News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th November 2001


Handel House Museum is the culmination of a decade's work to restore the house where Handel lived for 35 years, together with the upper floors of the adjoining house, and open it as London's first composer museum. This is the house in which Messiah, Music For The Royal Fireworks, Israel In Egypt, George II Coronation Anthem and most of the organ concertos were written. The decoration scheme has been recreated as authentically as possible, Handel being the first owner in 1723, and the contents are based on an inventory taken shortly after his death there in 1759. The collection brings together original manuscripts and letters, early published editions of his works, portraits and sculpture, together with furniture and furnishings, and two specially built harpsichords, which will be played for visitors. Three original fireplaces from Tom's Coffee House in Covent Garden, where many of Handel's works received their first public performances, have been installed in the main rooms. There is also a space for temporary exhibitions, the first of which charts the refurbishment of the building. Handel House Museum, London continuing.

The Fine Art Of Photography celebrates the Scottish National Photography Collection, which contains around 27,000 images, many with a Scottish connection, covering the 150 year period from the beginnings of the medium to the present day. The 200 photographs in this show include the pioneering work of D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson, as well as that of other 19th century Scots, Thomas and J. Craig Annan, William Donaldson Clark, William Carrick and John Thomson. Among the 20th century works are Bill Brandt's Gorbals studies, Annie Leibovitz's portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Eve Arnold's Malcolm X, plus Douglas Gordon's self portraits as Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 13th January.

Hidden Art is an ongoing project which brings together East London's designer-makers, studios, galleries and other creative businesses from fashion to furniture. At the 8th annual Open Studios weekends, over 200 designer-makers of tableware, furniture, textiles, jewellery, fashion, glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings and prints will be offering a rare glimpse into their workshops at 68 studios and other venues. Other events include free narrow boats trips on the Regent's Canal between Mile End Park and Broadway Market; craft demonstrations and participatory workshops; an exhibition at The Prince's Foundation of drawings and paintings inspired by local places of interest created by pupils of East London schools; a Craft Market at Spitalfields Market; a Design Fair at Mile End Park. A very comprehensive map and guide is available, together with further information from the Hidden Art web site via the link opposite. Hidden Art continuing - Open Studios on 24th-25th November and 1st-2nd December.


Agatha Christie And Archeology: Mystery In Mesopotamia reveals the hitherto unknown interests and talents of the crime writer, told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these digs are combined with archives, personal memorabilia, souvenirs, cameras, photographs and films made by Christie. Together with first editions of her novels, they show how these discoveries and her extensive travels in the Near East influenced her detective writing. In the forecourt of the museum until 2nd December, visitors will also have an opportunity to explore an original 1920s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express sleeping carriage of the kind used by Christie on her honeymoon, and which featured in one of her most popular stories. British Museum until 24th March.

Words And Things examines the nature of meaning and identity in an age of perfect copies and image manipulation, where information is driving out knowledge. Cheryl Donegan, shows the process of the evolution of a work from video clip to painting; Mark Dion looks at the preservation and display of historical objects at the Hunterian Museum; Simon Starling considers the boundaries between the value of rare design objects and valueless everyday materials; and net art pioneers JODI have stripped away the characters and buildings from the video game Quake to reveal 12 versions of the source code that lies behind them, but which can be played in a wholly different way.

Ed And Ellis In Ever Ever Land is the result of Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen's investigation into the notion of Scottishness. This has been conducted by conversation and correspondence during the two year closure of the Centre for Contemporary Arts for a £10m redevelopment designed by Page & Park. Further information can be found on the CCA web site via the link from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet. CCA Glasgow until 23rd December.

French Drawings And Paintings From The Hermitage presents a selection from one of the worlds greatest but least accessible collections, which contains more than 40,000 items overall. The French section boasts outstanding examples by artists who dominate the history of French art from the 16th to early 20th centuries. The presentation of both paintings and drawings by an artist illustrates how drawing served both as a preparation for a painting and as an independent activity. The 75 drawings and 8 paintings here include works by Clouet, Poussin, Bellange, Claude, Watteau, Boucher, Oudry, Greuze, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Matisse and Picasso. This is the second major exhibition at the London outpost of the Russian museum, which recreates the splendour of the imperial decor of a wing of the Hermitage in miniature, with marquetry floors, 19th century furnishings and chandeliers. Currently only five per cent of its collection of over three million objects is displayed in the former Winter Palace of the Tsars in St Petersburg. Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House until 3rd March.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude focuses on the contradiction that while Victorian Britain was notorious for its prudery, the nude was nevertheless one of the most conspicuous categories of visual image, from mass-produced photographs to Royal Academy paintings. Representation of the nude figure was one of the most controversial issues of the time. Classical allusion was respectable (being considered artistic) but realism, such as a tinted marble sculpture or a contemporary photographic image was taboo. This exhibition surveys the full range of the Victorian nude, both male and female, in painting, drawing and sculpture, and also in photography, popular illustration and film. It includes works by Etty, Leighton, Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Sargent, Sickert and Gwen John. This exhibition marks the opening of the Centenary Development, which is a catalyst for reinvigoration of the entire gallery, with repainting in rich colours and a complete rehang. The £32m project, designed by John Miller and Su Rodgers as a discrete enhancement, rather than a major architectural statement, provides a new entrance in Atterbury Street, with a lobby and shop, giving way to nine new galleries on two levels. Taken together with areas vacated by the international modernists who moved to Bankside, gallery space has been increased by one third. It is now the world's largest display of British art, with 950 works on show, including a number that are on view for the first time in many years. The rehang also provides a fresh and broadly chronological interpretation of the development of art in Britain from 1500 to the present day, embracing painting, sculpture, photography and caricature. Tate Britain - Exposed until 27th January.

The Spanish Civil War: Dreams And Nightmares marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the arrival in Spain of the International Brigades - volunteers from France, Germany, Italy, Britain, America and many other countries. They flocked to support the Republican government in its struggle against the Nationalist forces under General Franco and their German and Italian allies in what has become known as the last romantic war. This exhibition focuses on the personal experiences of soldiers and civilians, and the impact of the war on artists, writers and intellectuals. It includes works by Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Rene Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder, Edward Burra, Robert Motherwell, Cesar Manrique and W S Hayter; photographs by Robert Capa, David Seymour, Agusti Centelles and Gerda Taro (Capa's girlfriend, who was killed in the Battle of Brunete); and Republican and Nationalist posters. In addition there are International Brigades letters, medals, memorials and ephemera; Spanish artefacts, including a coin salvaged from the ruins of Guernica, a campaign map used by Franco, a shirt worn by a Basque solider who was among those killed, fragments of masonry and a bread ration from the siege of Alcazar; letters sent by George Orwell, John Cornford, Julian Bell and Laurie Lee, and news dispatches written by Ernest Hemingway. Imperial War Museum until 28th April.

Painted Ladies: Women At The Court Of King Charles II returns us to the sexual freedom, loose morals and explosion in artistic creative endeavour of the swingin 60s - that's the 1660s not the 1960s, with painters such as Lely and Samuel Cooper, instead of photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan. Hard to believe, but even 350 years later, posters reproducing these paintings have caused such a stir that London Transport has banned them. This is a parade of famous and infamous beauties of the Restoration, one of the widest, most licentious and decadent periods of British history. Here are the Royal brides and daughters, but above all mistresses and actresses, in a variety of stylised guises from goddesses to shepherdesses. Many, including (naturally) Nell Gwyn, appear in multiple portraits, such as Barbara Villiers in studies as both Venus and the Virgin Mary holding up the infant Jesus (actually one of the five children she bore the King). National Portrait Gallery until 6th January.


Nigel Henderson: Parallel Of Life And Art features the work of a key figure in post war British art, straddling the worlds of documentary photography and surrealist inspired collage making. It comprises a selection of the photographs taken in the East End of London in the early 1950s, his experimental 'stressed' photographs, and photograms and photocollages. The centrepiece is a recreation of the exhibition held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1953, which Henderson organised with Eduardo Paolozzi, Alison and Peter Smithson, and Ronald Jenkins. This ground breaking display featured photographs culled from a wide variety of sources - science, technology, nature, art and popular culture - which were blown-up and hung on screens and from the ceiling as well as on the walls, creating a 'total environment' in the exhibition space. Gainsborough's House, Sudbury until 25th November.

Doug Aitken: New Ocean is a new installation by the Los Angeles based artist whose works combines film, video, photography and sound. It seems as though even contemporary art is now going down the theme park experience route. As if spurred on by the recent Dan Flavin light sabre exhibition, the gallery has given Aitken the run of the entire building. He has threaded a water related sequence of filmed images, sounds and photographic works throughout the exhibition spaces and beyond to the lantern on the roof. Visitors enter the building by descending to the basement, where a Poseidon Adventure like jumble of pipes and air conditioning ducts sets the tone. They then emerge through a trap door into the main space, from where successive inter-related son et lumiere experiences develop in all directions at once. With material shot both in 'fictional realities' and actual locations as varied as the Arctic and Argentina, it creates visions of the relentless and dehumanising cycle of existence in a modern global society. Serpentine Gallery until 25th November.

Isamu Noguchi is the first major British retrospective of the Japanese sculptor, stage designer, landscape architect and furniture designer. Noguchi is possibly best known in the UK for his Akari mulberry paper light sculptures, which inspired the shades that graced a million living rooms in the 1960s. Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and American mother, he trained as a cabinet maker in Japan, and then became assistant to sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Paris, before settling in New York. From this background, Noguchi worked throughout his career as an interpreter of the East to the West, moving between art and design, objects and landscapes, figurative and abstract, organic and geometric, and unique and mass produced. Among Noguchi's works were sculptural furniture for Herman Miller and Knoll Associates, gardens for Tokyo University, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the national museum in Jerusalem, bridges in Hiroshima, stage designs for choreographers Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, and collaborations with visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller. Design Museum until 18th November.