News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd November 2011


Building The Revolution: Soviet Art And Architecture 1915 - 1935 examines Russian avant-garde architecture made during a brief but intense period of construction that took place following the revolution. Fired by the Constructivist art that emerged in Russia from around 1915, architects transformed this radical artistic language into three dimensions, creating structures whose innovative style embodied the energy and optimism of the new Soviet Socialist state. The exhibition juxtaposes large scale photographs of extant buildings with relevant Constructivist drawings and paintings, and vintage photographs. The drive to forge a new Marxist - Socialist society in Russia gave scope to a dynamic synthesis between radical art and architecture. This was reflected in the engagement in architectural ideas and projects by artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by architects such as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers. European architects including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn were also drafted in to shape the new utopia. Their novel buildings - streamlined, flat-roofed, white-walled and with horizontal banded fenestration - appeared alien among the surrounding traditional low-built wooden structures and densely developed 19th century commercial and residential blocks. They left a distinctive mark not only on the two most prominent cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, but also on other urban centres such as Kiev, Ekaterinburg, Baku, Sochi and Nishni Novgorod. The photographer Richard Pare has documented these iconic buildings over the past two decades, providing an eloquent record of the often degraded condition into which the buildings have fallen. Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd January.

Edward Burra is the first major show for over 25 years of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the 20th century. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to reassess Edward Burra's extraordinary creativity and impressive legacy. Burra made modernist paintings in an eccentric style that had something in common with those of Stanley Spencer - but without the religious references. Sailors in dockside watering holes, Harlem strip joints, lorries and motorbikes were his kind of subjects. Burra's preferred medium was watercolour, but the results are not like the watercolours of other artists. His paintings are vital, crowded with detail, their urban men and women flattened and cartoonish in a gaudy palette, yet surprisingly, Burra remains something of a footnote in art history. This exhibition of over 70 works features some of Burra's best known images of everyday people at leisure in cafes, bars and nightclubs, and explores the influence on him of jazz music and cinema, as well as examples of his fascination with the macabre (including dancing skeletons) and dark sides of humanity, together with his later more lyrical depictions of the British landscape. In addition, the show also examines Burra's role as a designer for the stage, including ground-breaking sets and costumes for Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois, particularly a front cloth for Don Quixote. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 19th February.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Winter Cirque featuring a Wheel of Death a final Battle of Fire; Carter's Steam Fair traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 3rd January.


The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn To Sarah Siddons explores art and theatre in 18th century England through portraits of women. Starting with the emergence of the actress's profession in the late 17th century, the exhibition shows how women performers, in drama, as well as music and dance, were key figures within a spectacular celebrity culture. Fuelled by gossipy theatre and art reviews, satirical prints and the growing taste for biography, 18th century society engaged in heated debate about the moral and sexual decorum of women on stage, and revelled in the traditional association between actress and prostitute, or 'whores and divines'. The exhibition comprises 53 large paintings of actresses in their celebrated stage roles, intimate off stage portraits, and mass produced caricatures and prints, and explores how they contributed to the growing reputation and professional status of leading female performers. Actresses featured include Nell Gwyn, Kitty Clive, Hester Booth, Lavinia Fenton, Susannah Cibber, Peg Woffington, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson, Dorothy Jordan and Elizabeth Farren. They are seen in works by artists such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Hoppner, Thomas Lawrence, Johann Zoffany and James Gillray. Highlights include a little known version of Reynolds's famous portrait of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, Hogarth's 'The Beggar's Opera', Gainsborough's portraits of Giovanna Bacelli and Elizabeth Linley, and the 'Three Witches from Macbeth' (in the forms of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner. National Portrait Gallery until 8th January.

Alice In Wonderland is first exhibition to provide a comprehensive historical exploration of how Lewis Carroll's stories have influenced the visual arts. The exhibition provides an insight into the creation of the Alice novels, the adoption of the text as an inspiration for artists, and the revision of its key themes by artists up to the present day. The starting point is Carroll's original manuscript, with his own illustrations, and the famous illustrations by Sir John Tenniel in the first published edition. These indicate that images were an integral part of the story, creating a visual world which took on a life of its own. Works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais feature, alongside paintings by William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes, referenced in Carroll's diaries. The exhibition also includes Carroll's own photographs and photographic equipment, alongside Victorian Alice memorabilia, and documents from early stage adaptations. Surrealist artists from the 1930s onwards who were drawn towards Carroll's fantastical world are represented by Salvador Dalí's series of twelve Alice in Wonderland illustrations, and work by Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Dorothea Tanning. British Surrealists, dubbed 'the children of Alice', such as Paul Nash, Roland Penrose, Conroy Maddox and F E McWilliam. Work by Mel Bochner, Jan Dibbets, Dan Graham, Yayoi Kusama, Adrian Piper and Marcel Broodthaers highlight responses to the novel as it reached its centenary. Contemporary artists taking inspiration from the books, include the photography of Anna Gaskell, alongside pieces by A A Bronson, Joseph Grigely, Torsten Lauschmann, Jimmy Robert and Annelies Strba. Tate Liverpool until 29th January.

William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth looks at how the Victorian designer and writer told stories through pattern and poetry. William Morris, a leading member of one of Britain's first socialist parties, made textiles truly radical. It was the holistic experience of medieval crafts he strove for, railing against the grim production lines of his own era. The exhibition examines the tales that were most important to him, such as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Norse saga, Arthurian legend and Greek myth. Morris returned to the same stories throughout his artistic career, and his continued fascination is revealed by arranging the works according to the tale they tell rather than their medium. Thus, 5 rarely seen panels of the embroidered frieze 'The Romaunt of the Rose' can be seen together with editions of 'The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer', elaborately illustrated by Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and printed by Morris's private press. Both the frieze and Chaucer drew inspiration from the French medieval text the 'Roman de la Rose'. This is the first time that these panels have been seen since their recent conservation by The Royal School of Needlework. Among the other highlights are illustrations of Arthurian legends. These combine the work of both Burne-Jones and Morris, where romanticised women, with their long unravelled red hair and draped white robes stand in front of wistful backdrops, composed of Morris's iconic and infinite patterns of nature, including 'King Arthur and Sir Launcelot', from 'The Story of Tristram and Isoude' series of stained glass windows. This is the first public exhibition at Two Temple Place, one of London's hidden architectural gems, built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment. It is an extraordinary late neo-Gothic Victorian mansion, designed to 'personify literature in addition to being representative of art, craft and architecture'. Two Temple Place, London WC2, until 29th January.

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter At The Court Of Milan examines the extraordinary observation, imagination and technique of possibly the world's greatest artist. The exhibition concentrates on Leonardo da Vinci's career as a court painter in Milan during the 1480s and 1490s, and is the first to be dedicated to his aims and ambitions as a painter. It comprises some 60 paintings and drawings by Leonardo, as well as pictures by some of his closest collaborators, some never seen in Britain before. Nearly every surviving picture that Leonardo painted in Milan is in the display, including 'Portrait of a Musician', 'Saint Jerome', 'Madonna Litta', 'Belle Ferronniere', the two versions of 'Virgin of the Rocks' and 'The Lady with an Ermine'. These pictures show how Leonardo, benefiting from his salaried position, used his artistic freedom to find new ways of perceiving and recording the natural world, focusing especially on the human anatomy, soul and emotions. Leonardo's time in Milan was the making of him, both as an artist and as a public figure. It was where executed his two profoundly different versions of the mysterious 'Virgin of the Rocks'; as well as the wall-painting of 'The Last Supper', represented in the exhibition by a near contemporary, full scale copy by his pupil Giampietrino; and 'The Lady with an Ermine', acclaimed as the first truly modern portrait, as the sitter's nuanced expression conveys her inner life, mind, soul - and what we would now call psychology. More than 50 drawings relating to the paintings are exhibited for the first time, including all the surviving drawings that are connected to the 'Last Supper' and the 'Madonna Litta'. National Gallery until 15th February.

And Thereby Hangs A Tale looks into the mystery that surrounds the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Reasons why the event has an air of mystery include the fact that it was a man below the age of consent (18) marrying the older woman (24) who was already pregnant with his child, that there are crucial missing pages from church registers, and there were rumours of a jilted spinster said to be Shakespeare's true love. For the first time all the surviving evidence of Shakespeare's wedding have been brought together in one place. Arguments for and against the 5 churches laying claim to where the wedding took place (St Martin's Church, Worcester; Temple Grafton Church; All Saints' Chapel, Luddington; Holy Trinity, Stratford and All Saints' Church, Billesley) are presented, comprising historical records, church registers, documents, artefacts and stories from the time. These include the 'marriage bond', granting permission for 'William Shagspere and Anne Hathwey of Stratford in the Dioces of Worcester maiden' to marry, and the registration of the marriage licence, which has several mistakes in it, including the names: 'inter Willelmum Shaxpere et Annam Whateley De Temple Grafton'. An intriguing exhibition in the most picturesque of the surviving Shakespeare properties. Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shottery, Warwickshire, until 29th January.

Private Eye: The First 50 Years celebrates the half century of the legendary eccentric magazine. Private Eye has always distinguished itself from other titles by its unique combination of humorous cartoons and satire with hard-hitting journalism. This exhibition explores the wealth of artistic talent that the magazine has fostered, showing the original artwork for over 120 of Private Eye's finest and funniest cartoons. Since its beginning, 'The Eye' has published and promoted the work of more than 90 artists, many of whom started their careers at the magazine, including Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, William Rushton, Barry Fantoni, Michael Heath, John Kent, Ed McLachlan, Nick Newman and Grizelda. One group of drawings highlights the grotesque art of caricature, while another shows the artists' keen observation of social trends and lifestyles over the years. The popular cartoon strip series are also well represented, from Bill Tidy's rural 'Cloggies' and Tony Husband's 'Yobs' to Mike Barfield's eccentric 'Apparently'. There are Private Eye's trademark front covers, with one from every year the magazine has been published, constituting an idiosyncratic timeline for 5 decades of modern British history. Visually, Private Eye is renowned for its low-fi aesthetic. The display reveals how little its cut-and-paste production techniques have changed in over 50 years, despite the switch from cowgum to computers and letraset to the internet. The exhibition evokes the atmosphere of the magazine's Soho headquarters, with a recreation of the editor's office, the creative hub where every fortnight the jokewriting team convenes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th January.


Degas And The Ballet: Picturing Movement explores the French Impressionist's preoccupation with movement as an artist of the dance. The exhibition traces the development of Edgar Degas's ballet imagery throughout his career, from the documentary mode of the early 1870s to the sensuous expressiveness of his final years. It is the first to present Degas's progressive engagement with the figure in movement in the context of parallel advances in photography and early film. Degas was keenly aware of these technological developments and often directly involved with them. The exhibition comprises around 85 paintings, sculptures, pastels, drawings, prints and photographs by Degas, as well as photographs by his contemporaries and examples of early film. Highlights include the sculpture 'Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen', together with a group of preparatory drawings that together show the artist tracking around his subject like a camera, 'Dancer Posing for a Photograph', 'Dancer on Pointe', 'The Dance Lesson' and 'Dancers in a Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass'. The show explores the links between Degas's highly original way of viewing and recording the dance and the inventive experiments being made at the same time in photography by Jules-Etienne Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, and in film-making by pioneers such as the Lumiere brothers. By presenting Degas in this context, the exhibition demonstrates that he was far more than merely the creator of beautiful images of the ballet, but instead, a modern, radical artist who thought profoundly about visual problems and was fully attuned to the technological developments of his time. Royal Academy of Arts until 11th December.

Beatrix Potter: Botanical Illustrations explores the artistic 'second career' of the legendary children's author. Flower painting was a conventional subject for a girl of Beatrix Potter's class and time. From a young age she drew inspiration from books such as John E Sowerby's British Wild Flowers and Vere Foster's popular drawing manuals. Mostly, however, Potter shared the Pre-Raphaelites' passion for the 'meticulous copying of flowers and plants' from life. These drawings blend characteristics of botanical illustration, concerned with the accurate depiction and identification of plants, with those of flower painting, a genteel art celebrating the beauty of nature. Whether drawing for serious study or for enjoyment Potter combines scientific detachment with a keen sense of wonder and an expert appreciation of composition and design. Potter later remarked that the 'careful botanical studies of my youth' informed the 'reality' of her fantasy drawings. Precisely drawn flowers people her prettiest and best known books: geraniums in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit; carnations and fuchsias in The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny; water lilies in The Tale Of Mr. Jeremy Fisher; foxgloves in The Tale Of Jemima Puddle-duck, and an abundance of lilies, pansies, roses and snapdragons in The Tale Of Tom Kitten. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th December.

Only Connect is an unconventional display presenting a web of portraits connecting sitters across three centuries. Comprising paintings, sculpture, photographs, engravings, drawings, miniatures and works in other media, the display uses musical connections to explore new ways of looking at images of people from the past. It proposes a network of threads connecting singers, composers, artists, doctors, sculptors, poets, engineers, ambassadors and many others. As a result, everyone in the display is linked in one way or another. The connections range from the profound and the personal to the accidental and the incidental. Some were friends and some were lovers, several wrote about each other or had similar ideas, others were enemies or simply met on the street. For example, composer Benjamin Britten and violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin performed at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after liberation in 1945. Yehudi Menuhin gave ground-breaking performances of composer Michael Tippett's Corelli Fantasia. The sets and costumes for Tippett's opera Midsummer Marriage were designed by sculptor Barbara Hepworth. An alternative route is formed by writer George Bernard Shaw who corresponded with the pianist Harriet Cohen. She premiered Elgar's Piano Quintet and Elgar made his most famous recording of his Violin Concerto with the teenaged Yehudi Menuhin. Such links evoke an invisible layer of human interconnectedness - 'six degrees of separation'. National Portrait Gallery until 27th November.