News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th June 2007

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,000 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year, the show has been masterminded by Bill Woodrow, Ian Ritchie and Paul Huxley, who have chosen the theme of Light to inspire new work from artists responding across all the various media on display. There is also a gallery featuring the work of invited artists curated by the sculptor Tony Cragg. A highlight is David Hockney's massive 'First', a fifty part composition of trees in the Yorkshire lamndscape. Other artists featured in this year's show include Anthony Caro, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Michael Craig-Martin, Anthony Green, Jasper Johns, Anselm Kiefer, Harland Miller, Mimmo Paladino, Tom Phillips, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Michael Sandle, Antoni Tapies, Jane and Louise Wilson and Bill Viola. There are also two memorial galleries dedicated to showing the works of the landscape and portrait painter Kyffin Williams and the abstract painter and collage maker Sandra Blow, both of whom died last year. The Royal Academy of Arts until 19th August.

Royal Weddings: 1840 - 1947 tells the stories of five royal weddings through photographs, documents from the Royal Archives, rare memorabilia, diaries, letters and personal gifts exchanged by members of the Royal Family. The marriages are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Edward Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck and Prince George of Wales in 1893, Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon in 1923, and Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Over the period, royal weddings evolved from strictly private occasions to events of national celebration and public participation, with the medium of photography and the advent of film allowing increasing numbers to witness the festivities. Among the personal items on display are Queen Victoria's engagement brooch designed by Prince Albert, and two pieces of wedding cake (the whole cake measured three yards in circumference and weighed over 300lbs); an enamelled gold bracelet presented to Princess Alexandra by her train bearers, each section containing one of the girls' portraits beneath a hinged flap bearing their initials in diamonds; a feather trimmed satin sachet embroidered with trefoils and the bride's initials, and the velvet bound ceremonial handkerchief used by Princess Mary of Teck; the Duke of York's own personal record of his wedding and honeymoon - an album of photographs, annotated in his hand; and a poem by John Masefield inscribed on vellum to Princess Elizabeth, and one of the silver-coated cake decorations, in the form of a tiny shoe. Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until 11th May.

How We Are: Photographing Britain is the first major exhibition to present a photographic portrait of Britain from the invention of the medium to the present day. It includes over 500 images by 100 photographers, with works by celebrated figures such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Madame Yevonde, Cecil Beaton, Bill Brandt, David Bailey, Norman Parkinson, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Elaine Constantine and Tom Hunter, alongside images by less familiar photographers, who have observed and documented the country's street life and landscape, as well as their own lives and obsessions. Portraiture and images of social documentary reveal both the public and private side of British life. Key themes include celebrity portraiture and national heroes, heritage and a longing for the past, Britain's relationship with the land and wildlife, customs and traditions, and the idea of the home. Highlights include portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron of illustrious Britons such as Alfred Lord Tennyson; photographs of Nelson's column under construction by Henry Fox Talbot; Homer Sykes's images of traditional English festivals and eccentric customs; Alfred George Buckham's aerial view of Edinburgh in 1920; the Sassoon family's private album; Percy Hennell's pioneering colour photographs 'British Women Go to War'; Stephen Dalton's dramatic images of suburban garden wildlife; Zed Nelson's portraits of contemporary beauty contests; studio portraits taken by Grace Lau; and Paul Graham's photographs of life on the A1, including service cafes, people, architecture and landscape. Tate Britain until 2nd September.

Continuing

Dali & Film is the first exhibition to focus on the relationship between the paintings and films of Salvador Dali, who, through his collaborations with Luis Bunuel, Alfred Hitchcock, the Marx Brothers and Walt Disney, created some of the most memorable and influential scenes in avant-garde cinema. Arranged chronologically, it brings together more than 100 works, including over 60 paintings, seen alongside Dali's major film projects such as 'Un Chien andalou, L'Age d'or', 'Spellbound' and Destino, as well as associated photographs, designs, drawings and manuscripts. The first two films that he co-wrote with Luis Bunuel are marked by Dali's vivid imagination and his engagement with the Freudian theories that energised Surrealism, especially the study of dreams and the unconscious. These films include haunting images such as the slicing of an eyeball with a razor and a hand infected with ants, and as this exhibition reveals, Dali had already explored these images in major paintings, such as 'Apparatus and Hand' and 'Inaugural Goose Flesh'. It also shows how in subsequent paintings Dali employed a new cinematic atmosphere, such as in 'Morning Ossification of the Cypress'. Dali imagined films throughout his life, producing poetic texts and sketches, scenarios and paintings. The dream sequence for Hitchcock's thriller 'Spellbound' brought to a grand scale the imagery of contemporary paintings such as 'Melancholy, Atomic, Uranic Idyll'. Walt Disney's 'Destino' is being shown along with related drawings by Dali for the first time in the Britain. Tate Modern until 9th September.

Alice Through The Looking Glass explores contemporary science as seen through Lewis Carroll's children's stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It demystifies the wonders of perception over reality, using the storylines and characters from Alice's magical world, revealing how we turn barely adequate information from our senses into a detailed perception of the world, demonstrating what the human brain is capable of. The exhibition features over 60 hands on exhibits, divided into themed areas based on the original storylines. "Is seeing really believing?" is the key question that it asks - the same conundrum that Alice faces. Among the exhibits are the engendered sensation of falling down the rabbit hole; a camera to showing where visitors would end up if they actually fell through the Earth; silly croquet with the Queen of Hearts, revealing forces, momentum and the 'magic' of the ellipse to sink a hole-in-one; a hall of doors, which seemingly go on forever, with something intriguing behind every door; the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, where a falling drop of liquid can be frozen in time; a magical dressing table that makes everyday noises much louder and shows what sounds would look like if they could be seen in the mirror; and the opportunity for visitors to discover how they - and the world around them - would look if they were shrink down in size, stretched or squashed. At-Bristol, Harbourside, Bristol until November.

Prunella Clough is one of the most interesting and significant modernist British painters of the post war period, who devoted her career to finding beauty in unconsidered aspects of the urban and industrial landscape. She scrutinised the surfaces and textures of the contemporary environment, transforming subjects such as lorries and factory yards, the detritus of street and gutter, and the bright colours of plastics into images of compelling mystery and beauty. The exhibition comprises over 30 works from across Clough's career, with a group of her early social realist paintings contrasted with a group of abstracted canvasses from her better known later work. The juxtaposition demonstrates that Clough's preoccupation with abstract formal qualities - composition, colour and texture - while in the foreground in the later works, also clearly underpinned her earlier, figurative work. Among the highlights are early paintings such as 'Fishermen in a Boat', 'Lowestoft Harbour', 'Lorry with Ladder' and 'Man Entering Boiler House' and the late abstracted works 'Samples', 'Spin Off' and 'Disused Land'. At the heart of the show is an archive display of Clough's photographs, which gives an insight into her complex and layered working process, and her very particular vision of the modern world. Tate Britain until 27th August.

The Planetarium And Astronomy Galleries complete the £16m Time and Space Project, designed to bring the excitement of contemporary astrophysics to Britain's oldest astronomical institution. The centrepiece is a 120 seater state of the art planetarium, featuring a £1m laser projector made by US defence contractor Evans & Sutherland, which is only the second of its kind in the world. The planetarium shows are presented by the Royal Observatory's expert astronomers, ensuring visitors receive a truly authoritative guide. The opening show is The Life And Death Of Stars, an introduction to the mysteries and wonders of the night sky, giving a virtual tour of the solar system and beyond. The three Astronomy Galleries reveal how the universe expanded and how the solar system was formed; show the techniques used by current astronomers to explore the universe, alongside historic instruments explaining humanity's early understanding of the planets; and feature 'interactives' that allow the Observatory's experts to answer questions. Among the highlights are the Gibeon meteorite, which landed 4.5bn years ago; a soundscape composed by Martyn Ware from the noise of pulsars, solar winds and Shuttle launches; a grand orrery of 1780, a mechanical model of the solar system as understood at that time, with earth and only five planets; and the burning lens and thermometers used by William Herschel, who discovered Uranus, to detect infrared light. The education centre has computerised links to the National Schools Observatory, and access to remote telescopes in Australia and Hawaii, enabling children to view the night sky by day. The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, continuing.

BeWILDerwood is a new £1.8m eco-friendly outdoor adventure park, with treehouses, aerial ropewalks, slides, rope swings, scrambling nets, climbing walls, zipwires and a maze, all reached by a boat journey along the Dysmal Dyke, or a walk along the jetties and boardwalks of the Treatcherous Trail. Everything has been built from sustainable wood, and some 14,000 broadleaf trees, including oak, sweet chestnut and birch have been planted on the 50 acres of woodland and marshland. The really unusual feature however, are the 'magical' forest folk who inhabit the site, to fire children's imaginations, including Mildred, the vegitarian Crocklebog, a 14ft long crocodile like creature who lives in the Scary Lake; Swampy, a Marsh Boggle; a giant spider called ThornyClod; Tree Twiggles, goblin-like creatures that hate litter and mess; and the Wood Witch. Although the creater and owner Tom Blofeld claims to have been partly inspired by '90s computer game Myst, there is a pre-electronic, Enid Blyton style, old fashioned 'good clean fun' feel to the place. Events include storytelling, ghost trips, lantern tours, treasure hunts and puppet shows, and there is locally sourced and mostly organic food on offer (including ostrich burgers and elderflower cordial). Visitors can even take the experience home with Blofeld's fantasy book, A Boggle At BeWILDerwood, featuring the characters they have met. Further information can be found on the BeWILDerwood web site, via the link from Attractions in the Links section of ExhibitionsNet. BeWILDerwood, Hoveton, Wroxham, Norfolk, continuing.

Artists' Self-Portraits From The Uffizi: Masterpieces From Velazquez To Chagall presents a selection of 49 artists' self-portraits from the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. These remarkable works are usually housed in the Vasari Corridor, a kilometre of corridor linking the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti, which is not generally open to the public, and historically, the collection has not been allowed to travel. This is therefore an opportunity to experience a slice - never before seen in this country - of one of the most remarkable sights in the art world. The entire collection comprises some 1,600 artists' self-portraits in all, covering six centuries of Western art. This exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to come face to face with Velazquez, Filippino Lippi, Andrea Pozzo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Guido Reni, Rembrandt, Angelika Kauffman, Giovanni Boldini, Frans van Mieris the Elder, Carlo Dolci, Tintoretto, Johan Zoffany Joshua Reynolds, Anders Zorn, Carlo Carra, Pietro Annigoni, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giacomo Balla and Marc Chagall as they saw themselves - or possibly as they wished themselves to be seen. For while all portraits are investigations of people, looking at yourself is different from looking at someone else, and for artists, self-portraits were also a method of self publicity. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15th July.

Concluding

James 'Athenian' Stuart is the first comprehensive retrospective of the the work of the pioneer of Neo-Classicism, best known for designing Spencer House in St James's Park, and the Royal Hospital Greenwich. It reveals Stuart as an architect, artist and taste maker, and sets his work in the context of 18th century design culture. The creation of the 'Greek Style' and its impact on British design in the late 18th century is largely due to Stuart's landmark publication Antiquities of Athens. This influential book was the first accurate record of Classical Greek architecture, and served as a principal source book for architects and designers well into the 19th century. The exhibition displays Stuart's talents across the visual arts, from paintings to garden monuments, and from interior decorative schemes to medals. Over 200 items on view include rarely seen sketchbooks, paintings, ornamental objects, furniture, architectural designs and specially commissioned photographs of his interiors. Among the highlights are a copy of the book Antiquities of Athens; the Wentworth Woodhouse tripod perfume burner, the first made in metal since ancient times, which became a standard part of the Neo-Classical repertoire; a plate warmer for Kedleston Hall, one of the most ambitious gilt-metal objects of its time; the setee with a curved back, designed specifically to fit into the curved apse of the Painted Room at Spencer House; designs for the decoration of the end walls in a state room at Kedleston Hall; and a portrait medallion of James Stuart made by Josiah Wedgewood. Victoria & Albert Musreum until 24th June.

Home And Garden: Domestic Spaces In Painting 1914 - 1960 explores the representation of urban domestic interiors and gardens in paintings, providing a vivid and intimate glimpse into private worlds not often on view. The focus is on the valued domestic spaces of the middle classes rather than those of Royalty or the aristocracy. It brings together paintings and drawings from collections across the UK, shown not simply as works of art, but interpreted as historical documents, with detailed evidence for understanding the nature of middle class domestic interiors and gardens. The exhibition comprises around 40 works, by both famous artists, including Vanessa Bell, Walter Sickert, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Victor Passmore and Patrick Caulfield, as well as those who are less well known, such as Charles H H Burleigh, Howard Gilman, Donald Towner and Harry Bush. In all of these paintings the complex nature of the urban English middle classes begins to be revealed, providing an insight into the culture, habits, taste, values and social melieu of the times. The subjects are mainly located in London, but also embrace other major cities and towns. The exhibition reflects the astonishing transformation in domestic life, from the left over Edwardian, to the brink of Contemporary. Long undervalued as 'high art' these paintings reveal real lives, and unlike scratchy newsreels or faded family snaps, are as fresh and as colourful as the day they were painted. Geffre Museum, London until 24th June.

Something That I'll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography From The V&A offers an opportunity to see a selection from the significant additions to the collection of works acquired over the last ten years. On display are images by some of the most innovative international contemporary photographers, including well known names such as Cindy Sherman, Nick Knight, Nan Goldin and Susan Derges, together with emerging new talents such as Frances Kearney, Sarah Jones and Hannah Starkey. Despite their range of subject matter, the selection has in common their creative genre-blurring, typical of the period: fashion images draw on gritty documentary, abstract fine art works use scientific imaging, and apparently realistic photos are actually elaborately staged sets. The grand scale of many of the photographs engross the viewer in the image, whilst smaller scale works draw attention to the traditions of photographic history and fine printing by hand. Among the highlights are Corrine Day's iconic Vogue portrait of Kate Moss (with fairy lights); Stephen Gill's 'L'Oreal Paris Because You're Worth It' - the junkyard of detritus behind the billboard; Richard Billingham's portrait of his mother, with tattoos in a floral dress doing a jigsaw; Neeta Madahar's 'Sustanance 114', featuring birds feeding in the foliage of a tree; and Huang Yan's 'Plum', a face with a classic Chinese landscape painting on it. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 24th June.