News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th February 2012


David Shrigley: Brain Activity is the first major exhibition of work by the British artist known for his humorous drawings that make witty and wry observations on everyday life. David Shrigley employs a deliberately crude graphic style, which gives his work an immediate and accessible appeal, while simultaneously offering insightful commentary on the absurdities of human relationships. The exhibition covers the full range of Shrigley's work from the past two decades, including drawing, animation, painting, photography, taxidermy and sculpture. There are some 80 drawings never before seen in Britain, plus around 45 larger new paintings on paper. Many of Shrigley's three dimensional works, ranging from hand-crafted sculptures made out of unusual materials, to larger series and installations, including '12 Large Eggs', 'Insects' and 'Black Boots', are characterised by their odd scale, lending the works a strange, uncanny edge. Death and the macabre are recurrent themes in Shrigley's work, treated with the same deadpan humour as the everyday. Other highlights include a large-scale in-situ wall painting; 'Swords and Daggers', a set of bronze weapons; 'The Contents of the Gap between the Refrigerator and the Cooker' a colorful strip that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be a pile of miniature plasticine creatures; and a series of photographs that feature discreet interventions that Shrigley has made in various landscapes and interiors, injecting comedic irony to otherwise everyday banal imagery. There is also a brand new animation, shown alongside a selection of Shrigley existing films, including 'New Friends', an ironic twist on peer pressure, 'Sleep', 'Light Switch' and 'Ones', in which the use of repetition brings familiar behaviour into view. Hayward Gallery until 13th May.

Harrogate For Health And Happiness - A Spa Town In The 20th Century charts the rise and fall of the Royal Baths in the 'Bath of the north'. The Royal Baths opened in 1897, featuring the strongest sulphur well in Europe, with the aim of being the most advanced centre for hydrotherapy in the world. At its peak it attracted 15,000 people each summer, including the Tsarina Alexandra of Russia in 1911, but in the period after the Second World War the 'curing' waters were not taken as frequently and it eventually closed in the 1960s. The exhibition examines this history through memories, historical objects, fashion, film, letters and photographs. Among the items on display are a Vichy Bath, a combined shower and bath that mimicked the restorative powers of the French resort, and a teak Peat Bath that moved on wheels and rails to the treatment room. Newly discovered 1930s film footage shows people enjoying a variety of treatments, including peat baths, as well as drinkers at the Royal Pump Room. Visitors can take a tour to see the sulphur wells, discover the history of Turkish Baths, and taste the water that helped to put Harrogate on the map as a popular spa town. The Royal Pump Room Museum, Crown Place, Harrogate, until 31st December.

Golden Spider Silk is a unique display, featuring the only large textiles in the world to have been created from the silk of spiders. It comprises two pieces, each made from the silk of female Golden Orb Weaver spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar. The hand-woven textiles are naturally golden in colour, and each took over four years to create. A 4m long brocaded textile is on show, together with a golden cape, decorated with a wealth of complex embroidered and appliqued motifs celebrating the spider in myth and metaphor. Inspired by 19th century accounts and illustrations, Simon Peers, an Englishman, and Nicholas Godley, an American, started experimenting with spider silk in 2004 to see if they could revive this forgotten art. It is a highly labour intensive undertaking, making these textiles extraordinarily rare and precious objects. To create the textiles, spiders are collected each morning and harnessed in specially conceived 'silking' contraptions. Trained handlers extract the silk from 24 spiders at a time. It has taken over 1 million spiders to provide the silk for the brocaded textile and 80 people 5 years to collect them. The silk of 1.2 million spiders went into making the cape. After 'silking', the silk is taken on cones to the weaving workshop, where skilled weavers have mastered the special tensile properties of the silk. In the Malagasy textile, each warp is made from 96 spun strands of spider silk and each brocading weft has 10 of those threads together - 960 strands in total. In the cape, the main weave is also of 96 strands, the lining 48 strands and a large part of the embroidery is made using unspun 24 strand silk. On average, 23,000 spiders yield around 1 ounce of silk. Victoria & Albert Museum, until 5th June.


Hajj: Journey To The Heart Of Islam examines the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is central to the Muslim faith. The exhibition considers the significance of the Hajj as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, exploring its importance for Muslims and looking at how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history. It brings together a wealth of objects, including both important historic pieces and new contemporary art works, which reveal the enduring impact of Hajj across the globe and across the centuries. The exhibition has three key strands: the pilgrim's journey, with an emphasis on the major routes used across time (from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East); the Hajj today, its associated rituals and what the experience means to the pilgrim; and Mecca, the destination of Hajj, its origins and importance. At the heart of the sanctuary in Mecca lies the Ka'ba, the cube-shaped building that Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. It was in Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations in the early 7th century. The rituals involved with Hajj have remained unchanged since its beginning, and it continues to be a powerful religious undertaking that draws Muslims together from all over the world. The objects, which evoke and document the long and perilous journey associated with the pilgrimage, the gifts offered to the sanctuary as acts of devotion and the souvenirs that are brought back from Hajj, include archaeological material, manuscripts, textiles, historic photographs and art. The Hajj has a deep emotional and spiritual significance for Muslims, and continues to inspire a wide range of personal, literary and artistic responses, many of which are explored throughout the exhibition. British Museum until 15th April.

The Garden Of Forgotten Engineers, Smiths And Bicycles features a collection of monster sculptures made from scrap materials of all kinds. Serena Thirkell, a descendant of Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne Jones, creates strange metal mythical creatures and monsters from broken agricultural machinery, old garden tools and even dentist's equipment. The exhibition in the grounds of the gallery includes a rusty Belling heater that has become a bee; a potato lough transmogrified into a mantis; pipe benders that form a Trojan Horse; a vegetable steamer transposed into a Samurai family; bicycle gears and chain metamorphosed into a duck; and an old farmer's plough mould boards, a digger bucket and smith's tongs transformed into a huge helicopter called a 'Helicopterix'. A true British eccentric. Worthing Museum & Art Gallery until 5th May.

Meetings In Marrakech: The Paintings Of Hassan El Glaoui And Winston Churchill tells the story of the unlikely friendship of two very different characters. The exhibition brings together for the first time a unique collection of work by Winston Churchill and Hassan El Glaoui. Churchill, an accomplished amateur painter, first visited the Moroccan city of Marrakech in 1935. He developed a lasting affection for the city, considering it 'one of the loveliest spots in the whole world', and was inspired to produce many paintings of its buildings and people. During these trips he befriended Hadj Thami El-Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech - also known as the 'Black Panther'. Through Churchill's intervention, the Pasha's son, Hassan El Glaoui, was permitted to pursue his passion for painting, something that had not met with the Pasha's approval. Churchill's influence had significant results. El Glaoui was the first Moroccan artist to establish an international reputation, and today his work is among the most sought after contemporary North African art in the world. This exhibition demonstrates that for Churchill, Morocco provided an inspiration that was profound, and, despite such different starting points, a common sensibility and appreciation for the country is communicated in the work of both artists. In two different views of the same subject by two very different men, there are striking similarities in composition, subject matter and palate, if not in execution. Highlights include Churchill's 'River near Marrakech' and 'The Mosque in Marrakech' and El Glaoui's 'Les trois caleches' and 'Residence Styina a Marrakech'. Leighton House Museum, London W14, until 31st March.

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture demonstrates the Yorkshire artist's long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape. David Hockney's vivid paintings inspired by the Yorkshire landscape, many large in scale and created specifically for the exhibition, are shown alongside related drawings and films. Through a selection of works spanning 50 years, this new body of work is placed in the context of Hockney's extended preoccupation with landscape. Hockney's involvement with the depiction of space is traced from the 1960s, through his photo collages of the 1980s and the Grand Canyon paintings of the late 1990s, to the recent paintings of East Yorkshire, many of which have been made en plein air. These include 3 groups of new work made since 2005, when he returned to live in Bridlington, showing an intense observation of his surroundings in a variety of media, in the vivid colours he brought back from California. Hockney has always embraced new technologies, and recently he has used the iPhone and iPad as tools for making art. A number of the iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras are displayed on multiple screens, providing a spellbinding visual journey through the eyes of David Hockney. The exhibition reveals his emotional engagement with the landscape he knew in his youth, as he examines on a daily basis the changes in the seasons, the cycle of growth and variations in light conditions. Royal Academy until 9th April.

Bond In Motion marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series with the biggest exhibition of Bond vehicles ever staged. Cars used in films starring Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig all feature in the exhibition, including the record breaking Aston Martin DBS stunt car from 'Casino Royale'. The 50 vehicles in the display range from the real to merely fanciful, including the legendary Aston Martin DB5 seen in a number of films, with its many gadgets and ejector seat, alongside bikes, trikes, sleds and boats. Highlights include the Jaguar XKR with grille-mounted machine guns, a rear-mounted Gatling gun and boot-mounted mortars from 'Die Another Day'; the Lotus Esprit S1 that dived underwater in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'; the Fairey Huntress Speedboat from 'From Russia With Love'; Goldfinger's 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III; the AMC Hornet from 'The Man With the Golden Gun'; the Little Nellie autogyro from 'You Only Live Twice'; the Ford Mustang Mach I from 'Diamonds Are Forever'; the Citroen 2CV from 'For Your Eyes Only'; the folding Bede BD5 Acrostar Jet from 'Octopussy'; the SFX Cello Case Ski from 'The Living Daylights'; the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II from 'The World Is Not Enough'; and the Aston Martin DBS from 'Quantum Of Solace'. National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, until 17th January.

Stephen Hawking: A 70th Birthday Celebration acknowledges the landmark birthday of the world's best known physicist, exploring the relationship between the his scientific achievements and his immense success in popularising astrophysics. The display celebrates Stephen Hawking's life and achievements and features objects and papers primarily sourced from his own archives. Over a career that has lasted much longer than originally anticipated, Hawking has wrestled with the origin of time and the universe, and made many fundamental contributions to cosmology. In addition, he has probably done more than anyone else to popularise these extraordinary ideas, inspiring both the public and the next generation of scientists. The exhibition features two main strands: Hawking's scientific work and his public profile. It features audio, specially recorded by Hawking, and a projection of photographs from his life and career, many previously unseen, together with a new series of photographic portraits taken by Sarah Lee in his office at the University of Cambridge in December 2011. The show encourages visitors to reflect on the relationship between Hawking's scientific achievements, particularly the work that established his reputation in the 1960s and 1970s, and his immense success in popularising astrophysics. Science Museum until 13th April.


OMA / Progress is the first British examination of the work of one of the most influential international architecture practices working today. OMA (the Office for Metropolitan Architecture) comprises 7 partners and a staff of around 280 architects, designers and researchers working in offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing and Hong Kong. Known for their daring ideas, extraordinary buildings and obsession with the rapid pulse of modern life, OMA play an active role in the architectural, engineering and cultural ideas that are shaping the world. The exhibition, comprising a wide range of materials, relics, documentation, imagery and models, includes a browsable index of all OMA's projects, videos of lectures given by OMA partners from the 1970s to now, and an OMA shop including seminal books and an exclusive collection of prints. One gallery introduces OMA and their current preoccupations, including a raw sequence of every single image from OMA's server - almost 3.5m - that runs on a 48 hour loop. Another is dedicated to a collection of around 450 items that illustrate the history and current practice of OMA, ranging from the iconic - such as models of the Maison a Bordeaux and the CCTV headquarters in Beijng - and previously unseen before seen artefacts including unpublished manuscripts of a never completed book on Lagos, Nigeria. Another is a 'secret room', a space completely covered in the waste paper collected from the OMA offices over a month long period. Further highlights include samples of the skin of the Prada Transformer Pavilion in Seoul in 2009; paintings reproduced in fabric for a wall covering from Rothschild Bank HQ; insights into recent projects such as Cornell University's Milstein Hall; recent competition entries like the Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles; and also those that are on-hold indefinitely, like the Dubai Renaissance tower. Barbican Art Gallery until 19th February.

Edward Burra is the first major show for over 25 years of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the 20th century. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to reassess Edward Burra's extraordinary creativity and impressive legacy. Burra made modernist paintings in an eccentric style that had something in common with those of Stanley Spencer - but without the religious references. Sailors in dockside watering holes, Harlem strip joints, lorries and motorbikes were his kind of subjects. Burra's preferred medium was watercolour, but the results are not like the watercolours of other artists. His paintings are vital, crowded with detail, their urban men and women flattened and cartoonish in a gaudy palette, yet surprisingly, Burra remains something of a footnote in art history. This exhibition of over 70 works features some of Burra's best known images of everyday people at leisure in cafes, bars and nightclubs, and explores the influence on him of jazz music and cinema, as well as examples of his fascination with the macabre (including dancing skeletons) and dark sides of humanity, together with his later more lyrical depictions of the British landscape. In addition, the show also examines Burra's role as a designer for the stage, including ground-breaking sets and costumes for Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois, particularly a front cloth for Don Quixote. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 19th February.

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter At The Court Of Milan examines the extraordinary observation, imagination and technique of possibly the world's greatest artist. The exhibition concentrates on Leonardo da Vinci's career as a court painter in Milan during the 1480s and 1490s, and is the first to be dedicated to his aims and ambitions as a painter. It comprises some 60 paintings and drawings by Leonardo, as well as pictures by some of his closest collaborators, some never seen in Britain before. Nearly every surviving picture that Leonardo painted in Milan is in the display, including 'Portrait of a Musician', 'Saint Jerome', 'Madonna Litta', 'Belle Ferronniere', the two versions of 'Virgin of the Rocks' and 'The Lady with an Ermine'. These pictures show how Leonardo, benefiting from his salaried position, used his artistic freedom to find new ways of perceiving and recording the natural world, focusing especially on the human anatomy, soul and emotions. Leonardo's time in Milan was the making of him, both as an artist and as a public figure. It was where executed his two profoundly different versions of the mysterious 'Virgin of the Rocks'; as well as the wall-painting of 'The Last Supper', represented in the exhibition by a near contemporary, full scale copy by his pupil Giampietrino; and 'The Lady with an Ermine', acclaimed as the first truly modern portrait, as the sitter's nuanced expression conveys her inner life, mind, soul - and what we would now call psychology. More than 50 drawings relating to the paintings are exhibited for the first time, including all the surviving drawings that are connected to the 'Last Supper' and the 'Madonna Litta'. National Gallery until 15th February.