News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th March 2006

Commencing

Tropicalia: A Revolution In Brazilian Culture 1967 - 72 endeavours to capture the revolutionary movement that influenced the art, politics, music and fashion that exploded onto the cultural scene of late 1960's Brazil - the South American equivalent of Swinging London. It revisits the energy and excitement of this seminal moment in Brazilian culture, and examines its relationship with the complicated urban and political landscape of Latin America in the late '60s and early '70s. The exhibition includes over 250 exhibits, showcasing the range and breadth of the movement, including album covers, fashion, posters, documentaries, advertising, books, pop influenced paintings, theatre sets, architectural drawings and models, television footage and music. At its centre is a recreation of Helio Oiticica's 1969 Whitechapel Art Gallery installation 'Tropicalia', comprising straw beds, tents pitched on an indoor sandy beach dotted tropical plants, gravel walkways between wicker screens, live parrots, the music of Caetano Veloso and ramshackle huts evoking the shanty town dwellings of a Brazilian favella. The exhibition also includes seminal works by visual artists of the era, including Lygia Clark, Amilcar De Castro, Antonia Dias and Lygia Pape. The movement continues to have an impact on a new generation of artists, writers and musicians working in Brazil today, who are represented by Arto Lindsay, Marepe, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander and Dominique Gonzalez-Forster. Let the sunshine in! Barbican Gallery until 21st May.

Please Close The Gate is a collection of mostly new sculpture, largely shown outdoors, which is generally formed in metal or wood and then given a layer of paint. This acts as a kind of shell, and either helps to give it an image, or to dematerialise its form. Among the highlights are: Rose Finn-Kelcey's 'Pearly Gate', an oversized painted wooden five bar gate standing slightly ajar; Keith Wilson's 'Thames Walkway: Boat Race (sheeted)', made in painted galvanised steel, mapping the path of the Oxbridge boat race from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge; Bob and Roberta Smith's 'Vegetable Sculptures', comprised of gaudily coloured vegetables balanced precariously on top of each other; Franz West's 'Sitzwust', a giant shocking pink aluminium sausage; and Helen Chadwick's best known work 'Piss Flowers', casts in white painted bronze exhibited outside on grass as was originally intended; together with classic works by Barbara Hepworth, 'Sphere with Inside and Outside Colour' and 'Makutu', which use colour in more subtle ways. Works by Phyllida Barlow, Franz West and William Turnbull feature one colour over a single medium; and wall mounted works by Ellen Hyllemose and Cedric Christie take 'ugly', building materials, such as scaffolding and mdf, and make them beautiful through the addition of paint. New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery, Roche Court, Salisbury until 7th May.

Jacob Van Ruisdael: Master Of Landscape is a retrospective of the work of the pre-eminent landscape painter of the 17th century, renowned for the unmatched number of subjects he depicted and the wealth of clearly observed naturalistic detail. It comprises some 50 of Ruisdael's paintings, alongside 36 of his drawings and rarely seen etchings, illustrating the diversity and scope of the landscapes he depicted. The grandeur of Ruisdael's compositions, with ruined castles on rocky crags and torrents cascading down hillsides, coupled with his skill in portraying natural phenomena and carefully observed detail, made him one of the greatest masters of the Golden Age of Dutch painting. Such was Ruisdael's ability to render nature's subtleties in a faithful manner, that botanists have been able to identify species of plants and trees in his paintings, and oceanographers have marvelled at his accurate depiction of breaking waves, as in 'A Rough Sea at a Jetty'. But that was not all. Reality and imagination coexist in Ruisdael's work - his landscapes tell a story. The inimitable and versatile style he pioneered broke with painting traditions set by previous generations, and his innovative approach to depicting nature had a profound effect not only on landscape painting in Holland, but it also in England, France and America. The drawings on display include sketches, initial studies for paintings and finished stand-alone works, while the etchings represent the range of his output as a printmaker. Royal Academy until 4th June.

Continuing

The Cartoon Museum, which has just opened, is the first of its kind in London, exhibiting examples of British cartoons, caricature, and comic art from the 18th century to the present day. It will provide a regularly changing display of more than 250 original cartoons; together with 3,000 books in the Heneage Library available for research; a dedicated comics library; a shop with books, prints, cards and cartoon ephemera; a Young Artists Gallery with facilities for drawing and learning about cartoons; and a programme of children's and adult cartooning and animation classes. Among the highlights of the opening display are: rare and original artwork on loan from The Beano, the Dandy, and Topper featuring all the favourite characters; classic works by Gillray including 'The Plum Pudding', 'John Bull - taking a luncheon', and 'The Zenith of French Glory'; 3D cartoons including Gerald Scarfe's Chairman Mao caricatured in a leather armchair; joke cartoons by Larry, Kipper Williams, Tony Husband, Nick Newman and many more; Roland Emett's working 'Fairway Birdie', made by the eccentric cartoonist who specialised in wacky contraptions; war cartoons including Sir David Low's 'All Behind you, Winston', and Bruce Bairnsfather's, 'If you know a better 'Ole...'; a colour mural painted by cartoonists including Steve Bell, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Peter Brookes, Chris Riddell, MAC and Hunt Emerson; and annual cover drawings by Carl Giles, featuring the Giles family and his immortal Granny. The Cartoon Museum, London WC1 continuing.

Mark Titchner: It Is You features the artist whose works explore systems of belief - both secular and spiritual - often focusing on discredited or marginalised ideologies and objects. Using language and motifs taken from advertising, religious iconography, club flyers, Trade Union banners, political propaganda and occultism, Titchner's works demand attention, yet despite their directness, remain curiously ambiguous - attempting to address the big questions yet falling short of answering them. Working across a number of media, including print, wall drawing, video, sculpture and installation, this exhibition brings together works produced over the last decade, including Titchner's recent major multi-media installation 'When we build let us think that we build forever', shown in Britain for the first time. It also features two new commissions: 'How to Change Behaviour (Tiny Masters of the World Come Out)', and 'The Invisible Republic'. Titchner employs writings and texts from sources as diverse as Martin Heidegger, Wilhelm Reich, The Silver Jews, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Fugazi, The Old Testament, William Blake, Kabbalah and corporate manifestos. The works in this show address themes ranging from the fiction and folly of permanence, expressed through a kind of psychotic modernism, to the collective power of psychic amplification, from a lament to the failure of utopian socialism, to the decoding of the universe by a desktop PC. All human life and more besides etc, etc. Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol until 23rd April.

Winslow Homer: Poet Of The Sea is the first solo exhibition in Britain of a painter who is a household name in his native America, and considered by many to be America's greatest artist. All the more surprising since it was the inspiration he found in Britain that produced his greatest works, seascapes of Northumberland, which he produced in the 1880s, before returning to build a studio on a similarly desolate coastline in Maine. Homer's accent is uniquely American, and his vision has become part of America's pioneering self-image. He painted fine military scenes, inventive images of domestic life and work, portrayals of black experience, but he is at his most magical in his landscapes and seascapes, both in oil and watercolour featured in this exhibition. Homer realistically captures the hard life of the fishermen, the women who waited for them and processed their catches, and the life and death dramas engendered by the wild storms of the North Sea and Maine coasts, especially in works such as 'Blown Away', 'Life Line, 'Beach Scene', 'The Wreck of the Iron Crown' and 'Sharks, or The Derelict'.

In The Age Of Winslow Homer: American Prints 1880 - 1900 is an accompanying exhibition of 50 prints produced during what became known as the Etching Revival, which saw a dramatic increase in the production and purchase of prints. Many of the new etchers chose similar subjects to Homer - harbour views, seascapes, ships at sea, landscapes and scenes they saw on their

travels.

Dulwich Picture Gallery until 21st May.

Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake And The Romantic Imagination explores the birth of the Gothic movement, the taste for fantastic and supernatural themes that dominated British culture from around 1770 to 1830. Featuring over 140 works by Henry Fuseli, William Blake and their contemporaries, the exhibition presents an image of a period of cultural turmoil and daring artistic invention. The central exhibit is Fuseli's 'The Nightmare', which draws on folklore and popular culture, medicine, concepts of imagination, and classical art to create a new kind of highly charged horror image. The most extensive display of Fuseli's paintings and drawings seen in Britain for a generation includes 'The Weird Sisters', the two canvases showing Titania and Bottom from 'The Midsummer Night's Dream', and 'Macbeth and the Armed Head', as well as his rarely seen erotic designs - shown tastefully behind a gauze curtain. Works by Fuseli's contemporaries and followers, dealing with themes of fantasy, horror and perverse sexuality, include over 25 watercolours and paintings by Blake, among which are 'The Night of Enitharmon's Joy', 'The House of Death', 'Ghost of a Flea, The Whirlwind: Ezekial's Vision', 'The Witch of Endor Raising the Spirit of Samuel' and 'Death on a Pale Horse', together with works by Joseph Wright of Derby, George Romney, James Barry, Maria Cosway, John Flaxman, Theodore von Holst, and James Gillray. The exhibition also presents a recreation of a 'Phantasmagoria' - a kind of animated slide show with sound effects and shocking images - providing an opportunity to experience the same chills and thrills as in the 1800s. Tate Britain until 1st May.

Pre-Raphaelite Drawings is a rare chance to see some of the gallery's Pre-Raphaelite drawings and watercolours, which are so delicate and rare that they are normally kept in storage to preserve them from fading. The star turn is a recent acquisition, John Everett Millais's early ink on paper drawing 'Cymon and Iphigenia', which is on public display for the first time. Millais later revisited the subject in oils, which can be seen alongside the drawing. The exhibition includes 35 pencil, charcoal, chalk, ink and watercolour drawings, and is a mixture of preparatory studies for well known paintings, including precise sketches of Holman Hunt's 'The Scapegoat', together with stand alone works, both portraits (often studies of fellow Pre-Raphaelites as well as family and friends) and landscapes that exemplify the 'truth to nature' aesthetic. It explores the development of the style of the movement, from their brightly coloured early works displaying precision and detail, based on realistic observation of specific things and places, to the later, looser and more generalised, works, depicting imaginary scenes and poetical concepts, which are more muted in colour. There are contributions by many of the Brotherhood, including Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Edward Burne-Jones, George Price Boyce, Daniel Alexander Williamson and Marie Spartali Stillmann. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight until 14th May.

Life At Sea celebrates Britain's long and intimate relationship with the sea, which, as well as playing a vital role in our heritage and national identity, continues to influence 95% of everything we eat, wear, drive and sell in the UK. The exhibition touches on a diverse range of subjects and themes relating to the maritime sector, from the experiences of fishermen on the British coasts, the off shore workers on oil and gas rigs in the North Sea, and the men and women of the Royal Navy who defend peace and security around the world, through the hardships faced by British explorers travelling in hostile environments in the past, to the 21st century luxuries experienced by pleasure seekers on ' floating hotel' cruise ships, and the more active pursuits of sailing and racing, as well as demonstrating its importance to communities and economies across Britain. In addition to myriad evocative images of all kinds, highlights from more than 120 objects include: a gold pocket watch presented to First Mate George Morgan who took command of the Rifleman en route to Sydney after the grisly murder of her captain; a tin fiddle made by a fisherman frustrated by the effect of the sea on traditional wooden instruments; a piece of shrapnel recovered from the deck of HMS Colossus, the first vessel to be hit in the Battle of Jutland; and an empty soup tin taken on John Franklin's final expedition to find the North West Passage, which may have unwittingly contributed to the death of the crew. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 23rd April.

Concluding

Cut And Dried: The Silhouettes Of Augustin Edouart And Watercolours Of Harry More Gordon presents two complementary displays, featuring the work of 19th century French artist Augustin Edouart, and 20th century Scottish watercolourist Harry More Gordon. Edouart, one of the most able cut paper silhouettists of all time, visited Scotland in the early 1830s and made portraits in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth that are a record of the time, while More Gordon's watercolour portraits, showing an acute eye for detail, provide an observation of modern life and manners. During his career Edouart travelled throughout the United Kingdom and America, creating over 100,000 cut paper portraits. This exhibition features over 30 likenesses in profile made by cutting black paper with scissors, while he lived in Edinburgh from 1829 to 1832. His sitters included the exiled French Royal family of Charles X, and many of the leading figures of Scottish society, including writer Sir Walter Scott, artist William Dyce, social reformer Rev Thomas Chalmers, and anatomist Robert Knox. Harry More Gordon began as a graphic artist and illustrator before taking up watercolour portraiture. His pictures, usually informal works, painted in domestic rather than official settings, are always filled with closely observed still life details, which turn them into a form of social commentary. The display features 20 large works, including politician Sir Menzies Campbell, artist Gian Carlo Menotti, gallery director Sir Timothy Clifford, and a celebrated group portrait 'The Secretaries of State for Scotland', completed in 1999, showing all 8 men who had occupied the position over a period of 30 years. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 26th March.

Embracing The Exotic: Jacob Epstein And Dora Gordine provides an opportunity to view the work of two contrasting, British based emigre sculptors, Jacob Epstein, and his lesser known female contemporary, Dora Gordine. Comprising more than 40 sculptures and drawings, alongside ethnographic pieces that inspired them, this exhibition examines how Epstein and Gordine both responded to, and were inspired by, non-western cultures in much of their work, despite their radically different working methods. Epstein, one of the most significant figures in British sculpture in the first half of the twentieth century, was a great admirer of African and Oceanic sculpture. This 'primitive' influence, linked to his revival of the methods of direct carving, and his contact with the Paris artists Brancusi and Modigliani, is obvious in sculptures. It is also apparent in his often-explicit drawings and carvings on themes of fertility and birth. Epstein's preference for models of non-European origin was often controversial during his lifetime, but resulted in some of his most striking pieces. Dora Gordine, a self taught sculptor, designer, collector and society figure, began her career in Paris, where she was encouraged by Maillol, and travelled widely, concentrating from the outset on models of non-European origin. Her first solo exhibition in London included heads of Indian, Chinese, Cingalese, Javanese, Malay, Iranian and Greek models. Highlights here include her bronze bust 'The Chinese Philosopher' and the lifesize 'Javanese Dancer'. This is a rare opportunity to see Gordine's unjustly neglected work. Ben Uri Gallery,108A Boundary Road, London NW8, 020 7604 3991, until 19th March.

Prefabulous London explores how a new wave of modern house types may make living in a box desirable, by showcasing the modules, pods and panels that are transforming perceptions of factory-built living. From pre-assembled, fully-fitted, transport-ready house modules, to flat-pack kit homes from well-known retailers such as the German Hufhaus, modern methods of construction are increasingly being applied by developers to create contemporary, affordable and sustainable homes. The display shows how existing London housing projects from the pioneering Murray Grove to futuristic new concepts of compact-living can remove the stigma surrounding traditional prefabs, and help towards meeting the demand for an additional 32,000 new homes in the capital per year. Starting with 'A for Affordability' through 'M for Modular' to 'Z for Zero defects', the exhibition examines the implications of these innovative methods of housing construction and component manufacture. Through partnerships between manufacturers, architects and housing associations, new methods of construction are maximising design, finishes and performance to reflect higher consumer expectations and greater demands for energy efficiency. The display shows that, from demountable homes providing temporary low cost housing, to liftable, individual roof-top extension modules solving problematic access, the applications of off-site construction are broad, and have the ability to tackle many issues of modern city living. New London Architecture at the Building Centre, London until 18th March.