News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th February 2001


The Smell Of Fear brings a new dimension to the Britain's famous dinosaur pit. The world's most advanced robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex is not only lifelike in movement and sound - but smell. Oils including Dragon's Breath and Swamp have been blended to create the realistic odour of its breath, which would have smelt of the remains of rotting flesh trapped between its teeth. At three quarters full size, it stands 4m high and nearly 7m long. The gallery also contains 15 complete dinosaur skeletons as well as life-size robotic models of three vicious Deinonychus. This is the first event in 'Year Of The Predator', which will include an exhibition featuring robotic models of a great white shark, an interactive chameleon, and a deadly Sydney Funnel web spider, opening in the summer. Natural History Museum continuing.

Orchid Exotica is the seventh annual festival devoted to one of nature's most spectacular and extravagant plants. For the first time orchids are cascading among the gigantic trees and steamy pools in the large tropical zone of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the newest of Kew's spectacular glasshouses. There are over five thousand species involved, including the endangered Lady's Slipper. Also for the first time, there is a cut flower display in Decimus Burton's Victorian Temperate House - the world's largest ornamental glasshouse - and the Marianne North Gallery. The festival includes Behind-the-scenes tours of the orchid nurseries on Tuesdays and Fridays, a wide-ranging seminar programme, and family events with story walks during Half Term weeks: 17th to 22nd, 24th and 25th February. Orchid plants are on sale to the public. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew until 11th March.

Costumed Tours feature a guide dressed in the appropriate time period for one its unique and fascinating documents, but telling the human stories and social history behind all the items in the collection. Drawn from a vast archive, the items on display illustrate many of the momentous events and famous characters that have shaped the nation's history. As well as offering evidence left behind by some of the Britain's most notorious and celebrated citizens, the exhibition also sheds light on the ordinary and extraordinary events of everyday life through the ages. Current exhibits include the Domesday Book, the gold seal of Henry VIII, a telegram from the Titanic, the Dam Busters logbook, and a letter from 'Jack the Ripper'. The tours last about 45 minutes and take place at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm on one Saturday each month. Public Record Office on 24th February, 24th March, 28th April, 19th May, 23rd June, 28th July, 18th August, 29th September, 27th October, 24th November, and 29th December.


Robin & Lucienne Day: Pioneers Of Contemporary Design is the first major retrospective of Britain's most distinguished and influential post-war designers, covering a period from 1940s to the present. Robin Day's revolutionary designs for furniture - including the ubiquitous polypropylene chair - and Lucienne Day's daring and inspired use of colour and pattern in fabrics, embodied the optimism of post-war Britain. Through innovative use of the latest materials Robin Day created design classics, such as the radical 1952 plywood and steel chairs, and the 1963 molded polypropelyne for Hille, which are still in production today, in more than 32 countries around the world. His work spanned the public, commercial and domestic marketplaces, including the auditorium, restaurant and orchestra seating at the Royal Festival Hall in 1951. Lucienne Day's revolutionary 1951 textile design 'Calyx' for Heals, using the abstract imagery of Joan Miro and Alexander Calder, helped to create what is now recognised as quintessentially '50s 'Contemporary' design. In the '60s she embraced the geometry of Op Art, again capturing the spirit of the time. Her work also includes iconic chinaware designs for Rosenthal. To complement the exhibition, classic Robin and Lucienne Day designs now being produced by Habitat, SCP and Twenty Twenty One are also on display. Barbican Centre Gallery until 16th April.

Elastic Fantastic in the Science Theatre, unleashes the power of the humble elastic band in a new show. It explores how far something can be propelled under elastic power, and includes an attempt to break the record for building the biggest elastic band ball.

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark in the Planetarium, uses the classic children's story by Jill Tomlinson as the starting point for a new show for younger children about the dark - and our fear of it.

Online Exhibits allows access to interactive exhibits, and a webcam which offers a view of what is currently happening. Find them on the Techniquest web site via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Techniquest, Cardiff continuing.

Futurist Photography celebrates the early 20th century avant-garde movement which embraced not just the arts but an entire way of life. Filippo Tomaso Marinetti gave it a manifesto in 1909, calling for a progressive movement to sweep away the old art in the museums and enter the new century with a bang. The speed of photography made it a key element, although paradoxically the images produced were always very carefully composed, and did not exploit its ability to capture the accidental moment. The aim was to create the impression of speed rather than actually to record it. Parascientific experiments, spiritualist photography, multi-portraits, montage effects and the chronophotographs of Etienne-Jules Marey provided the starting point from which Futurist photography grew. This exhibition comprises over 150 rare prints never before seen in the UK. The Estorick Collection specialises in Futurist art of all kinds. Estorick Collection until 22nd April.

Century City: Art And Culture In The Modern Metropolis is the first special exhibition to be staged at what is generally held to have been the star Millennium cultural project. It explores the relationship between cultural creativity and the metropolis, focusing on nine cities from around the world at specific times in the last century. The cities and periods are: Paris 1910s, Vienna 1910s, Moscow 1920s, Rio de Janeiro 1950s, Lagos 1955-1970, New York 1970s, Tokyo 1970s, Bombay/Mumbai 1990s, and London 1987-2001. The aim is to provide a global perspective on defining moments of modern art and culture, examining cultural explosions in which art, architecture, cinema, dance, fashion, music and theatre flourished in a dynamic and radical interchange. The eclectic range of artists, designers, writers, composers and film makers includes King Sunny Ade, Sergei Eisenstein, Sonia Boyce and Philip Glass. This must be the ultimate Millennial exhibition. Tate Modern until 29th April.

Give And Take is a unique collaboration between a David and a Goliath of cultural institutions - the Serpentine Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is one exhibition on two sites, designed to provide an opportunity to experience the unexpected connections between contemporary art, and art of the past. Hans Haake has been given the task of rooting around the basement of the V&A and selecting over 100 objects from its reserve collection to create 'Mixed Messages' at the Serpentine. This is an installation of items from different cultures, historical periods and media, viewed afresh by this particular juxtaposition. At the V&A, works by 15 contemporary artists whose natural home would be the Serpentine, are individually insinuated into the period splendour of the mausoleum in Cromwell Road. Those involved include Xu Bing, Wim Delvoye, Jeff Koons, Royy Paine and Yinka Shonibare. Serpentine Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st April.

The Genius Of Rome: 1592-1623 examines a period when Rome became the leading artistic centre, with young and ambitious artists flocking there from throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. It focuses on the ways in which Caravaggio, Carracci, Elsheimer, Rubens and their contemporaries responded to similar artistic themes, influenced one another, and jointly laid the foundations for what was to become the Baroque style. They created paintings which were far more direct, natural and immediate than those of their predecessors. Caravaggio is undoubtedly the star in involving his audience with his subjects. 'The Taking Of Christ' (in which he appears carrying a lantern) embodies the spirit of the movement in its observation of light, capture of motion, and violence of subject - almost creating a press photograph of the incident. The realism of his 'St John The Baptist', bringing a graphic humanity to a religious figure, illustrates why works of these painters were not always acceptable to the church. The exhibition features some 150 paintings, several of which have never previously been seen in this country, from over 40 artists. The climax of the exhibition is an installation of 16 altarpieces that recreate the atmosphere of a Roman Baroque church. There have been few occasions when such a large collection of history making work has been seen in Britain. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th April.


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.

Libeskind At The Soane: Drawing A New Architecture juxtaposes the work of controversial contemporary architect Daniel Libeskind and Victorian giant Sir John Soane. The man who designed the unfolding cardboard box like extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum up against the man who designed the Bank Of England. It provides an opportunity to see drawings and models of Libeskind projects from six different countries, together with a series of rarely glimpsed conceptual drawings - the Micromegas. The result is an installation of nine specially commissioned miniature models scattered like architectural fragments from a future age beneath the canopy dome of Soane's Breakfast Parlour. The Gallery houses an explosion of geometrical forms in ten meticulously constructed abstract compositions made in the late 1970s before Libeskind became a practitioner. The exhibition is completed by drawings showing current projects including the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Studio Weil in Spain; the V&A Spiral; and his latest scheme, the Denver Art Museum. Often cited as the favourite "undiscovered" Victorian collection in London, Sir John Soane's Museum has so much crammed in already, it's hard to imagine how it is possible to add further exhibits. Sir John Soane's Museum until 10th March.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Recent Works is the first major exhibition to examine the engineering design of possibly the greatest British figure from the heroic early Victorian period of engineering. Brunel's practical and theoretical education enabled him to introduce the most innovative designs which have stood the test of time. This is a man whose bridges didn't wobble. In this exhibition leading contemporary practitioners assess the merits of Brunel's designs, giving both an historical and current view of the works. Structural engineer Anthony Hunt reassesses the Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash. Architect Nicholas Grimshaw, responsible for the recent refurbishment of Paddington Station, considers the remarkable original structure. Naval architect Nigel Gee examines the ship SS Great Eastern. John King looks at the achievement of constructing the Thames Tunnel, which saw a million paying customers in its first fifteen weeks. Other key projects featured include the prefabricated hospital at Renkioi, Crimea and the Battle of the Gauges. Design Museum until 25th February.