News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th October 2009

Pop Life: Art In A Material World takes Andy Warhol's notorious statement that "good business is the best art" as a starting point to examine the legacy of Pop Art. The exhibition looks at the various ways that artists since the 1980s have engaged with mass media and cultivated artistic personas creating their own signature 'brands'. It reveals how they have harnessed the power of the celebrity system, to expand their reach beyond the art world, and into the wider world of commerce, by exploiting channels that engage audiences both inside and outside the gallery. Perpetrators represented include Tracey Emin, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. The show begins with a look at Warhol's late work, and his related initiatives as a television personality, paparazzo, and publishing impresario, including his controversial series 'the Retrospectives or Reversals'. Reprising his celebrated Pop icons from the 1960s, in a manner deemed cynical, the Retrospectives look ahead to installations by a number of artists including Martin Kippenberger and Tracey Emin, who overtly engage the self-mythologizing impulse manipulating their personas as a medium, like silkscreen or paint. The exhibition includes reconstructions of Keith Haring's 'Pop Shop' and Jeff Koons's 'Made in Heaven'. A gallery featuring the 'Young British Artists' focuses on their early performative exploits, including ephemera from Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas's shop in Bethnal Green; Gavin Turk's 'Pop 1993'; and works representing Damien Hirst's recent Sotheby's auction, 'Beautiful Inside My Head Forever', plus a recreation of Hirst's performance piece with identical twins sitting beneath two identical spot paintings for the duration of the exhibition. Tate Modern until 17th January.

The Artist's Studio offers an opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore the studios of some of the most prominent British artists of the last 200 years. Through paintings, photographs, drawings, film, etchings, books, manuscripts and studio furniture, the exhibition explores the changing function and depiction of the artist's studio from the 1700s to the present day, spanning not just Britain, but Renaissance Italy, 17th century Holland, and 19th century France. The exhibition reflects the studio variously as display space, a sociable bohemian living space or garret, and as a private space for reflection and creation. Works by artists including Pieter Tillmans, R P Bonnington, JMW Turner, Thomas Rowlandson, George Morland, Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, W P Frith, and Ricketts and Shannon, offer personal and theoretical notions of how the studio has been perceived. From the 20th century there are works by Mark Gertler, Jack B Yeates, William Orpen, Gwen John, William Coldstream and Rodrigo Moynihan. Contemporary artists represented include Paula Rego, David Hockney, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud. There are photographs, both historical and modern by Bruce Bernard, David Dawson, Antony Snowdon, George Lewinski and Gautier Deblonde, plus a specially commissioned film documenting artists in their studios. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 13th December.

HQ At 100: One Century, Hundreds Of Moments celebrates the centenary of Twickenham Stadium, which, when it was built, was considered a 'boggy market garden', and far too far from London. 100 years later, Twickenham is a state of the art stadium in the London borough of Twickenham, which welcomes 80,000 rugby fans on match days. The exhibition focuses on the development of rugby over the last century, with great games and players remembered through photographs and memorabilia. Highlights include materials relating to England's golden period in the 1920s, when the team won 4 grand slams. There is a look at changes in the stadium's structure, from early spectators watching from mounds (and even perched on branches of surrounding trees) to the sophisticated stands of today. The display also considers the stadium's use in wartime, as grazing for horses during the First World War, and as a potential decontamination plant in case of a gas attack in the Second World War. Twickenham World Rugby Museum, Twickenham, Middlesex, until 4th April.

Continuing

Turner And The Masters presents a selection of paintings by JMW Turner alongside related works by the old masters and contemporaries he strove to imitate, rival and surpass. The exhibition brings together over 100 pictures of historical significance, and provides an unprecedented opportunity to view Turner's works alongside masterpieces by more than 30 other artists, including Canaletto, Claude, Titian, Aelbert Cuyp, Poussin, Rembrandt, Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, Willem van de Velde, Veronese, Watteau, Constable, and R P Bonington. In so doing, it reveals that Turner's responses to other artists were both acts of homage and a sophisticated form of art criticism, designed to demonstrate his understanding of the most celebrated masters, and his ability to make their art his own. The exhibition includes Rembrandt's 'Landscape with the Rest on the flight into Egypt' paired with Turner's 'Moonlight, a study at Millbank'; Claude's 'Moses saved from the Waters' with Turner's 'Crossing the Brook'; Ruisdael's 'A Rough Sea at a Jetty 'alongside Turner's 'Port Ruysdael'; Poussin's 'Winter - The Deluge' paired with Turner's 'The Deluge'; Willem van de Vel's 'A Rising Gale' alongside Turner's 'Dutch Boats in a Gale'; and Constable's 'Opening of Waterloo Bridge' with Turner's 'Helvoetsluys'. It was Turner's strategy, almost uniquely within the history of European art, to enter into direct competition with artists both past and present, whom he considered as worthy rivals to his own fame. Turner built his reputation as an oil painter by challenging the works of old masters, deliberately producing paintings that could hang in their company. Tate Britain until 31st January.

50 Years Of The Mini marks the 50th anniversary of the first of Alec Issigonis's iconic British cars to roll off the production line - priced at £500. The exhibition tells the story of the design, production and development of the car that was a symbol for the Swinging Sixties, and shows how the Mini became part of our social history as a nation, as Mini's were owned by people from all walks of life, from Mr Bean to Princess Margaret. More than 5m were built, with production of the original design finally ending at Longbridge in October 2000. The display includes not only complete and partial vehicles themselves, but original designs, manufacturing documentation, photographs, archive film and promotional materials. Highlights include some of the best known examples of the vehicle, including the first Morris Mini produced at Cowley in 1959; the last classic Mini to be manufactured; Paddy Hopkirk's 1964 Monte Carlo winning Mini 33EJB; the BMC 9X hatchback - a unique prototype designed by Issigonis as a possible replacement for the Mini; and the latest BMW Mini, currently being manufactured in Oxford. Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire, until 23rd December.

The Life And Lives Of Dr Johnson celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of the writer, bookseller and compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language with a display of portraits of Johnson and his circle. Paintings, prints and drawings also include portraits of those whose 'lives' Samuel Johnson wrote, such as John Milton and Alexander Pope, alongside his contemporary biographers, and the satirical prints that emerged in response to the race to record his life. Johnson played a significant role in the development of biography, transforming the genre, and raising the status of what was previously considered to be a 'low' form of literature. The display shows how Johnson's appearance was recorded by at least 12 artists, and how his portrait was disseminated widely through the medium of print. He was often depicted with books or writing tools in a tradition for representing authors that goes back to the Ancient Greeks. Also included in the display are portraits of the key people in Johnson's life, including David Garrick, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Hester Lynch Piozzi. To coincide with the exhibition, Joshua Reynolds's iconic portrait of Johnson is on display after a substantial period in conservation, which has revealed insights into its complex history and painting. Reynolds left it unfinished, and it remained in his studio until he gave it to James Boswell, Johnson's friend and biographer. National Portrait Gallery until 13th December.

Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler tells the story of Moctezuma II, the last elected ruler of the Aztecs. From 1502 until 1520 he presided over a large empire embracing much of what is today central Mexico. Moctezuma was regarded as a semi- divine figure by his subjects charged with the task of interceding with the gods. This exhibition examines his life, reign and controversial death during the Spanish conquest. The Spanish were initially well received in the Aztec capital, but distrust and violence ensued. Moctezuma was captured and met his death shortly afterwards. Overcoming resistance, the Spanish went on to conquer his empire. Moctezuma's life and dramatic death are explained through objects ranging from sculpture, gold and mosaic items, to European paintings. The exhibition presents masterpieces of Aztec culture, including the stone monument known as the 'Teocalli of Sacred Warfare', amongst other works commissioned by Moctezuma himself, which bear his image and his name glyph; a turquoise mask and goldwork showcasing the consummate craftsmanship of artisans employed in the Aztec court; paintings known as 'Enconchados' - oil paintings on wooden panels with inlaid Mother of Pearl detail - portraying the events of the conquest in vivid detail; a model of the Great Temple and other ritual buildings in the capital, revealing where Moctezuma carried out blood-letting rituals, and ordered the sacrifice of captives; and idealised European portraits of Moctezuma and colonial Codices, showing how interpretations of Moctezuma and his world have been shaped. British Museum until 24th January.

Commando - Art And Action is an opportunity to view original, never seen before artworks from the archives of the iconic British comic Commando, which has fed the fevered imaginations of men and boys for almost 5 decades. Launched in 1961 by DC Thompson, the company that published comic favourites The Beano and The Dandy, Commando was a competitor to Fleetway's pioneering War Picture Library. It soon became the benchmark in war comic publishing, eventually eclipsing its competitors, and is now, remarkably unchanged, the sole remaining survivor. The Commando story formula remains simple: tales of courage, cowardice, and comradeship, usually set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The format of the comic also plays a significant part in explaining its enduring popularity: always a 63 page story, always in black and white, and always high quality artwork. Some of the best examples of works in the display from DC Thomson's roster of artists are by the likes of Commando stalwarts Ian Kennedy and the great Gordon Livingstone, an artist who remained with the company all of his working life, until his retirement in the 1990s. In addition to the artworks themselves, the exhibition also reveals the process of how a story is created and put into production, following the tale of a REME engineer in 'Front Line Fixer'. REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Berkshire, until 30th October.

In A Bloomsbury Square: T S Eliot The Publisher explores the ways in which the poet and playwright nurtured and developed some of the most significant writers of the 20th century while, working for the publisher Faber and Faber. In the 1930s and beyond, Eliot used his roles as editor and publisher to promote modernist writing, successfully lending it authority, asserting its significance, and making it both respectable and accessible to a wider public. During this time he worked with, amongst others, James Joyce, W H Auden, Marianne Moore, David Jones, and Ted Hughes. As well as shedding light on the various inter-relationships between Eliot's roles as publisher, editor and author, the exhibition also explores his belief in the wider social and cultural mission of publishing. The display comprises original manuscripts, correspondence, art works and sound recordings, as well as previously unseen material from the Faber archive and the Eliot estate. Exhibits include: a letter from Eliot to Geoffrey Faber from 1936 urging publication of Djuna Barnes's novel Nightwood, (Eliot was the only publisher who did not reject it); Ted Hughes journal entry from 1960, giving his impressions on meeting the luminaries of the first generation Faber poets, including W H Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice; and letter from Eliot to his 3 year old godson Tom Faber, including the verse "Invitation to all Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats to come to the Birthday of Thomas Faber", testing out his ideas for what was to become one of his best known works. The British Library until 6th December.

Concluding

The Anson Engine Museum is currently featuring a full size replica of the first ever diesel engine, made by Rudolf Diesel in Germany in 1897. The copy was built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Diesel's birth last year by MAN Truck & Bus Ltd, and is on public display for the first time. It stands alongside the Mirrlees No1, the first ever diesel engine built in Britain, which was the third ever built in the world, revealing the alterations and improvements that were developed between the two engines. This specialist engineering museum houses a unique collection of over 200 gas and oil engines, many maintained in running order. It tells the story of the engine from the cannon to the sophisticated, electronically controlled engine of the future. Prize exhibits include: the largest running example of Crossley Atmospheric gas engine; the original Gardner L series engine; a rare Atkinson-cycle engine; the first ever built Crossley engine; a Griffin 6-stroke engine; a Hugon gas engine; a Stott cross-compound mill engine; and a Fowler beam engine. The museum is on the site of the former Anson Colliery, and also features a display of photographs, maps and mementoes from the Anson Colliery and Vernon Estate, telling the story of the rise and decline of the coalmining industry in the area. The Anson Engine Museum, Anson Road, Poynton, Cheshire, until 25th October.

Picturing Britain: Paul Sandby celebrates the bicentenary of the death of the artist who is best known for promoting British landscapes, at a time when Italianate views were the normal artistic fare. However, this exhibition, bringing together artworks including drawings, watercolours and gouaches, etchings, aquatints and a few rare oils, also reveals Paul Sandby as an acute observer of society and razor-sharp satirist. The kind of landscape that Sandby painted is so familiar now, that it is hard to realise how innovative it was when it was first created. Sandby took the 'topographical scene' and developed it into 'art'. Although he was an artist well versed in continental traditions, his early employment as a map maker and topographical draughtsman led him to produce carefully observed and composed views of the native British landscape, including scenes taken in and around London, and on extensive tours through the great estates of England, Wales and Scotland. He often collaborated on paintings with his elder brother, who was an architect, landscape designer and draughtsman, and they shared a fascination both with perspective and with the camera obscura. Sandby's pictures always reward a closer look, as they are richly peopled and animated, revealing a world where work, social interaction, arrivals and departures along roads and tracks, take place against a backdrop of antiquities and natural wonders, landscape parks and forests, road side inns, forges and gallows. Nottingham Castle, until 18th October.

Exquisite Bodies provides an insight into a strange and forgotten chapter in medical history, with a spectacular display of anatomical models, which were used not only to teach but also to titillate the public in Victorian Britain and Europe. During the 19th century, museums of anatomical models became popular attractions, and in London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona, the public could learn about the inner workings of the body through displays that combined serious science with an element of fairground horror. This exhibition enables visitors to reflect on what these models tell us about Victorian attitudes to anatomical knowledge, and issues including sexual reproduction, contagious disease and death, (and also indulge the same dubious fascination with the macabre). A combination of the beautiful and the grotesque, the 50 examples here range from superbly accurate specimens designed for private use teaching in anatomical theatres, to models destined for often illiterate audiences in the less salubrious parts of cities, where displays highlighted the widespread fear of sexually transmitted diseases. Produced during an era of scientific rationalism, these strange surrogates seem on one hand to illustrate contemporary medicine's interest in empirical knowledge, but at the same time, reveal a range of complex beliefs about life, sex, disease and death. By the early 1900s the popularity of these attractions was on the wane. In Britain their contents were labelled obscene and attacked by campaigners intending to expose 'quackery', while in Europe they endured for some time longer, often trading on their reputations as freak shows or 'monster parades'. The Wellcome Collection, London, until 18th October.