News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th July 2012


Shakespeare: Staging The World explores the world and works of the world's greatest playwright. The exhibition provides a new insight into the emerging role of London as a world city 400 years ago, interpreted through the perspective of Shakespeare's plays. One of the key innovations of the period was the birth of the modern professional theatre: purpose-built public playhouses and professional playwrights were a new phenomenon, with the most successful company being the company at the Globe who worked alongside their house dramatist, William Shakespeare. The exhibition shows how the playhouse informed, persuaded and provoked thought on the issues of the day; how it shaped national identity, first English, then British; and how it opened a window on the wider world, from Italy to Africa to America, as London's global contacts were expanding through international trade, colonisation and diplomacy. The exhibition features some 190 objects, from great paintings, rare manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, arms and armour, to modest, everyday items of the time, including the Ides of March coin, the gold aureus commissioned by Brutus shortly after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC; a portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Moroccan Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I, who may have informed the character of Othello; and items excavated from the sites of the Globe and Rose theatres, such as a sucket fork for sweetmeats and the skull of a bear. British Museum until 25th November.

Van Gogh To Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape In Europe 1880 - 1910 offers an insight into the rich diversity of art in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Symbolism was a radical movement of artists, poets, writers and composers that emerged in reaction to the industrial expansion and materialism of late 19th century Europe. Symbolist artists abandoned the direct representation of nature or reality, creating instead a vision of the world drawn from the imagination. Their work explored powerful themes that reflected the anxieties and uncertainties of the age, including a fascination with death, dreams and the unconscious, fears about scientific advances and a questioning of man's place in the world. Symbolist painting embraced a broad range of styles, and was closely linked to literature and other art forms, and the relationship between art and music - a major preoccupation for some artists - is a significant underlying theme. The exhibition brings together some 70 outstanding landscapes by 54 artists of the avant-garde, including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Munch, Monet, Whistler, Mondrian and Kandinsky. It also introduces a group of less well known artists from Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe, such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Jacek Malczewski. Highlights include Leon Bakst's 'Terror Antiquus', Prins Eugen's 'Forest', Gallen-Kallela's 'Lake Keitele', Fernand Khnopff's 'Bruges: The Lac d'Amour', Whistler's 'St Mark's Square, Venice', Gauguin's 'Vision of the Sermon', Van Gogh's 'Sower' and 'Reaper', and Joaquim Mir's 'Abyss'. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 14th October.

A Replica Skeleton Of The Elephant Man is now the highlight of the collection at the former home of Joseph Merrick. Using fragile bones kept for research at the Royal London Hospital, where Merrick lived in specially converted accommodation in the basement from 1886 until his death in 1890, curators reconstructed his frame. 3D digital scans were then made, and a replica skeleton created, which now forms the centrepiece of the Elephant Man display. This also includes information on Merrick's condition, which has been reappraised following new DNA analysis of his remains. It is now believed that he suffered from an exceptionally rare disorder known as Proteus Syndrome, unknown at the time, but now treatable. The display also includes replicas of Merrick's hat and mask, documents relating to his residence, an intricate model of a church that he crafted during his time at the hospital, and a series of photographs.. In addition to the display on Joseph Merrick, the museum also has original material on the other local celebrity, Jack The Ripper, and hospital surgeon Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, who helped to investigate the Whitechapel murders, nurses Edith Cavell and Eva Luckes, doctors Frederick Treves and Thomas Barnardo, and the history of the hospital since its foundation in 1740. These include works of art, surgical instruments, medical and nursing equipment, uniforms, medals, written archives, books, films - and a set of dentures made for George Washington. The Museum is located in the former crypt of a late 19th century, early English style church, designed by Arthur Cawston, which has been extensively restored. Royal London Hospital Museum, St Augustine with St Philip's Church, Newark Street, Whitechapel, London E1, continuing.


Designing 007: Fifty Years Of Bond Style showcases the inside story of the design and style of the world's most influential and iconic movie brand. It is a multi-sensory experience, immersing visitors in the creation and development of Bond style over its 50 year history. The exhibition explores the craft behind the screen icons, the secret service and villains, tailoring and costumes, set and production design, automobiles, gadgets and special effects, graphic design and motion graphics, exotic locations, stunts and props, and the original scripts. It draws together the ongoing themes and recurring visual images throughout the film series, charting the making and presentation of Bond style through some 400 items. These include gadgets and weapons made for Bond and his notorious adversaries by special effects experts John Stears and Chris Corbould, along with artwork for sets and storyboards by production designers Ken Adam, Peter Lamont and Syd Cain, and costume designs by Bumble Dawson, Donfeld, Julie Harris, Lindy Hemming, Ronald Patterson, Emma Porteous, and Jany Temime, not to mention Hollywood costume designers and major fashion names including Giorgio Armani, Brioni, Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford, Hubert de Givenchy, Gucci's Frida Giannini, Douglas Hayward, Rifat Ozbek, Jenny Packham, Miuccia Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Anthony Sinclair, Philip Treacy, Emanuel Ungaro and Donatella Versace. Among the highlights are Scaramanga's Golden Gun, Oddjob's steel-rimmed bowler hat, the proto-type of Rosa Klebb's deadly flick-knife shoes, Jaws' fearsome teeth, and Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5. The exhibition is spread throughout the building, and the exhibits are interspersed with clips from the films showing them in use. Barbican Centre, London, until 5th September.

Charlotte, The Forgotten Princess examines the life of the nation's first people's princess. The only daughter of George IV, Princess Charlotte of Wales, captured the hearts of the country, and was referred to as the Daughter of England. When she died in 1817 at the age of just 21, having given birth to a stillborn son, there was a national outpouring of grief. Drapers' shops ran out of black fabric, commemorative souvenirs were produced, and the public mourning was exceeded only by that which followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Charlotte's death, and the death of her son, changed the course of British history, since she would have become Queen had she outlived her father and grandfather, and thus Queen Victoria is unlikely to have succeeded to the throne. It also lead to Richard Croft, Charlotte's midwife, shooting himself three months later, unable to cope with the torrent of criticism in the media backlash after her death. The exhibition looks at the life and tragic death of the Princess through a range of exhibits, including personal items such as her handwritten music book, along with paintings, prints, ceramics, jewellery and glassware. Highlights include Charlotte's Russian-style dress and a silver and white evening gown; a bust of the Princess; a baby's shift she wore as an infant; a gown made as part of a layette for the baby she was expecting; and a commemorative vase that was discovered in a shop in Mexico. Royal Pavilion, Brighton, until March.

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye aims to show that the Norwegian painter created so much more than the work for which he is best known. Edvard Munch is often thought of primarily as a 19th century painter, a Symbolist or a pre-Expressionist, but this exhibition reveals how he engaged emphatically with 20th century concerns that were representative of the modernity of the age. It encompasses both Munch's paintings and drawings made in the first half of the 20th century and his often overlooked interest in the rise of modern media, including photography, film and the re-birth of stage production. The display features over 60 paintings and 50 photographs, alongside his lesser-known filmic work. These show Munch's interest in current affairs and how his paintings were inspired by scenes observed in the street or incidents reported in the media. Far from confining himself to the studio, he frequently worked outdoors to capture everyday life, as seen in 'The House is Burning', a view of a real life event with people fleeing the scene of a burning building. The show also examines how Munch often repeated a single motif over a long period of time in order to re-work it, with different versions of his most celebrated works, such as 'The Sick Child' from 1907 and 1925 and 'The Girls on the Bridge' from 1902 and 1907. Munch's use of prominent foregrounds and strong diagonals reference the advancing technological developments in cinema and photography. Creating the illusion of actors moving towards the spectator, as if looming out from a cinema screen, this pictorial device can be seen in many of Munch's most innovative works such as 'On the Operating Table' and 'The Yellow Log'. Tate Britain until 14th October.

Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 featuring beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening gowns and catwalk showstoppers is the first exhibition in the newly renovated Fashion Galleries. There is a strong British design tradition of creating sumptuous ballgowns, which has been upheld even in the late 20th and 21st centuries. In the post-war period, as Europe struggled toward recovery, extravagant, exclusive balls provided glittering backdrops for splendid couture gowns, so helping to stimulate sartorial consumption and aspiration in Britain. The emergence of the charity ball in the 1980s provided a new platform for a wider society to dress to impress. Couture influenced the high street and dressing up for events was no longer the prerogative of the wealthy. More recently it is the red carpet that acts as the most important site of fashionable splendour. The exhibition features over 60 gowns specially made for social events such as private parties, royal state occasions, debutante balls, opening nights and red carpet events. Tour de force eveningwear by designers such as Hardy Amies, Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb, Bruce Oldfield, Victor Stiebel, Zandra Rhodes, Jonathan Saunders and Hussein Chalayan are on show, as well as dresses from the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen, Giles, Erdem, Roksanda Illincic, Mark Fast and Jenny Packham. Royal gowns, with their luxurious fabrics and exquisite embellishments, such as a Norman Hartnell gown designed for Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Princess Diana's 'Elvis Dress' designed by Catherine Walker, as well as gowns worn by today's young royals, are seen alongside dresses worn by actresses and celebrities, including Sandra Bullock, Daphne Guinness, Elizabeth Hurley and Bianca Jagger. The display includes film and contextual images, as well as accessories such as elegant evening bags, gloves and shoes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 6th January.

Presence: The Art Of Portrait Sculpture brings together striking sculpted portraits from the ancient world to the modern day to explore their often troubling power. The exhibition considers the ways in which sculptors have exploited this potency to make the absent present or the dead seem alive, from the mummy masks of ancient Egypt to the extraordinary death mask of the painter Thomas Lawrence, cast with the sheet and pillow of his death bed. The display embraces heads from Ancient Greece and Rome, 18th century masterpieces, such as Joseph Wilton's bust of the Earl of Chesterfield, works by some of the 20th century's greatest sculptors, including Degas, Giacometti and Brancusi, the waxwork of Henry Moore once at Madame Tussauds, and sculptures by major contemporary artists such as Don Brown, Daphne Wright and Marc Quinn. It explores questions of scale and colour through miniature portraits in wax and ivory and Ron Mueck's monumental Self Portrait Mask II. Above all, it explores the sense of presence behind the portrait sculpture which gives it its power to arrest and disturb. Perhaps the most moving of all the works in the show is the ceramic portrait of the small dead girl, Lydia Dwight, cast by her father in the white glazed stoneware technique that he had invented. Striking pairings include Brancusi's abstracted and eyeless Danaide alongside a late Giacometti bust of his brother Diego, in which his staring head seems to exemplify Giacometti's concentration on the sitter's gaze. At the heart of these pairings are two exceptional antique heads, a rare Greek bronze head, probably of a charioteer, from about 300BC, and the head of a North African carved in green siltstone in the 1st century BC. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 2nd September.

Titian's First Masterpiece features the first major commission of the 16th century Venetian painter, and examines the creation of this extraordinarily ambitious work, painted when he was just a teenager. This is the first time 'The Flight Into Egypt' has been seen outside Russia since 1768 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased the picture. The exhibition explores Titian's originality in creating one of the first large scale landscape narratives, and demonstrates how he adapted ideas from the work of other artists in order to create his sophisticated composition. The painting is exhibited alongside more than 20 works by Titian's Venetian contemporaries, including Bellini, Giorgione, and Sebastiano del Piombo, together with artists such as Albrecht Durer, who were in Venice at the time Titian began this work. 'The Flight into Egypt' is believed to be one of Titian's earliest paintings. Produced on an impressive sized canvas (206 x 336 cm), the landscape occupies most of the composition, drawing the viewer's eye to the green of the foliage, and the blues of the sky, mountains and stream. This unprecedented sensitivity to colour is a characteristic of Titian. He spontaneously displayed a naive approach to nature, especially in the depiction of animals. The choice of this particular subject allowed the young painter to display his precocious skill in landscape painting and reveals the bold brushwork and exhilarating use of colour that would become signatures of his artistic style. National Gallery until 19th August.


British Design 1948 - 2012: Innovation In The Modern Age showcases the best of British design and creative talent from the 1948 'Austerity Olympics' to 'London 2012'. It is the first comprehensive exhibition to examine the ways in which artists and designers who were born, trained or working in Britain have produced innovative and internationally acclaimed works over the last 60 years. The exhibition charts the development of British design in fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial products, featuring some 300 objects. These include much loved designs such as a 1959 Morris Mini Minor; a 1961 E-type Jaguar car; a Brownie Vecta camera by Kenneth Grange from 1964; an Alexander McQueen evening gown from the 2009 Horn of Plenty collection; a 6m model of Concorde; fine art by Richard Hamilton and David Hockney; textiles from the 1950s by Lucienne Day and 1980s by Laura Ashley; a 1964 Moulton bicycle; Kit Williams's 1979 golden hare jewel from Masquerade; Brian Duffy's original photograph for the cover of David Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane album; a Brian Long Torsion chair from 1971, and 1960s furniture by Max Clendinning; a Sinclair ZX80 home computer and Jonathan Ive's Apple iMac; and Foster & Partner's 30 St Mary Axe building and Zaha Hadid's new Olympic Aquatics Centre. Key themes investigated include the Festival of Britain, the Queen's Coronation, the 1950s New Towns movement, developments in retail such as Habitat, and the British Art School system, plus counter-cultural movements from Swinging London to Cool Britannia. Victoria & Albert Museum until 12th August.

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 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 11,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Tess Jaray, with Chris Wilkinson and Eva Jiricna overseeing the architecture section. The Central Hall pays homage to Matisse's 'The Red Studio' with a selection of paintings whose main concern is colour; Gallery 3 features a large quantity of smaller paintings, demonstrating that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work; and the architecture gallery seeks to blur the boundaries between architecture and the fine arts. Among the artists exhibiting this year are Michael Craig-Martin, Michael Landy, Tracey Emin, Ken Howard, Anselm Kiefer, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes, Keith Coventry and Jayne Parker. The Royal Academy of Arts until 12th August.

Invisible: Art About The Unseen 1957 - 2012 is the first British exhibition of artworks that explore ideas related to the invisible, the hidden and the unknown. From an invisible labyrinth and canvases primed with invisible ink, animals' mental energy and snow water, to an empty plinth that presents space cursed by a witch and a 'haunted' black tunnel, the exhibition features works by some of the most important artists from the past half century including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Robert Barry, Chris Burden, Yoko Ono, Tom Friedman, Bethan Huws, Bruno Jakob, Claes Oldenburg, Maurizio Cattelan and Carsten Holler. The artworks in the exhibition challenge assumptions about what art is, directing attention away from the cultural bias that works of art are inherently visual. Instead it emphasises the ideas behind artworks, the role of the viewer's imagination in responding to art, the process of creating art, and the importance of context and labelling in shaping our understanding of what we see. Among the pieces are: Jeppe Heine's 'Invisible Labyrinth', a maze that only materialises as visitors move around it, equipped with digital headphones operated by infrared rays that cause them to vibrate every time they bump into one of the maze's virtual walls; Teresa Margolles's 'Aire / Air', an installation consisting of two cooling systems that create a superfine mist by drawing on a container filled with 20 litres of water that was previously used to wash the bodies of murder victims in Mexico City prior to autopsy; and Robert Barry's 'Energy Field', a battery-powered transmitter encased in a nondescript wooden box sending out waves of energy, filling the gallery space with an invisible, immeasurable, but nonetheless real force. The exhibition also includes a room dedicated to the tradition of invisible public monuments. Hayward Gallery until 5th August.