News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd February 2000


The descendants of the Duke of Wellington have won a victory over the forces of the Victoria and Albert Museum in regard to Apsley House, which has the famous address Number 1 London. The Iron Duke spent his later years there, and since it was given to the nation in 1947, the V&A has administered the property as a museum of Wellingtonia. There has been continual sniping between the current heir (the Marquess of Doro) whose family keeps private rooms there, and the V&A. The family has dismissed the museum displays as "jolly dull", and claim that they are "not given the respect we deserve". The V&A insists that rather than spending the occasional night there, members of the family are always in residence "acting like Lords of the Manor to the museum staff". Now Culture Secretary Chris Smith has ruled in favour of the family, and despite the recent £6m renovation paid for by the V&A, control of Apsley House will be handed over to a charitable trust - headed by the Marquess.

All For Love is a selection of images from the Hulton Getty Picture Collection, which is perhaps the world's greatest library of illustrative material. Its cornerstone is the Picture Post collection, which is the embodiment of the art of photojournalism and features the work of many of its pioneers. This exhibition explores the concept of love in all its eclectic forms, from John and Yoko, through the film Casablanca, back to Melrose Abbey, where Robert the Bruce's heart is buried (not featured itself). Hulton Getty Picture Gallery until 25th March.

Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ explores how the figure of Christ has been represented in the western artistic tradition, and the language of Christian imagery. Through paintings, sculptures, coins and engravings, it examines different aspects of the visual identity of Christ, and the pictorial questions that artists have confronted as they made His image. Works range from the earliest known Crucifixion, a 5th century ivory relief, to Salvador Dali's controversial Christ of St John of the Cross, painted in 1951. Though Christianity is now "uncool", it remains the bedrock of western culture. This millennial exhibition asks what such images mean in today's faithless world. There is an accompanying television series beginning on 2nd April, presented by the director of the National Gallery, Neil MacGregor.

National Gallery until 7th May.


Buckingham Palace The Ballroom is to be opened to the public for the first time this year as part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms. 122 feet long and 60 feet wide, it has been at the centre of state entertaining since it was built for Queen Victoria, and opened in 1859 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. Since 1954, 48 heads of state have been entertained there at state banquets. It is also used for investitures, and there will be an exhibition with examples of all the major honours awarded. The State Rooms contain many works of art from the Royal Collection. Buckingham Palace 6th August until 1st October.

Panamarenko is the first London exhibition of the extraordinary work of a virtually unclassifiable Belgian artist, inventor and visionary. His pseudonym - an abbreviation of Pan American Airlines Company - betrays his obsession with flying machines. Styling himself a latter day Leonardo, his work over thirty years has fused artistic and technological experiment, and includes aeroplanes, flying carpets, cars, flying saucers, helicopters and birds. Shown here are drawings, models, sculptures and spectacular structures, including one gallery entirely filled with an airship, and a submarine moored outside. Hayward Gallery until 2nd April.

Painted Illusions: The Art of Cornelius Gijsbrechts id dedicated to the art of deception, with work by one of the most important painters of illusionistic or trompe l'oeil pictures in European art, seen in London for the first time. One of the favourite themes of 17th century trompe-l'oeil painters was the letter rack, with papers and other objects tucked into, or hung from, ribbons stretched across a board. Gijsbrechts raised this to a new level of sophistication, with an extraordinary assortment of letters (often addressed to himself as "painter to the king of Denmark"), almanacs (which date the paintings), engravings, royal proclamations, miniature portraits, quill pens, tidies with pockets, and tools and equipment of every imaginable kind. National Gallery until 1st May.

Bauhaus Dessau celebrates the Bauhaus school, which despite its brief 14 year existence, became probably the most important influence on the architecture, design and craft of the 20th Century. Although it started in Weimar in 1919, the school enjoyed its most successful period during the late 1920's, at a purpose built headquarters at Dessau, designed by its founder, the architect Walter Gropius. The exhibition concentrates on this period, with Marcel Breuer's cantilevered tubular steel chairs, Marianne Brandt's light fittings, Herbert Bayer's advertisements, Gunts Stoltz's textiles, paintings by Klee and Kandinsky and designs and models of the Dessau building itself. Design Museum 10th February until 4th June.

Yayoi Kusama, who has been described as the Japanese Andy Warhol, receives her first major exhibition in this country, with work from her entire forty year career. She explores her obsessions of food, nets, dots and sex, in paintings, collages, watercolours, sculptures, performance events and installations, including an entire yellow room emblazoned with black polka dots. The centrepiece is a recreation of her 1966 work Driving Image "in which the surface of mannequins and household furnishings are entirely covered in her vibrant painted signature patterns and placed on a bed of broken macaroni". Ah, the '60's. Don't say you haven't been warned. Serpentine Gallery until 19th March.

Princes of Victorian Bohemia is a series of strikingly original photographic images created in the 1860s by the painter David Wilkie Wynfield. They are mostly portraits of his Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries, and his subjects include Millais, Holman Hunt and Manet. Wynfield used a narrow depth-of-field, dramatic close-ups, and historical costume to model his sitters in the image of the courtiers and noblemen painted by the Old Masters. He was one of the first photographers to use "soft-focus" as a means to create artistic photography, and his works inspired the rather better known Julia Margaret Cameron.

National Portrait Gallery until 14th May.

Further details from the National Portrait Gallery web site via our Galleries section.


Art Now: Mark Dion During last summer Dion and a team of volunteers combed the foreshore of the Thames along two stretches of beach, at Millbank (opposite the Tate) and Bankside (in front of the future Tate Modern). The finds from these two very different sites were cleaned and classified in archaeologists' tents on the lawn of the Tate at Millbank. They now form an astonishing display of the important and the trivial. The careful juxtaposition questions the methodologies traditionally used to classify and interpret artefacts. Tate Gallery until 27th February.

Heaven: An Exhibition Which Will Break Your Heart brings together a group of international artists to reveal how religious and spiritual experience has changed this century. Celebrities and supermodels are now idolised and adored as once were saints and angels, a tropical beach resort has become most people's view of paradise, and we worship at the graves of the famous, at rock concerts and fashion shows. Jeff Koons' sickly sculpture of Michael Jackson, in a style usually associated with porcelain shepherdesses placed on tasteless mantelpieces, provides one of the show's modern icons. The Tate Gallery Liverpool until 27th February.

Eileen Agar was born one hundred years ago in Buenos Aires, and on returning to Britain she retained a Spanish air of poetic flamboyance. Instead of settling for suburban respectability, she became a leading member of the surrealist movement, being the only female British artist to be included alongside Picasso and Miro in the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition. This show includes 120 paintings, collages, photographs, found objects - and some very strange hats. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 27th February.