News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st May 2008

Commencing

Jack The Ripper And The East End examines the infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888, and explores their legacy of myths and legends. Bringing together in public for the first time the surviving original documents from the police investigation, including files, witness reports, photographs and hoax letters, the exhibition maps the world which witnessed the murders and was transformed by them. It follows the crimes and the investigation as they unfolded, and reveals the lives of the victims, witnesses, suspects and police, and the labyrinthine world they inhabited. Artefacts, including Charles Booth's meticulously drawn poverty maps, and oral history recordings from those who grew up in the East End at the time of the murders, throw a light on the slums of Whitechapel and on the grim lives of their inhabitants. The exhibition also explores how the murders were a catalyst for change, creating public revulsion at the desperate state of life in the shadows of the world's richest city, and how both the media and the police were forced into innovation. It illustrates the strategies of detection, and the processes of running and reporting a major police enquiry, reflecting the fierce competition between newspapers to produce the most sensational descriptions of the murders, and lay claim to the latest theories and suspects. Forensic science was not yet available to help identify the murderer, and a range of pseudo-sciences, philosophies and superstitions, including spiritualism, as well as accepted ideas of human nature and morality, shaped the police investigation. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay E14, until 2nd November.

Frank Auerbach - Etchings And Drypoints 1954 - 2007 is a comprehensive survey of the distinctive British artist's work, from experimental drypoint nudes produced while he was still a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1950s to his latest etching and aquatint of David Landau. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see Auerbach's complete body of etchings and drypoints, comprising some 30 works, together with other drawings and paintings, including 'JYM in the Studio'. Portraits drawn with spare lines or frenetic jagged lines sit alongside faces that emerge from heavily greyed out heads in this display, some depicting famous names such as Lucian Freud, others titled just with first names, giving them a personal tone. On first acquaintance Auerbach's work can seem obscure, even crude or unreadable, but its power and strength of feeling is striking, arresting and ultimately beautiful. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 21st June.

The Shell Guides: Surrealism, Modernism, Tourism explores the creative forces that created the Shell County Guides, and considers their cultural influence on a shared understanding of Britain and Britishness. From the 1930s to the 1980s, innovative writers, artists, designers and academics combined their efforts to produce these landmark guides, a powerful but understated synthesis of good writing, good imagery and good design. Their editor, John Betjeman, gathered together a mixture of young artists and authors like Paul and John Nash, Robert Byron and John Piper, who represented some of the best of British creative talent of the period. This exhibition includes many of the original Guides, plus examples of other works by key contributors. The Guides, neither too serious nor too shallow, were aimed at a new breed of car driving metropolitan tourists, who took pleasure in the ordinary and peculiar culture of small town Britain. They provided a surreptitiously subversive synthesis of the British countryside, revelling in the unconventional, the surreal and the mystical, which became ingrained in the British middle class imagination. The guides were illustrated using the most modern and often surrealist photographs, small intimate sketches by the authors, and reproductions of English romantic and popular prints. This incongruous mix of old and new was combined with a graphic layout that blended the contemporary style of the Architectural Review with arcane 19th century typefaces. By the end of the 1930s the Shell Guides were among the most avant-garde publications in Europe - though devoted to a subject that was almost the cultural opposite. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire, until 2nd November.

Continuing

Dan Dare And The Birth Of Hi-Tech Britain examines the heady excitement of the reinvention of Britain after the Second World War, showing how the years from 1945 to 1970 saw a long climb from austerity to affluence. Dan Dare, pilot of the future, as featured in the Eagle comic, was the emblematic hero of those times, embodying a faith in the nation's ability to 'conquer the future' through its resourcefulness and powers of invention. A popular feature in the comic was a detailed cutaway drawing explaining how new inventions like nuclear submarines were constructed, and original artworks of these are featured in the exhibition. Sadly, the pride and faith in the future of British design and manufacturing of that time was as misplaced as the idea of a British astronaut commanding an expedition across the universe. Thus the future as imagined here, seems almost more remote than that imagined by Victorians. Nevertheless the exhibition allows visitors to revel in consumer technology world firsts, from food processors to portable televisions, plus a Bloodhound missile, one pillar of Britain's defence against Soviet threat in the Cold War, together with the British built WE177 nuclear weapon; a Hillman Imp car; a section of Comet 1, the world's first jet airliner; a nuclear reactor control panel for British submarines, with infamous SCRAM button; Pye radios designed by Robin Day; a Roentgen IV X-ray machine, the mainstay of the new NHS diagnostic service; and a Coventry Climax racing engine of type that took Stirling Moss to victory. Science Museum until October.

OGS Crawford is a unique opportunity to see images from the archive of Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford, a field archaeologist who pioneered aerial photography after seeing its potential in the First World War. Crawford was a rare visionary who recognised key events and recorded them, documenting the passage of time from pre-history archaeological digs, to the utopian projects propounded by revolutionaries throughout the turbulent times in which he lived: 1886 to 1957. Distance, in Crawford's view, brought clarity, and he saw world history - and the future - in the broadest possible perspective, perceiving patterns in times past and in things to come. Thus he believed the passage of time, from prehistory to a utopian future, could be charted and photographed, evidenced in the design of objects, in the rise and fall of superstitions, and in the organisation of domestic space. Crawford's photographic output was prolific and varied, reflecting both his professional work and a world view critical of a society increasingly led by consumerism and materialism. The exhibition ranges from images of archaeological sites, through between the wars anti-Nazi graffiti in Berlin, rural Hampshire scenes, and suburban advertising hoardings, to aspirational post Second World War housing developments in his home city of Southampton. John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, until 14th June.

Skin+Bones: Parallel Practices In Fashion And Architecture is the first show in the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, a new exhibition space where the Hermitage Rooms used to be, which will focus on photography, design, fashion and architecture. Traditionally, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct, but in recent years however, the two disciplines have become closer than ever before. Frank Gehry's controversial design for tower blocks on the seafront at Hove in Sussex has even been described as looking like 'transvestites caught in a gale'. Taking the early 1980s as its starting point, this exhibition examines the many visual and conceptual ideas that unite the two disciplines. By examining designs by over 50 internationally renowned architects and designers, including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, through garments, maquettes, architectural models and photographs, the exhibition reveals how inspiration in both disciplines have come from the same sources. It also shows how they can borrow each other's techniques, as with Hussein Chalayan's Remote Control Dress, made from aircraft material with moveable flaps and structural lines like the design of an aeroplane, and Heatherwick Studio's Temple, which echoes the undulating, organic folds of a piece of cloth combined with a mille-feuille stepped texture on the outside. Embankment Galleries, Somerset House until 10th August.

The London Bridge Experience is a new £2m attraction located in tunnels and vaults of the famous 1831 bridge, that remain under the current London Bridge, where its history is brought to life through special effects, CGI, live actors and animation. From the building of the first bridge across the Thames in Roman times, it offers a whistle stop tour through the gorier side of London's past, with the sacking of London by Boudicca, the Viking invasion, the times when the heads of the vanquished were exhibited on poles, and the Great Fire, with the opportunity to cross a burning replica of the 17th century bridge. In addition, there are characters such as William Wallace, Sir John Rennie (designer of the 1831 bridge), Charles Dickens, and Robert McCulloch (who purchased the 1831 bridge and shipped it stone by stone to Arizona). There is also a small museum, with exhibits provided by the estate of London historian Peter Jackson. After viewing this, the bravest visitors can go below to London Tombs, down in the vaults and catacombs, where the Black Death plague pits of 14th century London were located, which are peopled by crazed zombies, animatronic torture victims and severed heads - not for the squeemish. The London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street SE1, continuing.

Art In The Age Of Steam captures the excitement of the steam train in art from the earliest days, through the boom years of Victorian railways to the end of the line in the 1960s. The exhibition looks at how artists responded to the extraordinary impact that steam trains had on landscape and society, as aboard these great machines, passengers travelled at faster speeds than ever before, and notions of time and space were forever changed. It comprises around 100 paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and posters, from some of the world's greatest artists and photographers, covering the years 1830 to 1960. Highlights include: Manet's 'The Railway', Van Gogh's 'La Crau from Montmajour, with train', Pissarro's 'Lordship Lane Station', four paintings by Monet, including 'Gare Saint-Lazare', Honore Daumier's 'The Third-class Carriage', Gustav Caillebotte's 'Pont de l'Europe', Edward Hopper's 'Railroad Train' and 'Railroad Sunset', Giorgio de Chirico's 'The Anxious Journey', and photographs by Bill Brandt, Alfred Stieglitz and O Winston Link. British artists are represented by Turner's iconic 'Rain, Steam and Speed', 'The Travelling Companions' by Augustus Egg, showing two crinoline-clad girls in a luxurious railway compartment, while 'The Railway Station' by William Powell Frith, vividly captures the hustle and bustle of Paddington station, and James Tissot's 'Gentleman in a Railway Carriage' consults his watch and a timetable. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 10th August.

Seasons Through The Looking Glass is an underground garden inspired by Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, which began when Lewis Carroll's heroine fell into a tunnel, and met gardeners painting roses. This notion of mythical underground spaces is the subject of C J Lim and Studio 8 Architects's installation in the museum's tunnel entrance, a multi-sensory and tactile intervention which explores the spatial possibilities of a subterranean garden. It is a cartouche-shaped topiary, covered with rose blossoms that taper to a crown before sprouting an array of forked branches, whose shadows fence around the grand vaulted ceiling. However, instead of soil and living vegetation, it consists of trunks and twigs constructed from honeycomb paper sandwich panels, with roses made from rolled recycled garments. During the installation's one year lifecycle, these fabric samples will be subtly altered to reflect the changing seasons. To further emphasise the seasonal nature, it is accompanied by Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. The references to Alice's wonderland extend beyond the garden theme, to a large mirror, or looking glass, which lies at the end of the installation, infinitely extending it in virtual space. Victoria & Albert Museum, until 29th March.

Concluding

Ansel Adams: Photographs is the first public display in Britain of the 'museum set' of quintessential images by one of the most celebrated and influential landscape photographers of 20th century. Spanning a period of 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1970s, it comprises 75 photographs, hand printed and selected by the American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams, as those that best represented his achievement as a photographer. Each image is a masterclass in scale and light, and they reveal the place of Adams's work in a tradition of American photographers of the sublime natural landscape They include the images for which he is most celebrated, such as the soaring monoliths of Yosemite National Park; Snake river meandering through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; a grove of thin aspens glowing ghostly pale in the Colorado dawn; the moon rising silently over Hernandez, an eerie hamlet in New Mexico; and the lakes and mountains of Alaska. Exquisite in their formal and tonal beauty, Adams's awe-inspiring images express the grandeur of untouched nature, as few others have been able to capture. Modern Art Gallery, Oxford, until 1st June.

Alberto Giacometti is an exhibition that focuses on a crucial decade in the development of a sculptural language that marks a major achievement in 20th century art. In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, when Alberto Giacometti returned to Paris from Geneva, he was working towards a new perception of reality governed by the figure in space. Sculptures, paintings and drawings created at this time show Giacometti moving away from the representation of a physical, bodily experience to explore a more optical sensation. Whilst this work is a departure from his earlier exploration of Surrealism, he retained the sense of an extraordinary encounter, as if seeing something familiar for the first time. Key sculptures in the exhibition, such as 'The Forest', 'Four Figurines on a Stand' and 'Standing Nude on a Cubic Base', present a distillation of Giacometti's ideas at this time, together with paintings including 'Jean Genet' and 'Annette', drawings such as 'Homage to Balzac' and 'Portrait of the Artist's Brother', and a series of lithographs created for the book 'Paris sans fin'. Giacometti continuously reworked specific themes, often using models he knew intimately, such as his wife Annette, his mother, and his brother Diego. In paintings the figure frequently emerges from a force field of lines, and Giacometti often used brushstrokes to gain an effect similar to the roughly pitted surfaces of his sculptures. Compton Verney House, Warwickshire, until 1st June.

Henri Cartier-Bresson's Scrapbook: Photographs 1931 - 1946 is a unique insight into the work of one of the world's greatest photographers, which has been enormously influential on succeeding generations. Cartier-Bresson is particularly renowned for the purity of his methods, capturing his subjects at the point during which all the elements of a scene come together in a meaningful way. At the end of the Second World War - during which he was taken prisoner - Cartier-Bresson carefully printed and mounted a scrapbook of over 300 photographs, representing the first half of his career as a photographer. They were conceived as an initial selection for a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a show that would catapult Cartier-Bresson onto the world stage and bring him international recognition. These photographs documented both his extensive travels, and his encounters with Surrealism and modern art. Some of the last photographs that he printed himself, they represent the most richly creative period in his career, and contain some of his most familiar and enduring images. All the original photographs have now been brought together and are on display for the first time in Britain. In the 1990s Cartier-Bresson began to remove most of the prints from the album, but a few original pages remained, and are shown in the exhibition, alongside reproductions of their reverse side, and the original scrapbook cover. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 1st June.