News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th April 2008

Commencing

The American Scene: Prints From Hopper To Pollock features spectacular images of American society and culture made during a period of great social and political change from the early 1900s to 1960. Featuring 147 works by 74 artists, the exhibition includes the work of John Sloan, George Bellows, Benton Spruance, Josef Albers, Louise Bourgeois, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. The exhibition encompasses the arrival of modernism following the landmark Armory Show of 1913, the rise of the skyscrapers as the symbol of modern progress and prosperity, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and the effect of the rise of Fascism in Europe on artists' political consciousness and engagement and America's entry into the Second World War. There were many striking images produced during this period, some of them have become iconic within America, but are still relatively unknown outside. Highlights include evocative scenes of New York at night by Edward Hopper, Martin Lewis and other etchers working between the wars; a contrasting romanticised vision of the American Midwest in the work of Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood and Doris Lee; and socially conscious prints by Robert Gwathmey, Blanche Grambs and Dox Thrash made during the Depression, through the Federal Art Project, which provided relief to unemployed artists. British Museum until 7th September.

Colin St John Wilson: Collector And Architect celebrates the legacy of Wilson through both his architectural achievements, and as the owner of one of the most important private collections of 20th century British art. The collection, amassed over a lifetime, was given to the gallery for which he designed the recently opened new wing, which houses it. The exhibition brings together for the first time many of Wilson's drawings, models and writings from some of his greatest architectural projects, from the British Library, possibly the last great public building of such scale that we shall ever see (and the building of which he used to refer to as his "30 years' war") to the simple Pallant House Gallery itself. It coincides with a major rehang of the Wilson Gift, with works by Wilson's contemporaries Michael Andrews, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, R B Kitaj, Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton, as well as major figures including David Bomberg, William Coldstream and Walter Sickert. Photographs and ephemera documenting the studios designed by Wilson's wife and partner M J Long for several of the artists represented are also on display. The exhibition focuses on three key aspects of Wilson's career: The Early Years, and his participation in the 1956 exhibition This Is Tomorrow at the ICA, widely recognised as a watershed moment in post war British art; The Cambridge Years, when he lectured at Cambridge and became increasing influenced by Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto; and The London Years, resulting in his own personal legacy, the British Library. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 8th June.

Amazing Butterflies explores the life cycle of some of the world's most beautiful creatures in a giant maze, tropical butterfly house, and butterfly garden. The interactive maze takes visitors on a journey from egg to caterpillar, and chrysalis to butterfly, shrinking them to the size of a caterpillar, so that they can experience what it is like to have to navigate past the perils of predatory spiders and sticky plant traps. Those that survive emerge from a chrysalis, and take flight on a zip slide aerial runway. In the butterfly house there is a hatchery, where butterflies constantly emerge from their pupa, and join the hundreds of butterflies and moths from North and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia fluttering freely among the exotic plants. Around 40 species with wildly different colourings and markings are on view, including the Glasswing butterfly, which has transparent wings, and the Madagascan moon moth, which has the longest tail of any moth. Finally, outside, there is a garden planted with the flowers that are best for attracting butterflies that are native to Britain, together with seasonal butterfly visitors. Meanwhile, inside the museum itself, there over 8 million preserved butterflies and moths, including representatives from about 90,000 species, with specimens dating back as far as 1680. Natural History Museum until 17th August.

Continuing

Thomas Hope: Regency Designer showcases the work of one of the most influential designers and patron of the arts in Britain in the early 19th century. Thomas Hope played an important part in establishing the Regency style, reinterpreting ancient classical forms, and incorporating them into contemporary interiors. He opened his townhouse in Duchess Street, described as "the finest specimen of true taste in England", in order to educate British taste. This exhibition recreates the atmosphere of three of the rooms: the Vase Room, which displayed Hope's collection of ancient Greek and Roman vases in specially designed and decorated shelves and cabinets; the Egyptian Room, which combined ancient Egyptian antiquities with modern pieces of Egyptian inspired furniture, in a setting that used the pale yellow and blue/green of Egyptian pigments, relieved by black and gold; and the Aurora Room, designed as the setting of Hope's 'Aurora and Cephalus' statue, which evoked the sensation of dawn, through walls covered in mirrors, edged with black velvet, over which were draped curtains of black and orange satin. Also on display are watercolours and drawings of his country house Deepdene, alongside the original sculptures and furniture exhibited there, including an Egyptian revival chair, designed by Denon, and a neo-antique tripod table by Hope. In addition, the exhibition looks at Hope's role as a collector and patron, through the sculpture, paintings and furniture he commissioned, including Antonio Canova's statue 'Venus', and busts of Hope and his family by Bertel Thorvaldsen and John Flaxman. There is also a display of Hope's watercolours of classical sites and scenes of contemporary life in Greece, Turkey and Egypt, visited during his Grand Tour, together with his numerous publications on architecture, design and costume. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd June.

Henri Cartier-Bresson's Scrapbook: Photographs 1931 - 1946 is a unique insight into the work of one of the world's greatest photographers, which has been enormously influential on succeeding generations. Cartier-Bresson is particularly renowned for the purity of his methods, capturing his subjects at the point during which all the elements of a scene come together in a meaningful way. At the end of the Second World War - during which he was taken prisoner - Cartier-Bresson carefully printed and mounted a scrapbook of over 300 photographs, representing the first half of his career as a photographer. They were conceived as an initial selection for a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a show that would catapult Cartier-Bresson onto the world stage and bring him international recognition. These photographs documented both his extensive travels, and his encounters with Surrealism and modern art. Some of the last photographs that he printed himself, they represent the most richly creative period in his career, and contain some of his most familiar and enduring images. All the original photographs have now been brought together and are on display for the first time in Britain. In the 1990s Cartier-Bresson began to remove most of the prints from the album, but a few original pages remained, and are shown in the exhibition, alongside reproductions of their reverse side, and the original scrapbook cover. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 1st June.

Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings explores the impact of the original 'Bluestocking Circle', a group of celebrated women writers, artists and thinkers who forged new links between gender, learning and virtue in Britain in the 1700s. These women were not just intellectually brilliant, they were exceptional, both for their individual accomplishments and for breaking the boundaries of what women could be expected to undertake or achieve. The exhibition combines some 50 works, including famous paintings by Romney, Kauffmann, Ramsay, Vigee-LeBrun and Robert Adam, rediscovered portraits, satirical prints and silhouettes, together with personal artefacts of members of the circle, such as letters, poems and diaries. Most spectacularly, there is an enamel and gold 'friendship box', commissioned to commemorate the intense emotional bonds between four youthful bluestocking friends, whose portraits it features. The display also considers the way a wider range of women, inspired by the model of the bluestockings, created a public profile for themselves. Portraits of the artist Angelica Kauffman, historian Catharine Macaulay and early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, reveal how women used portraiture to advance their work and reputations, in a period that began with the Enlightenment and ended with the onset of the French Revolution. Although the bluestockings made a substantial contribution to the creation and definition of a national culture, their intellectual participation and artistic interventions have largely been forgotten. This exhibition reveals the history and significance of the bluestockings and their culture. National Portrait Gallery until 15th June.

Doctor Who Exhibition is the largest staged so far, featuring over 100 models, props, costumes and monsters that have appeared in the programme since its regeneration three years ago. Sadly, rather than a history of the series from its beginnings in 1963, with classic monsters from each of the four decades, it is rather more a marketing exercise for the new series. Nevertheless, nasties such as the Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Slitheen, the Face of Boe, an Ood and K9 (not to mention Kylie Minogue's frock), plus of course Daleks, including the latest version actually flying, together with a close up view of the creature inside, make it worth a visit. In addition there are video clips and design drawings, as well as a life-size replica of the TARDIS itself (both inside and out). The high tech surroundings in which they are displayed include walls that light up and a video floor. There will also be some new creatures added from the new series as it unfolds and they make their appearance - although few will I suspect be as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Museum Hall, Earls Court, London until 19th September.

Body Space explores the use and representation of clothing in contemporary art, and investigates the relationship between dress and personal identity, including ideas around gender, sexuality, normalcy, culture, status, and revelation versus concealment, as well as dress used as an extension of the body or psyche. Whereas the use of clothing in art became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the rise of feminism and the Women's Movement, today, its representation explores broader notions around personal identity. Susie MacMurray and Rhian Solomon explore the weight of guilt and external pressure put upon women to conform to an ideal body shape and weight; Susan Stockwell looks at British identity through dresses made from stained paper dress making patterns, coffee filters, maps and tissue; Stephen Craighill examines clothing as a means of conformity; and Suzanne Langston-Jones shows how clothing, on and off the body, can be used to create illusions and narratives, with her garments conjuring up childhood fairy stories and fantasies. A highlight of the exhibition is Yinka Shonibare's video of Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) telling of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792 through dance, in which costume is used to highlight the ambiguity of identity and gender. Tullie House Museum And Art Gallery, Carlisle, until 4th May.

Artful Practice: Architectural Drawings By Richard Norman Shaw RA reveals how Norman Shaw changed the face of English architecture in the last third of the 19th century. Working in the spirit of local vernacular building traditions, rather than to the letter of textbook historicism, he paved the way for the free style of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. Shaw's domestic work in particular touched with unerring instinct the Victorian imagination, creating homes and offices that were not only well planned for their owners to live and work in, but were also buildings to which the man in the street could feel an emotional tie. Although he was born in Edinburgh to an Irish father and Scottish mother, probably no other architect since Wren can claim to have defined more clearly for his time the Englishness of English architecture. A particular feature is the nautical flavour of some of Shaw's buildings. Half-timbered walls and gables, mullioned windows, sweeping roofs and high chimneystacks all symbolise a promise of shelter, but they also echo the wooden hulls, poop decks and towering masts and sails of the great ships upon which England's commercial prosperity had always depended. Developers of suburban housing have endlessly recycled Shaw's redefinition of English architecture well into the present time. A sense of the impact that Shaw wanted his work to have on posterity can be gained from the series of pen and ink perspectives that he put into the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in the 1870s and 1880s, now on view there again. Royal Academy of Arts, until 25th May.

Concluding

Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution In Photography is the first major retrospective of one of the great figures of early 20th century avant-garde art, and one of its most versatile practitioners. After gaining an international reputation as a painter, sculptor and graphic artist, Rodchenko turned to photography in the early 1920s, convinced that it would become the artistic medium of his era. Featuring over 120 original prints and photomontages, together with posters and magazine designs, this exhibition traces the development of Rodchenko's photography over a period of two decades, during which he created many classic works of Russian and world photography. Pioneering a new vocabulary of bold and unusual camera positions, severe foreshortenings of perspective, and close up views of surprising details, Rodchenko's photography balanced formal concerns with an interest in the social and political life of the Soviet Union. Whether making individual portraits, studies of modern architecture and industry, or pictures of mass demonstrations and entertainments, Rodchenko infused his images with a startlingly dynamic point of view that influenced the growth of an experimental aesthetic in European photography of the late 1920s and 1930s. Applying the principles of Constructivism to photography, Rodchenko employed oblique angles, and used bird's eye and worm's eye points of view, to make buildings, people and machines look like abstract compositions. The exhibition explores life on the streets of Moscow, sports parades and the Soviet obsession with healthy body culture, the spectacle of the circus, and portraits of fellow artists. Hayward Gallery until 27th April.

Juan Munoz: A Retrospective is an assessment of the work of the Spanish artist who came to international prominence in the mid 1980s with dramatic sculptural installations that placed the human figure in specific architectural environments, and who is now widely regarded as of one of the foremost contemporary sculpture and installation artists. The exhibition comprises over 90 works, including several previously unseen pieces, alongside Munoz's signature sculptures and installations, series of drawings, and collaborative sound and performance pieces. Munoz's reputation was built on his ability to create tension between the illusory and real, the contrasting acts of looking and receiving, and the poignant isolation of the individual among a group or crowd. His installations are both dramatic and theatrical, using scale and perspective to inflect the viewer's encounter with the work. Among the highlights are 'If Only She Knew', an iron house-like structure raised on skinny supports and containing a carved stone female figure surrounded by several wooden male figures seemingly trapped under a peaked roof; 'The Persian carpet of Minaret for Otto Kurz', a welded iron structure placed on a carpet looking like a map of a city; 'Many Times' comprising 100 figures, identically dressed and with similar Asian features, forming a dense crowd; 'Seated Figures with Five Drums', a group wholly engaged with each other and with their drums; 'Shadow and Mouth' two figures creating a sinister atmosphere, reminiscent of a film noir scenario; some of the 'Raincoat Drawings' series, made with chalk and ink on blackened gabardine-raincoat fabric, portraying sparsely furnished rooms, often including glimpses of doorways leading to similarly desolate spaces; and a number of sound-based works made in collaboration with composer Gavin Bryars, novelist and art historian John Berger and musician Alberto Iglesias. Tate Modern until 27th April.

Utagawa Hiroshige: The Moon Reflected is an opportunity to see the woodblock prints of famous Japanese landscapes by the 19th century Japanese artist. This exhibition features the series of prints, 'Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces', Hiroshige's first attempt to produce landscapes in the unusual vertical format, and 'Thirty-six Views of Fuji' - stylistically quite distinctive, although made using the same traditional woodcutting technique - as well as a number of sketchbooks, and the famous 'Snow', 'Moon' and 'Flowers' triptychs. These works, assembled from three separate prints, epitomise Hiroshige's vision, extraordinary for their breadth and ambition. The artist's last series, exhibited here, 'One Hundred Famous Views of Edo', was originally intended to be 100 prints, but there are more, due to popular demand, with imagery featuring fascinating details amidst a range of evocative landscapes. Rivers, hills, bridges and temples are depicted in these compositions, each work revealing their different aspects depending on the weather, time of day and season. In these works Hiroshige uses to extreme his disconcerting techniques of radical cropping of the image, and a dominating foreground object - such a tree - that almost obscures the landscape, supposedly the subject of the print, so that the viewer is not quite sure what s/he is looking at. Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, until 26th April.