Private View held by Richard Andrews
Hoppe Portraits: Society, Studio And Street features the work of one of the most important yet least remembered photographers of the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together for the first time E O Hoppe's strikingly modernist portraits alongside his fascinating documentary studies capturing the realities of day-to-day life in Britain between the wars. Hoppe was the prototypical celebrity photographer, and by 1913 his photographic studio was a magnet for the rich and famous. The exhibition features over 80 their portraits, including Margot Fonteyn, George Bernard Shaw, King George V, Vaslav Nijinsky, Ezra Pound, David Lloyd George and Benito Mussolini. In 1922 Hoppe published the Book of Fair Women, a compilation of photographs of the women he considered to be the most beautiful on earth. Notable for its multicultural approach, Hoppe selected 32 representative beauties from 24 different countries. Fascinated by questions of race and social mobility, Hoppe compiled a collection of studio portraits examining different 'types' of people, shot against a neutral background, illuminated from above, and cropped to remove details of any clothing. A selection of these portraits includes a postman, a flower lady and a 'highly respectable type'. In the 1920's and 1930's Hoppe increasingly left the studio to make photographs of British street life, capturing those at the other end of the social spectrum to his celebrity sitters. These pictures, sometimes taken with a hidden camera, explored ideas about class and typology. More than 50 of these studies include the homeless, bell ringers, behind the scenes at Sandhurst Military Academy, a dog hospital, night watchmen, a girl's borstal institute, a skeleton shop, portraits of 'pearlies', street musicians and the tattoo artist George Burchett. National Portrait Gallery until 30th May.
David Hockney: Bigger Trees Near Warter is the first time this huge painting has been seen outside London. 'Bigger Trees Near Warter', is the largest painting David Hockney has ever produced, and measures 40ft wide and 15ft high (12m by 4m). Featuring two copses, a huge sycamore tree, buildings and early flowering daffodils, the painting in oils is comprised of 50 individual canvas panels, and takes inspiration from a site at Warter in the Yorkshire Wolds. It was painted 'en plein air' (outside) in 6 weeks - 3 weeks preparation and 3 weeks of furious painting before the arrival of spring changed the composition. Hockney used digital technology to help him complete the work, creating a computer mosaic of the picture that enabled him to 'step back' and see it as a whole. Thus the painting neatly combines a return by Hockney to his Yorkshire roots, with his continuing exploration of new technology. Films, including Bruno Wollheim's documentary A Bigger Picture, showing Hockney at work, are being shown in the same gallery, alongside additional information on how Hockney created this incredible painting. York Art Gallery until 12th June.
Dinosaurs Unleashed sees the return of Britain's largest animatronic, life sized dinosaur experience, with 22 full size dinosaurs in an interactive enclosure. It is a Jurassic Park style prehistoric adventure on a truly epic scale, offering the chance to get up close and personal with the largest and most fearsome creatures the Earth has ever seen, walking alongside the giants of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Visitors can meet Stegosaurus, Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Triceratops, marvel at massive Diplodocus three times the length and double the height of a double-decker bus, come face to face with infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, taller than the tallest giraffe, and tremble at the sight of small but vicious Velociraptors. A prehistoric aquarium using the latest computer graphics brings the prehistoric underwater world to life. In addition, visitors can put themselves in the picture in the 'scream' experience or in the 'green screen' theatre The exhibition is entirely based on current scientific thinking, with expert paleontologists ensuring that it is as accurate as possible. As they say: it's the family day out that London has been waiting 65 million years for. The O2, Meridian Gardens, Peninsula Square, London, continuing.
Watercolour is a fresh assessment of the history of watercolour painting in Britain from its emergence in the Middle Ages through to the present day. This exhibition features around 200 works, including pieces by historic artists such as William Blake, Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner, through to modern and contemporary artists including Patrick Heron, Peter Doig and Tracey Emin. Drawing out a history that traces the origins of watercolour back to medieval illuminated manuscripts, the exhibition reassesses the commonly held belief that the medium first flourished during a 'golden age' of British watercolour, from roughly 1750-1850. It reveals an older tradition evident in manuscripts, topography and miniatures, and also challenges the notion that watercolour is singularly British, by showing some key watercolours from continental Europe, which influenced British artists, such as Jacques Le Moyne, Anthony van Dyck and Wenceslaus Hollar. Artists used watercolour because it was so versatile and portable, and before the advent of photography watercolour was used primarily for recording eye-witness accounts. The exhibition shows the wide range of contexts in which it was employed, including documentation of exotic flora and fauna on Captain Cook's voyages, spontaneous on the spot recordings of landscapes by artists such as Turner and John Sell Cotman, and on the battlefield by war artists such as William Simpson and Paul Nash. Often thought of as a medium for traditional representational painting, notably landscape, the sea and picturesque buildings, this show overturns such assumptions with works by contemporary artists who have reinterpreted the medium, including Andy Goldsworthy, Ian McKeever and Anish Kapoor. It also shows how these contemporary pieces form part of a longer tradition where watercolour has been used for visionary or abstract purposes with examples ranging from Blake through to the Pre-Raphaelites, Symbolists and Neo-Romantics in more recent times. Tate Britain until 21st August.
Return To Antarctica: The British Graham Land Expedition, 1934 - 1937 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the major discoveries made during the first 'modern' Antarctic expedition. The British Graham Land Expedition employed new approaches to travel and diet, and avoided many of the problems faced by earlier explorers. With a broad scientific programme, the expedition spent three years exploring the Antarctic Peninsula (Graham Land), proving it to be part of the Antarctic mainland, not islands as previously thought. This venture laid the foundations for the current British endeavors in the Antarctic, pioneering expeditionary techniques still used today. Through dramatic black and white photographs the exhibition shows the spectacular scenery and hostile conditions faced by the 16 scientists, explorers and military officers (including Duncan Carse, who, fittingly, later became the voice of Dick Barton Special Agent in the radio series) their dogs and Lummo, a Falkland Island cat, the first feline to set paw on Antarctica, who went on to enjoy retirement in Woking. The explorers travelled in the Victorian schooner Penola, while dogs, equipment, stores and a De Havilland Fox Moth biplane, capable of operating with skis or floats, used for aerial surveying and depot laying, were carried by an accompanying ship, Discovery II. Polar Museum, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, until 30th April.
Doctor Who Experience is a unique walk through experience and exhibition featuring the world of the legendary time traveller. The interactive experience invites visitors to step through a crack in time to become the Doctor's companion on a journey through time and space in a brand new adventure, encountering some of the best loved and scariest monsters from the television series. It includes special scenes filmed with Matt Smith as the Doctor, and the very latest in special effects, with the chance to enter a recreation of the modern TARDIS, and even receive instructions from the Doctor on how to fly it. The exhibition element charts the success of the show from the first series in 1963 to the most recent episodes. Displays include items never seen in public before, including original costumes, the Tom Baker TARDIS police box and two authentic TARDIS sets from the eras of David Tennant and Peter Davison, plus iconic sets from recent series, such as the Pandorica Box and Chair. It is the first time that Doctor Who artefacts from the show's entire 47 year history, have been on display together. There are, of course, opportunities for visitors to come face to 'whatever' with numerous foes and monsters, including several generations of the Daleks and Cybermen as well as Silurians, an Ice Warrior and a Zygon - although few things in the 47 years are as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Olympia 2, Kensington, London until November.
Once Upon A Wartime: Classic War Stories For Children delves into the pages of well loved books, bringing stories of war to life. This family friendly exhibition takes a look at five of the best loved books written for children about conflict - War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley. Through life size sets, scale models and interactive exhibits, visitors can enter the imaginary worlds of these classic war stories, a journey through conflicts from the First World War to the present day. The exhibition encompasses the bleak landscape of no man's land in War Horse; the farm kitchen from Carrie's War; the cellar school, hidden under the destroyed streets of Warsaw in The Silver Sword; the schoolboys' secret fortress from The Machine Gunners; and the imposing tower blocks of London's gang warfare in Little Soldier. As well as these central books, there are other favourites, including Goodnight Mister Tom, Refugee Boy and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. The exhibition explores the themes of loyalty, separation, excitement, survival and identity throughout the books, and then goes behind the scenes of each story, explaining the authors' inspiration through interesting and sometimes unseen items, including manuscripts, early sketches, interviews and photographs. It also offers historical context through expert interpretation and examples of relevant objects, including evacuee labels and letters, aircraft recognition cards and a tail fin from a German incendiary bomb. Imperial War Museum, London, until 30th October.
Old Master Drawings: Guercino, Rubens And Tintoretto explores why artists have drawn over the centuries, from copying other works to making life studies, and the role of sketching in the creation of artworks. Works by some of the great Italian Renaissance and Northern European artists between 1500 and 1800 are used to examine the reasons for producing drawings. Some artists use drawing to loosen their wrists before starting painting or sculpting (like limbering up before taking part in sport), some see drawings as a key part of the creative process, where ideas are expressed then retained or discarded, and some are simply doodling or amusing themselves and others. Among the highlights are: 'Monster animal and peasant', drawn by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as Guercino, who liked to show off his inventive imagination by drawing bizarre or fantastical creatures, to amuse himself and his friends, depicting an odd animal, part chicken, part human foot with dog's ears, watched by a terrified peasant; Peter Paul Rubens's 'God creating Adam', more naturalistic and animated than Michelangelo's version, and 'Study for the circumcision', which differs in details from the huge finished painting now on the High Altar of Genoa's Church of the Gesu; and 'Study of the head of Giuliano de Medici by Michelangelo' made from the statue by Jacopo Tintoretto, who admired Michelangelo's Florentine Medici tomb statues so much that he kept a full size copy of one in his Venetian studio. Other artists in the exhibition include Luca Signorelli, Giorgio Vasari, Guido Reni, Claude Lorraine and Francois Boucher. Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool, until 2nd May.
Shining Lights: The Story Of Scotland's Lighthouses tells of the people who designed, built and operated the country's lighthouses, lighting a safe passage for mariners. Encompassing more than 6,200 miles in length and in excess of 760 islands, the jagged Scottish coastline is one of the most dangerous in the world. This exhibition traces the development of lighthouse technology, shows what life was like for the lighthouse keepers, who kept the lights shining for passing mariners, and reflects on the continuing importance of lighthouses today. It features many objects unseen for decades, including spectacular giant optics, lighthouse models, beacons, photographs, paintings, engravings, films, books, and charts dating from as far back as the 17th century. A series of interactive exhibits explain the development of lighthouse technology up to the present day. The exhibition also has a section marking the 200th anniversary of the lighting of the Bell Rock, near Arbroath, the world's oldest surviving rock lighthouse. Designed by Robert Stevenson, the building of the lighthouse was an astonishing feat of engineering that marked the coming of age of the Stevenson family's connection with Scottish lighthouses. Almost all of Scotland's 208 lighthouses were developed, designed and built by a member of this engineering dynasty, whose talents contributed significantly to scientific and technological development across the world. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 3rd April.
This Is Tomorrow is part reconstruction, part celebration, of the iconic show that launched Pop Art in Britain in 1956, and also part examination of the process by which it came about. Famously advertised with Richard Hamilton's poster 'Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?', the exhibition highlighted the new technology and popular culture that had started to influence all aspects of everyday life in the 1950s. The idea was to invite contributors to form 12 groups, each including artists, architects, musicians and graphic designers, with each group producing work on the theme of modern life. The groups worked independently, but saw the final display as one environment, suggesting a radical model of collaboration across art forms. This presentation of unique and rarely seen archive material includes the full set of 12 promotional posters the groups designed, photographs of the opening and individual displays, and original press cuttings, together with letters, plans and other background materials charting the creative process, as well as documentary film clips. There is also a limited edition of the original This is Tomorrow catalogue designed by Edward Wright, an important example of innovative graphic design, which has been out of print for over 50 years. This is Tomorrow was a groundbreaking exhibition because of the issues it addressed that became crucial in contemporary art in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the process of collaborative action, thinking and discussion, and how art can physically interact with the viewer by creating an environment inside the art gallery. Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 6th March.
Journey Through The Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book Of The Dead explores ancient Egyptian beliefs about life after death through rich textual and visual material. The 'Book', used for over 1500 years between around 1600 BC and 100 AD, is not a single text, but a compilation of spells thought to equip the dead with knowledge and power that would guide them safely through the dangers of the hereafter and ultimately ensure eternal life. The exhibition opens a window onto the complex belief systems of the ancient Egyptians where death and afterlife were a central focus. Beautifully coloured illustrations show the many stages of the journey from death to the afterlife, including the day of burial, protection in the tomb, judgement, and entering the hereafter. These include the fields and rivers of the Netherworld, the gods and demons whom the deceased would meet, and the critical 'weighing of the heart' ritual, the judgement that would determine whether the soul was admitted into the afterlife, or condemned to destruction at the hands of the monstrous 'Devourer'. Although the earliest texts appeared on the mummy shrouds of royal families and high officials, papyrus became the texts' main medium and remained so for more than 1,000 years. Due to the fragility of the papyri and their sensitivity to light it is extremely rare for any of these manuscripts to be displayed in public. Highlights include the longest Book Of The Dead in the world, the Greenfield Papyrus, which measures 37 metres in length and has never been shown publicly in its entirety before, and the paintings from the papyri of Ani and Hunefer, together with an array of painted coffins, gilded masks, amulets, jewellery, tomb figurines and mummy trappings. State of the art visualisation technology provides new ways of accessing and understanding this key source in the history of world religions. British Museum until 6th March.
Invitation To The Ballet: Ninette de Valois And The Story Of The Royal Ballet charts the development of The Royal Ballet from its foundations in the late 1920s to the present day. The exhibition tells the remarkable story of how Ninette De Valois, a young Irish dancer born Edris Stannus, who started her career impersonating Anna Pavlova in English seaside pier theatres, went on to found The Royal Ballet, which has since become one of the world's leading companies. Drawing on the Royal Ballet's extensive archive, over 40 costumes, worn by some of the greatest names in ballet, from Rudolf Nureyev and Antoinette Sibley to Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, are on show, together with set and costume designs by designers and artists including Pablo Picasso, Edward Burra, William Chappell, Rex Whistler, Oliver Messel and Yolanda Sonnabend. In addition there are photographs, films, programmes, letters, press cuttings, music manuscripts, dance notation scores, posters and other memorabilia. Among the highlights is a recreation of Margot Fonteyn's dressing room, with her dressing table, personal letters, original practice clothes, costumes, shoes and props. The exhibition also illustrates L S Lowry's involvement with ballet, and shows how his appreciation of art, music and dance affected his work. It includes a triptych of mannequins that has never been on public display before, and portraits of Ann Hilder, believed to have been inspired by de Valois performance as Swanhilda in Coppelia. The Lowry, Salford, until 6th March.