News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th December 2008


Saul Steinberg: Illuminations is a retrospective featuring drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages by the American artist whose work filled the pages and covers of The New Yorker for six decades. Saul Steinberg originally studied as an architect, before turning to cartoons and illustration, and he also worked as a propagandist, a fabric and card designer, a muralist, a fashion and advertising artist, a stage designer and a creator of image-filled books. This exhibition, featuring over 100 items, covers the whole range of his work, from high art to low, from murals to magazines, from caricature to cartography, including some of the 1,200 covers and editorial illustrations he created for the New Yorker. Steinberg invented a new form of 'conceptual cartooning', or cartooning-about-cartooning, and his images became a byword for visual sophistication, associated with New York. Among the highlights are: 'The Line' - a strip drawing 33ft long, following the mutations of a continuous, straight, horizontal line, which becomes, in turn, a washing line, the top of a bridge, the wainscot of a room, the edge of a table, the water surface of a swimming pool seen in cross section, and the horizons of several kinds of landscape, before ending up as a plain line being drawn by a hand; 'Techniques at a Party' - showing a gathering of 18 guests, each realised in a different manner: very solid, very feint, very messy, pointillist, Picassoid - each portraying the guest's party personality; and most famously, 'View of the World from Ninth Avenue' - a subjective map, showing the New Yorkers parochial awareness of the rest of the planet: 10th Avenue is full of detail, but beyond the Hudson river things start to foreshorten abruptly. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15th February.

Ancient Egypt Gallery is a new gallery that examines the world of the Pharaohs and the culture that built the Pyramids and the Sphinx. It houses some 1,500 exhibits that follow the development of the kingdom from the time of Menes, the first King of Egypt, who reigned in around 3000 BC, through to Queen Cleopatra, in around 30 BC, and the Greek and Roman periods. There is a full scale tomb reconstruction, based on a 4,000 year old burial place. Unsurprisingly, the display offers a detailed examination of the burial process, and the preservation techniques used on corpses, with artefacts including the coffin of Pediamunnebnesuttauwy, a Wab priest of the god Amun; the mummy said to have inspired H Rider Haggard's classic fantasy adventure She; a set of canopic jars belonging to Wahhor, the son of Ptahhotep (in which his internal organs were buried); a belt worn by the last great Pharaoh, Rameses III; a Scarab ring inscribed with head of Hathor, uraei, cartouche of Tuthmosis III; together with a collection of spells, mummified cats, hawks and crocodiles put in coffins to protect the bodies and souls of the dead from bad spirits. Other exhibits include a wooden therapeutic shoulder harp; a mummified hand; fragments of tomb carvings; a child mummy; and papyri recording the trials of people accused of tomb robbing. There is also an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to 'unwrap' a mummy. World Museum Liverpool, continuing.

Soho Nights is the second part of a project documenting the vibrant character of London's Soho from the 1930s to the 1950s, and the first exhibition to be staged in the Photographers' Gallery's new location. This exhibition explores Soho after dark, and the energy and excitement found at its various theatres and coffee bars. Contrasting formal dancing venues and the spontaneity of the jive scene, it draws on the archives of the legendary magazine Picture Post, and the film maker Ken Russell's series of photos from the Cat's Whiskers Coffee Bar - which was always so packed that hand gestures replaced conventional dancing, leading to the birth of the hand jive. The exhibition includes vintage prints, original copies of Picture Post and specially enlarged printed contact sheets. Editorial stories such as 'The Making of a Glamour Girl' and 'Excitement in the Making' capture the pace and excitement of night time Soho. Picture Post was one of the most successful magazines to be published in the UK, from its launch on 1st October 1938 to its last issue on 1st June 1957. It attracted the best photographers, and captured the dynamism and vitality of Britain by focusing on the lives of ordinary people. Its emphasis on popular entertainment and the rise of youth culture meant that the clubs and cafes in Soho were fashionable and popular subjects. Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1, until 8th February.


Bruegel To Rubens: The Masters Of Flemish Painting is the first exhibition ever mounted of Flemish paintings in the Royal Collection. It brings together 51 works from the 15th to 17th centuries, including masterpieces by Hans Memling, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan Brueghel, Van Dyck and Rubens. By the 1550s the Netherlands enjoyed a level of wealth that remained unmatched in the West for centuries, but the Eighty Years War with Spain, from 1568 to 1648, all but destroyed the region's creative industries. The paintings in this exhibition were produced in the Southern, Spanish ruled Netherlands, during this period of turbulence and its immediate aftermath. Highlights include Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents', the violence of which was toned down after delivery to its patron; Peter Paul Rubens's self portrait 'Assumption of the Virgin', created in a bid to secure the commission for the high altarpiece of Antwerp Cathedral, and 'Diana and Nymphs Spied on by Satyrs'; Jan Brueghel the Elder's 'Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden' and A Village Festival; Jacob de Formentrou's, 'A Cabinet of Pictures', a classic example of the picture gallery interior; Anthony van Dyck's 'Christ Healing the Paralytic'; Frans Snyders's 'Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism'; Marten van Heemskerck's 'Jonah under his Gourd' and 'The Four Last Things'; Hans Vredeman de Vries's 'Christ in the House of Mary and Martha'; Crispin van den Broeck's 'Christ Healing the Sick'; and Jan Gossaert's 'The Three Children of Christian II of Denmark', among a group of portraits. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace until 26th April.

Secrets Of The Saucy Seaside Postcard takes a behind the scenes look at the artwork that went into creating the cartoon style saucy postcards published by Bamforth & Co. The cheeky and often sexually implied innuendos and double meanings, both visual and textual, spared no-one: fat people, thin people, mothers in law, hen pecked husbands, waiters and waitresses, glamorous ladies, doctors and nurses, were all represented in risque, embarrassing or suggestive situations. The exhibition celebrates the art of the comic postcard, tracing the journey from the artist's rough sketch to the final printed version, with 200 original artworks shown alongside the original postcards. It also reveals some of the other printed items - calendars, Valentines and birthday cards - produced by Bamforth's, which operated independently for over 85 years. Finally, the show gives a modern twist to the comic postcard through specially commissioned artworks by three contemporary artists, Paddy Killer, Olivia Brown and Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, who were inspired by Bamforth's output to produce work in textiles, ceramics and paper. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth, until 1st February.

Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th and 21st century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, London, until 4th January.

The Garden Museum has been reborn, with a new £500,000 interior designed by Dow Jones Architects, which has inserted 201sqm of freestanding new spaces for exhibitions, the permanent collection, education, events and archive, in the historic 14th century structure of the former St Mary-at-Lambeth Church. Outside, there is a recently established wild garden, as well as the museum's long established authentic recreation of a 17th century style knot garden.

Beth Chatto: A Retrospective is the first exhibition in the new gallery, showcasing one of the most influential living gardeners in Britain. Beth Chatto is best known for her pioneering, ecological approach to gardening, which was developed in the 1960s, yet is ever more relevant to gardeners today. The story of how the Beth Chatto Gardens grew out of a patch of wasteland at the back of her Essex fruit farm, and how this became one of the best loved gardens in Britain, is told through private archives, paintings and photographs. The exhibition examines the subtlety of her approach to design, and explores important influences that include her husband Andrew's life long study of the natural association of plants, the work of her friend, the artist Cedric Morris, her early career as an instructor for the Flower Club Movement, and her interest in music and architecture. Later publications and correspondence show how her particular kind of gardening has been debated, enjoyed and appreciated by professional and amateur gardeners alike. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 19th April.

Close-Up: Proximity And Defamiliarisation In Art, Film And Photography explores the effects of bringing a camera lens very close to its subject. The exhibition comprises selected experiments in close-up film and photography from mid 19th century microscopy, avant-garde film and photography from the 1920s and 1930s, post-war conceptual art, and contemporary art from the 1990s and 2000s. Among the highlights are Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel's film 'Un Chien Andalou', with its unnerving close-ups of a death's head hawk moth, and the famous sequence of the slitting of a woman's eye; images by Man Ray, Brassai, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Karl Blossfeldt, and their lesser known contemporary Aenne Biermann, which show objects from the natural and unnatural worlds, such as flowers morphing into faces, twigs taking on the monumentality of African totems, and dust breeding an entire world on the surface of Marcel Duchamp's 'Large Glass'; Man Ray's film 'Retour a la Raison', which includes a sequence made by sprinkling tin tacks directly on to the surface of the film; Stan Brakhage's film 'Mothlight', a collage of real moth wings, twigs and blades of grass run through a 16mm projector, and works focusing on the human body, with Kate Craig, Giuseppe Penone, Wim Delvoye, Mona Hatoum and Carolee Schneemann subjecting their own and others' bodies to intense scrutiny. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until 11th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 24,000sqm site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional German Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a Victorian carousel; a helter-skelter; a bungy dome; a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; and a bandstand with regular carol concerts and other festive entertainment; plus appearances by Father Christmas. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.


Miro, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aime Maeght And His Artists demonstrates the achievement of the Galerie Maeght, one of the most influential and creative galleries of the 20th century. Founded by Aime and Marguerite Maeght in Paris in 1945, the gallery featured work by artists who expressed the bold new spirit in art that exploded in France following the end of the Second World War. The exhibition presents Aime Maeght's contributions to art in the mid 20th century as an art dealer, exhibition maker and publisher. It comprises over 140 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, prints and sketch books by the major artists Maeght exhibited: Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti and George Braque - as well as works by Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse. Highlights include Miro's 'The Birth of the Day III', and 'Cat Snake'; Calder's 'Airplane Tail' and 'Sumac V'; Giacometti's 'Spoon Woman', 'Standing Woman' and 'Walking Man'; Braque's 'Hesperus - Theogony'; Bonnard's 'Summer'; and Matisse's 'Seated Nude' and 'The Bush'. There is also a collage of the covers of Derriere le Miroir, the periodical that served as a catalogue for the gallery's exhibitions, illustrated by the artists' original lithographs. Little known film footage of the artists at work and relaxing with their patron and his family is included in the show, revealing the remarkably close relationship that existed between Maeght and his artists. Royal Academy of Arts, until 2nd January.

100 Years Of The Territorial Army is a display of recently discovered photographs, documenting how the TA in Lancashire has evolved from the Militia and Volunteer Battalions of the Victorian period to the force of today. The Territorial Army has been an integral part of the British Army since its inception in 1908, and currently stands at force of 36,000. The exhibition begins with men crowding the decks of a troop ship sailing home from South Africa, after taking part in the Boer War. From the First World War there are rare shots taken by an unknown soldier in the Gallipoli campaign; candid shots of Territorials involved in early trench warfare at Kemmel in Belgum, showing that at this stage they were little more than waterlogged ditches, with scant protection from the elements and even less protection from the enemy; and photographs taken in Cambrai, France capturing the atmosphere of the trenches and the conditions that had to be tolerated in the later stages in 1918. Images from between the Wars show troops using the ranges and on exercises at annual training camps. Later shots show Territorials being inspected by commander Field Marshal Montgomery in Bolton in 1949. Queen's Lancashire Regiment Museum, Fulwood Barracks, Preston until 31st December.

Freeze Frame is a display of some of the earliest photographs of the Arctic, its landscape and people, mounted to coincide with International Polar Year. The exhibition looks at two expeditions to the Arctic, under Captain Edward Inglefield in 1854, and Captain George Nares in 1875. Both expeditions used photographic processes that were in their infancy, involving a significant amount of bulky equipment and chemicals in order to develop the negatives. However, the technique used by Nares had a shorter exposure time, allowing more photographs of the expedition activities to be recorded. Inglefield's photographs were taken on the west coast of Greenland, where he stopped during his voyage to communicate with a naval expedition based at Lancaster Sound searching for Sir John Franklin. The photographs were taken using the wet collodion process, first introduced in 1851. They show Inglefield's ships Phoenix, Diligence and Talbot off the west coast of Greenland, and include portraits of the Inuit, Danish and British people he encountered there. Nares commanded the Polar Expedition with HMS Alert and Discovery. The two photographers, one in each ship, used the dry-plate process, which had been first proposed in 1871. The expedition failed in the objective of reaching the Pole due to the ice and the crews suffering from scurvy, however, significant scientific results were achieved. The prints show expedition activities, people and landscape and were published, setting a precedent for later polar expeditions in the 20th century. Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 31st December.