News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th September 2000


Spitfire Summer marks the sixtieth anniversary of the events of 1940 when Britain stood alone, supported only by the Commonwealth and a handful of governments in exile, facing the threat of imminent invasion by German forces. Paintings, posters, photographs, newsreels, radio broadcasts, letters, diaries, newspapers and personal mementoes chronicle the turning point of the Second World War. The exhibition starts with Winston Churchill's appointment as Prime Minister, illustrated by the typescript of his first speech to the nation as leader; and moves through the Dunkirk evacuation, with exhibits such as a blood-stained flag used as an emergency bandage by the crew of the Massey Shaw; the Battle of Britain, including a love letter written by a pilot to his fiance shortly before he was killed; and the Blitz with shelter life and bomb damage reflected in the works of artists and photographers such as Henry Moore and Cecil Beaton. Full details from the Imperial War Museum web site via the link opposite. Imperial War Museum until 26th November.

Our Finest Hour is a new audio-visual presentation of the events leading up to the British victory over the German Luftwaffe commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Battle Of Britain. It mixes a narrated story with video, sound and light to give a realistic impression of the air war over South East England, and the bombing of London in the Blitz. Britain's National Museum of Aviation is located at the former RAF Hendon, a fighter station during the Battle of Britain and a transport station for the remainder of World War II. The collection of over seventy aeroplanes provides visitors with a close-up look at every type of aircraft, from the bi-planes at the beginning of the last century, through the Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber of World War II, to the Harrier and Tornado of the modern RAF. The Royal Air Force Museum continuing.

City Soldiers is a permanent exhibition in one of the three new galleries which opened in July as part of a Millennium project by the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside. It tells the story of The King's Regiment and its links with Liverpool since 1881, giving an insight into regimental life and duties in times of peace and war, as well as what it is like to be married to a soldier. Using video, audio and the museum's collection of objects, visitors get a glimpse of life on patrol in the colonies, experiences of the two world wars and the life of the Regiment today. In the battle gallery a drum beat fills the air and the floor vibrates with the roar of cannon, giving a feel of life in the front line. Exhibits include the wrecked remains of regimental silver hit by a shell in the Siege of Ladysmith during the Boer War. The exhibition also reveals how today's Regimental ceremonies and traditions are rooted in the past, and explores the impact of war on the lives of soldiers and their families through personal mementoes and commemorative medals. The Museum Of Liverpool Life continuing.


creating SPARKS is a month long festival co-ordinated by the British Association, whose aim is to promote the cross fertilisation of arts and sciences. It is a collaboration of the main cultural institutions in South Kensington: Imperial College, The Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Geographical Society, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Leading figures in the sciences and arts are taking part in individual and continuing performances, experiments, workshops, talks, conferences and exhibitions, with many interactive elements in which visitors can become involved. Highlights include Devious Devices - specially commissioned automata inspired by Terry Gilliam, Walking With Woodlice - helping visitors to discover biodiversity in their own back gardens, Big Bazaar - carnival and street theatre in Exhibition Road, and interactive games exploring genetic modification. Further information from the creating SPARKS web site via the link opposite. South Kensington, London until 30th September.

Heaven And Hell And Other Worlds Of The Dead is a Millennium inspired exhibition which confronts the question "What happens after we die?" It explores the diversity of views and beliefs about the afterlife, using material from around the world over the last 6,000 years. Exhibits include Egyptian mummies, Tibetan temple hangings, Mexican sugar skulls, a mask of Princess Diana, a soul boat, a passport to hell, and even a Ghanaian coffin in the shape of a Mercedes-Benz. Companions for the dead have been a popular theme throughout history, with Incas having their servants buried alive with them, Mexicans taking spirit guide dogs, and Singaporeans still supplied with paper versions of anything they might need - including mobile phones. From the local culture, and on a more practical level, there are corpse collars (like modern day bicycle locks) which were used to prevent body snatching by the likes of Burke and Hare. Royal Museum Edinburgh until 11th February.

Breathless!: Photography And Time examines the camera's ability to freeze and capture a moment in time, as typified by Harold Edgerton's images of a bullet emerging from an antique gun, a milk drop exploding into a coronet and a bullet cutting through a playing card from side to side. Using some of the most important and stunning works from the national collection, it presents nothing less than a history of the art of photography. The show offers examples of most of the major processes from the daguerrotype and calotype onwards, including photogram, cameraless photography, an image projected onto seed and grown as grass, and a camera obscura image. It charts how the reduction in exposure times, from 40 minutes in 1839 to a fraction of a second a century later, was exploited by the pioneers. Images presented are both breathtaking as technical feats and also true art. The works of celebrated photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, W Eugene Smith and David Hockney are juxtaposed with those of trail blazing amateurs and emerging new talents. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th September.

Paul Klee: The Brgi Collection comprises over 140 oils, drawings, watercolours and prints from all stages of Klee's career. Rolf Burgi, a family friend, looked after his affairs when Klee fled from the Nazis to Switzerland in 1933, and preserved his work from confiscation by the state. This legacy remains the largest and most outstanding collection of Klee's work and is still in private hands. It has never before been exhibited as a whole and this is the only British showing. Klee was essentially a doodling draughtsman, whose definition of drawing was "taking a line for a walk", a comment which underlined the humour he brought to his work. A picture was finished when he "stopped looking at it, and it started looking back". Klee constantly experimented with different styles, subjects techniques and materials, often using oils, watercolours and graphite in the same picture. Painting on almost anything, including glass, wood, paper, hessian, newsprint, plaster and celluloid, he once even used the duster kept under his chin while playing the violin. Klee was a considerable influence on post-war art, especially in Britain where his theories were adopted by amongst others, Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 22nd October.

Walking On Eggshells is a "Found Object" experience created and installed by Julian Walker, using 6004 items from the natural history collection of Wollaton Hall. The title piece is a mass of birds eggs which have been put together beneath a 15ft long glass walkway built into the gallery floor. A 30ft piece on the gallery's main wall is made up of shark's teeth, each of which is labelled with a Biblical character, set into a grid. Then there are the toy aeroplanes. As they used to say on Night Gallery: "Explain it we cannot, we only know that it has happened." The Yard Gallery, Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 0115 915 3920 until 22nd October.

Buckminster Fuller: Your Private Sky demonstrates the wide range of work produced by the American scientist, philosopher, designer, architect, artist, engineer, entrepreneur, mathematician and pedagogue. Richard Buckminster Fuller is best known for the invention of the geodesic dome - the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. His lifelong goal was the development of what he called "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science" - the attempt to anticipate and solve humanity's major problems through the highest technology by providing "more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources." Fuller worked simultaneously on plans for houses, cars, boats, furniture, domes and television transmitters, all to be mass-produced using the simplest and most sustainable means possible. This exhibition provides the first opportunity in this country to assess the vast range of his creative output through models, drawings and artefacts from his personal archive. Design Museum until 15th October.


Force Fields: Phases Of The Kinetic is the most comprehensive exhibition of kinetic art ever staged in Britain, with over 100 works from over 40 artists created between the 20's and the 80's. Kinetic art produces, relates to, or appears subject to motion or force - in other words it moves about, lights up and/or makes a noise. It is arguably one of the most important, yet the most overlooked movement of the second half of the twentieth century. Among the pieces here are the anarchical machines of Tinguely, Lygia Clark's interactive Abyss Masks, Yves Klein's paintings made with fire, Julio Le Parc's Continuous Light Cylinders, the vibration paintings of Jesus Soto, Hans Haacke's installations with water, air and vapour, David Medalla's Mud Machine and the abstract films of James Whitney. But where are the lasers? Many of the works are rarely seen in galleries today and have been specially reconstructed for this exhibition. Hayward Gallery until 17th September.

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, Tpies/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.

Zaha Hadid used to be the most influential architect in the world who hadn't built anything. She is probably best known for her design for the failed Cardiff Bay Opera House project, but other striking buildings in Dusseldorf, Tokyo and Hong King also never materialised. Now the plans and models are at last being turned into reality, and projects from her studio currently under construction are worth 200m. This is the first major exhibition of Hadid's pioneering work, which includes stage sets for the Pet Shop Boys, the Mind Zone at the Dome, a 900 metre bridge in Abu Dhabi and Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Centre. The exhibition explores her radical visions of urban living while examining individual projects, interweaving models, photographs, drawings, paintings, animation and furniture. Institue of Contemporary Art until 10th September.