News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th May 2011

Commencing

Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It explores science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound. The exhibition traces the development of the genre from True History by Lucian of Samosata written in the 2nd century AD to the recent writings of Cory Doctorow and China Mieville, and shows and how visions of the future have evolved. It also examines how science fiction is distinct from other related genres such as fantasy and horror. Highlights include Thomas More's Utopia, which coined the word that became the name of the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in his book; Lucian's True History, depicting a group of adventurers setting out on a sea voyage, visiting a number of fantastical lands, who, lifted up by a giant waterspout, are deposited on the Moon; Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race, about a subterranean world occupied by advanced beings, the Vril-ya, who use a substance Vril as an energy source that makes them powerful and potentially dangerous to the Earth - together with an original advertisement for Bovril (which derived its name from 'Vril'); Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinius, an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, in an imaginary language, which is as yet undeciphered, describing both the natural world, dealing with flora, fauna and physics, and the various aspects of human life: clothing, history, cuisine, and architecture; and H G Wells's The War of the Worlds, one of the earliest stories that details a conflict between mankind and an alien race, which is also variously interpreted as a critique of evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and Victorian fears and prejudices. British Library until 25th September.

Peter Blake: Museum For Myself is the first exhibition following a refurbishment and extension that has seen the museum's 18th century classical building restored, and joined by a contemporary building with a ceramic and glass facade, designed by Eric Parry. This has doubled its space, allowing an improvement in all aspects of the museum's departments and services, including exhibitions, collection, library, teaching, cafe and shop. The exhibition combines many of the extraordinary objects from Peter Blake's personal collection with some of his important works, exploring the creative relationship that he has with this cabinet of curiosities. Blake's astonishing collections include Victorian collage and folk art, pop ephemera, works by his artist friends, showbiz autographs and marching troupes of toy elephants. They embrace such strange and wonderful things as General Tom Thumb's boots, Max Miller's shoes and Ian Dury's Rhythm Stick. Works by Blake from throughout his career include pioneering pieces such as 'Locker', with its collage of images of Brigitte Bardot; collages of found objects including the title work 'A Museum for Myself', an arrangement of some of his favourite things; and more recent works such as 'Elvis Shrine', and his series of 'Museums of Black and White'. Arranged around him in his West London studio Blake's collection offers a kaleidoscopic mirror of his mind and obsessions that have been reflected in his work for decades: stuffed animals in tableau from Mr Potter's Museum of Curiosities; Punch and Judy Puppets; the paraphernalia of the fairground; souvenirs of the wrestlers and pop-stars who feature in his art; and the waxwork of Sonny Liston, which features on the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album, Blake's most famous work. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 4th September.

Women War Artists explores the experiences and achievements of female war artists from the First World War to the present day. The exhibition examines the importance of women artists as eyewitnesses, participants, commentators and officially commissioned recorders of war, considering their experiences both in theatres of conflict and at home. The artists' experiences range from official commissions to secret observations and provocative interpretations of the world at war, capturing and interpreting key moments in history through art. Organised into three different themes, War Zone, Working Together, and Costs Of War, the exhibition shows the diversity of the artists' reactions to war and conflict. Personal reflections from some of the artists provide an insight into how war has shaped their lives. Among the highlights are 'A Shell Forge' by Anna Airy, one of the first women officially commissioned during the First World War; Priscilla Thornycroft's 'Runaway Horse in an Air Raid Alarm 1939', on public display for the first time; 'The Nuremberg Trial' and 'Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-ring' by Laura Knight, the first woman for 150 years to be elected to the Royal Academy; Doris Zinkeisen's 'Human Laundry, Belsen, April 1945', arguably the most powerful of all works that emerged from the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp; works by Linda Kitson, the first female artist officially commissioned to accompany troops in battle, in the Falklands conflict; and Frauke Eigen's photographs of the exhumation of mass graves in Kosovo. Imperial War Museum until 8th January.

Continuing

Only Connect is an unconventional display presenting a web of portraits connecting sitters across three centuries. Comprising paintings, sculpture, photographs, engravings, drawings, miniatures and works in other media, the display uses musical connections to explore new ways of looking at images of people from the past. It proposes a network of threads connecting singers, composers, artists, doctors, sculptors, poets, engineers, ambassadors and many others. As a result, everyone in the display is linked in one way or another. The connections range from the profound and the personal to the accidental and the incidental. Some were friends and some were lovers, several wrote about each other or had similar ideas, others were enemies or simply met on the street. For example, composer Benjamin Britten and violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin performed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after liberation in 1945. Yehudi Menuhin gave ground-breaking performances of composer Michael Tippett's Corelli Fantasia. The sets and costumes for Tippett's opera Midsummer Marriage were designed by sculptor Barbara Hepworth. An alternative route is formed by writer George Bernard Shaw who corresponded with the pianist Harriet Cohen. She premiered Elgar's Piano Quintet and Elgar made his most famous recording of his Violin Concerto with the teenaged Yehudi Menuhin. Such links evoke an invisible layer of human interconnectedness - 'six degrees of separation'. National Portrait Gallery until 27th November.

The Lives Of Great Photographers focuses on the pioneers behind the camera, exploring the extraordinary stories surrounding some of photography's most important innovators and artists. Without rivals Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, photography as it is known today would not exist. Julia Margaret Cameron, although primarily considered an artist, copyrighted her work and attempted to make a living by selling copies. Eadweard Muybridge pioneered chronophotography, whereby movement is captured by a sequence of photographic exposures. Olive Edis employed photography as the first serving war artist during the First World War. Edward Steichen's career was remarkable for its variety as he moved effortlessly from art, to fashion, to advertising. Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange were both driven by their social consciences to record the Great Depression in America. Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa pioneered photojournalism as founding members of the world's first photographic agency, Magnum. The exhibition also includes the less well know photographers Roger Fenton, Lady Clementina Hawarden, Alfred Stieglitz, Andre Kertesz, Weegee, Tony Ray-Jones, Fay Godwin and Larry Burrows. Each photographer is represented by their photographic portrait and a selection of their images. Alongside are the kinds of cameras they would have had to carry and use in the course of their work, and rarely seen material, such as pages from notebooks detailing what was going through their minds when they were thinking about how to get the pictures they wanted. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 4th September.

Bali: Dancing For The Gods explores the culture of Bali, and in particular the way moral values and a respect for the environment are passed from one generation to the next through the stories and dance of Balinese Hinduism. The exhibition reveals the inextricable links between the arts and Balinese social structure, with explanations of the life cycle, the ubiquity of temples and offerings and priests' place in society. It includes items from the archive of dance critic Beryl de Zoete, who was co-author, with choreographer Walter Spies, of the classic work Dance & Drama in Bali. Their visual exploration of the performing arts of Bali offers a unique insight into the life and religion of the Balinese people in the 1930s. Historic films and photographs provide the backdrop for a journey through the cultural heart of Bali, showing both change and continuity in the life of this jewel in the Indonesian ocean. Highlight objects include a full gamelan orchestra, lavishly decorated with gilded carvings of flora and fauna; temple paintings and wall hangings depicting legends of Balinese Hinduism, including epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other mythological scenes; and a spectacular life-sized funeral bull. Accompanying dance costumes, masks, puppets, sculptures and textiles show the religious context of performance in Bali. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 8th January.

Age Of The Dinosaur is a new immersive experience taking visitors on a journey back 65 million years to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Visitors walk through a swamp-like Jurassic lagoon and Cretaceous desert, catching sight of weird, wonderful and now extinct animals and plants among the smells and sounds of this prehistoric land. Life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, including a Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor, and Tarbosaurus emerge from the rocks, water and trees, accompanied by jaw-dropping images and film footage. Along the way, visitors can investigate precious fossils, handle specimen replicas and examine evidence to find out what the world looked like when dinosaurs walked on earth. Highlights include a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico that measures 81cm by 74cm and dates back 67 to 65 million years; an animatronic Archaeopteryx lithographica, the creature that proves the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, with its bird-like features, but also sharp meat eating teeth; CGI video projection of a Liopleurodon, a large predatory marine pliosaur, which was as long as a double-decker bus, snatching and devouring its prey; and a giant animatronic Tarbasaurus bataar, a relation of Tyrannosaurus rex that inhabited Asia about 70 million years ago, which ate other dinosaurs. Natural History Museum until 4th September.

Heracles To Alexander The Great: Treasures From The Royal Capital Of Macedon, A Hellenic Kingdom In The Age Of Democracy provides an opportunity to see objects found recently in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, on display for the first time outside Greece. The exhibition is comprised of over 500 treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, which re-write the history of early Greece, and tell the story of the kings and queens who governed Macedon, from the descendents of Heracles to the ruling dynasty of Alexander the Great. The city of Aegae remained relatively unknown until 30 years ago when excavations uncovered the unlooted tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV. Recent work has unearthed a startling wealth of objects, from beautifully intricate gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, to arms and armour, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains, as well as sacred objects, such as clay heads of divine and demonic figures. The artistry, skill and foresight with which these objects were made reveal a truly sophisticated dynasty. The centrepiece of this show is the reconstruction of the burial assemblage of 5 women: 4 dating from the Early Iron Age, and the 'Lady of Aegae', from around 500 BC, a queen and high-priestess, who was found in an undisturbed tomb, bedecked with funerary goods and dressed, head-to-toe, in spectacular gold jewellery which had been sewn into her clothes; plus items from the tomb of Philip II, including a golden head of Medusa, armour, golden wreaths, marble sculpture and silver banqueting vessels. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 29th August.

Dutch Landscapes brings together remarkable works from the 'golden age' of Dutch painting in the second half of the 17th century, largely collected by King George IV. The exhibition includes paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Meyndert Hobbema. The fine detail and meticulous finish of Dutch landscapes appealed to British taste. The ability of Netherlandish artists to depict mood and emotion through the landscape of their homeland or the Italian countryside influenced the great British painters John Constable and JMW Turner. However, a major pleasure of the exhibition is the people in the landscapes. There are scenes of merrymaking, replete with people boozing, smoking, swaggering and dancing, country fairs abuzz with activity, busy vistas of agricultural labour, hunting parties and well-to-do landowners and burghers, plus a ragged rabble of floozies and farmhands, blacksmiths and street-vendors, barefooted scamps and beggars with peg legs. Highlights include Isaac van Ostade's 'Travellers Outside an Inn', Salomon van Ruysdael's 'River Landscape with Sailing Boats', Jacob van Ruisdael's 'Evening Landscape: a Windmill by a Stream', Meyndert Hobbema's 'A Watermill Beside a Woody Lane' and Aelbert Cuyp's 'The Passage Boat'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 9th October.

Concluding

Hoppe Portraits: Society, Studio And Street features the work of one of the most important yet least remembered photographers of the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together for the first time E O Hoppe's strikingly modernist portraits alongside his fascinating documentary studies capturing the realities of day-to-day life in Britain between the wars. Hoppe was the prototypical celebrity photographer, and by 1913 his photographic studio was a magnet for the rich and famous. The exhibition features over 80 their portraits, including Margot Fonteyn, George Bernard Shaw, King George V, Vaslav Nijinsky, Ezra Pound, David Lloyd George and Benito Mussolini. In 1922 Hoppe published the Book of Fair Women, a compilation of photographs of the women he considered to be the most beautiful on earth. Notable for its multicultural approach, Hoppe selected 32 representative beauties from 24 different countries. Fascinated by questions of race and social mobility, Hoppe compiled a collection of studio portraits examining different 'types' of people, shot against a neutral background, illuminated from above, and cropped to remove details of any clothing. A selection of these portraits includes a postman, a flower lady and a 'highly respectable type'. In the 1920's and 1930's Hoppe increasingly left the studio to make photographs of British street life, capturing those at the other end of the social spectrum to his celebrity sitters. These pictures, sometimes taken with a hidden camera, explored ideas about class and typology. More than 50 of these studies include the homeless, bell ringers, behind the scenes at Sandhurst Military Academy, a dog hospital, night watchmen, a girl's borstal institute, a skeleton shop, portraits of 'pearlies', street musicians and the tattoo artist George Burchett. National Portrait Gallery until 30th 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.

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.