News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th February 2003


Julia Margaret Cameron: 19th Century Photographer Of Genius showcases the work of one of the most important, yet least known figures in the history of photography. Presented with a camera as a gift from her daughter, at the age of 48 she embraced photography with a passion bordering on obsession. Cameron's subject matter consisted exclusively of portraits and fancy dress historical tableaux. From a well-to-do colonial background in India and Ceylon, she came to Britain with an entree into artistic, political and scientific society. With her portraits she created many of the images of great Victorians by which we know them best. These include Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, John Herschel (who coined the term 'photography'), Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ellen Terry, Anthony Trollope and G F Watts. Taking inspiration from Arthurian legends, allegorical tales, classical literature and the Bible, she would create heroic scenes employing her servants, friends, and even passers by as human props. Cameron claimed that her style - luminous, and slightly out of focus - was entirely accidental, but she brought to photography something of the qualities of her pre-Raphaelite painter contemporaries. She still holds the record for the highest auction price paid for a 19th century British photograph of £147,000 in 2001. This exhibition brings together over 100 of Cameron's greatest images. National Portrait Gallery until 26th May.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall opened this week on the waterfront at Falmouth, over looking one of the world's largest deep water harbours. The design by Long and Kentish resembles a series of wooden boat sheds around a lighthouse, which provides a lookout point. The interior is divided into two areas. The Virtual, houses all the interactives, without which any new museum is incomplete, including Nav-station, giving an insight into the art of navigation and meteorology; Start Line, showing the many ways boats have been used throughout history; Set Sail, providing an experience of what it is like in different kinds of boats under varying weather conditions; and Tidal Zone offering information about how tides are formed, and an underwater view of the harbour. The Reality, features Flotilla, a selection from the collection of over 140 craft of all sizes and shapes suspended in the air; a collection of artefacts from Cornwall's maritime past; a workshop, with boat builders using a variety of techniques - traditional and contemporary - to build, repair and restore boats, who are happy to explain their craft; and Waterfront, a large pool with fans providing changing wind currents, where visitors can try their hand with radio controlled model sailing craft. In addition, there is a library with over 10,000 maritime books and local archive material, a gallery celebrating Cornwall's rich maritime history; and a special exhibition area, which currently has life size paintings and large scale woodcuts of boats by James Dodds. National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth continuing.

Titian is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to the work of the 16th century Venetian artist. Nobody thought more about colour and light than Titian, and few individuals have had a greater influence on the development of Western painting. Titian's landscapes visualised a golden age, and his portraits of Kings, Dukes and Popes tempered realism with compassion, without being overtly flattering. This show features some of his most famous works, and is the first opportunity to see the gallery's resident collection alongside paintings of similar quality from around the world, including 'Flora' from the Uffizi, 'Danae' and 'Pope Paul III' from Naples, 'The Madonna Of The Rabbit' from the Louvre, 'The Entombment' and 'Philip II' from the Prado, and 'Clarissa Strozzi' from Berlin. It also reunites the four paintings of Alfonso d'Este's 'camerino d'alabastro' - Bellini's 'The Feast of the Gods' (with additions by Titian), 'Bacchus And Ariadne', 'The Worship Of Venus' and 'The Andrians' - for the first time since 1598. The exhibition shows the extraordinary range of subjects and styles executed by Titian during his unusually long career, and uses new historical and scientific art discoveries to re-examine his techniques. National Gallery until 18th May.


Kazari: Decoration And Display In Japan 15th - 19th Centuries is an exploration of the Japanese art and experience of arranging and displaying decorative objects. Kazari refers not only to the object, but also to its use in specific settings and contexts, and requires the active participation of imagination or memory. Stimulating the senses through the acts of viewing, using, or adorning a work of art, it manifests the dynamism inherent in Japanese aesthetics, and suggests the process that transforms the everyday into something extraordinary. The exhibition consists of over 200 rich, remarkable, and often unexpected objects in all media - painting, ceramics, lacquer, textiles (including Kabuki theatre costumes), glass and metalwork. Exhibits are organised in six chronological and thematic sections, presenting examples of decorative and fine art objects that correspond to particular periods of high cultural achievements. These range from the shogun's court of the Muromachi (1392-1573), through prosperous merchants of Momoyama (1573-1615), to the pleasure districts of burgeoning Edo (1615-1868) periods. The exhibition shows how the arts of decoration and display were integral to Japanese culture, and contradicts the general belief in the West that it is entirely minimalist. British Museum until 13th April.

Flower Power is the first major exhibition to explore the symbolism of flowers. It surveys five hundred years of visual and decorative arts, from the spiritual symbolism of early religious art to tulipomania in 17th century Holland, and from intricate botanical illustration to vibrant modern art. Flowers are a universal language, and have been used as a symbol of life, beauty and death throughout the centuries, and by many cultures. This exhibition looks at the meaning of flowers through paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, jewellery, books and manuscripts. It examines the way in which flowers have acquired meanings in different cultures, and been adopted by both Western Christianity and Eastern religions. Illustrating the differences and commonality between cultures and faiths, it shows how the meanings of flowers have remained constant through the years or changed according to the society of the time. Over 130 exhibits span old masters by Caravaggio, Michaelangelo, Van Dyck and van Huysum, iconic twentieth century works by Howard Hodgkin and others, and contemporary contributions by Marc Quinn, Helen Chadwick and Richard Slee. In addition, fresh cut flower arrangements, inspired by the works on display, bring elements of perfume, texture and colour, adding an evocative sensual aspect to the show. Norwich Castle Museum And Art Gallery until 5th May.

Grow Up! Advice And The Teenage Girl displays the changing advice given to girls over the last 125 years. From Victorian maidens to the street cred teenagers of today, it looks at how words, diagrams, agony aunts, photo stories, films and web sites have tried to prepare girls physically and mentally for their first steps towards womanhood. The exhibition also captures the defiance and insecurities of girls, past and present, who reject popular advice and make their own way forward. Teenage fashions give a visual timeline of how advice on looks and styles are accepted or ignored. A sound installation by Sanchita Farruque captures the secret language and music of teenagers today, and a video reel presents Teen Talk - East End teenagers on school, careers and mates. To an adult audience, the contemporary material appears equally as quaint and unreal as the Victorian material at which the exhibition pokes fun. Accompanying talks and events explore the issues raised, from hero worship to fashions in hair and make up. Further information can be found on The Women's Library web site via the link from the Galeries section of ExhibitionsNet. The Women's Library, London until 26th April.

Manola Blahnik is the ultimate fusion of art and commerce - the first museum retrospective of the work of the most fashionable shoe designer in the world. Sensationally sexy yet impeccably elegant, his shoes are perfectly proportioned feats of technical virtuosity and craftsmanship. Their exuberance and extravagance, not to mention the vibrancy of their colours, make them more art object than practical footwear - ideal for his core clients of supermodels, Hollywood stars, and the characters in Sex And The City (actually a very small, but incredibly influential group). Working alone without apprentices or assistants, Blahnik designs and makes the prototype for each of his shoes from start to finish, drawing the initial sketches, chiselling the wooden lasts on which they are moulded, sculpting the heels, and personally supervising their production. This exhibition is drawn from Manolo Blahnik's private archive, and traces the thirty year career of this remarkable designer-maker, by deconstructing his design process and reflecting his influences, from the films of Luchino Visconti and Irving Penn's photography, to the portraits of Francisco Zurbaran. Blahnik started designing in the early 1970s for the Zapata boutique in London, which he later took over. Despite the impracticalities of some of his early designs (which couldn't cope with someone actually walking in them) word of mouth soon attracted the attention of the style centred worlds of fashion and show business. His empire has now spread worldwide, and he has created shoes for many couture collections. Design Museum until 11 May.

Simon Periton - New Work gives a contemporary slant to the ancient Chinese craft of intricate paper cutting. Put very simply, Simon Periton makes doilies, cutting them by hand from layers of coloured paper to create complex visual and sculptural effects. Patterns consist of symbols from sources as diverse as occultism, colonialism, Islam, punk, Pop Art and politics, and the prettiness of his work belies the seriousness of the cultural references. Periton has made a new piece in metal foil especially for this exhibition, which hangs over the windows like intricate lace curtains, in a response to the domestic proportions of the room. It sounds simple, but the results are anything but. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds until 16th March.

Terry O'Neill: Celebrity is a retrospective of the work of the master of celebrity photographic portraiture. It comprises over forty images of the most illustrious faces in the world, which are a testament to their sitters fame and the test of time. They are revealing, tantalising, and yet enigmatic, as Terry O'Neill manages to capture that wholly unquantifiable x-factor of celebrity. O'Neill started snapping celebrities as a staff photographer at The Daily Sketch in 1960's. He wanted to capture something of the mood of the time by using his 35mm camera - relatively unusual then for portraiture - to bring the spontaneity of photography as seen in portraits of the Beatles and the Stones. The technique proved to be a success, and he soon went freelance, working for Life, Vogue, Paris Match and Rolling Stone. O'Neill's portraits encapsulate much of the glamour, fashion and fame combination of the 1960s and 1970s. His subjects are at the peak of their professional and physical powers, shot mostly informally, but occasionally in character on location. The images range from Brigitte Bardot - Spain 1971, through Robert Redford - London 1976, Clint Eastwood - Tucson, Arizona 1972, and Faye Dunaway - Beverly Hills 1976 to Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau - London 1976. Hackelbury Fine Art, 4 Launceston Place, London W8, 020 7937 8688, until 5th March.


Arthur Rackham celebrates the work of one of the world's most popular artist-illustrators, who produced some of the finest colour book illustrations of the early twentieth century. His interpretations of Rip Van Winkle, Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Wind In The Willows, have achieved classic status around the world. Trained as a black and white illustrator of magazines alongside Aubrey Beardsley, the influence of Art Nouveau permeates is work. A master of the grotesque, Rackham drew anthropomorphised trees, gnarled dwarfs and gnomish creatures to contrast with his childish, naive vision of the world. He chose well known classic folk and fairy tales, which he drew with a bold scratchy pen, and painted in pale washes. This is the first full scale exhibition of his work in Britain for over twenty years, and brings together over 70 original works, as well as sketches, landscapes and portraits from public and private collections, many of which have never been seen in public before. It provides for the first time, a survey of the full range of Arthur Rackham's artistic output, from juvenile sketches and illustrations to paintings and first edition books, highlighting his impish, childish nature through family photographs, travel sketches and scrapbooks compiled by his descendants. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 2nd March.

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.

Unseen Vogue: The Secret History Of Fashion Photography has been produced by sifting through over one and a half million unused images in the archive of the fashion bible British Vogue. From first efforts by famous photographers and great pictures by forgotten ones, to out-takes from now legendary shoots, it reveals images which were commissioned by Vogue but never published, either due to editorial arguments or 'excess of imagination' on the part of the snappers. Either way, this collection offers an alternative version to the official history of fashion photography. It features previously unseen work by such legends as Horst, Cecil Beaton, William Klein, David Bailey, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Bob Richardson, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Nick Knight and current hottie Mario Testino (although surely the world has seen even his holiday snaps). The photographs are given an extra dimension by the inclusion of editors' notes and sketches, photographers' letters, and even models' payslips. A fresh insight into a world about which we thought we already knew too much. Design Museum until 23rd February.