News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th September 2008


Francis Bacon is a retrospective that brings together some 70 of the best and most important paintings from throughout the turbulent life of one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. The exhibition, marking Bacon's centenary, explores his philosophy that man is simply another animal in a godless world, subject to the same natural urges of violence, lust and fear that are physically evident in the body. Bacon is known for his idiosyncratic twisted images of people and animals, often splattered with paint, displaying raw emotion, considered to be some of the most powerful images in art. The human body is a recurring theme in his work, and the paintings are displayed just as they were when they were first made, together with many other paintings of animals and visceral landscapes. Highlights include the infamous 'Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X', 'Figure Study 1', 'Crucifixion', 'Study from the Human Body', and 'Study of George Dyer in a Mirror', together with celebrated triptychs such as 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion', 'In Memory of George Dyer' and 'Three Studies for a Crucifixion'. The exhibition also includes the first public display of items from the archive material found in Bacon's studio, which shed new light on his working methods, and the first full length painting of a pope, thought to have been destroyed, that was found rolled up and hidden. Tate Britain until 4th January.

Footlights: Capturing The Essence Of Performance examines how artists have captured the fleeting nature of theatrical performances over the centuries. This wide ranging exhibition offers a glimpse into the world of the performer, and reveals how the visual arts can record momentary events for posterity. As well as paintings, prints, posters, drawings and photographs made by artists depicting a wide variety of spectator orientated events (including some featuring the audience), the show also includes costume and scenery designs. Among the works included - all on paper - are Toulouse Lautrec's iconic Follies Bergere poster of Jane Avril, and print of actress Yves Gilbert in front of her audience; images of Berlin cabaret by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; Stefano della Bella's prints of 17th century street performers; Hogarth's 'Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn' and 'The Laughing Audience'; Antonia Reeve's photographs of Japanese actor Mikijiro Hira, in costume as Macbeth and Medea; and designs for the Russian theatre, such as the set of Coq d'Or by Natalya Goncharova, and costumes by Mikhail Larionov for Les Contes Russes. There is also a small related display of photographs focussing on Scottish stars of stage and screen. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 16th November.

London Open House is the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital. Over 700 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include Wilton's Music Hall, the Young Vic and Royal Court theatres, Cadogan, St John's Smith Square and LSO St Luke's concert halls, The Treasury and Foreign and India Office, BBC Bush House and Channel 4 building, Westminster Hall and Portcullis House, Tooting Bec Lido, Arsenal Stadium, Lloyds of London, Centre Point, Foster and Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners architectural offices, Roof Gardens Kensington, the British and the London Libraries, Old Turkish Baths Bishopsgate, Waterman's and Haberdashers' Halls, Dulwich College and Old Royal Naval College Greenwich, Barts Hospital Great Hall, the Reform Club, Lincoln's Inn, City Hall, Guildhall, the Royal Courts of Justice, and the 2012 Olympic Park construction site. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Others section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 20th and 21st September.


The Courtauld Cezannes features the Gallery's entire collection of works by Paul Cezanne, hailed as the finest in Britain, on show together the first time, revealing the development of his ideas. The seminal paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the major periods of Cezanne's long career include 'Montagne Sainte-Victoire', 'Card Players', 'Still Life with Plaster Cast', 'Lac d'Annecy', 'Man With a Pipe', 'L'Etang des Souers, Osny', 'The Turning Road', 'Apples, Bottle and Chairback', and 'Madame Cezanne Sewing'. In addition, there is a group of nine handwritten letters, previously unseen in public, sent to his protege Emile Bernard, in which Cezanne reflects upon the fundamental principles of his art, and offers the famous advice to "treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone". The exhibition also presents the findings of a research project on Cezanne's work, using the latest imaging technologies, which has provided fresh insights into his working methods and techniques, in particular his experimental use of colour and line.

French Prints From Manet To Picasso, is a complementary display of 15 French prints form the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including works by Manet, Gaughan, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Picasso.

Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, until 5th October.

Hotel is a record of photographer Steve Schofield's exploration of the way the British choose to spend their holiday and leisure time. In particular, he looks at how the choice of the themed experience allows people to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, for what is a momentary break from their weekly routines. By photographing the workers in these 'hyper real experiences' Schofield conveys the sense of waiting, not only for the arrival of the guests, but also for the delivery of the promise of an experience that in reality cannot truly be delivered. Schofield travelled to traditional working class resorts such as Blackpool, Southend on Sea and Brighton, visiting all kinds of hotels, from Elvis, Beatles and Pop Culture themed venues, where the past is recreated with a fake 'King', or a plasma screen pumping out black and white performances by the Fab Four, to a Victorian experience, where the workers are dressed in period costume, suggesting total subservience. His richly detailed photographs reveal a sub-cultural world beneath the mask of polite British society. Derby Art Gallery until 2nd November.

Time Out Times celebrates the 40th anniversary of London's listings bible with a display following the life of the capital though the iconoclastic eyes of its favourite living guide. Classic covers from the magazine tell London's story from the swinging sixties to the noughties by revisiting old issues, familiar faces and forgotten tales of the city. From fringe theatre to radical politics to high fashion, Time Out's journey is a mix of sex, drugs and rock and roll, of art and fashion, triumph and turmoil. The exhibition charts how the magazine kept at the cutting edge of London's myriad cultural scenes, surviving censorship battles, court cases and strikes, to become an icon within the city it records, and well beyond. The brainchild of Tony Elliott, it was born on a kitchen table in Hampstead, with the information set with an IBM Golfball typewriter, taken to the London Caledonian Press, for a run of 5,000 printed on a folded A2 sheet, and delivered by bicycle, for distribution on the King's Road, Chelsea, at free concerts and in the bookshops and 'alternative' hangouts in the city. Time Out quickly became a barometer of change in the capital - a curious and open minded guide to the extraordinary possibilities London offers to those who live or pass through it. Today Time Out has a weekly circulation of 87,000, a website that chalks up 1.75m unique users a month, and this year has seen launches in Sydney, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore, making 25 international editions. The London Museum, until 19th October.

Turmoil And Tranquillity: The Sea Through The Eyes Of Dutch And Flemish Masters 1550 - 1700 focuses on the emerging genre of maritime art in the Low Countries, during the 17th century. The exhibition of some 70 paintings examines the emergence of the seascape as an independent painting style, with works by early Flemish masters including followers of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Joachim Patinir, Cornelis van Wieringen and Andries van Eertvelt. It displays highly dramatic seascapes and depictions of storms and shipwrecks, which characterised Dutch seascapes of the period. The use of allegory, with examples depicting ships as symbols for the soul, is traced in paintings such as the 'Wreck of the Amsterdam' by an anonymous Flemish artist and Adam Willaerts's 'Jonah and the Whale'. The interplay between paintings of tranquil coastal waters and the assertion of a Dutch national identity is explored through the work of Jan Porcellis, Simon de Vlieger, Ludolf Backhuysen and Jacob van Ruisdael. Depictions of Mediterranean and Scandinavian scenes and other foreign shores, are examined through works by Hendrick van Minderhout, Simon de Vlieger, Gasper van Wittel (called 'Vanvitelli') and Pieter Mulier the Younger, 'the Cavaliere Tempesta'. The demand for paintings recording battles at sea and illustrious naval heroes is illustrated with works by Abraham Storck and the Willem van de Veldes, who moved to London, and for 20 years had their studio in the home of this exhibition. The Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 11th January.

John Muir Wood And The Origins Of Landscape Photography In Scotland is the first exhibition to examine this subject. It concentrates on images produced between 1840 and 1860, and in particular, on the work of John Muir Wood, arguably Scotland's first systematic landscape photographer. With bulky camera equipment, Muir Wood travelled by steamer along the Firth of Clyde, exploring the geography of Arran, Bute and the north Ayrshire coast. Chosen from an archive of 900 images, the selected photographs present a romantic view of nature during a time of rural upheaval, and strongly evoke the contrast between Victorian social and religious values and increasing urbanisation. Many of Muir Wood's photographs seem desolate, yet they are curiously uplifting. His ruined cottage image may appear to be a stony skeleton, but it lies above lush grass and a stream. Muir Wood's grasp of sensual detail is evident in how he captures the raw texture of scattered rocks in the water, and how the pallid tones of his forest photography suggest an almost ethereal glow. The exhibition puts Muir Wood's imagery into context by displaying examples of the landscape work of other early photographers, including Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill, Thomas Keith, Horatio Ross and W H Fox Talbot. It charts the emergence of a new creative form as each struggled to express the Scottish landscape imagination through photography. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 26th October.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! the American chain of 'odditoriums', whose slogan is 'Proudly freeking out families for 90 years', has just opened a London branch. The city centre equivalent of a Victorian travelling fairground freak show, it features over 500 weird and unusual artefacts in 22 themed galleries spanning 4 floors - only a real live Elephant Man is missing. For over 40 years in the first half of the 20th century, Robert Ripley - a kind of Indiana Jones figure - travelled the world collecting the unbelievable, the inexplicable, and the one-of-a-kind, and then made a career of exploiting them. Exhibits here range from genuine shrunken heads from the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and a Victorian vampire killing kit, via mannequins of Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man, and other freak show stalwarts, to a portrait of Princess Diana made entirely from lint collected from clothes dryers, a 12ft long model of Tower Bridge made out of matchsticks, and a real Mini Cooper covered in 1m Swarovski lead crystals, in the images of 10 American icons. The attraction also includes a Mirror Maze, consisting of a series of columns and arches surrounded by hundreds of mirrored reflections in every direction, with floor lighting enhancing the 'infinity effect' by giving the illusion of continuing hallways. The London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 continuing.


Gwon Osang And Choe U-ram features sculptures by two contemporary cutting edge Korean artists. Gwon Osang builds life size sculptural figures by assembling hundreds of photographic images on to a three dimensional armature, to build up the surface appearance of his models, including the face, their hair and their clothes. The process gives his beautifully crafted figures both photo-realist and surreal qualities. The photographs, being 3D reality captured through a 2D illusionistic medium, assume a peculiarly disorientating quality when wrapped around the 3D form. It is as if the photographs have been 're-embodied' during a papier-mache class. In addition, the figures' rather unsteady or ungainly poses, when enshrouded by the photographs' characteristic split-second suspense, result in a kind of glossy magazine mummification. Osang's past subjects include a pinhead man, a two headed man and a man with three swan's heads. Here he turns his taste for everyday weirdness towards musician Graham Massey and a mounted police officer. Choe U-ram combines the latest precision engineering technologies with art to create robotic sculptures with echoes of organic forms. He uses cut and polished metals, machinery and electronics to create kinetic sculptures inspired by sea creatures and plant life. Here, Choe U-ram is exhibiting two enormous robotic works, 'Urbanus Female' and 'Urbanus Male', in the atrium. Manchester Art Gallery, until 21st September.

Huang Yong Ping: Frolic is an installation by one of the most distinguished contemporary artists to emerge from China in the past two decades. It explores the complex imperial history between Britain and China in the 19th century, the forerunner of today's globalisation, and in particular the Opium Wars. The installation comprises sculptures of enlarged paraphernalia associated with opium dens, which were widespread in the 19th century, and takes its title from the name of a ship built in 1844 specifically for the opium trade. It evokes the intemperance of the opium den whilst exposing the cruder, factory production of the drug, with piles of opium balls, scales and storage boxes. The central space is occupied with a statue of Lord Palmerston, who served twice as British Prime Minister and is widely considered as the initiator of the Opium Wars in China in 1839 and 1856. The statue, toppled on an opium bed, depicts Palmerston smoking an exaggeratedly large opium pipe. Importing opium from British India to China was a lucrative trade for Britain, and when the Chinese government attempted to control the supply as overuse of the drug was becoming rife, Britain refused to comply. The conflict between the two governments twice erupted into wars, and following its defeats the Chinese government was forced to tolerate the opium trade, and sign Unequal Treaties, opening several ports to foreign trade and yielding Hong Kong to Britain. The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery, until 21st September.

Doctor Who Exhibition is the largest staged so far, featuring over 100 models, props, costumes and monsters that have appeared in the programme since its regeneration three years ago. Sadly, rather than a history of the series from its beginnings in 1963, with classic monsters from each of the four decades, it is rather more a marketing exercise for the new series. Nevertheless, nasties such as the Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Slitheen, the Face of Boe, an Ood and K9 (not to mention Kylie Minogue's frock), plus of course Daleks, including the latest version actually flying, together with a close up view of the creature inside, make it worth a visit. In addition there are video clips and design drawings, as well as a life-size replica of the TARDIS itself (both inside and out). The high tech surroundings in which they are displayed include walls that light up and a video floor. In addition, new creatures from the latest series have been added as they have made their appearance - although few are as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Museum Hall, Earls Court, London until 19th September.