News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd July 2008


Hadrian: Empire And Conflict looks beyond the established image of the Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD, best known for his interest in architecture, his passion for Greece and Greek culture, and the eponymous wall he built between England and Scotland. The exhibition offers new perspectives on his life and legacy, exploring the sharp contradictions of his personality, and his role as a ruthless military commander. Set against the backdrop of the events of Hadrian's long reign, it explores his immense legacy, incorporating recent scholarship and the latest archaeological discoveries from Tivoli, his spectacular villa near Rome, which he filled with exquisite works of art from all over the empire. Based upon important material seen together for the first time, the exhibition examines Hadrian's background as a member of the economically powerful and ascendant Spanish elite, his relationship with his lover Antinous, his military campaigns, the iconic architecture of his time, his extensive travels, and his impact and influence on the modern world. It features over 180 objects, including sculpture, bronzes, silverware, letters and manuscripts, mummy portraits, pottery, knives and tools, jewellery and architectural fragments and models of his grand vision, with highlights being the iconic bronze head of Hadrian and the Vindolanda tablets. British Museum until 26th October.

Blaschkas' Sculptures From The Sea is an opportunity to see some remarkable Victorian glass models of creatures from the sea for the first time in decades, after years of painstaking restoration. The 49 delicate models of squid, sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and other marine invertebrates were made by the Blaschka family of glassmakers of Dresden in Germany, from 1863 onwards. Each glass model is a unique blend of art, science and craftsmanship, with striking colours and spectacular forms. They were made in a variety of ways, with many formed over wire skeletons or armatures, and the glass fused together or glued. These spectacular creations still amaze scientists with their accuracy, yet Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf never passed on the exact details of their specialist techniques. Originally created to be used as teaching aids, some models look more lifelike than real specimens in preservation fluid in jars. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 30th September.

Fashion In The Mirror; Self-Reflection In Fashion Photography offers a look behind the scenes of fashion photography from the 1950s to the present day, showing how snappers picturing the latest trends often turned the camera at least partly upon themselves. Finding both comedy and poetry in the set-up of the studio, the photographers reveal the processes and paraphernalia of the fashion shoot. They become mirrored in their own work and, as viewpoints are inverted and gazes misdirected, cameras stare back out at the viewer from the edge of the frame, or in the foreground of the picture. Revealing the fashion industry's secrets and undermining its glamorous illusions, the photographers in this exhibition create work that exposes this world from within. The exhibition features work by 21 internationally renowned photographers, including Richard Avedon, Terence Donovan, Steven Klein, William Klein, Nick Knight, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Harri Peccinotti, Irving Penn, John Rawlings, Bob Richardson, Melvin Sokolsky, Juergen Teller, Mario Testino, Jonathan de Villiers and Tim Walker. As well as the photographers often including themselves in the photographs, the addition of assistants, stylists and photographic equipment within the images draws attention to the cliche of the 'fashion entourage' and queries the myth of the slick fashion image. The Photographers' Gallery, London, until 14th September.


Boucher And Chardin: Masters Of Modern Manners celebrates the works of Francois Boucher and Jean-Simeon Chardin, two of the greatest French genre painters, and their artistic response to the taste for tea drinking and chinoiserie, which became fashionable in 18th century France and Britain. Chardin introduced a new intimacy and middle class values into French genre painting, while Boucher produced genre scenes set in a fashionable and carefree dream world. The highlights of the exhibition are Boucher's 'A Lady on Her Day Bed', on show in Britain for the first time in 70 years, depicting a coquettish young woman lost in a daydream after she has put down a billet-doux, her sumptuous boudoir a treasure trove of trifles and trinkets, providing a fascinating record of French fashions of the time; and Chardin's near contemporary 'Lady Taking Tea', a much more private, austere, muted and less playful scene, but brilliant at mood and at capturing the psychology of its sitter, plus a companion piece, 'The House of Cards'. Other contemporary British paintings include Hogarth's 'Western Family', which depicts tea drinking as a symbol of the dangers of luxury. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition examines the background to the fashion of tea drinking through objects and books, including essays warning that the beverage could cause effeminacy and impotence. There is also a trail through the museum's permanent collection of items linked to 18th century tea drinking. The Wallace Collection, London until 7th September.

Gwon Osang And Choe U-ram features sculptures by two contemporary cutting edge Korean artists. Gwon Osang builds life size sculptural figures by assembling hundreds of photographic images on to a three dimensional armature, to build up the surface appearance of his models, including the face, their hair and their clothes. The process gives his beautifully crafted figures both photo-realist and surreal qualities. The photographs, being 3D reality captured through a 2D illusionistic medium, assume a peculiarly disorientating quality when wrapped around the 3D form. It is as if the photographs have been 're-embodied' during a papier-mache class. In addition, the figures' rather unsteady or ungainly poses, when enshrouded by the photographs' characteristic split-second suspense, result in a kind of glossy magazine mummification. Osang's past subjects include a pinhead man, a two headed man and a man with three swan's heads. Here he turns his taste for everyday weirdness towards musician Graham Massey and a mounted police officer. Choe U-ram combines the latest precision engineering technologies with art to create robotic sculptures with echoes of organic forms. He uses cut and polished metals, machinery and electronics to create kinetic sculptures inspired by sea creatures and plant life. Here, Choe U-ram is exhibiting two enormous robotic works, 'Urbanus Female' and 'Urbanus Male', in the atrium. Manchester Art Gallery, until 21st September.

Freeze Frame is a display of some of the earliest photographs of the Arctic, its landscape and people, mounted to coincide with International Polar Year. The exhibition looks at two expeditions to the Arctic, under Captain Edward Inglefield in 1854, and Captain George Nares in 1875. Both expeditions used photographic processes that were in their infancy, involving a significant amount of bulky equipment and chemicals in order to develop the negatives. However, the technique used by Nares had a shorter exposure time, allowing more photographs of the expedition activities to be recorded. Inglefield's photographs were taken on the west coast of Greenland, where he stopped during his voyage to communicate with a naval expedition based at Lancaster Sound searching for Sir John Franklin. The photographs were taken using the wet collodion process, first introduced in 1851. They show Inglefield's ships Phoenix, Diligence and Talbot, and include portraits of the Inuit, Danish and British people he encountered in Greenland. Nares commanded the Polar Expedition with HMS Alert and Discovery. The two photographers, one in each ship, used the dry-plate process, which had been first proposed in 1871. The expedition failed in the objective of reaching the Pole due to the ice and the crews suffering from scurvy, however, significant scientific results were achieved. The prints show expedition activities, people and landscape and were published, setting a precedent for later polar expeditions in the 20th century. Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 31st December.

Vilhelm Hammershoi: The Poetry Of Silence is the first retrospective of the celebrated late 19th century Danish artist, and features over 70 paintings spanning his entire career. Hammershoi's most compelling works are his quiet, haunting interiors, their emptiness disturbed only occasionally by the presence of a solitary, graceful figure, often the artist's wife. Painted within a small tonal range of implied greys, these sparsely furnished rooms exude an almost hypnotic quietude and sense of melancholic introspection. Submitting these spaces to a decisive geometric stringency, Hammershoi dispenses with anecdotal detail, which transforms the interiors into hermetically sealed places of disturbing emptiness. With refined discretion, he uses the apartment as a pictorial laboratory to make the viewer sense the emotional abyss behind the facade. In addition to the interiors, the exhibition also includes Hammershoi's arresting portraits, landscapes, and evocative city views, notably the deserted streets of Copenhagen and London on misty winter mornings, such as 'Christiansborg Palace' and 'From the British Museum. Winter'. The magical quietness of Hammershoi's work can be seen in the context of international Symbolist movements of the turn of the last century but the containment and originality of his art makes it unique. The Royal Academy of Arts until 7th September.

The Art Of Doctor Who: Script To Screen reveals for the first time how Doctor Who stories are developed from the initial script to the final television programme, including how the monsters and special effects are created. Visitors can use interactive touch screens, see exhibits on the craft behind monster making, and learn what exactly goes on behind the scenes. These displays feature the expertise behind many production areas, from special effects and CGI, to make up and costume. As well as intriguing insights into how the programme is made, the exhibition features a Tardis, and many of the actual props, costumes and monsters from the BBC series, including new creatures, such as the Sontarin and the Hath, alongside the Doctor's traditional enemies, the Cybermen and the Daleks.

The temporary exhibition joins the six themed galleries exploring space and space travel, each featuring a variety of interactive hands on exhibits and audiovisual experiences, including the Solar System gallery, which explores our nearest planetary neighbours, and includes a space flight simulator, and the Milky Way gallery, which shows the formation and life cycle of stars, plus the Space Dome planetarium, which uses the latest high resolution digital projection technology to create a journey through the stars. Spaceport, Victoria Place, Seacombe, Wallasey, Wirral, The Art Of Dr Who until 11th January.

The Ramayana: Love And Valour In India's Great Epic is the first time that over 120 paintings from the lavishly illustrated 17th century manuscripts in the volumes of Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar have been on public display. The Ramayana is one of the world's greatest and most enduring stories, and is considered to be fundamental to the art and culture of India and South East Asia. It is an ancient Sanskrit epic which follows Prince Rama's quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita from the clutches of a demon king with the help of an army of monkeys. Comprising 24,000 verses in seven cantos, the epic contains the teachings of the very ancient Hindu sages. Illustrated on the grandest scale, with over 400 paintings, the vivid, brightly coloured scenes are packed with narrative detail and dramatic imagery, with no episode of the great epic overlooked. The exhibition also explores how the story has constantly been retold in poetic and dramatic versions by some of India's greatest writers, and in narrative sculptures on temple walls. It is one of the staples of later dramatic traditions, employed in dance dramas, village theatre, shadow puppet theatre and in annual Ram-lila plays. As well as paintings, the exhibition features textiles and sculptures, shadow puppets and dance costumes, together with archive recordings of readings and chantings of the Sanskrit and other versions of the Ramayana, the singing of devotional hymns to Rama, and dramatic and dance music from India and South East Asia. British Library Gallery until 14th September.


Art In The Age Of Steam captures the excitement of the steam train in art from the earliest days, through the boom years of Victorian railways to the end of the line in the 1960s. The exhibition looks at how artists responded to the extraordinary impact that steam trains had on landscape and society, as aboard these great machines, passengers travelled at faster speeds than ever before, and notions of time and space were forever changed. It comprises around 100 paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and posters, from some of the world's greatest artists and photographers, covering the years 1830 to 1960. Highlights include: Manet's 'The Railway', Van Gogh's 'La Crau from Montmajour, with train', Pissarro's 'Lordship Lane Station', four paintings by Monet, including 'Gare Saint-Lazare', Honore Daumier's 'The Third-class Carriage', Gustav Caillebotte's 'Pont de l'Europe', Edward Hopper's 'Railroad Train' and 'Railroad Sunset', Giorgio de Chirico's 'The Anxious Journey', and photographs by Bill Brandt, Alfred Stieglitz and O Winston Link. British artists are represented by Turner's iconic 'Rain, Steam and Speed', 'The Travelling Companions' by Augustus Egg, showing two crinoline-clad girls in a luxurious railway compartment, while 'The Railway Station' by William Powell Frith, vividly captures the hustle and bustle of Paddington station, and James Tissot's 'Gentleman in a Railway Carriage' consults his watch and a timetable. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 10th August.

Skin+Bones: Parallel Practices In Fashion And Architecture is the first show in the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, a new exhibition space where the Hermitage Rooms used to be, which will focus on photography, design, fashion and architecture. Traditionally, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct, but in recent years however, the two disciplines have become closer than ever before. Frank Gehry's controversial design for tower blocks on the seafront at Hove in Sussex has even been described as looking like 'transvestites caught in a gale'. Taking the early 1980s as its starting point, this exhibition examines the many visual and conceptual ideas that unite the two disciplines. By examining designs by over 50 internationally renowned architects and designers, including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, through garments, maquettes, architectural models and photographs, the exhibition reveals how inspiration in both disciplines have come from the same sources. It also shows how they can borrow each other's techniques, as with Hussein Chalayan's Remote Control Dress, made from aircraft material with moveable flaps and structural lines like the design of an aeroplane, and Heatherwick Studio's Temple, which echoes the undulating, organic folds of a piece of cloth combined with a mille-feuille stepped texture on the outside. Embankment Galleries, Somerset House until 10th August.

Snapshots In Time: 150 Years Of Excellence celebrates the 150th anniversary of the opening of the present Royal Opera House in Covent Garden - the 3rd theatre on the site. A series of showcases and wall displays, located throughout the building, recall some of the great artists associated with the theatre, though costumes, paintings, caricatures and photographs. These include singers Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba, Adelina Patti, Rosa Ponselle and Eva Turner, and dancers Margot Fonteyn, Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolph Nureyev. However, the main focus of the exhibition is the theatre itself, reflecting the changes in the building, both front of house and back stage, during its life. It includes items of architectural salvage, such as pillars removed from the grand tier during the major redevelopment in 1997, together with architectural models of the redevelopment proposals, photographs of the Victorian stage machinery removed at that time, and pictures of members of the Royal College of Needlework embroidering the royal crest on the new red and gold stage curtains, together with the actual royal insignia from previous drapes. The exhibition also includes items not normally on public view, such as the chairs made for the Great Exhibition in 1851, donated by Queen Victoria for use in the Royal box. In addition, there is a documentary film charting the theatre's history, directed by Lynne Wake. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden until 4th August.