News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th February 2001


Robin & Lucienne Day: Pioneers Of Contemporary Design is the first major retrospective of Britain's most distinguished and influential post-war designers, covering a period from 1940s to the present. Robin Day's revolutionary designs for furniture - including the ubiquitous polypropylene chair - and Lucienne Day's daring and inspired use of colour and pattern in fabrics, embodied the optimism of post-war Britain. Through innovative use of the latest materials Robin Day created design classics, such as the radical 1952 plywood and steel chairs, and the 1963 molded polypropelyne for Hille, which are still in production today, in more than 32 countries around the world. His work spanned the public, commercial and domestic marketplaces, including the auditorium, restaurant and orchestra seating at the Royal Festival Hall in 1951. Lucienne Day's revolutionary 1951 textile design 'Calyx' for Heals, using the abstract imagery of Joan Miro and Alexander Calder, helped to create what is now recognised as quintessentially '50s 'Contemporary' design. In the '60s she embraced the geometry of Op Art, again capturing the spirit of the time. Her work also includes iconic chinaware designs for Rosenthal. To complement the exhibition, classic Robin and Lucienne Day designs now being produced by Habitat, SCP and Twenty Twenty One are also on display. Barbican Centre Gallery until 16th April.

Elastic Fantastic in the Science Theatre, unleashes the power of the humble elastic band in a new show. It explores how far something can be propelled under elastic power, and includes an attempt to break the record for building the biggest elastic band ball.

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark in the Planetarium, uses the classic children's story by Jill Tomlinson as the starting point for a new show for younger children about the dark - and our fear of it.

Online Exhibits allows access to interactive exhibits, and a webcam which offers a view of what is currently happening. Find them on the Techniquest web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Techniquest, Cardiff continuing.

Futurist Photography celebrates the early 20th century avant-garde movement which embraced not just the arts but an entire way of life. Filippo Tomaso Marinetti gave it a manifesto in 1909, calling for a progressive movement to sweep away the old art in the museums and enter the new century with a bang. The speed of photography made it a key element, although paradoxically the images produced were always very carefully composed, and did not exploit its ability to capture the accidental moment. The aim was to create the impression of speed rather than actually to record it. Parascientific experiments, spiritualist photography, multi-portraits, montage effects and the chronophotographs of Etienne-Jules Marey provided the starting point from which Futurist photography grew. This exhibition comprises over 150 rare prints never before seen in the UK. The Estorick Collection specialises in Futurist art of all kinds. Estorick Collection until 22nd April.


Century City: Art And Culture In The Modern Metropolis is the first special exhibition to be staged at what is generally held to have been the star Millennium cultural project. It explores the relationship between cultural creativity and the metropolis, focusing on nine cities from around the world at specific times in the last century. The cities and periods are: Paris 1910s, Vienna 1910s, Moscow 1920s, Rio de Janeiro 1950s, Lagos 1955-1970, New York 1970s, Tokyo 1970s, Bombay/Mumbai 1990s, and London 1987-2001. The aim is to provide a global perspective on defining moments of modern art and culture, examining cultural explosions in which art, architecture, cinema, dance, fashion, music and theatre flourished in a dynamic and radical interchange. The eclectic range of artists, designers, writers, composers and film makers includes King Sunny Ade, Sergei Eisenstein, Sonia Boyce and Philip Glass. This must be the ultimate Millennial exhibition. Tate Modern until 29th April.

Give And Take is a unique collaboration between a David and a Goliath of cultural institutions - the Serpentine Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is one exhibition on two sites, designed to provide an opportunity to experience the unexpected connections between contemporary art, and art of the past. Hans Haake has been given the task of rooting around the basement of the V&A and selecting over 100 objects from its reserve collection to create 'Mixed Messages' at the Serpentine. This is an installation of items from different cultures, historical periods and media, viewed afresh by this particular juxtaposition. At the V&A, works by 15 contemporary artists whose natural home would be the Serpentine, are individually insinuated into the period splendour of the mausoleum in Cromwell Road. Those involved include Xu Bing, Wim Delvoye, Jeff Koons, Royy Paine and Yinka Shonibare. Serpentine Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st April.

The Genius Of Rome: 1592-1623 examines a period when Rome became the leading artistic centre, with young and ambitious artists flocking there from throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. It focuses on the ways in which Caravaggio, Carracci, Elsheimer, Rubens and their contemporaries responded to similar artistic themes, influenced one another, and jointly laid the foundations for what was to become the Baroque style. They created paintings which were far more direct, natural and immediate than those of their predecessors. Caravaggio is undoubtedly the star in involving his audience with his subjects. 'The Taking Of Christ' (in which he appears carrying a lantern) embodies the spirit of the movement in its observation of light, capture of motion, and violence of subject - almost creating a press photograph of the incident. The realism of his 'St John The Baptist', bringing a graphic humanity to a religious figure, illustrates why works of these painters were not always acceptable to the church. The exhibition features some 150 paintings, several of which have never previously been seen in this country, from over 40 artists. The climax of the exhibition is an installation of 16 altarpieces that recreate the atmosphere of a Roman Baroque church. There have been few occasions when such a large collection of history making work has been seen in Britain. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th April.

Bond At Beaulieu is a chance to see up close an extensive collection of authentic vehicles which have featured in James Bond films. The exhibition includes: Aston Martin DB5 from "Goldeneye", Aston Martin Volante from "The Living Daylights", BMW 7 Series and Jump Bike from "Tomorrow Never Dies", BMW Z 8 - both halves - from "The World Is Not Enough", Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me", and Rolls-Royce Phantom III used by "Goldfinger", plus gadgets and artefacts from many films - even Jaws steel teeth. In addition there is an opportunity to see how the stunts were created - from storyboard to finished film - and then view the results in clips from the Bond blockbusters. The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu until April.

Sigmar Polke: Music Of Unclear Origin is the first major exhibition in Scotland of works by Polke, one of Germany's foremost painters, and the largest collection ever shown in the UK. He came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, with works similar in style to the Pop Art being made in Britain and America at the time. Polke borrows freely from numerous and widely varying sources, including advertising and popular culture - he likes to deface ads with cartoons and captions. A prodigious output combines a range of different subjects and styles (often combined/juxtaposed in one work). The most consistent feature is a blown up newsprint style, similar to Roy Lichtenstein, in which he applies the paint dot by dot using a pencil eraser. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 18th March.

I Am A Camera has a simple premise, presenting the work of nine artists whose medium is photography or painting which has a photographic quality. What it delivers in the contrasting works of two contributors in particular, is an extraordinarily vivid portrait of the extremes of American society. Jessica Craig-Martin inhabits the uptown world of ladies who lunch - for charity - showing in close up (usually cutting off heads) the style details which are so important in the milieu of fundraisers and benefits. These are the pictures Craig-Martin takes for herself, while pursuing her day job as recorder of social functions for American Vogue. Nan Goldin moves in the downtown world of the Lower East Side streets, among junkies, poets and transvestites. She specialises in series of pictures, which tell the story of particular characters. Between these two stand Duane Hanson's hyper real sculptures of the working urban poor who service Manhattan, specifically cleaners, and other blue collar workers. Saatchi Gallery, London NW3, 020 7624 8299 until 25th March.


Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Recent Works is the first major exhibition to examine the engineering design of possibly the greatest British figure from the heroic early Victorian period of engineering. Brunel's practical and theoretical education enabled him to introduce the most innovative designs which have stood the test of time. This is a man whose bridges didn't wobble. In this exhibition leading contemporary practitioners assess the merits of Brunel's designs, giving both an historical and current view of the works. Structural engineer Anthony Hunt reassesses the Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash. Architect Nicholas Grimshaw, responsible for the recent refurbishment of Paddington Station, considers the remarkable original structure. Naval architect Nigel Gee examines the ship SS Great Eastern. John King looks at the achievement of constructing the Thames Tunnel, which saw a million paying customers in its first fifteen weeks. Other key projects featured include the prefabricated hospital at Renkioi, Crimea and the Battle of the Gauges. Design Museum until 25th February.

William Blake is probably the most exhaustive exhibition ever mounted of the work of the unique and innovative British artist and poet, comprising over 500 items. Although largely overlooked in his time, and often derided as a lunatic, Blake's impact and influence on later generations of artists, writers and musicians has been considerable, and he remains a major reference point in British culture today. Blake was a one man industry, combining writing and illustration on engraving plates, the prints from which he hand tinted with watercolours. He was a forthright and opinionated religious non-conformist who frequently saw visions. These often provided the inspiration for apocalyptic images of God, angels, characters from Bible stories and figures from a mythology that he created. Blake's life long interest in the Gothic was a primary source of his distinctive style and technique, and remained for him an ideal of spiritual and artistic integrity. One of the highlights of this exhibition is the entire collection of 100 plates that make up the epic poem Jerusalem, which has not been shown in Britain for almost 80 years. Tate Britain until 11th February.

Turner: The Great Watercolours marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Britain's greatest painter with the first exhibition devoted to J.M.W. Turner's exploration of the scope and potential of watercolour (rather than his better known work in oils). The exhibition includes many of his architectural and country-house drawings, and works from the "Picturesque Views in England and Wales" series, generally considered to be the finest views of the British landscape ever made. It culminates in a group of Swiss watercolours from the 1840's in which Turner captured the beauty, luminosity and space of the Alps. This is an unparalleled survey of 100 of the artist's finished watercolours (as opposed to sketches for future oils), dazzling in their breadth of scale, depth of tone, richness of colour and wealth of detail. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th February.