News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th August 2003


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.

Monet: The Seine And The Sea - Vetheuil and Normandy, 1878-1883 brings together some 80 paintings from the years Monet spent in Vetheuil, a small town on the Seine near Vernon. This period of critical importance in his work, when he was at the height of his powers, has never previously been the focus of a major exhibition. It is divided into two main sections, contrasting the changing seasons in rural Vetheuil, with bold seascapes painted on the Normandy coast. A third, smaller section, shows for the first time a group of the portraits and still-life paintings Monet made during this period. Also included is a small selection of paintings by French landscape painters whom Monet admired - Corot, Courbet and Daubigny - and whose motifs his paintings recast in his own individual style. This is the first exhibition to be shown in the restored and refurbished Royal Scottish Academy building, William Henry Playfair's great landmark at the junction of Princes Street and the Mound. This £26m scheme also provides a link to the National Gallery of Scotland, Playfair's sister building next door, plus a lecture theatre, education rooms, and information technology and orientation area, as well as a restaurant, cafe and shop. Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh until 26th October.

Surfing - The Golden Years is the perfect summer exhibition, featuring over 100 surfing pictures from the personal archive of over 30,000 images created by legendary surfing photographer LeRoy "Granny" Grannis. Charting the big waves and their riders from the golden age of surfing in the 1960s up to the present day, the photographs take visitors on a journey up and down the coast of California, calling in at South Bay, Malibu, Huntington Beach and Makaha. Grannis puts his success in capturing the essence of the phenomenon down to the fact that he had been a surfer for 30 years before he picked up a camera. This exhibition records the whole scene, from great surfing names riding awesome waves, performing impossible feats on their boards - including some remarkable sequence shots - and the admiring beach babes and other onlookers, to the surfside shops and cafes. Accompanying Grannis pictures are images by his friend and inspiration John H "Doc" Ball, often credited as being the original surfing photographer. If you can't get to the beach this August, then let the first British exhibition of Grannis and Ball's work bring the beach to you. Proud Camden Moss, London NW1, 020 7482 3867 until 6th September.


T.rex: The Killer Question asks whether everyone's favourite dinosaur was really the bloodthirsty predator he has been made out to be, or whether might he have been just a 12,000lb, 12ft tall, softie scavenger, clearing up other dinosaur's leftovers. This is a new theory put forward by Dr Jack Horner, the second most famous palaeontologist in the world (after Ross from Friends). Horner is actually Curator of Palaeontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana. An Indiana Jones figure, he was the inspiration for the character played by Sam Neil in the film Jurassic Park, for which he was the technical advisor. The exhibition features four gigantic T.rex, including a life size skeleton and model, plus two huge moving, breathing, T.rex animatronics, which have been brought together for the first time to illustrate this controversial proposition. It also includes film of Horner's expeditions to Hell's Creek in Montana, the most fertile area for T.rex fossils on earth. Horner is the world's leading dinosaur authority, having found the first dinosaur eggs in the West, the first evidence of dinosaurs nesting, and the first evidence of dinosaurs caring for their young - but his new theory is not proving popular with dinosaur fans. Visitors are invited to consider the evidence, and register whether they think T.rex was a predator or a scavenger. Natural History Museum until 3rd May.

The Peter Saville Show is a retrospective of the work of a central figure in design and style culture over the last twenty five years. Peter Saville is best known for designing iconic graphics for bands such as Joy Division, New Order, Roxy Music, Ultravox - and even Wham! He made his reputation (and theirs) with the innovation of packaging music as fashion, by bringing sophisticated upmarket ideas of postmodernist and classicist graphic and photographic treatments from the world of frocks, to the traditionally lowbrow medium of pop music. Saville then went on to create equally influential images in fashion industry itself, for Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano at Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. More recently he has worked on commissions for Suede and Pulp. With a spectacular installation by the architect Lindy Roy and a soundtrack by New Order, this exhibition draws on Saville's exhaustive private archive to trace the path of his career, from the first poster he designed while creative director of the fledgling Factory record label in Manchester in 1977, to recent multimedia experiments. Design Museum until 14th September.

Hats And Handbags: Accessories From The Royal Wardrobe is a display that celebrates possibly the most memorable part of any Royal outfit worn for public duties - the hats - with over 70 eye catching examples. Beginning with headdresses worn by the young Princess Elizabeth, it features items associated with significant moments in the Queen's life and 50 year reign. Alongside, are the famously capacious handbags, and of course gloves. The display also includes sketches and photographs showing how the items were created and made by the Queen's chief designers. In addition, there are other accessories chosen as particularly fine examples of British craftsmanship. This display joins the existing special displays of dresses from the early years of the Queen's reign, and of 14 evening dresses worn by Diana Princess of Wales, within the permanent exhibition of items from The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection. This is a unique presentation of Royal, court and ceremonial dress dating from the 18th century to the present day, including a dressmaker's workroom, a tailor's shop, dressing rooms, and a recreation of a court occasion. Kensington Palace until 18th April.

Ossie Clark celebrates the work of the fashion designer whose most productive period coincided with London's magical, optimistic, rule-breaking decade, in which fashion, photography, music and the cult of personality converged. From 1965 to the mid 1970s Ossie Clark dressed the famous and fashionable in unabashed show-stoppers. Mick and Bianca Jagger, Julie Christie, Marsha Hunt and Marianne Faithful commissioned clothes from him, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and Penelope Tree modelled his designs for photographers David Bailey, Norman Parkinson and Helmut Newton. Clarke graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 1965, and three months later his graduation collection appeared in British Vogue. Simultaneously, he began designing for Alice Pollock's shop Quorum. Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell met as students, began colaborating in 1965, and married in 1969. Clark's flattering silhouettes combined with Birtwell's romantic textiles, featuring a vibrant range of patterns inspired by the natural world, produced some of the most memorable garments of the period. Above all, Clark was an expert cutter, executing an accomplished range of superbly fitted classical coats, suits and jackets in wool, Harris tweed, suede and crepe. The cut and construction of these clothes demonstrate Clark's extraordinary precision and his understanding of how textiles behave on a three-dimensional form. Fab gear from one of the most important figures of Swinging London. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd May.

Red House is of great significance in the history of domestic architecture and garden design. Commissioned by William Morris in 1859, and designed by Philip Webb, it laid the foundation for the Arts And Crafts Movement. The experience of furnishing the house led Morris to set up his company producing wallpaper and fabrics, whose designs have defined taste ever since. The unique building is constructed of red brick, under a steep red tiled roof, with an emphasis on natural materials and a strong Gothic influence. The garden was designed to 'clothe' the house with a series of sub-divided areas, which still clearly exist today. Inside, the house retains many of the original features and fixed items of furniture designed by Morris and Webb, as well as wall paintings and stained glass by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. During the five years Morris lived there it was at the centre of the social life of the Pre-Raphaelites. Originally surrounded by orchards and countryside, Red House is now an oasis in the midst of suburbia. The property has been lived in as a family home for nearly 150 years during which time many changes have taken place. Red House was acquired by the National Trust six months ago, and is now open so that visitors can see it in its current condition, and follow its progress as research reveals the house and garden that Morris and Webb originally created, and restoration returns it to that vision. Red House, Red House Lane, Bexleyheath, Kent, 01494 755588 continuing (pre booked tours only).

Shakespeare In Art considers how the world's greatest and most performed dramatist provided inspiration for many of Europe's greatest artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With some seventy works, by artists such as Hogarth, Delacroix, Romney, Blake, Huskisson, Millais, Turner and Holman Hunt, there are many different views of Shakespeare's plays, some visionary, some horrific, many romantic, others contemporary and realistic. This exhibition includes a wide range of styles, from Rococo to Sublime, from Classic to Romantic, and looks also at theatrical production and scenography. This Shakespeare is familiar, but different from ours, reflecting both the changes in presentational styles of productions, and the individual preoccupations of the artists involved in them. The painters recorded both the 'acted' and the 'imagined' Shakespeare. Zoffany and Fuseli painted scenes from Macbeth, but while Zoffany records a famous production, starring David Garrick and Mrs Cibber - emoting beneath a towering horsehair wig, literally dressed to kill in the height of contemporary fashion - Henry Fuseli's The Weird Sisters is a nightmarish vision of the Witches, from the darkest recesses of his unconscious. Other great actors whose portraits are featured include John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, Charles Kemble, George Frederick Cooke and Charles Macklin. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 19th October.


Damien Hirst, a retrospective of the man with the formaldehyde is the exhibition which launches what will undoubtedly be the gallery of the year. Charles Saatchi has moved his collection from Boundary Road to the cultural heart of London on the South Bank. It comprises most of Brit Art's best known pieces, from Hirst's sheep, shark and giant anatomical model, to Tracey Emin's bed, not forgetting Marc Quinn's infamous head made of his own refrigerated blood (boasting the urban myth of a meltdown caused by a cleaner turning off the power) all of which Saatchi bought before various furores made them famous - not to say infamous. They are now displayed in what is euphemistically called the Riverside Building, but which most Londoners still call County Hall, home of the former London County and Greater London Councils. The gallery has hoovered up much of the remaining unused parts of the building, from wood panelled and memorial bedecked council chamber, entrance hall and grand staircase, to simple individual offices (and even the boiler house for new artists) and given a welcome simple restoration to the period features. The jury is out as to whether Brit Art sits comfortably in these surroundings, but the general public now has easy and continuing access to the works they have read a great deal about but never actually seen. So as well as all the tanked stuff, here are Hirst's A Thousand Years (see the maggots eat the cow, metamorphose into flies and head into the insect-o-cutor); Spot Mini, a mini car covered in spots (he does exactly what he says on the tin) driving down the stairs; and much more besides. The Emperor's new clothes? At least now everyone can decide for themselves. The Saatchi Gallery, Riverside Building - Damien Hirst until 31st August.

Lichfield: The Early Years 1962 - 1982 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the start of Patrick Lichfield's career as a photographer, which has developed along the twin themes of his personal involvement in fashionable society and his aristocratic connections. Bringing together over 40 works, it focuses on his early career as a leading participant and chronicler of the Swinging Sixties, including his period with Vogue. It features his signature group shots, with the iconic 'Swinging London', which includes Ray Davies, Roman Polanski, David Hockney, Antonia Fraser and Susannah York, and the Queen magazine 'In' and 'Out' crowd pictures; individual portraits such as a nude of Marsha Hunt for the musical Hair, Joanna Lumley leaping through the air beneath a canopy of leaves, and a striking colour image of Yves St Laurent in Marrakesh; and the St Tropez wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger in 1971 (when he gave away the bride). The display concludes with his definitive and intimate photographs of the Queen and the Royal Family taken in the 1970s, including the large group portrait of 26 Royals at Windsor in 1971, and culminates in the photographs of wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. National Portrait Gallery until 31st August.

Guy Bourdin is the first retrospective of the influential French photographer known for dramatic fashion photographs, which owe more to documentary reportage than high gloss. Instead of the studio shot or glamorous location, his pictures look like Crime Scene Investigation officers have taken them in situations where the victim just happened to be wearing expensive clothes. In one, even the body has been removed, leaving just the chalk outline and the shoes. Bourdin was at the height of his career from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, when he was working predominantly for French Vogue and Charles Jourdan shoes. An aura of voyeuristic violence, fear and cruelty surrounded his work, and a genuine unease is discernable in the models featured - although he often cropped their heads from the picture. Bourdin's 'colourful' personal life only added to the legend, not least because of the attempted and successful suicides of a number of the women with whom he was involved. As well as the photographs themselves, the display includes films made on fashion shoots revealing how he worked. There are also photographs, slides and notebook pages which record the images that Bourdin chased throughout his life, offering an insight into the his unrelenting mission to shape his experiences into a visual form. Both the character and the images used in the film The Eyes Of Laura Mars, about a fashion photographer who recreates visions of murders, owe a great deal to Bourdin. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th August.