News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th January 2002

Commencing

Alfa Romeo - Sustaining Beauty celebrates 90 years of art in engineering, telling the story of how car design and styling has evolved from its early 20th century beginnings. This is illustrated with a display 17 of Alfa Romeo's most famous and prestigious cars, worth over £50m, which have been brought in from the company's museum near Milan. These include the 1750 Gran Sport, in which Nuvolari won the 1930 Mille Miglia, the greatest ever open road race, by overtaking the opposition in the dark with his headlights switched off; the 159 Gran Premio, a single seater in which Manuel Fangio won the 1951 Formula 1 championship title; and the 1952 Disco Volante or 'flying saucer', of which only two were ever built - one of the most visionary car designs of all time (an E type Jag and a half) - suitably suspended from the ceiling for maximum impact. There is a chance to win an Alfa 147 1.6 T.Spark Turismo worth £13,175 at the Science Museum web site, which can be found via the link opposite. Science Museum until 30th April.

Followers Of Fashion: Graphic Satires From The Georgian Period proves that the ludicrous excesses of today's catwalks come from a rich heritage. This exhibition of almost 100 hand-coloured etchings and mezzotints from the British Museum, reveals the outrageous world of high fashion as seen through the eyes of late 18th and early 19th century satirical artists such as Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and Richard Newton. Trends in fashions: gigantic hats, towering wigs, and huge bustles that made it impossible to sit down (and the women were no better) were extreme in exactly the same way as current creations. The difference is that 200 years ago cartoonists would satirise the follies of following the idiosyncrasies of high fashion, rather than slavishly promoting them as today's glossy fashion magazines do. Gillray lived in Old Bond Street and drew what he saw from his window. The widely held opinion then was that high fashion equalled low morals, as though a desire to follow the fashion in some way lured an individual away from a more wholesome lifestyle. Hmm. Hatton Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne until 10th March.

David Burrows, over the last decade, has carved out a particular niche with his 3D floor collages/installations detritus art, creating narrative situations, which he himself has described as "the dregs of an office party". The impact of his pieces is in great part due to the fact that that the violence of the subjects, such as a mountainside plane crash or an accident involving a pizza delivery boy, is at odds with the pop-art aesthetic of the works themselves. These are meticulously cut from his trademark 'foamtastic' sheet foam rubber. The scene here, in his first solo show in the UK, is a Tarrantinoesque lakeside picnic, where even the colours of the water lilies are violent. Alongside the sculptural installation, Burrows exhibits photographic representations of other fabricated scenes, mixing real objects and synthetic spillages, including the aftermath of a rock concert and a massacre at a McDonalds birthday party. A genuinely unique voice not to be missed. f a projects, London, 020 7928 3228 until 23rd February.

Continuing

The Archive Of Lost Knowledge is the antidote to the new 'interactive visitor attraction' style museums-lite, which only seem interested in the touch screen, and actual artefacts appear to be frowned upon. Here, Duncan Mountford has constructed a temporary installation of dimly lit corridors, with skeletons in cabinets, and an atmosphere of Victorian gloom and experimentation, which even quotes from H G Wells The Time Machine: "Everything had long since passed out of recognition . . .". Plundering museum vaults for curiosities, Mountford recreates a gothic experience - all very Jeykell and Hyde - giving the past an opportunity to reveal its hidden stories. The Yard Gallery, Nottingham until 17th February.

Treasures Of The British Library is a permanent display of over 200 of the most important items from the collection in three new galleries. It includes documents which made and recorded history, sacred texts from the world's religions, masterpieces of illumination, landmarks of printing, great works of literature and music, and major advances in science and mapmaking. The items on display include: Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Gutenberg Bible, the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, the original version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a notebook of Leonardo da Vinci, and the original manuscript of Handel's Messiah. Turning The Pages, an award winning computer interactive programme, allows visitors to examine these documents in detail, turning the pages of a book or unrolling a scroll simply by touching a screen. There is also a selection from the National Sound Archive collections of over two and a half million recordings, which range from drama and music performance, through historic events and interviews, to wildlife. The British Library continuing.

The Vaughan Bequest Of Turner Watercolours, comprising thirty eight works from throughout JMW Turner's career, makes its annual appearance. When London art collector Henry Vaughan made the bequest in 1900, it was with the stipulation that the watercolours not be subjected to permanent display, since continual exposure to light would result in their fading. Further, he ruled that the collection could only be shown in January, when daylight is at its weakest and least destructive level. Despite the fact that modern technology now enables the light levels to be monitored and controlled at all times, the annual January exhibition has become a tradition, which this year celebrates the centenary of the bequest. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 31st January.

Light Motifs: An Aomori Float And Japanese Kites is a spectacular display of traditional illuminated lanterns and kites as only the Japanese know how to create them. The centrepiece is a Nebuta, one of the giant lantern floats decorated with dramatic scenes, which are paraded through the streets of Aomori in northern Japan during a fire festival each August. It has been specially constructed at the museum by Takashi Kitamura and a team of ten people from Aomori. A Nebuta is a wood and wire structure covered with paper, inside which between 500 and 800 light bulbs are installed. It is then decorated with ink and paint, with melted paraffin wax used to provide a barrier between the colours and to create a translucent effect. The themes illustrated in the floats are taken from historical, religious and folk tales, but also contain visual puns referring to current events. Some 5 to 10 metres high, they have articulated flaps at the top that are lowered to pass under street signs and cables. Anything up to sixty floats form a procession, which is accompanied by musicians and dancers. This exhibition also includes kites of all sizes and shapes, including one so huge that it takes twenty people to launch it. British Museum until 3rd March.

Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief is an exhibition of caricatures, cartoons and satires looking at fashionable 18th century life in Bath. Some of the greatest caricaturists of the Georgian period came to the city to create paintings and prints based on their observations of society at play in the Pump Room, Assembly Rooms, and out and about in the streets. People associate Georgian Bath with Jane Austen, taking the Waters, and genteel restrained behaviour, but this is only part of the story, as the city was also a place full of vice, rife with prostitution and gambling. Thousands of visitors came to Bath, never staying for long, and the fluid, ever changing social scene offered opportunities for people to behave as they liked, away from the watchful eye of their families and neighbours. Their immoral and foolish goings on provided a wealth of material for the artists. A wide variety of Bath caricatures, from Thomas Rowlandson's riotous series 'The Comforts Of Bath' to Bunbury's genteel dancers of 'The Long Minuet', plus works by Gillray, Cruikshank and others are displayed here. Victoria Art Gallery, Bath until 6th February.

Web Wizards: Designers Who Define The Web looks at one of the most dynamic areas of contemporary design - web design, spotlighting the new generation of design stars who dominate this fast-moving field. Idolised within the web community, yet little known outside it, designers like Joshua Davis, Daniel Brown and Yugo Nakamura have created the most innovative web sites of recent years. As well as dominating design on the web, their influence extends to many other areas of visual culture. This exhibition traces the history of the digital image by exploring landmarks in computer and games design, and offers visitors the opportunity to play vintage games. For those who baulk at the idea of digital design in a museum, the museum web site includes a Digital Design Gallery with designer profiles, newly commissioned works, and designers in conversation. The Design Museum web site can be found via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. Design Museum until 21st April.

Concluding

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. Tate Britain until 27th January.

Milton H Greene was a photographer from the golden age of Hollywood, when stars were stars, and glamour was the name of the game. As suave and sophisticated as his subjects, Greene began as a fashion photographer for Life magazine, but went on to become one of the leading portrait photographers of the day. Accepted as part of the movie community, he was granted off set access to stars such as Bacall, Grant, Hepburn and Sinatra, whose private moments he recorded. Most important of all was Marilyn Monroe, many of whose best known images were captured by Greene. This selection of his work provides a definitive portrait not just of the movie elite in the 1950s, but of the Hollywood dream at its apex. Photographer's Gallery, London until 25th January.

ART2002, the 14th London Art Fair, aims to bring contemporary art out of the gallery and into the world of ordinary people - at realistic prices. It's the biggest event ever, with stands from over one hundred galleries, offering the more approachable work from new artists (no dead animals) covering art of every kind including painting, drawing, photography, limited edition prints and one off sculptural pieces. Artists range from the biggest and most collectable names to the newest faces, with prices starting at £100. You may spot a star of tomorrow and make your fortune by reselling, but you probably have to be Charles Saatchi to do that. Alternatively you may find something you like at a price you can just about afford. Further information can be found on the London Art Fair web site via the link from the Others Festivals & Events section of ExhibitionsNet. Business Design Centre, Islington 16th to 20th January.