Private View held by Richard Andrews
Afghanistan: Crossroads Of The Ancient World features some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Afghanistan, with precious and unique pieces on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, which currently undergoing reconstruction. The geographical position, overland connections and history ensured that Afghanistan, at the centre of the Silk Road, enjoyed close relations with its neighbours in Central Asia, Iran, India and China, as well as more distant cultures stretching as far as the Mediterranean. The exhibition features over 200 stunning objects, ranging from Classical sculptures, polychrome ivory inlays originally attached to imported Indian furniture, enamelled Roman glass and polished stone tableware brought from Egypt, to delicate inlaid gold personal ornaments worn by the nomadic elite. Together they showcase the trading and cultural connections of Afghanistan and how it benefited from being at the crossroads of the ancient world. All of these objects were found between 1937 and 1978 and were feared to have been lost following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the civil war which followed, and the rule of the Taliban. The earliest objects in the exhibition are part of a treasure found at the site of Tepe Fullol, which dates to 2000 BC, representing the oldest gold objects found in Afghanistan, showing how it was already connected by trade with urban civilisations in ancient Iran and Iraq. The later finds come from three additional sites, dating between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD. These are Ai Khanum, a Hellenistic Greek city on the Oxus river and on the modern border with Tajikistan; Begram, a capital of the local Kushan dynasty, whose rule extended from Afghanistan into India; and Tillya Tepe, (Hill of Gold), the find spot of an elite nomadic cemetery. British Museum until 3rd July.
Land Ladies: Women And Farming In England, 1900 - 1945 reveals the often overlooked story of women in British farming in the first half of the 20th century. Scientific innovation, technological change, and mechanisation in the late Victorian period have helped to create the impression that farming was a 'manly' business, but women have always worked in farming. This exhibition examines the work undertaken by women in the fields, farmhouses, and farmyards of England from 1900 until the end of the Second World War. The focus is on the different branches of agricultural production where women were employed, including dairying, poultry, and horticulture, as well as examining the growth of education and training for women in these areas. It shows how organisations such as the Women's Farm and Garden Association and the Women's Institute helped to promote farm work for women and protect the rights of those women who worked on the land. The exhibition comprises an array of objects from original Women's Land Army uniforms to domestic butter and cheese-making appliances, industrial produce machinery to basketry, and WI banners to egg transport boxes, together with an extensive photographic archive, showing the reality of farming: dirty, unglamorous and very hard work. The Museum Of English Rural Life, University of Reading, until 19th April.
Census & Society: Why Everyone Counts explores how the census has influenced views of society, and how it has in turn been shaped by the values and priorities surrounding its implementation. From the first modern attempt to introduce a census to England in 1753, the idea has generated interest and strong emotion. The census has always been an occasion for satire, subversion and resistance. The exhibition looks at some of these controversies, and some of the ways in which the census has been used as an opportunity in wider political campaigns. It describes the people and works surrounding early calls for a more detailed population count, including the first edition of Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and John Graunt's Natural and Political Observations, written some hundred years earlier. The reporting of census results provided new challenges in statistical representation, and encouraged new ways of thinking about the public presentation of data, resulting in examples of 19th century innovation such as Augustus Petermann's population density map, one of the earliest of its kind. The exhibition includes examples of data from censuses alongside materials which illustrate how life in Britain is changing, and the issues of most concern in the fields of families and households, health, employment and migration. It features photographs, maps, charts, public information broadcasts and cartoons, alongside insights from the census data itself. British Library until 29th May.
Jan Gossaert's Renaissance celebrates the Flemish artist's decisive role as an artistic pioneer, bridging the gap between the Northern and Southern Renaissances and paving the way for Low Country artists of the future. Jan Gossaert was one of the most startling and versatile artists of the Northern Renaissance. A pivotal Old Master, Gossaert changed the course of Flemish art, going beyond the tradition of Jan van Eyck and charting new territory that eventually led to the great age of Rubens. The exhibition includes more than 80 works, placing Gossaert in the context of the art and artists that influenced his development. It brings together many of his most important paintings, including 'The Adoration of the Kings', 'Virgin and Child', 'Hercules and Deianeira' and 'Saint Luke Painting the Virgin', with drawings, prints and sculptures by contemporaries such as Albrecht Durer, Jacopo de'Barbari and Lucas van Leyden. The story of Adam and Eve fascinated Gossaert, and the exhibition includes various examples of how he explored the erotic nature of the relationship between the first couple in some exceptional - almost unprecedented - paintings and drawings over the span of his 30 year career. Another highlight is the reuniting of a triptych for the first time since it was painted in the early 16th century, with centre panel 'Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane' joining its exterior wings 'Saint Jerome Penitent'. Gossaert had a remarkable ability to represent the lifelike appearance of individuals, and his close study of physiognomy and extraordinary handling and execution of paint set him apart from his contemporaries in this genre. He also played intriguing spatial games, creating figures that seem to emerge from the confines of their frames, examples of which include 'An Elderly Couple', 'Portrait of a Merchant', 'Portrait of Anna van Bergen' and 'Portrait of Henry III of Nassau. National Gallery until 30th May.
Secret Egypt allows visitors to investigate the truth behind some of the most popular myths about ancient Egypt. The display brings together over 200 objects from some of the most important Egyptian collections in Britain, some of which have not been on public display before. Exhibits include a granite colossus statue of Ramases II from the British Museum, a rare sandstone head of Queen Nefertiti from the Ashmolean, crocodile mummies from Bolton Museum and a gold pendant from Manchester Museum, discovered by archaeologists in the hands of an ancient robber trapped in a collapsed tomb. The show examines the Egyptian belief system surrounding the protection and endurance of the physical body, the truths of how the pyramids were constructed, how the process of mummification was conducted, the logic of the design and decoration of the burial chambers, the thinking behind the inclusion of the funerary objects for use in the afterlife, and how the Egyptian civilisation came to an end. At the climax of the exhibition visitors are invited to explore a recreated tomb, to ponder why the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. The display includes an offering chapel and a mummy of a woman called Perenbast, an example of the care and respect given during the preparations for passing into the eternal life. Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 5th June.
London Street Photography showcases candid images of everyday life in the streets of the capital. From sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs taken on bulky tripod-mounted cameras to 21st century Londoners digitally 'caught on film', over 200 images explore how street photography has evolved from 1860 to the present day. The exhibition also examines the relationship between photographers, London's streets and the people who live on them, and reflects on the place of photography on London's streets today as anti-terrorism and privacy laws grow ever tighter. The show brings together the works of 59 photographers including: Valentine Blanchard, who experimented with a small-format stereoscopic camera in 1860s London to produce the first photographs of busy city streets in which everything in motion was arrested in sharp definition; Paul Martin, who pioneered candid street photography in the early 1890s, when he began using a camera disguised as a parcel to photograph people unawares; Horace Nicholls, an early independent press photographer whose photographs of well-to-do Edwardians at leisure are particularly revealing; Henry Grant, a freelance photojournalist who photographed London's changing streets from the 1950s to the 1980s; Roger Mayne, who sought to record a way of life as he photographed a rundown area of North Kensington before it was redeveloped in the 1960s; and Paul Trevor, whose photographs of Brick Lane in the East End from the early 1970s are a unique record of the area before large-scale immigration and gentrification wrought their changes. Museum of London until 4th September.
Hoppe Portraits: Society, Studio And Street features the work of one of the most important yet least remembered photographers of the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together for the first time E O Hoppe's strikingly modernist portraits alongside his fascinating documentary studies capturing the realities of day-to-day life in Britain between the wars. Hoppe was the prototypical celebrity photographer, and by 1913 his photographic studio was a magnet for the rich and famous. The exhibition features over 80 their portraits, including Margot Fonteyn, George Bernard Shaw, King George V, Vaslav Nijinsky, Ezra Pound, David Lloyd George and Benito Mussolini. In 1922 Hoppe published the Book of Fair Women, a compilation of photographs of the women he considered to be the most beautiful on earth. Notable for its multicultural approach, Hoppe selected 32 representative beauties from 24 different countries. Fascinated by questions of race and social mobility, Hoppe compiled a collection of studio portraits examining different 'types' of people, shot against a neutral background, illuminated from above, and cropped to remove details of any clothing. A selection of these portraits includes a postman, a flower lady and a 'highly respectable type'. In the 1920's and 1930's Hoppe increasingly left the studio to make photographs of British street life, capturing those at the other end of the social spectrum to his celebrity sitters. These pictures, sometimes taken with a hidden camera, explored ideas about class and typology. More than 50 of these studies include the homeless, bell ringers, behind the scenes at Sandhurst Military Academy, a dog hospital, night watchmen, a girl's borstal institute, a skeleton shop, portraits of 'pearlies', street musicians and the tattoo artist George Burchett. National Portrait Gallery until 30th May.
David Hockney: Bigger Trees Near Warter is the first time this huge painting has been seen outside London. 'Bigger Trees Near Warter', is the largest painting David Hockney has ever produced, and measures 40ft wide and 15ft high (12m by 4m). Featuring two copses, a huge sycamore tree, buildings and early flowering daffodils, the painting in oils is comprised of 50 individual canvas panels, and takes inspiration from a site at Warter in the Yorkshire Wolds. It was painted 'en plein air' (outside) in 6 weeks - 3 weeks preparation and 3 weeks of furious painting before the arrival of spring changed the composition. Hockney used digital technology to help him complete the work, creating a computer mosaic of the picture that enabled him to 'step back' and see it as a whole. Thus the painting neatly combines a return by Hockney to his Yorkshire roots, with his continuing exploration of new technology. Films, including Bruno Wollheim's documentary A Bigger Picture, showing Hockney at work, are being shown in the same gallery, alongside additional information on how Hockney created this incredible painting. York Art Gallery until 12th June.
Dinosaurs Unleashed sees the return of Britain's largest animatronic, life sized dinosaur experience, with 22 full size dinosaurs in an interactive enclosure. It is a Jurassic Park style prehistoric adventure on a truly epic scale, offering the chance to get up close and personal with the largest and most fearsome creatures the Earth has ever seen, walking alongside the giants of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Visitors can meet Stegosaurus, Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Triceratops, marvel at massive Diplodocus three times the length and double the height of a double-decker bus, come face to face with infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, taller than the tallest giraffe, and tremble at the sight of small but vicious Velociraptors. A prehistoric aquarium using the latest computer graphics brings the prehistoric underwater world to life. In addition, visitors can put themselves in the picture in the 'scream' experience or in the 'green screen' theatre The exhibition is entirely based on current scientific thinking, with expert paleontologists ensuring that it is as accurate as possible. As they say: it's the family day out that London has been waiting 65 million years for. The O2, Meridian Gardens, Peninsula Square, London, continuing.
Tutankhamun - His Tomb And His Treasures breaks new ground in the presentation of cultural history - 'virtual archaeology'. It is a complete recreation of the tomb of the Egyptian God King Tutankhamun, as it was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. Visitors experience the wonder of over 1,000 burial artefacts - perfect replicas produced under the scientific supervision of renowned Egyptologists - in the space in which they were buried 3,300 years ago, and close enough to touch. The tomb contained not only the coffin of the king, but also golden shrines, statues, jewellery, cult objects, chests, chairs, amulets, weapons, a golden chariot, and the jars that contained the king's preserved organs, as well as the legendary golden death mask. These items were intended to equip the young Pharaoh on his journey to the afterlife. Owing to the delicate and immensely valuable nature of original historical artefacts, removing them from the safe and carefully controlled confines of a museum environment presents huge risks, no matter how much care is taken, and increasingly, many historic treasures can no longer even be viewed in museums. So, instead of displaying a mere handful of the original treasures locked away at a distance behind glass barriers, in this exhibition it is as if visitors are actually reliving the events of the historic excavation, and viewing the world famous treasures as though they were there themselves. In addition, there is a display about how Howard Carter made the discovery of the tomb. Museum of Museums, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, until 26th March.
Capturing Colour: Film, Invention And Wonder explores and celebrates the quest for colour on film. When film arrived around the world in 1896, it was recognised that it had one great deficiency - it was in black and white. For the next 50 years inventors in England and America tried to solve this problem, often finding fascinating yet largely unworkable solutions until the discovery of 'true' colour film. The search for a way to capture the world in colour is a story of ingenious inventions, personal obsession, magic and illusion, scientific discovery, glamour, hard work and determination. This exhibition focuses on the moving image in Britain from the origins in magic lanterns, early colour photography and Kromskops, to applied colour films, Kinemacolor, Technicolor, Kodachrome and Eastmancolor. Over 25 film extracts are shown ranging from Georges Melies' fantastical Le Voyage a l'Impossible and Pathe's Aladdin and His Magical Lamp, through new previously unseen digital reconstructions of Kinemacolor films to The Red Shoes, home movies and travelogues in glorious kodachrome, and scenes from series that launched colour television in Britain. The exhibition also includes a wide range of colour projectors and cameras from the Kromskop, Tri-colour projector and Kinemacolor camera and projector, to a Technicolor camera, Cine-Kodak camera and early home video systems. Personal letters, booklets, film posters, photographs and promotional material for the 'new wonders' are also included. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, until 20th March.
John Stezaker is the first major exhibition of works by the contemporary British collagist of popular culture, mass media and mechanical reproduction. John Stezaker is fascinated by the lure of images, and taking classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, he makes collages to give old images a new meaning. By means of minimal intervention, such as cropping, excision, rotation or occlusion, Stezaker removes these found images from their original context, and explores their subversive force. All this predates today's digital manipulation - Stezaker is a traditional artisan, using real materials: paper, scalpel and glue. His 'Mask' series fuses the profiles of glamorous sitters with caves, hamlets, or waterfalls, making for images of eerie beauty; his 'Dark Star' series turns publicity portraits into cut-out silhouettes, creating an ambiguous presence in the place of the absent celebrity; his 'Marriage' series joins male and female portraits to create bizarre hybrid faces; and in his 'Third Person Archive' the delicate, haunting figures from the margins of obsolete travel illustrations are presented as images on their own, taking centre stage. The exhibition comprises over 90 works from the 1970s to the present, revealing the subversive force of images, and reflecting on how visual language can create new meaning. Working in isolation from dominant movements in British art over this time, Stezaker has created a body of work which is genuinely unique. The show is organised in themed groups, reflecting the discrete strands Stezaker has developed, often over several years. Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 until 18th March
There is an accompanying display of John Stezaker's work at the Louis Vuitton Maison, 17-18 New Bond Street, London, until 19th March.