News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th April 2003

Commencing

Marilyn Monroe - Life Of A Legend is the world premiere of the biggest ever exhibition devoted to the life of the ultimate screen icon. Showcasing more than 250 works from over 70 artists and photographers, alongside films and memorabilia, it charts every stage of Monroe's life and career, both public and private. Works on display include pieces by Andy Warhol, Allan Jones, Peter Blake, Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as previously unseen works by Conny Holthusen, Antonio de Felipe, Jose de Guimares and Ernesto Tatafiore. Accompanying the art and photography is a selection of music and film clips, plus personal memorabilia provided by Cooper Owen, the world's leading celebrity memorabilia auctioneers. This ranges from Monroe's costume from the film Bus Stop and the diamonds that were a girl's best friend, to the dress and jewellery worn on her first date with Joe DiMaggio, and a drawing she did when she was still Norma Jeane. The County Hall Gallery until 14th September.

Boys At Sea brings together costumes, documents, instruments, paintings and prints to reveal the lives of the cabin boys - some as young as 12 - who formed part of the crew of a sailing ship in the time of Captain Cook. It is staged in the museum which is located in the 18th century ship owner's house in which James Cook lodged while apprenticed to Captain John Walker, where he learnt his seaman's skills. It looks out across the harbour to the shipyards where later, the ships in which Cook sailed on his famous voyages of discovery, Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure, and Discovery would be built. The ground floor rooms are furnished according to an inventory of items in the house in 1751, as Cook would have known them. The other rooms contain a collection of artefacts relating to Cook's life and career, including paintings and prints, ship plans and maps, manuscripts and letters, as well as objects such as Captain Walker's own copy of A Voyage Towards The South Pole - Cook's account of his second voyage - a travelling desk, and models of some of the ships. Recent acquisitions include William Hodges 'A View In The Island Of Madeira', and two pastel portraits of Captain William Bligh and his wife. Hodges was the official artist on Cook's second voyage, and Bligh sailed as master on Cook's third voyage. Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby until 31st October.

Blinky Palermo is the first major solo exhibition in Britain for the man who was himself as much a creation as his work. Born Peter Schwarze in Germany in 1943, he assumed the name of the American boxing promoter and mafioso figure Blinky Palermo at the suggestion of Joseph Beuys whilst studying under him at the Dusseldorf school of art in 1964. Palermo produced an important body of work between then and his premature death in 1977. He experimented with non-traditional forms of painting, extending its format from two-dimensional canvases to three-dimensional architectural environments, and shifting from the medium of paint to found materials. This exhibition includes his speciality 'fabric paintings', which consist of coloured fabrics sewn together in horizontal bands mounted on stretchers; and 'objects' - irregularly-shaped materials or canvases and supports which are painted or covered in coloured plastic tape; as well as paintings on paper, steel and aluminium; plus sketches related to many of his wall drawings, produced for temporary exhibitions and private homes. A unique opportunity to view the work of a rare talent. Serpentine Gallery until 18th May.

Continuing

Art Deco 1910-1939 is the first assessment in this country of the first truly global art movement, which was launched at the Paris International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in 1925, as the way of the future, combining streamlining and extravagance. It started in the gallery with paintings and sculpture, moved into the home with individually created jewellery, objets d'art, dresses and furniture for the rich, and then the style swept the world in mass-produced items, with everything from household chinaware and textiles, through cars and ocean liners, to architecture such as the Chrysler building and the Rockefeller Center. It was even reflected in entertainment, both through the designs of the extravagant Hollywood musical spectaculars, and the buildings in which they were shown, culminating in Radio City Music Hall in New York. This exhibition endeavours to encompass the breadth of this massive canvass. It is crammed with wonders including the Maharajah of Indore's silver canopy bed, an Auburn Speedster car, a Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann dressing table, Walter Teague's Bluebird radio, and even the foyer of the Strand Palace Hotel. Areas recreate the Paris Exhibition of 1925 and the New York World's Fair of 1939 that mark the movement's beginning and end. A rich and glamorous treat. Victoria & Albert Museum until 20th July.

Garry Fabian Miller: Burning, Golden Storms & Thoughts Of A Night Sea features three recent series of images by this unique artist, who uses photographic techniques, but cuts out the middle men: the camera and the film. Miller goes straight to the photosensitive paper and literally paints on it with light. He returns to the first principles and techniques of 19th century pre-photography, working in the dark, passing light through objects such as leaves and flowers or filters of oil or coloured water directly on to the paper. Unable to see what is happening while he is doing it, each work is guided only by the knowledge and experience of what he has made before. The mesmerising results of Miller's conjuring - radiant stripes and haloes of abstract but highly evocative images - suggest a glowing world of horizons, sunsets and deserts. Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 0131 556 4441 until 26th April.

Cristina Iglesias: New Corners Of The World is the first major presentation in Britain of the work of the Spanish artist, bringing together 40 sculptural and architectural pieces installed in a sequence of spaces. There are various 'flying ceiling' pieces, like the roof of a cave or a fossilised seabed, surrounded by screens of enormous copper sheets, containing silk-screened images of a mysterious metropolis, formed by creating ramshackle maquettes from cardboard boxes, and enlarging them to a human scale. Then there are Vegetation Rooms, larger-than-life organic mesh screens, like the ornamentation of Moorish architecture, joined together to form intimate chambers and environments, which reduce the viewer in scale like an episode from Alice In Wonderland. While Passages comprise overlapping canopies that recall sunscreens in Arab street markets. Inspired by the trompe l'oeil effects of Baroque architecture, Iglesias plays tricks with perspective, creating intricate bas-reliefs so that entire concrete walls peel apart to reveal 18th century tapestries, and elegant canopies of veined alabaster like the domes of ancient Persian mosques or Byzantine churches. An extraordinary experience. Whitechapel Art Gallery until 18th May.

Will Alsop And Bruce McLean: Two Chairs is the first exhibition to present the results of a unique ongoing collaboration between architect Will Alsop and artist Bruce McLean. Alsop is an architect with a painterly eye, who follows no single theoretical school, and believes that to build is to exercise the heart rather than the intellect. McLean is a sculptor who has moved into performance art, painting, prints, ceramics and furniture design. For over twenty years they have been enjoying annual creative encounters in Spain, aiming to discover forms and relations that feed their individual disciplines. These meetings in Malagarba on the island of Minorca have produced a series of dramatic large-scale highly colourful 3D abstract paintings, and architectural sized sculptural works. McLean's boldness of spirit and risk, combined with Alsop's organic and playful architectural resolutions, make an exhibition that is fluid, experimental and spontaneous. The Two Chairs of the title refers not only to the inclusion of two identical wooden chairs in photographs of their joint works, which they use to establish scale, but also to the fact that both these eminent anti-establishment figures hold professorial chairs in major academic institutions. Cube Manchester 0161 237 5525 until 8th May.

Masterpieces From Dresden: Mantegna And Durer To Rubens And Canaletto owes its origin to last summer's European floods. In August the waters of the River Elbe rushed into the vaults of the Zwinger Palace, home of the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, one of Europe's greatest collections of Old Master paintings. In a dramatic rescue mission 4,000 artworks were carried to safety from the basement stores by museum staff, volunteers and the armed forces. The museum has reopened, but while remedial work on the basement continues, its treasures are on loan for us to see, with over fifty masterpieces, from Italian Renaissance paintings to Mantegna and Titian, to stunning works by Durer, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Poussin, Watteau and Canaletto. Ranging in subject matter from historical, mythological and biblical themes, to dramatic portraits, genre scenes, and spectacular landscapes, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to view rarely seen works. It includes a group of Bellotto's spectacular views of Dresden, which reveal the magnificent city in all its 18th century glory. Known as the Florence of the Elbe, Dresden was a royal capital and a city of great architectural distinction. There is an accompanying selection of dramatic black and white photographs by the German photographer Barbara Klemm, documenting the salvage operation and the flood damage at the Zwinger Palace. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th June.

Puppet Worlds puts one of the oldest theatrical traditions into a global context, and also illustrates that its audience is by no means restricted to children. Every kind of puppet is here, from British end of the pier Punch and Judy, whose ancestry is much more complex than you would imagine - Punch first proclaimed "the way to do it" in Naples in the 17th century - via 4ft tall characters from the Sri Lankan puppet folk opera, and Malaysian shadow puppets, to satirical glove puppets from Uzbekistan which are employed to discuss social issues. Traditional Chinese and Indian puppets sit alongside present day British favourites such as the original Andy Pandy and Flower Pot Men. Among the highlights are rod puppets from Indonesia, where shows are performed at celebrations of births, weddings, harvest and other community occasions, which represent characters from the Mahabharata, including Yamadipati, the God of Death. On display for the first time are a set of water puppets, which belong to a performance art unique to Vietnam. They are used to depict life in the countryside, such as rice planting, fishing and wrestling, and also to tell more exotic stories, in which supernatural creatures like the unicorn, dragon and phoenix appear. To operate them, the puppeteers stand waist deep in water behind a screen, manipulating the puppets by the use of underwater rods and strings. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill London SE23 until 2nd November.

Concluding

Piranesi's Carceri is an exhibition of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's celebrated Imaginary Prisons series of etchings. These images of dark cavernous spaces traversed by vertiginous walkways have a nightmarish quality that gripped the imagination of Romantic artists like William Wordsworth and Thomas de Quincey. The influence of these works can still be felt in today's cinematic visions of dystopian cities of the future. In essence, Piranesi was creating the world of Blade Runner in the 18th century. Perhaps best known for his etchings of ancient and modern Rome, Piranesi also opened up new vistas in the world of fantasy architecture, breaking loose from practical restraints to allow his imagination free rein. Piranesi's architectural fantasies developed out of his early training as a theatrical designer in his native Venice, but he invested the genre with a dark brooding menace that was entirely new. Despite being 200 years old, these images remain freshly, almost futuristically, threatening. British Museum until 21st April.

Marcus Gheeraets II: Elizabethan Artist is the first solo exhibition to consider the work of this important but little known late Elizabethan and Jacobean immigrant Flemish artist. This is all the more surprising since Gheeraets produced some of the most haunting portraits in British art, and defined the public images of many of the leading Britons of his age. Gheeraerts depicted his male subjects as heroes, often in the increasingly fashionable full length format, as in that of Elizabeth I's final favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Although his father is best known for a portrait of Elizabeth I (also included here), the younger Gheeraets legacy is the 'pregnancy portrait' - depicting women who are clearly (even exaggeratedly) pregnant. It was an age when a wife's role was to bear many healthy children to extend a family's name and influence, yet childbirth was so hazardous, that these portraits were commissioned to record the features of a loved one who might shortly be dead. The exhibition includes the exceptional 'Portrait Of An Unknown Lady', which has not been exhibited for more than thirty years; Captain Thomas Lee, also known as 'the man with bare legs'; and over twenty other works, including paintings, engravings and portrait miniatures, together with 16th century illustrated medical books, and a 'mother's legacy' book, written for her unborn child were she did not survive childbirth, the author of which sadly did not. Tate Britain until 20th April.

John Soane And The Wooden Bridges of Switzerland: Architecture And The Culture Of Technology From Palladio To The Grubenmanns springs from a journey through Europe made by Soane in 1778 while he was a student of architecture. In Switzerland he saw a number of remarkable wooden bridges with which he became fascinated, and later included in his Royal Academy lectures as exemplars of inventive construction. The Swiss wooden bridges, built in the 1760s and 70s by architects such as the Grubenmann brothers were widely acknowledged as masterpieces of engineering. They achieved impossible spans through a combination of lightness and strength, and were often hugely complex in design. This exhibition looks at why these bridges exerted such a strong hold on Soane's imagination, and traces their influence on his career as an architect and teacher of architecture. It also takes a detailed look at the development of wooden bridge construction since antiquity. There is material from Soane's own collection, including several of his lecture drawings illustrating the Swiss bridges and their antecedents, together with architectural books and other drawings on loan from museums in Italy. The showstoppers however, are three wooden models attributed to the Swiss architect Hans Ulrich Grubenmann dating from the mid 18th century. Sir John Soane's Museum until 19th April.