News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th September 2012


Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde explores the revolutionary ideas about art and society of Britain's first modern art movement. Combining rebellion and revivalism, scientific precision and imaginative grandeur, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood shook the art world of mid 19th century Britain. This exhibition offers a rare chance to see around 180 works, including famous and less familiar Pre-Raphaelite paintings as well as sculpture, photography and the applied arts. Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelites rebelled against the art establishment of their day. Their unflinchingly radical style, inspired by the purity of early Renaissance painting, defied convention, provoked critics and entranced audiences. This exhibition traces developments from their formation in 1848 through to their late Symbolist creations of the 1890s. It shows that whether their subjects were taken from modern life or literature, the New Testament or classical mythology, the Pre-Raphaelites were committed to the idea of art's potential to change society. In pieces such as Madox Brown's 'The Last of England' they served this aim by representing topical social issues and challenging prevailing attitudes. Other artworks, including Edward Burne-Jones's 'King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid', took a different approach, embracing beauty and ornamentation as a resistance to an increasingly industrialised society. Highlights include Millais 'Ophelia', Holman Hunt's 'The Scapegoat', and 'The Lady of Shalott'; Rossetti's 'Found; and Burne-Jones's Perseus series. The paintings are juxtaposed with works in other media including textiles, stained glass and furniture, showing the influence of Pre-Raphaelitism in the early development of the Arts and Crafts movement and the socialist ideas of the poet, designer and theorist, William Morris. Tate Britain until 13th January.

Miro: Sculptor is the first major British exhibition of sculpture by the 20th century Spanish artist. While celebrated for his paintings, Joan Miro strove to 'destroy painting' through an art form that transcended the two-dimensional plane, and was an early pioneer of construction - a radical approach to making that transformed the discipline of sculpture. Miro produced around 400 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works, the majority concentrated within the later part of his career. He viewed sculpture as equally important to his work as painting although it was generally less known and critically examined. From his initial exploration of collage and assembled sculpture around 1930, sculpture became increasingly central, most notably from the 1960s to his death in 1983. This exhibition ranges from early small, smooth-finished bronze sculptures such as 'Oiseau Solaire', through to the raw bronze constructions of found objects (including mannequins, dolls, rustic vessels, discarded cans) made consistently from the 1960s onwards, and highly-coloured, painted bronzes of the 1960s and 70s. Miro's anthropomorphic sculpture reveals his surrealist impulse as each work is invested with character. By casting everyday objects in bronze Miro demonstrated his insistence that his work must engage with something real and recognisable. Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, Miro's work increased significantly in scale and the exhibition provides the rare chance to experience a significant collection of his large-scale outdoor works, usually seen only at his foundation and estate in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. In addition to the sculptures themselves, the process of Miro's work is examined through artefacts, drawings, models and photographs. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, until 6th January.

Addressing The Need: The Graphic Design Of The Eames Office features the work of America's iconic 20th century design couple. Charles and Ray Eames were world famous for their pioneering furniture, still in production today, but less well known is their graphic design work. Ray was trained as a painter and Charles as an architect. Together, they were designers who embraced a way of living where a design process both rigorous and playful was at the core of all they did. During their 40 year partnership, the Eames's spent the best part of their life designing exhibitions, making films and designing toys, which they considered a very serious pursuit. This exhibition examines their graphic contribution in all its forms, from exhibitions, advertisements, brochures, pamphlets, posters and timelines, presented in conjunction with some of their best-known furniture, films and toys. It features graphic material never exhibited before, much of it very rare, serving to examine the rigorous thought processes of two designers working together to unite the structure and creativity of art and architecture and, ultimately, addressing the need in each of their projects. Experimenting with the possibilities of technology preoccupied Charles and Ray Eames. This is exemplified in their seminal film 'Powers of 10' which explores the relative size of everything in the universe. The Eames Office produced 125 films in 28 years, using filmmaking as a tool for problem-solving, and finding it an ideal medium to clearly express complex and abstract ideas. The exhibition is housed in the 1940s extension to the Grade I listed Pitzhanger Manor House, designed by the architect John Soane in 1800 as a weekend retreat and place of entertainment for his family. PM Gallery & House, Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London W5, until 3rd November.


London Open House is the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital. Over 750 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include the Almeida, Hackney Empire and Richmond theatres; Cadogan, Royal Albert and Wigmore concert halls; Foreign Office, Horse Guards and Marlborough House; Brockwell and Tooting Bec Lidos and Greenwich Yacht Club; Foster and Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architects' offices; Bank of England, Apothecaries' and Waterman's Livery Halls; BBC Television Centre and White City Media Village, Alexandra Palace TV studio and Sands Film Studios; Gray's Inn, Middle Temple Hall and the Royal Courts of Justice; Park Lane, St Pancras and Andaz (Great Eastern) hotels; Brompton, West Norwood and Nunhead cemeteries; City Hall, Guildhall and Mansion House; White Lodge Royal Ballet School, the Senate House and Old Royal Naval College; Banqueting House, Chiswick House and Reform Club; Beefeater Distillery, King George V Pumping Station and Markfiel Beam Engine House; Roof Gardens Kensington (Derry & Toms) and the regeneration projects surrounding the Olympic Park. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Others section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 22nd and 23rd September.

Alan Turing And Life's Enigma looks at the code breaker and computer pioneer's later work in the field of biology. From 1948 until his death in 1954, at a time when people knew very little about genetics or DNA, Alan Turing used an early Ferranti Mark 1 computer to study a subject known as morphogenesis. He was trying to crack how a soup of cells and chemicals could transform itself and grow into complex natural shape. In an article published in 1952, 'The chemical basis of morphogenesis', where he proposed a reaction-diffusion model of spatial pattern formation, Turing suggested that everything from the spots and stripes on animals to the arrangement of pine cones and flowers could be explained by the interactions between two chemicals. He was one of the first people to propose a formal model that could explain the self-organisation phenomena present in a wide variety of biological systems, and he did so with an impressive clarity of thought. This exhibition includes Turing's own notes together with slides, drawings, diagrams and other objects and materials involved in his research. The Manchester Museum until 18th November.

Cecil Beaton: Theatre Of War is the first exhibition of the little known war work by the society, fashion and portrait photographer. Commissioned by the Ministry of Information, Cecil Beaton took some 7,000 photographs between 1940 and the end of the Second World War. These rarely seen images show Beaton adopting new methods to create a body of work that he later considered to be his most important. From powerful, humanised portraits to abstract ruins, Beaton captured the war in a manner unlike any other photographer. He travelled extensively throughout Britain, the Middle East, India, Burma and China, photographing leaders and ordinary people, military and civilian life, industry and agriculture, artists and architecture. Beaton's photographs from the Far East, depicting deeply traditional communities on the brink of lasting change, are ranked among the best of his career. As well as photographs, the exhibition presents a selection of objects, memorabilia and film works, showing how war formed a turning point in Beaton's life and career. Highlights include clips from wartime films for which Beaton designed costumes, including Dangerous Moonlight, Kipps, The Young Mr Pitt and Major Barbara; a costume designed for a Royal Opera House production of Turandot; costume accessories worn by Margot Fonteyn; a scarf signed by John Gielgud and the cast of Lady Windermere's Fan; his Academy awards; vintage magazines, documents and cameras; and his original wartime diaries. Imperial War Museum, London until 1st January.

Mind The Map: Inspiring Art, Design And Cartography explores the themes of journeys, identity and publicity. The Underground, London Transport and Transport for London, have produced outstanding maps and posters for over 100 years. These have not only shaped the city, but have inspired the world. The exhibition charts the tube map's evolution alongside art inspired by tube maps, older decorative maps, and vintage advertisements, and presents some interesting examples of the interaction between technical design and art. It includes previously unseen historic material by artists such as Harold McCready, Frederick Charles Herrick, MacDonald Gill, Reginald Percy Gossop, Ernest Michael Dinkel and Lewitt-Him, together with new artworks by artists including Simon Patterson, Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell, Jeremy Wood, Claire Brewster, and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre. The display explores geographical, diagrammatic, decorative and digital transport maps, as well as the enduring influence of Harry Beck's iconic 1931 London Tube map on cartography, posters, design, art and the public imagination. One of the most interesting pieces on display is a 1928 tube map by Richard Park, which overlays a section of the tube network on top of a 1745 map of London by John Rocque, tracing modern London over much older streets. Looking in particular at the relationship between identity and place, the exhibition examines the impact maps have had on our understanding of London, and how they influence the way we navigate and engage with our surroundings. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, until 28th October.

Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include Strobostorm, a kaleidoscope of stroboscopic lights created using over 1000 individual strobe lights; Nickelodeon, featuring 12 huge fibreglass characters from the television channel; Colourama Galaxy, with over 2000 multi-coloured lights in the sky, randomly twinkling in ever-changing patterns; and Snowflake In A Snowstorm, a series of 10 gigantic led snowflakes; plus old favourites Haunted House, Teddy Bears Picnic, Theatre D'Amour, Rangoli Peacock and Sanuk renewed and improved. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 4th November.

Crowns And Ducats: Shakespeare's Money And Medals looks at the role of coins and medals in Shakespeare's works and his world. Shakespeare's plays have many references to money. He expected his audience to recognise the numerous different coins that he mentioned and pick up messages about value, wealth and character. As well as the coins themselves, Shakespeare also drew on the language of reckoning and accounting, and of weighing and measuring the quality of money, often using this metaphorically to talk about people's characters. In addition to looking at the plays, the display features real objects that bring to life the world as it was around 400 years ago. Coins, medals and prints show that Shakespeare lived in a time of mass produced images. From the 18th century onwards, Shakespeare's portrait and his plays have become widely familiar both nationally and internationally. The display also explores this phenomenon through its depiction on medals, coins, banknotes and credit cards. From ducats, dollars and doits to angels, crowns and groats, the display shows how and why Shakespeare used coins to make the wider world seem familiar and the past and remote accessible to an English audience at some of the first purpose made English theatres. British Museum until 25th November.


Heatherwick Studio: Designing The Extraordinary is the first major exhibition exploring the work of one of the most inventive and experimental design studios practising in Britain today. It showcases the wide variety of projects conceived by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and his studio. On display are over 150 objects, from an original seed-tipped rod from the UK Pavilion Seed Cathedral at Shanghai World Expo, to a full scale mock-up of the rear end of the new London double-decker bus. The exhibition examines two decades of projects, from Thomas Heatherwick's exploratory student work, through the architectural commissions which have earned the studio their international reputation, to their current projects. The collection of contextual photographs, maquettes, prototypes, material fragments and models on display offers an insight into the studio's design processes, and their curiosity for materials, engineering and fabrication. The objects are structured in a series of conceptual clusters illustrating the interrelation of ideas throughout the studio's work, whilst giving a sense of walking through the Heatherwick workshop and archive. Each of the themed clusters is accompanied by film footage and audio clips of Heatherwick discussing the back stories of the projects on show. The exhibition is designed by the Heatherwick Studio and spans the disciplines of architecture, engineering, transport and urban planning to furniture, sculpture and product design. Larger-scale architectural achievements such as the East Beach Cafe, Littlehampton, the design for Longchamp fashion store in New York, and the Teesside biomass-fuelled power station, are shown alongside smaller projects like the glass Bleigiessen installation for the Wellcome Trust and the pedestrian Rolling Bridge in Paddington Basin. Victoria & Albert Museum until 30th September.

The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned explores the meaning of beauty, and the lives and loves of the courtesans and libertines who lived and died in the Stuart Court, during the reigns of Charles II, James II, William III & Mary II and Anne. The exhibition explores the story of how kings, queens and courtesans swept away the Puritanical solemnity of the mid 17th century, and attempted to rewrite the moral code of social behaviour. At its heart are portraits of Charles II's principal mistresses, including Nell Gwyn, Moll Davis, Barbara Villiers and Louise de Keroualle, and other resident 'beautiful women' of the Royal Court, some of which are quite explicit. Other highlights that bring to life the glamour and magnificence of the Baroque period include Peter Lely's 'Windsor Beauties', 10 of the most important female courtiers of the day, and Godfrey Kneller's 'Hampton Court Beauties', the 8 reigning 'toasts of the Court', together with exquisite fashion accessories. The exhibition reveals not only what beauty meant at court (how to display grace and how to use looks to gain attention and influence) the beauty secrets of the day, the fashions and elegance of court life, but also what happened when beauty faded, and when a life of virtue was rewarded by obscurity, and a life of vice by syphilis and death. Charles II ruled for 25 flamboyant and decadent years, pursuing 'beauty' in all its forms, collecting artworks and mistresses with equal enthusiasm. The show explores the ambiguity at the heart of the late 17th century Court: beauty was a good thing, a reflection of divine perfection, an indication of virtue, but it was also pursued and possessed. Hampton Court Palace, until 30th September.

The Horse: From Arabia To Royal Ascot examines Britain's long equestrian tradition from the introduction of the Arabian breed in the 18th century to present day sporting events such as Royal Ascot and the Olympic Games. The exhibition tells the epic story of the horse, a journey of 5,000 years that has revolutionised human history. It focuses on two breeds: Arabians, which were prized in the desert for their spirit and stamina, and the Thoroughbred, which was selectively bred from Arabians for speed and is now raced at world famous courses. Objects on view range from ancient to modern and include depictions of horses in stone reliefs, gold and clay models, horse tack, paintings by George Stubbs, and trophies and rosettes. Highlights from the history of Arabians include one of the earliest known depictions of a horse and rider, a terracotta mould found in Mesopotamia dating to around 2,000 - 1,800 BC; and a Furusiyya manuscript, dating to the 14th century AD, a beautifully illustrated manual of horsemanship, including information on proper care for the horse, advanced riding techniques, expert weapon handling, manoeuvres and elaborate parade formations. Thoroughbreds owe their origin to 3 Arabian stallions imported to Britain in the 18th century, which bred with native mares, produced the breed, now the foundation of modern racing, and from which some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended, and to Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and Lady Anne Blunt, who travelled widely in the Middle East in the 19th century, and established a celebrated stud for purebred Arabians, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. Their remarkable success and their influence on sport and society, from early race meetings through to modern equestrian events is explored in paintings and prints and memorabilia. British Museum until 30th September.