News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th January 2010

Commencing

On The Move: Visualising Action explores the representation and analysis of movement in the visual arts and sciences, drawing on a wide range of material in many different media, to provide an in-depth examination. A central element of the show is the pioneering photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey, with an extensive selection of Muybridge's work, including lantern slides, rare zoopraxiscope disks, and photographic plates. Muybridge made ground-breaking studies of animal and human locomotion investigating the theory of 'unsupported transit' (that is, whether or not all four of a horse's hooves are off the ground at any one moment during the gallop). Where Muybridge represented the successive stages of motion in individual frames, Marey captured them on a single photographic plate, creating overlapping, 'chronophotographic' images that revealed the movement of figures through space and time in wave-like trails. Following Marey's photographic study of the flight of birds, which had until then defeated technical ingenuity, plaster models were created, which were subsequently cast in bronze, one of which is included in the exhibition. Among the other photographers and artists whose work is included are Thomas Eakins, Gjon Mili, Harold Edgerton and Jonathan Shaw, who have in different but complementary ways explored the manner in which the camera is able to capture events too rapid to be perceived by the human eye. Optical toys such as the phenakistoscope, praxinoscope and zoetrope are also on display, both as vintage examples, and working, modern day replicas for visitors to use. Estorick Collection, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 18th April.

The Rise of Women Artists charts the progress made by female artists from the 16th century to the present day, in both fine and decorative arts. The exhibition shows that women have been creative in a wide variety of media over that time, from 16th century European paintings, to the industrial pottery of the early 20th century, and contemporary abstracts and sculpture. The show is displayed chronologically in nine sections, featuring paintings, works on paper, textiles, ceramics and sculpture. The exhibition traces the historical changes affecting women, looking at their status and careers as they moved to assert themselves as artists in their own right. Celebrating some of the key pioneers of women's art, the exhibition features early works from 16th and 17th century Italian painters Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani; renowned 18th century French painter Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, and Angelica Kauffmann, a founding member of the Royal Academy; from the 19th century, Louisa Starr's 'Sintram', Henrietta Ward's 'George III and his family at Windsor' and 'Elaine' by Sophie Anderson, together with works by Pre-Raphaelite Emma Sandys, and Marianne Stokes; and early 20th century Art Nouveau paintings of Frances Macdonald McNair, alongside pottery by Clarice Cliffe and Susie Cooper. Contemporary artists and designers such as Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Alison Britton and Paula Rego complete the exhibition. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 14th March.

Warriors Of The Plains: 200 Years Of Native North American Honour And Ritual explores the world of Native North American warfare and ritual. The exhibition focuses on the material culture of Native North American Indians of the Plains between 1800 and the present, and the importance of the objects in a social and ceremonial context. Men of these tribes were expected to join a 'warrior society', a social, political and ritual group that engaged in warfare and organised ceremonial life.

The societies played a prominent role in battles, offering members the opportunity to gain honours through individual acts of bravery such stealing horses, capturing women, and taking scalps during war raids, but also had a rich ritual life that was marked by a strong sense of spirituality. In their ceremonies society members made use of objects such as pipes, rattles and headdresses, as these were significant to their shared ideas of ritual and honour. The exhibition includes examples of feather headdresses, shields, moccasins, painted hides, scalps, pipes, tomahawks, traditional and contemporary costumes, and ceremonial face painting. Although many of these items seem initially familiar from popular culture, the exhibition uncovers the deeper ritual significance of these iconic objects. The legacy of the warrior societies is also examined, revealing how crucial they are in the maintenance of tribal identity among Plains Indians today. British Museum until 5th April.

Continuing

Less And More - The Design Ethos Of Dieter Rams is a retrospective of the work of the man who designed or oversaw the design of over 500 products for the German electronics manufacturer Braun, as well as furniture for Vitsoe. Audio equipment, calculators, shavers and shelving systems are just some of the products created by Dieter Rams between 1955 and 1995. Each item holds a special place in the history of industrial and furniture design, and they established Rams as one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century. His elegant products challenged original concepts of design thought by reducing electrical switches to a minimum and arranging them in an orderly manner. Transparent plastics and wooden veneers were mixed, and colour schemes were limited to tones of pure whites and greys, the only splash of colour being allocated to switches and dials. Heavily influenced by the Bauhaus and Ulm School of Art in Germany, Dieter Rams pioneered a design spirit which embraced modernity and placed functionality above everything else, resulting in designs that were free of decoration, simple in function and embodied a cohesive sense of order. Rams defined an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual design language, identified through his 'Ten Principles' of good design, which, amongst others stated that good design should be innovative, aesthetic, durable and useful. Showcasing landmark designs for both Braun and Vitsoe, this exhibition examines how Rams's design ethos inspired and challenged perceptions of domestic design, and assesses his lasting influence on today's design landscape. Archive film footage, models, sketches, prototypes and images taken by international photographer Todd Eberle are displayed alongside specially commissioned interviews with Dieter Rams's contemporaries, including Jonathan Ive, Jasper Morrison, Sam Hecht and Naoto Fukasawa. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, until 7th March

An Edwardian Family Album is an exhibition of recently discovered photographs giving a glimpse into the life and leisure time of a Wirral family during the Edwardian era. A collection of more than 500 glass plate negatives, covering the period from around 1900 to the early 1920s, were found in an attic, still in their original boxes and paper sleeves, many labelled with dates, locations and subjects. These plates have been scanned and enlarged to create the 40 prints in this exhibition. The pictures were taken by Jack Urton, a keen amateur photographer, who lived in Birkenhead and later in Bebington. Typical family photographs, they show his family at home and in the garden, with relatives and friends, and on days out in Wirral and further afield, in the carefree days that marked the period immediately before the First World War. Early 20th century photographs, particularly the kind of snapshots taken by Urton, portray an idealised image of the comforts of family life. They record personal and economic achievements, providing evidence of the family's status through such things as their holidays, clothing, large garden and even transport. Improvements in technology meant that families no longer relied on commercial or professional photographers and their formal studio portraits. Instead, as demonstrated by Urton's pictures of his own family, photography entered the domestic setting, showing people more relaxed and spontaneous. This personal, intimate view of an Edwardian family evokes a bygone age, but nevertheless, resonates today with an immediacy and familiarity. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, until 3rd May.

Decode: Digital Design Sensations showcases the latest developments in digital and interactive design, from small, screen-based, graphics to large-scale interactive installations. The exhibition features both existing works and new commissions created especially for this event, by established international artists and designers, such as Daniel Brown, Golan Levin, Daniel Rozin, Troika and Karsten Schmidt. It explores three themes: Code presents pieces that use computer code to create new works, and looks at how code can be programmed to create constantly fluid and ever-changing works; Interactivity looks at works that are directly influenced by the viewer, where visitors can interact with and contribute to the development of the exhibits; and Network focuses on works that comment on and utilise the digital traces left behind by everyday communications, and looks at how advanced technologies and the internet have enabled new types of social interaction and mediums of self-expression. Among the works are: a film by John Maeda, the medium's original whiz-kid, that explores inorganic metamorphoses through computer animation; flowers grown from computer code, set to blossom as digital wallpaper; a mechanical eye that mimics the optic movements of those who stare at it; an infrared powered hairdryer that blows the seeds off a giant dandelion; and a 'responsive sculpture' that creates a mirror image of viewers on 768 motorised planes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th April.

The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam marks the 150th anniversary of Edward FitzGerald's publication of an interpretation of the poetical work attributed to an 11th century Persian mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam is one of the best known poems in the world. It has been translated into 85 languages, is among the most widely illustrated of all literary works, with over 130 known illustrators, has inspired many composers, and has been widely parodied - and also used in advertising. This exhibition tells the unlikely story of a medieval Persian scientist and poet, and a Victorian English writer, and the way their verses achieved international acclaim. Among the highlights are: a recreation of The Great Omar, a lavish, binding for the Rubaiyat, with a design featuring peacocks and grapes, inlaid and tooled in gold, with some 1,000 jewels, including Topazes, turquoises, amethysts, garnets, olivines and an emerald; a 16th century decorated Persian manuscript, containing the poems of Hafiz, interspersed with over 350 of Omar Khayyam's quatrains, individually inserted in especially illuminated panels; menus, pictures and other ephemera from an exclusive Victorian dining club established to celebrate the Rubaiyat; early 20th century parodies, such as Rubaiyat of a motor car, The Golfer's Rubaiyat, The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten, and The Rubaiyat of a Maconochie Ration (a tinned stew issued as army rations in the First World War); and William Morris's special version of the Rubaiyat, made as a gift for Georgina Burne-Jones, hand written by Morris, with hand painted and coloured decorations and illustrations designed by him and Sir Edward Burne-Jones. British Library until 21st February.

Eric Gill: Sacred And Profane features iconic etchings and wood engravings revealing the contradictions between the late Victorian artist's deeply held religious faith and his controversial sexual interests. This exhibition examines these polarities in the engraver, typographer and sculptor, whose legacy has been dogged with accusations of incest and bestiality. Eric Gill became one of the most prolific English artists of his generation, and over a long career produced more than 100 engraved designs for books, becoming intricately linked with the Arts and Craft movement. Gill's work is characterised by a fervent Roman Catholicism, and images of saints, Biblical scenes and crucifixions dominate. However, these are juxtaposed with drawings of an often overtly sexual nature: couples embrace passionately, and nude figures pose provocatively, frequently in the shadow of the heavens. Gill somehow found a way of accommodating both deeply religious and sexual imagery. The undeniably elegant typographical designs are understated, yet extremely powerful, and almost eerie. Among the highlights are: a self-portrait, captured in profile, in which his stare is thoughtful and intense; 'Stay Me With Apples', which perfectly combines the religious and erotic, with the embracing couple wearing halos; 'Lovers, Man Lying', which is even more graphic in its portrayal of ecstatic abandon; and the most haunting image, 'Girl in Bath' a portrait of Gill's daughter, who he was accused of sexually abusing, with her head sunk towards her knees, so that her emotions are obscured, inviting the viewer to contemplate both the workings of her mind and Gill's tarnished legacy. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 28th February.

An 18th Century Enigma: Paul de Lamerie And The Maynard Master reveals the brilliant craftsmanship of the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century. Paul de Lamerie, a Huguenot, came to London with his parents, fleeing persecution in France. His success lay not only in his own exceptional creativity in producing stunning objects, but also in his ability as a businessman, retailing some astonishingly spectacular silver, using the most effective and innovative suppliers in the trade. The silver shown in this display is associated with de Lamerie's most brilliant craftsman, whose identity is still a mystery, known simply as the Maynard Master, named after the dish made for Grey, 5th Baron Maynard. The exhibition comprises masterpieces including the lavishly decorated Walpole salver, with engraving attributed to William Hogarth; the Newdigate centrepiece, richly decorated with characteristic Rococo motifs, but also containing elements typical of de Lamerie's work, such as the helmetted putti; a coffee or hot water pot, stand and lamp; a pair of candlesticks, recognisable as the work of the Maynard Master, by the plump cinnamon bun scrolls at the corners, and the large-headed youths on the stems; the Chesterfield wine cooler, with panels chased with the elements Fire, Air, Earth and Water; a lion mask (one of the signature elements of the Maynard Master); and the Maynard Dish itself, the piece that marked the first appearance of the artistic personality responsible for de Lamerie's most ambitious commissions. Victoria & Albert Museum until 9th May.

Concluding

Beatles To Bowie explores the leading pop music personalities who helped to create 'Swinging London' in the 1960s. Over 150 photographs, together with 150 items of ephemera, including record sleeves, illustrated sheet music, magazines and other memorabilia, illustrate how the photographic image, music and performance combined to make these pop stars the leading icons of their time. The exhibition includes classic images, as well as over 100 previously unseen or unexhibited ones. Huge cultural and social changes were reflected in the styles and imagery of the pop music scene. The classic rivalry between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones is played out visually by a variety of photographers, such as David Bailey, Gered Mankowitz and Robert Whitaker, who helped create and endorse their changing images. From pure pop, through psychedelia, and the birth of progressive music, the exhibition reflects the dramatic developments of pop music and culture, and their lasting impact that continues to live in the memory today. Sitters include Adam Faith, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Billy Fury, The John Barry Seven, The Dave Clark Five, Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Cilla Black, Lulu, Marianne Faithfull, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Kinks, The Tornados, Jimi Hendrix, The Walker Brothers, The Animals, The Who, Marc Bolan, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Photographers include Fiona Adams, Philip Townsend, Jean-Marie Perier, Michael Cooper, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Terry O'Neill, Don McCullin, Tony Frank and Norman Parkinson. National Portrait Gallery until 24th January.

The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting And Sculpture 1600 - 1700 examines how the religious art of the Spanish Golden Age pursued a quest for realism with uncompromising zeal and genius, in which the arts of painting and sculpture were intricately linked and interdependent. During the 17th century, religious patrons challenged painters and sculptors to bring the sacred to life, to inspire both Christian devotion and the emulation of the saints. Sculptors often went to extraordinary lengths to achieve greater realism, introducing glass eyes and tears, as well as ivory teeth and human hair to their sculptures. The separate skill of polychroming (colour painting) of sculpture, performed by specially trained painters, added to the effect with remarkable flesh tones. By installing 16 polychrome sculptures and 16 paintings side by side, the exhibition aims to show that the 'hyperrealistic' approach of painters such as Velazquez and Zurbaran was clearly informed by their familiarity - and in some cases direct involvement - with sculpture. Among the highlights are Zurbaran's 'The Crucifixion', which achieves an astonishing sculptural illusion on canvas, shown in close proximity with Juan Martinez Montanes' sculpture of the same subject; Velazquez's 'The Immaculate Conception', shown with Montanes's sculpture; Gregorio Fernnndez's 'Dead Christ', which incorporates the bark of a cork tree to simulate the effect of coagulated blood, and bull's horn for Christ's fingernails; and Zurbaran's 'Saint Serapion', which demonstrates that painting can achieve the same disconcerting realism as sculpture. This is art created to shock the senses and stir the soul. National Gallery until 24th January.

Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler tells the story of Moctezuma II, the last elected ruler of the Aztecs. From 1502 until 1520 he presided over a large empire embracing much of what is today central Mexico. Moctezuma was regarded as a semi- divine figure by his subjects charged with the task of interceding with the gods. This exhibition examines his life, reign and controversial death during the Spanish conquest. The Spanish were initially well received in the Aztec capital, but distrust and violence ensued. Moctezuma was captured and met his death shortly afterwards. Overcoming resistance, the Spanish went on to conquer his empire. Moctezuma's life and dramatic death are explained through objects ranging from sculpture, gold and mosaic items, to European paintings. The exhibition presents masterpieces of Aztec culture, including the stone monument known as the 'Teocalli of Sacred Warfare', amongst other works commissioned by Moctezuma himself, which bear his image and his name glyph; a turquoise mask and goldwork showcasing the consummate craftsmanship of artisans employed in the Aztec court; paintings known as 'Enconchados' - oil paintings on wooden panels with inlaid Mother of Pearl detail - portraying the events of the conquest in vivid detail; a model of the Great Temple and other ritual buildings in the capital, revealing where Moctezuma carried out blood-letting rituals, and ordered the sacrifice of captives; and idealised European portraits of Moctezuma and colonial Codices, showing how interpretations of Moctezuma and his world have been shaped. British Museum until 24th January.