News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th February 2005

Commencing

Turner Whistler Monet examines the influences and relationship between three giants of nineteenth century art - JMW Turner, James McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet - each of whom changed the course of landscape painting. Whistler and Monet were friends and both acknowledged the profound influence of Turner, adopting and working their own variations on themes developed by their artistic predecessor. Turner's atmospheric effects, often reflecting the smoke and fog filled air caused by pollution, gave rise to Whistler's Thames 'Nocturnes', in which he chose to veil the ugliness of industrial London by painting it at night, and both Turner and Whistler informed Monet's revolutionary paintings that contributed to the development of Impressionism. This exhibition focuses on their water paintings, with over 100 views of the Thames, the Seine and the city and lagoon of Venice, often with the sun piercing through the haze of post industrial pollution. It is a rare opportunity to see works that were highly controversial in their own day, but are now seen as some of the most poetic and evocative images ever produced. They employ the full range of media - oils, watercolours, pastels, etchings and lithographs - and are often in series, where the artist has returned to the same view to capture it under different lighting conditions. Tate Britain until 15th May.

Andy Warhol Self Portraits is the first exhibition to be devoted entirely to Warhol's presentation and manipulation of his own likeness. One of the first artists to appropriate imagery from advertising and other expressions of consumer culture, particularly Campbell's Soup, Brillo and Coca Cola, and the creator of iconic portraits of post war celebrities from politics to show business, such as Mao-Tse Tung and Marilyn Monroe, Warhol's works have become the best known images of their period. This show brings together 85 of Warhol's self portraits, from his earliest youthful paintings and drawings of the 1940s, to gaunt, hollowed cheeked images made in 1986, shortly before his death. In assessing how he created the facade of his public persona in all its manifestations - paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, film and even wallpaper - and technicolor variety, with wigs, make up and accessories, it attempts to find the real Warhol beneath (always supposing there was one). It also suggests one of the things that the facade was trying to block out: a fear of death, particularly after he was shot by a writer who had appeared in his films. This manifests itself in images in which he includes a skull, or is being strangled by the hands of an unseen assailant, and appears in his final works, where he is staring out like a disembodied death's head. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 2nd May.

You Are Here: The Design Of Information examines how we communicate without words, exploring the history of information design, and decoding the ingenious use of visual information that guides us through our daily lives. From medieval pilgrim maps, 18th century orreries and Florence Nightingale's pioneering use of diagrams in relaying information to the military authorities during the Crimean War, to today's weather maps, medical models, planetaria, pictograms, aircraft instrument panels and explosion of digital imagery on computers, televisions and phone screens, this exhibition celebrates innovative and inspiring examples of visual information systems that have helped us to understand our world. It includes pioneers both familiar and unknown, from the 16th century, such as Robert Recorde, the man who invented the = sign, through the 18th century, with William Playfair's invention of the pie chart, and the 19th century, with Charles Booth's innovative colour coding system in his Poverty Map of London, to the work of modernist heroes, such as Herbert Bayer, Ladislav Sutnar and Buckminster Fuller, and totems of daily life, like Harry Beck's iconic 1930s London Underground map (from which most transport system maps are derived) and Jock Kinneir's 1960s British motorway signage system. Design Museum until 15th May.

Continuing

The Churchill Museum is a new £13.5m museum at the Cabinet War Rooms dedicated to the life of Winston Churchill, housed within the rooms that provided shelter for the British Prime Minister and his government during the Second World War. These rooms have been kept just as they were left at the end of the six years of war. The 10,000 sq ft museum combines cutting edge technology, with rare historical objects and thousands of images, film and sound recordings, to tell the private and public story of Churchill's ninety year life. Visitors enter into an area telling about Churchill as war leader, and can then move forward in time to when he was a statesman during the cold war, and back to his early years and exploits as a soldier in South Africa, before embarking on his long political career. In addition to materials already in the possession of the Imperial War Museum (of which this is a part) artefacts have been lent or given from institutions around the globe. These aim to show the man as well as the statesman, and include Churchill's distinctive siren suit and bow tie, and even school reports, love letters, cigar butts and his controversial dentures. A major feature is The Lifeline, an electronic interactive display in the form of a table over 20ft in length. Visitors are able to see what Churchill was doing and what was happening in the world at various points from 1874 until 1965. The information is made up from scanned documents, photographs and sound, and makes full use of the Churchill papers from Churchill College Cambridge. The Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms continuing.

The View From Manchester: Don McPhee is the first solo exhibition of work by the Guardian photographer, covering his 33 year career at the Manchester office of the newspaper. McPhee recorded Manchester life over the decades, whilst using the city as a base to capture defining moments in Britain and around the world. His photographs demonstrate a gentle humanity as well as technical accomplishment. McPhee started work on local newspapers in Stockport, Southend and Norwich, before joining an agency in York that supplied pictures to the Guardian. In 1970 he joined the Guardian as a staff photographer and has worked there ever since. There are around fifty photographs in the exhibition, most of them black and white. Subjects include a striking miner in a toy policeman hat confronting a line of policemen, pensioners lying on Blackpool beach fully clothed (including raincoats and caps) and Nelson Mandela campaigning for election in South Africa. McPhee's work has taken him all over the UK and much of the wider world, including India, South Africa, America, Israel, Hong Kong and Moldova. He has always relished the freedom to look at the world from an individual angle, and often been canny enough to ask the obvious question the reporter forgot. Manchester Art Gallery until 3rd April.

Antony Caro surveys over fifty years work by of one of Britain's - and the world's - greatest living sculptors. Having started with figurative pieces in the 1950s, it was the abstract constructions in painted steel that Caro began to make in 1960 that heralded a revolution in the way sculpture was made and understood. He abandoned conventional methods, such as carving in stone or wood, or modelling in clay and then casting in plaster or bronze. In their place, he used pieces of scrap steel - girders and sheet metal - which he bolted and welded together, and then painted in bright colours, the first of which was 'Twenty Four Hours', and best known 'Early One Morning'. Breaking with the principle of displaying sculpture on a pedestal, Caro's work stood directly on the ground with the viewer. Nothing like it had existed before, and these developments overturned ideas about the subject, materials and appearance of sculpture. He then went on to turn this on its head, by making smaller pieces of 'table sculpture', whose delicacy fed back into his lager works such as 'Orangerie' and 'Sun Feast'. From the 1980s onwards Caro increasingly used media other than steel, including bronze, brass, wood, ceramic and even paper. In recent years his work has become more architectural, culminating in the major installation 'The Last Judgement' recreated here. Caro's most recent work, 'Milbank Steps' a formation resembling a ziggurat, was made especially for this exhibition. Tate Britain until 17th April.

Lee Miller: Portraits is a collection of images from the life of the woman whose path was one of 'poacher turned gamekeeper turned conservationist'. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed photographer, first of fashion, and then on the battlefield. Her relationships with Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, and painter and collector Roland Penrose, placed her at the heart of 20th century artistic and literary circles, and in a career spanning more than three decades, she came into contact with an astonishing range of people. Many of these became her friends and the subjects of her penetrating portraits, including Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Fred Astaire and Marlene Dietrich. This exhibition presents more than 120 black and white portraits, including intimate studies of friends and lovers, as well as poignant portraits of women engaged in a variety of wartime occupations from her time as Vogue's war correspondent during the Second World War. In 1944 Miller flew to Normandy, sending back photographs and written reports from the front as she witnessed historic events including the siege of St Malo, the Allied advance, the liberation of Paris, the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau and the destruction of Hitler's mountain retreat. Throughout her career Miller never lost her Surrealist eye and her incisive portraits make characteristic use of doors, mirrors, windows and other architectural features as devices to frame and isolate the subject. National Portrait Gallery until 30th May.

Richard Wentworth is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date devoted to the British sculptor, with work in many media from the last thirty years, as well as new pieces made especially for this show. Since the late 1970s Richard Wentworth has emerged as one of the key figures in radically transforming the way people think about sculpture and works of art. Wentworth finds his materials in the everyday world, from things and thoughts already ready made, and consequently he has been dubbed 'the Oxfam artist'. Whether isolating an image of this existing world in one of the thousands of photographs that constitute the ongoing series 'Making Do and Getting By', or combining, transforming or manipulating found objects not normally associated with art, such as dictionaries, sweet wrappers, books, plates and buckets into his sculptures, Wentworth offers a new awareness of the everyday. Objects as much as ways of mind are disrupted and subverted, allowing the thousands of tiny gestures and things that constitute the world around us to be read in new and unexpected ways, often on an unaccustomed scale or in unexpected materials. Works featured include 'False Ceiling', 'Spread' and 'Mirror Mirror'. Tate Liverpool until 24th April.

The Triumph Of Painting sees a complete clearout of advertising guru turned art taste maker Charles Saatchi's collection. All the Brit Art installations have been uninstalled and flogged off, and in their place comes paint on canvas - two dimensional is back. An exhibition staged in three slices - part two comes in June and the final part in October - it claims to be a survey of 21st century painting (despite the fact that a good portion comes from the 1980s and 1990s. Comprehensive doesn't begin to cover it, with a staggering 36 artists to be represented in part three (including Toby Ziegler, who I thought was just a fictional character in The West Wing). The works currently on show in the labyrinth of rooms, passages and cubby holes include landscape, figurative and abstract, mostly very brash, often sharing the preoccupations of the 'Sensation' generation of artists, with some on a heroic scale. The only thing that they really have in common is that they're generally judged to be not very good. Martin Kippenberger, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Jorg Immendorff and Hermann Nitsch (whose blood spatter canvasses turn out to be paint after all) are the guilty persons. The Saatchi Gallery, London until 5th June.

Concluding

Disraeli - A Man Of Many Parts marks the bicentenary of the birth of Benjamin Disraeli, one of the most influential figures of Victorian Britain, with an exhibition that endeavours to illuminate key aspects of his life, career and character.His critical role in shaping Victorian England, his politics and literary aspirations, his complex relationship with his Jewish origins, as well as his intriguing relationship with Queen Victoria, are examined through cartoons, documents, letters, books and original artefacts. The ambience of Disraeli's study in his house, Hughenden Manor, has been recreated with its books, furniture and family portraits. Disraeli was twice Prime Minister, instituted a series of important social reforms, and was formative in shaping the ideology of the modern Conservative party, while maintaining a parallel career as a prolific novelist. His flamboyant persona - the complete antithesis of his political rival Gladstone - which he astutely adopted to further his political ambitions, masked the much more sensitive and romantic nature revealed in his novels. Disraeli was not known by his contemporaries as The Sphinx for nothing. An accompanying programme of lectures and events draw upon the many components of Disraeli's life and career. The Jewish Museum, London until 27th February.

Faces In The Crowd - Painters Of Modern Life From Manet To Today turns on its head the presumption that all forward movements in 20th century art were through abstraction, by exploring modernity through realist art. Taking Edouard Manet as its starting point, and moving through figures such as Rene Magritte, Umberto Boccioni, Pablo Picasso, Eduardo Paolozzi, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman, this exhibition traces a history of avant-garde figuration. In doing so, it presents a story that is just as radical as that of the abstract. Manet's vividly realist scenarios or Jeff Wall's cinematic tableaux offer a compelling snapshot of the modern. By contrast, Edvard Munch or Francis Bacon present a tortured or exhilarated inner life. Whereas for Alexander Rodchenko, Joseph Beuys or Chris Ofili, the figure can be a harbinger of change: symbolic, revolutionary or transgressive. This exhibition includes not only painting, but also sculpture, photography and the moving image, with each work pivotal to the story of Modernism. Representations of the human figure are seen as expressions of modernity, becoming ciphers for the experience of modern life; as images of modern life, picturing both the epic and the everyday; or as agents of social change, where avant-garde realism proposes new world orders. Whitechapel Gallery until 27th February.

Wigan Casino: The Heart Of Soul is an exhibition featuring artwork, memorabilia, photographs and videos intimately connected with what was voted 'Best Disco in the World' by American music magazine 'Billboard' in 1978. It boasts original objects and previously unseen photographs courtesy of the DJ Russ Winstanley, who founded the Casino's legendary 'all-nighters', and even the sounds of those 'all-nighters' - complete with hand clapping - recorded live in the Casino in 1975. Complementing this is Granada television's controversial 1977 documentary, 'This England', directed by Tony Palmer. Soul fans themselves have contributed memories and memorabilia, including original badges, which were a great feature of the time, and clothing. In addition, new works by local artist David Barrow aim to give visitors a taste of what it was like to be inside Wigan Casino in its halcyon days. The exhibition also explores the wider history of the former Empress Hall, which opened in 1916, and quickly became a popular dancing venue. It attracted many famous acts during the 1950s and '60s, including American rock 'n' roll legends. In 1965 it was re-launched as the Casino Club and went on to host to such acts as the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and David Bowie, before becoming THE Northern Soul venue from 1973 until its closure in 1981. The building was demolished in 1983 to make way for a civic centre, which was never built. History Shop, Wigan until 26th February.