News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th December 2007


Space Age: Exploration, Design And Popular Culture examines the impact space exploration has had on everyday life, through popular culture, literature, film, design and merchandising. The exhibition explores how human fascination with space has developed, from the emergence of astronomy in around 2,000BC to NASA's future plans to put humans on Mars. Alongside science fiction and fantasy, it explains the realities and facts of space science, showcasing rare objects including a piece of a Mars meteorite, an original Cosmonaut suit belonging to Yuri Gidzenko, an Indo-Persian celestial globe showing stars and constellations, a model of SpaceShipOne, designed to take tourists into space, packets of NASA space food, and a Fisher Space Pen (the pen that defies gravity). At the height of the space race in the 1960s and 1970s the 'space age' feel filtered into both home and fashion, often using new synthetic materials, and some of the design classics which resulted are featured, including fabric designs by Eddie Squires, a Pastilli chair by Eero Aarnio, lunar wallpaper designed by Michael Clarke, an original Mathmos lava lamp designed by Edward Craven Walker, and clothing bearing a striking similarity to that worn in science fiction television programmes, such as Andre Courreges's iconic 'fembots' and Pierre Cardin's 'cosmos' collection. Science fiction itself is represented by film and television memorabilia in profusion, from a poster for Fritz Lang's 1929 film Frau im Mond, considered the first real space film, through the inevitable Star Wars and Star Trek, to the current regeneration of Dr Who. Museum of Childhood, Bethnel Green, London until 6th April.

Joseph Wright Of Derby In Liverpool offers an insight into a previously little known period of three years in the career of Joseph Wright, as he responded to the growing market for portrait painting among the town's burgeoning merchant class. During his time in Liverpool, between 1768 and 1771, Wright was remarkably busy, painting not only portraits, but also his trademark candlelight works. His account book, on display at the exhibition, reveals that in 1769 he was completing a portrait on average every 9 or 10 days. The exhibition features more than 80 of Wright's works, including the portrait of Richard Gildart, painted when the former mayor was 95 years old, probably the first Wright did in Liverpool as it is the only one dated 1768, together with portraits of Sarah Clayton, John Tarleton, Fleetwood and Frances Hesketh and Susannah Leigh. During this period Wright was also painting more typical groups of people by candlelight, such as 'The Philosopher' (known as 'The Hermit'), 'An Academy by Lamplight, 'Two Boys Blowing a Bladder', 'Two Girls Decorating a Cat', 'A Blacksmith's Shop' and 'The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers Phosphorus'. Also featured are Wright's first candlelight painting 'Three Persons Viewing the Gladiator', and a portrait of Peter Perez Burdett and his wife Hannah, painted before he came to Liverpool. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 24th February.

Art Of Light: German Renaissance Stained Glass sets out to demonstrate that the best stained glass from the Renaissance period fully reflected, and even rivalled, the latest developments in painting, while exploiting to the full the vibrant properties of light. The exhibition brings together a group of some of the finest examples of 15th and early 16th century German stained glass, and juxtaposes them with a selection of paintings from the same period and from the same regions of Germany, along with some surviving examples of designs for stained glass. Many of these paintings originally hung in ecclesiastical settings, which frequently also included brilliantly coloured, boldly designed and exquisitely made stained glass windows. German stained glass of this period made use of the same imagery as painting, showed similar visual innovations and, increasingly, the designers of stained glass windows were also painters of panel pictures. There is a special focus, including prints, drawings, paintings and glass, on three artists who designed for stained glass as well as creating paintings: Albrecht Durer, Hans Baldung Grien and Jorg Breu. The exhibition culminates in a full scale recreation of one of the multi-scened glass panels from the Abbey of Mariawald. One of the greatest achievements of the glass painters of the early 16th century, the panels reveal the full range of the art of this period, including exceptionally beautiful landscape depictions. National Gallery until 17th February.


Top Of The Bill is a display of a material from the National Fairground Archive collection of 20,000 items of ephemera, some dating back as far as the 16th century, The show features giant posters, handbills and other display materials advertising fairground events across the country, promoting international acts such as Barnum and Buffalo Bill, along with stranger home grown entertainment, including a 'Nyctalope' who could see in the dark, a Peristrephic Panorama, which involved a long band of canvas on which a continuous sequence of scenes was depicted (the first 'moving pictures'), and FC Burnand's illusions show involving moving curried prawns. In addition to advertisements for particular acts and shows, there are also many fairground, travelling show and circus scenes, capturing the excitement of the traditional rides, attractions and amusements, portrayed in various period styles, reflecting the social changes in public entertainment. In addition, there are colourful letterheads, receipts, tickets and other printed matter, all created in the extravagant and spectacular fairground design style. These materials are on view to the public for the first time in the exhibition space that forms part of the National Fairground Archive's new 'front of house'. This now allows access to its book and journal collections, including a complete set of World's Fair newspapers, microfilm reading facilities, and electronic resources, including its 80,000 image database. Western Bank Library University of Sheffield, until 7th February.

Eve Arnold In China is an exhibition of some 40 photographs by the American born British based photo-journalist, taken during two three month visits to China in 1979, when she was one of the first Western photographers to enter the country. It is the first time these images have been on display in Britain. The photographs capture a critical moment in Chinese history, when the government decided that economic incentives were to replace ideology, and that it would open itself to the West, in a gamble to become a world power by the year 2000. The resulting images of Arnold's visit are a candid look at a virtually unknown society, ranging from militia training in Mongolia, rice gleaning in Hsishuang Panna and Buddhist monks studying sutras in Tibet, through the daily tasks of milking cattle and noodle making, to performing artists on both the traditional opera stage and in local factories. A photograph of a television perched on two stacked tables, one covered with a starched lace cloth perhaps symbolises pride in a small token of modernity. Arnold is painterly in her compositions, combining bright patches of foreground colour with vast, broad horizons, and giving each photograph a sense of self-containment, both intimate yet detached. The contrast between these portraits of a nation isolated from developments in the rest of the world, and the highly industrialised China of today, now 'the workshop of the world', about to host the Olympic Games, could not be more marked. Asia House Gallery, London W1, until 12th January.

Sleeping And Dreaming examines the mysterious state that we all experience, but still understand so little about, through the eyes of artists, scientists, film makers and historians. The exhibition brings together over 300 diverse objects, from Renaissance paintings to contemporary installations, to explore the biomedical and neurological processes that take place in the sleeping body, and the social and cultural areas of our lives to which sleep and dreans are linked. It is in five themes. Dead Tired, includes the experiences of DJ Peter Tripp, who broadacst continually for 8 days, and a victim of Stasi sleep deprivation interrogation. World Without Sleep looks at how artificial light, changing seasons and travel across time zones affects sleep patterns, with advice on combatting jet lag, Paul Ramierez Jonas's 'Another Day' counting down the time to sunrise in 90 international cities, and a collection of ingenious Heath Robinson alarm clocks. Elusive Sleep features Krzystof Wodiczko's 'Homeless Vehicle', a sleeping unit for homeless people, and 1930s public health posters warning of the dangers of fleas and bed bugs, insomnia and the use of sleeping pills. Dream Worlds looks at how dreaming and waking states intermingle, with Paul McCartney describing how the tune of Yesterday came to him in a dream, and an examination of Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. Traces Of Sleep examines the association of sleep with unconsciousness and death, via Aristotle's treatise on Sleep and Sleeplessness, a machine from the 1930s designed to 'tune' the nerves to prevent sleepwalking, and Ron Mueck's 'Swaddled Baby'. Wellcome Collection, London until 10th March.

Bauhaus 1919 - 1933 focuses on the step-change in art and design history that was brought about by the most important school of art, architecture and design of the 20th century. Bauhaus evolved a new language of art and design that was abstract and dynamic, and liberated from historicism. Its aim was to give modernity a precise physical form, embracing all branches of design, and to bridge the gap between art and industry. The exhibition comprises a selection of major exhibits by leading members of the Bauhaus movement, including the original manifesto designed by Lyonel Feininger and written by the architect Walter Gropius, examples of work by founding teachers of the Bauhaus, including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Itten, Oskar Schlemmer, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Josef Albers, selected film works by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, architectural models, design, applied art, furniture, utensils and specially commissioned wall drawings. In addition, a series of photographic works by Hans Engels show a number of well known and surprising examples of Bauhaus architecture in their present condition. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until 17th February.

Launchpad, the 'hands on' gallery has had a £4m makeover, relocating it to an area of 1,200sqm, one third larger than the existing space. Over 50 sophisticated interactive exhibits and devices built specifically for the gallery, aim to excite, inspire and engage children in the fundamental principles of science and technology. They are a combination of updated 'classics' from the previous gallery, world firsts created by designers and technicians from the Science Museum and around the world, and new installations inspired by existing pieces previously unseen in Britain. The gallery is particularly aimed at 8-14 year olds, although provision has also been made for younger children as well. It introduces young visitors to the principles of electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, energy transfer, light, sound and materials. New exhibits include 'Water Rocket', which launches a plastic bottle 30m across the gallery using air pressure; 'Big Machine', a 4m high reinvention of the 'Grain Pit' exhibit, where visitors combine forces by pulling levers and pulleys to demonstrate mechanical advantage; 'Sound Bite', which invites visitors to turn their own head into a sound box by biting vibrating posts to hear 'unheard' messages; 'Icy Bodies', where spinning dry ice pellets turn into jets of gas making patterns in water; and 'Social Light', allowing visitors to manipulate their own shadow to reflect laser beams or create rainbows, which can then be captured as a unique artwork and emailed to friends. Science Museum, London, continuing.

Millscapes: Art Of The Industrial Landscape looks at the industrial architecture of the North West, from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, when mills, and the canal systems, aqueducts, warehouses and streets of terraced housing built with them, completely transformed the landscape, through the decline after the Second World War, to today's changing skylines. Paintings of early water powered mills in rural settings contrast with images of those built on the edge of urban developments, and dark, smoggy industrial landscapes, seen in French Impressionist Pierre Adolphe Valette's 'Bailey Bridge, Manchester', and James Purdy's view of 'Millbottom,' Oldham', together with works by unknown artists, including 'Lowerhouse Printworks, Burnley' and 'Frenches Mill, Saddleworth'. Paintings from the 1930s and 1940s include 'Our Town' and 'Street Scene' by LS Lowry, the rigid lines and smoking chimneys providing a stark contrast to Harry Rutherford's cheerful and informal 'Mill Girls, Ashton'. By the 1980s, over half of the mills and cloth-finishing works in Greater Manchester had been demolished or were derelict, and the subsequent regeneration is captured in Liam Spencer's 'Rooftops' and 'The End of the Mancunian Way', Peter Stanaway's 'Now the Mill Has Gone', Walter Kershaw's 'Mutual Mills Reflections', Alan Rankle's 'Saddleworth Study: Uppermill' and David Gledhill's 'Old Mill Street'. Gallery Oldham until 2nd February.


Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, London, until 6th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 24,000sqm site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a traditional German Christmas Market, with over 30 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a Victorian carousel; a helter-skelter; a bungy dome; a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; and a bandstand with regular carol concerts and other festive entertainment; plus appearances by Father Christmas. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.

Victorian Artists In Photographs: G F Watts And His World is a remarkable exhibition of photographs of the Victorian art world, many exhibited for the first time. The display features some 160 images of the leading artists of the day and their studios, including George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, George Cruickshank, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Lord Leighton, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, E J Poynter, Lady Butler, Alma Tadema, Val Prinsep and Philip Morris, together with their models, wives and families, including Fanny Cornforth, Phoebe 'Effie' Cookson, Dorothy Dene, Edith Holman Hunt and Margaret Burne-Jones. In addition, there are rare images of royalty and politicians, including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli; influential thinkers, such as John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin and J S Mill; literary figures, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, George Elliot and Wilkie Collins; and members of the theatrical profession, such as Ellen Terry. The 100 year old Arts & Crafts building, created by Watts and his wife, which houses his extensive studio collection, was the first purpose built art gallery in Britain dedicated to the work of a single artist. Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford, until 31st December.