News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th December 2003


Foreign Office Architects: Breeding Architecture is the first British exhibition of the work of the architectural practice founded ten years ago by Alejandro Zaera Polo and Farshid Moussavi. Hailed as the "coolest architects in the world" by The Times, they are the most successful practitioners of their thirtysomething generation. Based in London, they have a global reach, with landmark projects commissioned or realised in cities as various as New York, Tehran and (their greatest claim to fame so far) Yokohama, where they won a competition against a field of 600 worldwide submissions. FOA is dedicated to the exploration of contemporary urban conditions and construction technologies. Their irregularly shaped, intriguingly patterned buildings, like those of Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind, aim to actively contribute to the activities that take place within them. This exhibition not only explores their projects, and the particularities of each city in which they have been built or are planned, but also examines the range of influences on their work, including music, film and literature, and provides a critical insight into the office's internal 'operating system'. During the course of this year FOA has been commissioned to design the new BBC Music Centre in White City, and chosen as part of the multi-national consortium creating the master plan for London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Institute of Contemporary Arts until 29th February.

Follow A Shadow centres on that magical process described by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography, as 'the art of fixing a shadow'. In collaboration with installation artist Geraldine Pilgrin and lighting designer Chahine Yavroyan, Simon Warner has created a film installation that combines objects, lighting and image to transform two galleries into a counterpoint of black and white - an allegory for both the silhouette and photography's positive and negative. Warner's dual environments evoke the lost world of the 19th century silhouette portraitist, including custom made reproductions of the curious and long obsolete silhouette chair. Projected within the installation, Warner's film takes visitors on a journey through the origins of photography, tracing a brief history of the shadow. The central character re-enacts the legend of Korinthea, the Greek maiden who outlined the shadow of her departing lover on the wall, and thus became the first recorded portraitist. It recasts the legend in photographic terms, using photosensitive chemicals and paper to 'capture' the fleeting shadow of a figure in a life size silhouette portrait, and a selection of these is included elsewhere in the exhibition. The installation traces the destiny of the silhouette not to the realism of the lens based photographic image as we know it, but to an alternative and archaic Victorian demi-monde of peep shows, zoetropes and magic lanterns. Impressions Gallery, York until 14th February.

Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past is the first major national exhibition of British archaeology in over twenty years, and features many treasures on public view for the first time. It shows how much chance archaeological discoveries have revolutionised the understanding of our past, and celebrates the role of the general public in discovering treasures over the centuries, from farmers ploughing fields to present day metal detector users. Major items on display include the Mildenhall treasure of Roman silver, the 12th century Lewis Chessmen, the Hoxne hoard (the largest collection of Roman gold, silver, jewellery and coins found in Britain), the Ringlemere Bronze Age gold cup, the Winchester Iron Age gold jewellery, the Amesbury Archer and the Fishpool hoard of Medieval gold coins and jewellery. The vast majority of finds in the exhibition have been uncovered by metal 'detectorists' who now account for 90% of all treasure discoveries. Although many of the exhibits are of gold or silverwork or feature precious gems, the seemingly lowliest object can be significant to understanding our history. Medieval pewter 'toys' have little financial value, but are important social documents, telling us about everyday lives in the Middle Ages. Similarly, Tudor dress fasteners, found as casual losses rather than on specific sites, give an insight into how people wore their clothes and what they considered to be fashionable accessories. British Museum until 14th March.


Roadside Architecture is an exhibition of recent photography by John Margolies, who has been recording disappearing vernacular architecture in a one man odyssey across America for over 30 years. Commercial outlets designed to look like the products they purveyed - such as a gigantic hamburger or petrol pump - were once a common feature on the highways and byways of America. However, the coming of the freeways has seen the demise of the 'mom and pop' businesses that spawned them, and they are fast disappearing. Margolies, an expert on roadside architecture, a commercial archaeologist, a cultural populist and an avid chronicler of the all-American culture of the automobile, has recorded iconic drive-ins, diners, gas stations, movie palaces, main streets and miniature golf courses to name but a few. He has traced the evolutionary tradition of gas station design, history, and lore - from horse-drawn pumps of the early 1900s to the convenience stores of today, particularly 'the golden age' from 1920 to 1940, when humble outlets evolved into palaces of petroleum. Margolies also looks at movie theatres - the drive ins and the cinema cathedrals - which enjoyed their hey day from 1930 to 1960, but have now disappeared, having been absorbed into the amorphous malls. The Building Centre, London 020 7692 6209 until 17th January.

William Stott Of Oldham 1857 - 1900: A Comet Rushing To The Sun is the snappy title of the first major exhibition for over 100 years of work by the 19th century artist. After studying in Oldham and Manchester Stott went to Paris, where he achieved rapid success, exhibiting regularly at the Paris Salon. On returning to England, he was prominent among Whistler's followers, until The Birth Of Venus, his painting of Whistler's mistress Maud Franklin depicted naked, which caused a rift between the two artists. This exhibition includes over 80 paintings and pastel drawings from throughout Stott's career, showing the wide range of styles and influences he explored in his work. These include figures in landscape for which he is particularly well known, such as the early works Girl In A Meadow and The Ferry, that helped to establish his reputation as an important British Impressionist painter, and landscapes themselves - dramatic Alpine scenes and seascapes of the Cumbrian coastline at Ravenglass. Much of his later work moves towards the Pre Raphaelitism, being highly decorative and depicting scenes from mythology and the legends of King Arthur. Gallery Oldham until 24th April.

Somerset House Courtyard Ice Rink, is now as regular a Christmas feature in London as the Holiday Season outdoor skating arena at the Rockefeller Center in New York (although the skating is possibly not as stylish). The rink, covering 9000sqm and capable of accommodating some 2000 skaters a day, has been installed in the courtyard at a cost of around £300,000. It is open from 10am to 10pm, and as darkness falls the courtyard is transformed, with music playing, and illumination from flaming torches and architectural lighting on the building's 18th century facades. A 40ft Christmas tree has been erected at the north end of the courtyard. Both skaters and spectators can enjoy the traditional fare of baked potatoes, hot chocolate and mulled wine in the rinkside cafe. Tuition is available for beginners and ice guides can accompany inexperienced skaters. The rink is open throughout the Christmas and New Year period, closing only on Christmas Day. Somerset House until 26th January.

Thomas Jones In Italy features the work of one of the most innovative, yet least known British artists from the second half of the 18th century. Jones small oil-sketches, painted during travels around Italy in the 1770s and 1780s, are masterpieces of observation and concision, while his 'Memoirs' are the most complete and compelling records of an artist's life at the time. Neither were known until about 50 years ago, when their rediscovery led to the recognition that a major artist had been all but forgotten. This exhibition includes 70 informal oil-sketches, drawings and watercolours, painted in Rome and Naples, and the surrounding countryside. Jones speciality was architectural landscapes, or to be precise the depiction of walls - the more decrepit the better - and thus he was in his element in southern Italy. Although the sketches were made as records of locations, to be incorporated in later paintings created in his studio back in England, the acuteness of their observation and their freshness make them works of art in their own right. Among those included here is 'A Wall in Naples' of about 1782, recognised as a masterpiece of the oil-sketch tradition. National Gallery until 15th February.

Dan Dare: Pilot Of The Future / Destination Mars is a double bill of exhibitions, allowing interplanetary fiction to meet fact, in examining the possibilities of space exploration. The first exhibition documents the adventures of Dan Dare and his crew from the Interplanet Spacefleet, travelling to asteroids and beyond, battling with aliens, and fending off global disasters. Originally conceived by Marcus Morris as a sky pilot (or interplanetary Vicar), and created by Frank Hampson, the 1950s Eagle comic strip featured many scientific ideas that later became reality, such as the space shuttle, and how the mechanics of space suits work. This is the largest exhibition of Dan Dare material yet assembled, with artwork, memorabilia and merchandise, and a wide range of artefacts and items used in their creation, displayed in a mock-up of the original artist's studio in Epsom. The story of the British Space Programme from 1955 to 1971 provides a link between Dan Dare and the modern exploration of Mars in the second exhibition. Using interactive displays, the latest scientific knowledge of Red planet and its history is revealed, including a simulation of a survey mission across its surface, and an assessment of whether it could support life. Museum Of Science & Industry In Manchester until 18th January.

History Of Modern Design In The Home traces the development of domestic design - both the spaces people live in, and the objects they surround themselves with - from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. It tells the stories behind landmarks in modern design that have transformed our homes and the way we use them. There is a series of living rooms, ranging from the elegance of a Bauhaus Master's House in 1920s Germany, through a prefabricated house built by Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, and one of Verner Panton's pop-inspired 1960s dining rooms, to a contemporary live-work space specially designed by the Bouroullec brothers. The show examines how advances in technology and the introduction of new 'shapeable' materials, such as plywood and plastic, were exploited, and how fashion has become a major influence in the home. As well as reconstructing the iconic interiors that influenced design in particular decades, the exhibition deconstructs the design and development of influential objects. These include the bentwood furniture with which the Austrian manufacturer Thonet pioneered mass production in the late 19th century; the introduction of the first Penguin paperback book and early Anglepoise lamp in the 1930s; and recent innovations such as Apple's Powerbook computer and iPod player. Design Museum until September.


Christmas Past: Seasonal Traditions In English Homes is a glimpse of the traditions, rituals and decorative styles of Christmases over the last 400 years, from kissing under the mistletoe to decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. Twelve rooms in the Grade 1 listed group of fourteen almshouses, a chapel and their gardens that comprise the museum, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, through the refined splendour of the Georgian period, and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity, seen in a 1930s flat, and a mid century 'contemporary' style room, sparkle with authentic festive decorations of their times. Special events include workshops creating Georgian Christmas decorations with natural materials, and traditional Christmas card making; festive food and unusual gifts; and candle lit evenings of carols and storytelling. It all ends outdoors with traditional burning of the holly and the ivy, celebrated with carol singing, mulled wine and Twelfth Night cake. The Geffyre Museum until 6th January.

Making Spirits Bright is a programme of events outdoors and in though the Christmas and New Year period. The gardens are illuminated by 30,000 lights to provide magical walks among seasonal plants - and not just holly, ivy and mistletoe, but frankincense and myrrh - plus a Victorian carousel, a steam traction engine ride, free guided tours explaining the origins of the traditions of Christmas trees and plants, and Father Christmas in his Winter Wooded Dell. Inside, in the glasshouses, restaurants and museums, the entertainment includes performances by choirs and brass bands; an exhibition of British Landscape In Winter photographs; demonstrations of seasonal cooking and flower arranging; carols and storytelling; and a recreation of a rural winter scene; plus festive food and drink. There are free evening openings in December, and free entry in the New Year for visitors bringing their trees for recycling. Further information can be found on the RBGK web site via the link from the Heritage section of ExhibitionsNet. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew until 4th January.

Winter Wonderland is one of Europe's largest Christmas extravaganzas that is packed with attractions. They include an Enchanted Forest; a 12 rides of Christmas theme park and funfair, with a giant Ferris wheel, log flume and a new inverted roller coaster called Tsunami; Santa's Workshop, with a starlight journey, elves and presents; the largest temporary skating rink in the country; an international circus; a super cinema with cartoons, live characters, games and prizes; a Lego area with cars and models; and a traditional German Christmas market, with stalls offering all kinds of gifts, foods and decorations; plus a variety of seasonal food and drink. It ends on New Years Eve with a Grand Finale, featuring live music, an explosive countdown to midnight with illuminations, fireworks and laser displays lighting up the sky, a disco and a stand up comedy area. Entry is free for children under 13 and senior citizens. Further information can be found on the WW web site via the link from the Others Festivals & Events section of ExhibitionsNet. The Millennium Dome until 31st December.