News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th August 2011


This is Design examines the impact of design on the modern world, whilst also exploring the consequences of design, and how it shapes daily life. The museum's collection contains pieces ranging from early items of mass manufacture through to cutting edge contemporary design, and includes furniture, fashion, transport, products, ceramics and graphics. By using themes such as Identity, Manufacturing Innovations, the Digital Revolution and Lifecycle, the exhibition looks at how design provides a visual language to help use the objects around us. Prototypes, drawings, couture samples, models, first editions and finished industrial objects are included in the display, demonstrating the design process and subsequent influence of design on the contemporary culture. The exhibition also explores 'quiet' design, revealing how design surrounds us, and how, whether accidental or subtle, design plays a role in shaping the way we live, and enables us to understand the world. Highlights include the Anglepoise lamp, UK road signs, UK traffic lights, the Moulton bicycle displayed alongside an original Mini, large scale architectural models, including Norman Foster's HSBC Bank headquarters in Hong Kong, couture garments and street furniture. The exhibition also looks at the changing role of collecting design and future developments of the museum's collection, as it prepares to move to a new home at the former Commonwealth Institute. The new museum will provide dedicated gallery space to display the collection and celebrate the importance of design through a permanent display. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1, until 22nd January.

Durer's Fame examines the work of the 16th century German artist and his enduring influence, spanning 5 centuries. Albrecht Durer excelled as a painter and draughtsman, but it was his skill as a printmaker that spread his fame across Europe. The printmaking process allowed for multiple copies of Durer's work to be produced that could easily be sold and distributed. This accessibility, combined with his technical brilliance and highly individual style, made him a much admired and imitated artist. The exhibition showcases a selection of Durer's prints together with contemporary and later copies of his work. These objects are augmented by a selection of illicit imitations and surprising tributes, including a 21st century tattoo. Highlights include Durer's iconic 'Melancholy', 'Saint Jerome in his Study', 'Knight, Death and the Devil', 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' from 'The Apocalypse: Revelation of Saint John the Divine', 'Christ taking leave of his Mother' and 'Adam and Eve', alongside works by Italian and Netherlandish artists such as Marcantonio Raimondi's 'The Circumcision of Christ' from 'The Life of the Virgin', and Johan Wierix's 'Melencolia', Scottish artist John Runciman's 'Christ taking leave of his Mother', and a poster of German handball star Pascal Hens sporting a tattoo based on Durer's 'Study of Praying Hands'. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 11th October.

Mass Photography: Blackpool Through The Camera features photographs of the seaside resort from the early 20th century to today. The exhibition encourages the viewer to make their own way through the Blackpool experience, comparing and juxtaposing the way that different photographers have looked at people having fun. Over 100 images combine the work of some of Britain's greatest documentary photographers with amateurs who have lived or invested much holiday time in the resort. The starting point of the exhibition is the work that Humphrey Spender and Julian Trevelyan produced in 1937/1938 as part of the Mass Observation project, initiated to study the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain as an 'anthropology of ourselves'. Spender and Trevelyan's affinity to British surrealism lets them appreciate Blackpool's efforts towards the exotic in images where dolls appear larger than people and advertisement copy reads as poetry. Yet their subject matter of gambling machines, the overcrowded beach, signs on hotels and ventriloquists are also to be found in the images of many other photographers who have come to Blackpool. By showing the variations of such recurring subjects, the display traces changing trends in photographic expression. The exhibition also includes a new video installation created by Nina Konnemann based on material from yearly updated souvenir films of the Blackpool Illuminations that evoke the special sense of time of the cyclical holiday seasons. Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, until 5th November.


Art For The Nation: Sir Charles Eastlake At The National Gallery examines the development of the Gallery's collection and the work of its director. The exhibition, comprising some of Sir Charles Eastlake's major purchases of Italian Renaissance art, together little known items from the Gallery's archive and library, reveals the extent to which he laboured behind the scenes. Prior to being appointed Director of the National Gallery in 1855, in his capacities as Keeper and then a Trustee, Eastlake had become acutely aware of the Gallery's shortcomings. Using his executive powers, Eastlake set about developing coherent policies on acquisition and display at the Gallery, spending at least 6 weeks of each year abroad in search of paintings for the nation. During these excursions, Eastlake acquired an astonishing 139 masterpieces, the majority being Italian paintings dated to the late 15th and early 16th centuries, including Uccello's 'Battle of San Romano', Giovanni Bellini's 'Madonna of the Meadow' and Catena's 'Saint Jerome in his Study'. Eastlake developed 3 principal methods to secure his attributions of paintings: comparative analysis of a comprehensive range of art works documented in his notebooks; use of archival and secondary source material; and, most pioneering, first hand and proto-scientific analysis of the materials and methods used to create paintings. The display includes 1 of Eastlake's 36 very detailed travel notebooks, with jottings about Pisanello's 'Virgin and Child with Saints'. Having acquired the paintings Eastlake gave great thought to how they should be shown, and his desire to display pictures in well-lit and sympathetically decorated rooms, and to arrange them in appropriate frames and in historical sequence, still influences the arrangement of paintings in the Gallery's permanent collection today. National Gallery until 30th October.

National Museum of Scotland has reopened after a 3 year £47.4m redevelopment and restoration programme of the Victorian Royal Museum. Access is now through a new street level glass entrance hall, housing 1 of 2 new restaurants, 1 of 2 new shops and other public facilities. New glass lifts, escalators and staircases make moving around the building far easier for visitors. The original interior of the building has been comprehensively restored, revealing the wonderful architecture of one of the finest Victorian public buildings in Britain. There is now 50% more public space, with 16 new galleries, featuring over 8,000 objects, 80% of which will be on display for the first time; the reinstated Grand Gallery (inspired by the Crystal Palace) with a new installation: The Window On The World, featuring over 850 objects, rising over 4 floors, showcasing the diversity of the collection; a spacious gallery for international touring exhibitions; 2 discovery galleries for children and families; and a new 3 storey learning centre. Visitors can now experience the world under one roof, through a dramatic range of treasures, revealing the wonders of nature, the diversity of cultures across the world, and the excitement of science and discovery. The Museum's rich collections also illuminate the story of Scotland's place in the world and the impact of Scots on it. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, continuing.

Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera brings together the iconic paintings of the two central figures of Mexican Modernism for the first time in this country. Few artists have captured the public's imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera. The myths that surrounded them in their lifetime arose not only from their significant body of work, but also from their active participation in the life of their time, their friendships (and conflicts) with leading figures, their striking physical appearance and spirited natures. The exhibition includes key images by Kahlo such as 'Self Portrait with Monkeys', and 'Self Portrait as a Tehuana or Diego in My Thoughts', and the major work by Rivera, 'Calla Lily Vendors'. The paintings are supplemented by a display of the rarely seen photographs by Kahlo's father Guillermo Kahlo, depicting churches and cloisters around Mexico City and Tepotzlan, alongside views from the Palace in Chapultepec Park. Their inclusion allows the work of Kahlo to be placed alongside and put into context with the two most important men in her life. The exhibition also includes photographs by another key artistic couple who offer a significant glimpse of Mexico's cultural history, the photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Lola Alvarez Bravo. Manuel photographed the Mexican Muralists, and his cinematic images of Mexico speak of the mystery of everyday life and contemporary political and social problems. Lola, a close friend of Frida Kahlo, worked in a number of photographic genres such as nudes, still life, landscape, photomontage and portraits. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 2nd October.

Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern is a retrospective of Britain's leading product designer, who, in a career spanning over 50 years, has designed some of the most iconic and familiar products and appliances in daily use. Kenneth Grange's prolific output has played a significant role in making Britain modern, as reflected in this exhibition of over 150 products, prototypes and sketches, as well as audio, photography and film. During the 1960s and 1970s Grange designed a considerable number of domestic products. The Kenwood Chef was a revelation in home baking and became a standard aesthetic for food mixers. Each of his designs supported new materials and advances in technology, in razors for Wilkinson Sword, cigarette lighters for Ronson, irons for Morphy Richards and pens for Parker. This was a time when Britain led the way with its strong manufacturing base and renewed vigour for design, a time when Britain to embraced the future. In 1968 Grange designed the iconic exterior and interior layout for the High Speed Intercity 125 train for British Rail. Its distinctive and futuristic aerodynamic cone nose caught the mood of the time and set the standard for high-speed train design still referenced today. During a long association with Kodak, Grange developed the Instamatic camera in 1968, followed by the Pocket Instamatic in 1972, the start of a new generation of portable, inexpensive cameras. In 1972 Grange, together with Alan Fletcher, Theo Crosby, Colin Forbes and Mervyn Kurlansky established Pentagram, a world renowned multi-disciplinary design consultancy. In the 1990s, Grange produced distinctive designs that have become part of the landscape, from the re-design of the London black cab, the Taxi TX1, to the Adshel bus shelters, continuing his work in street design that started with Britain's first parking meter for Venner in 1958. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1, until 30th October.

Constable And Salisbury brings together well known pictures and outstanding lesser known works of the Salisbury area by the quintessential British painter. Although probably best known for his views of the rivers and vales of Suffolk, John Constable made more paintings and drawings in and around Salisbury than of any other area, apart from the Stour Valley, where he grew up. This exhibition comprises some 45 pencil drawings and sketches in oil and watercolour, as well as 10 finished oil paintings and watercolours. The highlight of the display is the 'six-footer' view of 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows', one of several studies of the building. In addition to Salisbury itself, subjects include Stonehenge, the coast at Weymouth, the Dorset village of Gillingham, Downton in the New Forest and Milford Bridge. The mighty edifice of Salisbury Cathedral and the abandoned fort at Old Sarum drew from Constable expressions of feeling different from the rivers and fields of East Anglia, and yet the light and the skies, shown in a group of cloud studies over the Salisbury water meadows, remain as constant, or indeed as constantly changing, as ever. The exhibition emphasises the immediacy of many of Constable's works, and his often modern approach to the handling of paint, and demonstrates that he was a more adaptable artist than even he was prepared to admit. Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury, until 25th September.

Doctor Who In Comics 1964 - 2011 features The Doctor in all his incarnations, together with both his companions and his deadliest foes. Doctor Who is the longest running character in comics based on a television programme. This exhibition reflects how the character has evolved over 47 years, as embodied by the 12 actors who have brought him to life (including Peter Cushing in the films). Although intimately connected to the television programme, the comics have taken The Doctor on imaginative and far flung adventures way beyond the budget and capabilities of even today's special effects. Over the years he has been drawn by many great comic artists, including Frank Bellamy, Martin Geraghty, Dave Gibbons, Dave Lloyd, John Ridgeway and Lee Sullivan, all of whom are among the 28 represented in this exhibition. It is not generally known that The Doctor actually first appeared in TV Comic on 14th November 1963 - the week before his television debut - and has appeared in comics every year since then. Between 1989 and 2005, when the programme was off the air (apart from the 1996 film) comics were the only place where The Doctor's adventures continued. The exhibition includes not only copies of all the comic titles in which The Doctor has appeared, from both Britain and America, but original artwork from many stories, an exhibit showing how the story evolves from script to finished page, the original illustrations that inspired the moving statues television episode 'Blink', and artwork for the only story ever written by a 'Doctor', Colin Baker. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London, until 30th October.


The Vorticists: Manifesto For A Modern World explores the avant-garde British art movement of the early 20th century. Led by painter Wyndham Lewis and named by American poet Ezra Pound, the Vorticist artists reacted against the culture of Edwardian England with a radical new aesthetic that embraced the maelstrom of the modern world. The exhibition celebrates the force and vitality of Vorticism by bringing together over 100 works, including paintings, sculptures and rarely seen photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn, claimed as the first ever abstract photographs. It goes beyond a purely British interpretation of Vorticism, highlighting the movement's connections with the American avant-garde in New York. Amidst dramatic social and political change, and rapidly developing technology, these artists observed the world around them as if from a vortex, the still centre of a chaotic modernity. With self-proclaimed leader Wyndham Lewis, Vorticism included sculptors Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Jacob Epstein, and painters William Roberts, Frederick Etchells and Edward Wadsworth, together with the less well known Jessica Dismorr, Dorothy Shakespear and Helen Saunders. The exhibition also includes the work of associated artists such as David Bomberg and C R W Nevinson. Among the highlights are Jacob Epstein's iconic sculpture 'Rock Drill'; the zig-zagging forms of David Bomberg's 'The Mud Bath'; Wyndham Lewis's 'The Crowd'; and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's monumental 'Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound'. The exhibition also highlights the literary presentations of the Vorticists' ideas, with the group's ground breaking journal 'BLAST No.1: Review of the Great English Vortex' and 'BLAST War Number: Review of the Great English Vortex', showing its powerful design, and literary contributions by T S Eliot, T E Hulme and Ford Madox Ford. Tate Britain until 4th September.

Age Of The Dinosaur is a new immersive experience taking visitors on a journey back 65 million years to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Visitors walk through a swamp-like Jurassic lagoon and Cretaceous desert, catching sight of weird, wonderful and now extinct animals and plants among the smells and sounds of this prehistoric land. Life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, including a Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor, and Tarbosaurus emerge from the rocks, water and trees, accompanied by jaw-dropping images and film footage. Along the way, visitors can investigate precious fossils, handle specimen replicas and examine evidence to find out what the world looked like when dinosaurs walked on earth. Highlights include a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico that measures 81cm by 74cm and dates back 67 to 65 million years; an animatronic Archaeopteryx lithographica, the creature that proves the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, with its bird-like features, but also sharp meat eating teeth; CGI video projection of a Liopleurodon, a large predatory marine pliosaur, which was as long as a double-decker bus, snatching and devouring its prey; and a giant animatronic Tarbasaurus bataar, a relation of Tyrannosaurus rex that inhabited Asia about 70 million years ago, which ate other dinosaurs. Natural History Museum until 4th September.

London Street Photography showcases candid images of everyday life in the streets of the capital. From sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs taken on bulky tripod-mounted cameras to 21st century Londoners digitally 'caught on film', over 200 images explore how street photography has evolved from 1860 to the present day. The exhibition also examines the relationship between photographers, London's streets and the people who live on them, and reflects on the place of photography on London's streets today as anti-terrorism and privacy laws grow ever tighter. The show brings together the works of 59 photographers including: Valentine Blanchard, who experimented with a small-format stereoscopic camera in 1860s London to produce the first photographs of busy city streets in which everything in motion was arrested in sharp definition; Paul Martin, who pioneered candid street photography in the early 1890s, when he began using a camera disguised as a parcel to photograph people unawares; Horace Nicholls, an early independent press photographer whose photographs of well-to-do Edwardians at leisure are particularly revealing; Henry Grant, a freelance photojournalist who photographed London's changing streets from the 1950s to the 1980s; Roger Mayne, who sought to record a way of life as he photographed a rundown area of North Kensington before it was redeveloped in the 1960s; and Paul Trevor, whose photographs of Brick Lane in the East End from the early 1970s are a unique record of the area before large-scale immigration and gentrification wrought their changes. Museum of London until 4th September.