News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th October 2008


Cartoons And Coronets: The Genius Of Osbert Lancaster marks the centenary of the satirist, illustrator, theatre designer and cartoonist. Osbert Lancaster was one of the most famous artistic personalities of his day, and a flamboyant member of the London literary circle. This exhibition celebrates his range as an artist and as a chronicler of style and fashion. It draws on an unparalleled archive of original designs, illustrations, works on paper, sketchbooks and photographs, none of which have ever been previously exhibited. Highlights include original illustrations of architectural styles published in Pillar To Post and Homes Sweet Homes, where he coined definitions such as 'Stockbrokers' Tudor', 'Pont Street Dutch' and 'Vogue Regency', which subsequently entered the language; illustrations for novels, including those of Nancy Mitford, P G Wodehouse and Simon Raven, and book jackets for Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time; set and costume designs for Sadler's Wells, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne; designs for murals, including those in the Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum and the Zuleika murals in the Randolph Hotel in Oxford; and portraits of John Piper, Freya Stark, Benjamin Britten, Max Beerbohm and Evelyn Waugh. Lancaster became a household name through his long career creating cartoons for the Daily Express, where he invented the form of the 'pocket cartoon', occupying a single column. Examples here reflect the trials and tribulations of the Littlehampton Family, featuring Maudie, her husband Willie, Canon Fontwater, Father O'Bubblegum and Mrs Rajagojollibarmi. The Wallace Collection, London until 11th January.

The Body Carnival is an examination of the modified body in all its forms, focusing on the practises of tattooing, piercing, corsetry and cosmetic surgery. Presented from an insider's perspective by Joolz Denby, writer, artist, 'cultural revolutionary' and tattooist, it is a highly personal vision. Exhibits include Anthony Bennett's life size sculptures of the 'Pierced Angel' and 'The Great Omi'; photographs of examples extreme tattoos and piercings shot from odd angles by Ashley and Ian Beesley; the inner workings of a tattoo studio revealed in the presentation 'Bijou Tatu'; and an examination of the practice of corseting, which charts its progress from genteel underwear to flamboyant outerwear, with examples by Viviene Westwood and Alexander McQueen. For all its sympathetic intention and protestations of a serious reflection of contemporary fashion, it is really the modern equivalent of a Victorian travelling fair sideshow - only The Elephant Man is missing. Not for the squeamish. Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford until 30th November.

The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art is the inaugural exhibition in the third incarnation of the Saatchi Gallery, designed by architects AHMM, comprising 70,000 sq ft of space, divided into 15 galleries, over 3 floors, in the grand classical Georgian Duke of York's regiment headquarters building on the King's Road in Chelsea. As before, the aim is to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible, with its commercial purpose underlined by a corporate partnership with the contemporary art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company. The exhibition brings together the work of 24 of China's leading artists in a cutting edge survey of recent painting, sculpture and installation. The range is typical new art eclectic, including: Liu Wei's model city made from sewn together dog chews; Zhang Huan's enormous head manufactured from incense ash, and a stuffed donkey attempting coition with Shanghai's tallest building; Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's super-realist sculptures of 13 world leaders careening about in motorised wheelchairs like dodgem cars; Zhang Dali's group of figures hanging upside down from the ceiling; Xiang Jing's huge naked girl sitting on a giant stool; and Shi Xinning's painting of Chairman Mao meeting the Queen Mother. All the work comes from Saatchi's collection of about 2,500 pieces. The gallery also includes a dedicated space featuring a rotating selection of work by Saatchi Online artists for both exhibition and sale. The Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road SW3.


In Memoriam: Remembering The Great War examines the personal stories of those who lived, fought and died during the First World War, in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Featuring previously unseen material, the exhibition uses the experiences of over 90 individual men and women, servicemen and civilians, to illustrate the different aspects and key events of the Great War and its aftermath. Among the personal items on display are: the watch and 'King's Shilling' given to Edward Packe, who enlisted in the Army in August 1914; the Victoria Cross awarded to Jack Cornwell, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jutland; the smashed aircraft windscreen of British flying ace James McCudden, who had shot down 57 aircraft by the time of his death in action in 1918; the Military Cross awarded to Wilfred Owen, which was worn by his mother every day until her death; the paint box and brushes used by Official War Artist John Nash, who served on the Western Front; the torn tunic worn by Harold Cope, who was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Somme; the cross that marked the grave of Prime Minister's son Raymond Asquith; the diary kept by Florence Farmborough, who was a nurse on the Russian Front; an extract of Geoffrey Malins's film The Battle of the Somme, which was viewed by at least half the population when it was screened in 1916; the camisole worn by Margaret Gwyer, who survived the sinking of Lusitania; and a wreath tossed into the car carrying Prime Minister Lloyd George after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles; together with the paintings 'Gassed' by John Singer Sargent, 'A Battery Shelled' by Percy Wyndham Lewis and 'The Menin Road' by Paul Nash. Imperial War Museum, London until 6th September 2009.

Super Kingdom comprises a series of 'tree houses', made for the use as an over-wintering and nesting home for native and visiting birds and animals, in the ancient woodland environment of Kings Wood, Challock. They have been created by London Fieldworks (AKA artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson), who specialise in projects where art, science, technology and nature meet. What makes the animal habitats unique, is that they are built in the imperious architectural style of fascist dictators. Although made of wood, the houses echo Stalin's Palace of Science and Culture, Mussolini's Quadrato Collosseo and Ceauscescu's People's Palace. As well as providing winter shelter, the tree houses will also function as a film set for a video and animation work examining hibernation patterns, to be shot over the next few months, for exhibition in the spring. In addition to the tree houses, the wood also contains sculptures by other artists, all made from natural materials. Kings Wood, Challock, Kent, 01233 740040, until spring.

Rothko focuses on the late works of Mark Rothko, one of America's most important post war painters, made between 1958 and 1970. Rothko's iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour, are among the most enduring and mysterious created by an artist in modern times, glowing deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks and greys. The exhibition comprises around 50 works, comprising paintings and works on paper, the most important of which are 16 Seagram murals. These were commissioned in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant in the new Seagram building in New York, but having made the paintings, Rothko decided that it was not a suitable place for them to be seen. The bright and intense colours of his earlier paintings had made way to maroon, dark red and black, and Rothko realised that their brooding character required a very different environment. Though the original commission was for only 7 paintings, Rothko eventually painted 30 canvases in the series. This is the first time in their history that such a large group of these paintings (belonging to a number of galleries around the world) have been seen together. The Seagram murals are shown alongside other landmark series of Rothko's paintings, including major 'Black-Form' paintings, large scale 'Brown on Grey' works on paper, and works from his last series 'Black on Grey'. Tate Modern until 1st February.

Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970 is the first exhibition to examine contemporary design, architecture, film and popular culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era. The decades after the Second World War saw an intense rivalry between the world's two superpowers: the Soviet Union and America. They engaged in aggressive contests to build their own spheres of influence, and vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays of modern living, signs of progress and images of future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a superior vision of modernity. The exhibition brings together over 300 exhibits from around the world, with highlights including: a Sputnik and an Apollo Mission space suit; vehicles such as a P70 Coupe car (predecessor of the plastic Trabant), a Messerschmidt KR200 micro-car and Vespa motor scooter; films that shaped popular imagination such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and Goldfinger, with designs by Ken Adam; furniture made from new materials such as Eero Aarnio's Globe Chair, and the Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy; futuristic fashion by Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin; imagined architecture schemes for cities and dwellings by Le Corbusier, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Archigram, including a reconstruction of 'Oasis No 7', an inflatable environment by Haus-Rucker-Co; and works by Pablo Picasso, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucio Fontana and Gerhard Richter, illustrating how artists responded to the dominant political and social ideas of the time. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.

David Shrigley consists of previously unseen animations and sculptures by the man who is best known for his intuitive drawings, typically dead-pan in their humour, most recently seen weekly in The Guardian. David Shrigley's cartoon like sketches are deliberately dysfunctional and deal with everyday doubts and fears of the human condition. Throughout his works a nonsensical and anarchic voice is ever present. With handwritten, unedited texts or assigned titles altering the perspective, the results range from poignant to absurd. Shrigley's work often asks questions about the nature of contemporary art and its audience. He satirises a mass consumption of art that lacks real meaning, while demonstrating the ease in which such trends can be exploited. With a dreamlike 'Alice in Wonderland' quality, Shrigley's sculpture plays with form, transforming and distorting everyday objects or playing with scale. Among the highlights are 'Cheers', a pair of grey fishing waders and Wellington boots filled with expanding foam; tents and sleeping bags with a life of their own, growing uncontrollably; 'Gravestone', a giant stone engraving, that looks at fears and attitudes towards mortality; and the black and white films 'Lightswitch' and 'Sleep'. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, until 9th November.

The Golden Generation: British Theatre 1945 - 1968 demonstrates the variety, dynamism, and vision of actors, directors and writers that flourished in British theatre between the end of the Second World War and the abolition of theatre censorship. It reflects the time of social transformation, during which writers began addressing contemporary life, by examining some of its key theatrical institutions. The exhibition is a treasure trove of theatrical manuscripts, letters, photographs and oral history recordings. Highlights include the only surviving scripts of the first two plays by John Osborne, The Devil Inside Him and Personal Enemy, and a handwritten draft of The Entertainer sent to Laurence Olivier, alongside 'disgusted' fan letters, complaining that Olivier should play such a role; an exchange of letters between Olivier and his wig maker, revealing his obsession with the accuracy of his stage make up; photographs of Michel St Denis's revolutionary drama training methods at the Old Vic theatre school; Harold Pinter's scrapbook in which he pasted reviews of his first play, noting that 'Mr Pinter may well make some impact as a dramatist'; a handwritten draft of Pinter's The Homecoming, accompanied by letters of encouragement from playwrights Noel Coward and Samuel Beckett; photographs showing how many playwrights developed their talent while acting in regional repertory theatres, including Peter Nichols, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, and Charles Wood; letters from the Lord Chamberlain reflecting a questioning of the rigid rules on how 'deviant' sexuality could be portrayed on stage; and the assumed lost script of Alan Ayckbourn's first play, Love After All, rediscovered last year. The British Library until 30th November.


The Art Of Italy In The Royal Collection: Renaissance And Baroque brings together paintings and drawings, most of them masterpieces, by 20 artists, from royal palaces and residences across Britain. The exhibition celebrates the artistic legacy of Charles I and Charles II, whose taste so profoundly influenced the character of the Royal Collection. Described by the painter Peter Paul Rubens as 'the greatest amateur of paintings among the princes of the world', Charles I built up a collection of Italian masters to rival that of any European court of the period. Although the collection was sold during the Commonwealth, a significant number of paintings were reclaimed or bought back by Charles II after the Restoration. Research for this exhibition has resulted in a number of important re-attributions. Among these, two paintings previously thought to be versions of lost works by Caravaggio, 'The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew' and 'A Boy Peeling Fruit', are now generally recognised by experts as the original works. Among the other highlights are Bronzino's 'Portrait of a Lady in Green', Tintoretto's 'Esther Before Ahasuerus' and 'The Muses', Bellini's 'Portrait of a Young Man', Fetti's 'David with the Head of Goliath', Romano's 'Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa', Garofalo's 'Holy Family', and Lotto's 'Portrait of Andrea Odoni'. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 24th October.

Wyndham Lewis Portraits is the first exhibition to focus on the portraits of Percy Wyndham Lewis, one of the most important modernist writer, commentator and portraitist of the first half of the 20th century, and founder of the Vorticist movement. It is a unique visual record of some of the leading cultural figures of the period, many of whom were Wyndham Lewis's personal friends. The exhibition comprises 58 portraits, ranging from delicate drawings to large oil paintings. Among the highlights are his now iconic renderings of his fellow 'Men of 1914', credited with revolutionising 20th century literature, the writers Ezra Pound, T S Eliot and James Joyce. Broadly chronological, it begins by showing how Wyndham Lewis portrayed himself in a series of multiple identities, and then includes from the 1920s and 1930s such figures as Edith Sitwell, Stephen Spender, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West and G K Chesterton, as well as his wife Froanna, portrayed in five of his most beautiful paintings and drawings. The exhibition goes on to chart the high point of Wyndham Lewis's career as a portraitist, culminating in his 1938 painting of T S Eliot, and features his rarely seen late portraits. As well as the pictures, there are displays of key texts, including the hugely influential Vorticist journal Blast, which he edited from 1914 to 1915, and The Apes of God, a novel satirising the art world of London in the 1920s, in which several of the characters are based on sitters in this exhibition. National Portrait Gallery until 19th October.

Time Out Times celebrates the 40th anniversary of London's listings bible with a display following the life of the capital though the iconoclastic eyes of its favourite living guide. Classic covers from the magazine tell London's story from the swinging sixties to the noughties by revisiting old issues, familiar faces and forgotten tales of the city. From fringe theatre to radical politics to high fashion, Time Out's journey is a mix of sex, drugs and rock and roll, of art and fashion, triumph and turmoil. The exhibition charts how the magazine kept at the cutting edge of London's myriad cultural scenes, surviving censorship battles, court cases and strikes, to become an icon within the city it records, and well beyond. The brainchild of Tony Elliott, it was born on a kitchen table in Hampstead, with the information set with an IBM Golfball typewriter, taken to the London Caledonian Press, for a run of 5,000 printed on a folded A2 sheet, and delivered by bicycle, for distribution on the King's Road, Chelsea, at free concerts and in the bookshops and 'alternative' hangouts in the city. Time Out quickly became a barometer of change in the capital - a curious and open minded guide to the extraordinary possibilities London offers to those who live or pass through it. Today Time Out has a weekly circulation of 87,000, a website that chalks up 1.75m unique users a month, and this year has seen launches in Sydney, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore, making 25 international editions. The London Museum, until 19th October.