News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd August 2000


Paul Klee: The Bürgi Collection comprises over 140 oils, drawings, watercolours and prints from all stages of Klee's career. Rolf Burgi, a family friend, looked after his affairs when Klee fled from the Nazis to Switzerland in 1933, and preserved his work from confiscation by the state. This legacy remains the largest and most outstanding collection of Klee's work and is still in private hands. It has never before been exhibited as a whole and this is the only British showing. Klee was essentially a doodling draughtsman, whose definition of drawing was "taking a line for a walk", a comment which underlined the humour he brought to his work. A picture was finished when he "stopped looking at it, and it started looking back". Klee constantly experimented with different styles, subjects techniques and materials, often using oils, watercolours and graphite in the same picture. Painting on almost anything, including glass, wood, paper, hessian, newsprint, plaster and celluloid, he once even used the duster kept under his chin while playing the violin. Klee was a considerable influence on post-war art, especially in Britain where his theories were adopted by amongst others, Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 22nd October.

Friends Of Thomas The Tank Engine are to make a special appearance at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Kent's famous mainline in miniature. Sir Topham Hat (the Fat Controller) will be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly, Henry and Gordon will steam around showing all the other Really Useful Engines how to keep the trains on time, and Basil the Bug will look after the very Troublesome Trucks. Meanwhile Devious Diesels will be waiting for a steam engine to not quite make it, while Bulgy the Bus plots to take passengers away from the railway. First opened to traffic in July 1927 as the World's Smallest Public Railway, the RH&DR now covers a distance of over 13 miles from the Cinque Port of Hythe to the lighthouses and power station at Dungeness. For those who like their railways even smaller, the Toy and Model Museum at New Romney includes a OO gauge layout featuring computer controlled trains that depict expresses, freight trains and branch operations from all over Europe, and from different periods in time. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway 2nd and 3rd September.

Walking On Eggshells is a "Found Object" experience created and installed by Julian Walker, using 6004 items from the natural history collection of Wollaton Hall. The title piece is a mass of birds eggs which have been put together beneath a 15ft long glass walkway built into the gallery floor. A 30ft piece on the gallery's main wall is made up of shark's teeth, each of which is labelled with a Biblical character, set into a grid. Then there are the toy aeroplanes. As they used to say on Night Gallery: "Explain it we cannot, we only know that it has happened." The Yard Gallery, Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 0115 915 3920 until 22nd October.


Buckminster Fuller: Your Private Sky demonstrates the wide range of work produced by the American scientist, philosopher, designer, architect, artist, engineer, entrepreneur, mathematician and pedagogue. Richard Buckminster Fuller is best known for the invention of the geodesic dome - the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised. His lifelong goal was the development of what he called "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science" - the attempt to anticipate and solve humanity's major problems through the highest technology by providing "more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources." Fuller worked simultaneously on plans for houses, cars, boats, furniture, domes and television transmitters, all to be mass-produced using the simplest and most sustainable means possible. This exhibition provides the first opportunity in this country to assess the vast range of his creative output through models, drawings and artefacts from his personal archive. Design Museum until 15th October.

Men of the Clyde: Stanley Spencer's Vision At Port Glasgow is the result of a commission in 1940 from the War Artist's Advisory Committee to paint a series of works documenting the activities of Lithgow's shipbuilding yard. The English painter Stanley Spencer spent the next five years completing the task, and during that time painted a remarkable commemorative series of large pictures depicting the shipyard workers. The men in these monumental paintings are an extraordinary mixture of Stalinist "worker as hero" and renaissance "Paradise Lost" angel. For the first time the works are hung as Spencer intended, with the long narrow panels (some six yards in length) arraigned round a central altarpiece as in a medieval chapel. They are displayed alongside works from Spencer's later Resurrection series, his personal tribute to the people of Port Glasgow, which symbolise the rebirth and regeneration of Glasgow after the war. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 1st October.

The Wonders Of The Universe Star Show is designed to create a first hand experience of space travel using the first installation in Europe of Digistar II, a state-of-the-art projection system. As well as producing the conventional stars and planets of the night sky, which has been the London Planetarium's business since 1958, it uses computer graphics to bring virtual reality to a three-dimensional journey through space. Unlike mechanical projectors, which give only an Earth-based view of the heavens, Digistar II can simulate with complete accuracy a journey through galaxies to the edge of the known universe, or even recreate the Big Bang. The show starts on Mars in 2502 and includes close encounters with a Supernova (the death of a massive star) the exploration of a black hole and a close look at our sun. London Planetarium continuing.

Eat Drink And Be Merry: The British At Table 1600-200 at Kenwood House is the ultimate visitor experience, combining the current passion for food and drink with the ongoing interest in stately homes in one package. If a visit also includes a lakeside concert in the evening, then every sense can be nourished at one location. Replica banquets from different periods are laid out in five rooms, using the authentic furniture, table settings, silverware, glassware, china, ornaments and decorations. Meals featured include the Duke of Newcastle's 1698 Windsor Castle feast and Mrs Beeton's recommendations for an 1892 breakfast. In addition there are paintings and lithographs of many more gourmet occasions, from An English Family At Tea to Fatal Effects Of Gluttony. Kenwood House, London, 020 8348 1286 until 24th September.

Salvador Dalí's Optical Illusions focuses on the great Surrealist painter's life-long fascination with illusion, visual perception and distortion, comprising seventy of his most important paintings, drawings and sculptures. The exhibition explores how double or dissolving images relate to scientific thought and study, often transforming or reworking art from earlier periods. It examines the techniques Dalí developed in anamorphic perspective, pointillism and stereometry, and analyses his use of photography and hologram. Dalí's fascination with the dreams led to some of the twentieth century's most brilliant and disturbing visualisations of the unconscious. Organised by the Wadsworth Atheneum at Hartford, Connecticut, this is the only showing of the exhibition outside the USA. With Dali Universe continuing in London, it's true what they say, you wait ages for a Dali retrospective and two come along at the same time. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 1st October.

Rites of Passage is the second in the three part sequence of exhibitions being staged this year under the umbrella title The Times Of Our Lives, which examine human experience in relation to time, and events common to us all throughout our lives from birth to death. It focuses on the rituals of ordinary lives, with objects and images from around the world associated with everything from wedding cakes to funeral masks, dowry textiles to childbirth charms. Mixing art, archaeology and social history, it brings together diverse approaches to life changing moments from different times and cultures, including Nigerian dolls and an Egyptian mummy. A film by Inga Burrows featuring local people discussing the themes covered by the exhibition will be shown throughout the run. Wentworth Gallery, Manchester until 17th September.


warningSHOTS! is an attempt by the Royal Armouries beleaguered devolved museum in Leeds to make a name for itself and pack in a few people by giving the public what they want. It is leaving behind the dated stuff like swords and armour, becoming accessible and gaining street cred by concentrating on 21st century violence. (What next a relaunch with the slogan "Royal Armouries - we'll blow you away"?) This is the world premiere exhibition of a contemporary art collection built up since the relocation, which explores issues of individual and urban conflict and violence and their effects on modern society, as seen by contemporary artists in painting, photography and video. Containing powerful and disturbing imagery, the exhibition is pitched as "a warning shot to society to raise questions about reality, as well as the perception and portrayal of violence". Yeees. A more defensible move down market might have been to stage an exhibition featuring the arms and armour of Xena - Worrior Princess. Royal Armouries, Leeds until 3rd September.

The Art Of Star Wars explores the creative process that brought the film series to the screen. For the first time in the UK, over 250 original models, production paintings, concept drawings and costumes from the Lucasfilms archive at Skywalker Ranch show how the fantastic creatures and characters of the Star Wars universe were realised. Exhibits include concept drawings illustrating the development of the characters Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Queen Amidala's gowns, and a full size version of Anakin Skywalker's Podracer suspended as if in flight. An interactive area allows visitors to try on masks, hear how John Williams score and effects were created, and even operate a remote control animatronic creature. Barbican Centre Art Gallery until 3rd September.

Mechatronic Circus is an assembly of seventeen automata by Fernando Palma Rodriquez - machines which interact with the audience and with each other by means of radio control, infrared, light and sound sensors. It is as though the sculptures have come to life, as masked chattering sewing machines meet spinning stepladders. Palma Rodriquez's work bridges the gap between technology, art, storytelling and ecology with his "cast" enacting Mexican Nahua creation myths. As part of the Year Of The Artist, Palma Rodriquez worked onsite in the gallery to create these unique pieces, using recycled computers and other machines, together with both natural and man made materials. Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno until 2nd September.