News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th December 2009


Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill examines how, over a period of 10 years from 1905 to 1915, the radical impact of the work of three young sculptors transformed British sculpture. This is the first time that works by Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill have been shown together in this revolutionary context. The exhibition explores the body of work executed by the three sculptors, and draws on the major themes that impressed upon them: sex, fertility, the human condition, the machine age, and the impact of war. The idea of wildness lay at the centre of their revolution, looking far beyond classical art to gain inspiration from what Gaudier-Brzeska called "the barbaric peoples of the earth". The works convey the momentous sense of change taking place in London and the world at the start of the 20th century. The show contains more than 90 works, featuring mainly sculptures, drawings and pastels. With a gallery dedicated to the work of each artist, it focuses on their key achievements, and reveals their impact on British sculpture. The show brings together spectacular works, including Epstein's robotic masterpiece 'Rock Drill'; Gaudier-Brzeska's innovative carving of 'Birds Erect', and the geometric 'Redstone Dancer'; and Gill's controversial carving of the sexual act 'Ecstasy', and the anatomically explicit nude woman 'A Roland for Oliver/Joie de Vivre'. The exhibition also examines the relationships between the three artists and some of their close friends. The Royal Academy of Arts until 24th January.

The Art Of Steampunk explores the phenomenon that creates an imagined sci-fi world and alternative history out of late Victorian invention. The Steampunk concept is described as 'a melding of late 1800s aesthetic with scientific discovery and otherworldly technology'. It is a sort of twist on the work of Jules Verne, H G Wells and Mary Shelley (plus a large slice of Heath Robinson). The exhibition features the work of 18 strangely named 'imagineers' from around the world, with an eclectic mix of exhibits, including computers redesigned by Datamancer from America; brass goggles by Mad Uncle Cliff from Australia; 'The Complete Mechanical Womb' by Molly 'Porkshanks' Friedrich; weird watches by Vianney Halter from Switzerland; 'Beauty Machine', in which a woman suffers the attentions of a robot that has gone beyond the limits of usefulness, by Stephane Halleux from Belgium; a Victorian style 'EyePod' by Dr Grymm; James Richardson-Brown's 'Ambulatory Intercommunication Device', combining bits of plumbing with a mock-ivory cameo; and Kris Kuksi's 'Anglo-Parisian Barnstormer', a mixture of Viking longboat, aeroplane, horse-drawn carriage and Eiffel Tower. The show is divided into two categories: the practical and the fanciful, and it encompasses everything from the dark and eerie, through the humorous, to the sublime. Oxford Museum of the History of Science until 21st February.

Experiments In Colour: Thomas Wardle, William Morris And The Textiles Of India focuses on a remarkable collaboration between a Victorian textile entrepreneur and the leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Together, Thomas Wardle and William Morris experimented with natural dyes and printing techniques, and their interest in colour led them to a joint fascination with the textiles of India. Their shared passion for reviving natural dye techniques involved both historical research and practical experimentation. Wardle travelled extensively in India observing and collecting samples, while Morris studied the collections at the South Kensington (now the Victoria and Albert) Museum. After a long process of trial and error, they succeeded in creating colours of a far superior quality to the chemical dyes being used in 19th century Britain. The exhibition explores the fruits of this partnership, which won both men international renown, and represents a unique moment in the history of British textiles. William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, London E17, until 24th January.


Frank Auerbach: London Building Sites 1952 - 1962 is the first exhibition to explore the extraordinary group of paintings of post war London building sites by one of Britain's greatest living artists. Fascinated by the rebuilding of London after the Second World War, Frank Auerbach combed the city's numerous building sites with his sketchbook in hand. Back in his studio he worked and reworked each painting over many months, resulting in thickly built up paint surfaces of more than an inch. This exhibition reunites the complete series of 14 building site paintings, together with rarely seen oil sketches, and a number of recently rediscovered sketchbook drawings. Auerbach's subjects included many of the major construction sites of the period, such as the Time and Life Building in Bruton Street, the rebuilding around St Paul's Cathedral, the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, and the Shell Building on the South Bank - London's first 'skyscraper'. Two exceptionally powerful paintings, 'Maples Demolition' and 'Rebuilding the Empire Cinema', mark the end of the series. They epitomise how Auerbach vividly translated chasms of mud and shored-up earth, cranes, scaffolding and the workmen of the building sites, into paintings that capture a powerful sense of the destruction and reconstruction inherent in the redevelopment of London's bomb sites. His heavily worked, thick surfaces, express the material character of the sites, a painted equivalent of the mountains of earth and rubble being excavated and reshaped across the city. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 17th January.

Garry Fabian Miller: The Colours features work of one of the leading figures in a small band of international photographers investigating the possibilities of camera-less photography - in essence, the interaction of light and light-sensitive paper. Garry Fabian Miller's works have more in common with the tradition of abstract painting than with proper photography. Looking back at pioneers of photographic experiment in the 1830s and 1840s, and to early 20th century artists such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, Miller has created his own visual language, producing unique, one-off prints that condense light and colour into spectacular images. However, the delicate balance between the art and science of these methods has come into clear focus in the past few years, as the all important raw material - light sensitive Cibachrome paper - has come under threat from the digital age. Artists such as Miller have had to stockpile materials and re-think their practice as the manufacturers of their precious paper go to the wall. This exhibition reflects his gradual adaptation to the culture of new electronic media, yet the pure aesthetic charm of his often large-format, dreamlike geometries remains. These remarkable photographs, embracing the possibilities of pure, liquid colour, are shown here for the first time. Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until 30th January.

Revolution On Paper: Mexican Prints 1910 - 1960 is the first exhibition in Europe focusing on the great age of Mexican printmaking in the first half of the 20th century. Between 1910 and 1920 the country was convulsed by the first socialist revolution, from which emerged a strong left-wing government that laid great stress on art as a vehicle for promoting the values of the revolution. This led to a pioneering programme to cover the walls of public buildings with vast murals, and later to setting up print workshops to produce works for mass distribution and education. Some of the finest of these prints were produced by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, known as 'los tres grandes'. The best known print is Rivera's 'Emiliano Zapata and his Horse', which has achieved iconic status. Other prints, including Rivera's portrait of Frida Kahlo, Siqueiros's 'Dama Negra', and Orozco's 'The Masses', demonstrate the breadth, imagination, and quality of the work. There is a wide range of material, with single-sheet artists' prints, posters with designs in woodcut or lithography, and illustrated books on many different themes. The exhibition also includes earlier works from around the turn of the century by Jose Guadalupe Posada, who was adopted by the revolutionaries as the archetypal printmaker working for the people, and whose works included macabre dancing skeletons. The Taller de Grafica Popular was formed in 1937 by Luis Arenal, Leopoldo Mendez and Pablo O'Higgins as a graphic arts workshop influenced by communism, and Angel Bracho's striking red and black poster 'Victoria!', celebrating the allied victory over the Nazi's, is a key example of the TGP's anti-Fascist stance. British Museum until 28th February.

Medieval And Renaissance Galleries have undergone a £30m redesign by architects MUMA, redisplaying more than 1,800 objects from the period AD300 to 1600. Ten galleries, occupying an entire wing of the building, will, for the first time, present the collections in continuous displays to tell the story of European art and design from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance. The displays are chronological, and each gallery has its own narrative, highlighting themes, stories, historical figures and important patrons, such as the Emperor Charlemagne and the Medici family. Among the highlights are an entire gallery devoted to the work of 15th century Italian sculptor Donatello; Luca della Robbia's 12 glazed terracotta ceiling roundels from Piero de' Medici's study of 1450; the 17th century choir screen from the Cathedral of St John at 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands; the most splendid of the enamel caskets dedicated to St Thomas Becket; the Symmachi Panel, one of the finest surviving ivories from the Late Antique period in Rome; the elaborate 12th century Gloucester Candlestick; the Lorsch Gospels Cover, one of the largest and grandest ivory medieval book covers to have survived from the Court of Charlemagne; the gold and enamelled 15th century Merode Cup, with scenes of ostentatious display related to hunting, dining and courtship; an 11th century statuette of the Virgin and Child, which is the only Byzantine ivory figure to be carved entirely in the round; and the Boar and Bear Hunt, one of the Devonshire

Hunting Tapestries, the only great hunting tapestries to have survived from the

15th century. Victoria & Albert Museum, continuing.

Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain celebrates the bicentenary of the pioneer landscape painter and innovator with watercolour. Paul Sandby played a key role in promoting the appreciation of spectacular scenery across Britain, and inspired many later travellers and artists. The exhibition features over 100 items, including oil paintings, watercolours, gouaches, prints and sketchbooks. Early in his career Sandby was draughtsman in the Military Survey, based in Edinburgh, and produced numerous ground breaking landscape and genre studies. These works became well known through prints, and began the tradition of depicting the drama and beauty of Scottish landscape, which was later developed by artists such as Runciman, Nasmyth, More and Turner. Works in the exhibition from this period include 'Roslin Castle', 'Horse Fair on Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh' and part of the 'Great Map of Scotland' of around 1753. Sandby then settled in London, became a founder member of the Royal Academy, and made many highly finished watercolours and gouaches at Windsor, including 'View of Windsor on a Rejoicing Night of 1768. He delighted in the study of rural and urban views, street scenes, royal parks and ancient castles, and always retained an interest in fascinating anecdotal details, which embrace the fashions, occupations and entertainments of the people he encountered. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 7th February.

Identity: Eight Rooms, Nine Lives looks at how science has attempted to determine human identity, and how we ceaselessly try to determine our own sense of self. The exhibition explores contributions made by diverse individuals spanning the worlds of science, the arts, and history, who have provided a fuller understanding of what distinguishes each one of us, as well as a set of challenging questions about our own sense of our individuality. It is framed around eight rooms, each showcasing the life and work of an individual or individuals whose lives or achievements have influenced our thinking about human identity. The individuals are: Sir Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist who developed the technique of DNA profiling; April Ashley, one of the first people in Britain to undergo gender reassignment; Claude Cahun, who created a remarkable series of photographic self-portraits during the 1920s and 1930s; Fiona Shaw, the actress who roles have included Shakespeare's Richard II; Sir Francis Galton, who is credited with the invention of fingerprinting; Franz Joseph Gall, a 19th century pioneer of phrenology; The Hinch Family, who have had twins in their family for three generations; and Samuel Pepys, whose detailed private diary is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Wellcome Collection, London, until 7th April.


Mind Into Matter: Eight Exemplary Buildings 1834 - 2009 looks at eight buildings chosen at 25 year intervals since the foundation of the Royal Institute of British Architects, which illuminate architectural practice during the last 175 years. New photographs by Nigel Green, together with original drawings, plans, models, photographs and other archive materials, tell the story of how each building came to be built, for symbolic as well as practical reasons. The buildings are: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London, by Charles Barry; Oxford University of Natural History, by Deane and Woodward; Clouds House, East Knoyle, Wiltshire, by Philip Webb; St Mary, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, by Ninian Comper; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, by Mendelsohn and Chermayeff; The Economist Plaza, St James's Street, London, by Alison and Peter Smithson; Royal Mail Mechanised Letter Office, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, by Aldington, Craig and Collinge; and British Embassy, Warsaw, Poland, by Tony Fretton. The inclusion of a timeline, which points up important political, social and cultural events, provides a global context in which to understand the buildings. There will no doubt be controversy that none of Britain's megastar architects is represented (presumably they fell out of the 25 year register) but there can be no question about the inclusion of the building in which the exhibition is being held.

Matthew Holding: Sons Of Pioneers features new sculptures and collages inspired by the utopian zeal of modern architecture. Drawing on the relationship between intersecting materials and planes, contrasting geometry is framed by bold primary coloured Perspex, which casts a Californian sunny glow over split lever condo-like exteriors and interiors.

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, until 3rd January.

The Sound And The Fury: The Power Of Public Speaking dips into the National Sound Archive, which is home to every conceivable variety of human speech, from spoken poetry, prose and drama, through transcribed and quoted speeches in the in the press, to the oral testimony of ordinary people from all walks of life. This exhibition offers a historical review of the art and the power of public speaking in all its forms, with audio drawn from over a century of recorded sound, accompanied by images from the national newspaper collection. The essence of the art of oratory is the art of persuasion, of converting an audience to a strongly held personal belief, and the recordings and images presented here document every shade of the political and social spectrum, from Florence Nightingale, Gladstone and Lloyd George in the earliest years of recorded sound, to some of the most iconic, intriguing and amusing speeches of recent decades. Impassioned social protest is a recurring theme, with Allen Ginsberg addressing a crowd on the plight of imprisoned White Panthers leader John Sinclair; American comedian Dick Gregory speaking at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen had shot and killed four student protesters; and Matthew Parris speaking on gay rights at Cambridge University Union. From more recent years there is Salman Rushdie, speaking at the ICA on the day his book had been publicly burned in Bradford and withdrawn from its shops by WH Smith; and the writers Tom Stoppard and Martin Amis standing up for Rushdie at the Stationers Hall in London. The British Library until 31st December.

50 Years Of The Mini marks the 50th anniversary of the first of Alec Issigonis's iconic British cars to roll off the production line - priced at £500. The exhibition tells the story of the design, production and development of the car that was a symbol for the Swinging Sixties, and shows how the Mini became part of our social history as a nation, as Mini's were owned by people in all walks of life, from Mr Bean to Princess Margaret. More than 5m were built, with production of the original design finally ending at Longbridge in October 2000. The display includes not only complete and partial vehicles themselves, but original designs, manufacturing documentation, photographs, archive film and promotional materials. Highlights include some of the best known examples of the vehicle, including the first Morris Mini produced at Cowley in 1959; the last classic Mini to be manufactured in 2000; Paddy Hopkirk's 1964 Monte Carlo winning Mini 33EJB; the BMC 9X hatchback - a unique prototype designed by Issigonis as a possible replacement for the Mini; and the latest BMW Mini, currently being manufactured in Oxford. Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire, until 23rd December.