News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th December 2009

Commencing

Frank Auerbach: London Building Sites 1952 - 1962 is the first exhibition to explore the extraordinary group of paintings of post war London building sites by one of Britain's greatest living artists. Fascinated by the rebuilding of London after the Second World War, Frank Auerbach combed the city's numerous building sites with his sketchbook in hand. Back in his studio he worked and reworked each painting over many months, resulting in thickly built up paint surfaces of more than an inch. This exhibition reunites the complete series of 14 building site paintings, together with rarely seen oil sketches, and a number of recently rediscovered sketchbook drawings. Auerbach's subjects included many of the major construction sites of the period, such as the Time and Life Building in Bruton Street, the rebuilding around St Paul's Cathedral, the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, and the Shell Building on the South Bank - London's first 'skyscraper'. Two exceptionally powerful paintings, 'Maples Demolition' and 'Rebuilding the Empire Cinema', mark the end of the series. They epitomise how Auerbach vividly translated chasms of mud and shored-up earth, cranes, scaffolding and the workmen of the building sites, into paintings that capture a powerful sense of the destruction and reconstruction inherent in the redevelopment of London's bomb sites. His heavily worked, thick surfaces, express the material character of the sites, a painted equivalent of the mountains of earth and rubble being excavated and reshaped across the city. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 17th January.

Garry Fabian Miller: The Colours features work of one of the leading figures in a small band of international photographers investigating the possibilities of camera-less photography - in essence, the interaction of light and light-sensitive paper. Garry Fabian Miller's works have more in common with the tradition of abstract painting than with proper photography. Looking back at pioneers of photographic experiment in the 1830s and 1840s, and to early 20th century artists such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, Miller has created his own visual language, producing unique, one-off prints that condense light and colour into spectacular images. However, the delicate balance between the art and science of these methods has come into clear focus in the past few years, as the all important raw material - light sensitive Cibachrome paper - has come under threat from the digital age. Artists such as Miller have had to stockpile materials and re-think their practice as the manufacturers of their precious paper go to the wall. This exhibition reflects his gradual adaptation to the culture of new electronic media, yet the pure aesthetic charm of his often large-format, dreamlike geometries remains. These remarkable photographs, embracing the possibilities of pure, liquid colour, are shown here for the first time. Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until 30th January.

Revolution On Paper: Mexican Prints 1910 - 1960 is the first exhibition in Europe focusing on the great age of Mexican printmaking in the first half of the 20th century. Between 1910 and 1920 the country was convulsed by the first socialist revolution, from which emerged a strong left-wing government that laid great stress on art as a vehicle for promoting the values of the revolution. This led to a pioneering programme to cover the walls of public buildings with vast murals, and later to setting up print workshops to produce works for mass distribution and education. Some of the finest of these prints were produced by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, known as 'los tres grandes'. The best known print is Rivera's 'Emiliano Zapata and his Horse', which has achieved iconic status. Other prints, including Rivera's portrait of Frida Kahlo, Siqueiros's 'Dama Negra', and Orozco's 'The Masses', demonstrate the breadth, imagination, and quality of the work. There is a wide range of material, with single-sheet artists' prints, posters with designs in woodcut or lithography, and illustrated books on many different themes. The exhibition also includes earlier works from around the turn of the century by Jose Guadalupe Posada, who was adopted by the revolutionaries as the archetypal printmaker working for the people, and whose works included macabre dancing skeletons. The Taller de Grafica Popular was formed in 1937 by Luis Arenal, Leopoldo Mendez and Pablo O'Higgins as a graphic arts workshop influenced by communism, and Angel Bracho's striking red and black poster 'Victoria!', celebrating the allied victory over the Nazi's, is a key example of the TGP's anti-Fascist stance. British Museum until 28th February.

Continuing

Medieval And Renaissance Galleries have undergone a £30m redesign by architects MUMA, redisplaying more than 1,800 objects from the period AD300 to 1600. Ten galleries, occupying an entire wing of the building, will, for the first time, present the collections in continuous displays to tell the story of European art and design from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance. The displays are chronological, and each gallery has its own narrative, highlighting themes, stories, historical figures and important patrons, such as the Emperor Charlemagne and the Medici family. Among the highlights are an entire gallery devoted to the work of 15th century Italian sculptor Donatello; Luca della Robbia's 12 glazed terracotta ceiling roundels from Piero de' Medici's study of 1450; the 17th century choir screen from the Cathedral of St John at 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands; the most splendid of the enamel caskets dedicated to St Thomas Becket; the Symmachi Panel, one of the finest surviving ivories from the Late Antique period in Rome; the elaborate 12th century Gloucester Candlestick; the Lorsch Gospels Cover, one of the largest and grandest ivory medieval book covers to have survived from the Court of Charlemagne; the gold and enamelled 15th century Merode Cup, with scenes of ostentatious display related to hunting, dining and courtship; an 11th century statuette of the Virgin and Child, which is the only Byzantine ivory figure to be carved entirely in the round; and the Boar and Bear Hunt, one of the Devonshire

Hunting Tapestries, the only great hunting tapestries to have survived from the

15th century. Victoria & Albert Museum, continuing.

Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain celebrates the bicentenary of the pioneer landscape painter and innovator with watercolour. Paul Sandby played a key role in promoting the appreciation of spectacular scenery across Britain, and inspired many later travellers and artists. The exhibition features over 100 items, including oil paintings, watercolours, gouaches, prints and sketchbooks. Early in his career Sandby was draughtsman in the Military Survey, based in Edinburgh, and produced numerous ground breaking landscape and genre studies. These works became well known through prints, and began the tradition of depicting the drama and beauty of Scottish landscape, which was later developed by artists such as Runciman, Nasmyth, More and Turner. Works in the exhibition from this period include 'Roslin Castle', 'Horse Fair on Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh' and part of the 'Great Map of Scotland' of around 1753. Sandby then settled in London, became a founder member of the Royal Academy, and made many highly finished watercolours and gouaches at Windsor, including 'View of Windsor on a Rejoicing Night of 1768. He delighted in the study of rural and urban views, street scenes, royal parks and ancient castles, and always retained an interest in fascinating anecdotal details, which embrace the fashions, occupations and entertainments of the people he encountered. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 7th February.

Identity: Eight Rooms, Nine Lives looks at how science has attempted to determine human identity, and how we ceaselessly try to determine our own sense of self. The exhibition explores contributions made by diverse individuals spanning the worlds of science, the arts, and history, who have provided a fuller understanding of what distinguishes each one of us, as well as a set of challenging questions about our own sense of our individuality. It is framed around eight rooms, each showcasing the life and work of an individual or individuals whose lives or achievements have influenced our thinking about human identity. The individuals are: Sir Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist who developed the technique of DNA profiling; April Ashley, one of the first people in Britain to undergo gender reassignment; Claude Cahun, who created a remarkable series of photographic self-portraits during the 1920s and 1930s; Fiona Shaw, the actress who roles have included Shakespeare's Richard II; Sir Francis Galton, who is credited with the invention of fingerprinting; Franz Joseph Gall, a 19th century pioneer of phrenology; The Hinch Family, who have had twins in their family for three generations; and Samuel Pepys, whose detailed private diary is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Wellcome Collection, London, until 7th April.

Points Of View: Capturing The 19th Century In Photographs examines the development and influence of photography, from its invention in 1839 up to the growth of a popular amateur market in the early 20th century. The exhibition shows how photography has played a critical role as a primary means of visual expression in the modern age. It explores the dramatic transformations in world order during the 19th century that shaped much of the world we live in today. From the first tentative 'drawings of shadows' produced in the mid 1830s, to its universal acceptance as a leisure pursuit, photography was swept along by a tide of entrepreneurial activity throughout the 19th century. As an influential new artistic and documentary medium, photography rapidly developed into a lucrative profession. Science, government, industry and a growing media quickly recognised its power to reflect and to shape society, while both artists and amateurs embraced its potential for personal expression. Beginning with the work of William Henry Fox Talbot and other influential pioneers, the exhibition includes many of the most celebrated names in 19th century photograph such as Francis Frith, Felix Teynard and Samuel Bourne. Some 250 images range from portraits of the famous, through the industrial, technological and scientific triumphs of the age, and first glimpses of exotic locations around the world, to the everyday working (and playing) lives of ordinary people. British Library until 7th March.

The Dark Monarch explores the influence of folklore, mysticism, mythology and the occult on the development of art in Britain. Focusing on works from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, the exhibition considers, in particular, the relationship they have to the landscape and legends of the British Isles. It examines the development of early Modernism, Surrealism and Neo-Romanticism in Britain, as well as the reappearance of esoteric and arcane references in a significant strand of contemporary art practice. The exhibition features works by important modernists and surrealists including Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ithell Colquhoun; Neo-Romantics such as Cecil Collins, John Piper, Leslie Hurry and John Craxton; as well as emerging and established contemporary artists including Cerith Wyn Evans, Mark Titchner, Eva Rothschild, Simon Periton, Clare Woods, Steven Claydon, John Stezeker, Derek Jarman and Damien Hirst. Exploring the tension between progressive modernity and romantic knowledge, the show focuses on the way the British landscape is encoded with various histories - geological, mythical and magical. It examines magic as a counterpoint to modernity's transparency and rational progress, and also draws out the links modernity has with notions such as fetishism, mana, totem, and the taboo. Formally thought of as opposing Modernism, the careful juxtaposition and selection of works on display suggests that these products of illusion and delusion in fact belong to modernity. Tate St Ives until 10th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional German Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 45 minute Christmas themed show and a Palace Of Grand Illusion; thrill rides including Power Tower, Rollercoaster, Black Hole and Ice Monster; a Victorian carousel; a helter-skelter; a bungy dome; a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; and a bandstand with regular carol concerts and other festive entertainment; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 3rd January.

Concluding

The Sound And The Fury: The Power Of Public Speaking dips into the National Sound Archive, which is home to every conceivable variety of human speech, from spoken poetry, prose and drama, through transcribed and quoted speeches in the in the press, to the oral testimony of ordinary people from all walks of life. This exhibition offers a historical review of the art and the power of public speaking in all its forms, with audio drawn from over a century of recorded sound, accompanied by images from the national newspaper collection. The essence of the art of oratory is the art of persuasion, of converting an audience to a strongly held personal belief, and the recordings and images presented here document every shade of the political and social spectrum, from Florence Nightingale, Gladstone and Lloyd George in the earliest years of recorded sound, to some of the most iconic, intriguing and amusing speeches of recent decades. Impassioned social protest is a recurring theme, with Allen Ginsberg addressing a crowd on the plight of imprisoned White Panthers leader John Sinclair; American comedian Dick Gregory speaking at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen had shot and killed four student protesters; and Matthew Parris speaking on gay rights at Cambridge University Union. From more recent years there is Salman Rushdie, speaking at the ICA on the day his book had been publicly burned in Bradford and withdrawn from its shops by WH Smith; and the writers Tom Stoppard and Martin Amis standing up for Rushdie at the Stationers Hall in London. The British Library until 31st December.

50 Years Of The Mini marks the 50th anniversary of the first of Alec Issigonis's iconic British cars to roll off the production line - priced at £500. The exhibition tells the story of the design, production and development of the car that was a symbol for the Swinging Sixties, and shows how the Mini became part of our social history as a nation, as Mini's were owned by people in all walks of life, from Mr Bean to Princess Margaret. More than 5m were built, with production of the original design finally ending at Longbridge in October 2000. The display includes not only complete and partial vehicles themselves, but original designs, manufacturing documentation, photographs, archive film and promotional materials. Highlights include some of the best known examples of the vehicle, including the first Morris Mini produced at Cowley in 1959; the last classic Mini to be manufactured in 2000; Paddy Hopkirk's 1964 Monte Carlo winning Mini 33EJB; the BMC 9X hatchback - a unique prototype designed by Issigonis as a possible replacement for the Mini; and the latest BMW Mini, currently being manufactured in Oxford. Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire, until 23rd December.

The Life And Lives Of Dr Johnson celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of the writer, bookseller and compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language with a display of portraits of Johnson and his circle. Paintings, prints and drawings also include portraits of those whose 'lives' Samuel Johnson wrote, such as John Milton and Alexander Pope, alongside his contemporary biographers, and the satirical prints that emerged in response to the race to record his life. Johnson played a significant role in the development of biography, transforming the genre, and raising the status of what was previously considered to be a 'low' form of literature. The display shows how Johnson's appearance was recorded by at least 12 artists, and how his portrait was disseminated widely through the medium of print. He was often depicted with books or writing tools in a tradition for representing authors that goes back to the Ancient Greeks. Also included in the display are portraits of the key people in Johnson's life, including David Garrick, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Hester Lynch Piozzi. To coincide with the exhibition, Joshua Reynolds's iconic portrait of Johnson is on display after a substantial period in conservation, which has revealed insights into its complex history and painting. Reynolds left it unfinished, and it remained in his studio until he gave it to James Boswell, Johnson's friend and biographer. National Portrait Gallery until 13th December.