News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th June 2000

Commencing

Encounters: New Art From Old is a Millennium project for which twenty four established contemporary artists from Britain, Europe and North America were invited to choose a work from the National Gallery's collection and respond to it with a new work of their own. It offers an unprecedented opportunity to view a major exhibition of contemporary artists at the National Gallery (and is nothing to do with the opening of Tate Modern at all). The participants include painters, sculptors, photographers and video artists, and some of the combinations are: Auerbach/Constable, Bourgeois/Turner, Caro/Duccio, Clemente/Titian, Freud/Chardin, Hockney/Ingres, Hodgkin/Seurat, Kiefer/Tintoretto, Kitaj/Van Gogh, Kossoff/Rubens, Oldenburg and van Bruggen/Vermeer, Rego/Hogarth, Tpies/Rembrandt, and Wall/Stubbs. The exhibition aims to demonstrate the value of the collection to artists working at the end of the 20th century, although some may consider that it demonstrates the decline of painting over the last 50 years. If you do want to check out the opposition, you can travel free from the National Gallery to Tate Modern and Tate Britain this summer on the Art Bus. Two special double decker buses will run every 30 minutes from 10.00am to 6.00pm until 30th September. National Gallery until 17th September.

warningSHOTS! is an attempt by the Royal Armouries beleaguered devolved museum in Leeds to make a name for itself and pack in a few people by giving the public what they want. It is leaving behind the dated stuff like swords and armour, becoming accessible and gaining street cred by concentrating on 21st century violence. (What next a relaunch with the slogan "Royal Armouries - we'll blow you away"?) This is the world premiere exhibition of a contemporary art collection built up since the relocation, which explores issues of individual and urban conflict and violence and their effects on modern society, as seen by contemporary artists in painting, photography and video. Containing powerful and disturbing imagery, the exhibition is pitched as "a warning shot to society to raise questions about reality, as well as the perception and portrayal of violence". Yeees. A more defensible move down market might have been to stage an exhibition featuring the arms and armour of Xena - Worrior Princess. Royal Armouries, Leeds until 3rd September.

Kingdom Of The Soul: German Symbolist Art 1870-1920 is the first exhibition of German Symbolism to be staged in Britain, and this is the only UK venue for a Birmingham-Frankfurt-Stockholm collaboration. It features over 180 paintings, drawings and sculptures, by artists such as Arnold Bocklin, Franz Von Struck and Max Klinger (wasn't he the one who wore a dress in M*A*S*H?). The exhibition includes many previously unseen works from public and private collections in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Eastern Europe. German Symbolism, like the British Arts and Crafts movement, represented a reaction against the industrialisation of the modern world. Mythological subjects and Arcadian landscapes reveal a longing to escape from a corrupt world in search of a lost innocence. A Freudian exploration of the darker side of the human psyche produced a mixture of death, decay and sexual entrapment, and a questioning of spiritual beliefs and moral values as a new century dawned. The celebration of nudity (both male and female) deliberately challenged the prudish moral codes of the society of the time. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 0121 3030 1966, until 30th July.

Continuing

The Show 2000 presents the final year work of MA students in the broadly based Royal College of Art, encompassing fashion, fine and applied art, sculpture and design. The particular fusion of the aesthetic and the practical is the RCA's metier. The exhibition is both a celebration and promotion of the students creativity, and a hotbed of new ideas. All works (and of course their creators) are for sale. Many distinguished careers have started at this annual show in the past. It's an opportunity to spot the next Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, James Dyson or even David Hockney, invest in them while they are still affordable, and perhaps catch the start of the next artistic or design trend. Royal College of Art, 020 7590 4498, until 10th July

The Year Of The Artist is a nationwide endeavour to take artists work out of traditional spaces and place them in everyday surroundings, highlighting the contribution that artists make to our lives - accessibility incarnate. The Arts Council and Regional Arts Boards have commissioned artists to take up residency in various locations, including Serena de la Hey creating a 40ft sculpture of a figure next to the M5 in Sedgemoor, Somerset (that wretched Angel has a lot to answer for); writer Keith Armstrong and visual artist in the paddock at Hexam Racecourse, Northumberland in July; and 200 floating lanterns launched from the fishing village of Porthleven, Cornwall on 18th June. Such events may of course only reinforce the widespread distrust of modern art rather than dispel it - we shall see. As the launch audio visual installation (created in the Today programme studio) of an 8ft high John Humphrys keeps saying: "But is it art?" Events across Britain until May 2001

Dali Universe is a permanent exhibition which has just opened in County Hall next to the London Eye, showcasing over 500 works by the painter, sculptor and self promoter Salvador Dali. The largest collection of his work ever assembled, it includes the famous Mae West lips sofa, a lobster telephone, drawings from his idiosyncratic autobiography The Secret Life Of Salvador Dali, and of course a melting watch. It is divided into three sections: Sensuality And Femininity looks at his bizarre association with women, Religion And Mythology focuses on his tempestuous relationship with the Church, and Dreams And Fantasy covers his fantastic visions. The wholly commercial nature of this venture is something of which Dali would no doubt have approved - after all he was rechristened Avida Dollars by Andre Breton. Dali Universe, County Hall Riverside Building, 020 7620 2720.

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 a thousand works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions. The new president, sculptor Phillip King, wanted to increase the number of works by new younger artists chosen on merit, at the expense of works by academicians chosen by their supposed divine right, but his attempt seems to have failed. However he is determined to succeed next year so watch out for fireworks. There will be also be a gallery devoted to the American abstract artist Frank Stella, and an installation based on a railway wagon by Eduardo Paolozzi in the courtyard. Meanwhile King has a new work of his own, Reel 3 - a magenta, orange and blue steel construction - unveiled on the forecourt of the British Council offices at the end of the Mall adjoining Admiralty Arch on 1st June. Both the Royal Parks and Westminster Council opposed its installation but lost at the planning appeal. Looks like King is an all round popular guy. Further details from the Royal Academy web site via the link opposite. Royal Academy of Arts until 7th August.

Two Painters: Alfred Wallis and James Dixon brings together over 70 works by two men whose speciality was the sea, and who are misleadingly classified as nave or primitive. Alfred Wallis began painting views around Penzance in 1925, specialising in the area between land and sea - ports, bridges and estuaries - often using boat paint on irregular shaped pieces of board. James Dixon lived on Tory Island off Donegal, and like Wallis, began life as a fisherman. As well as views he also painted allegorical subjects, usually oils on paper or board. Both men came to painting late in life, bringing a fresh and professionally respectful eye to their subject matter. Tate Gallery St Ives until 29th October.

Inside Out: Underwear And Style In The UK unflinchingly takes a peek in Britain's underwear draw. It reveals specimens which range from the mass production of M&S (can they really sell such a mountain of mini-briefs) through Agent Provocateur (more S&M than M&S) to the more exotic (read really expensive) creations of Alexander McQueen and Antonio Berardi. Technical innovations currently under development include the alarm bra, which can monitor the heartbeat and act as a rape alarm. The exhibition is curated by the British Council, and if you thought that they only sent out tours of Shakespeare to the outer reaches Commonwealth - well this is what is meant by accessibility. Design Museum until 2nd July.

Concluding

Carnivalesque is a celebration of the art of the satirical, the subversive and the world turned upside down, from the medieval Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel through old masters such as Goya and Daumier to contemporary video installations. It is crammed with images of fools, hunchbacks, dwarves (if one is allowed to call any of them by those names any more) demons and grotesques in all manor of situations. There are so many examples of the morbid, the bizzare and the macabre, that the exhibition is spread over three galleries. The confining hand of the Catholic Church on European societies appears to have provoked a more substantial and dramatic backlash in their enthusiasm for Carnival than its British seaside confinement to the Punch and Judy show and annual street parade. Suitably therefore this show launches in Brighton, then moves on to Nottingham and Edinburgh. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Fabrica Gallery and University of Brighton Gallery until 2nd July

Endings is the first in a three part sequence of exhibitions to be staged this year called The Times Of Our Lives, which will examine human experience in relation to time, and events common to us all throughout our lives from birth to death. It looks at farewells, sleep, dreams, and happy endings as well as death in all its manifestations - in conflict, through illness, murder and suicide. As a Millennium exhibition, the death of Christ also features as an important theme in the show, which includes over 100 works by artists such as Drer, Rembrandt, Blake, Goya, Millais, Sickert, Henry Moore, Evelyn Williams and Abigail Lane. The range covers modern and historic paintings, sculpture, drawings, watercolours, prints, textiles, wallpapers and other applied arts. Wentworth Gallery Manchester until 2nd July.

Fragments Of Narrative might be described as the antidote to Tate Modern. The now disused Wapping Power Station houses an installation by Christie Brown, consisting of incomplete life size clay human figures hanging from the rafters. It evokes a strange combination of inspirations - the remains of previous inhabitants, Frankenstein's failures, attempts at cloning and replication, and the practice in some Catholic countries of placing wax models of diseased limbs outside churches in the belief that it will assist the healing process. Curiously affecting but not for the squeamish. Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London E1 Information 0906 302 0085 until 18th June.