shadow and reflection, both on location and in elaborate studio set ups, and was a master of both the snatched shot, the carefully composed, and the long exposure. Royal National Theatre until 15th May.