News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th December 1999


The Tate Gallery has been forced to turn to American sponsors to raise the matching funding for its new Bankside Modern building project, because there was not sufficient interest in contemporary art in this country. The Tate could only raise £25 - half the amount required - whereas the Royal Opera House found it relatively easily to secure £100m. Major British art patrons such as Charles Saatchi, and the main auction houses, all declined to participate. Instead American doners, including Donald Fisher head of Gap and Richard Fisher from Morgan Stanley, may have rooms in the new gallery named after them. The Tate this week bought Composition B With Red, one of the last important paintings by Piet Mondrian still in private hands, for £2.8m. It received assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, and £1.9m in inheritance tax on the previous owner's estate waived by the Department of Culture. The painting will join the Tate's four other Mondrians at the Bankside gallery when it opens in May.

Retrace Your Steps: Remember Tomorrow gives a new twist to an old museum. Often cited as the favourite "undiscovered" Victorian collection in London, Sir John Soane's Museum is staging an exhibition in which works by contemporary artists are placed strategically around the space. With so much crammed in already it's hard to imagine how this is possible, but go and hunt - many of the pieces have been created specially for this exhibition. Sir John Soane's Museum until 25th March.

Heaven: An Exhibition Which Will Break Your Heart brings together a group of international artists to reveal how religious and spiritual experience has changed this century. Celebrities and supermodels are now idolised and adored as once were saints and angels, a tropical beach resort has become most people's view of paradise, and we worship at the graves of the famous, at rock concerts and fashion shows. Jeff Koons' sickly sculpture of Michael Jackson, in a style usually associated with porcelain shepherdesses placed on tasteless mantelpieces, provides one of the show's modern icons. The Tate Gallery Liverpool until 27th February.


Gary Hume has been tagged as the "Painter of Now" for his hard, bright images, painted in gloss paint on aluminium panels. He is popular with both a young public, and the old Establishment codgers who chose him to represent Britain at this year's Venice Biennale. This exhibition is a surprise, consisting of a series of angels - but not of the Renaissance variety. These are more extraterrestrial, with kite like wings and mask like faces, and are ten feet tall, created by taking outlines from photographic images, blowing up certain details, and filling in the templates with bright commercial gloss. This is really what Changing Rooms should be about. Whitechapel Art Gallery, London until 23rd January.

Eileen Agar was born one hundred years ago in Buenos Aires, and on returning to Britain she retained a Spanish air of poetic flamboyance. Instead of settling for suburban respectability, she became a leading member of the surrealist movement, being the only female British artist to be included alongside Picasso and Miro in the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition. This show includes 120 paintings, collages, photographs, found objects - and some very strange hats. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 27th February.

Claustrophobia explores the idea of "Home Sweet Home", as sixteen artists from around the world use photography, sculpture, painting, video, and installations of household objects to question the way we see our most familiar environments. The show includes works by Rachel Whiteread and Mona Hatoum from the UK and other artists from Australia, Germany, Columbia and America. It spans the mundane to the ethereal. Centre For Visual Arts, Cardiff until 16th January.

Crash!: Corporatism And Complicity is the umbrella title for a month long event with 12 artists putting a spin on marketing, trading and the workplace. They include Rachel Baker's temping agency for out of work artists, Szuper Gallery's live internet futures trading, Christian Jankowski going supermarket shopping with a bow and arrow, Matthiew Laurette showing how he lived free for a year using money back guarantees, and Peter Rataitz offering a free haircut from a top stylist while you watch videos of vivisection. Definitely all human life - and some. Insitiute of Contemporary Art until 19th December.

Moonraker, Strangelove and other celluloid dreams: the visionary art of Ken Adam is the snappy title of a groundbreaking exhibition of work by one of the great film production designers. Twice winner of an Oscar, Adam is probably best known for his "bunker" interiors, such as the war room in Dr Strangelove, and the Bond villain lairs. This show presents more than two hundred drawings and extracts from many of his films, including Dr Strangelove, Sleuth, Barry Lyndon, The Madness of King George and seven of the James Bond series. The Serpentine Gallery until 9th January.

Amazons Of The Avant-Garde looks at the unique contribution to the development of twentieth century art of six extraordinary woman artists, who had a crucial impact on political, ideological and social thought. It traces the evolution of the Russian Avant-Garde, from the turn of the century through to its suppression in the mid-1920s, one of the most vital and prolific chapters in the history of Russian art. Drawn from more than thirty public and private collections, many of these works are being shown for the first time in the West. Royal Academy of Arts until 6th February.


The International Model Show And The Model Engineer Exhibition features all types of models, from cars to military figures, and boats to helicopters. There are huge displays and aerial showcases, plus lots of new products. Alexandra Palace, London on 8th and 9th December.

Natural Dependency shows the work of ten artists on the theme of the contemporary desire for excess and extremes, be it beauty, fantasy, wealth, or even death. It includes Anya Gallaccio's carpet of 2000,000 gold coins, Virgil Marti's ultra-violet lit silver flock wallpaper, and Jo Mitchel's "Girl On A Motorcycle 1999". Jerwood Gallery, London until 12th December.

Hampton Court Lantern-lit Tours Guides in full period costume give you a taste of the atmosphere of this historic palace after dark. Find out about events which took place during a period of almost two hundred years, when this royal residence on the Thames was at the centre of court life, politics and national history. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 5.00pm, 5.30pm and 6.00pm - booking essential. Hampton Court Palace until 22nd December