News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th July 2000


Jodrel Bank Observatory may be threatened if Britain joins the European Southern Observatory in its Very Large Telescope project located in Chile, according to press reports this week. Finance is unlikely to be available for both participation in ESO, and continued upgrading of Jodrell's radio-imaging telescopes, without which they will become obsolete. The Lovell Telescope is presently undergoing a major enhancement, and plans are advanced for other upgrades in order to provide British astronomers with a unique instrument to work with the Hubble Space Telescope and the next generation of telescopes. Jodrell's radio-imaging telescopes provide resources which the ESO optical telescopes cannot replace. Jodrell Bank is open to the public daily during the summer. A full statement about the threat to its future, live webcam and telescope data, information about the various instruments and visitor arrangements are all provided on the Jodrell Bank web site, via the link from the Attractions section of ExhibitionsNet. Jodrell Bank Science Centre, Planetarium and Arboretum until October.

Dan Dare At 50 is an exhibition of artwork and memorabilia celebrating Britain's first and best known spaceman, whose exploits were regaled on the front page of the Eagle comic in the 1950's. In addition to original artwork, it includes ray guns, walkie talkies, jigsaws, games and recently rediscovered pre launch dummy copy of the Eagle, in which Dan Dare was a Spacefleet Pardre - a real Sky Pilot. As with all the best sci fi many of the fantastic inventions have since come to pass. On Sunday 13th August there will be a special day, with a talk on Frank Hempson the original illustrator and the Dan Dare Studio, the opportunity to meet the artists, and view a Dan Dare video which is not in the exhibition.

Happy Birthday Snoopy - the Peanuts 50th Anniversary Exhibition - traces the history of the world's best loved and most widely syndicated cartoon strip. A recreation of the studio of Charles M Schultz displays a selection of rare Peanut strips, many of which are destined for the Schultz Museum opening in California next year. Children can try cartooning at a series of one day workshops throughout the run. Best of all both the exhibitions and the special events are free. British Cartoon Centre, London, 020 7278 7172, Dan Dare until 8th September - Peanuts until 8th October.

Zaha Hadid used to be the most influential architect in the world who hadn't built anything. She is probably best known for her design for the failed Cardiff Bay Opera House project, but other striking buildings in Dusseldorf, Tokyo and Hong King also never materialised. Now the plans and models are at last being turned into reality, and projects from her studio currently under construction are worth £200m. This is the first major exhibition of Hadid's pioneering work, which includes stage sets for the Pet Shop Boys, the Mind Zone at the Dome, a 900 metre bridge in Abu Dhabi and Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Centre. The exhibition explores her radical visions of urban living while examining individual projects, interweaving models, photographs, drawings, paintings, animation and furniture. Meanwhile, throughout July and August Hadid's new animations are being projected on a giant outside the club Home in Leicester Square. Hadid will give a lecture about her work at the Royal Geographical Society on 26th July. Institue of Contemporary Art 22nd July until 10th September - Royal Geographical Society information 020 7930 3647.


Improperganda is an exhibition celebrating the noble art of shameless attention grabbing as practised by legendary publicists. Gathered in one place is an array of fantastical images, which the makers of the media stunt have fed to a voracious press down the years. If a newspaper picture is worth a thousand words, then the entire text of War And Peace is represented here. This is the half world of fiction and fact, in which men lay eggs, watch films underwater, sell fridges to Eskimos, find needles in haystacks, and create brothels for pets. It's where parrots audition for shows, elephants ski down rivers, and 4 tons of mashed potato are poured from a cement mixer into a 20ft pie. The show is presented by Borkowski PR, who know a thing or two about the technique, since their own photo opportunities have included the world's largest ever custard pie fight (twice). How come Max Clifford wasn't asked to perform the opening ceremony? Proud Galleries, London, 020 7839 4942 until 12th August.

The Eden Project is only in its preview period, but there is the chance to go behind the scenes and see construction in progress. Space age technology meets the lost world in the giant 50 metre deep crater of a former china clay quarry, near St Austell (although there is no sign of a TARDIS so far). Instead, nestling within it are two gigantic geodesic conservatories which are the largest in the world. They form an £80m Lottery funded project designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, whose previous work includes Waterloo International Station, and the glass British Pavilion at the Seville Expo. These climatic biomes house different environments, including a tropical rainforest in the largest, which is capable of containing the Tower Of London. The project is the brainchild of Tim Smit, who "found" the nearby Lost Gardens of Heligan. It will open fully next spring, but this year visitors can look down on the construction at first hand, and see a multimedia presentation of The Making Of Eden, which brings to life the architectural, horticultural and construction challenges that have been met so far. Eden Project Phase One until 5th November.

Rhythms Of Life is a family exhibition which explores the wonders of nature's clocks and how they affect everything, from sleep to migration, and mating to the flowering of plants. It uses cartoon characters, ticking metronomes, museum specimens, and all manner of interactive exhibits to provide the answer to questions such as "Why do cows sleep standing up, but only dream when they're lying down?"

The Time Theatre gives an insight into the world's rhythms, and what happens when we upset them - how nocturnal animals become confused by never ending light in cities, and what happens to humans when we attempt to beat the clock with air travel. Special events and workshops include Trouble With Time, in which The Scarlet Pimpernel, a high tech supersleuth, must follow a series of devious clues with the help of the audience, to figure out how time works before the world comes to an untimely end, and Re-percussions Of Life, a journey through the human body and life cycle, exploring human rhythms using street theatre, stilt walking and body percussion. Natural History Museum until May 2001.

New British Art 2000: Intelligence, proving that Tate Britain is not to be outdone by its new sibling down the river, is the first in a series of major exhibitions of contemporary British art to be held every three years, and is the largest loan exhibition ever staged at Millbank. It comprises works by twenty-two contemporary British artists, whose approach is that of "agents at large in society", gathering, sifting and transforming the raw data of our life, critically examining our environment, the way we live and our relations with each other. Works include Sarah Lucas' Life's A Drag Organs, in which two burnt out cars decorated with unsmoked cigarettes suggest a pair of lungs; Bob and Roberta Smith's Protest, where visitors can record their protests (at anything, including the exhibition), a weekly selection of which will be sign written onto the walls; and Gillian Wearing's Drunk, a three screen video projection made in collaboration with a group of street drinkers in South London. It's reassuring that the Tate remains unfazed by continual mutterings about Kings and clothes. Tate Britain until 24th September.

The Palace of Westminster will be open to the public on a trial basis this summer, and visitors will be able to see the Chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Booking opens this week for timed guided tours between 9.30am and 4.15pm, Mondays to Saturdays from 7th August until 16th September. The maximum group size is twenty, and tickets must be booked at least five days in advance. People who are resident in Britain can also arrange tours at any time through their local Member of Parliament or a Peer to whom they are known. When Parliament is sitting, the Strangers Galleries of both Houses are open to the public. To gain entry, simply join the queue for either the Commons or the Lords at St Stephen's entrance. It is usually fairly easy to get into the Lords, but it is difficult to secure a place in the Commons during the afternoon, particularly at Prime Minister's Question Time, between 3pm and 3.30pm on Wednesdays.

JMW Turner: The Sun Is God is a new vision of Turner's work, examining the idea that he was a pioneer of abstract art, curated by Mark Francis, formerly of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Turner's last words were reported to have been "The sun is god", and the qualities of light gained an increasing importance through his career, as his work became more abstract. Francis has selected thirty oil paintings and watercolours from the Turner Bequest, the majority of which date from the 1830s and 1840s, and presents them unframed, with no protective glass, on white walls, and in natural light - much as they would have looked in Turner's studio. The centrepiece is the apocalyptic The Angel Standing In The Sun. Tate Liverpool is surrounded by water, and the effect of showing these paintings under these conditions, in the ever-changing, reflected daylight of the Gallery's top floor, is an experiment in seeing Turner's work "as new". The absence of artificial light has a radical effect on the pictures, and as the light changes during the day, so do the paintings - seas rise, clouds thicken and sunsets gleam. Tate Liverpool until 1st October.


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 a thousand works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions. The new president, sculptor Phillip King, wanted to increase the number of works by new younger artists chosen on merit, at the expense of works by academicians chosen by their supposed divine right, but his attempt seems to have failed. However he is determined to succeed next year so watch out for fireworks. There is a gallery devoted to the American abstract artist Frank Stella, and an installation based on a railway wagon by Eduardo Paolozzi in the courtyard. Meanwhile King has a new work of his own, Reel 3 - a magenta, orange and blue steel construction - on the forecourt of the British Council offices at the end of the Mall adjoining Admiralty Arch. Both the Royal Parks and Westminster Council opposed its installation but lost at the planning appeal. Looks like King is an all round popular guy. Royal Academy of Arts until 7th August.

Art Nouveau 1890-1914 is the largest show of examples of the style since the movement's heyday. It includes work by all the major figures, including Beardsley prints, Tiffany lamps, Mackintosh chairs, Lalique jewellery, Galle vases and even an entrance to a Paris Metro station. The extraordinary fusion of nature, materials and the domestic environment is truly celebrated. What this exhibition also reveals is the oriental, Arabic and Celtic inspiration, by showing examples of antecedents alongside the art nouveau pieces. This movement was the last flowering of the hand crafted artefact, before machine made mass production became the norm. A unique opportunity to return to a time when style and quality outweighed accessibility and price. Victoria & Albert Museum until 30th July.

Kingdom Of The Soul: German Symbolist Art 1870-1920 is the first exhibition of German Symbolism to be staged in Britain, and this is the only UK venue for a Birmingham-Frankfurt-Stockholm collaboration. It features over 180 paintings, drawings and sculptures, by artists such as Arnold Bocklin, Franz Von Struck and Max Klinger (wasn't he the one who wore a dress in M*A*S*H?). The exhibition includes many previously unseen works from public and private collections in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Eastern Europe. German Symbolism, like the British Arts and Crafts movement, represented a reaction against the industrialisation of the modern world. Mythological subjects and Arcadian landscapes reveal a longing to escape from a corrupt world in search of a lost innocence. A Freudian exploration of the darker side of the human psyche produced a mixture of death, decay and sexual entrapment, and a questioning of spiritual beliefs and moral values as a new century dawned. The celebration of nudity (both male and female) deliberately challenged the prudish moral codes of the society of the time. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 0121 3030 1966, until 30th July.