News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th February 2005


The Churchill Museum is a new £13.5m museum at the Cabinet War Rooms dedicated to the life of Winston Churchill, housed within the rooms that provided shelter for the British Prime Minister and his government during the Second World War. These rooms have been kept just as they were left at the end of the six years of war. The 10,000 sq ft museum combines cutting edge technology, with rare historical objects and thousands of images, film and sound recordings, to tell the private and public story of Churchill's ninety year life. Visitors enter into an area telling about Churchill as war leader, and can then move forward in time to when he was a statesman during the cold war, and back to his early years and exploits as a soldier in South Africa, before embarking on his long political career. In addition to materials already in the possession of the Imperial War Museum (of which this is a part) artefacts have been lent or given from institutions around the globe. These aim to show the man as well as the statesman, and include Churchill's distinctive siren suit and bow tie, and even school reports, love letters, cigar butts and his controversial dentures. A major feature is The Lifeline, an electronic interactive display in the form of a table over 20ft in length. Visitors are able to see what Churchill was doing and what was happening in the world at various points from 1874 until 1965. The information is made up from scanned documents, photographs and sound, and makes full use of the Churchill papers from Churchill College Cambridge. The Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms continuing.

The View From Manchester: Don McPhee is the first solo exhibition of work by the Guardian photographer, covering his 33 year career at the Manchester office of the newspaper. McPhee recorded Manchester life over the decades, whilst using the city as a base to capture defining moments in Britain and around the world. His photographs demonstrate a gentle humanity as well as technical accomplishment. McPhee started work on local newspapers in Stockport, Southend and Norwich, before joining an agency in York that supplied pictures to the Guardian. In 1970 he joined the Guardian as a staff photographer and has worked there ever since. There are around fifty photographs in the exhibition, most of them black and white. Subjects include a striking miner in a toy policeman hat confronting a line of policemen, pensioners lying on Blackpool beach fully clothed (including raincoats and caps) and Nelson Mandela campaigning for election in South Africa. McPhee's work has taken him all over the UK and much of the wider world, including India, South Africa, America, Israel, Hong Kong and Moldova. He has always relished the freedom to look at the world from an individual angle, and often been canny enough to ask the obvious question the reporter forgot. Manchester Art Gallery until 3rd April.

Antony Caro surveys over fifty years work by of one of Britain's - and the world's - greatest living sculptors. Having started with figurative pieces in the 1950s, it was the abstract constructions in painted steel that Caro began to make in 1960 that heralded a revolution in the way sculpture was made and understood. He abandoned conventional methods, such as carving in stone or wood, or modelling in clay and then casting in plaster or bronze. In their place, he used pieces of scrap steel - girders and sheet metal - which he bolted and welded together, and then painted in bright colours, the first of which was 'Twenty Four Hours', and best known 'Early One Morning'. Breaking with the principle of displaying sculpture on a pedestal, Caro's work stood directly on the ground with the viewer. Nothing like it had existed before, and these developments overturned ideas about the subject, materials and appearance of sculpture. He then went on to turn this on its head, by making smaller pieces of 'table sculpture', whose delicacy fed back into his lager works such as 'Orangerie' and 'Sun Feast'. From the 1980s onwards Caro increasingly used media other than steel, including bronze, brass, wood, ceramic and even paper. In recent years his work has become more architectural, culminating in the major installation 'The Last Judgement' recreated here. Caro's most recent work, 'Milbank Steps' a formation resembling a ziggurat, was made especially for this exhibition. Tate Britain until 17th April.


Lee Miller: Portraits is a collection of images from the life of the woman whose path was one of 'poacher turned gamekeeper turned conservationist'. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed photographer, first of fashion, and then on the battlefield. Her relationships with Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, and painter and collector Roland Penrose, placed her at the heart of 20th century artistic and literary circles, and in a career spanning more than three decades, she came into contact with an astonishing range of people. Many of these became her friends and the subjects of her penetrating portraits, including Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Fred Astaire and Marlene Dietrich. This exhibition presents more than 120 black and white portraits, including intimate studies of friends and lovers, as well as poignant portraits of women engaged in a variety of wartime occupations from her time as Vogue's war correspondent during the Second World War. In 1944 Miller flew to Normandy, sending back photographs and written reports from the front as she witnessed historic events including the siege of St Malo, the Allied advance, the liberation of Paris, the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau and the destruction of Hitler's mountain retreat. Throughout her career Miller never lost her Surrealist eye and her incisive portraits make characteristic use of doors, mirrors, windows and other architectural features as devices to frame and isolate the subject. National Portrait Gallery until 30th May.

Richard Wentworth is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date devoted to the British sculptor, with work in many media from the last thirty years, as well as new pieces made especially for this show. Since the late 1970s Richard Wentworth has emerged as one of the key figures in radically transforming the way people think about sculpture and works of art. Wentworth finds his materials in the everyday world, from things and thoughts already ready made, and consequently he has been dubbed 'the Oxfam artist'. Whether isolating an image of this existing world in one of the thousands of photographs that constitute the ongoing series 'Making Do and Getting By', or combining, transforming or manipulating found objects not normally associated with art, such as dictionaries, sweet wrappers, books, plates and buckets into his sculptures, Wentworth offers a new awareness of the everyday. Objects as much as ways of mind are disrupted and subverted, allowing the thousands of tiny gestures and things that constitute the world around us to be read in new and unexpected ways, often on an unaccustomed scale or in unexpected materials. Works featured include 'False Ceiling', 'Spread' and 'Mirror Mirror'. Tate Liverpool until 24th April.

The Triumph Of Painting sees a complete clearout of advertising guru turned art taste maker Charles Saatchi's collection. All the Brit Art installations have been uninstalled and flogged off, and in their place comes paint on canvas - two dimensional is back. An exhibition staged in three slices - part two comes in June and the final part in October - it claims to be a survey of 21st century painting (despite the fact that a good portion comes from the 1980s and 1990s. Comprehensive doesn't begin to cover it, with a staggering 36 artists to be represented in part three (including Toby Ziegler, who I thought was just a fictional character in The West Wing). The works currently on show in the labyrinth of rooms, passages and cubby holes include landscape, figurative and abstract, mostly very brash, often sharing the preoccupations of the 'Sensation' generation of artists, with some on a heroic scale. The only thing that they really have in common is that they're generally judged to be not very good. Martin Kippenberger, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Jorg Immendorff and Hermann Nitsch (whose blood spatter canvasses turn out to be paint after all) are the guilty persons. The Saatchi Gallery, London until 5th June.

Turks: A Journey Of A Thousand Years 600-1600 AD is a wide ranging exhibition devoted to the artistic and cultural riches of the Turkic-speaking people. It comprises a wealth of materials whose origins stretch from the eastern borders of modern China to the Balkans, examining the artistic achievement of regions controlled by Turkic peoples over a thousand year period. Around three hundred and fifty objects, drawn principally from the collections of the Topkapi Palace Museum and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art of Istanbul, include paintings, textiles, carpets, sculptures, book illustrations, calligraphy, woodwork, metalwork, and ceramics, many of which have never before been exhibited outside of Turkey. Each of the eight galleries explores a particular time and place, emphasising specific themes and issues through a selection of works of art. Highlights among the riches include: a diamond and ruby studded casket made to contain a single hair of the prophet Mohamed; the Holbein Carpet (named after its resemblance to the painted version in Holbein's Ambassadors); a pair of 16th century walnut harem doors; a 7th century Chinese wall painting resembling a hybrid of Japanese ink sketch and Indian watercolour; pottery bowls and jugs encrusted with gold, rubies and emeralds; a 16th century Ceremonial helmet of iron, steel, gold, turquoise and ruby; and the animated grotesque figures in the scenes of daily life portrayed in the brilliantly coloured drawings of Mohamed of the Black Pen. The Royal Academy of Arts until 15th April.

Jannis Kounellis, in his first one person exhibition in the UK in over ten years, presents a unique installation of new and earlier works, dating from the 1960s to the present, specially conceived for these gallery spaces. Jannis Kounellis, the Rome based Greek artist, has been a major figure in contemporary art for over forty years. He played a central role in the Arte Povera (literally poor art) movement of the 1960s, redefining sculptural practice with his radical and highly original sculptures, performances and installations. Poetic and deeply stirring, his carefully staged installations evoke shared experiences of people, places and history. Sacks of coal, sheet steel, Victorian gas lamps and unspun cotton are among his materials, together with elements from the natural world such as fire, earth and organic matter - even live parrots and horses. Kounellis's interventions in historic spaces, such as his installation throughout the working monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice in 2003, or that which he created for the bombed interior of the National Library in Sarajevo in 2004, reveal his ability to respond with great sensitivity to a given site. Modern Art Oxford until 20th March.

Beatrix Potter's Garden brings to life the classic children's tales, through this insight into the life and works of author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, focussing on her Victorian childhood, the characters she created, and her life in the Lake District. The exhibition celebrates the centenary of the publication of The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-winkle, who was recently voted the second most popular Beatrix Potter character. It features original watercolour paintings of both book illustrations and Potter's house Hill Top, first editions of Peter Rabbit and The Pie And The Patty-Pan, and the original dummy manuscript of Mrs Tiggy-winkle, together with other books and memorabilia featuring the best loved Potter characters, including Peter Rabbit and Jeremy Fisher. Alongside are large scale exhibits, such as the costumes created for the film of Frederick Ashton's Royal Ballet production of The Tales Of Beatrix Potter. There is also a virtual tour of the Lake District, looking at what inspired and motivated Potter, who was fascinated by the wild life around her in the garden of her home. There are also special events, including an interactive Peter Rabbit story trail, creating a miniature paper garden, and a Peter Rabbit board game. Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green until 8th May.


Faces In The Crowd - Painters Of Modern Life From Manet To Today turns on its head the presumption that all forward movements in 20th century art were through abstraction, by exploring modernity through realist art. Taking Edouard Manet as its starting point, and moving through figures such as Rene Magritte, Umberto Boccioni, Pablo Picasso, Eduardo Paolozzi, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman, this exhibition traces a history of avant-garde figuration. In doing so, it presents a story that is just as radical as that of the abstract. Manet's vividly realist scenarios or Jeff Wall's cinematic tableaux offer a compelling snapshot of the modern. By contrast, Edvard Munch or Francis Bacon present a tortured or exhilarated inner life. Whereas for Alexander Rodchenko, Joseph Beuys or Chris Ofili, the figure can be a harbinger of change: symbolic, revolutionary or transgressive. This exhibition includes not only painting, but also sculpture, photography and the moving image, with each work pivotal to the story of Modernism. Representations of the human figure are seen as expressions of modernity, becoming ciphers for the experience of modern life; as images of modern life, picturing both the epic and the everyday; or as agents of social change, where avant-garde realism proposes new world orders. Whitechapel Gallery until 27th February.

Wigan Casino: The Heart Of Soul is an exhibition featuring artwork, memorabilia, photographs and videos intimately connected with what was voted 'Best Disco in the World' by American music magazine 'Billboard' in 1978. It boasts original objects and previously unseen photographs courtesy of the DJ Russ Winstanley, who founded the Casino's legendary 'all-nighters', and even the sounds of those 'all-nighters' - complete with hand clapping - recorded live in the Casino in 1975. Complementing this is Granada television's controversial 1977 documentary, 'This England', directed by Tony Palmer. Soul fans themselves have contributed memories and memorabilia, including original badges, which were a great feature of the time, and clothing. In addition, new works by local artist David Barrow aim to give visitors a taste of what it was like to be inside Wigan Casino in its halcyon days. The exhibition also explores the wider history of the former Empress Hall, which opened in 1916, and quickly became a popular dancing venue. It attracted many famous acts during the 1950s and '60s, including American rock 'n' roll legends. In 1965 it was re-launched as the Casino Club and went on to host to such acts as the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and David Bowie, before becoming THE Northern Soul venue from 1973 until its closure in 1981. The building was demolished in 1983 to make way for a civic centre, which was never built. History Shop, Wigan until 26th February.

Futurist Skies: Italian Aeropainting offers a rare and exhilarating birds-eye view of the world through the eyes of Italian Futurist artists. The movement that was always fascinated with technology, speed and the machine, found its ultimate subject in aeropainting - striving to capture the visual and metaphysical sensations of flight in dramatic and often intensely poetic imagery - which came to dominate Futurist art throughout the 1930s. Aeropainting was stylistically diverse, ranging from conventional views of the earth depicted from above, as in the work of Tato (Guglielmo Sansoni) and Alfredo Ambrosi, to the abstract, 'biomorphic' imagery of Enrico Prampolini and the dizzying, cinematic perspectives characteristic of Tullio Crali, as in 'Nosediving on the City'. However, whether representational or experimental, the work of the aeropainters consistently adheres to the Manifesto dell'aeropittura that "the changing perspectives of flight constitute an absolutely new reality, one that has nothing in common with the reality traditionally constituted by earthbound perspectives". Eventually, aeropainting was transformed into a propaganda machine for the Fascist regime, celebrating its military aspirations and adventures. In the process, it lost something of the spirit of enquiry and sense of wonder that pervades this exhibition of over sixty works, which include paintings, sculptures and ceramics by artists such as Domenico Belli, Mario Molinari, Giovanni Korompay, Fillia (Luigi Colombo), Nicolay Diulgheroff, Bruno Munari and Giacomo Balla. Estorick Collection, London until 20th February.