News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st November 2001


British Galleries 1500 - 1900, have been transformed, producing the most comprehensive display of British design and art anywhere in the world, with over 3000 exhibits on view. The £31m lottery funded project is the V&A's largest for over half a century. The fifteen galleries, occupying 10% of the entire floor space of the museum, tell the story of British design from the Tudor to the Victorian periods, with an unrivalled collection of furniture, textiles, dress, ceramics, glass, silver, prints, painting and sculpture. They contain some of Britain's most significant cultural treasures, including Henry VIII's writing desk, James II's wedding suit and the Great Bed of Ware. Every major name in the history of British design is represented, including Grinling Gibbons, Robert Adam, William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as manufacturers such as Wedgwood, Doulton and Liberty. The galleries combine modern displays and five restored period rooms, together with the latest technology to enable visitors to identify the characteristic shapes or motifs of different styles, explore a painting, or date a design. There are also video and audio programmes, including music and commentaries on selected objects, and facsimile books and artefacts to touch and handle. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Braco Dimitrijevic: Triptychos Post Historicus is a collaboration between the Ikon Gallery and The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, presenting the first exhibition of work in Britain since 1985 by one of Europe's most influential contemporary artists. His pieces juxtapose items from all aspects of human experience, combining works of art, natural phenomena and manufactured objects - previously at the Tate, a Modigliani, a pumpkin and a wardrobe. Here, Dimitrijevic makes a number of new works based on loans of paintings from both collections, including Vincent Van Gogh, Frans Hals, Luca Signorelli, Edouard Manet and Domenico Beccafumi. As an example, Evaristo Baschenis still life of musical instruments, is augmented by three cellos spiked in the floor in front of it, along with some fruit. Easy to dismiss as 'an ultimate makeover programme', in fact these are actually quality pieces that genuinely bring a fresh insight into familiar works. The Art Bus provides free transport between the venues on selected weekends throughout the exhibition. The Barber Institute and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham until 20th January.

Secret 2001 is the eighth year of the Royal College of Art's annual fine art postcard exhibition, featuring original works by well known personalities such as Damien Hirst, Terry Frost, R.B. Kitaj, Marc Quinn, Nick Park, Manolo Blahnik, Anish Kapoor and Billy Childish, as well as its students, and up and coming young British artists. Everything is for sale at £35, but as they are signed on the back, you don't know whether you are buying Hockney or Mockney. There are over 1000 to choose from, so go along, take a chance, and spot a winner - admission is free. The sale is expected to raise thousands of pounds for the RCA Student Award Fund, which supports artists while they study. For the first time ever, you can view all the works online on David Bowie's art web site via the link opposite. Royal College of Art, London SW7, 020 7590 4444 - Viewing: 21st to 28th November, Sale: 8am on 29th November.


Handel House Museum is the culmination of a decade's work to restore the house where Handel lived for 35 years, together with the upper floors of the adjoining house, and open it as London's first composer museum. This is the house in which Messiah, Music For The Royal Fireworks, Israel In Egypt, George II Coronation Anthem and most of the organ concertos were written. The decoration scheme has been recreated as authentically as possible, Handel being the first owner in 1723, and the contents are based on an inventory taken shortly after his death there in 1759. The collection brings together original manuscripts and letters, early published editions of his works, portraits and sculpture, together with furniture and furnishings, and two specially built harpsichords, which will be played for visitors. Three original fireplaces from Tom's Coffee House in Covent Garden, where many of Handel's works received their first public performances, have been installed in the main rooms. There is also a space for temporary exhibitions, the first of which charts the refurbishment of the building. Handel House Museum, London continuing.

The Fine Art Of Photography celebrates the Scottish National Photography Collection, which contains around 27,000 images, many with a Scottish connection, covering the 150 year period from the beginnings of the medium to the present day. The 200 photographs in this show include the pioneering work of D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson, as well as that of other 19th century Scots, Thomas and J. Craig Annan, William Donaldson Clark, William Carrick and John Thomson. Among the 20th century works are Bill Brandt's Gorbals studies, Annie Leibovitz's portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Eve Arnold's Malcolm X, plus Douglas Gordon's self portraits as Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 13th January.

Hidden Art is an ongoing project which brings together East London's designer-makers, studios, galleries and other creative businesses from fashion to furniture. At the 8th annual Open Studios weekends, over 200 designer-makers of tableware, furniture, textiles, jewellery, fashion, glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings and prints will be offering a rare glimpse into their workshops at 68 studios and other venues. Other events include free narrow boats trips on the Regent's Canal between Mile End Park and Broadway Market; craft demonstrations and participatory workshops; an exhibition at The Prince's Foundation of drawings and paintings inspired by local places of interest created by pupils of East London schools; a Craft Market at Spitalfields Market; a Design Fair at Mile End Park. A very comprehensive map and guide is available, together with further information from the Hidden Art web site via the link opposite. Hidden Art continuing - Open Studios on 24th-25th November and 1st-2nd December.

Agatha Christie And Archeology: Mystery In Mesopotamia reveals the hitherto unknown interests and talents of the crime writer, told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these digs are combined with archives, personal memorabilia, souvenirs, cameras, photographs and films made by Christie. Together with first editions of her novels, they show how these discoveries and her extensive travels in the Near East influenced her detective writing. In the forecourt of the museum until 2nd December, visitors will also have an opportunity to explore an original 1920s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express sleeping carriage of the kind used by Christie on her honeymoon, and which featured in one of her most popular stories. British Museum until 24th March.

Words And Things examines the nature of meaning and identity in an age of perfect copies and image manipulation, where information is driving out knowledge. Cheryl Donegan, shows the process of the evolution of a work from video clip to painting; Mark Dion looks at the preservation and display of historical objects at the Hunterian Museum; Simon Starling considers the boundaries between the value of rare design objects and valueless everyday materials; and net art pioneers JODI have stripped away the characters and buildings from the video game Quake to reveal 12 versions of the source code that lies behind them, but which can be played in a wholly different way.

Ed And Ellis In Ever Ever Land is the result of Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen's investigation into the notion of Scottishness. This has been conducted by conversation and correspondence during the two year closure of the Centre for Contemporary Arts for a £10m redevelopment designed by Page & Park. Further information can be found on the CCA web site via the link from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet. CCA Glasgow until 23rd December.

French Drawings And Paintings From The Hermitage presents a selection from one of the worlds greatest but least accessible collections, which contains more than 40,000 items overall. The French section boasts outstanding examples by artists who dominate the history of French art from the 16th to early 20th centuries. The presentation of both paintings and drawings by an artist illustrates how drawing served both as a preparation for a painting and as an independent activity. The 75 drawings and 8 paintings here include works by Clouet, Poussin, Bellange, Claude, Watteau, Boucher, Oudry, Greuze, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Matisse and Picasso. This is the second major exhibition at the London outpost of the Russian museum, which recreates the splendour of the imperial decor of a wing of the Hermitage in miniature, with marquetry floors, 19th century furnishings and chandeliers. Currently only five per cent of its collection of over three million objects is displayed in the former Winter Palace of the Tsars in St Petersburg. Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House until 3rd March.


Shinto: The Sacred Art Of Ancient Japan presents ancient art and artefacts of Shinto - the way of the kami - the indigenous religious beliefs of Japan. The kami are gods of nature, some nameless and others personified in a mythological hierarchy, together with deified ancestral and historical figures. They were believed to reside in mountains, trees, rivers, rocks, waterfalls and other natural places. Worship of the kami expresses gratitude towards them and aims to secure their continued favour. The exhibition, which includes previously unseen works from the Imperial collection, examines the arts that were characteristic of Shinto during the Heian and Kamakura periods from the 8th to 14th centuries AD. By this time Buddhism and Shinto were amalgamated within Japanese religious beliefs and practices. A custom of installing the Three Sacred Treasures - sword, mirror and jewel - in shrines as spiritual vehicles of the kami, became common. Wooden masks were used for ritual dramas in temples and shrines. The most important of these dramas was kagura (kami enjoyment), from which Noh theatre developed. The exhibition also looks at the mysterious ritual beliefs from which Shinto evolved, drawing on archaeological evidence from Japanese prehistory. British Museum until 2nd December.

Langlands & Bell Installation is the first exhibition in the New Artists House designed by Stephen Marshall, which will feature art in a modern domestic environment, and in which artists can stay. Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell specialise in exploring relationships between people and architecture, examining buildings and the way we think about them. This installation combines new pieces with key elements of their past work.

Tim Harrison: New Stone Carvings in the New Gallery explore the fabric of the stone, through cutting, carving and polishing, revealing the geology that lies within it. A feature of Harrison's work is the way that it changes in shape, form and texture as the viewpoint or light source shifts.

The Sculpture Park is a permanent outdoor exhibition of work from 1950 onwards, and is the sole representative of the estate of Barbara Hepworth, with many of her pieces in wood, marble, stone and bronze. Other artists whose works are displayed include Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick, Antony Gormley and Rachel Whiteread. New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery, Salisbury - both exhibitions until 30th November - park open all year round.

Nigel Henderson: Parallel Of Life And Art features the work of a key figure in post war British art, straddling the worlds of documentary photography and surrealist inspired collage making. It comprises a selection of the photographs taken in the East End of London in the early 1950s, his experimental 'stressed' photographs, and photograms and photocollages. The centrepiece is a recreation of the exhibition held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1953, which Henderson organised with Eduardo Paolozzi, Alison and Peter Smithson, and Ronald Jenkins. This ground breaking display featured photographs culled from a wide variety of sources - science, technology, nature, art and popular culture - which were blown-up and hung on screens and from the ceiling as well as on the walls, creating a 'total environment' in the exhibition space. Gainsborough's House, Sudbury until 25th November.