News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th February 2004

Commencing

Pre-Raphaelite Vision: Truth To Nature is the first exhibition to focus solely on Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the natural world. The group took their canvases out of doors, and working directly from nature led to new ways of seeing and painting, as revolutionary as the achievements of their contemporaries, the Impressionists. The exhibition brings together around 150 works, including William Holman Hunt's 'Our English Coasts (Strayed Sheep)', John William Inchbold's 'Anstey's Cove, Devon' and John Everett Millais's 'Ophelia'. It explores the Pre-Raphaelite's fascination with detail, together with parallel developments in photography; their concern for the ordinary and mundane depicted in suburban environments, epitomised by Ford Madox Brown's 'An English Autumn Afternoon'; a fascination with the Orient and places with biblical history, and a desire to make accurate painted records of locations and buildings felt to be at risk, such as Thomas Seddon's 'The Great Sphinx' and William Holman Hunt's 'The Scapegoat'; an interest in geology with work such as John Brett's 'The Glacier of Rosenlaui'; landscape as a setting for human activities in a pre-industrial rural Britain with Charles Napier Hemy's 'Among the Shingle at Clovelly' and William Dyce's 'Pegwell Bay'; and the movement towards a more poetic kind of landscape in J M Whistler's 'Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea' and John Brett's 'The British Channel seen from Dorsetshire Cliffs'. Tate Britain until 3rd May.

Pain: Passion‚ Compassion‚ Sensibility explores the changing cultural place of pain, and the role of science in shaping our beliefs‚ with visual and verbal representations‚ medical attempts to deal with pain‚ examinations of modern and contemporary theories about the nature of pain, and a look into our reactions to the pain of others. Using a mixture of historical and contemporary exhibits, the meanings and experiences of pain are explored, including amputation, childbirth, circumcision, torture, masochism and sadism. Over 170 film clips, objects and artworks - many rare and unseen from the original collections of Sir Henry Wellcome - include: the tooth of an Egyptian ghoul said to cure neck pain; a Victorian head perforator; Lord Lister's apparatus for application per rectum; 18th century German dental forceps; a carved wooden decapitated head; torture equipment, including a Chinese torture seat and a 16th century thumb screw; a 17th century German execution mask; the blood stained costume of the matador Manuel Granero, worn on the day of his death; etchings from Goya's Disasters of War series; and a human size devotional sculpture of Christ used in Easter processions in Spain. The Science Museum until 20th June.

Crystal Palace At Sydenham celebrates the 150th anniversary of the completion of Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace at Sydenham, which was almost twice the size of the original structure in Hyde Park built to house the Great Exhibition. While the 1851 exhibition is well known, range of the displays and activities at Sydenham, such as the Handel Festivals and fireworks, the exploits of the acrobat Blondin, the Festival of Empire of 1911, and the first days of the Imperial War Museum are mostly unfamiliar. The interior nave was originally a Winter Garden with botanical exhibits and statuary, and there were displays of architecture, industry, ethnography and natural history. The surrounding park was laid out in terraces, with elaborate formal gardens, informal English landscape gardening, the famous life size models of dinosaurs and other extinct animals, and waterworks - fountains, water temples and cascades - which were intended to surpass Versailles. The whole enterprise was intended to be a 'living encyclopedia', and for its first thirty years the Palace and Gardens drew an average of two million visitors annually. The displays had an important effect on the artists of the time, and works on view by Holman Hunt, Poynter and Alma-Tadema show how they employed more accurate detail in their depictions of archaeological and historical settings, having seen the meticulous reconstructions in the Architectural Courts. With a wealth of contemporary paintings, plaster casts, original photographs and engravings, artefacts, models and film clips, this exhibition makes possible an imaginary visit to the Palace and Gardens. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 18th April.

Continuing

El Greco is the first major exhibition in Britain of the work of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the 16th century painter better known as El Greco. One of the most original painters of his time, his work is modern in appearance, and greatly influenced 20th century painters, including Cezanne, Picasso and Jackson Pollock. The exhibition traces El Greco's career through a selection of his greatest paintings, together with some rarely exhibited drawings and sculptures. El Greco stood apart from his contemporaries in the depiction of his compositions, and the use of bright colours, elongated forms and spiritual intensity, painted in a style combining aspects of the Byzantine and Western traditions. Born in Crete, he trained as an icon painter, before moving to Venice, where his style was transformed through his encounters with the work of Titian and Tintoretto, and then Rome, where he was exposed to Michelangelo's influence, mixing with an elite circle of intellectuals connected with the Farnese Palace. El Greco made his home in Spain, settling in Toledo, where he created the famous series of altarpieces in which his highly individual treatment of religious imagery attained its fullest expression. The exhibition includes a rare example of El Greco's early work, the recently discovered icon of 'The Dormition of the Virgin', the 'Laocoon', 'The Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of Saint John)', 'View of Toledo', and the 'Adoration of the Shepherds', which he painted to hang above his own tomb. The exhibition also brings together a large group of portraits of his contemporaries, such as 'Fray Hortensio Paravicino' and 'Jeronimo de Ceballos'. National Gallery until 23rd May.

Office Politics: Women And The Workplace 1860 - 2004 examines how life has changed for women in offices, from the days of the typing pool to the current image of the laptop toting freelancer. It looks at how politics, fashion, office design, technology and furniture have changed in step with the shifts in gender roles. Company records reveal how threatening and provocative women's presence was seen to be by their employers when they first stepped into the office. They also expose the steps taken to control women's appearance and confine them to certain parts of the building (lest the men be distracted), and exclude their participation in the actual running of the businesses. Using cartoons, careers literature, photographs and advertisements, the exhibition dissects the stereotypes associated with women office workers, such as the 1920s business girl, the 1960s 'dolly bird' secretary and the power dressing executive of the 1980s. The exhibition also looks at the changes in office design from the segregated women's departments to the open plan, and the introduction of the modesty boards to cover women's legs from men's view. There is an accompanying series of talks and events exploring the issues raised by the exhibition. Further information can be found on the Women's Library web site via the link from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet. The Women's Library, London until 1st May.

Cecil Beaton: Portraits marks the centenary of one of the most celebrated of British portrait photographers, renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style, and as famous as his subjects. This retrospective brings together over 150 portraits from the five decades of his career, during which he captured fashion, art and celebrity, from the time when stars were unattainable in the 1920s, through to the more egalitarian person next door of the 1960s. Early highlights include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's wedding album; romantic studies of Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), the first of many Royal commissions; a portrait of Edith Sitwell posed as a gothic tomb sculpture; Hollywood stars Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich; fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli; and artists Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. During the Second World War, Beaton was an official war photographer, and there are images of land girls; a 3 year old blitz victim; and Air Vice-Marshall Sir Arthur Conningham in his tent in the Egyptian Desert. From the 1950s there are more Hollywood portraits with Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe (accompanied by Beaton's handwritten eulogy about her), Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. Beaton reinvented his style in the 1960s, capturing a new generation that included David Hockney, Jean Shrimpton, Rudolf Nureyev, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Harold Pinter and Andy Warhol. National Portrait Gallery until 31st May.

Vuillard: From Post-Impressionist To Modern Master is a retrospective of one of the main practitioners of Intimisme - intimate domestic genre painting - in the 1890s. Edouard Vuillard was one of the group of artists who formed Les Nabis - The Prophets - who were particularly influenced by Paul Gauguin's use of simplified forms, colour and symbolism. Eschewing naturalism, while choosing naturalistic subjects, he transformed scenes of everyday life into paintings of emotional power and psychological drama. Vuillard also painted portraits of icons from the world of theatre and fashion, still life and landscapes, and created works for the avant-garde theatre, including lithographed programmes, posters and set designs. Later in his career, Vuillard was commissioned to paint large scale decorative panels of urban landscapes and parks. Vuillard enthusiastically embraced the new technology of photography in the late 1890s, capturing his family, friends and fellow artists, offering a glimpse into his private life. This is the first exhibition to explore Vuillard's photographic output fully, and reveals the ways photography influenced his later paintings. Comprising over 200 works, spanning the fin-de-siecle through to the 1930s, this exhibition presents the full range and diversity of Vuillard's work for the first time. Royal Academy until 18th April.

The Art Of Influence: Highlights From The Walter Crane Archive is a selection from the recently acquired archive of material from the studio of a leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement. The display offers a unique perspective on the art, design and politics of Walter Crane. The Arts and Crafts Movement reacted against the unconstrained industrialisation of the late 19th century, embracing a 'back to nature' philosophy, and offering great respect to craftsmen and their work, as opposed to the mass produced and machine made. The exhibition brings to life Crane's values and vision through drawings, sketches, original designs for book illustrations, diaries, notebooks, photographs and press cuttings, spanning his entire career. The drawings and illustrations demonstrate his mastery of design and skilful absorption of varied historical influences. These traits are also clear in Crane's work as an interior decorator and commercial designer, employed by the major manufacturers of his day in ceramics, glass, textiles and wallpaper. He developed a style dependent on a strong use of line and an interest in symbolism that was instantly recognisable. The archive material is complemented by a selection of Crane's paintings, wallpapers and textile designs, together providing an insight into the artistic, commercial and political fabric of his life. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 23rd May.

Connected London: 125 Years Of The Telephone looks at the accelerating pace of change in communications in the capital. It charts the milestones of the journey, with a Bell patent telephone of 1878; the first London phone directory, issued in 1880, which listed just 250 subscribers; a standard 'No.1' wall telephone of 1910, with a separate ear piece; the first Red public telephone kiosk of 1926; the launch of the Speaking Clock in 1936; the introduction of the '999'emergency service in 1937, followed by the arrival of Dr Who style blue police telephone boxes; the gold 2 millionth London telephone of 1954; a warbling Trimphone of 1966, the UK's first mobile phone call made by Ernie Wise from St Katharine's Dock in 1985; and the most advanced mobile phone, the Sendo X, which soon to be launched in Britain. As well as the actual hardware, there are film and sound recordings that recreate the very different experience from today, when calls handled personally by operators. In addition, the exhibition explores how Londoners connected with each other before the phone, with a letter sent by pigeon post in 1846, a letter sent from Paris to London by balloon in 1870, and Suffragette telegrams of 1911. It also looks at the phenomenal success of the mobile, with ever increasing capabilities, and speculates on possible future developments, like e-voting and e-trading. Museum of London until 25th April.

Concluding

The Smithsons: The House Of The Future To A House For Today celebrates the architecture of Alison and Peter Samithson, who were both pioneers in the British Pop Art movement, and influential designers of landmark buildings. The exhibition traces the development of their architecture and ideas from their involvement with the Independent Group through the construction of major projects such as the Economist building in 1964, and the Robin Hood Gardens housing complex in 1972, to the present. It focuses on their houses, including two of their most important - and contrasting - projects: the House Of The Future designed for the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1956, and the little known house for today in rural Germany. The House Of The Future, conceived in an age of scientific optimism, was full of the gadgets that it was predicted would change our lives, but in fact never came to pass. These included retractable furniture, and a hot air curtain at the door to blast dirt off visitors as they entered. The house for today, a private commission built in Lauenforde, between 1985 and 2002, comes from the very different 'back to nature' movement. It is a simple functional design, constructed from traditional materials, and located in isolation in a wood, rather like a tree house, but on the ground. The exhibition charts both society's changing expectations and requirements for housing, and the Smithson's responses to them, drawing on their private archive, with plans, models and films. Design Museum until 29th February.

Degas And The Italians In Paris is the first exhibition to explore the connections between the French Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas and a number of Italian artists working in Paris, who were inspired by his sense of design, incisive line and range of experimental techniques. Degas technical and compositional innovations drew partly on the camera, partly on Japan, and partly on the five years he spent in Italy studying the masters of the Italian Renaissance. The exhibition consists of some ninety works in a variety of media - oils, pastels, drawings, prints, and sculptures - of which roughly fifty are by Degas, with ten each by his Italian colleagues Giovanni Boldini, Federico Zandomeneghi, Giuseppe de Nittis and Medardo Rosso. Although each of them worked in a distinctive manner, they all responded to Degas as a classical painter of modern life, to his compositional innovations, and to his technical virtuosity. Some of Degas greatest early portraits are of his Italian relations and a number are included in the show, such as the double portrait of Edmondo e Therese Morbilli. Works are grouped in themes: portraits, the nude and modern life, and their juxtaposition is revealing. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 29th February.

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.