News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st June 2000


The Wallace Collection was opened by the Prince of Wales on 22nd June 1900, and it celebrates its centenary with the opening by the current Prince of Wales of a £10.6m lottery funded refurbishment. Millennium project specialists Rick Mather and Ove Arup have created an extra 30% of new gallery, education and support space out of the unused and excavated basement, and a restaurant in the roofed in central courtyard - a scheme first proposed in 1908. There will be four new galleries for Reserve Collection, Watercolours, Exhibitions and Conservation, and a Study Centre comprising a 150 seat Lecture Theatre, Seminar Room, Education Room, and drop-in Library. The covered courtyard area has been transformed into an all weather Sculpture Garden, and sees the re-instatement of a bronze fountain brought by Sir Richard Wallace from his château de Bagatelle in Paris. The Wallace Collection is the finest private collection of art ever assembled by one family. It was bequeathed to the nation by Wallace's widow in 1897, and is housed in Hertford House, their former home. Among its treasures are one of the best collections of French 18th century pictures, porcelain and furniture in the world, a remarkable array of 17th-century paintings and a superb armoury. Its best known work is The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals.

The Gadget King: The Drawings Of Heath Robinson is an exhibition of 74 original works by William Heath Robinson, the master of the ramshackle "make do and mend" invention. The focus of the exhibition is machines, both imagined and real, and it is complimented by a specially commissioned 15ft high mechanical musical sculpture by Jonathan Woolfenden. There are black and white drawings and watercolours from all stages of Heath Robinson's career, embracing fairytales, scenes of everyday life, wartime magazine illustrations and ingenious inventions, including the Channel Tunnel as imagined in 1917. A quintessentially British eccentric and national treasure, Heath Robinson's name has entered the language defining "an over-ingenious, ridiculously complicated or elaborate contrivance". Heaton Hall, Manchester City Art Galleries until 29th October

The Tate Gallery has announced the four artists who have been shortlisted for this year's Turner Prize. They are: Glenn Brown, who paints reproductions of photographs of famous paintings which remove all the painterly nuances of the originals; Michael Raedecker, who won last year's John Moore Prize for his painting of a desert which used stitching and sequins; Tomoko Takahashi, whose installations have included a pile of discarded junk at the Saatchi Gallery (a concept which resonates at the Tate); and Wolfgang Tillmans, whose photographs of clubbing used to appear in I-D but are now unaccountably considered art. Brown is considered the current favourite. The £20,000 Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 31st May. It is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at Tate Britain from 25th October until 14th January, and the winner will be announced on 28th November.


Encounters: New Art From Old is a Millennium project for which twenty four established contemporary artists from Britain, Europe and North America were invited to choose a work from the National Gallery's collection and respond to it with a new work of their own. It offers an unprecedented opportunity to view a major exhibition of contemporary artists at the National Gallery (and is nothing to do with the opening of Tate Modern at all). The participants include painters, sculptors, photographers and video artists, and some of the combinations are: Auerbach/Constable, Bourgeois/Turner, Caro/Duccio, Clemente/Titian, Freud/Chardin, Hockney/Ingres, Hodgkin/Seurat, Kiefer/Tintoretto, Kitaj/Van Gogh, Kossoff/Rubens, Oldenburg and van Bruggen/Vermeer, Rego/Hogarth, Tàpies/Rembrandt, and Wall/Stubbs. The exhibition aims to demonstrate the value of the collection to artists working at the end of the 20th century, although some may consider that it demonstrates the decline of painting over the last 50 years. If you do want to check out the opposition, you can travel free from the National Gallery to Tate Modern and Tate Britain this summer on the Art Bus. Two special double decker buses will run every 30 minutes from 10.00am to 6.00pm until 30th September. National Gallery until 17th September.

warningSHOTS! is an attempt by the Royal Armouries beleaguered devolved museum in Leeds to make a name for itself and pack in a few people by giving the public what they want. It is leaving behind the dated stuff like swords and armour, becoming accessible and gaining street cred by concentrating on 21st century violence. (What next a relaunch with the slogan "Royal Armouries - we'll blow you away"?) This is the world premiere exhibition of a contemporary art collection built up since the relocation, which explores issues of individual and urban conflict and violence and their effects on modern society, as seen by contemporary artists in painting, photography and video. Containing powerful and disturbing imagery, the exhibition is pitched as "a warning shot to society to raise questions about reality, as well as the perception and portrayal of violence". Yeees. A more defensible move down market might have been to stage an exhibition featuring the arms and armour of Xena - Worrior Princess. Royal Armouries, Leeds until 3rd September.

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.

The Show 2000 presents the final year work of MA students in the broadly based Royal College of Art, encompassing fashion, fine and applied art, sculpture and design. The particular fusion of the aesthetic and the practical is the RCA's metier. The exhibition is both a celebration and promotion of the students creativity, and a hotbed of new ideas. All works (and of course their creators) are for sale. Many distinguished careers have started at this annual show in the past. It's an opportunity to spot the next Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, James Dyson or even David Hockney, invest in them while they are still affordable, and perhaps catch the start of the next artistic or design trend. Royal College of Art, 020 7590 4498, until 10th July

The Year Of The Artist is a nationwide endeavour to take artists work out of traditional spaces and place them in everyday surroundings, highlighting the contribution that artists make to our lives - accessibility incarnate. The Arts Council and Regional Arts Boards have commissioned artists to take up residency in various locations, including Serena de la Hey creating a 40ft sculpture of a figure next to the M5 in Sedgemoor, Somerset (that wretched Angel has a lot to answer for); writer Keith Armstrong and visual artist in the paddock at Hexam Racecourse, Northumberland in July; and 200 floating lanterns launched from the fishing village of Porthleven, Cornwall on 18th June. Such events may of course only reinforce the widespread distrust of modern art rather than dispel it - we shall see. As the launch audio visual installation (created in the Today programme studio) of an 8ft high John Humphrys keeps saying: "But is it art?" Events across Britain until May 2001

Dali Universe is a permanent exhibition which has just opened in County Hall next to the London Eye, showcasing over 500 works by the painter, sculptor and self promoter Salvador Dali. The largest collection of his work ever assembled, it includes the famous Mae West lips sofa, a lobster telephone, drawings from his idiosyncratic autobiography The Secret Life Of Salvador Dali, and of course a melting watch. It is divided into three sections: Sensuality And Femininity looks at his bizarre association with women, Religion And Mythology focuses on his tempestuous relationship with the Church, and Dreams And Fantasy covers his fantastic visions. The wholly commercial nature of this venture is something of which Dali would no doubt have approved - after all he was rechristened Avida Dollars by Andre Breton. Dali Universe, County Hall Riverside Building, 020 7620 2720.


Inside Out: Underwear And Style In The UK unflinchingly takes a peek in Britain's underwear draw. It reveals specimens which range from the mass production of M&S (can they really sell such a mountain of mini-briefs) through Agent Provocateur (more S&M than M&S) to the more exotic (read really expensive) creations of Alexander McQueen and Antonio Berardi. Technical innovations currently under development include the alarm bra, which can monitor the heartbeat and act as a rape alarm. The exhibition is curated by the British Council, and if you thought that they only sent out tours of Shakespeare to the outer reaches Commonwealth - well this is what is meant by accessibility. Design Museum until 2nd July.

Carnivalesque is a celebration of the art of the satirical, the subversive and the world turned upside down, from the medieval Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel through old masters such as Goya and Daumier to contemporary video installations. It is crammed with images of fools, hunchbacks, dwarves (if one is allowed to call any of them by those names any more) demons and grotesques in all manor of situations. There are so many examples of the morbid, the bizzare and the macabre, that the exhibition is spread over three galleries. The confining hand of the Catholic Church on European societies appears to have provoked a more substantial and dramatic backlash in their enthusiasm for Carnival than its British seaside confinement to the Punch and Judy show and annual street parade. Suitably therefore this show launches in Brighton, then moves on to Nottingham and Edinburgh. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Fabrica Gallery and University of Brighton Gallery until 2nd July

Endings is the first in a three part sequence of exhibitions to be staged this year called The Times Of Our Lives, which will examine human experience in relation to time, and events common to us all throughout our lives from birth to death. It looks at farewells, sleep, dreams, and happy endings as well as death in all its manifestations - in conflict, through illness, murder and suicide. As a Millennium exhibition, the death of Christ also features as an important theme in the show, which includes over 100 works by artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Blake, Goya, Millais, Sickert, Henry Moore, Evelyn Williams and Abigail Lane. The range covers modern and historic paintings, sculpture, drawings, watercolours, prints, textiles, wallpapers and other applied arts. Wentworth Gallery Manchester until 2nd July.