News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th April 2002


The Old Palace is a new permanent exhibition that traces the history of the Tudor and Stuart palace that once stood on the site of Somerset House. Excavations in the central courtyard during the refurbishment of the building in 1999 unearthed remains that give an insight into the former palace's architecture, and tell the story of two centuries of its daily life. Built by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, in the 1547, it was one of England's first major renaissance buildings. The palace was eventually demolished to make way for the present building in 1776. Objects on display include a gilded stucco mask of a river god, moulded plaster ceiling decorations, marble and ceramic tile fragments, tableware and carved mouldings. These are accompanied by contemporary engravings and drawings, plus new digital images detailing the original palace layout. The exhibition is curated and designed by the Museum of London, and includes items from its permanent collection, with the aim of making it more accessible to Londoners outside the museum premises. Somerset House continuing.

Pin-Up: Art & Celebrity Since The Sixties charts the changing face of our celebrity obsessed culture through the last forty years. From fashion and glamour to hero worship and body image, it examines the phenomenon of icons and idol culture (if culture is the word) in reference to film stars, pop stars and supermodels. In doing so it reflects the progress(?) from worshiping those in the past who at least did something, however minimal, to those now who merely are. Items range from Andy Warhol screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando, and previously unseen photographs of Jimi Hendrix, BB King and Mick Jagger by Linda McCartney, through works by Peter Blake and Marlene Dumas, to current images of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. What it doesn't do, is pose the question whether the need of so many artists to pander to and represent the famous isn't a sad reflection on the current impoverishment of artistic inspiration. Tate Liverpool until 24th November.

Baroque Painting In Genoa celebrates the 17th century flowering of the city as one of the great centres of art. As it became a major trading and banking location, enormous wealth was invested in the creation of palazzos with spectacularly decorated interiors, and the adornment of city churches, with frescos, paintings and sculpture. Artists were attracted from all over Europe, joining skilled local painters and craftsmen, and together they produced some extraordinarily fine works in the flamboyant and grandiose Baroque style. This exhibition comprises paintings from public and private collections that have never been seen in Britain before. Highlights include Rubens life size 'Equestrian Portrait Of Giovan Carlo Doria', one of the city's most significant artistic patrons; Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione's 'Adoration Of The Shepherds', the altarpiece from the church of San Luca; Valerio Castello's 'Rape of Proserpine'; and other works by Van Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi; together with a carved picture frame by the sculptor Filippo Parodi. National Gallery until 16th June.


Skin Deep: A History Of Tattooing brings together a wide range of objects to illuminate the development and diversity of tattooing over the past two hundred years. Beginning with Captain James Cook's first encounters with native tattooing in the South Pacific in 1768, the exhibition looks at the adoption of tattooing by sailors, its subsequent introduction to Western society, and its growth as a statement of fashion and identity today. The name derives from the Tahitian word 'tatau' meaning to mark, and there are drawings and engravings made by Sydney Parkinson, who accompanied Cook and recorded the people he met, including the Marquesan warriors who believed in full body tattoos. There is also an extensive collection of early photographs, taken by other explorers. Sailors developed their own designs, based on maritime images, which had their own coded meanings. Electric tattooing machines were invented in the 1890s, and it became fashionable for European aristocrats to be tattooed around this time. The technique has enjoyed revived popularity in recent years, having been taken up by pop and sports stars, but is no less painful to apply - or easier to remove. Further information and a Whose Tattoo game can be found on the National Maritime Museum web site via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. National Maritime Museum until 30th September.

Air is the latest of this year's new theme park attractions, claiming to be the first ride to simulate the motion and sensation of free flight. Eight years in the making, and at a cost of £12m, it is designed to give the feeling and freedom of soaring through the air. Instead of the security of sitting in a car or hanging beneath a track, victims are strapped along the length of the track, face down and head first, and are then propelled along swooping up, plunging down, and revolving skywards, at speeds of up to 55mph. It has been designed by John Wardley, former Bond film special effects man, and now theme park ride specialist. This white-knuckle attraction joins the existing Submission, and other Wardley tortures, Oblivion, the world's first vertical drop ride, and the legendary Nemesis. Further information and virtual rides can be found on the Alton Towers web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Alton Towers until 3rd November.

Hamish Fulton: Walking Journey is an exhibition of trips by the 'walking artist' who makes a living out of what others do for pleasure. Through the use of photographs, text, drawings, prints, sculpture, collage and found objects, Fulton endeavours to recreate the experience of his walks. Over the last thirty years these have taken him to some of the most spectacular places on earth, including mountains and deserts in India, Tibet, Norway, America, Iceland, Spain, Canada and Australia. Fulton records not just the scenery, but the lives of the people he meets. At Mount Hiei in Japan he joined Buddhist monks whose meditation involves circling the mountain each day for 1000 days, after which they have travelled a distance equivalent to walking around the world. Fulton's journeys have included pilgrim's routes, and not just John O'Groats to Lands End, but also the Mediterranean to the English Channel. Tate Britain until 30th June.

Body Worlds is definitely the exhibition of the moment. The real bodies with the skin taken off, and the remains dissected and put through a secret 'plastination' process, is dividing opinion right down the middle. The show comes trailing controversy stirred up by previous appearances in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium over the last six years. Is it art? Is it education? Is it a fairground both event? Some find the opportunity to see what the inside of their bodies is actually like a profoundly moving experience. Others dismiss the whole thing as a Victorian freak show - an opinion fostered by the fact that the Professor Gunther von Hagens, the gentleman who prepared the exhibits, looks as though he has just stepped out of a Hammer Horror film. The process renders (if that is the correct word) the specimens much more real than previous methods of preservation, but the 25 corpses and 175 individual body parts can't be considered any more ghoulish for that. There is no question that this is unique event. Go or don't go according to your response, but you can't say you weren't warned. Atlantis Gallery, London until 29th September.

Space Shot is the latest of this year's new theme park attractions, claiming to be the nearest ordinary mortals will get to experiencing takeoff in a space rocket. One of the tallest vertical tower attractions around, it catapults riders into the air to a height of 125 feet, at speeds of 80mph, with a force of 4Gs, then plunges them back to earth with a force of -1G. This white-knuckle attraction joins the existing Traumatizer, the UK's tallest, fastest, suspended looping roller coaster; Cyclone, a twin train classic wooden roller coaster with a 2500 foot track; and Chaos, a rotating ride with hydraulically operated cars moving through all three axes of movement. As elswhere, no pleasure without pain. Further information and virtual panoramas can be found on the Pleasureland web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Pleasureland, Southport until 5th November.

Bond, James Bond celebrates 40 years of the world's best known movie phenomenon, the James Bond films. Entering through M's office, complete with chair and hatstand, visitors can explore Q's workshop, with the gadgets that have become trademark of the 19 films, including the Aston Martin DB5, complete with its weaponry, the Acrostar Jet and the Hasselblad Signature Gun. Pandering to PC attitudes, there is a section devoted to the strength of character behind the glamour of the Bond women (which will probably come as a surprise to the actresses who played them). The villain's lair contains Jaws' teeth, Oddjob's bowler hat and Rosa Klebb's shoe - no sign of Bloefeld's white cat though. There is also plenty of background material, with storyboards, set concept drawings, and costume designs. The secrets of special effects and stunts are revealed, and there is an opportunity to actually try one out on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Accompanying events include James Bond Day on 19th April, when the Bond films will be examined in a variety of ways, including a cultural history of the early movies, different generic traditions and issues of representation. National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford until 1st September.


Alfa Romeo - Sustaining Beauty celebrates 90 years of art in engineering, telling the story of how car design and styling has evolved from its early 20th century beginnings. This is illustrated with a display 17 of Alfa Romeo's most famous and prestigious cars, worth over £50m, which have been brought in from the company's museum near Milan. These include the 1750 Gran Sport, in which Nuvolari won the 1930 Mille Miglia, the greatest ever open road race, by overtaking the opposition in the dark with his headlights switched off; the 159 Gran Premio, a single seater in which Manuel Fangio won the 1951 Formula 1 championship title; and the 1952 Disco Volante or 'flying saucer', of which only two were ever built - one of the most visionary car designs of all time (an E type Jag and a half) - suitably suspended from the ceiling for maximum impact. There is a chance to win an Alfa 147 1.6 T.Spark Turismo worth £13,175 at the Science Museum web site, which can be found via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. Science Museum until 30th April.

Web Wizards: Designers Who Define The Web looks at one of the most dynamic areas of contemporary design - web design, spotlighting the new generation of design stars who dominate this fast-moving field. Idolised within the web community, yet little known outside it, designers like Joshua Davis, Daniel Brown and Yugo Nakamura have created the most innovative web sites of recent years. As well as dominating design on the web, their influence extends to many other areas of visual culture. This exhibition traces the history of the digital image by exploring landmarks in computer and games design, and offers visitors the opportunity to play vintage games. For those who baulk at the idea of digital design in a museum, the Design Museum web site, which can be found via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet, includes a Digital Design Gallery with designer profiles, newly commissioned works, and designers in conversation. Design Museum until 21st April.

Paris: Capital Of The Arts 1900-1968 traces the major developments in visual arts that took place in Paris throughout the first seven decades of the twentieth century, from the Exposition to the student riots. It explores the impact of the social, political and economic scene of Paris, and traces the major art movements that emerged. By focusing on specific areas of Paris at specific periods, the show examines the significance of the city's evolving social and intellectual centres. It comprises over 250 paintings and sculptures by 160 artists of many nationalities, who chose to work in the city. These include Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Chagall, Duchamp, Modigliani, Ernest, Brancusi, Dali, Mondrian, Man Ray, Giacometti and Christo. Though bearing witness to a truly impressive beginning, it actually charts the downfall of Paris as the world's artistic centre, with less to offer after the Second World War, as New York picked up the baton with the pop art movement. Royal Academy of Arts until 19th April.