News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th August 2001


Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is now the biggest event in Europe, with 150 hot air balloons in every conceivable shape, from Bertie Bassett and Thomas The Tank Engine to giant pieces of fruit, taking to the sky over four days. The highlight will be the Fiesta Night Glow, a choreographed show featuring 35 tethered balloons with their burners lit up to music, creating patterns against the darkening night sky, followed by a gigantic firework display finale. There are many other aerial events including a kite festival, aerobatics displays, parachute jumps, aerial acrobatics from the Oxford Stunt Factory, paragliding, and biplane wing walking. The accompanying free entertainment programme includes an all star band concert, plus other performers from medieval minstrels to African drummers, and a fun fair. Full details can be found on the Bristol Balloon Fiesta web site via the link from the Others - Festivals & Events section of ExhibitionsNet. Ashton Court Estate, Bristol 9th to 12th August.

Reporting The World: John Pilger's Great Eyewitness Photographers explores the close association of journalist and documentary film maker John Pilger with some of the world's greatest reportage photographers. The exhibition includes Philip Jones Griffiths photographs of Vietnam, documenting the devastating effects of the war; Steve Cox's pictures of violent struggle for independence in East Timor; and Nic Dunlop's images of the Burmese opposition, including portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi. John Pilger's collaboration with photographers Matt Herron and Ken Regan highlights a life long interest in America. Matt Herron's photographs of the civil rights campaign, the arms race, and effects of the Vietnam War on American families, reflect a less well-known side of American life. Ken Regan's work on the campaign trail with Pilger resulted in definitive images of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George Wallace. Barbican Centre Gallery until 30th September.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo celebrates the 52nd season of this unique blend of music, ceremony, entertainment and theatre, featuring over 1000 performers, staged against the backdrop of Edinburgh castle. Highlights include the Cook Islands National Youth Dance Team performing Polynesian dance to coconut palm drums; a display of precision drill with bayonet tipped rifles by The Guard of His Majesty the King of Norway; the Russian Cossack State Song and Dance Ensemble performing folk songs and sword dances; and the re-enactment of Dargai, a 19th century frontier battle, providing a historical vignette of pipers and drummers in battle. The centrepiece remains massed pipes and drums, and two Australian military pipe bands, The Rats of Tobruk and The Royal Caledonian Society, join with The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, King's Own Scottish Borderers, The Highlanders, Royal Irish Regiment, Royal Gurkha Rifles and Royal Air Force Leuchars. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo web site, which provides full details, plus four webcams relaying continuous live pictures, can be found via the link from the Others - Festivals & Events section of ExhibitionsNet. Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh from 3rd to 25th August.


A Children's Midsummer Night's Dream takes advantage of the recent acquisition of a child sized woodland glade - complete with a working fountain. It comes from a new film version of Shakespeare's play, made with a cast of Southwark children by Sands Films, noted for its use of local craftspeople in achieving period authenticity. There is a trail through an enchanted forest for younger children to follow, using the project's costumes, puppets, props and scenery. Older children and adults can see a display about the making of the film in words and pictures, and all can enjoy clips from the finished article. Both the exhibition and a daily children's costume workshop are free. The continuing display consists of nearly 6,000 toys, games and costumes from all over the world spanning a period of 400 years. The National Museum Of Childhood At Bethnal Green until 30th August.

Look At Me: Fashion And Photography In Britain 1960 To The Present Day "looks at the relationship between fashion and art in the evolving visual and cultural language of Britain in the second half of the 20th century". Or, it presents the results of the great time increasingly well known and generously rewarded photographers had recording the ludicrous excesses of the extravagantly self important fashion industry. You pays your money and what you get is a truly evocative picture of both the style and obsessions of the photographers - David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Derek Ridgers et al - and the periods they recorded. Nevertheless, despite how entertaining it is, it's hard to take these pictures of silly people in what are now embarrassing clothes as serious art, but then perhaps that was what they said about Van Dyck. Milton Keynes Art Gallery until 2nd September.

Forgery - The Artful Crime charts the history of the continuing struggle of the Bank Of England against the ingenuity of those who sought to counterfeit its wares - a crime which at one time was punishable by hanging. The exhibition shows examples of attempts at forgery of the Bank's notes, and the resulting action taken to foil them. The Bank is the longest continuous issuer of paper money in the world, dating back to its foundation in 1694, and the increasing complexity of bank note design and production over that period are illustrated and explained. There are also demonstrations of engraving and coin minting. The continuing display includes currency in all its forms, with gold bars, coins and notes, medals and commemorative issues, and documents relating to its famous customers from Horatio Nelson to George Washington. There is also a simulated foreign currency dealing desk, which gives visitors a chance to try to make a killing on the Exchange market, without actually breaking their own bank. An accompanying booklet is freely downloadable from the Bank Of England web site, which can be found via the link from the Heritage section of ExhibitionsNet. Bank Of England Museum until 10th October.

Queen Victoria At Kensington - Her Life In Dress marks the centenary of the death of Queen Victoria with a new display of items from her wardrobe, including her wedding dress and coronation robes. It reflects the different ages of the longest reigning British monarch, and the changes in dress that occurred over that period. The exhibition also features some of Victoria's toys, including her doll's house and a selection of her dolls in costume of the period.

The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is a presentation of dress worn by members of the Royal Family, and officials and dignitaries undertaking ceremonial roles, such as heralds or members of Orders of Knighthood, dating from the 18th century to the present day. There are also recreations of a dressmaker's workroom, a tailor's shop, and dressing rooms. Highlights include Queen Mary's wedding dress and a collection of dresses owned and worn by the present Queen. Patterns, sketches, samples and dresses created by Catherine Walker for Diana, Princess of Wales are also on display for the first time. Kensington Palace until 31st March.

At Sea acknowledges that just as artists in the past have been fascinated by the sea as a representation of the power of nature, so many artists working today continue to find it a source of inspiration. This exhibition brings together a selection of contrasting reactions to the subject by 21 contemporary artists, embracing sculpture, photography, video, painting and installation. While Vija Celmins and Hiroshi Sugimoto see the sea as conducive to quiet contemplation, for Tacita Dean and Mariele Neudecker, it evokes scenes of danger or disaster, with shipwrecks, drownings and other tragedies. The seashore as a site for leisure and entertainment can be seen in Martin Parr's photographs of West Bay in Dorset, in Rineke Dijkstra's teenage models shivering on deserted beaches, and in Tracy Emin's Whitstable beach hut. The venue is particularly apt, being a 19th century warehouse in Albert Dock, from where many ships departed Britain for an Atlantic crossing. Tate Liverpool until 23rd September.

Isamu Noguchi is the first major British retrospective of the Japanese sculptor, stage designer, landscape architect and furniture designer. Noguchi is possibly best known in the UK for his Akari mulberry paper light sculptures, which inspired the shades that graced a million living rooms in the 1960s. Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and American mother, he trained as a cabinet maker in Japan, and then became assistant to sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Paris, before settling in New York. From this background, Noguchi worked throughout his career as an interpreter of the East to the West, moving between art and design, objects and landscapes, figurative and abstract, organic and geometric, and unique and mass produced. Among Noguchi's works were sculptural furniture for Herman Miller and Knoll Associates, gardens for Tokyo University, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the national museum in Jerusalem, bridges in Hiroshima, stage designs for choreographers Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, and collaborations with visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller. Design Museum until 18th November.


Hogarth's Election Entertainment: Artists At The Hustings illustrates that little has changed in politics in the last 250 years. The methods of bribing the electorate may be more sophisticated but the intentions (and results) are the same. This exhibition centres on the four paintings that comprise Hogarth's An Election, based on the notorious contest for the Oxfordshire seats in the General Election of 1754, which paint a darkly comic view of the greed and corruptibility of mankind. They are joined by the best works of his successors in satirical and political engravings, paintings and cartoons to the present day, gathered from collections all over Britain. These include Thomas Rowlandson's The Poll (1784); Robert Dighton's Westminster Election series (1784-96); Benjamin Haydon's monumental comic reworking of Chairing The Member (1828); George Cruikshank's A Radical Reformer (1818); George Caleb Bingham's The County Election (1854); Ronald Searle's The Candidate (1954), and Steve Bell's Pant Burning (1997). Sir John Soane Museum until 25th August.

2001: An Architectural Odyssey - The Renaissance Of Public Space In Britain examines some of the public buildings and architectural projects that have been constructed throughout the UK in the recent Lottery funded building binge. It looks at thirteen projects reflecting the diversity of contemporary architecture and design, the demand for regeneration, and the impact of the landmark building upon our cities and regions. The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections, each highlighting different aspects of this architectural burgeoning, unprecedented since the Victorian age. These are: Urban ReBirth - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Music Centre Gateshead; Space In The City - Market Place, Armagh and British Museum Great Court; From A To B - Sustrans National Cycle Network and Falkirk Wheel, Millennium Link; Living Futures, Living Pasts - Imperial War Museum North and Millennium Seedbank; Transformations - Eden Project and Magna, Rotherham; New Centres - Millennium Stadium and National Botanic Garden of Wales. RIBA Architecture Gallery, London, 020 7580 5533 until 18th August.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around a thousand works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 10,000 submissions. This year's senior hanger, ancient terrible Peter Blake, has introduced some changes - Shock! Horror! Firstly, he has invited submissions from particular artists and celebrities. Secondly, he has divided works into categories of Royal Academicians, Honorary Academicians, Invited Artists and Submissions, and hung them in different rooms, thus separating professionals from amateurs. Thirdly, he has increased the non painting content by introducing photographs, and devoting a whole room each to sculpture and architectural designs. Among the celebrity works on view (whose presence would seem to have been earned by publicity value rather than artistic merit) are Paul McCartney's flying choc ices, Holly Johnson's Village People sailor, and Ronnie Wood's shaggy bison. Ubiquitous Brit Art stars Tracey Emin contributes a chair embroidered/appliqued with primary school messages, Gavin Turk, a black plastic sack of rubbish recreated in bronze, the Chapman Brothers (metamorphosed into the Chapwoman Sisters) a painting of kittens, and Rankin, a photograph of a waxwork of Kylie Minogue - all presumably considered too conservative for the Turner Prize. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th August.