News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th February 2000

Commencing

Judi Dench has opened the largest exhibition in the world dedicated to Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre at Shakespeare's Globe. Housed in the undercroft directly beneath the theatre, the exhibition uses a combination of traditional crafts and modern technology to bring Shakespeare's world to life. Interactive exhibits include an opportunity to compose Elizabethan music, and a form of Shakespeare karaoke. Two booths with touch screens and microphones allow visitors to perform a role in extracts from the plays. Scenes available include Hamlet's musings on Yorick's skull, and the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. There are also live demonstrations of sword fighting and authentic prop and costume making. Entrance to the exhibition includes a tour of the theatre.

Painted Illusions: The Art of Cornelius Gijsbrechts id dedicated to the art of deception, with work by one of the most important painters of illusionistic or trompe l'oeil pictures in European art, seen in London for the first time. One of the favourite themes of 17th century trompe-l'oeil painters was the letter rack, with papers and other objects tucked into, or hung from, ribbons stretched across a board. Gijsbrechts raised this to a new level of sophistication, with an extraordinary assortment of letters (often addressed to himself as "painter to the king of Denmark"), almanacs (which date the paintings), engravings, royal proclamations, miniature portraits, quill pens, tidies with pockets, and tools and equipment of every imaginable kind. National Gallery until 1st May.

Bauhaus Dessau celebrates the Bauhaus school, which despite its brief 14 year existence, became probably the most important influence on the architecture, design and craft of the 20th Century. Although it started in Weimar in 1919, the school enjoyed its most successful period during the late 1920's, at a purpose built headquarters at Dessau, designed by its founder, the architect Walter Gropius. The exhibition concentrates on this period, with Marcel Breuer's cantilevered tubular steel chairs, Marianne Brandt's light fittings, Herbert Bayer's advertisements, Gunts Stoltz's textiles, paintings by Klee and Kandinsky and designs and models of the Dessau building itself. Design Museum 10th February until 4th June.

Continuing

Yayoi Kusama, who has been described as the Japanese Andy Warhol, receives her first major exhibition in this country, with work from her entire forty year career. She explores her obsessions of food, nets, dots and sex, in paintings, collages, watercolours, sculptures, performance events and installations, including an entire yellow room emblazoned with black polka dots. The centrepiece is a recreation of her 1966 work Driving Image "in which the surface of mannequins and household furnishings are entirely covered in her vibrant painted signature patterns and placed on a bed of broken macaroni". Ah, the '60's. Don't say you haven't been warned. Serpentine Gallery until 19th March.

Princes of Victorian Bohemia is a series of strikingly original photographic images created in the 1860s by the painter David Wilkie Wynfield. They are mostly portraits of his Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries, and his subjects include Millais, Holman Hunt and Manet. Wynfield used a narrow depth-of-field, dramatic close-ups, and historical costume to model his sitters in the image of the courtiers and noblemen painted by the Old Masters. He was one of the first photographers to use "soft-focus" as a means to create artistic photography, and his works inspired the rather better known Julia Margaret Cameron. National Portrait Gallery until 14th May.

Audible Light is a series of installations and environments created by eight artists, with backgrounds in music, performance, film, video and architecture, from Britain and Europe. Each explores sonic illumination - the artificial generation and interaction of sound and light. Some pieces are interactive, and are affected by the movement of the viewer. Museum Of Modern Art Oxford, 01865 722733, until 19th March.

Tempus: The Art Of Time is another millennial exhibition exploring time in art and science, from Ancient Egyptian sundials to thermoluminescence testing. Through calendars and diaries, paintings and the written word, it examines how cultures and civilisations down the ages have striven to record, measure or represent this elusive concept. Like the Royal Observatory, Cambridge can claim real credentials for staging such an exhibition, in their case thanks to Sir Isaac Newton and Professor Stephen Hawking. There is an accompanying programme of school and adult projects and events. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge until 30th April.

Picture Yourself turns the traditional notion of a portrait gallery - the great and good, famous and infamous - on its head. The installation artist Marty St James celebrates the millennium with a year long scheme to present the faces of the general public. Anyone wandering in off the street can have his or her portrait digitally recorded, framed and hung. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 31st December.

1900: Art at the Crossroads is a recreation of the exhibitions staged in the different national pavilions at Paris Exposition of 1900, effectively a survey of the art of the day, during the birth of modernism. It is a fascinating juxtaposition of now forgotten artists who were the toast of their time, and the usual suspects including Picasso, Monet, Munch, Klimt, Mondrian, Cezanne, Matisse and Kandinsky. The exhibition brings together hundreds of paintings and sculptures from all over the world, and is shown in all 12 galleries of Burlington House, with the works arranged in themes. Royal Academy until 3rd April.

Concluding

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.

Message To The Mayor looks at London Mayors past and present, surveying their plans and policies for "improving" the capital, with pictures, maps and interactive models. Not guaranteed to inspire confidence in the upcoming administration - whoever wins. Museum Of London until 20th February.

Guildhall Art Gallery closed since 1941, was officially reopened on 2nd November, in a new £70m building designed by Richard Gilbert Scott. The collection ranges from scenes of the IRA bombing of Bishopsgate to the Great Fire of London, including events such as Bartholomew Fair (finally banned for being "raucous and disorderly") and The Calves Head Club (a group of Cromwell supporters, whose meetings were disrupted by mobs throwing rocks). The centrepiece is a huge 16ft by 27ft canvas by John Singleton Copley entitled The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September 1782. Guildhall Art Gallery until 20th February.