News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th October 2009


The Ceramics Galleries have been given a 100th birthday refurbishment designed by Stanton Williams. These galleries tell the story of world ceramics, with 3,000 objects on display, from the earliest Chinese pottery to contemporary ceramic art. They now include an introductory room, presenting a world history of ceramics, highlighting connections between ceramics of different cultures and periods. The central gallery shows masterpieces dating back as far as 2,500 BC, with highlights including a drinking cup from Ancient Greece; Ming dynasty Chinese porcelain; 14th century pottery from Spain; a Chinese inspired blue and white bowl made in 16th century Turkey; Meissen figures; Dutch Delftware ordered by Queen Mary for Hampton Court Palace; colourful painted Japanese porcelain imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company; tea bowls rescued from an 18th century Chinese shipwreck; and a vase painted by Picasso in the 1950s, depicting himself with his model. For the first time, there is an area exploring ceramic production, incorporating a workshop, where techniques are demonstrated, and visitors can make, decorate and fire ceramics. A part reconstruction of the studio of Dame Lucie Rie, one of the greatest 20th century potters, includes film showing her at work. A gallery featuring British designers includes work by Susie Cooper, Clarice Cliff and the Wedgewood studio. The refurbishment has revealed a beautiful domed ceiling, around which artist Edmund de Waal has created a site specific installation entitled 'Signs and Wonders'. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Fantasies, Follies And Disasters: The Prints Of Francisco De Goya provides an opportunity to see a selection of the artist's rarely displayed etchings. The 30 prints are selected from Goya's three best known and most significant groups of etchings: 'Los Caprichos (The Fantasies)',' Los Desastres della Guerra (The Disasters of War)', and 'Los Disparates (The Follies)'. Goya's etchings, produced largely in private, feature a mixture of satirical caricatures attacking the ignorance and hypocrisy of late 18th century Spanish society and the Church, and dark, nightmarish landscapes exposing the atrocities and misery suffered in war. Only fully known after his death, many of the works were withheld from publication during his lifetime because of their controversial and disturbing qualities. Now, Goya is as well known for these works, as he is for his portraits of Europe's 18th century nobility. The exhibition includes some of Goya's most memorable images, such as the iconic 'The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters', with a sleeping artist visited by the terrifying creatures of his imagination. Elsewhere, the war subjects withhold nothing in their horrified depiction of violence, torture and famine: a woman holds a child in one arm while she spears a soldier with the other; and a scene shows bodies strung up from a tree. Goya's later, final etchings are perhaps the most memorable of all, transforming some of his earlier themes into a timeless, dreamlike world, which anticipates much of 20th century art. Manchester Art Gallery until 31st January.

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.


Pop Life: Art In A Material World takes Andy Warhol's notorious statement that "good business is the best art" as a starting point to examine the legacy of Pop Art. The exhibition looks at the various ways that artists since the 1980s have engaged with mass media and cultivated artistic personas creating their own signature 'brands'. It reveals how they have harnessed the power of the celebrity system, to expand their reach beyond the art world, and into the wider world of commerce, by exploiting channels that engage audiences both inside and outside the gallery. Perpetrators represented include Tracey Emin, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. The show begins with a look at Warhol's late work, and his related initiatives as a television personality, paparazzo, and publishing impresario, including his controversial series 'the Retrospectives or Reversals'. Reprising his celebrated Pop icons from the 1960s, in a manner deemed cynical, the Retrospectives look ahead to installations by a number of artists including Martin Kippenberger and Tracey Emin, who overtly engage the self-mythologizing impulse manipulating their personas as a medium, like silkscreen or paint. The exhibition includes reconstructions of Keith Haring's 'Pop Shop' and Jeff Koons's 'Made in Heaven'. A gallery featuring the 'Young British Artists' focuses on their early performative exploits, including ephemera from Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas's shop in Bethnal Green; Gavin Turk's 'Pop 1993'; and works representing Damien Hirst's recent Sotheby's auction, 'Beautiful Inside My Head Forever', plus a recreation of Hirst's performance piece with identical twins sitting beneath two identical spot paintings for the duration of the exhibition. Tate Modern until 17th January.

The Artist's Studio offers an opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore the studios of some of the most prominent British artists of the last 200 years. Through paintings, photographs, drawings, film, etchings, books, manuscripts and studio furniture, the exhibition explores the changing function and depiction of the artist's studio from the 1700s to the present day, spanning not just Britain, but Renaissance Italy, 17th century Holland, and 19th century France. The exhibition reflects the studio variously as display space, a sociable bohemian living space or garret, and as a private space for reflection and creation. Works by artists including Pieter Tillmans, R P Bonnington, JMW Turner, Thomas Rowlandson, George Morland, Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, W P Frith, and Ricketts and Shannon, offer personal and theoretical notions of how the studio has been perceived. From the 20th century there are works by Mark Gertler, Jack B Yeates, William Orpen, Gwen John, William Coldstream and Rodrigo Moynihan. Contemporary artists represented include Paula Rego, David Hockney, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud. There are photographs, both historical and modern by Bruce Bernard, David Dawson, Antony Snowdon, George Lewinski and Gautier Deblonde, plus a specially commissioned film documenting artists in their studios. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 13th December.

HQ At 100: One Century, Hundreds Of Moments celebrates the centenary of Twickenham Stadium, which, when it was built, was considered a 'boggy market garden', and far too far from London. 100 years later, Twickenham is a state of the art stadium in the London borough of Twickenham, which welcomes 80,000 rugby fans on match days. The exhibition focuses on the development of rugby over the last century, with great games and players remembered through photographs and memorabilia. Highlights include materials relating to England's golden period in the 1920s, when the team won 4 grand slams. There is a look at changes in the stadium's structure, from early spectators watching from mounds (and even perched on branches of surrounding trees) to the sophisticated stands of today. The display also considers the stadium's use in wartime, as grazing for horses during the First World War, and as a potential decontamination plant in case of a gas attack in the Second World War. Twickenham World Rugby Museum, Twickenham, Middlesex, until 4th April.

Turner And The Masters presents a selection of paintings by JMW Turner alongside related works by the old masters and contemporaries he strove to imitate, rival and surpass. The exhibition brings together over 100 pictures of historical significance, and provides an unprecedented opportunity to view Turner's works alongside masterpieces by more than 30 other artists, including Canaletto, Claude, Titian, Aelbert Cuyp, Poussin, Rembrandt, Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, Willem van de Velde, Veronese, Watteau, Constable, and R P Bonington. In so doing, it reveals that Turner's responses to other artists were both acts of homage and a sophisticated form of art criticism, designed to demonstrate his understanding of the most celebrated masters, and his ability to make their art his own. The exhibition includes Rembrandt's 'Landscape with the Rest on the flight into Egypt' paired with Turner's 'Moonlight, a study at Millbank'; Claude's 'Moses saved from the Waters' with Turner's 'Crossing the Brook'; Ruisdael's 'A Rough Sea at a Jetty 'alongside Turner's 'Port Ruysdael'; Poussin's 'Winter - The Deluge' paired with Turner's 'The Deluge'; Willem van de Vel's 'A Rising Gale' alongside Turner's 'Dutch Boats in a Gale'; and Constable's 'Opening of Waterloo Bridge' with Turner's 'Helvoetsluys'. It was Turner's strategy, almost uniquely within the history of European art, to enter into direct competition with artists both past and present, whom he considered as worthy rivals to his own fame. Turner built his reputation as an oil painter by challenging the works of old masters, deliberately producing paintings that could hang in their company. Tate Britain until 31st January.

50 Years Of The Mini marks the 50th anniversary of the first of Alec Issigonis's iconic British cars to roll off the production line - priced at £500. The exhibition tells the story of the design, production and development of the car that was a symbol for the Swinging Sixties, and shows how the Mini became part of our social history as a nation, as Mini's were owned by people from all walks of life, from Mr Bean to Princess Margaret. More than 5m were built, with production of the original design finally ending at Longbridge in October 2000. The display includes not only complete and partial vehicles themselves, but original designs, manufacturing documentation, photographs, archive film and promotional materials. Highlights include some of the best known examples of the vehicle, including the first Morris Mini produced at Cowley in 1959; the last classic Mini to be manufactured; Paddy Hopkirk's 1964 Monte Carlo winning Mini 33EJB; the BMC 9X hatchback - a unique prototype designed by Issigonis as a possible replacement for the Mini; and the latest BMW Mini, currently being manufactured in Oxford. Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire, until 23rd December.

The Life And Lives Of Dr Johnson celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of the writer, bookseller and compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language with a display of portraits of Johnson and his circle. Paintings, prints and drawings also include portraits of those whose 'lives' Samuel Johnson wrote, such as John Milton and Alexander Pope, alongside his contemporary biographers, and the satirical prints that emerged in response to the race to record his life. Johnson played a significant role in the development of biography, transforming the genre, and raising the status of what was previously considered to be a 'low' form of literature. The display shows how Johnson's appearance was recorded by at least 12 artists, and how his portrait was disseminated widely through the medium of print. He was often depicted with books or writing tools in a tradition for representing authors that goes back to the Ancient Greeks. Also included in the display are portraits of the key people in Johnson's life, including David Garrick, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Hester Lynch Piozzi. To coincide with the exhibition, Joshua Reynolds's iconic portrait of Johnson is on display after a substantial period in conservation, which has revealed insights into its complex history and painting. Reynolds left it unfinished, and it remained in his studio until he gave it to James Boswell, Johnson's friend and biographer. National Portrait Gallery until 13th December.


Commando - Art And Action is an opportunity to view original, never seen before artworks from the archives of the iconic British comic Commando, which has fed the fevered imaginations of men and boys for almost 5 decades. Launched in 1961 by DC Thompson, the company that published comic favourites The Beano and The Dandy, Commando was a competitor to Fleetway's pioneering War Picture Library. It soon became the benchmark in war comic publishing, eventually eclipsing its competitors, and is now, remarkably unchanged, the sole remaining survivor. The Commando story formula remains simple: tales of courage, cowardice, and comradeship, usually set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The format of the comic also plays a significant part in explaining its enduring popularity: always a 63 page story, always in black and white, and always high quality artwork. Some of the best examples of works in the display from DC Thomson's roster of artists are by the likes of Commando stalwarts Ian Kennedy and the great Gordon Livingstone, an artist who remained with the company all of his working life, until his retirement in the 1990s. In addition to the artworks themselves, the exhibition also reveals the process of how a story is created and put into production, following the tale of a REME engineer in 'Front Line Fixer'. REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Berkshire, until 30th October.

Sally Matthews - Denis O'Connor - Light are a series of concurrent outdoor sculpture exhibitions. Sally Matthew's exhibition features a range of animals, including sheep, cows, stags, zebra, wolves and hounds, waiting to be discovered in the undergrowth and hidden spaces, together with a horse welded from old chains on show for the first time. Matthews's sculptures deal with not just what each animal looks like, but its nature, how it moves, how it lives and what it is. Each is anatomically honed, but rendered to heighten the viewer's awareness of particular character traits. Denis O'Connor has made gravity-defying stainless steel constructions, which evoke vertiginous perspectives from which the landscape might appear as simultaneously alarming and thrilling. Precarious composites of tiny houses, looming towers and ladders leading nowhere, they come across as props for some outdoor tragic-comic dreamscape. The highly reflective surfaces of the stainless steel elements heighten their soaring vertiginous qualities. They join O'Connor's permanent installation 'Tower 4', a dry stone conical tower that soars upwards towards several ancient oak trees. There is also a group show, exploring the theme of light, which includes two pieces by Michael Shaw: a floating and breathing sculpture, and a luminous piece that will change colour through the season. Burghley House Gardens & Deer Park, Stamford, until 29th October.

The Anson Engine Museum is currently featuring a full size replica of the first ever diesel engine, made by Rudolf Diesel in Germany in 1897. The copy was built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Diesel's birth last year by MAN Truck & Bus Ltd, and is on public display for the first time. It stands alongside the Mirrlees No1, the first ever diesel engine built in Britain, which was the third ever built in the world, revealing the alterations and improvements that were developed between the two engines. This specialist engineering museum houses a unique collection of over 200 gas and oil engines, many maintained in running order. It tells the story of the engine from the cannon to the sophisticated, electronically controlled engine of the future. Prize exhibits include: the largest running example of Crossley Atmospheric gas engine; the original Gardner L series engine; a rare Atkinson-cycle engine; the first ever built Crossley engine; a Griffin 6-stroke engine; a Hugon gas engine; a Stott cross-compound mill engine; and a Fowler beam engine. The museum is on the site of the former Anson Colliery, and also features a display of photographs, maps and mementoes from the Anson Colliery and Vernon Estate, telling the story of the rise and decline of the coalmining industry in the area. The Anson Engine Museum, Anson Road, Poynton, Cheshire, until 25th October.