News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th March 2011


Grant Museum Of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. After 8 months of packing, design, construction, unpacking, screwing skeletons together and reorganising 68,000 dead animals, it has started a new life in at a new location in an Edwardian former library. Founded in 1828 as a teaching collection, the museum retains an air of the avid Victorian collector, packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid. A number of the species featured are now endangered or extinct, including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo. Many of the exhibits were collected personally by Robert Edmond Grant, a professor who taught zoology to Charles Darwin. The collection includes a selection of spectacular glass models made by the Blaschka family in the late 1800s, specimens collected by Thomas Henry Huxley, and Victor Negus's bisected heads, which are both arresting and beautiful (and reminiscent of the work of the artist Damien Hirst). Whilst maintaining the unique atmosphere of its amazing crammed displays in its former location, this version of the Grant questions what a museum should be and starts discussions about issues in the life sciences today. With a large portion of its cases asking visitors how museums should run and how displays should be designed, there are interactive exhibits that inform how the museum will be rebuilt in a few years time. UCL Rockefeller Building, 21 University Street, London WC1, continuing.

A Collector's Eye: Cranach To Pissarro provides an opportunity for the public to see paintings from a private collection spanning 15th century devotional images to 19th century French Impressionist landscapes. As well as being an exhibition of great breadth and depth of style and time periods, it is also a story of how a collection grows and develops, and how the taste of the collector changes and diversifies. The Schorr Collection was assembled by private collector David J Lewis. It has been built up over the last 35 years and now numbers over 400 paintings. Among the 64 paintings in the exhibition are Lucas Cranach's 'Lamentation over dead Christ', El Greco's 'St John the Evangelist', Rubens's 'Battle of the Amazons' and 'Allegory of the River God Maranon', Guidi Reni's 'The Evangelist St Mark', Salvador Rosa's 'A Philosopher', Delacroix's 'Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain', Camille Pissarro's 'Pommiers dans une prairie', and Sisley's 'Autour de la foret, matinee de juillet' and 'Port-Marly sous la neige'. The exhibition pays tribute to the visual and intellectual curiosity of a collector whose acquisitions now form one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings amassed in England since the Second World War. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 15th May.

Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers Of The Downtown Scene, New York 1970s examines the experimental and often daring approaches taken by three leading figures in the rough-and-ready arts scene that developed in downtown Manhattan during the 1970s. Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance, and the city provided a powerful context for their work. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the New York into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors, and by building a vibrant arts community. The exhibition brings together around 160 works by Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark, many rarely seen before, with some presented for the first time outside New York. Featuring sculptures, drawings, photographs, films, documentation of live performances and mixed media works, posters and other ephemera, the exhibition focuses on the intersections between their practices and explores their mutual concerns - performance, the body, the urban environment and found spaces, and an emphasis on process and experimentation. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 22nd May.


Afghanistan: Crossroads Of The Ancient World features some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Afghanistan, with precious and unique pieces on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, which currently undergoing reconstruction. The geographical position, overland connections and history ensured that Afghanistan, at the centre of the Silk Road, enjoyed close relations with its neighbours in Central Asia, Iran, India and China, as well as more distant cultures stretching as far as the Mediterranean. The exhibition features over 200 stunning objects, ranging from Classical sculptures, polychrome ivory inlays originally attached to imported Indian furniture, enamelled Roman glass and polished stone tableware brought from Egypt, to delicate inlaid gold personal ornaments worn by the nomadic elite. Together they showcase the trading and cultural connections of Afghanistan and how it benefited from being at the crossroads of the ancient world. All of these objects were found between 1937 and 1978 and were feared to have been lost following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the civil war which followed, and the rule of the Taliban. The earliest objects in the exhibition are part of a treasure found at the site of Tepe Fullol, which dates to 2000 BC, representing the oldest gold objects found in Afghanistan, showing how it was already connected by trade with urban civilisations in ancient Iran and Iraq. The later finds come from three additional sites, dating between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD. These are Ai Khanum, a Hellenistic Greek city on the Oxus river and on the modern border with Tajikistan; Begram, a capital of the local Kushan dynasty, whose rule extended from Afghanistan into India; and Tillya Tepe, (Hill of Gold), the find spot of an elite nomadic cemetery. British Museum until 3rd July.

Land Ladies: Women And Farming In England, 1900 - 1945 reveals the often overlooked story of women in British farming in the first half of the 20th century. Scientific innovation, technological change, and mechanisation in the late Victorian period have helped to create the impression that farming was a 'manly' business, but women have always worked in farming. This exhibition examines the work undertaken by women in the fields, farmhouses, and farmyards of England from 1900 until the end of the Second World War. The focus is on the different branches of agricultural production where women were employed, including dairying, poultry, and horticulture, as well as examining the growth of education and training for women in these areas. It shows how organisations such as the Women's Farm and Garden Association and the Women's Institute helped to promote farm work for women and protect the rights of those women who worked on the land. The exhibition comprises an array of objects from original Women's Land Army uniforms to domestic butter and cheese-making appliances, industrial produce machinery to basketry, and WI banners to egg transport boxes, together with an extensive photographic archive, showing the reality of farming: dirty, unglamorous and very hard work. The Museum Of English Rural Life, University of Reading, until 19th April.

Census & Society: Why Everyone Counts explores how the census has influenced views of society, and how it has in turn been shaped by the values and priorities surrounding its implementation. From the first modern attempt to introduce a census to England in 1753, the idea has generated interest and strong emotion. The census has always been an occasion for satire, subversion and resistance. The exhibition looks at some of these controversies, and some of the ways in which the census has been used as an opportunity in wider political campaigns. It describes the people and works surrounding early calls for a more detailed population count, including the first edition of Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and John Graunt's Natural and Political Observations, written some hundred years earlier. The reporting of census results provided new challenges in statistical representation, and encouraged new ways of thinking about the public presentation of data, resulting in examples of 19th century innovation such as Augustus Petermann's population density map, one of the earliest of its kind. The exhibition includes examples of data from censuses alongside materials which illustrate how life in Britain is changing, and the issues of most concern in the fields of families and households, health, employment and migration. It features photographs, maps, charts, public information broadcasts and cartoons, alongside insights from the census data itself. British Library until 29th May.

Jan Gossaert's Renaissance celebrates the Flemish artist's decisive role as an artistic pioneer, bridging the gap between the Northern and Southern Renaissances and paving the way for Low Country artists of the future. Jan Gossaert was one of the most startling and versatile artists of the Northern Renaissance. A pivotal Old Master, Gossaert changed the course of Flemish art, going beyond the tradition of Jan van Eyck and charting new territory that eventually led to the great age of Rubens. The exhibition includes more than 80 works, placing Gossaert in the context of the art and artists that influenced his development. It brings together many of his most important paintings, including 'The Adoration of the Kings', 'Virgin and Child', 'Hercules and Deianeira' and 'Saint Luke Painting the Virgin', with drawings, prints and sculptures by contemporaries such as Albrecht Durer, Jacopo de'Barbari and Lucas van Leyden. The story of Adam and Eve fascinated Gossaert, and the exhibition includes various examples of how he explored the erotic nature of the relationship between the first couple in some exceptional - almost unprecedented - paintings and drawings over the span of his 30 year career. Another highlight is the reuniting of a triptych for the first time since it was painted in the early 16th century, with centre panel 'Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane' joining its exterior wings 'Saint Jerome Penitent'. Gossaert had a remarkable ability to represent the lifelike appearance of individuals, and his close study of physiognomy and extraordinary handling and execution of paint set him apart from his contemporaries in this genre. He also played intriguing spatial games, creating figures that seem to emerge from the confines of their frames, examples of which include 'An Elderly Couple', 'Portrait of a Merchant', 'Portrait of Anna van Bergen' and 'Portrait of Henry III of Nassau. National Gallery until 30th May.

Secret Egypt allows visitors to investigate the truth behind some of the most popular myths about ancient Egypt. The display brings together over 200 objects from some of the most important Egyptian collections in Britain, some of which have not been on public display before. Exhibits include a granite colossus statue of Ramases II from the British Museum, a rare sandstone head of Queen Nefertiti from the Ashmolean, crocodile mummies from Bolton Museum and a gold pendant from Manchester Museum, discovered by archaeologists in the hands of an ancient robber trapped in a collapsed tomb. The show examines the Egyptian belief system surrounding the protection and endurance of the physical body, the truths of how the pyramids were constructed, how the process of mummification was conducted, the logic of the design and decoration of the burial chambers, the thinking behind the inclusion of the funerary objects for use in the afterlife, and how the Egyptian civilisation came to an end. At the climax of the exhibition visitors are invited to explore a recreated tomb, to ponder why the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. The display includes an offering chapel and a mummy of a woman called Perenbast, an example of the care and respect given during the preparations for passing into the eternal life. Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 5th June.

London Street Photography showcases candid images of everyday life in the streets of the capital. From sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs taken on bulky tripod-mounted cameras to 21st century Londoners digitally 'caught on film', over 200 images explore how street photography has evolved from 1860 to the present day. The exhibition also examines the relationship between photographers, London's streets and the people who live on them, and reflects on the place of photography on London's streets today as anti-terrorism and privacy laws grow ever tighter. The show brings together the works of 59 photographers including: Valentine Blanchard, who experimented with a small-format stereoscopic camera in 1860s London to produce the first photographs of busy city streets in which everything in motion was arrested in sharp definition; Paul Martin, who pioneered candid street photography in the early 1890s, when he began using a camera disguised as a parcel to photograph people unawares; Horace Nicholls, an early independent press photographer whose photographs of well-to-do Edwardians at leisure are particularly revealing; Henry Grant, a freelance photojournalist who photographed London's changing streets from the 1950s to the 1980s; Roger Mayne, who sought to record a way of life as he photographed a rundown area of North Kensington before it was redeveloped in the 1960s; and Paul Trevor, whose photographs of Brick Lane in the East End from the early 1970s are a unique record of the area before large-scale immigration and gentrification wrought their changes. Museum of London until 4th September.


Norman Rockwell's America is the first ever exhibition in Britain of work by America's best known and best loved illustrator for over 6 decades of the 20th century. Astonishingly prolific, Norman Rockwell is best known for the 323 covers he created for the Saturday Evening Post, but he also painted countless other magazine illustrations and advertisements, capturing images of everyday American life with a humour and power of observation that spoke directly to the public, whose love for his work never wavered. These good natured, often very funny, occasionally sweetly sentimental images, picturing America as he wished it to be, rather than as it perhaps was, gave rise to an adjective, 'Rockwellesque', which in some critics' minds became something of a dirty word. But Rockwell's output was not all sugar and spice - he recorded political events, portrayed presidents, and on occasion painted searing images in support of the civil rights movement. Although Rockwell himself was happy to be described as 'an illustrator', his illustrations were executed with considerable technical skill in oils, and these original paintings have increased dramatically in value since his death in 1978, and recent years have seen a critical reassessment of the importance of his work. This exhibition provides a comprehensive look at Rockwell's career, including every single cover of the Saturday Evening Post, created between 1916 and 1963, along with some 30 original paintings, and illustrations for advertisements, magazines and books. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 27th March.

Shelley's Ghost: Reshaping The Image Of A Literary Family tells the story of one of the most renowned literary families in Britain: Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary Shelley, and Mary's parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. The exhibition charts the history of a family blessed with genius but marred by tragedy, spanning three generations: from Godwin's and Wollstonecraft's months as lovers and their brief marriage between 1796 and 1797; through the 8 years Shelley and Mary spent together from their elopement in 1814 to Shelley's sudden death in 1822; to the lives of the Shelleys' only surviving child, Sir Percy Florence Shelley, and his wife Jane, Lady Shelley. The story is often tragic, but also one of remarkable creative achievement. It is told with letters, literary manuscripts, rare printed books and pamphlets, portraits and relics. Highlights include Shelley's notebooks with original versions of some of his greatest poems; Richard Rothwell's portrait of Mary Shelly; Shelly and Mary's elopement journal; a letter from John Keats; sketches of sailing boats by Shelly; Mary Shelly's dressing case, with original engraved silver topped bottles and boxes; Shelly's quill pen, pocket watch and chain, seals and spyglass; William Godwin's diary; a guitar given to Jane Williams by Shelly and the poem he sent with it; the family baby rattle, used by Shelly; a draft of Shelly's sonnet 'Ozymandias'; a ring containing John Keats's hair; a copy of Amelia Curran's portrait of Shelly; Harriet Shelly's suicide letter; Shelly's last letter to Mary; a draft of The Triumph of Life, Shelly's final poem; and the original manuscripts of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', including the scene when the creature comes to life. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 27th March.

Tutankhamun - His Tomb And His Treasures breaks new ground in the presentation of cultural history - 'virtual archaeology'. It is a complete recreation of the tomb of the Egyptian God King Tutankhamun, as it was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. Visitors experience the wonder of over 1,000 burial artefacts - perfect replicas produced under the scientific supervision of renowned Egyptologists - in the space in which they were buried 3,300 years ago, and close enough to touch. The tomb contained not only the coffin of the king, but also golden shrines, statues, jewellery, cult objects, chests, chairs, amulets, weapons, a golden chariot, and the jars that contained the king's preserved organs, as well as the legendary golden death mask. These items were intended to equip the young Pharaoh on his journey to the afterlife. Owing to the delicate and immensely valuable nature of original historical artefacts, removing them from the safe and carefully controlled confines of a museum environment presents huge risks, no matter how much care is taken, and increasingly, many historic treasures can no longer even be viewed in museums. So, instead of displaying a mere handful of the original treasures locked away at a distance behind glass barriers, in this exhibition it is as if visitors are actually reliving the events of the historic excavation, and viewing the world famous treasures as though they were there themselves. In addition, there is a display about how Howard Carter made the discovery of the tomb. Museum of Museums, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, until 26th March.