News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th July 2000


New British Art 2000: Intelligence, proving that Tate Britain is not to be outdone by its new sibling down the river, is the first in a series of major exhibitions of contemporary British art to be held every three years, and is the largest loan exhibition ever staged at Millbank. It comprises works by twenty-two contemporary British artists, whose approach is that of "agents at large in society", gathering, sifting and transforming the raw data of our life, critically examining our environment, the way we live and our relations with each other. Works include Sarah Lucas' Life's A Drag Organs, in which two burnt out cars decorated with unsmoked cigarettes suggest a pair of lungs; Bob and Roberta Smith's Protest, where visitors can record their protests (at anything, including the exhibition), a weekly selection of which will be sign written onto the walls; and Gillian Wearing's Drunk, a three screen video projection made in collaboration with a group of street drinkers in South London. It's reassuring that the Tate remains unfazed by continual mutterings about Kings and clothes. Tate Britain until 24th September.

The Palace of Westminster will be open to the public on a trial basis this summer, and visitors will be able to see the Chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Booking opens this week for timed guided tours between 9.30am and 4.15pm, Mondays to Saturdays from 7th August until 16th September. The maximum group size is twenty, and tickets must be booked at least five days in advance. People who are resident in Britain can also arrange tours at any time through their local Member of Parliament or a Peer to whom they are known. When Parliament is sitting, the Strangers Galleries of both Houses are open to the public. To gain entry, simply join the queue for either the Commons or the Lords at St Stephen's entrance. It is usually fairly easy to get into the Lords, but it is difficult to secure a place in the Commons during the afternoon, particularly at Prime Minister's Question Time, between 3pm and 3.30pm on Wednesdays.

JMW Turner: The Sun Is God is a new vision of Turner's work, examining the idea that he was a pioneer of abstract art, curated by Mark Francis, formerly of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Turner's last words were reported to have been "The sun is god", and the qualities of light gained an increasing importance through his career, as his work became more abstract. Francis has selected thirty oil paintings and watercolours from the Turner Bequest, the majority of which date from the 1830s and 1840s, and presents them unframed, with no protective glass, on white walls, and in natural light - much as they would have looked in Turner's studio. The centrepiece is the apocalyptic The Angel Standing In The Sun. Tate Liverpool is surrounded by water, and the effect of showing these paintings under these conditions, in the ever-changing, reflected daylight of the Gallery's top floor, is an experiment in seeing Turner's work "as new". The absence of artificial light has a radical effect on the pictures, and as the light changes during the day, so do the paintings - seas rise, clouds thicken and sunsets gleam. Tate Liverpool until 1st October.


The Wellcome Wing, Science Museum, the latest £50m Lottery makeover project is now open. It transforms the venerable Victorian institution into a rival to the "Science Lite" visitor attractions which have been springing up recently. The new wing, designed by Richard MacCormac, centres on contemporary science and technology, containing an Imax cinema and four floors of interactive theatrical installations that give a passing impression of one of the villain's lairs designed by Ken Adam for the Bond films. These displays are designed to be constantly updateable as new technology arrives. Forming an introduction to the new galleries, the museum's main floor has been rejigged to create Making The Modern World. This is a display of the most historically important objects in the collection, showing the connections between the past and the present, attempting to explain how we got to where we are now, before the new wing tackles the future. Further information from the interactive 3D Wellcome Wing mini web site, which is part of the Science Museum site.

The Norman Foster Studio - Exploring The City is a major retrospective of the work of Foster and Partners, one of the world's leading architectural practices, whose reputation in Britain was partially established by the design of the building which houses the exhibition. However it is the prestigious international projects for which the practice is best known, such as the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters and Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong, the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt (Europe's tallest building), and the rebuilding of the Reichstag in Berlin. This exhibition reveals the diversity of the work of Foster and Partners, from urban planning, airports and railway stations, museums and universities, stadia, office buildings and private houses through to furniture and industrial design. Using models, prototypes, interactive material, video, film and slide projections, it offers an insight into the creative processes of Foster's studio. Almost the most interesting are the materials relating to projects which were never built. With immaculate timing the wobbly Millennium Bridge controversy has appeared to keep the Studio's feet firmly on the ground - if that's not an oxymoron. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th September.

The Wallace Collection was opened by the Prince of Wales on 22nd June 1900, and it celebrates its centenary with the opening by the current Prince of Wales of a £10.6m lottery funded refurbishment. Millennium project specialists Rick Mather and Ove Arup have created an extra 30% of new gallery, education and support space out of the unused and excavated basement, and a restaurant in the roofed in central courtyard - a scheme first proposed in 1908. There will be four new galleries for Reserve Collection, Watercolours, Exhibitions and Conservation, and a Study Centre comprising a 150 seat Lecture Theatre, Seminar Room, Education Room, and drop-in Library. The covered courtyard area has been transformed into an all weather Sculpture Garden, and sees the re-instatement of a bronze fountain brought by Sir Richard Wallace from his château de Bagatelle in Paris. The Wallace Collection is the finest private collection of art ever assembled by one family. It was bequeathed to the nation by Wallace's widow in 1897, and is housed in Hertford House, their former home. Among its treasures are one of the best collections of French 18th century pictures, porcelain and furniture in the world, a remarkable array of 17th-century paintings and a superb armoury. Its best known work is The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals.

The Gadget King: The Drawings Of Heath Robinson is an exhibition of 74 original works by William Heath Robinson, the master of the ramshackle "make do and mend" invention. The focus of the exhibition is machines, both imagined and real, and it is complimented by a specially commissioned 15ft high mechanical musical sculpture by Jonathan Woolfenden. There are black and white drawings and watercolours from all stages of Heath Robinson's career, embracing fairytales, scenes of everyday life, wartime magazine illustrations and ingenious inventions, including the Channel Tunnel as imagined in 1917. A quintessentially British eccentric and national treasure, Heath Robinson's name has entered the language defining "an over-ingenious, ridiculously complicated or elaborate contrivance". Heaton Hall, Manchester City Art Galleries until 29th October

The Tate Gallery has announced the four artists who have been shortlisted for this year's Turner Prize. They are: Glenn Brown, who paints reproductions of photographs of famous paintings which remove all the painterly nuances of the originals; Michael Raedecker, who won last year's John Moore Prize for his painting of a desert which used stitching and sequins; Tomoko Takahashi, whose installations have included a pile of discarded junk at the Saatchi Gallery (a concept which resonates at the Tate); and Wolfgang Tillmans, whose photographs of clubbing used to appear in I-D but are now unaccountably considered art. Brown is considered the current favourite. The £20,000 Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 31st May. It is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at Tate Britain from 25th October until 14th January, and the winner will be announced on 28th November.

Encounters: New Art From Old is a Millennium project for which twenty four established contemporary artists from Britain, Europe and North America were invited to choose a work from the National Gallery's collection and respond to it with a new work of their own. It offers an unprecedented opportunity to view a major exhibition of contemporary artists at the National Gallery (and is nothing to do with the opening of Tate Modern at all). The participants include painters, sculptors, photographers and video artists, and some of the combinations are: Auerbach/Constable, Bourgeois/Turner, Caro/Duccio, Clemente/Titian, Freud/Chardin, Hockney/Ingres, Hodgkin/Seurat, Kiefer/Tintoretto, Kitaj/Van Gogh, Kossoff/Rubens, Oldenburg and van Bruggen/Vermeer, Rego/Hogarth, Tàpies/Rembrandt, and Wall/Stubbs. The exhibition aims to demonstrate the value of the collection to artists working at the end of the 20th century, although some may consider that it demonstrates the decline of painting over the last 50 years. If you do want to check out the opposition, you can travel free from the National Gallery to Tate Modern and Tate Britain this summer on the Art Bus. Two special double decker buses will run every 30 minutes from 10.00am to 6.00pm until 30th September. National Gallery until 17th September.


The Royal Military Tattoo 2000 will be the most spectacular event ever to be staged on Horse Guards Parade, and is being styled military theatre. The two hour show will feature more than 1800 performers, including over 700 musicians, more than 180 horses, two of the largest mobile video screens in the world, lasers, fireworks, son et lumiere presentations, live parachute action, and overflights by historic and contemporary aircraft. These resources will used to tell the story of 1000 years of British military history, including re-enactments of Agincourt, the Civil War, Waterloo and the Charge of the Light Brigade. The son et lumiere will feature amongst others, Judi Dench as Elizabeth I, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill and Prunella Scales as Queen Victoria. Horse Guards Parade 9th to 15th July.

Constable's Clouds is the first showing of a unique exhibition of nearly 80 paintings by John Constable, highlighting his enduring fascination with the British weather (easy to see why he is one of Britain's favourite painters). The biggest Constable show ever staged outside London, it brings together large well known landscapes and rarely seen cloud studies, including many key works, notably The Leaping Horse and Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows. No other artist has equalled Constable's skills in capturing what it is like to be outside - so much so that his fellow artist, Fuseli, is said to have wished for an umbrella when looking at one of Constable's showers. Walker Art Gallery, National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool, until 16th July.

The Show 2000 presents the final year work of MA students in the broadly based Royal College of Art, encompassing fashion, fine and applied art, sculpture and design. The particular fusion of the aesthetic and the practical is the RCA's metier. The exhibition is both a celebration and promotion of the students creativity, and a hotbed of new ideas. All works (and of course their creators) are for sale. Many distinguished careers have started at this annual show in the past. It's an opportunity to spot the next Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, James Dyson or even David Hockney, invest in them while they are still affordable, and perhaps catch the start of the next artistic or design trend. Royal College of Art, 020 7590 4498, until 10th July