News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd September 2010

Commencing

Rachel Whiteread: Drawings offers an opportunity to explore works on paper by the contemporary artist best known for large scale sculpture. This is the first ever exhibition of Rachel Whiteread's doodling (her word) on paper, using pencil, gouache, ink and correcting fluid to build texture. Whiteread calls these drawings and collages her working diary, and they provide an intimate insight into the creative process behind her work. The drawings feel coolly constructed and painstakingly analytical, reminiscent of work by minimalist painters. While her sculptures are often large and involve a team of fabricators, these paper works provide a more personal counterpoint. Nevertheless, they also share many of the themes familiar from Whiteread's public commissions: texture and surface; void and presence; and the subtle observation of human traces in everyday life. The drawings include pictures of floors, several plans of tables, and meditations on keyholes and a doorknob. Most of these fixtures and fittings are laid out on graph paper to give the appearance of plans, and the technical look and feel is balanced by a tentative, hand drawn line. At times, this mix of the personal and the precise results in works that look not unlike interior design mood-boards: 'Untitled (Ten Tables)' could be a kitchen design, 'Floor Study' could be a swatch for a new line of tiles, and 'Study for Valley' brings to mind a designer sunken bath. The show reflects many of Whiteread's best known projects, with highlights including experiments made towards her life size cast of a council house; some boxes from her installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern; studies for the inverted resin plinth she made for Trafalgar Square; and her Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, which is clad in bookshelves turned inside out, with a ceiling rose that is a knotted wreath of concentrated black ink. Tate Britain until 16th January.

Lighthouses: Life On The Rocks aims to illuminate the triumph of engineering required to build a lighthouse, and the tall tales of the lighthouse keepers before they slip out of living memory. Britain's last manned lighthouse was converted to automatic operation in November 1998, and the life of a lighthouse keeper was no more. The construction of lighthouses miles out to sea, on rocky outcrops, exposed to the full force of the ocean, are some of the greatest engineering achievements of the Industrial Age. A massive four tonne optic, with its dazzling array of prisms and lenses, forms a sculptural centre piece to the exhibition, which features sketches, notebooks, photographs and an incredible array of salvaged objects, both large and small. Among these are the solid bronze doors from Bishop Rock, which, despite being situated 40ft above sea level and weighing over 100kg each, were smashed open by monstrous waves during a storm in 1994, clearly demonstrating the ferocity of the seas. Visitors also have the opportunity to step inside the world of the lighthouse keeper, with a reconstruction of a lighthouse's living quarters, featuring original curved furniture from Godrevy Lighthouse, and objects that reflect the life of a keeper. Theirs was a life of strict routine and relative isolation, and to fill their time, when not tending to the light, these men would write poetry, craft ships in light bulbs or come up with ingenious ways of supplementing their limited supplies, such as kite fishing. National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth, until 31st December.

Under Attack: London, Coventry, Dresden examines the effects of the aerial bombing raids, known in Britain as the Blitz, that defined the experience of many European cities during the Second World War. It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Blitz in England and the 65th anniversary of the Dresden Firestorm bombing. This exhibition illustrates the struggle to keep the cities of London, Coventry and Dresden moving during the war. It focuses on the role that public transport played in helping to create a sense of identity and normality. In particular, it seeks to explore the areas of commonality, as well as difference, and convey the shared experience of people from all walks of life - irrespective of nationality. The exhibition looks at some of the myths and reality of the wartime experience, and reviews the changing nature of popular memory in relation to the Blitz and the Firestorm. Displays show how each city prepared for war and the contrasting role of their transport systems. In London and Coventry, public transport was used to evacuate children and others out of the city, whilst in Dresden, the city itself was regarded as a shelter with transport bringing refugees into the centre. In London thousands of the people who remained took shelter by sleeping on the platforms of tube stations every night. The public transport system in London played a significant part in the liberation of women, as they became a major part of the workforce, replacing men who had gone into the services. Posters and photographs, magazines and newspapers bring the period alive, particularly Walter Spradbery's poster 'The Proud City' showing St Paul's cathedral standing defiant amid the rubble, which was reprinted 27,000 times and in several languages. London Transport Museum until 31st March.

Continuing

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 Fear The Glampire, a glamorous, gothic creation designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen; Dino Doom, a fantasy-inspired dinosaur attack in a spectacular large tableau, flooded with lighting effects and projections; Haunted Blackpool, genuine Blackpool ghost stories depicted in a spooky feature using projections and dramatic sounds and lights; and Fountainsey Island, with Gynn Island converted into a bright and colourful water paradise, awash with a mix of electronic fountains, water-based features and lights.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 7th November.

Doll Face: Photographs Of Dolls By Craig Deane features large-scale images of dolls from the museum's extensive collection. Portrait and still life photographer Craig Deane has created 35 of close-cropped, 3ft tall portraits that confront the audience with the essence of each doll. Returning the viewer's gaze like a police mug shot, their huge scale shows a great amount of detail that allows time to really study their faces. Deane is interested in both the representation of the human form and the objects people surround themselves with. Mankind's desire to make images and objects in their own likeness stretches back to the dawn of civilisation, and while dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also coveted by adults for their beauty, nostalgic value, and historical and financial importance. Deane is particularly interested in exploring the evolving representations we have made of ourselves - and given to our children to play with - as illustrated by the broad spectrum of dolls held in the 8,000 strong collection at the museum. The dolls photographed include a beatnik CND doll from the 1960s, a pedlar doll with a leather face from the 1830s, a Japanese doll from the early 1900s, a French adult male doll from the 1860s, a bisque doll with teeth from the 1930s, and a vinyl three faced doll from Hong Kong from the late 1960s. The oldest doll in the collection comes from ancient Egypt and is over 3,000 years old. The museum has dolls which speak, walk, blow kisses or play musical instruments, made from many different materials: rubber, prunes and mutton bones as well as the more usual cloth, wood, ceramic, plastic and wax. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London E2, until 2nd January.

Raphael: Cartoons And Tapestries For The Sistine Chapel brings together for the first time the full size designs and the actual tapestries made for the Vatican City almost 500 years ago. This is a display of 4 of the 10 original tapestries designed by Raphael for the walls of the Sistine Chapel, never before seen in Britain, alongside the designs (or cartoons) acquired by Charles I in 1623. The tapestries of the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', 'Christ's Charge to Peter', 'The Healing of the Lame Man' and 'The Sacrifice at Lystra', were commissioned from Raphael by Pope Leo X. The tapestries were made in Brussels, Europe's leading centre for tapestry weaving, and then sent to Rome for display. As the cartoons remained in Brussels, Raphael himself never saw the cartoons beside the tapestries woven from them. This display sees the 4 tapestries hung next to the 7 cartoons. The design of each cartoon corresponds in every point to the tapestry it was made for - but in reverse. The weavers cut Raphael's cartoons into strips and copied them closely, weaving each tapestry from the back, so the front image was the reverse of its cartoon. The painted strips of cartoon were joined together again later, and became prized as artworks in their own right. They were acquired by Charles I in order to have copies of the tapestries made for himself. In addition to the tapestries and cartoons, the display also includes some of Raphael's preparatory drawings, the 17th century British tapestry copy of 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', and other items relating to Pope Leo X and the Sistine Chapel. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th October.

Ruins, Rotas And Romance marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the remains of Britain's largest Roman palace. In true British style, the palace was discovered by accident during the digging of a water main trench in 1960. The discovery led to 9 seasons of excavations that showed the site had developed from a military base at the time of the Roman invasion in AD43 to a sumptuous palace by the end of the 1st century. It was the one of the biggest systematic Romano-British excavations of its time, undertaken by hundreds of volunteers from all over the world, with around 70 working together at any one time. Between 1995 and 2002, new excavations revealed exciting new insights into the development of the site. The palace and gardens contain a hypocaust (the Roman under floor heating system) and the largest collection of near perfect in-situ mosaic floors in Britain, some 20 in all, including the famous 'Cupid on a Dolphin' mosaic. Over the years the garden has been replanted true to the original plan revealed by the archaeology. The story of the excavations and the people whose labours revealed these treasures is told through an audio-visual programme, rare records, handwritten notes, diaries, photographs, plans, reconstruction drawings and models, together with artefacts that were discovered. Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, West Sussex, until 15th December.

Eadweard Muybridge is a retrospective of the work of the pioneering Anglo-American photographer. Bringing together over 150 works, this exhibition demonstrates how Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in the emerging art form of photography, exploring how he created and honed remarkable images that continue to resonate powerfully. Although best known for his extensive photographic portrayal of animal and human subjects in motion, Muybridge was also a highly successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, war correspondent and inventor. His revolutionary techniques produced timeless images that have profoundly influenced succeeding generations of photographers, filmmakers and artists. This exhibition focuses on the period of rapid technological and cultural change from the late 1860s to 1904, and includes the celebrated experimental series of motion-capture photographs such as 'The Attitudes of Animals in Motion' and the sequence 'Animal Locomotion'. The display also reveals how Muybridge constructed, manipulated and presented these photographs, and features his original zoopraxiscope, which projected his images of suspended motion to create the illusion of movement. The carefully managed studio photographs contrast with his panoramic landscapes of America, recording both the natural beauty of this vast continent, and the rapid colonial modernisation of its towns and cities. Images from this period include views of Yosemite Valley, Alaska, Guatemala, urban panoramas of San Francisco, and a survey of the construction of the eastward bound railroad through California, Nevada and Utah. These photographs form a unique social document of this period of history, as well as representing a profound achievement of technological innovation and artistic originality. Tate Britain until 16th January.

London's Water: 400 Years Of The New River looks at this waterway's role in London's water supply, with the use of images and interpretive texts. The New River was constructed at the beginning of the 17th century to bring fresh water from springs in Hertfordshire to the New River Head reservoirs in Islington. It was built by the New River Company, which was to become the largest private water company in London. Among the paintings are 'Prospect of the City from the North' from around 1730, showing the newly created reservoir alongside Sadler's Wells, which was then one of a number of health resorts in Islington, with the recently constructed St Paul's Cathedral in the background; and Samuel Scott's 'Entrance to the Fleet River' an almost Ventian view of the New River, which now only survives underground as a sewer.

The Story Of Smithfield Market tells the story of London's largest meat market and the historic Smithfield area. Once a site of execution, where heretics were burnt during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Smithfield was also the venue for the lively and sometimes raucous Bartholomew Fair, shown in contemporary engravings. A livestock market was officially established at Smithfield in 1638 but as the City and the market itself expanded, problems including stampeding cattle and animal overcrowding arose. Finally in 1855 the sale of livestock was transferred to Islington, reflected in William Henry Davis's 'The Metropolitan Cattle Market', and Smithfield became a meat market, shown in 20th century works by Jacqueline Stanley and Hubert Andrew Freeth.

Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until March.

Concluding

The Glass Delusion takes its name from a form of depression where sufferers imagined themselves to be made of glass, and hence brittle and fragile. The syndrome evokes a psychological separation between reality and imagination, between strength and vulnerability. Glass has the ability to combine opposites and it is this duality that is the inspiration for this exhibition. Contemporary art, artefacts and scientific objects have been brought together to tell the story of human attempts to reconcile the physical and mental worlds. These include: Susan Hiller's video installation 'From Here to Eternity', which comprises a pair of projections on to canvas that trace the pathway of a moving point through a maze; Beryl Sokoloff's 'My Mirrored Hope' immortalising Clarence Schmidt's 'House of Mirrors', a labyrinthine house assembled from wooden window frames, mirrors and found objects; Charles Babbage's scribbling notebook, expressing his first thoughts on Artificial Intelligence; Alan Bennett's 'Klein Bottles', which have no edges, outside or inside but are a single continuous surface; and a new commission by American artist Matt Mullican exploring the visual manifestations of the relationship between information and perception. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 3rd October.

The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, the 19 rooms that are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year, marking the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, the special display is devoted to the Queen's visits abroad. It includes day and evening gowns specially created for each trip by designers including Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies; jewelled orders worn by the Queen on ceremonial occasions, both from Britain and those presented by the countries she has visited; and gifts received by the Queen on her travels, ranging from a whale's tooth, an emu egg and a kiwi feather cape, to a model of the golden temple of Amritsar, a chess set in African dress, and a model oil rig, as well as items of jewellery; together with films and recordings of the various visits. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provides a haven for wild life in the centre of London, including 30 different species of birds, and more than 350 different wild flowers, and offers views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 30th September.

Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 - 1900 is the first major exhibition devoted to this influential group of artists in a generation. The Glasgow Boys were a loosely bound group of around 20 artists, influenced by the Realism of French painter Le Bastien-Lepage and the artistic theories of their hero James McNeill Whistler. Not all of the artists in the group attended Glasgow School of Art, or were even Scottish, but they did all have studios in the city. The Glasgow Boys painted outdoors at various places in Scotland during the summer and returned to Glasgow in the winter. There was great friendship, and a regular exchange of ideas, between most of the members of the group. This is the definitive Glasgow Boys exhibition, comprising around 100 oil paintings and 50 works on paper, both celebrating the achievements of the group and reviewing their legacy. All the important artists in the group are represented, including James Guthrie, E A Hornel, George Henry, John Lavery, Joseph Crawhall, Arthur Melville, James Paterson, William Kennedy, E A Walton, Alexander Mann, Thomas Millie Dow and Bessie McNicol, the only female artist closely associated with them. Highlights include Guthrie's 'To Pastures New' and 'Funeral Service In The Highlands', Henry's 'Playmates' and 'The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe', Lavery's 'Woman On A Safety Tricycle' and 'The Tennis Party', William Kennedy's 'Stirling Station', and Hornel and Henry's paintings from their Japanese expedition. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 27th September.