News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th October 2012

Commencing

Curious Anatomys: An Extraordinary Story Of Dissection And Discovery charts the history of public dissections across Europe, through human remains, graphic models and detailed illustrations. The exhibition revisits centuries of academia held within a set of 6 anatomy tables, as rare as their usage was gristly. These visually spectacular anatomical tables are on full public display for the first time in their history. They show actual human veins, nerves and arteries, dissected at Padua's famous anatomy theatre in the 17th century, skillfully cut from bodies, and arranged on large varnished wooden panels. Academics believe the tables were created as teaching aids for anatomy students, from the bodies of executed criminals or supplied by the hospitals of Padua. They are one of only two sets of these panels known to have existed, and are amongst the oldest surviving human anatomy preparations in Europe. The panels are accompanied by rare early anatomy books, with beautifully detailed illustrations of the body, including Andreas Vesalius's groundbreaking 'On the fabric of the human body', from 1543, with flayed figures and 'muscle man' illustrations; and William Harvey's 1628 publication 'On the motion of the heart', detailing his landmark discovery of the circulation of blood. In addition, the exhibition includes dissection tools, preparations made by surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper, and exquisite wax models created by anatomical modeller Joseph Towne. There is also a film with expert commentary on the history of anatomy and the tables, and an intriguing investigation of the tables by Francis Wells, consultant surgeon at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. Royal College of Physicians, 11 St. Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London NW1, until 31st December.

Building On Things: Images Of Ruin And Renewal looks back through history at artists' perennial fascination with rot and wrecks. The exhibition historically kicks off with the most haunting images of ruins ever created: Giovanni Battista Piranesi's 18th century 'Imaginary Prisons', in which ostensibly visionary prints of dilapidated ancient Roman edifices, visually foresee Franz Kafka's literary post-industrial alienation and paranoia, set out in novels like The Trial, by some 300 years. British artists, such as Turner and Girtin, produced a wide variety of responses to the survival or destruction of ancient buildings, and the rapid urban change in progress from the mid 18th century. The devastating impact of war is displayed in works by Henry Tonks, Graham Sutherland and Michael Sandle, while Gordon Cheung imagines a future world of bloated international finance and greed, failed hopes and environmental disaster. Cultural change is pictured as a cyclical process of: construction - zenith - decline - fall - and - renewal in Anne Desmet's 'Babel Flowers'. The show also takes in recent works such as Tacita Dean's chilling photogravure prints of Berlin's Alexanderplatz Fernsehturm tower; Patrick Caulfield's brilliantly coloured screenprint 'Ruins'; and multimedia artist Cyprien Gaillard's rethinkings of the tradition of the picturesque ruin, with an example of time travel. Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, until 6th January.

England's Green And Pleasant Land offers an evocative journey through England's cultural, social and political landscape, covering a period of some 250 years. Fans were not simply decorative accessories, serving many purposes, as ceremonial tools, status symbols and commemorative presents. The scenes they capture and the techniques used to create them provide a picture of the society in which they were made. This exhibition of some 80 fans begins with a rare wood-block printed fan from 1661,'The Hapy (sic.) Restoration', which commemorates the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, with the return of Charles II. The display includes a number of fine 18th century fans, upon which formal city squares, stately houses, and idyllic scenes of rural life are imaginatively depicted. Also on show are an assortment of early printed commemorative fans, with themes as diverse as political trials, royal births and even fortune telling. The Fan Museum, 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10, until 6th January.

Continuing

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair celebrates the transformation of the world's most popular pin-up to acclaimed actress, highlighting the British photographers and personalities who admired her and worked with her. Photographs and magazine covers featuring Marilyn Monroe from 1947 to 1962 include Antony Beauchamp's poses taken in 1951 wearing a yellow bikini, and Baron's portraits of Monroe bathed in Californian sunlight taken in 1954. Cecil Beaton's 1956 photographs taken in his Ambassador Hotel suite in New York include Monroe's favourite image of herself, clutching a rose. Life photographer Larry Burrows was one of many photographers who covered Monroe's four month visit to Britain to work on the film 'The Prince And The Showgirl', including the press conference for the film at the Savoy Hotel. Cinematographer and cameraman Jack Cardiff photographed Monroe during a private sitting at that time. Other photographs show Monroe at a Royal Command film performance meeting the Queen, and at the Comedy Theatre with Arthur Miller, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, who was her director and co-star. Monroe is also shown with other British subjects including the director Roy Ward Baker and the poet Edith Sitwell. In addition, the display includes a comprehensive selection of rare British magazine covers featuring photographs taken by Andre de Dienes and Milton Greene, and a 1960 Sight and Sound showing Monroe as she appeared in 'Let's Make Love', in which she appeared with British singer Frankie Vaughan. National Portrait Gallery until 24th March.

Happy Birthday Edward Lear: 200 Years Of Nature And Nonsense celebrates the bicentenary of the artist and writer, covering all aspects of his career. Edward Lear is one of the most notable artists and popular writers of the Victorian period, but although best known for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose, Lear saw himself primarily as an artist. From early natural history illustrations and extraordinary landscape sketches, to the nonsense drawings and verses for which Lear is so well known, the exhibition comprises 100 works, many of which are on public display for the first time. The show presents his work chronologically, with watercolours, oil paintings, manuscripts, and illustrated books selected to reflect every aspect of his artistic output. Among the highlights are watercolours of animals and birds; sketches made during his travels in Greece, Italy, Egypt and the Near East, and India; and a group of the Tennyson illustrations on which he spent the last 25 years of his life. Lear's work as a painter in oils is represented by rarely seen evocations of Beachy Head, Venice, landscapes in the Near East; and a view of Jerusalem. Also in the exhibition are editions of the books that Lear illustrated early in his career, including copies of his travel books; the natural history publications to which he contributed; and the principal editions of his nonsense books. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 6th January.

Renaissance To Goya: Prints And Drawings From Spain brings together important prints and drawings by Spanish and other European artists who were working in Spain from the mid 16th century to the first decades of the 19th century. Beginning with works by 16th century artists working in and around Madrid, including those who arrived mainly from Italy, such as Pellegrino Tibaldi and Federico Zuccaro, and the Flemish printmaker Pedro Perret, the selection progresses chronologically to include important works from Spain's 17th century 'Golden Age', by artists Diego Velazquez, Vicente Carducho and Alonso Cano in Madrid, Bartolome Murillo and Francisco de Zubaran in Seville, and Jose de Ribera in Spanish Naples. Turning to the 18th century, key works by Francisco de Goya, his contemporaries and foreign artists such as the Italians Giambattista Tiepolo and his sons, demonstrate how printmaking and drawing greatly increased during the period, forever changing the artistic landscape of Spain. Among Goya's works in the exhibition are the 'Tauromaquin' series, aquatint etchings of bullfighting subjects, which portrayed some of the most famous bullfighters of the day; and proofs from his 'Disasters of War' print series, demonstrating his reaction to Napoleon's invasion of Spain and the horror that followed. British Museum until 6th January.

Bronze celebrates the historical, geographical and stylistic range of art's most enduring medium. The exhibition brings together outstanding works from the earliest times to the present in a thematic arrangement, with works spanning over 5,000 years, including Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, and rare survivals from the Medieval period. It features over 150 of the finest bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe, and includes important discoveries from the Mediterranean, as well as archaeological excavations, many of which have not been seen in Britain before. Different sections focus on the Human Figure, Animals, Groups, Objects, Reliefs, Gods, Heads and Busts. Among the earliest works in the exhibition are the 14th century BC bronze and gold 'Chariot of the Sun'; a Chinese 'Elephant-shaped vessel', from the Shang Dynasty; and the masterpiece of Etruscan art, the 'Chimera of Arezzo'. The Renaissance is represented Ghiberti's 'St Stephen'; Rustici's monumental ensemble of 'St John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee'; Cellini's modello for 'Perseus'; and works of Donatello; and later, De Vries's relief of 'Vulcan's Forge'; together with works by Giambologna, De Vries and others. Rodin's 'The Age of Bronze'; Matisse's series of four 'Back Reliefs'; Brancusi's 'Danaide', Picasso's 'Baboon and Young'; and works by Moore, Bourgeois and Koons are representative of the best from the 19th century to today. Due to its inherent toughness and resistance, bronze's uses over the centuries have been remarkably varied. A section of the exhibition is devoted to the complex processes involved in making bronzes, exploring how models are made, cast and finished by a variety of different techniques. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th December.

Daring Explorers reveals some of the situations that Victorian species seekers had to deal with, risking their lives in remote places, collecting animals and plants in the name of science. Surviving rhino attacks, typhoid and shipwrecks, these men, and a few women, left an important legacy, and their stories are told through hair-raising letters to loved ones, 'holiday snaps' and the specimens and equipment that made it back to England, even if sometimes the collectors didn't. The exhibition focuses on four fearless collectors, and compares their daring and skills: Charles M Harris, whose first expedition attempt to the Galapagos in 1897 was a disaster - the ship's captain died of yellow fever, one man was sacked for drunkenness and another ran away; William Doherty, who lost several years' worth of collections, journals and scientific notes in Java, Indonesia; Henry Palmer, who ran out of cash and could not send his specimens back or even leave Hawaii until more money arrived; and Alexander F R Wollaston, who lost most of his equipment and his original expedition diary when his canoe capsized in a remote area of New Guinea in 1912. But it's not just the collector's stories that still captivate. Many of the specimens that made it home continue to be used in scientific research, revealing fascinating information to scientists today. Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, until 18th November.

Art Of Change: New Directions From China is the first major exhibition in Britain to focus solely on contemporary installation and performance art from China. It brings together works by some of the country's most innovative artists and artist groups from the 1980s to today: Chen Zhen, Yingmei Duan, Gu Dexin, MadeIn Company, Liang Shaoji, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu , Wang Jianwei and Xu Zhen. Comprising 40 works, the exhibition features significant early examples of the artists' work, alongside recent pieces and new commissions. Change, and the acceptance that everything is subject to change, is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy. The exhibition features works that deal with transformation, instability and impermanence, looking at how these themes are conveyed through action or materials. Highlights include: Chen Zhen's 'Purification Room', where everyday items such as a bed, chair, refrigerator and TV are collected together and covered in a layer of mud, which dries, cracks and changes its colour in a sort of archaeology of the future; Liang Shaoji's 'Nature Series', choreographing the activities of silkworms and exploring all the phases of their lives from birth to death, causing them to weave their silk webs around sculptural objects such as hanging chains and tiny, individually-made beds; and Xu Zhen's 'In the Blink of an Eye', which presents a human floating freely in the gallery space (how he achieves this remains a mystery). Hayward Gallery until 9th December.

Concluding

The Plant Seekers brings to life tales of the Indiana Jones's of the horticultural world over the last 200 years. The exhibition of material from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, tells the story of many of history's most important plant collectors, who travelled the globe and overcame life-threatening situations to transform our landscapes and grow our knowledge about plants and horticulture. Through original journals, botanical illustrations, notebooks, lantern slides, catalogues, photographs, tools and other scientific materials, most of which have never been seen before by the general public, the display reveals how plant seekers gained initial patronage, journeyed to their destinations, set up camp and explored the regions to which they had travelled. Some of the collectors' journals, often in exquisite copperplate hands, provide graphic accounts of triumphs and hardships in the field, including leeches, illness and kidnapping. Many plant seekers were accomplished artists and produced meticulous on the spot drawings of specimens. There is also a recreated lecture by Reginald Farrer, from his 1915 slides of the people, plants and landscape of China, and a short film in which contemporary plant seekers talk of the thrill - and perils - of the chase. This unique exhibition not only demonstrates how international plant hunting has influenced our modern British gardens, but also shows the wider impact of plant collecting on our world, from its influence in medicine and science, to the role it has played in biodiversity and other environmental issues. Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 21st October.

Animal Crackers: A Cartoon And Comic Bestiary examines how animals have inspired cartoon and comic artists, from the British Lion to Bunny Suicides, and Korky the Cat to Simon's Cat. With over 140 cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels by over 60 artists, this cartoon bestiary features the iconic American Eagle, the Russian Bear and the financial Fat Cat, as well as favourite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Wallace and Gromit, Flook, Fred Basset, Gnasher, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and Rupert Bear. Also included are individual joke cartoons from Punch, Private Eye, The Oldie, The Spectator and many national papers. Giants of the natural and unnatural world such as Moby‐Dick and the Lambton Worm also feature, as well as beings which only exist in the minds of cartoon and comic artists, such as dragons of yore and the Loch Ness monster. Many of the cartoons suggest how much animals are 'just like us'. From Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket and King Louie of The Jungle Book to Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit, these animals are human in every way that counts. Others, such as Simon's Cat and Thelwell's ponies, highlight our pets' irritating or endearing habits. Also represented are political animals, both individual and national. When political caricature developed in the 18th century it drew on the tradition of heraldic beasts - the English Lion, the Scottish Unicorn and the Hapsburg double‐headed Eagle. Certain creatures are purely figments of the cartoonist's imagination such as David Low's 'Coalition Ass' and 'TUC Carthorse'. The world of animal cartoons is often a surreal place, allowing creatures to stray into the realms of art, business, politics and personal relationships. It reminds us just how much we share with our fellow animals. Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 21st October.

Catherine The Great, An Enlightened Empress marks the 250th anniversary of Catherine's ascension to the Russian throne, with a selection of art works that she collected, which forms the basis of the State Hermitage Museum. The exhibition explores Catherine's life and 30 year reign through her collection, which reflects her interests and provides a glimpse of the wealth and magnificence of the Imperial Russian court. In her lifetime she amassed some 3,000 old master paintings, 10,000 engraved gems and cameos and 34,000 cameo and medallion copies. The exhibition comprises more than 600 priceless works, most of which have never been seen outside Russia. They include paintings, silverware, porcelain, sculpture, tapestries, imperial court costumes and uniforms, metal and polished stones, medals and trophies, jeweled snuffboxes, classical cameos, jewellery, hunting weapons, ceremonial swords, furniture, letters and diaries, and even a highly ornate and gilded winter sleigh. In addition there are plans, drawings and watercolours of some of the many palaces that Catherine commissioned, enlarged and redecorated. Highlights include a recently discovered portrait of Catherine on her horse Brilliant by Vigilius Eriksen, hidden at the outbreak of the Russian revolution; a ring featuring a cameo of Catherine; a snuff box showing the monument to Peter the Great by Falconet; a Coronation portrait of Catherine; a gold, diamond and rock crystal snuff box by Johann Gottlieb Scharff; and a portrait of Catherine by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder. National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, until 21st October.