News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th August 2009


Waste Not Want Not revisits earlier hard times, during the Second World War, when Britain had to economise on raw materials, save on energy and salvage scarce commodities, encouraged by a powerful propaganda machine. Sound familiar? Whether the message was to grow your own vegetables, make do and mend, or recycle paper, uppermost in everyone's mind was the need to be sparing in the use of meager resources. This exhibition of over 300 items reveals what sparsely furnished grocer's shelves looked like during the time of rationing, with recycled cardboard packaging printed solely in black replacing tins with multicoloured labels; the advertisements that promoted them; and the government's exhortations to do it yourself, use again or do without, such as 'Dig For Victory', and 'Switch Off That Light - Less Light More Planes'.

Packaging: A Sustainable Future looks at the current demonisation of packaging, and how, from being an apparently innocuous and functional part of a product, it has been transformed into a controversial component of the marketing process - one which is increasingly required to justify its existence. The exhibition explains the importance of packaging, how it has developed over the years, and how manufacturers, retailers and designers are now rethinking and revolutionising the way products are presented, adopting a more environmentally friendly approach.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London W11, until 29th November.

The Discovery Of Spain explores the fascination for Spanish art and culture in 19th and early 20th century Britain. The exhibition of some 130 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, charts a period in which Spanish culture flourished, despite - or perhaps partly as a result of - extreme political upheaval, from the peninsular war of 1807-14, to the Spanish civil war of 1936-39. Outstanding examples of Spanish art, including Goya's 'The Duke of Wellington' and 'Disasters of War'; Velazquez's 'A Spanish Gentleman' and 'An Old Woman Cooking Eggs'; El Greco's 'The Tears of St Peter' and 'Woman in a Fur Wrap'; Murillo's 'Flower Seller'; Zurbaran's 'St Francis in Meditation'; and Picasso's 'Weeping Woman' form the centerpiece for the exhibition. They are shown together with paintings by major British artists who were captivated by the experience of travelling through Spain, including David Wilkie's 'The Defence of Saragossa'; William Nicholson's 'Plaza del Toros, Malaga'; John Phillip's 'La Gloria': A Spanish Wake'; Arthur Melville's 'The Orange Market, Saragossa' and 'A Spanish Sunday, Going to the Bullfight'; There are also works by artists who were influenced by Spanish painters, such as John Everett Millais's 'Souvenir of Velazquez'; John Singer Sargent's 'Portrait of W Graham Robertson'; and James McNeill Whistler's 'Brown and Gold (Self-Portrait)'. National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh until 11th October.

Dover Castle has just reopened its Great Tower Keep after a £2.45m restoration of the interior to what it would have looked like when it was built in the 12th century. It is the largest historically researched medieval re-creation ever attempted in Britain. Based on 2 years of study, a group of 141 weavers, seamstresses, embroiderers, turners, carpenters, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, silversmiths and armourers has invested thousands of hours to recreate 80 pieces of furniture, including a royal throne, 21 oak doors, 150 yards of wall hangings, dozens of embroidered textiles, including a royal standard, 47 cushions and over 1,000 other objects, from kitchenware, garments and goblets, to swords, crossbows and shields. All these items are used to furnish the interiors of the King's Hall, the King's Chamber, the Guest Hall, the Guest Chamber, the privy kitchen and the armoury, capturing their original appearance. The biggest single artefact is a 180ft long mural style wall hanging, depicting the Norman Conquest. Recent research has revealed that Dover's Keep was originally built not primarily as a fortification, but as a spectacular royal palace where foreign rulers and dignitaries could stay, representing an unequivocal and majestic emblem of Henry II's authority and wealth. To add to the atmosphere, Pepper's Ghost (projections of moving figures), costumed re-enactors and audio visual presentations help to evoke 12th century court life. Dover Castle, continuing.


The Sound And The Fury: The Power Of Public Speaking dips into the National Sound Archive, which is home to every conceivable variety of human speech, from spoken poetry, prose and drama, through transcribed and quoted speeches in the in the press, to the oral testimony of ordinary people from all walks of life. This exhibition offers a historical review of the art and the power of public speaking in all its forms, with audio drawn from over a century of recorded sound, accompanied by images from the national newspaper collection. The essence of the art of oratory is the art of persuasion, of converting an audience to a strongly held personal belief, and the recordings and images presented here document every shade of the political and social spectrum, from Florence Nightingale, Gladstone and Lloyd George in the earliest years of recorded sound, to some of the most iconic, intriguing and amusing speeches of recent decades. Impassioned social protest is a recurring theme, with Allen Ginsberg addressing a crowd on the plight of imprisoned White Panthers leader John Sinclair; American comedian Dick Gregory speaking at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen had shot and killed four student protesters; and Matthew Parris speaking on gay rights at Cambridge University Union. From more recent years there is Salman Rushdie, speaking at the ICA on the day his book had been publicly burned in Bradford and withdrawn from its shops by WH Smith; and the writers Tom Stoppard and Martin Amis standing up for Rushdie at the Stationers Hall in London. The British Library until 31st December.

New Radicals: From Sickert To Freud charts the period from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, when British art, while under the influence of developments across Europe (Impressionism, Post-impressionism and Surrealism) produced some peculiarly inventive, and at times eccentric, artists, and tells the stories behind some exceptional works of art. The sickly yet sensuous canvases of the Camden Town Group set the scene as painters such as Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman attempted to adapt the post impressionist penchant for sun drenched landscapes to the smog bound streets of north London. Comparably Ivon Hitchens's gestural semi-abstracts and David Bomberg's landscapes have a particularly English rainy day aura. The exhibition also examines the work of a variety of distinct and individual artists whose work stood apart from their contemporaries, including Cecil Collins, L S Lowry and Lucian Freud. Key works that show the new artistic direction in the early part of the 20th century include Walter Sickert's 'Bathers, Dieppe' and Harold Gilman's iconic portrait 'Mrs Mounter'. Modernist works include Paul Nash's 'Telecommunications' and 'Landscape of the Moon's Last Phase'. Amongst works that point towards a highly distinct and individual approach are Christopher Wood's 'French Cyclists', Cecil Collins's 'A Song', L S Lowry's 'The Fever Van' and Stanley Spencer's 'Villas at Cookham'. Walker Art Gallert, Liverpool, until 20th September.

Bathing Beauties explores the role that good architecture can play in economic and cultural regeneration. The exhibition evolved from a competition, which inspired 240 international architects, artists and designers to compete for commissions to build their beach hut designs along the Lincolnshire coast. The display comprises over 100 of the most exciting models from this competition, including structures based on ideas of global warming and mind travel; huts incorporating wind turbines, saunas and viewing platforms; and occasional oblique nods to sandcastles and stripy windbreaks. While the beach hut is perceived as a treasured feature of our coastal landscape, as quintessentially British as fish and chips and the knotted handkerchief, in reality they are usually little more than a painted shed. This exhibition is a collection of dreams of what they might be. Striking, unconventional and surprising, many of the models celebrate the idea of happening upon something by chance when strolling along the beach, whilst others are bold and imaginative exercises in the use of space, light and line. There is a specially commissioned film providing some background to the work on display, and a full scale copper-clad revolving beach hut in the form of a clamshell called Oyster Pleasance, designed by A-Models in collaboration with Will Alsop. Alongside the exhibition, is a display of objects, including costumes and souvenirs, which explore the history of seaside holidays in Cumbria. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, until 20th September.

Exquisite Bodies provides an insight into a strange and forgotten chapter in medical history, with a spectacular display of anatomical models, which were used not only to teach but also to titillate the public in Victorian Britain and Europe. During the 19th century, museums of anatomical models became popular attractions, and in London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona, the public could learn about the inner workings of the body through displays that combined serious science with an element of fairground horror. This exhibition enables visitors to reflect on what these models tell us about Victorian attitudes to anatomical knowledge, and issues including sexual reproduction, contagious disease and death, (and also indulge the same dubious fascination with the macabre). A combination of the beautiful and the grotesque, the 50 examples here range from superbly accurate specimens designed for private use teaching in anatomical theatres, to models destined for often illiterate audiences in the less salubrious parts of cities, where displays highlighted the widespread fear of sexually transmitted diseases. Produced during an era of scientific rationalism, these strange surrogates seem on one hand to illustrate contemporary medicine's interest in empirical knowledge, but at the same time, reveal a range of complex beliefs about life, sex, disease and death. By the early 1900s the popularity of these attractions was on the wane. In Britain their contents were labelled obscene and attacked by campaigners intending to expose 'quackery', while in Europe they endured for some time longer, often trading on their reputations as freak shows or 'monster parades'. The Wellcome Collection, London, until 18th October.

Raphael To Renoir: Master Drawings From The Collection Of Jean Bonna is the only showing in Britain of an exceptional selection of 120 European master drawings, watercolours and pastels by many of the greatest names in Western art. They come from the distinguished private collection formed over the past 20 years by Jean Bonna. The exhibition offers the rare opportunity to view outstanding examples of European drawings spanning some 500 years, showing the unbroken line of drawing from the Italian Renaissance to late 19th century France. Central to the discipline of drawing throughout this time was the study of the human figure. The principal strength of the collection lies in the Italian and French schools, including artists such as Raphael, Carpaccio, Andrea del Sarto, Guercino, Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Canaletto, Watteau, Fragonard, Goya, Francois Clouet, Parmigianino, Federico Barocci, Boucher, Jacopo Vignali, and, from the 19th century, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat and Redon. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 6th September.

Cosmos & Culture: How Astronomy Has Shaped Our World traces 400 years of telescope technologies, explores the changing perceptions of man's place in the cosmos, and examines the role astronomy has played in our everyday lives. It provides in depth opportunities for visitors to see how different instruments work, and discover the stories of the people who made and used them, through actual artefacts, models, illustrations and photographs. Among the highlights are Thomas Harriot's 17th century maps of the Moon, Jupiter's satellites and sunspots; the 7ft telescope William Herschel used to discover Uranus from his back garden in 1781; a letter written by George III to Herschel, accompanying his £200 in annual salary as King's Astronomer; a model of an astrological clock from Hampton Court Palace; the largest telescope ever constructed in Britain, built to study X-rays from high-energy cosmic events; a 1543 first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus's book offering scholars a new vision of the cosmos, with the Sun rather than the Earth the centre of the universe; DRIFT I, a joint UK/US detector, seeking the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the universe; a Zeiss planetarium projector, built to train German pilots in the Second World War, and later used in the museum's planetarium; a prototype part for the latest Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, one of the most sensitive experiments ever designed; and a typically British amateur telescope made of bean cans, car parts and coat hangers. The Science Museum, continuing.


Tennyson Transformed is part of the celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of the Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, confirming that his influence on Victorian culture was not just literary. The exhibition explores how Tennyson's life and work was interpreted by artists, illustrators, photographers and other creative practitioners. It includes the poet's papers, rare first editions and artworks illustrating his poetry, by contemporaries such as William Holman Hunt, Millais, J W Waterhouse and Arthur Hughes. Among the highlights are Julia Margaret Cameron's haunting photographs for 'Idylls Of The King'; and James Mudd's brooding and handsome portrait photograph of Tennyson, sporting his wide brimmed hat, unkempt locks and curled moustache - this is what a Romantic poet is supposed to look like. The Collection, Lincoln, until 31st August.

Diane Arbus celebrates the work of the legendary New York photographer, who transformed the art of photography, capturing a unique view of 1950s and 1960s America. Diane Arbus's singular vision, and her ability to engage in an uncompromising way with her subjects, made her one of the most important and influential photographers of the 20th century. Arbus was born in New York City and was a photographer primarily of people she discovered in the metropolis and its environs. In her photographs, the self-conscious encounter between photographer and subject becomes a central drama of the picture. Her "contemporary anthropology" - portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities - stands as an allegory of post war America and an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theatre and reality. (Alternatively, she created a 20th century version of a Victorian Freak Show). The exhibition comprises 69 black and white photographs, including the rare and important portfolio of 10 vintage prints: Box of Ten, one of the best collections of Arbus's work in existence. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, until 31st August.

Clemens von Wedemeyer - The Fourth Wall is a new film installation, which investigates the uncertain distinction between fact and fiction. Clemens von Wedemeyer's work is composed of 8 different film fragments, all referring to first contact between anthropologists, explorers and groups of people living in remote jungle locations who have never previously had contact with Western civilisation. An example of such 'first contact' is that of the discovery of the Tasaday in the Philippines. First encountered by the West in 1971, a tiny ethnic group that became an instant news story as a contemporary instance of Stone Age living. In the 1980s they were once again the subject of international press attention when anthropologists and journalists declared them a hoax. Since then, the Philippine government has declared them authentic, but there are still people who believe their appearance was fabricated. Von Wedemeyer is fascinated by the question of whether the Tasaday's performance in front of the world's TV cameras was real, or a piece of theatre. Other film fragments, staged variously around the building, revolve around this event like satellites, pointing to other notions of first contact. The Curve, Barbican until 30th August.