News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th October 2000


The Wapping Project is a new arts centre created within the former Grade 2* listed Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, opposite the Prospect of Whitby, east of Tower Bridge. Built in 1890 for the London Hydraulic Power Company, its turbines provided the force to lift the safety curtains of West End theatres, power the elevators in Claridges and the National Gallery, and raise and lower Tower Bridge, by pumping millions of gallons of water under high pressure through a system of pipes across London. A £4m project undertaken by the Women's Playhouse Trust (without Lottery funding) has saved the almost derelict building, preserved its industrial heritage, and created a multi use arts space. It opens with Conductor, an installation by Jane Prophet, created by flooding the Boiler Room and hanging 120 electro luminescent cables from a grid on the ceiling, thus linking the building's historic past to a creative future. Amid the preserved machinery in the Turbine House, alongside a performance space, there is a bar and restaurant, the furniture of which forms an exhibition in itself. Installed is a continually changing selection of contemporary furniture which can be tried out, and purchased at exhibition prices. Future plans include a bookshop and further performance spaces. Not quite on the scale of Tate Modern but nevertheless a gem. The Wapping Project, Wapping Wall E1, 020 7680 2080 until 21st December.

Autumn Countryside Celebration will offer an experience of how the countryside used to be. The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum's crop of thatching straw, grown each year to supply local thatchers and to repair the museum's own buildings, will be threshed with steam driven machinery in the traditional way. Twenty pairs of heavy horses, including the museum's own pair of Shires, and fifteen vintage tractors will plough the stubble left by the harvest. There will also be demonstrations of countryside skills and crafts. Set in fifty acres of Sussex countryside the museum comprises a collection of over forty historic buildings dating from the 15th century, many with period gardens, together with farm animals, including rare breeds. There is a working water mill where stone ground flour is produced daily, 16th century market hall, Victorian school, medieval shop and carpenters, plumbers and brickmakers workshops. All the buildings were rescued from destruction, carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt to their original form. Weald & Downland Open Air Museum 21st and 22nd October. Children's activities continue through half term week until 27th October.

Imperfect Beauty: The Making Of Contemporary Fashion Photographs could be considered another milestone on the "Culture Lite" road. An ephemeral industry, which is already treated more seriously than it deserves, receives less scrutiny than it demands. With the phenomenal growth of magazine titles fashion imagery has never been so widely available. In the last decade, the distinctions between editorial and advertising photography as well as fine art and commercial styles have blurred, resulting in unprecedented opportunities for fashion image-makers. This exhibition displays examples of the world of fashion magazines, design of contemporary beauty products and fashion styling and asks "how they did it". First hand interviews with internationally renowned photographers, art directors and stylists feature alongside examples of their work. Contributors include Juergen Teller, David Sims, Melanie Ward, Fabien Baron and Nick Knight reflecting on their inspirations, working practices and perceptions of their industry. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th March.


South: The Race To The Pole is about the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the First World War. The exhibition focuses on the five key expeditions of Britons Captain Robert Falcon Scott (Discovery 1901-04 and Terra Nova 1910-13), Sir Ernest Shackleton (Nimrod 1907-09 and Endurance 1914-17), and Norwegian Captain Roald Amundsen (Fram 1910-12). It endeavours to capture the personalities of the explorers, the international rivalry, the extreme hardships they encountered and their elemental struggle against nature in the incredible landscape of Antarctica. There are relics and artefacts, some of which have never been displayed in public before, including Shackleton's Royal Standard, Scott's sledging flag, and a copper tube containing the hand written tribute by Shackleton to the three men who died on his Imperial Transantarctic Expedition. A memorial wall records the British reaction to the death of Captain Scott. National Maritime Museum until 30th September.

Hubble's Universe is a collection of photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which is in continuous orbit around the earth, about 380 miles, up facing outwards into the depths of space. They give visitors the opportunity to see a cluster of newly formed stars about 1,500 light years away in the Orion Nebula, and a colour-coded image showing Saturn's reflected infra-red light, providing detailed information on its clouds and hazes.

Space And Ocean consists of four islands, where visitors can discover the sea from the bridge of a ship and see the role played by satellites in navigation, as well as learning about aquatic life. They show how observation satellites reveal facts about the oceans, examine the earth's climate, and help to plan the protection of the environment. Other interactive exhibits explain the way in which the sun and the moon affect the behaviour of the sea, and how clouds are created. The Museum Of Science And Industry In Manchester, Hubble's Universe & Space And Ocean until 7th January

Eltham Palace, one of the country's most fabulous and extraordinary homes has been restored to its original 1930's glory of Art Deco with echoes of Cunard ocean liner style. The vision of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld was to link a modern, fashionable and luxurious residence to the Great Hall of a medieval royal palace. Completed in 1936, it contains the latest design ideas of its time, with concealed electric lighting, centralised vacuum cleaning, main rooms linked with internal telephones and a loud speaker system to broadcast music throughout the ground floor. Access to the dining room is through spectacular black and silver doors featuring animals and birds drawn from life at London Zoo. Even more exotic is Virginia Courtauld's vaulted bathroom lined with onyx and gold mosaic, complete with gold-plated bath taps and a statue of the goddess Psyche. The original decorative scheme and custom-built furniture, carpets and soft furnishings have been meticulously restored or recreated. Best seen at this time of year when the main tourist hordes have departed. Eltham Palace, London SE9 continuing.

Star Trek: Federation Science is an exhibition originally created by The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in conjunction with Paramount Pictures, whose appearance at the venerable Victorian institution that used to be the Science Museum takes its "Science Lite" visitor attraction role to a new level. Using costumes, props and videos made by cast members of various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise, it relates science fiction to science fact. The exhibition is divided into various themed areas, including: The Bridge - where visitors can sit at one of four interactive computer stations solving problems relating to orbits, velocity, navigation and remote sensing, just like Captains Kirk and Picard. Engineering - which examines questions of propulsion, gravity, magnetism and radiation in relation to antimatter, warp drives, cosmic rays, rockets and gyroscopes. The Sick Bay - which looks at the human immune system and the way antibodies react to fight off "invaders", and how the equivalents of a tricorder measure pulse rate, heartbeat and blood oxygen levels. The Transporter Room - where visitors can beam themselves to another world, gain a sense of walking on the Moon, or transform themselves into a Klingon. Members of the Enterprise "crew" will be on hand to guide visitors. This is the method by which the Science Museum hopes to Live Long And Prosper. Science Museum until 22nd April.

Apocalypse - Beauty And Horror In Contemporary Art raises the stakes in the battle for the modern art audience, in an attempt to outflank the hugely successful Tate Modern. It is the direct descendent of the 1997 Sensation exhibition, which virtually invented Brit Art, launching the careers of Damien Hirst (pickled shark), Chris Ofili (elephant dung) and Tracey Emin (love tent). There are thirteen installations, paintings, sculptures and multi media works, the majority of which have never been seen in public before. Described as "a story of extremes" it concentrates on themes inspired by the arrival of the 21st century. It is a contemporary, secular interpretation of the biblical story of St John the Divine, which contains elements ranging from the horrors of genocide to the beauties of Utopia. Deliberately controversial, the most disgust/discussion provoking works are: Hell - a monumental installation by Jake and Dinos Chapman depicting the horrors of 20th century genocide. Flex - a video by Chris Cunningham, the cult pop video maker whose work has never previously been exhibited in a gallery, which includes explicit sex scenes featuring two porn stars. La Nona Ora - Maurizio Cattelan's sculpture depicting Pope Paul II being struck by a meteorite. Other contributing artists are: Darren Almond, Angus Fairhurst, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Mariko Mori, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Richard Prince, Gregor Schneider, Wolfgang Tillmans and Luc Tuymans. Royal Academy of Arts until 15th December.

Gerrit Dou: Rembrandt's First Pupil although little known now, was probably the most famous Dutch painter of his day, and this exhibition places him back on the list of household names with Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. Remaining in Leiden when his master moved to Amsterdam, Dou established a school specialising in small-scale, highly-detailed and jewel-like images. He was fascinated by trompe l'oeil effects, often setting his scenes behind illusionistic curtains or stone niches, as if his paintings were windows opening onto a miniature world. Dou is one of the great painters of light in the history of art. He painted a variety of subjects, including portraiture, still-life and religious images, but is most renowned for scenes of daily life - mothers with children, painters in their studios, scholars, musicians, astronomers, schoolmasters and shopkeepers - packed with details, many of which carry symbolic messages. This exhibition, which has been organised by the National Gallery of Art Washington, bring together thirty-five of the finest of Dou's paintings from all periods in his career. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 19th November.


The Gadget King: The Drawings Of Heath Robinson is an exhibition of 74 original works by William Heath Robinson, the master of the ramshackle "make do and mend" invention. The focus of the exhibition is machines, both imagined and real, and it is complimented by a specially commissioned 15ft high mechanical musical sculpture by Jonathan Woolfenden. There are black and white drawings and watercolours from all stages of Heath Robinson's career, embracing fairytales, scenes of everyday life, wartime magazine illustrations and ingenious inventions, including the Channel Tunnel as imagined in 1917. A quintessentially British eccentric and national treasure, Heath Robinson's name has entered the language defining "an over-ingenious, ridiculously complicated or elaborate contrivance". Heaton Hall, Manchester City Art Galleries until 29th October.

FaceOn brings together recent work from international photographic artists who explore the relationship between themselves and their subjects in video and installation works, colour photographic tableaux, performance documentation film and family portraiture style. Philip Lorca DiCorcia has photographed the male prostitutes on Santa Monica Boulevard and produced a catalogue of wares. Jennifer Bornstein befriends strangers and takes group snapshots with them. Adam Chodzko offers a video of interviews with now ageing orgy extras from Ken Russell's film The Devils, reflecting on their 15 minutes of fame (and shaving their heads). A symposium with the curators and some of the artists on 25th October will explore issues raised in the exhibition. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 28th October.

Paul Klee: The Bürgi Collection comprises over 140 oils, drawings, watercolours and prints from all stages of Klee's career. Rolf Burgi, a family friend, looked after his affairs when Klee fled from the Nazis to Switzerland in 1933, and preserved his work from confiscation by the state. This legacy remains the largest and most outstanding collection of Klee's work and is still in private hands. It has never before been exhibited as a whole and this is the only British showing. Klee was essentially a doodling draughtsman, whose definition of drawing was "taking a line for a walk", a comment which underlined the humour he brought to his work. A picture was finished when he "stopped looking at it, and it started looking back". Klee constantly experimented with different styles, subjects techniques and materials, often using oils, watercolours and graphite in the same picture. Painting on almost anything, including glass, wood, paper, hessian, newsprint, plaster and celluloid, he once even used the duster kept under his chin while playing the violin. Klee was a considerable influence on post-war art, especially in Britain where his theories were adopted by amongst others, Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 22nd October.