News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th April 2004

Commencing

The Adventures Of Tintin At Sea commemorates the 75th anniversary of the first adventure undertaken by the most famous Belgian with the distinctive haircut. The exhibition examines the development of the comic strip, with the oldest existing drawing of Tintin, how the characters came to be named and developed, and other original artwork, much of which has never been on public display before. These strips are a chronicle of 20th century preoccupations in their stories, and have been a major influence on pop art in their style. The exhibition also looks at the life of Tintin's creator, including a silkscreen portrait of Herge (Georges Remi) by Andy Warhol, on public display in Britain for the first time, together with personal effects, objects and photographs. One of Tintin's most distinctive features is that his adventures reflect a degree of reality uncommon in most comic strip books. Herge had an interest in scientific developments, and believed in the importance of placing Tintin in a real and believable world. Many of the stories and drawings were based on accurate research, achieved by taking clippings from magazines, visiting museums, and consulting friends and experts. Unfamiliar materials from the museum's collection reveal the inspiration behind Tintin's adventures at sea, and highlight the accuracy with which they were created. Among these are 1930s life jackets, star maps, models of ships that are featured in the stories, and a working one-man shark-shaped submarine. National Maritime Museum until 5th September.

Domestic (f)utility transforms the Artists' House gallery into a place where domesticity is no longer quite what it seems. Everyday household objects are subtly changed, so that they no longer perform the tasks for which they were designed, creating the kind of disconcerting twisted reality you find in a David Lynch film: dusters no longer dust, and angle poise lamps cannot be adjusted. The exhibition includes work by Barnaby Barford - four china milk jugs joined together by their spouts; Gavin Turk - polystyrene cups cast in bronze; Susan Cttts - stilettos made of paper; Nina Saunders - a chair consumed by its cushion; Anya Gallaccio - apples made of porcelain and chitting potatoes made of bronze; Cecile Johnson-Soliz - immoveable coffee pot, tea pot and cups that are part of the worktop on which they rest; plus pieces by Gereon Krebber and Koichiro Yamamoto. New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery, Salisbury until 3rd May.

Archigram celebrates the exuberant, pop-inspired visions of the group that dominated avant garde architecture throughout the 1960s. Founded in 1961 by six young London architects - Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb - Archigram has remained an enduring inspiration to architects and designers to the present day. Despite the fact that none of its major projects were ever built, its experiments have influenced many famous buildings, from Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano's Pompidou Centre in Paris, through Rogers's Lloyds building in London, to Future Systems's new Selfridges in Birmingham. Nevertheless, the group's 1960s visions of a technology driven future now have the same naive charm as the 'shape of things to come' science fiction projections of the 1930s. A recreation of the Archigram office - itself as idiosyncratic as any of the group's creations - contains the designs for Ron Herron's Walking City, with eight-legged buildings the size of skyscrapers rolling through Central Park; David Greene's Living Pod, like a gigantic Lunar Module; Blow-out Village, an entire town that inflates from a hovercraft; Plug-In City, a range of updateable domestic and commercial modules that could be attached to service points supplying water, electricity and communications; The Suitaloon, a garment that becomes a home; and Instant City, a portable entertainment centre that could bring urban life to remote areas. Architecture for the Sgt Pepper generation. Design Museum until 4th July.

Continuing

Heaven On Earth: Art From Islamic Lands is a display of the finest decorative arts of Islam - calligraphy, textiles, jewels, metalwork, ceramics and paintings, from the collections of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and The Khalili Collection in London. The artefacts range in date from the 9th to the 19th centuries, and in origin from Spain through the Arab world to Persia and the Indian subcontinent. The exhibition is in four galleries. The first celebrates the majesty of God, with calligraphy used as a vehicle for the Qur'an - literally the word of God - from manuscripts to woven prayer rugs, and lustre tile panels from shrines, bearing verses and rich arabesque decoration. The second shows how figurative art was used in the service of earthly rulers, with bronze and ceramic birds and animals, metalwork, stone relief carving and early Iranian silver, including the 'Bobrinsky' bucket covered with dense decoration in silver and copper. The third contains jewels from the Mughal treasury, with boxes, flasks, dishes, cups and bracelets encrusted with rubies, diamonds and emeralds, and richly embroidered robes and other fine silks. The last gallery celebrates the interaction of East and West. A 10th century rock crystal lamp, carried off by Crusaders and mounted in gold and enamels in Italy in the 16th century, sits alongside sabres, daggers and other arms, richly embellished with jewels. There are also oil paintings of Qajar rulers wearing such arms, and of the ladies of their courts, in imitation of Western art, offering a curious blend of Oriental and European styles. Linking the galleries are framed miniatures from Persian manuscripts of the 16th and 17th centuries, some religious in theme, and others reflecting Islamic court life. The Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House until 22nd August.

Four New Galleries and new street frontage have just opened in a £7.5m redevelopment scheme at the Coventry Transport Museum. The Introductory Gallery explains the importance of Coventry's transport heritage and demonstrates the size and scale of the Museum's collection. Another new gallery is devoted to the 1980s and 1990s, and completes the existing Walk Through Time feature, from the 1860s to the present day. It traces the demise of Coventry's car industry in the 80s, and explores the globalisation of car companies, increasing environmental concerns, and the growth of interest in cycling - particularly BMX-ing and skateboarding. An interactive Futures Gallery examines road safety, the environment, and the high tech developments that will provide the new transport systems of the future. Another new gallery houses the museum's two World Land Speed Record Cars, ThrustSSC and Thrust2. An Education/Technocentre, and an area for temporary exhibitions complete the new features. They join the largest collection of British Road Transport in the world, with over 240 cars and commercial vehicles, 250 bicycles, 94 motorcycles, 25,000 models, and over 1 million other items on view. Among the highlights are the 1935 Daimler limousine used by Queen Mary, King George VI's Daimler, and Field Marshal Montgomery's Humber staff car. Coventry Transport Museum continuing.

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.

George III And Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting And Court Taste reflects the major contribution to the Royal Collection made by George III and his consort. The 500 objects in this exhibition, including sculpture, furniture, paintings, drawings, books, ceramics, silver, gold, jewellery and clocks, constitute one of the largest and finest groups of Georgian material ever assembled. When George III purchased Buckingham House in 1762, the decorative arts commissioned to furnish it included furniture by William Vile, silver by Thomas Heming, porcelain from the Chelsea, Derby, Wedgwood and Worcester factories, and ornamental metalwork by Matthew Boulton. George III also commissioned some of the most sophisticated clocks, barometers and watches ever created, and the case for Christopher Pinchbeck's four-dialled astronomical clock, and decoration for the mantel clock by Thomas Wright featured here, were partly designed by the King. An important purchase was the collection formed by the British consul in Venice, with works by Raphael, Zuccarelli and Annibale Carracci, and the finest group of Canalettos in existence, plus ancient and Renaissance gems, intaglios, medals and books. There are portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte by leading British artists, including Allan Ramsay and Thomas Gainsborough. Reflecting the Royal couple's domestic life, there are gifts they exchanged, with tableware, writing sets, gaming pieces and musical instruments, including case of a claviorgan, a harpsichord, and the King's flute. The Queen's Gallery, London until 9th June.

Louise Bourgeois: Stitches In Time features new works by the nonagenarian Franco-American artist whose installation of three towers featuring spiral staircases, dark enclosures and mirrored platforms, inaugurated the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. This exhibition includes a group of extraordinary life size sewn fabric busts, several cell like vitrines housing scenes of torture and ecstasy, and totemic figures, which reinterpret in fabric, some of Bourgeois's very first sculptures from the 1940s and 50s. These are shown together with two major suites of etchings, the earliest of which is 'He Disappeared into Complete Silence', her first significant group of etchings and poems, in which tales of loss and loneliness unfold. Louise Bourgeois has employed many modes of practice in her career of more than 60 years, including carving, installation, castings in natural and man-made materials, performance art, text and illustration and needlecraft. Her diverse and experimental art has engaged with, yet remained at one remove from the major 20th century art movements, her artistic innovation setting its own path. Bourgeois's early family home in the Parisian suburbs, steeped in the tapestries of her seamstress mother, and the wares of her antique dealer father, continues to be referenced within the architecture, furnishings and artefacts of her sculpture. The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh until 9th May.

Bill Brand: A Centenary Retrospective celebrates the work of one of the pre-eminent photographers of the 20th century. With 155 mainly vintage, gelatin-silver prints from the Bill Brandt Archive, the exhibition displays the finest selection of his rare and famous prints to be seen in Britain for over thirty years. Brandt's career as a photographer began in Vienna, and included work as an assistant to Man Ray in Paris, before he settled in London in 1931. He became the great documentarian of British cultural and social life for the news magazines of the time, exposing the contrasts in 1930s society. During the Second World War Brandt photographed both the landscapes of 'Literary Britain', creating images of Hardy's Wessex and the Bronte sisters' Yorkshire Moors, and London, with the moonlit blacked-out streets, and crowds sheltering in Underground stations during the Blitz. After the War, returning to an interest in the surreal, Brandt acquired a wide-angle Kodak camera, and photographed nudes outdoors on the beaches of England and France. This 'Perspective of Nudes' series radically revised the genre by creating dramatic sculptural images of nudes merging with the landscape. From the 1940s onwards, he also produced striking portraits of great artists and writers, such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and Graham Greene. Brandt's innovations expanded the medium of photography and gave his work a timeless quality. Victoria & Albert Museum until 25th July.Bill Brand: Portraits is a complementary exhibition, bringing together over 40 photographs, including a number of rare vintage prints from the 1940s, ranging from Cecil Day-Lewis and T.S. Eliot to John Piper and Augustus John. From the 1950s and 60s come Brandt's memorable studies of Peter Sellers, Rene Magritte and Harold Pinter. The 1970s and 80s are represented by his pictures of Martin Amis, Ted Hughes, David Hockney, Glenda Jackson and Bridget Riley. National Portrait Gallery until 30th August.

Concluding

Vuillard: From Post-Impressionist To Modern Master is a retrospective of one of the main practitioners of Intimisme - intimate domestic genre painting - in the 1890s. Edouard Vuillard was one of the group of artists who formed Les Nabis - The Prophets - who were particularly influenced by Paul Gauguin's use of simplified forms, colour and symbolism. Eschewing naturalism, while choosing naturalistic subjects, he transformed scenes of everyday life into paintings of emotional power and psychological drama. Vuillard also painted portraits of icons from the world of theatre and fashion, still life and landscapes, and created works for the avant-garde theatre, including lithographed programmes, posters and set designs. Later in his career, Vuillard was commissioned to paint large scale decorative panels of urban landscapes and parks. Vuillard enthusiastically embraced the new technology of photography in the late 1890s, capturing his family, friends and fellow artists, offering a glimpse into his private life. This is the first exhibition to explore Vuillard's photographic output fully, and reveals the ways photography influenced his later paintings. Comprising over 200 works, spanning the fin-de-siecle through to the 1930s, this exhibition presents the full range and diversity of Vuillard's work for the first time. Royal Academy until 18th April.

Women And War examines women's involvement in conflict in the 20th century, charting their changing roles from home front to front line. It tells the story of servicewomen, nurses, land girls, factory workers, secret agents, pilots and peacekeepers from the First World War to the recent conflict in the Balkans. The breadth of scope is demonstrated by highlights such as: the pistol carried by Sergeant Major Flora Sandes in Serbia during the First World War; a diary kept by Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for espionage in 1915; a camisole worn by a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania; Marlene Dietrich's Second World War uniform; Amy Johnson's flying tunic; a camera used by war photographer Lee Miller; the George Cross posthumously awarded to the secret agent Violette Szabo; and the wedding dress worn by a prisoner who married the British soldier who liberated her from the Belsen concentration camp - plus of course, the famous 'Rosie The Riveter' and other war time posters. An accompanying audio programme enables visitors to listen to women describing their experiences in letters, diaries and tape recorded reminiscences, ranging from a nurse on the Western Front to a widow in present day Rwanda. Imperial War Museum until 18th April.

Blasting The Future! Vorticism In Britain 1910 - 1920 examines this important British artistic movement, and its turbulent relationship with Futurism. Vorticism is one of the most important and distinctive avant-garde art movements of the early twentieth century, and was Britain's most significant contribution to the development of Modernism. Established by the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis, Vorticism aimed to liberate British culture from the legacy of the Victorian era, promoting a dynamic art that would embrace and reflect the industrial age, through an imagery of hard-edged, geometric and often completely abstract forms. The Vorticist manifesto appeared in the first issue of the movement's official publication Blast. Its signatories included William Roberts, Lawrence Atkinson, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Helen Saunders, Edward Wadsworth and the American poet Ezra Pound, who gave the movement its name. It was greatly indebted to the Italian Futurist movement, which was very active in London during the early years of the 20th century, but the British artists consistently rejected such comparisons, and fiercely defended their independence. All of the major Vorticist artists are represented in this display of 45 works, and in addition, figures such as Jacob Epstein and David Bomberg - who were sympathetic to the aims of the movement but never belonged to it - as well as Britain's only true Futurist, C.R.W. Nevinson. Estorick Collection, London until 18th April.