News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th October 2004


Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design Since The Sixties is the first major exhibition to explore developments in British graphic design over the past four decades, and examine its influence on contemporary culture. Focusing on the smaller independent studios and teams who have produced the most creative, innovative and highly regarded design work, it presents an overview of the best design work, tracing how and why UK graphic design has developed in the way it has. It explores the emergence of independent graphic design within the music, publishing and cultural industries, its role in the shaping of identity, and the link between graphic design and the web. In addition, the exhibition highlights the place of graphic design as a medium of protest in society, as well as the increasingly important area of experimental self-initiated work undertaken by designers. The exhibition features more than 600 exhibits, spanning album covers for New Order and Primal Scream, identities for BBC 2 and Big Brother, Biba and Paul Smith, magazines including OZ and i-D, posters for CND and the Anti-Nazi League, and web sites for The Guardian and Donnie Darko. It celebrates the achievements of over 100 designers as diverse as Alan Fletcher, Ken Garland, Michael English, Barney Bubbles, Peter Saville, Neville Brody, The Designer's Republic, Tomato, Fuel, Intro and Hi-ReS! Barbican Gallery until 23rd January.

Walter Sickert: Drawing Is The Thing opens up a new front in the current Sickertmania by examining the core of his creative process. Sickert drew constantly in order to capture new subjects for his paintings - theatrical interiors, the stage, and highly charged domestic dramas. By bringing together over 150 works, with every form of drawing Sickert made, and a number of related paintings and prints, it offers an insight into his techniques, themes and reasons for drawing. Sickert's earliest, small drawings, quick, evocative sketches made in the semi-darkness of the theatre, are evidence of his daily (or rather nightly) practice of drawing from real-life situations. His depictions of couples in an interior, recognised as his major achievement, form a large part of the exhibition. Just as many of the theatrical interiors featured the dynamic tension between audience and performer, so his domestic dramas are full of psychological tension. A central feature of the exhibition is the assembling of all the known drawings for his composition Ennui, together with the paintings and prints they inspired. The unusual nature of Sickert's subject matter extended to his choice of unconventional models, both architectural and human. He rejected professional models and preferred unglamorous, working class parts of town. The exhibition also explores the relationship between Sickert and one of his models, a young art student Cicely Hey, whom he drew many times. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 5th December.

Bouchier: Seductive Visions is a new display of spectacular creations from the worlds finest collection of works by the most beguiling of 18th century French Rococo painters. Bouchier's gods and goddesses, shepherds and shepherdesses, cherubs and mythical creatures, inhabited a unique ethereal world, somewhere between Paris and Versailles. The exhibition reflects how this little known painter rose from obscurity to reach the heights of the academic hierarchy, and work for a prestigious clientele. This included King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour, for whom he created the masterpieces 'The Setting of the Sun' and 'The Rising of the Sun', which form the centrepiece of the exhibition. Bouchier was prolific, and his influence soon extended beyond paintings, as he became an arbiter of society's taste. This is borne out by the inclusion here of Sevres porcelain, miniatures, gold work, boxes, furniture and tapestry reflecting his style. He also designed elaborate settings for opera, ballet and comedies, and murals for public and domestic interiors. Bouchier's female nudes and poetically imaginative pastorals led to him being acclaimed as 'the Painter of the Graces' and 'the Anacreon of Painting'. His extravagant, idealised scenes perfectly captured the hedonistic mood of the Enlightenment, but his enchanted visions of gods and goddesses were swept away by the harsh realities of the ensuing Revolution. The Wallace Collection until 17th April.


Encounters: The Meeting Of Asia And Europe 1500 - 1800 brings together a range of objects from Asia and Europe from the period when Europeans first discovered the sea route to the Indies. It shows how Europe was fascinated by the East, prizing its artistic treasures and exotic materials, while absorbing its culture, from drinking tea out of a porcelain cup to wearing printed cotton and acquiring spices, ivory, wood, silk and precious stones. Equally, Asians were influenced by Westerners, assimilating aspects of European culture from dressing in European clothing to acquiring new technologies such as clocks, mirrors and perspective in painting. On show are over 200 objects, including rare porcelain, jewel-encrusted caskets and miniature paintings made for European princes and collectors, together with luxury goods created for the European market, such as furniture made of lacquered wood and ivory, scroll paintings, willow pattern porcelain, painted silks, wallpapers and cashmere. Highlights include an Indian mother-of-pearl casket owned by Francois I and reputedly given to Henry VIII; the Fonthill Vase, the earliest recorded Chinese porcelain in Europe; the suit of samurai armour sent by a shogun to James I; the earliest known terrestrial globe made in China; a Ceylonese rock-crystal figure of the Child Jesus set in gold, sapphires and rubies; and Tipoo's Tiger, a near life size automaton of a British soldier being mauled by a tiger that encases an organ. Victoria & Albert Museum until 5th December.

Shakespeare In Quarto marks the digitising of the British Library's collection of original copies of Shakespeare plays, which are now available to view on its web site. It comprises 93 copies of the 21 plays by Shakespeare printed in quarto before the theatres were closed in 1642, with a facility to compare the different versions, expert commentaries on the texts and their variations, and reference works for further study. The site also explains how the plays were printed, published and sold when Shakespeare was writing, together with background material about the companies and actors that used them, and the first public playhouses in London. There is further information about the playwright's life and work in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Another section shows how the plays have changed in both print and in performance, as theatres, staging techniques, and fashions in costume, scenery and acting styles have altered, from the reopening of the theatres in 1663 to the present day, together with information about the actors who performed them, including rare archive recordings. There is a link to the BL web site from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet.

Constance Spry - A Millionaire For A Few Pence is the controversial exhibition that celebrates the work of the society florist and social reformer, who taught millions of mid 20th century Britons how to beautify their homes. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Constance Spry was the dominant influence on British homes, through her own flower arrangements, a floristry school, correspondence courses, radio broadcasts and best selling interior design and cookery books. In an era when many people were furnishing their homes for the first time, hers was the only name that counted in British home making. Although she arranged flowers for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's wedding and the Queen's coronation, Spry's early experience was as a domestic science teacher in the East End of London in the 1920s. This had convinced her that everyone had the right to become 'a millionaire for a few pence' by beautifying even the poorest of homes. She championed arranging flowers, weeds, twigs from hedgerows and wasteland - and even vegetable leaves - in impromptu vases such as baking trays and gravy boats, as beautifully as expensive cut flowers in crystal. Drawn from Constance Spry's archive, this exhibition explores her role in democratising design in mid 20th century Britain and her enduring influence. She was the Martha Stewart of an earlier, simpler time. Design Museum until 28th November.

Jimi Hendrix At The Marquee Club features the largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia in existence, on public view for the first time, to launch the second resurrection of the legendary 1960s rock venue in recent years. The fruits of labour by a single devoted fan, the collection is staggering, with 300 hours of unseen footage, 15 hours of unreleased recordings, promotional material, paperwork, clothing, rare and unpublished photographs, and signed and handwritten items - including lyrics, poetry and drawings - plus ephemera from ticket stubs to hotel keys. In addition, there is the most extensive collection of Hendrix related vinyl known to exist, and rare period and contemporary posters documenting Hendrix's influence on music and pop culture. The exhibition attempts to recreate the ambience of a sixties Psychedelic Club, with 'trippy' interiors to showcase the artefacts, and regular 'live' shows, where footage of Hendrix's performances can be viewed. Among the highlights are three original guitars, including Hendrix's only left handed model, a self-doodled microphone box, various stage clothes, and a one page typewritten newsletter circulated during the Woodstock festival. The collection is so extensive that the material on display will rotate on a monthly basis. The Marquee Club, 1 Leicester Square, London WC2, 0870 444 6277833 until February.

59 Rodney Street, Liverpool is a Georgian terraced house that belonged to the photographer Edward Chambre Hardman from 1948 to 1988, which has just opened to the public for the first time. It contains a selection of Hardman's extensive collection of photographs - over 142,000 images, made between the 1920s and the 1980s - the studio where many were taken, the darkroom where they were developed and printed, the business records, and the rooms where Hardman and his wife Margaret (an active partner in the business) lived, complete with all their contents and ephemera of daily life. The photographs, portraits of the people of Liverpool, and landscapes of both the city and the surrounding countryside, provide a unique record of a time when it was the gateway to the British Empire and the world. Hardman's is the only known photographic practice of the 20th century where the entire output and premises have been preserved intact. It appears that he and his wife never threw anything away. Wedding presents lay unopened decades after the event, tins of food stored away during the Second World War remain, and a collection of antique children's toys reveal how Hardman kept his younger subjects amused. A complex filing system recorded the hair and eye colour of Hardman's sitters, with samples of real hair so that the re-touchers knew exactly how to tint the prints before despatch. There is a rolling programme of displays of Hardman's photographs. The Edward Chambre Hardman Studio, House & Photographic Collection, Liverpool, 0151 709 6261 continuing.

Ancient Art To Post Impressionism: Masterpieces From The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is the first opportunity in the UK to see some 200 treasures from Copenhagen's museum, while it is closed for refurbishment. The collection was built up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by a father and son, Carl and Helge Jacobsen, descendents of the founder of the Carlsberg brewing company, and reflects their different tastes. Over a period of 30 years, Carl built up one of the largest private art collections of its time, with particular emphasis on Antiquities, including examples of Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculpture. He also acquired contemporary works by Danish Golden Age painters, and sculptors such as Kbke, Lundbye, Eckersberg and Bissen, and by French artists including Millet, Meunier, Rodin and Carpeaux. After his death in 1914, Helge made acquisitions of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Manet, Monet, Sisley, Degas and Cezanne. He assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of works by Gauguin in existence, including both paintings and 3D pieces, of which 10 are featured in the exhibition. The museum is one of only four in the world to possess a complete set of Degas bronzes - totalling 72 works - with 13 on show here. Other highlights include 'A Smoking Party' by William Bendz, 'Women Bathing' by Cezanne, and a sketch by Manet of 'The Execution of Maximilian'. Royal Academy of Arts until 10th December.


From Quill Pen To Computer: The Bank Of England's Staff From 1694 celebrates the personalities who have conducted the business of the now august institution (which opened in rented premises with a staff of just 19) and reflects on how their working methods and conditions have changed. Objects, paintings, prints, books, documents and photographs bring to life people such as William Maynee, an Accountant's Office clerk found guilty of forgery of Bank notes, who was hanged in 1731; William Guest, a teller who committed High Treason by filing gold coins, and was drawn on a sledge to Tyburn and hanged in 1767; and Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind In The Willows, who was Secretary of the Bank for ten years from 1898, and is believed to have drawn inspiration for some of his characters from fellow workers. Although the Bank is not known for innovation, in 1894 it was amongst the first organisations in the City to employ women on clerical duties, causing shock waves among many business establishments. The exhibition reveals the skills required in earlier times, when prospective employees had to pass an examination involving handwriting, orthography (that's spelling), arithmetic, English composition and geography. To demonstrate how working conditions have changed, one of the latest computers in use in the Bank has a scrolling display of images of newly refurbished offices, together with the contrasting 18th, 19th and early 20th century workplaces. The Bank of England Museum until 27th October.

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.

Mirror - Christoph Girardet And Matthias Muller is a group of collaborative and solo works by the artists who specialise in creating montages of Hollywood clips and found television footage to suggest what might be going on behind the scenes. 'Mirror' is a new CinemaScope film presented as a double screen projection, inspired by the work of director Michelangelo Antonioni, which creates an atmosphere of 'the in-between' of belonging and isolation: a woman and a man are guests at an evening party - a love affair evaporates, the images shift, objects and people disappear and recompose. 'Beacon' similarly evokes 'the in-between', through the romantic connotations of the sea, as container of history, exotic underworld, and means of escape and travel, by combining travelogue footage and feature film scene settings into a single, imaginary locale. 'Play' is a montage of audiences, in which the onscreen action can only be seen reflected in their facial expressions and gestures, individual behaviour condenses into collective behaviour, and the event is transferred from the stage to the auditorium, so audience members become the actors in an unpredictable drama. In addition, two individual works, Girardet's 'Half Second Hand' and Muller's 'Promises', can be seen at night on the gallery's projection window. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 16th October.