News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th December 2002

Commencing

Star Trek - The Adventure is a £24m 'multi-media interactive experience through four decades of Star Trek adventures, where stars, creators and state of the art technology will come together to reveal the secrets of the creative process'. The show is receiving its world premiere in a 7,000 sq metre 'hi-tech climate controlled environment' (that's tent to you and me) in Hyde Park - the biggest event to be staged there since the Great Exhibition of 1851. The extravaganza (at last something which actually deserves the word) offers the first chance for civilians to experience the interiors of various generations of the Enterprise at first hand, including a red alert on the bridge; the transporter room, where they can experience being 'beamed up'; and the engineering bay with the latest technology, together with hundreds of props, costumes and artifacts, and interactive demonstrations and simulators. Last (and by no means least) there is more merchandising on offer than you would think possible in one universe. "It's an exhibition Jim, but not as we know it." Entertainment crosses the final frontier. Star Trek - The Adventure, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park until 31st January.

A New World Trade Center - Design Proposals is the result of New York art gallery owner Max Protetch's invitation to some sixty architects and artists to submit ideas about how the site of the World Trade Centre might be redeveloped. The participants, some leaders in their fields, others up and coming practitioners and theorists, were selected for their imaginations and artistic accomplishments, rather than their ability to deliver practical solutions. There were no rules, regulations, or requirements, and this exhibition, comprising drawings, sketches, models, animations, photos, texts and even sound, reflects the diversity of the responses. Many of them attempt rethink the skyscraper - arguably America's greatest contribution to world architecture. Others look beyond buildable architectural forms, seeking to redefine the urban environment and reshape how we think about cities, imagining a new character for lower Manhattan. At a time when technological change is directly impacting on both the way architects design and builders build, these proposals encompass a broad swath of contemporary architectural thought and practice. This is only UK appearance for the exhibition, which was originally staged in New York in January. Cube Gallery, Manchester until 8th February.

Making Spirits Bright is a changing programme of events indoors and out though the Christmas and New Year period. The gardens are illuminated to provide magical walks among seasonal plants - and not just holly, ivy and mistletoe, but frankincense and myrrh - plus a Victorian carousel, a steam traction engine ride, and free guided tours explaining the origins of the traditions of Christmas plants. Inside, in the glasshouses, restaurants and museums, the entertainment includes performances by choirs, brass bands and hand bell groups, an exhibition of landscape and wildlife photographs, demonstrations of seasonal cooking and flower arranging, and storytelling, plus food and drink, and appearances by Father Christmas. There are free evening openings in December and free entry in the New Year for visitors bringing their trees for recycling. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew until 5th January.

Continuing

Mies Van Der Rohe 1905 - 1938 looks at the early career of possibly the most influential architect of the 20th century. Famed for his ethos of 'less is more', his designs have reshaped skylines and revolutionised interior, urban and suburban space. This exhibition brings together 38 pivotal projects dating from Mies arrival in Berlin in 1905 to his departure for a new career in America in 1938, which are explored through over 200 drawings, photographs, models and virtual 'walk through' videos. Featuring elegant villas, prototype skyscrapers and his remarkable German Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exposition, it also includes the work of modern masters and contemporary artists inspired by his architecture. Mies enthusiastically embraced new technology, using materials such as glass, concrete and steel, which he saw as a 'means towards a spiritual purpose'. His proposal for a skyscraper in Berlin's Friedrichstrasse in 1921 was the first for a high rise building entirely clad in glass. Such innovative designs were often created for exhibitions or magazines, such as the famous G magazine - which brought together works and writings by artists such as Hans Arp, Theo van Doesburg, George Grosz and Man Ray, also included in the exhibition. The economic depression of the 1930s, coupled with the emergence of the National Socialist regime, resulted in a number of significant projects that were never built. Mies was the last director of the influential Bauhaus School of Art and Design, until its closure by the Nazis in 1933. Whitechapel Art Gallery until 2nd March.

Modern Times? People And Dress In The 1920s examines the people and fashions of one of the 20th century's most exciting and liberated decades. The 1920s was a transitional time for society, and this exhibition reveals how the changing attitudes of both men and women were reflected in many aspects of fashion. It spotlights women entering the workplace for the first time, responsible for the entirely new phenomenon of separates. Meanwhile, men returning from the First World War were fitted out for a civilian life of both work and sport. The exhibition is centred on twelve 'characters' from different strata of society, some based on real people, and others inspired by contemporary magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman and Home. They range from a well to do but conservative woman who dresses in Paris couture, through an enthusiast for new fashion ideas with a beaded dress, and a 1928 bride in her gown with items from her trousseau, to a 'modern' young woman in a short skirt and with shingled hair. The clothes are supported by a wealth of graphic material from the period. The Museum Of Costume, Bath until 4th November.

Albrecht Durer And His Legacy surveys the work of the man who became the first international artist. By exploiting the new technologies of printing, he ensured that his works were known across Europe, making him a master of the multiple image and an international celebrity four and a half centuries before Andy Warhol. His AD monogram became a trademark, recognised and respected across the Renaissance world. The exhibition looks at Durer's achievements as a draughtsman, engraver and printmaker, and how his widely disseminated and innovative imagery influenced not only his contemporaries, but also the artists and craftsmen of succeeding generations. Among the works included are: the earliest known group of watercolour landscapes drawn from nature to have survived in the history of western art, which he painted during his first visit to Italy; the virtuoso engraving 'Adam and Eve' with its numerous related studies; one of the largest prints ever produced, the 'Triumphal Arch' made for the Emperor Maximilian; the drawing 'Praying Hands', never before seen in this country; and the three master prints of 1513-1514, 'Knight, Death and the Devil', 'Melancholia' and 'St Jerome in his Study'. The impact of Durer's work on other artists is reflected in works from Germany, Holland and Italy (Rembrandt among them), and his long-standing influence on ceramic designs from 16th century majolica to 18th century Meissen. British Museum until 23rd March.

Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin's Photographs returns us to the gentler age of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the John Hinde Studio produced a series of postcards to be sold at Butlin's holiday camps across the UK. This was Butlin's heyday, with over a million holidaymakers staying at the network of nine camps each year. With innovative use of colour and elaborate staging - the trademarks of a John Hinde postcard - the photographs show an idealised view of Britain at leisure. Each photograph is a narrative tableaux, elaborately stage managed, involving large casts of real holidaymakers acting their roles in Butlin's lounges, ballrooms, Beachcomber bars and pools. At the time they were not considered by Hinde to be work of any serious artistic or documentary interest - the simple intention was that the brilliance of the cards would make them leap off the postcard rack compared to their alternatives. Now they are a documentary record of a fantasy of class and period aspirations, and of Butlin's once revolutionary vision of leisure, as well as a hyperreal and fantastic rendition of an actual place at a particular time. In the faces, clothes and gestures, and in the quantity of detail recorded, they provide the raw material for an entire social archaeology of the period. This is probably best summed up by the image of a futuristic monorail soaring over a Morris Traveller. The Photographer's Gallery until 18th January.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine And The Grotesque is the inaugural exhibition at the new Queen's Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the first permanent exhibition space for the Royal Collection in Scotland. Designed by Benjamin Tindall Architects, the £3m gallery is housed in the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon's School at the entrance to the Palace, making the most of their high oak beamed Victorian ceilings. The exhibition is the largest display of Leonardo da Vinci's works ever held in Scotland, and the first to examine his life long obsession with the human form, including (or especially) its deformities. Among the 73 works on show are pioneering anatomical illustrations, several of which are annotated with his characteristic mirror writing; caricatures and studies of angels in preparation for The Last Supper; a sheet of five grotesque heads; drawings of fantastic animals and bizarre inventions; portraits of himself and fellow artists; and the design for a festival costume and mask. The new gallery will focus primarily on changing exhibitions of drawings from the Print Room at Windsor Castle, whose holdings include world famous drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael, Holbein and Canaletto. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 30th March.

Aztecs is the most comprehensive survey of Aztec culture ever mounted, with some 350 works, which reveal the splendours, variety and sophistication of this mysterious civilisation. It is mainly devoted to the art of the Aztec Empire, which dates from 1325, when the Aztecs settled at Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City) to its demise in 1521, following the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. The exhibition explores the key themes of Aztec culture, including the importance of the cosmos, the role of the different gods, the issue of kingship, the culture of war and human sacrifice as part of the cycle of life and death, and the natural world. The largest display is centred on the Templo Mayor or the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan, the symbolic and physical centre of the Aztec world, with many of the ritual objects found on the site, including the life size terracotta figures of the eagle warrior and of the Lord of Death, Mictlantecuhtli, which are on show for the first time outside Mexico. The Aztecs fashioned objects from a wide variety of materials, and creating highly detailed depictions of gods, people, and the natural world. In addition to monumental sculptures in stone and wood, featherwork objects and ceramics, there are works of art made of turquoise mosaics, gold and other precious materials. The exhibition also reunites some of the most important codices or pictorial manuscripts, which the Aztecs used to record their history and communicate information, in the largest group of these documents ever to be displayed. Further information can be found on a special section of the Royal Academy web site via the link opposite. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th April.

Concluding

Somerset House Courtyard Ice Rink, is now as regular a Christmas feature in London as the Holiday Season outdoor skating arena at the Rockefeller Center in New York (although the skating is possibly not as stylish). The rink, which at 9000sqm is larger than ever and capable of accommodating some 2000 skaters a day, has been installed in the courtyard at a cost of around £300,000. It is open from 10am to 10pm, and as darkness falls the courtyard is illuminated by flaming torches and architectural lighting on the building's 18th century facades. A 40ft Christmas tree donated by the city of Basel has been erected at the north end of the courtyard. Both skaters and spectators can enjoy traditional hot snacks and drinks in the rinkside cafe. Tuition is available for beginners and ice guides can accompany inexperienced skaters. The rink is open throughout the Christmas and New Year period, closing only on Christmas Day. Somerset House until 26th January.

Marble Arch Ice Rink is also joining in the fun this year, with a 600sqm rink (complete with snowmen) under the arches themselves, open from 10am to 10pm. Spectators can watch from both an open air viewing area and an indoor rinkside cafe which serves hot snacks and drinks. As a bonus, Oxford Street is on the doorstep for Christmas and January Sales shopping. The rink is open throughout the Christmas and New Year period, closing only on Christmas Day. At last London can return to the Thames Frost Fairs of yesteryear. Marble Arch until 15th January.

Madame de Pompadour: Images Of A Mistress illustrates the life of the woman who rose from modest beginnings to become Louis XV's acknowledged mistress and one of the most powerful women of 18th century France. Attractive, educated, highly intelligent and a lavish patron at a time when France dominated the European artistic scene, she employed the best of her country's artists to depict her and to embellish her various residences. This exploration of one of the first examples of social and political 'spin' shows how Madame de Pompadour created an image of herself against a background of increasing domestic and international tensions. The exhibition comprises paintings, sculpture, porcelain, furniture, gems and prints. These include a number of portraits by Boucher (who made a career out of painting her) most notably the study with her back to a mirror, revealing the original Pompadour hairstyle, Carle Vanloo's portrait of her in oriental dress from St Petersburg, Greuze's Simplicity from Fort Worth, and one of her writing desks from Versailles - complete with a secret compartment. National Gallery until 12th January.

The Art of Love: Madame de Pompadour is a companion exhibition which centres on Madame de Pompadour's patronage of the arts and the furnishings of her residences. These reflected the epitome of fashionable taste of the time, and exhibits include lacquer furniture, four painted scenes depicting each of the arts, a gold snuff box with enamelled miniatures, a rock crystal ewer and basin, a design for her chateau at Bellevue, Sevres porcelain tea services and elephant shaped vases, and the pair of Boucher mythological paintings which depict Louis XV as the god Apollo and Madame de Pompadour as the sea nymph Tethys. The Wallace Collection until 5th January.

The Crystal Palace - Reinventing The Chandelier is a collection of chandeliers commissioned from some of the world's most innovative designers by Swarovski, the Austrian crystal company. As the nights draw in the lights go on, and among this spectacular collection are: Blossom, a crystal replica of a bough of blossom created by the Dutch product designer Tord Boontje, and Glitterbox, a contemporary reworking of an Art Deco boxed chandelier made by the Austrian designer Georg Baldele. Also on display is Crystal Frock, a model of a full-skirted fairytale frock made in pale pink crystals by the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. Design Museum until 5th January.