News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th October 2007


Louise Bourgeois is the first major survey in Britain of the work of the French born artist. It spans seven decades of varied and prolific artistic output, ranging from small scale experimental works, to large scale installations from the 1980s and 1990s. Beginning with Bourgeois's earliest drawings, prints and paintings, the show features more than 200 works in many different materials, including her most recent works using fabric, such as 'Couple IV', 'The Three Horizontals' and 'Rejection'. Over her long career Bourgeois has worked in dialogue with most of the major international avant-garde artistic movements of the 20th century, from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism to Conceptual art, but has always remained uniquely apart, inventive and often at the forefront of contemporary practice. Engaging in a wide variety of both modern and traditional techniques Bourgeois has explored her themes in a great variety of styles from abstraction to the realism of the ready-made. The exhibition includes many well known pieces, such as 'Personages', 'The Blind Leading the Blind', 'Cumul I', 'Arch of Hysteria', 'Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)', 'Seven in Bed' and on display in Britain for the first time, Bourgeois seminal work, 'The Destruction of the Father', which is approximately 12ft long by 8ft high and 8ft deep, made of rubber, latex, wood, fabric and lit with a red glow. The piece references a family dinner table, headed by a tyrannical father and husband, surrounded by a family rendered terrified by his dominance, who are driven to suddenly attack and devour him. In addition, 'Maman', one of a series of giant spiders, standing around 27ft high, is on display outside the gallery. Tate Modern until 20th January.

Victorian Artists In Photographs: G F Watts And His World is a remarkable exhibition of photographs of the Victorian art world, many exhibited for the first time. The display features some 160 images of the leading artists of the day and their studios, including George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, George Cruickshank, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Lord Leighton, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, E J Poynter, Lady Butler, Alma Tadema, Val Prinsep and Philip Morris, together with their models, wives and families, including Fanny Cornforth, Phoebe 'Effie' Cookson, Dorothy Dene, Edith Holman Hunt and Margaret Burne-Jones. In addition, there are rare images of royalty and politicians, including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli; influential thinkers, such as John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin and J S Mill; literary figures, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, George Elliot and Wilkie Collins; and members of the theatrical profession, such as Ellen Terry. The 100 year old Arts & Crafts building, created by Watts and his wife, which houses his extensive studio collection, was the first purpose built art gallery in Britain dedicated to the work of a single artist. Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford, until 31st December.

Vaulting Ambition: The Adam Brothers, Contractors To The Metropolis In The Reign Of George III tells of how in the 18th century, four Scottish brothers embarked on an architecturally ambitious regeneration scheme for a huge brownfield site in the centre of London, to be known as the Adelphi. Drawings from the Adam collection - one of Royal Terrace almost 9ft long - are displayed alongside paintings of the Adelphi, together with documents, drawings, paintings and portraits, many never on public display before. It focuses on the Adam brothers and on the rupture in their relationships, caused by the uncertain nature of their grand venture, the bank crashes of 1772, and their recourse to a Lottery to escape financial disaster. They were sons of the most eminent 18th century Scottish architect William Adam, and their business became the biggest building company of the age, encompassing supply, materials, contracting and speculative development on a breathtaking scale - at its height employing 3,000 men. In many ways the scheme set the template for modern metropolitan development. The Adelphi was a showcase for elegant new architecture, setting standards for urban development throughout Britain. The exhibition also explores the subsequent speculative projects of the Adams in Portland Place and Fitzroy Square in London, as well as Robert's visionary designs for Bath, and his proposals for Edinburgh and Glasgow. It also reveals how these Scottish entrepreneurs promoted their scheme, installed anchor tenants within the development to attract potential investors and purchasers, targeted clients of high net worth, faced down a potentially devastating financial crisis and in the end, were forced to pay an exceptional price for their 'vaulting ambition'. Sir John Soane's Museum, London until 12th January.


The Turner Prize: A Retrospective is the definitive Turner Prize exhibition, featuring works by all the winning artists since it began in 1984. From Anish Kapoor to Damien Hirst, and Gilbert & George to Grayson Perry, it presents a snapshot of cutting edge British art from the last 24 years. The exhibition explores the history of the prize with a chronological selection of key works by the winning artists such as Malcolm Morley, Richard Deacon, Rachel Whiteread, Douglas Gordon, Wolfgang Tillmans and Tomma Abts, alongside documentation of over 90 short listed artists. Key works in the display include Gilbert & George's 'Drunk with God' (a photo montage featuring their usual themes), Antony Gormley's 'Testing a World View' (body casts again, this time bent at the waist), Damien Hirst's 'Mother and Child Divided' (the sliced up cow and calf), Martin Creed's 'Work # 227: The lights going on and off' (the clue is in the title) and Simon Starling's 'Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2)' (is it a shed, is it a boat, is it a sculpture?). Created to draw greater public attention to contemporary art, the Turner Prize has played a significant role in the growing interest in British art, and since the mid 1980s the visual arts scene in Britain has changed beyond recognition. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to reflect upon some of the most significant moments in the recent history of British art and the reception of the prize by the press, by artists and by the public. It may impress with the vigorous questioning of accepted artistic ideas - or it may seem a question of The Emperor's New Clothes. It's in the eye of the beholder. Tate Britain until 6th January.

The Naked Portrait is the first exhibition to focus on 'naked portraiture' as a strand in the art of the last century. The title is borrowed from Lucian Freud, who has used it for many of his paintings. In contrast to the wider genre of the 'nude', naked portraiture engages with the specific identity of an individual sitter, subverting portraiture's usual concerns with social facade, status and self-image. This exhibition brings together many of the most significant artists of the last century, and features over 160 examples of the genre, embracing painting, photography and sculpture, through the work of over 70 artists from Pierre Bonnard to Tracey Emin. By revealing the widespread interest in naked portraiture as a subject throughout the period depicted, the exhibition also examines the rapidly changing cultural and moral landscape of the last century. It includes paintings by Francis Bacon, Vanessa Bell, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Saville and Stanley Spencer; photographs by David Bailey, Helen Chadwick, John Coplans, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Boris Mikhailov, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Wolfgang Tillmans and Sam Taylor-Wood; and sculpture by Dan Brown, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marc Quinn and Auguste Rodin. Themes within the exhibition challenge the received notions of ideal physical beauty, age identity, the artistic exploration of love and desire, the projection of 'otherness' in terms of social class, race, or celebrity, and the fundamentals of the human ageing process and mortality. The exhibition features portraits of both well known subjects, such as Linford Christie, Germaine Greer, Dustin Hoffman, Christine Keeler, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolf Nureyev, Georgia O'Keefe and Charlotte Rampling, and uncelebrated subjects, known intimately only by the artists. Many of the images also represent the artists themselves. Compton Verney, Warwickshire until 9th December.

The Suburban Landscape: Two Hundred Years Of Gardens And Gardening explores the history of the suburban landscape over the last two centuries, and considers the significance of gardens and gardening in the making of what became the most 'English' of landscape environments. Over 86% of England's population lives in so-called 'suburban' areas, the 'typical' suburban home having a garden front and back - the opportunity to have a garden being one of the main attractions of suburban living. Suburban gardens are private areas, but because they are connected together and visible to each other, they also form part of the larger, collectively owned public landscape. This wider suburban landscape is also defined by public green spaces such as parks, playing fields and grass verges. Residents of suburbia have always been encouraged to be gardeners. This exhibition examines how people learned to garden, how the practice of being a gardener changed over time, what sorts of expert advice was available to novice and experienced gardeners at different times, and how people use their gardens: a children's play area, a relaxation space or a functional area for the washing line and the vegetable patch. It also reflects how the suburban garden is now influenced by environmental concerns, with many introducing wild flowers, and a growing demand for species that survive the hotter summers. This exhibition looks at the evolution of the suburban landscape as a whole, including the development of parks and open spaces. It also considers the evolution of the smaller, 'private' sphere of gardens and gardening. Over the last two hundred years, the nation's passion for the private suburban garden has contributed to the development of the wider, public suburban landscape with which we are familiar today. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire until 24th February.

Millais is the first exhibition in London in over a century to examine the entire career of the greatest painter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who spearheaded the most radically modern artistic group in the history of English art. Traditionally, John Everett Millais has been presented as an establishment figure who swapped artistic innovation for commercial gain, but this exhibition examines Millais in the context of his whole career, from his beginnings as the youngest ever pupil at the Royal Academy to his late landscapes, revealing a complex and innovative artist whose work encompassed every genre.. It includes around 140 paintings and works on paper, from popular nostalgic fancy pictures such as 'Bubbles' through to 12 of his great Scottish landscapes - the largest grouping shown together since 1898. Displayed chronologically, the exhibition follows Millais's development from Old Master conventions through to 'primitivising' works such as 'Isabella', in which he deliberately rejected contrived compositional devices. It examines paintings from Millais's mature Pre-Raphaelite phase and also presents his pioneering role in the Aesthetic movement which focused on a new subjectless type of painting, based on mood above narrative and moral meaning. Highlights include 'Blow, blow thou winter wind', 'The Ransom', 'Christmas Eve', 'Sophie Gray' and 'Ophelia'. A series of portraits including 'Portrait of Henry Irving' shows how Millais negotiated a prominent position in British society. A recreation of his studio at Palace Gate - used from 1877 until his death in 1896 - conveys how his working environment helped to establish his social status.Tate Britain until 13th January.

WAS Benson: Genius Of The Arts & Crafts looks at the work of William Arthur Smith Benson, one of the most significant and forward looking of the Arts & Crafts designers. Benson played a central role in the creation of the Arts & Crafts movement and, in his commercial success, highlighted many of the most critical dilemmas of what was, in parts, a reactionary and idealistic movement. Benson came into contact in the 1880s with Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the Pre-Raphaelite painter, who had a great impact on his life. Burne-Jones encouraged Benson's interest to make things, and it is believed that Benson designed and made much of the romantic, chivalric armour, as well as models of ships and crowns, that feature in Burne-Jones's paintings. It was near the Burne-Jones's house that Benson set up his first workshop where he made and sold items. Frustrated by the unwillingness of the Royal Academy to exhibit items of craft in its Summer Exhibition, it was Benson's idea to set up 'The Combined Arts Exhibition Society', which later became the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society and gave a name to the movement it encapsulated. Benson's designs were ingenious, as well as beautiful, with double jacket dishes pre-dating Pyrex oven-to-tableware, reflecting social changes, with people cooking for their guests and serving them, and he formulated a thin lacquer applied to brass and copperware that sealed the surface and prevented tarnishing, as servants were no longer there to polish them. The exhibition explores the different aspects of Benson's work through a variety of elegant exhibits, a number of which are from private collections, and have therefore not been seen in public before. It is shown in the perfect setting at Blackwell, a house designed in the Arts & Crafts style by M H Baillie Scott. Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windermere until 4th November.

At Home: Portraits Of Artists From The Royal Academy Collection explores the rich variety of representations of artists in the Academy's collection, built up since its foundation in 1768. The works range from C R Leslie's tiny, intimate picture of his friend John Constable, via A G Walker's depictions of studio life, to grand formal images such as Giuseppe Ceracchi's bust of Reynolds, George Frederic Watts's portrait of Lord Leighton, and Charles West Cope's magnificent Victorian group, 'The Council of the Royal Academy', depicting eminent Royal Academicians selecting works for the Summer Exhibition of 1875. Alongside these are Thomas Gainsborough and John Bellany's revealing self-portraits, Joshua Reynolds's depiction of his theatrically dressed studio assistant Giuseppe Marchi, and an early portrait of Laura Knight by her husband-to-be, Harold Knight. The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of artists' public and private lives, aspirations and achievements, and holds up a mirror to the inner life of the Academy itself as a home from home for British artists over the last 250 years. Royal Academy of Arts until 27th November.


Picasso: Fired With Passion concentrates on Picasso's work in ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and photography. It draws upon Picasso's output from 1947 to 1955, during a significant period of his life when he was working at Vallauris in southern France. Over 100 objects reveal the diversity of his work across different media. In addition, personal photographs and mementos, give a sense of both work and life, and his friendships with contemporaries, such as the artists Jean Cocteau and Georges Braque photographer Lee Miller and surrealist painter, poet, and historian Roland Penrose. Highlights include brightly coloured plates decorated with fish and birds, a jug with a stylised female figure, a vase entitled 'Aux Danseuses', a ceramic vase 'Chouette' and a silver platter. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh until 28th October.

Richard Long: Walking And Marking is a retrospective of the man who has made walking into a form of art, expessing man's relationship with the landscape. For 40 years Long has recorded his perambulations around the world in photographs, maps, drawings and sculptures. Mud, a material that he has used in a number of ways for much of his career, is a major theme of the exhibition. Long has remade three of his large scale mud wall drawings in situ, and the display also features mud dipped works on paper and mud splash drawings. Much of Long's work consists of laying rocks or sticks in lines, circles and spirals in remote locations, such as the Himalayas, the Sahara, Patagonia and Alaska, photographs of which are included in the exhibition, along with maps and texts to convey the idea of his walks. Long has also made work using his own finger and hand prints on tree sections, driftwood, and other materials that he has collected, a number of which are on display for the first time. Long has also made a new large cross-shaped sculpture in Cornish slate in the gardens at the rear of the Gallery. Scottish National Gallery until 21st October.

Crafting Beauty In Modern Japan celebrates 50 years of the annual Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition, and features some of the most beautiful Japanese art crafts produced in the last half century, ranging from traditional to ultra-modern. Each of the 112 works on display has been created by a different leading artist, many of whom have been designated by the Japanese government as 'Living National Treasures'. The exhibition is divided into six sections, each featuring a different medium: ceramic, textile, lacquer, metal, wood and bamboo, and other crafts, such as cut gold leaf, glass and dolls. Among the highlights are 'Genesis', a highly refined porcelain bowl with vivid, glass-like coloured glazes by Tokuda Yasokichi III, and a rugged stoneware rectangular plate in black Bizen style made by Isezaki Jun; a woven silk kimono 'Path Leading into the Woods' by Murakami Ryoko, and 'Melody' by Matsubara Yoshichi, a design of fans scattered all over the wearer's body, a very modern adaptation of the traditional technique of indigo stencil dyeing; Kuroda Tatsuaki's ornamental red lacquer box with flowing design; Osumi Yukie's vase 'Sea Breeze' in hammered silver, and Nakagawa Mamoru's vase with inlaid stripe design in copper and silver alloy; Katsushiro Soho's basket 'Shallow Stream' in split bamboo, and Nakagawa Kiyotsugu's box decorated with a complex mosaic inlay in ancient sacred cedar wood; and Ishida Wataru's covered glass container with pate de verre, 'White Age (Age 99)'. British Museum until 21st October.