News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th June 2008


London Festival Of Architecture is a celebration and exploration of the city's buildings, streets and spaces. It is the biggest event of its kind in the world, with over 600 events taking place, encompassing exhibitions, lectures, public space installations, guided walks, bicycle rides, boat tours, parties, design workshops and debates. The theme of the festival is Fresh! - seeking to inspire visitors to take a fresh look at London, to indulge in fresh thinking, to enjoy the fresh talent on show, and the fresh air of the walks and rides. The activities over the month of the festival will move across five key Hubs: Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge; Canary Wharf, Stratford and Greenwich Peninsular; King's Cross, Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden; Southwark and South Bank; and Clerkenwell and the City of London, with large scale public events taking place in a different Hub each weekend. These include cycle tours of subterranean London, lectures on how commerce and food have shaped the city, the area around Somerset House being turned into a huge living room, talks by some of the country's top architects, a temporary lido created in Southwark, and the opportunity to look around buildings not usually open to the public. Across London from 20th June to 20th July.

Gary Hume: Door Paintings is the first ever survey of Gary Hume's long obsession with large scale paintings based on institutional doors. These were first seen in the now legendary Freeze exhibition in 1988, organised by Damien Hirst with fellow Goldsmiths students, which heralded a new generation of British artists. Hume's seemingly abstract compositions, rendered in high gloss, commercial household paint, often in standard DIY colours such as magnolia, on canvas, board and aluminium panels, were inspired by the institutional swing doors of St Bartholomew's hospital in London. Praised for their play on the language of modernist abstraction and the democracy of their motif, the door paintings formed the basis of Hume's artistic development. In 1998 he was commissioned by the Hayward Gallery to make a new work for the outside of the building, and in the early 2000s, the doors reappeared alongside his figurative paintings of people, flora and fauna. The series is made up of some 50 paintings, and this exhibition presents 18 of the most important works, from the mute elegance of the early 'Magnolia Doors' and the 'Dolphin Paintings' of the late 1980s and early 1990s, to the stylised anthropomorphism and brilliant colour of the aluminium panels of recent years. Modern Art Oxford until 31st August.

Pont: Observing The British At Home And Abroad celebrates the work of the very British cartoonist Graham Laidler, who used the pseudonym Pont. Though he died at the early age of 32, Pont left a rich legacy of witty observations on 1930s Britain. He was most famous for drawing 'The British Character', a series of over 100 cartoons which appeared in Punch, in which he wryly observed the idiosyncrasies of the British. Some of Pont's cartoons show how much Britain has changed, while others reveal 'tendencies' of the national character that are as true now as when Pont drew them 70 years ago: 'A Weakness for Oak Beams', 'Love of Keeping Calm', 'Tendency to leave the Washing Up till later' and 'The Attitude to Fresh Air' are just a few such gems. Many of his drawings were packed with tiny jokes in every corner, and readers pored over them at length. One group even formed a Pont Club, which met weekly to discuss his cartoons. As well as a master of the half and full page cartoon, his smaller drawings are triumphs in miniature, revealing comic glimpses of daily life that are still recognisable today. The exhibition includes some of Pont's most famous drawings, as well as sketchbooks, journals and other material never previously exhibited. The Cartoon Museum, London WC1, until 27th July.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 10,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Humphrey Ocean, Tony Cragg and Gordon Benson, with the theme Man Made. Highlights include a gallery curated for shock and awe by no longer so enfant but ever more terrible Tracey Emin, featuring works by Mat Collishaw, Louise Bourgeois, Gary Hume, Elke Krystufek, Michael Fullerton, Juergen Teller, Damien Hurst, Rebecca Warren, Sigalit Landau and Rachel Kneebone; and 'Promenade', a monumental sculpture by Anthony Caro in the courtyard. Other artists featured include Gavin Turk, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Keifer, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Ron Arad, along with architects Nicholas Grimshaw, Renzo Piano, Bernard Tschumi, David Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of RB Kitaj, who died last year, featuring some of his greatest paintings and works on paper alongside more recent pieces. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.

British Surrealism & Other Realities: The Sherwin Collection presents key works from the collection of Dr Jeffrey Sherwin, arguably the finest collection of British Surrealism in existence, comprising some 300 items assembled over 20 years, which has until now has remained hidden in his Leeds home. The exhibition includes works by Anthony Earnshaw, Roland Penrose, Henry Moore and Emmy Bridgwater. These are supplemented with a set of original manuscripts, photographs, posters, rare Surrealist volumes and curiosities. In addition, the Surrealist works are contextualised with a broader collection of modern art from Gaudier-Brzeska to Damien Hirst. Among the highlights are works by John Banting, the Bloomsbury Group artist who also designed for the stage; the scandalous paintings, constructions and documents created by Conroy Maddox, from an atheist conviction, including 'Denouement'; and Eileen Agar's 'The Angel of Mercy', a simple plaster head with incredible attitude, together with abstract forms in watercolour like war paint. MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Middlesborough, until 17th August.

The Musical Museum, which officially opened this week, is the old Brentford Piano Museum reborn from its former crumbling church to a new building with much more space and in a more prominent location. It comprises one of the world's foremost collections of automatic instruments. From a tiny clockwork Musical Box to a self playing 'Mighty Wurlitzer', the collection embraces a comprehensive array of sophisticated reproducing pianos, orchestrions, orchestrelles, residence organs and violin players. Visitors can not only hear these instruments playing, but also find out how they were made, and how they function. The museum is arranged on three floors. The first gallery provides an idea of the original grand setting for some of these impressive instruments. The second gallery is a 'street' where street instruments are displayed and played, and the shop windows are full of small exhibits, ranging from toys to instruments used by a piano hammer maker, musical ephemera, and even a collection of needle tins for old gramophones. The third gallery shows how music was 'captured' on paper music rolls, and how the instruments were powered, featuring some unique instruments and machines. The second floor houses a concert hall seating 230, complete with an orchestra pit from which the Wurlitzer console rises to entertain visitors, just as it did in the cinemas of the 1930s. There are also workshops in which conservation and repair work is carried out, and a library holding over 30,000 music rolls, including some made by composers such as Grieg and Rachmaninov playing their own compositions. The Musical Museum, 399 Brentford High Street, Brentford, Middlesex, continuing.

Psycho Buildings: Artists Take On Architecture marks the 40th anniversary of the gallery, whose brutalist architectural style is loved and loathed in equal measure, by inviting 10 international artists to respond to its spaces. They have created habitat-like structures and architectural environments, both indoors and out, which offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves atmospheric and unsettling surroundings. The art gallery and the funfair have converged in installations that include a room frozen in a moment of explosive disaster; an eerie village of over 200 dollhouses (which really needs "it's a small world after all" playing in the background); a labyrinth viewed by climbing ladders to observation platforms; a giant transparent trampoline under a plastic geodesic dome that can either be bounced on or viewed from below; a 5:1 scale model of a Korean house crashing into a three storey American home; and a skyline pond with boats made from junk shop furniture. The artists are Atelier Bow-Wow (Japan), Michael Beutler (Germany), Los Carpinteros (Cuba), Gelitin (Austria), Mike Nelson (UK), Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Tobias Putrih (Slovenia), Tomas Saraceno (Argentina), Do-Ho Suh (Korea), Rachel Whiteread (UK). The exhibition also includes screening of architecturally inspired films, including Chris Burden's Beam Drop, Andrea Fraser's Little Frank and his Carp, Gordon Matta Clark's Conical Intersect and Jane Crawford and Robert Fiore's Sheds. Hayward Gallery until 25th August.

Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design And Modern Life In Vienna 1900 recreates the sophisticated world of Klimt and his patrons, as the juncture between art, architecture and design, at the epicentre of a cultural awakening in the city. The exhibition explores the relationship between Klimt as a leader and founder of the Viennese Secession, a progressive group of artists and artisans driven by a desire for innovation and renewal, embracing not only art but architecture, fashion and the decorative objects, and the furniture products and philosophy of the Wiener Werkstatte, demanding the emancipation of fine and applied art in stunning environments. At the time, Klimt's images of almost morbidly swooning sexuality led him to be accused of decadent indulgence in pornography. The exhibition features not only major paintings, drawings and graphics by Klimt, but also a wealth of furniture, silver objects, jewellery, fashion, graphic design and documentary material. The centrepiece is a full scale reconstruction of 'The Beethoven Frieze', Klimt's spectacular monumental installation celebrating the unification of all arts - painting, sculpture, architecture and music - created using the same techniques as applied by Klimt. Over 60 major paintings and drawings from all stages of Klimt's career are shown in settings that recreate the work of Josef Hoffmann, architect and designer, who created extravagant interiors for many of Klimt's most important patrons and collectors to display their commissions. Tate Liverpool until 31st August.

New Jewellery Gallery designed by Eva Jiricna, a £7m project incorporating a glass spiral staircae and a new mezanine floor, displays some 3,500 spectacular examples of European jewellery dating from the last 800 years, some on public view for the first time. The pieces range from jewels that reflect splendour of life in a royal court, through designs from the great jewellery houses of the 20th century, to work by contemporary makers. Historic highlights include jewelled pendants given by Queen Elizabeth I to her courtiers; diamonds worn by Catherine the Great of Russia; the Beauharnais Emeralds, a gift of Napoleon to his adopted daughter, together with tiaras and ornaments worn by the Empress Josephine; a Thistles corsage ornament and other pieces by art-nouveau designer Rene Lalique; a Faberge enamelled snuff box with the diamond monogram of Tsar Nicholas II; two diamond tiaras by Cartier; Philippe Wolfers's gold, enamel, diamond and ruby hair ornament in the form of an orchid; a rare plique-a -jour enamel and pearl bracelet by Boucheron; a gold Chaumet bangle with a core of rubies and diamonds; the 'Helen of Troy' necklace designed by Edward Poynter; and Lady Mountbatten's Cartier 'tutti frutti' ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond bandeau. Over 140 living goldsmiths and jewellers are represented in the gallery, ranging from ring sets by Wendy Ramshaw to a carved pin in recycled acrylic by Peter Chang, and a papier-mache neckpiece by Marjorie Schick - a suitably contrasting reflection of the 'flash and trash' society of the 21st century. Victoria & Albert Museum, continuing.


China Design Now explores the recent explosion of new design in China, together with the impact of rapid economic development on architecture and design in its major cities. The exhibition captures the dynamic phase as China opens up to global influences, and responds to the hopes and dreams of its new urban middle class. It displays the work of Chinese and international designers, focussing on architecture, fashion and graphic design as well as film, photography, product and furniture design, youth culture and digital media. Around 100 designers are featured, more than 95% of whom are Chinese. The display focuses on three rapidly expanding cities, and their particular design specialities. Shenzhen, a new city born in the 1980s, which is now the nation's centre for graphic design - an industry unknown in China before the 1990s - is shown through experiments with the latest technologies in poster and book design, and the recent wave of new consumer and lifestyle magazines. Shanghai, where consumerism and urban culture have combined to produce a fashion and 'lifestyle' centre, features fashion by Han Feng, Lu Kun, Ma Ke, Wang Wiyang and Zhang Dah, and products aimed at design conscious youth: album covers, skateboards, designer toys, mobile phones, T-shirts and trainers. Beijing, where monumental architecture for the Olympic Games is transforming the skyline, is represented by Herzog & de Meuron's 'birds nest' stadium, Zhu Pei's Digital Beijing information centre, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren's China Central Television headquarters, and projects by Ma Yansong, Wang Hui, Atelier Deshaus and standardarchitecture. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.

Blood On Paper: The Art Of The Book reveals the inventiveness with which the book has been treated by some of the most influential and respected artists of our time. Many notable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries have produced books, or works that refer to books. The exhibition displays 60 works by 38 artists, from Braque, Matisse, Miro and Picasso to Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Richard Long and Robert Rauschenberg. Some are iconic works that established the genre of the livre d'artiste after the Second World War, while others are surprises from artists who are best known for their work with other sorts of material. The pieces range from beautifully bound volumes, to sculptural works and installations, and include a major new work by Anselm Kiefer, 'The Secret Life of Plants', created in lead and cardboard, standing almost 2m tall; Anish Kapoor's 'Wound', which includes a book with a wound laser cut through hundreds of sheets of paper; and 2 cabinets from Damien Hirst's 'New Religion', holding sculptures and bound volumes of prints. In addition there are commercially produced publications, including Edward Ruscha's 'Twenty six gasoline stations', originally sold for $1 in supermarkets; Jeff Koons's 'The Jeff Koons Handbook', billed as "an indispensible paper-back guide to his art and ideas"; and Anthony Caro's 'Open Secret', which used advanced technology in metal fabrication to create books in stainless steel and bronze. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th June.

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.