News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th October 2006

Commencing

Twilight: Photography In The Magic Hour comprises around 50 works by international contemporary artists who have explored the visual and psychological effects of twilight, when sensibilities change and potential-laden atmospheres emerge, facilitating the subversion of normality, the darker side of fantasies and the fairytale gone awry. The works are: Robert Adams monochrome 'Summer Nights' series, taken along the Eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, focusing on trees, sky and the shape of the land; Gregory Crewdson's 'Twilight' and 'Beneath the Roses' series, elaborately constructed cinematic tableaux of bizarre, primeval rituals staged in pristine suburbs; Philip-Lorca diCorcia's 'Hollywood' series, with hustlers and drifters along Sunset Boulevard at the moment when natural light and artificial light are in perfect balance; Ori Gersht's new film installation, and his 'Rear Window' series, recording dramatic twilight skies above London; Bill Henson's photographs of Australian landscapes at dusk, showing industrial 'no-man's lands' that lie on the outskirts of cities, peopled by androgynous figures; Chrystel Lebas's 'Abyss' series, using panoramic long exposures to capture the eerie atmosphere of forests at dusk in France, Germany and Japan, and 'Between Dog and Wolf' her triptych made in the Arctic circle; Boris Mikhailov's 'At Dusk' series, taken in Kharkow in the Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union; and Liang Yue's 'Several Dusks', shot on the streets of Beijing, where the haziness of dusk is precipitated by dust, sandstorms and pollution. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th December.

Far Horizons: Artist Travellers 1750-1850 features the work of British artists who travelled before the age of mass tourism in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Canada and India. These intrepid artists journeyed for many reasons, ranging from broadening their experiences and visual education to recording foreign lands and cultures as part of scientific or military expeditions. Their work captures some of the pioneering spirit seen in that of American artists, bringing reports of unknown worlds back to 'civilisation'. This display includes watercolours and drawings by landscape artist John Robert Cozens, whose images of Switzerland and Italy have a sense of mystery and power; portraitist Allan Ramsay, who made frequent visits to Italy; John Webber, enlisted as a draughtsman on Captain Cook's third voyage, visiting such diverse destinations as Tonga, Siberia and Vancouver Island, with works mainly in watercolour and ink; William Callow, who recorded his extensive sightseeing trips throughout Europe in delicate pencil drawings; David Cox, with views of travels to Paris, northern France and the Low Countries; John Frederick Lewis, who lived for some years in Spain and Cairo and recorded Islamic culture; Edward Lear, who documented his explorations in India; and the master of the romantic ruin, Samuel Palmer with visions of Rome. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 10th December.

Power And Taboo: Sacred Objects From The Eastern Pacific examines the concept of taboo in the Polynesian region, the English word taboo having been introduced into our lexicon from the area via Captain Cook's journals. Polynesia is a triangular region with New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island at its corners, populated from a shared homeland beginning approximately 1,500 years ago. The exhibition focuses on religious practice in the 18th and early 19th century, prior to extensive mission and other expatriate influence, when religion encompassed all aspects of human activity, the success or failure of which depended on divine favour, and having an active and appropriate relationship with the gods. Wrapping sacred objects in barkcloth, feathers or coconut fibre was a way of containing their might. Highlights include an enigmatic A'a figure from the Austral Islands; a feather god head from Hawaii; an intricate nephrite tiki pendant from New Zealand; a unique 4m long god staff from the Cook Islands, wrapped in layer upon layer of barkcloth; a tattooed fisherman's god sculpture; and a fibre god image from the Society Islands. Paintings contemporary to the period by William Hodges evoke the landscapes in which these objects were produced, and a sense of the people who inhabited these islands is provided by drawings and prints of Polynesians, in many cases holding or wearing objects identical to those on display. British Museum until 7th January.

Continuing

At Home In Renaissance Italy reveals the central role of the Renaissance interior in the flowering of Italian art and culture, showing how works of art were originally conceived for affluent Renaissance homes. The exhibition focuses on the main rooms: the sala (reception room), camera (bedroom) and scrittoio (study) of a wealthy urban interior, with displays of furniture, paintings, textiles, tapestries and decorative arts from the palazzi of Tuscany and the Veneto. Highlights include: the famous study in the Palazzo Medici in Florence, with Luca Della Robbia's roundels, fountain pens, illuminated manuscripts and artefacts from the family's collection; the re-uniting after centuries of separation of Paolo Veronese's double portrait of the da Porto-Thiene family from their home Palladio's Palazzo da Porto; Filippo Lippi's 'Portrait of a Man and Woman at a Casement', the earliest Italian portrait within an interior setting; Vittore Carpaccio's 'Birth of the Virgin', depicting an extraordinary succession of rooms; Sofonisba Anguissola's 'Sisters playing Chess', an intimate family scene by one of the few prominent female artists of the period; Vincenza Campi's 'Kitchen Scene', crammed with below stairs hustle and bustle; rare examples of Renaissance furniture, such as an inlaid table that has never left the family and a Florentine painted wedding chest; and a monumental fireplace and wall-fountain; plus survivals of everyday objects such as steel corsets, harpsichords, children's books, gambling games, cooking and dining utensils, protective amulets, embroidered sheets, the earliest surviving Italian spectacles and the only known Renaissance baby-walker. Victoria & Albert Museum until 7th January.

St George's Bloomsbury officially reopens this week after a £9.2m three year restoration programme. One of London's forgotten landmarks has regained the Baroque splendour of Nicholas Hawksmoor's original 18th century vision - the last, and arguably the greatest, of his six London churches. It was designed to glorify not just God but King George I, whose statue stands aloft the spire, a miniature version of the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Around this there are two pairs of writhing oversized lions and unicorns, whose appearance prompted a rival architect to say that Hawksmoor was 'scarcely sober' when he designed it. The building is full of surprises. The entrance is not from beneath the mighty Roman portico fronting the street, with its ironwork street lamps incorporating platforms for the lamplighters to stand on, but at the side, through a less obvious door in the base of the tower. Inside, the altar is straight ahead across the short axis of the building's rectangular plan. At various times certain idiosyncrasies of Hawksmoor's masterpiece had been 'ironed out', including moving the altar to the more conventional position, and bricking up some windows, but his original intentions have now been restored, together with the lions and unicorns, removed by severe Victorian sensibilities, but recreated by Tim Crawley. The only deviation from Hawksmoor is that although originally all the windows were clear glass, certain Victorian stained glass panels have been retained. A reopening gala on 14th October will include a costumed performance of eighteenth century music, song and verse, together with readings from St George's early history. St George's Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Way London WC1.

Cezanne In Britain is a retrospective focussing entirely on works held in British collections to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Paul Cezanne. Although he never came to Britain, thanks to pioneer collectors, this country now holds one of the world's most outstanding collections of works by Cezanne, and about fourty five of them have been selected for this display. The exhibition traces the full development of Cezanne's art, comprising paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints, and covers his wide range of subject matter: portraits, still lifes and landscapes. World renowned and trademark paintings, such as 'The Bathers' and 'Mont Sainte-Victoire', are shown alongside rarely seen works, including an earlier prototype for 'The Bathers', seen in public for the first time. The successive styles of Cezanne's career are represented: expressive works 'painted as though with mud' of the 1860s such as 'The Abduction' and 'The Autopsy'; 'Impressionist' pictures made during the 1870s, showing a lighter palette as in 'Pool at the Jas de Bouffan'; 'synthetic' works from the 1880s and 1890s such as 'The Card Players'; and finally, serene and highly resolved paintings from the later period of his life, such as the 'Still Life with Teapot'. From the early portrait of 1862, 'The Painter's Father, Louis-Auguste Cezanne', to one of his last paintings, the 'Portrait of Gardener Vallier' made in 1906, the exhibition reflects the forty year artistic journey of a solitary man who relentlessly looked for perfection. National Gallery until 7th January.

Francis Bacon: Paintings From The 1950s explores the major themes that interested Bacon between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, affording an unprecedented insight into his imaginative powers, as well as his constantly evolving sources and techniques. This was the period during which Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his career, from the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees, through the early Popes and portraits of Van Gogh, to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation. For a painter whose imagination so rarely strayed beyond the walls of dark claustrophobic interiors, there were even glimpses of landscape, recollections of Africa and the South of France. It was a period that saw Bacon still searching for himself, and eager to explore a variety of impressions and take all kinds of risks. Throughout his life, Bacon carefully controlled the way his work was selected and presented, ensuring that in all exhibitions the emphasis was placed on his most recent paintings - especially on the late triptychs. As a result, works from the earlier half of his career have received much less attention. This exhibition attempts to rectify that, and among some seventy paintings, including 'Study (Imaginary Portrait of Pope Pius XII)', 'Two Figures in a Room' and 'Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh I', which some people consider to be his greatest work, there are a number that have rarely been seen in public before. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th December.

First And Last Loves: John Betjeman And Architecture features the writings, recordings and films of John Betjeman, in a celebration of his life long passion for architecture. The exhibition brings together rare archive material, photographic and film footage, as well as original art work from Betjeman's friends and contemporaries, such as John Piper. It is an intimate show, rather like visiting Betjeman's library and being able to look around his own rooms, hung with his pictures and decorated with objects he liked. From his bicycle tours of Oxford as a young student, to his hard fought campaigns to save endangered Victorian masterpieces such as St Pancras Station in the 1960s, architecture remained Betjeman's great love. Following a spell at the Architectural Review in the 1930s, he went on to edit the iconic Shell Guides, which steered motorists around historic buildings county by county, and after the Second World War, became increasingly well known as for his television work, which reached its peak with the classic film Metroland. As well as encouraging a better understanding of Britain's greatest towns and buildings, Betjeman was a tireless promoter of the marginal, the overlooked and the obscure. His love for Victoriana (he was a founder member of the Victorian Society in 1958) and his passionate pleas to preserve Britain's railway architecture is credited with instigating the great revival of interest in buildings of the 19th century. The exhibition provides both a feast of new material and a rare opportunity to view vintage footage of one of the greatest architectural writers and broadcasters of the 20th century. Sir John Soane's Museum, London until 30th December.

Holbein In England features the work produced in England under the patronage of the Tudor court and for Henry VIII by Hans Holbein, who effectively brought the Renaissance in painting from continental Europe to Britain. Comprising 160 works, including 40 portrait and subject paintings, as well as portrait drawings, decorative designs and prints, it is largest collection of Holbein's work to be seen in Britain in over fifty years. The exhibition shows the range of his skill and accomplishment as an artist, developing a finely poised balance between individualised character and ideal presentation. It also documents the personalities and court life in Tudor England, reflecting the unsettled history and politics of the time. The selection concentrates on Holbein's two periods working in London: 1526 - 1528 under the patronage of Sir Thomas More, and 1532 - 1543 when his patron was Henry VIII - the time during which his best known portraits were painted. Among the highlights are the portraits of Henry VIII, his wife Jane Seymour and their young son, later Edward VI, reunited for the first time in many centuries; a drawing for a group portrait of Sir Thomas More and his family, with detailed instructions for the composition handwritten by More, back in London after 500 years; and individual portraits of More, Erasmus, William Roper, Archbishop Wareham and Anne of Cleves. The exhibition also highlights Holbein's contribution to the revolution in English decorative design, examining the ways in which his understanding of new classical decoration was applied to designs for goldsmiths, as well as to the composition of large scale paintings. Tate Britain until 7th January.

Concluding

David Hockney: From Bradford To Hollywood And Back Again explores Bradford born Hockney's response to the many locations with which he is associated, particularly Yorkshire, London, New York and Los Angeles. Featuring over fifty works from four decades, the show offers a snapshot of Hockney's developing sense of place in a constantly changing world. During this period, as he has moved from swinging sixties whiz kid to slightly dotty professor, Hockney has tried his hand at a variety of media, painting in acrylic, drawing, printmaking, instant photography and lately watercolour, the common thread being a simple and profound wonder at what he sees looking around him - wherever he is. Among the exhibition highlights are early Bradford works 'Family at a Tea Table', 'The Launderette', 'The Bradford Co-operative Society' and 'Bolton Junction'; swinging sixties London works 'Bradford from Exhibition Road' and 'Life Painting of Myself'; a 1970s swimming pool painting 'Le Plongeur'; one of his earliest 1980s Polaroid joiners showing a view of Bradford, together with 'Mother', 'Bolton Abbey', 'Grand Canyon' and 'South Rim with Rail, Arizona'; and symbolising the whole exhibition, 1990s 'Garrowby Hill' alongside 'Road Across the Wolds'.Cartwright Hall, Bradford until 4th November.

Formula One: The Great Design Race tells the story of motor racing since the 1950s, revealing the mysteries of the intensely secretive industry that invests millions of pounds in design and technology each year. The exhibition features an iconic car from each decade, including the Lotus 79, in which Andretti won the 1978 Drivers' Championship and Lotus won the Constructor's title, demonstrating the potential of ground-effect aerodynamics; and the MP4/4-2, driven by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, which won 15 of the 16 races for McLaren in 1988. It also includes an 'exploded' car, which deconstructs the design and development of the different parts. A series of design stories explain the aerodynamics of the chassis and cockpit; the power generated by the engine, gearbox and fuel; and the advances in suspension, brakes and tyres, which determine the drivers' ability to control their cars at extremely high speeds and in adverse weather conditions. As well as the history and technology of motor racing, the exhibition presents a year in the life of Formula One, a behind the scenes look at the complexity and logistics that enable a team to compete throughout a season. Each race team is represented: Ferrari, Honda, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toyota and Williams. The exhibition also looks to the future, with key industry figures giving their predictions for the ways in which the design and technology of Formula One will develop. Design Museum until 29th October.

What's For Dinner? Half A Century Of British Eating Habits examines how the dramatic changes that have overtaken our eating habits over the last fifty years reveal the changes that have taken place in society. How we eat, where we eat, what we eat, and with whom, reflects both our place in the social and ethical diversity of Britain today, and also embodies our personal relationships with family, friends and neighbours. Fifty years ago the average woman spent 1 hour 40 minutes a day cooking for her family, and dinner was eaten as a group at the table in a dining room, whereas today, a cooking time of 8 minutes for a meal eaten in front of the television by a single person household is common. These changes are not just reflected in the food itself, but in the paraphernalia used to prepare, cook and eat it, as well as the spaces in which it is consumed. 'Contemporary' designs and new ideas in the late 1950s included the hostess trolley and oven-to-table cookware, whereas now it's woks and thumb plates. Gone are embroidered tablecloths, napkin rings, cruets and canteens of cutlery with special fish knives and forks - instead it's salt and pepper grinders and all in one fork-knife-spoon splades. The exhibition brings together video interviews, anecdotes, statistics, advertisements, photographs, recipes, magazines, packaging, tableware, utensils - and even the smell of boiled cabbage - to present a picture of a 'brave new world' that seems far more distant than just fifty years ago. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University Cat Hill Campus, Barnet until 29th October.