News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th November 2007


Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs see the return of treasures from the 3,000 year old tombs in Valley of The Kings in Egypt for the first time since 1977 at the British Museum, Britain's first blockbuster show. The new exhibition, twice the size of earlier one, includes some 130 treasures from the royal burial chambers, many of which have never before travelled outside Egypt, although the famous gold and blue mask is not among them. There are however, many splendid artefacts, including Tutankhamun's golden diadem, the gold crown that encircled the head of his mummified body; the gold and precious stone inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his internal organs; a golden statue of Duamutef, responsible for protecting the mummified body; an inscribed ivory game board for 'senet', associated with life and the afterlife; a gold ceremonial dagger and sheath found in the mummy wrappings to protect him during his journey to 'The Fields of the Blessed'; a blue glass headrest, inscribed with a protective spell; some of the 365 gilded and painted wood Shabiti workman figures (one for every day of the year) placed at the king's bidding; together with Tutankhamun's child sized ebony, ivory, and gold throne; and gold coffins and funerary masks and objects belonging to other Pharaohs. A special section of the exhibition explores the mystery of Tutankhamun's death, using CT scanning technology, and a life-sized bust, made using data from these scans, allows visitors see the face of the young Pharaoh for the first time. The Bubble at The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10, until 30th August.

Back To The Future: Sir Basil Spence 1907 - 1976 is a retrospective of the eclectic career of the architect who, in the post Second World War building boom alone, designed a nuclear power station, an airport, the first of the 'new' universities and a cathedral, amongst many other projects - all of which looked forward to their users' future needs. The exhibition comprises over 200 works, with materials from the Spence archive, many never previously seen by the public. The show features a wide selection of original drawings, sketch books, designs and models, together with samples of materials and artefacts recovered from the projects, as well as period films showing the buildings in their original condition, giving a complete picture of Spence's design process. Among the projects featured are the university of Sussex in Brighton; the Household Cavalry Barracks in Knightsbridge; the extension to the parliament building in Wellington, New Zealand; pavilions at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow 1938 and Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada; individual country houses together with landmark housing schemes in the Gorbals in Glasgow and Canongate in Edinburgh; libraries at the University of Edinburgh and Swiss Cottage in London; and Coventry Cathedral, with related artworks by Jacob Epstein, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 10th February.

The Painting Of Modern Life is the first major survey exploring the use and translation of photographic imagery, one of the most influential developments in the last 50 years of contemporary painting. The exhibition comprises some 100 paintings by 22 artists, displayed chronologically. Beginning in the 1960s, when artists such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Richard Artschweger began making paintings that translated photographic images taken from newspapers, advertisements and snapshots, it shows how photography has influenced not just the content, but also the technique of painting. The widespread use of monochrome by painters such as Vija Celmins and Luc Tuymans, Richter's use of a wet brush to 'blur' paintings and his meticulous reproduction of a flashbulb light, and snapshot like white boarders framing the works of Richard Hamilton and Malcolm Morley, all deliberately alluded to photography, while David Hockney and Franz Gertsch drew on their own photographs. Highlights include: Andy Warhol's 'Race Riot' and Big Electric Chair'; Gerhard Richter's grieving Jackie Kennedy in 'Woman with Umbrella'; David Hockney's portrait of Ossie Clarke and Peter Schlesinger, 'Le Park des Sources, Vichy'; Richard Hamilton's 'Swingeing London', with Mick Jagger under arrest for drugs possession; Elizabeth Peyton's 'new royalty' in 'Mendips' and 'Arsenal, (Prince Harry)'; and Peter Doig's 'Lapeyrouse Wall' painted from a camera phone image. Hayward Gallery until 30th December.


Renaissance Siena: Art For A City presents a different angle on Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, viewing it in the artistic, cultural and political contexts of the last century of the Sienese Republic. The exhibition brings together around 100 objects, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, manuscripts and ceramics, covering a period from about 1460 to 1530. It demonstrates the distinct qualities of Sienese painting, drawing and sculpture, adding up to an elegant, expressive and visionary style of art, formed during a period of power shifts within the city itself. Because their work did not fit comfortably into Florentine inspired ideas of what the Renaissance should look like, even the greatest Sienese artists of this period, such as Francesco di Giorgio, Domenico Beccafumi, Benvenuto di Giovanni, Matteo di Giovanni, Luca Signorelli, Neroccio de' Landi and Pintoricchio, remained little known outside the Republic. Here they are revealed to be very much the equals of the Florentines. Highlights include Matteo di Giovanni's 'Assumption' altarpiece from the Asciano, with all three parts reunited for the first time in centuries; Di Giorgio's sculpture 'Male Nude with a Snake' (Aesculapius, the god of medicine) and painting 'Saint Dorothy and the Infant Christ'; a series of ancient heroes and heroines originally painted for a noble marriage by all the leading painters of the 1490s, brought together again from all over the world; and a group of works by Beccafumi, which originally hung in a palace bedchamber of one of Siena's leading citizens, reunited for the first time since 1600. National Gallery until 17th February.

Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years Of Rankin And Rebus looks at the history of John Rebus, the fictional detective, and his author Ian Rankin, following the publication of the final novel in the series. The exhibition explores Ian Rankin's development as a writer and his process of writing; the character arc of John Rebus; the key part that the city of Edinburgh has played in the books; the various factors that have made the Rebus stories such a success; how police procedures and forensic science have changed over the past two decades; and in addition, the history of the Lothian and Borders Police. Among the diverse exhibits are Ian Rankin's first scribbled notes on the character (made in the library itself), his old computer, the manuscript of the first Rebus novel; manuscripts of works by other writers who have used Edinburgh as an integral part of their novels, from Sir Walter Scott, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to James Hogg; copies of Rankin's favorite and inspirational books; audio clips of Rankin reading from his work - and of his abortive punk band the Flying Pigs; the mysterious miniature coffins from the National Museum of Scotland that inspired a Rebus book; a recreation of Rebus's 'home turf', the Oxford Bar; excerpts from the recent Rebus television series; and assorted police memorabilia, including the death mask of William Burke (of grave-robbers Burke and Hare fame). Visitors can also put their own detective skills to the test in solving a murder mystery. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 13th January.

Weapons Of Mass Communication: War Posters explores the relationship between advertising, publicity and government propaganda and policy, from the First World War onwards. The exhibition examines how the greatest designers and advertisers of the day tried to influence the wills of soldier and civilian alike. In the early part of the 20th century, the best posters were always striking, memorable, direct and often beautiful, but they served to carry the most potent of government messages. By the latter part of the 20th century, the poster had become a significant tool of protest and counter-culture, with shocking and sometimes satirical protest posters used by Peace, anti-Nuclear and anti-Vietnam campaigners. The exhibition includes some 300 works, from the iconic images of Alfred Leete's Lord Kitchener recruitment poster, and Savile Lumley's 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?', and previously unseen works by pioneering German graphic artists such as Julius Gipkens, Ludwig Hohlwein and Abel Faivre, through Spanish Civil War posters by artists Pedrero and Josep Renau, and the different approaches and themes adopted by each of the allies and Germany during the Second World War, to landmark protest works, such as 'Stop Nuclear Suicide' by FHK Henrion and Peter Kennard's 'No Cruise Missiles Here', and the influential, contemporary graphics of Leon Kuhn and David Gentleman. Imperial War Museum until 30th March.

An American Passion For British Art: Paul Mellon's Legacy marks the centenary of the birth of one of the world's greatest collectors of British art, with a selection of major works from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art. It provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience some of the finest works of British art from the 15th to early 20th centuries. The exhibition features more than 150 works, including prints, drawings, paintings, rare books and manuscripts, with many objects that have not been seen in Britain they were purchased. Among these are early Americana and exceptional rare books and manuscripts including works by William Blake. Items range in scale from miniatures by Hilliard and small scale works on paper, to large scale oil paintings. The representative collection of great British watercolours includes paintings by JR Cozens, Thomas Girtin, Richard Parkes Bonington and Paul Sandby. The oil paintings featured comprise works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Stubbs Constable, Canaletto, Hogarth, and Turner - including his outstanding marine painting, 'Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed' on view in the UK for the first time since it was purchased in 1966. Royal Academy of arts until 27th January.

Laura Ford: Rag And Bone is a newly created group of sculptures inspired by characters from the stories of Beatrix Potter. Ford creates installations that are both magical and macabre, working with a variety of materials, from fabric and other found objects, to more traditional materials such as plaster and bronze. She stitches lifesize children from materials often regard as homely, like chintz or gingham, but they have no faces, and she often adds a further disturbing twist by deforming them. Similarly, duvets become hunchbacked old women, and sleeping bags become shuffling tramps. Thus the works here, childlike and playful, belie more serious issues as the figures stand out in the cold, homeless and hungry. Some of Potter's best known characters are set to surprise: Badger is searching through the dustbin for food, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the hedgehog, is a bag lady, pushing a laden pram overflowing with all her belongings, Tod, the fox, wrapped in blankets, is a reminder of the homeless sleeping in city streets. The sculptures comment on the parallel worlds that exist in towns and cities, the sanitised spaces of consumerism, and the homeless and disenfranchised who often exist on their margins. By casting characters from Edwardian children's tales in contemporary urban situations, Ford asks questions about a throwaway culture, while the sentimentality of Potter's original stories is given a far darker undercurrent. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate until 2nd December.

The World As A Stage is an exhibition that explores the relationship between visual art and theatre. It brings together a group of 16 international contemporary artists, and comprises a selection of large installations, sculptures, performances, films, participatory works and events. The theme is the extent to which a sense of theatre, or spectacle, has an impact upon the visitor's experience. The centrepiece is Rita McBride's 'Arena1997', a fibreglass sculpture in the form of stadium seating, which is being used to stage live performances during the exhibition. Other artists featured are Pawel Althamer, Cezary Bodzianowsky, Ulla von Brandenberg, Jeremy Deller, Trisha Donnelly, Geoffrey Farmer, Andrea Fraser, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jeppe Hein, Renata Lucas, Roman Ondak, Markus Schinwald, Tino Sehgal, Catherine Sullivan and Mario Ybarra Jr. Different elements of theatre - backstage, actors, props and audience - are considered in relation to art and exhibition making. Works are displayed both inside and outside the exhibition space, drawing attention to the theatrical nature of the everyday, and incorporating the viewer into the work, as both willing participant and oblivious performer viewed by others. So watch - and watch out. Tate Modern until 1st January.


At Home: Portraits Of Artists From The Royal Academy Collection explores the rich variety of representations of artists in the Academy's collection, built up since its foundation in 1768. The works range from C R Leslie's tiny, intimate picture of his friend John Constable, via A G Walker's depictions of studio life, to grand formal images such as Giuseppe Ceracchi's bust of Reynolds, George Frederic Watts's portrait of Lord Leighton, and Charles West Cope's magnificent Victorian group, 'The Council of the Royal Academy', depicting eminent Royal Academicians selecting works for the Summer Exhibition of 1875. Alongside these are Thomas Gainsborough and John Bellany's revealing self-portraits, Joshua Reynolds's depiction of his theatrically dressed studio assistant Giuseppe Marchi, and an early portrait of Laura Knight by her husband-to-be, Harold Knight. The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of artists' public and private lives, aspirations and achievements, and holds up a mirror to the inner life of the Academy itself as a home from home for British artists over the last 250 years. Royal Academy of Arts until 27th November.

Zaha Hadid: Architecture And Design is the first full scale retrospective in Britain of the work of Zaha Hadid - once referred to as 'the world's greatest unbuilt architect'. Though this was the fate of many of her early projects, her practice, now 20 years old, has grown to a team of 100, and a rush of projects are coming to fruition. In the last year, Hadid has opened two substantial buildings in Germany: a car factory for BMW and the Phaeno Science Centre (shortlisted for the 2006 RIBA Stirling Prize). Both have triumphantly demonstrated her ability to translate the essence of her virtuoso spatial invention in solid form. Now she is busy working on projects all over the world, ranging from masterplans in Singapore and Istanbul, to an opera house in China, a museum in Rome, and a skyscraper in Dubai. This exhibition combines renderings, models and computer images of both the earlier unrealised designs - including the infamous Cardiff Opera House project - together with her recently completed buildings, and proposals for new projects, such as a transport museum in Glasgow, and the Aquatic Centre for the 2012 Olympics in Stratford. In addition, the display also includes Hadid's interior furnishing designs, from the black crystal 'Swarm' chandelier that greets visitors, to paintings, sculptural furniture and vases. Design Museum, London until 25th November.

Dan Shipsides: Radical Architecture offers Dan Shipsides response to the ideas about public access to - and interaction with - landscape, promulgated by 19th and 20th century figures such as social critic John Ruskin, activist Benny Rothman (instigator of the 1932 Mass Trespass over Kinder Scout) and avant-garde climber Joe Brown. Shipsides makes art from rambling in the countryside, but unlike Richard Long, who 'rearranges' nature into art as he goes, Shipsides recreates it indoors when he gets home. Shipsides has visited significant sites in the Peak District that were made accessible and internationalised by the pioneering vision of the aforementioned individuals, and has used the experience to create a climbable sculpture, based on a rock climb at The Roaches. A fragmentary text, 'Angels Wall', gives a taste of the installation's strenuous physicality and multifaceted cross referencing. It is accompanied by drawings and images based around other rock climbs in the Peak District. Alongside are works by Ramsey Richard Reinagle, John Ruskin, and Grete Marks, giving the background to the radical outdoor movements of the 19th and 20th centuries that inspired Shipsides. Presumably this is what makes it art - rather than just a climbing wall you would find in an activity centre. Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, until 25th November.