Private View held by Richard Andrews
Painting History: Delaroche And Lady Jane Grey examines Paul Delaroche's 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' in the context of his historical paintings, particularly the scenes from English history, which made his reputation. The exhibition features 7 of Delaroche's major paintings, including 'The Princes in the Tower', 'Young Christian Martyr', 'Strafford on his way to Execution' and 'Cromwell and Charles I'. Displayed alongside, are Delaroche's preparatory drawings for Lady Jane, and comparative paintings and prints by his contemporaries, including Eugene Lami, Claude Jacquand and François-Marius Granet. In post-revolutionary France, artists began to combine monarchist sympathies with a Romantic interest in English literature and history, and like many of his peers, Delaroche was preoccupied with the themes of usurpation and martyrdom. The exhibition also considers Delaroche's historical paintings in light of his close relationship with the theatre. From the 1820s, there was an increasing tendency in French theatre to draw on pictorial forms, and for plays to be divided into so-called 'tableaux' as well as acts. This had a profound influence on Delaroche, who was also keenly receptive to the spatial possibilities offered by stage craft. Meanwhile, his work lent itself to dramatic recreation, and on several occasions, his paintings were represented on the stage.
A Masterpiece Recovered: Delaroche's Charles I Insulted, an accompanying exhibit, is Delaroche's recently recovered monumental painting 'Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers', on display for the first time in recent history. The work was damaged by shrapnel during the Blitz, after which it was rolled up and evacuated to Scotland, where it has remained in storage. Presently in the process of conservation, the painting retains its war wounds, but Delaroche's scene remains entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity. National Gallery until 23rd May.
Amber: Treasures From Poland offers a unique opportunity to see some fascinating and beautiful artefacts from the Polish national collection of works in amber. This exhibition introduces amber from prehistory to natural history, looking at how people related to amber from the Stone Age onwards, and at the techniques and skill of the craftsmen who created some of the finest examples of amber art ever seen. From the earliest times, the southern shores of the Baltic Sea have been associated with the gathering, trading and working of amber. It is a natural substance found in many varieties of colours and forms, which has been used by man since the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago. Amber is used around the world for medical or spiritual wellbeing, for adornment or decoration, and for scientific reasons. Most exhibits in this show are from Malbork Castle, which houses the national collection of Baltic amber artefacts, comprising some 2,000 items. Also included are works from the Gdansk Amber Museum, as well as a collection of insects trapped in amber and some historical amber artefacts from the resident collection. Highlights include the famous Gierłowska lizard, the recently discovered piece of amber containing an almost complete lizard; the 17th century Michael Redlin Casket, constructed of oval plates with eglomise'e technique engravings of ocean scenes; a 17th century home altar, with a relief illustrating the Last Supper; and the 18th century Poniatowski cabinet, containing engraved scenes and inscriptions relating to the most significant events from the life of Stanislaw August. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 17th April.
War, Plague And Fire is a new gallery telling the story of London from the accession of Elizabeth I, through the ravages of the English Civil Wars, to the cataclysmic disasters of the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. During this turbulent period, London expanded beyond the bounds of the Roman city wall and, through the enterprise of trading companies, began its transformation into a world class city. Displays of artifacts and documents bring alive the key events of the period: the Civil War and the execution of King Charles I; the Great Plague, which killed around 100,000 Londoners; and the Great Fire, which destroyed a third of London in just 5 days. Highlights include: a detailed model of the Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare performed; a collection of delftware pottery; two printing plates of the Copperplate map - London's earliest known map; the tunic believed to have been worn by Charles I at his beheading, complete with blood stains; Oliver Cromwell's death mask; a collection of Jacobean jewels; documents and objects from the Great Plague; evocative paintings of the Great Fire; various objects melted by the heat of the Fire, including a glass window and a pottery jar; and back on display after three years refurbishment, with new fibre optics, visual and sound effects, the Great Fire Experience, the 96 old model that is one of the museum's most loved exhibits. Museum of London, continuing.
Irving Penn Portraits is the largest British exhibition ever devoted to portraiture by one of the greatest photographers of his generation. It includes over 120 prints from Irving Penn's seven decade career, ranging from his early portraits for Vogue in 1944 to some of his last work, including previously unexhibited portraits of Lee Krasner, Edith Piaf, Harold Pinter and Cecil Beaton. The exhibition is a survey of Penn's portraits of major cultural figures, including Truman Capote, Salvador Dalì, Marlene Dietrich, Christian Dior, T S Eliot, Duke Ellington, Alfred Hitchcock, Nicole Kidman, Willem de Kooning, Jessye Norman, Rudolf Nureyev, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Tennessee Williams, Ingmar Bergman, Arthur Miller, Louise Bourgeois and Woody Allen (in disguise as Charlie Chaplin). Penn began his career as a photographer in the 1940s, making portraits that were a groundbreaking stylistic shift from existing conventions of portrait photography. In contrast to his contemporaries, who often used complex or dramatic sets, or showed sitters in their working environments, Penn worked in a studio that was almost empty, using simulated daylight and only the simplest props. From the 1950s Penn began to photograph many of his subjects close up, gradually eliminating the visible framework of the studio, resulting in a greater emphasis on gesture and expression. As time when on, Penn moved into even more intense head and shoulder studies. In addition to individual portraits, the show features some of Penn's celebrated group portraits, including the 1967 photograph Rock Groups, which captures Janis Joplin and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, alongside the Grateful Dead, and his photograph of Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. National Portrait Gallery until 6th June.
Goya's Prison: The Year Of Despair, examines work from the period in the artist's life which became a significant turning point for him. Following a severe illness in 1792, Goya convalesced in Andalusia, living with wine exporter and private collector, Sebastian Martinez, an enthusiast of English painters, such as Reynolds, whose work Goya was able to study. During this period of recuperation, Goya produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career. In painting this series of pictures, Goya allowed himself to produce images that were of personal interest, rather than those dictated by the restrictions imposed by his patrons. The subjects were diverse: six bullfighting scenes, a shipwreck, a raging inferno, a murderous stagecoach holdup, a travelling theatre, a lunatic asylum, and the inside of a prison, which probably best conveyed his state of mind. This series of small works became the tinplate templates for much of his subsequent work. In these works Goya discovered his niche, whether his former patrons liked it or not. This shift away from the huge official tapestry commissions to smaller and more intimate works was instrumental in restoring his reputation. The exhibition explores the story behind the painting 'The Interior of a Prison', with reference to other pictures in the cabinet series. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, until 11th April.
Ron Arad: Restless is a retrospective of the work of the internationally acclaimed London based maverick, variously described as a designer, architect and artist. Spanning three decades, the exhibition traces the development of Ron Arad's designs from his early post-punk approach, assembling works from readymade parts, to his technologically advanced sculptural objects made of highly polished metals. Bringing together over 120 works, the exhibition features some of Arad's most celebrated pieces, including 'Rover Chair', a car seat salvaged from a scrap yard mounted on a steel frame, that famously caught the eye of Jean Paul Gaultier; 'Well-Tempered Chair', a reinterpretation of the overstuffed club chair using four thin sheets of tempered steel bent and held together by wing nuts; 'Reinventing the Wheel', a bookcase inspired by a children's toy, featuring a globe floating inside a sphere, with a wheel-within-a-wheel construction, keeping the shelves level as it is rolled around; and 'Lolita', a chandelier made up of 1050 LED lights embedded within 2,100 crystals, which has its own mobile phone number, so text messages can appear at the top of the chandelier and wind down the ribbon curves, creating the impression that it is slightly spinning. Architectural projects featured include the rotating mountain top restaurant and gallery Les Diablarets in Gstaad, Swizerland; the recently opened Mediacite shopping complex in Liege, Belgium; and the Design Museum in Holon, Israel. Barbican Gallery until 16th May.
The Ministry Of Food marks the 70th anniversary of food rationing introduced by the government during the Second World War. The exhibition shows how the British public adapted to a world of food shortages by 'Lending a Hand on the Land', 'Digging for Victory', taking up the 'War on Waste', and being both frugal and inventive on the 'Kitchen Front'. It also underlines that growing your own food, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables, reducing imports, recycling and healthy nutrition were as topical in 1940 as they are today. The exhibition explores the story of food from farms, gardens and docks, to shops, kitchens, and canteens. As imports were drastically cut, British agriculture had to dramatically increase production to feed the nation, with help from the Women's Land Army, prisoners of war and those who volunteered at Farming Holiday Camps. The Women's Institute staffed 6,000 Preservation Centres to make jams and pickles, and the Women's Voluntary Service's mobile canteens provided emergency sustenance to rescuers and the homeless after air raids. Among the exhibition's special features are reconstructions of a wartime greenhouse, a 1940s grocer's shop, and a typical kitchen of the period - complete with larder, gas cooker, and an ample stock of economy recipes, including the original Savoy Hotel recipe for Woolton Pie (a grisly concoction of vegetables named after the Minister of Food). Visitors can listen to original radio recordings of advice on gardening from Mr Middleton, on nutrition from the 'Radio Doctor', Charles Hill, and on cooking from Marguerite Patten. Further tips are provided in a selection of the Ministry of Food's Food Flashes films, and on posters that reminded the public that a 'Clear Plate Means a Clear Conscience', exhorted people to save kitchen scraps for the communal pig bin, and to 'Eat More Greens'. Imperial War Museum, London, until January.
Walls Are Talking is the first major British exhibition of artists' wallpaper designs. It features works by over 30 artists, including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Michael Craig-Martin and Angus Fairhurst. Kitsch ideas of home decoration are turned upside down as artists subvert the stereotypes of wallpaper to hit home messages about warfare, racism, cultural conflicts and gender. The exhibition is grouped around themes: subversion, commodification, imprisonment and sexuality. Highlights include: Sonia Boyce's 'Clapping', with a feeling of claustrophobia and menace, strengthened by a repeated design of the black and white hand print; Zineb Sedira illustrating social inequalities and gender difference from her French-Algerian Islamic perspective; Thomas Demand's Ivy, with intricate pieces of paper cut out and photographed make up a lifelike work of imprisoning beauty; Abigail Lane's CSI style blood spatter pattern, and from the opposite end of the spectrum, popular commercial papers that reinforce cultural and gender stereotypes, from Barbie and the Spice Girls for her, to beer cans, football teams and idealised female bodies for him. With many prominent designers and artists using the medium of wallpaper as their primary method of expression, this exhibition provides a timely exploration of the possibilities and power of print. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 3rd May.
Paul Nash: The Elements features works by the British artist who painted beautiful landscapes of the Downs, strange flooded rooms, and classic images of two World Wars. The exhibition brings together around 60 of Paul Nash's paintings and watercolours, from throughout his career. The paintings include Nash's work as a war artist, together with a selection of his own photographs, which are shown with his photographic collages. The exhibition includes interiors, abstracts and still lifes, as well as the landscapes for which he is best known. The works shows elements in conflict, in paintings and drawings from different periods of Nash's life. These include his early drawings of night time dangers, a group of his troubled political paintings of the 1930s, and the war paintings, including the iconic 'Totes Meer (dead sea)' in which an undulating sea of German aircraft wreckage covers an English landscape. Many of Nash's landscapes show a path through or between elements with figures entering a wood, or cross a threshold into a different region. He painted nests and refuges within elements of wood, stone or earth, and his photographs reveal his search for such places in the countryside and in his own arrangements of objects. Nash looked for what he called 'equivalents' between differing elements of nature, in search for harmony between them. The balance of design and colour that he found within the natural world of sea, stone, earth and sky lead to some of his most emotionally moving paintings. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 9th May.
Durer And Italy focuses on the engravings of the German artist who was the first to achieve fame through his prints. The exhibition presents engraved masterpieces by Albrecht Durer alongside contemporary Italian works, and illustrates the cultural exchange that took place in the years between 1500 and 1528. Durer made two journeys to Italy, during which he promoted himself as an artist, studied art, and met engravers and exponents of the art of perspective, which was still unknown in Germany. Durer's prints were of two kinds: for the popular market he designed woodcuts, which were cheap and often sold as bound sets, the most popular being two series of the 'Passion of Christ' and the 'Life of the Virgin'. His astonishingly detailed engravings were relatively expensive, and appealed more to artists and collectors, presenting figures and landscapes of unparalleled beauty that rapidly became highly fashionable, especially in Italy. Durer's work was soon known to Raphael in Rome, who did not make prints himself, but provided sketches to be engraved by artists such as Marcantonio. The exhibition includes two of Marcantonio's best known works, 'Judgement of Paris' and 'Massacre of the Innocents', which provide a contrasting classical vision to Durer's, tinged by his roots in Gothic illustration. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 22nd March.
Living With The Wall: Berlin 1961 - 1989 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, built by the Communist East German authorities to stop its population fleeing to freedom in the West. The Wall stretched 155 kilometres, slicing through private homes, shops, farms and the city's transport systems. The exhibition of photographs, many of which are on display for the first time, chart the evolution of the Wall from primitive barbed wire barricade to modern fortification - and artist's inspiration. It includes images captured by German photojournalists illustrating the impact on the people of Berlin, as families were separated, or sought to escape the restrictions imposed on them; together with photographs taken by British Army photographers, documenting the confrontation between the East and the West, together with the day when they were reunited, crystallised by the image of a solitary child chipping away at the Wall with a chisel. In addition to the photographs, there are a number of accompanying items, including a checkpoint sign signalling the end of the British zone; an Eastern block Trabant car; what is believed to be the only survivor of 302 searchlights mounted on watchtowers along the Wall; an East German riot shield and visor; and a piece of the Wall itself. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 21st March.
Tris Vonna-Michell: 'No more racing in circles - just pacing within lines of a rectangle' is a mixed media installation that combines photography, film, sound, performance and concrete poetry. The exhibition is the result of a 3 month residency period in Southend-on-Sea by performance artist Tris Vonna-Michell, who was born and brought up in the area. It scrambles his childhood memories of local landmark sites with contemporary images. During a recent journey in the Vonna-Michell family's old black 1983 Mercedes 230E, he took photographic images and sound recordings of various localities. The semi-derelict modern classic car (which had previously been lying dormant in a garden for 5 years) re-emerges as the vehicle for the artist's research trip around his early days, recalling childhood haunts and family journeys. Vonna-Michell's project seeks to 'question the nature of periphery, margin and centre, and map important events in world history onto ideas of the personal within a local framework'. It is a rumination on the recent history of a town that is currently undergoing a radical transformation through dramatic regeneration plans. Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, until 20th March.