News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd November 2006

Commencing

At Home In London 1600 - 1800 is a major new development adding four new period rooms, with newly aquired original furniture, and two interpretive galleries. The rooms, decorated and furnished with scrupulous authenticity, demonstrate significant shifts in middle class domestic conditions and behaviours, and in the choices of materials, decorative finishes and styles that were available and affordable. Room 1 (1630) is a hall in a timber framed house in the City of London, the main living space at the time. The walls are panelled oak, and the main furnishings, also oak, include a court cupboard inlaid with fruitwood, a set of joined stools, a draw-leaf table and an armchair. Room 2 (1695) is a parlour in a post Fire Of London house, used for receiving visitors. It reflects the new types of furniture and decorative arts becoming common in domestic interiors, walnut caned chairs, a writing desk, a mirror, a clock, drinking glasses, china and delftware. Room 3 (1745) is a parlour typical of houses in Spitalfields and Soho, showing the influence of 'politeness' as an appropriate mode of behaviour, a place to take tea and play card games. Furnishings include India-back side chairs, a mahogany tripod table, a blue japanned corner cupboard, an ebonised bracket clock, and a portrait of a woman by Arthur Devis. Room 4 (1790) is a parlour typical of Bloomsbury, used for informal evening entertaining. The treatment of the walls reflects the introduction of wallpaper and carpets, together with a taste for lighter colours. Furnishings, include a bureau with a sloping top for writing, a card table, a Pembroke table, mahogany carved back chairs, a pier glass, paintings and prints. Geffrye Museum, London, continuing.

Douglas Gordon: Superhumanatural is the first major solo exhibition of Gordon's work in Scotland since the showing of his celebrated work '24-Hour Psycho', which slowed Alfred Hitchcock's film down so that it takes 24 hours to view, at Tramway in Glasgow in 1993. Gordon works with film, video, photographs, objects and texts, examining issues such as memory and identity, good and evil, life and death. One of his latest works is 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait', which follows in real time the movements of the footballer during an entire game. This exhibition showcases early pieces, explores the Scottish aspect of Gordon's art and also premieres new works. The Royal Scottish Academy is featuring 'Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work from About 1992 Until Now', shown on a bank of 50 video monitors in the sculpture court; works from four photographic series '100 Blind Stars', 'Self-Portraits of You + Me', 'Staying Home and Going Out' and 'What Am I Doing Wrong'; and some of his most celebrated installations, 'Play Dead: Real Time', in which an elephant pretends to be shot, 'Feature Film', '24-Hour Psycho' and 'Through A Looking Glass', which combines two versions of the mirror scene from Taxi Driver out of sync, so they appear to talk to each other. The Royal Botanic Garden is showing a complete collection of his wall texts in Inverleith House; the video installation 'Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake)', combining a child who thinks she has seen the Virgin Mary, The Song Of Bernadette and The Exorcist, in the Caledonian Hall; and 'Plato's Cave', one of three new works, in the Wash House. Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh until 14th January.

Dutch Winter Scenes is a timely exhibition focussing on winter landscapes. In the 17th century, north western Europe suffered a series of unusually severe winters, known as 'The Little Ice Age'. Snowfall was heavy, and canals and rivers regularly froze over. Intent on portraying their surroundings as naturalistically as possible, Dutch landscape painters grappled with the aesthetic possibilities and practical problems of capturing these icy conditions. Through increasingly harsh winters, they continued to find inspiration in their frigid surroundings, experimenting with composition, colour and the effects of light. In the highly competitive Dutch art market, winter scenes became a popular specialisation. Interpretations varied, with some artists focussing on the pleasures or hardships of the winter weather, while others explored the evocation of winter light and the frost filled atmosphere. These intriguing paintings celebrate the resilience of the Dutch people as they go about their daily business, even finding joy in the winter weather. Probably the best known work on show is Hendrick Avercamp's circular 'A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle'. Among the other artists whose works are featured are Jan Beerstraaten, Jan van Goyen, Aert van der Neer, Isack van Ostade, Adriaen van de Velde and Esaias van de Velde. National Gallery until 2nd January.

Continuing

Alan Fletcher: Fifty Years Of Graphic Work (And Play) features a selection of work from the archive of one of the most influential figures in the history of British graphic design. Co-founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s, and Pentagram in the 1970s, his enduring legacy includes the identities of Pirelli, Reuters and the V&A, while more recently as Creative Director of Phaidon Press, he had a major impact on book design, with titles such as The Art Book and The Silver Spoon. He was also instrumental in the setting up of the Design and Art Directors' Association - D&AD. Fletcher synthesised the graphic traditions of Europe and America into witty and personal style. He called himself a 'visual jackdaw', forever on the lookout for something others might overlook, to take back to his studio and transform. The exhibition explores the ingenuity of Fletcher's commercial work for high profile clients, including Olivetti, ICI, Penguin, Shell and Lloyds, alongside personal projects in lettering, collage and illustration, with which he entertained himself and the public. This retrospective, charting his journey from art school to guru, includes many of his best known works, including the bus poster for Pirelli, which made it appear that the passengers were wearing its slippers; the photo-fit portrait of Prince Charles for the National Portrait Gallery; the brand name EVIAN rearrainged as NAIVE; and the classic shapes poster for Designers' Saturday London Event 1982. Design Museum, London until 18th February.

Featuring Walls: Celebrating Three Centuries Of Wallpaper Decoration marks the opening of a permanent display space for a unique collection of historic and modern wallpapers, featuring some 30 visually inventive decorations. The exhibition, which is curated by Christine Woods, Britain's only full time curator of wallpapers, reflects many of the social and cultural currents at work when the papers were made. They range from exquisite 18th century English floral patterns, block printed and stencilled on hand made rag paper, through exotic 19th century French drapery and chinoiserie confections, to 20th and 21st century examples. This display illustrates the range of wallpaper, as a signifier of social status, a source of imaginative inspiration and a reflector of cultural preoccupations. It is certainly not just the predictable good taste William Morris - although of course he and the Arts and Crafte Movement are represented. Among the highlights are: Les Prodigues, a risque Parisian decoration from 1855, revealing the hangover aftermath of an orgy of demimonde indulgence, more suitable for a brothel than a bourgeois living room; Lantern Frieze, from 1930, showing the twin influences of the 'Orient' with colourful depictions of lanterns and blossoms, and the first 'talkies' as these are set in a filmstrip; Peter Jones's Sikhara from 1971, a jazzy geometric design echoing the rise of pop, bold enough to blur your vision; and artist Abigail Lane's Bloody Wallpaper, a red silkscreened work based on a photograph of a New York murder scene. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 30th September.

David Smith: A Centennial provides a comprehensive survey of the distinctive work of one of the most innovative and influential American sculptors of the 20th century. Smith was a pioneer 'welder artist', constructing pieces out of iron and steel sheets and wires, rather than employing traditional casting methods. He is best known for his diverse large scale metal pieces, constructed from used machine parts, abandoned tools and scrap metal. In the 1930s and 1940s, influenced by Surrealism and Constructivism, he created hybrid figural sculptures, and in the 1950s, he began to work in stylistic series, ranging from the complicated abstract drawings-in-space of the 'Agricolas' to anthropomorphic and totemic sculptures incorporating machine parts such as the 'Sentinels' and 'Tanktotems'. In the 1960s, his work grew in scale, and became more concerned with abstraction, as in his series of 'Voltris', 'Wagons', and 'Cubis'. This exhibition of almost one hundred pieces comprises the largest selection of his work ever shown in Europe. It encompasses Smith's early experiments with found objects in the 1930s, his exploration of both animate and inanimate forms within interiors from the 1940s, and his examination of landscape in the 1950s. Iconic pieces on display include works never seen before in this country, such as 'Australia 1951' and 'Cubi XXVII', together with 'Saw Head', 'Star Cage', 'The Letter', 'Reliquary House' and 'The Forest'. Tate Modern until 14th January.

David Teniers And The Theatre Of Painting tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic enterprises of the 17th century: David Teniers' publication of the Theatrum Pictorium or 'Theatre of Painting', the first illustrated printed catalogue of a major paintings collection. David Teniers was court artist to the Governor of the Southern Netherlands, whose collection comprised some 1,300 works, including paintings by Holbein, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Van Eyck, Raphael, Giorgione, Veronese and Titian. This exhibition includes Teniers's first detailed visual compendium of the collection in 'Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Picture Gallery', and later, further acquisitions in 'Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery in Brussels'. Teniers then embarked on an illustrated catalogue of 243 of the Archduke's most admired Italian paintings, which became the Theatrum Pictorium. He employed a team of 12 engravers to reproduce the paintings, and in order to ensure the accuracy of their work, made small copies in oil of each of the chosen works, issuing them as models. 25 of these copies are featured in the exhibition, displayed alongside the prints from the Theatrum for which they were made, and Teniers's little known painted design for the frontispiece, showing a portrait of the Archduke and two of his favourite paintings. There also are several examples of the Theatrum, including a rare 1660 edition with the Archduke's coat of arms, a copy owned by Joshua Reynolds, and one lavishly introduced in four languages. The Courtauld Institute, London until 21st January.

The International Flipbook Festival is a celebration of 'hand-powered cinema', designed and decorated by Rama Hoffpauir. The exhibition presents over 100 flipbooks, made by contemporary artists throughout Europe and North America. It celebrates the ways in which artists rise imaginatively to the challenge of basic media in our hi-tech age - the original hand held moving picture entertainment centre. The event was devised 4 years ago by artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright as a film festival without the film, and each of the flipbooks has been submitted into one of four categories: Live Action, Animation, Experimental, and Documentary. As in traditional film festivals The International Flipbook Festival awards prizes in each category. Among the 90 artists whose work is on show are Sebastian Bodirsky, Jill Blagsvedt, Kelly Coats, Samantha Gerlach, Libby Hartle, Katja Von Helldorff, Robert Hengeveld and Jen Hutton Jason Hsu, Mikhail Iliatov, Lana Kim and Saelee Oh, Selena Kimball, Stan Krzyzanowski, Sara MacKillop, Peter Pezzimenti, Topsy Qur'et, Annette Rnol, Ruth Scott and Celeste Toogood. The ultimate hands on exhibition experience. Reg Vardy Gallery, University of Sunderland, Ashburne House, Ryhope Road, Sunderland until 8th December.

Beyond The Maker's Mark: Paul de Lamerie Silver celebrates the work of Paul de Lamerie, London's leading 18th century silversmith. In addition to items from the permanent collection, the display includes around 50 pieces of de Lamerie silver from the American Cahn Collection, which includes some of the most important pieces of de Lamerie silver in private hands, such as the Maynard Dish and the Turtle Tureen, and many works that have never before been on public view. In the first half of the 18th century, London was a centre for the production of luxury goods, and de Lamerie's pieces set the standard for luxury and fine craftsmanship. The popularity of coffee and tea, and introduction of new foods, gave rise to a range of specialized wares and serving vessels. De Lamerie's mark appears on numerous objects of silver, ranging from candelabra to complete dinner services. The exhibition explores de Lamerie's career, including his patrons, the evolution of his style, and the organisation of his highly successful business. Among the most splendid pieces are: the Chesterfield Wine Cooler, with cast dolphin handles and four panels chased with the Elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water); the Newdigate Centrepiece, richly decorated with bold scrollwork, flowers, shells and helmetted putti; the Walpole Salver, which has engraving attributed to William Hogarth, with seal roundels supported by a figure of Hercules, flanked by allegorical figures representing Calumny and Envy, with a view of the City of London; and the Ilchester Ewer And Basin, with the handle of the ewer in the form of a mermaid with long flowing hair supporting its body with her arm. Victoria & Albert Museum until 21st January.

Concluding

Vive la Parisienne examines the portrayal of women in Parisian life in the late 19th century, at a time when the Impressionist movement was capturing the emerging modern world with spontaneity and life. The exhibition focuses on how the leading exponents of Impressionism were concerned with life in the city centre and the portrayal of the 'Parisienne'. It explores how women and their activities formed a large part of the artists' subject matter, and reveals the wide spectrum of approaches, comparing the settings for these paintings and their sitters, and examining the role of the modern woman in Paris - from chorus girls and artists' models, to the domestic realm and polite society of the middle and upper classes. Works on display include Degas' 'Chanteuse de Cafe-Concert', Pissarro's 'Mme Pissarro Sewing Beside a Window', Helleu's 'Portrait', Toulouse-Lautrec's 'La Passagere du 54', Renoir's 'Misia Sert' and Cassatt's 'Portrait of a Woman'.

Liz Rideal: Fall, River, Snow is the premiere of a unique film installation, shot at Niagara, Burleigh Falls and Big Cedar in Canada this year. It is in three parts entitled 'Water Drape', 'Ice Steam', and 'Deer Portrait', is projected outdoors onto the natural landscape of a lake and trees, and focuses attention on the mesmeric power of scenery. Shot on Super 8, these silent films are a meditation on the beauty of the natural world, tracking the movement of water, snow packed firm on land, a lake, wheeling gulls, camouflaged deer moving through woodland, a double rainbow, and the snow laden branches of trees.

Compton Verney Art Gallery, both exhibitions until 10th December.

Francis Bacon: Paintings From The 1950s explores the major themes that interested Bacon between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, affording an unprecedented insight into his imaginative powers, as well as his constantly evolving sources and techniques. This was the period during which Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his career, from the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees, through the early Popes and portraits of Van Gogh, to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation. For a painter whose imagination so rarely strayed beyond the walls of dark claustrophobic interiors, there were even glimpses of landscape, recollections of Africa and the South of France. It was a period that saw Bacon still searching for himself, and eager to explore a variety of impressions and take all kinds of risks. Throughout his life, Bacon carefully controlled the way his work was selected and presented, ensuring that in all exhibitions the emphasis was placed on his most recent paintings - especially on the late triptychs. As a result, works from the earlier half of his career have received much less attention. This exhibition attempts to rectify that, and among some seventy paintings, including 'Study (Imaginary Portrait of Pope Pius XII)', 'Two Figures in a Room' and 'Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh I', which some people consider to be his greatest work, there are a number that have rarely been seen in public before. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th December.

Far Horizons: Artist Travellers 1750-1850 features the work of British artists who travelled before the age of mass tourism in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Canada and India. These intrepid artists journeyed for many reasons, ranging from broadening their experiences and visual education to recording foreign lands and cultures as part of scientific or military expeditions. Their work captures some of the pioneering spirit seen in that of American artists, bringing reports of unknown worlds back to 'civilisation'. This display includes watercolours and drawings by landscape artist John Robert Cozens, whose images of Switzerland and Italy have a sense of mystery and power; portraitist Allan Ramsay, who made frequent visits to Italy; John Webber, enlisted as a draughtsman on Captain Cook's third voyage, visiting such diverse destinations as Tonga, Siberia and Vancouver Island, with works mainly in watercolour and ink; William Callow, who recorded his extensive sightseeing trips throughout Europe in delicate pencil drawings; David Cox, with views of travels to Paris, northern France and the Low Countries; John Frederick Lewis, who lived for some years in Spain and Cairo and recorded Islamic culture; Edward Lear, who documented his explorations in India; and the master of the romantic ruin, Samuel Palmer with visions of Rome. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 10th December.