News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th September 2008


Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970 is the first exhibition to examine contemporary design, architecture, film and popular culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era. The decades after the Second World War saw an intense rivalry between the world's two superpowers: the Soviet Union and America. They engaged in aggressive contests to build their own spheres of influence, and vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays of modern living, signs of progress and images of future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a superior vision of modernity. The exhibition brings together over 300 exhibits from around the world, with highlights including: a Sputnik and an Apollo Mission space suit; vehicles such as a P70 Coupe car (predecessor of the plastic Trabant), a Messerschmidt KR200 micro-car and Vespa motor scooter; films that shaped popular imagination such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and Goldfinger, with designs by Ken Adam; furniture made from new materials such as Eero Aarnio's Globe Chair, and the Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy; futuristic fashion by Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin; imagined architecture schemes for cities and dwellings by Le Corbusier, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Archigram, including a reconstruction of 'Oasis No 7', an inflatable environment by Haus-Rucker-Co; and works by Pablo Picasso, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucio Fontana and Gerhard Richter, illustrating how artists responded to the dominant political and social ideas of the time. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.

David Shrigley consists of previously unseen animations and sculptures by the man who is best known for his intuitive drawings, typically dead-pan in their humour, most recently seen weekly in The Guardian. David Shrigley's cartoon like sketches are deliberately dysfunctional and deal with everyday doubts and fears of the human condition. Throughout his works a nonsensical and anarchic voice is ever present. With handwritten, unedited texts or assigned titles altering the perspective, the results range from poignant to absurd. Shrigley's work often asks questions about the nature of contemporary art and its audience. He satirises a mass consumption of art that lacks real meaning, while demonstrating the ease in which such trends can be exploited. With a dreamlike 'Alice in Wonderland' quality, Shrigley's sculpture plays with form, transforming and distorting everyday objects or playing with scale. Among the highlights are 'Cheers', a pair of grey fishing waders and Wellington boots filled with expanding foam; tents and sleeping bags with a life of their own, growing uncontrollably; 'Gravestone', a giant stone engraving, that looks at fears and attitudes towards mortality; and the black and white films 'Lightswitch' and 'Sleep'. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, until 9th November.

The Golden Generation: British Theatre 1945 - 1968 demonstrates the variety, dynamism, and vision of actors, directors and writers that flourished in British theatre between the end of the Second World War and the abolition of theatre censorship. It reflects the time of social transformation, during which writers began addressing contemporary life, by examining some of its key theatrical institutions. The exhibition is a treasure trove of theatrical manuscripts, letters, photographs and oral history recordings. Highlights include the only surviving scripts of the first two plays by John Osborne, The Devil Inside Him and Personal Enemy, and a handwritten draft of The Entertainer sent to Laurence Olivier, alongside 'disgusted' fan letters, complaining that Olivier should play such a role; an exchange of letters between Olivier and his wig maker, revealing his obsession with the accuracy of his stage make up; photographs of Michel St Denis's revolutionary drama training methods at the Old Vic theatre school; Harold Pinter's scrapbook in which he pasted reviews of his first play, noting that 'Mr Pinter may well make some impact as a dramatist'; a handwritten draft of Pinter's The Homecoming, accompanied by letters of encouragement from playwrights Noel Coward and Samuel Beckett; photographs showing how many playwrights developed their talent while acting in regional repertory theatres, including Peter Nichols, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, and Charles Wood; letters from the Lord Chamberlain reflecting a questioning of the rigid rules on how 'deviant' sexuality could be portrayed on stage; and the assumed lost script of Alan Ayckbourn's first play, Love After All, rediscovered last year. The British Library until 30th November.


Design Cities tells the story of contemporary design over the last 150 years through seven key cities at their creative height: London - The Great Exhibition 1851, Vienna - fin de siecle 1908, Dessau - Bauhaus 1928, Paris - Le Corbusier 1936, Los Angeles - Post War Confidence 1949, Milan - Pop Art And Innovation 1957, Tokyo - The Creative Explosion 1987 and London - Looking Forward To The Olympics 2008. The exhibition provides an opportunity to look at the masters of modern and contemporary design through their sketches, drawings, models and objects that they have designed and created. The exhibition features a full range of objects from textiles and fashion to industrial pieces, furniture and prints, and includes design classics, as well as work by a spectrum of designers that together evoke an impacting impression of their era. Key exhibits include work by William Morris, Christopher Dresser, Owen Jones, Josef Hoffman, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, William Wagenfeld, Le Corbusier, Jean Prouve, Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Cassandre, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Eliot Noyes, Saul Bass, Harry Beroia, Achille Castiglioni, Bob Noorda, Gio Ponti, Joe Columbo, Vico Magistretti, Ettore Sottsass, Mario Bellini, Sony Research, Yamaha research, Issey Miyake, Shiro Kuramata, Ron Arad, Jasper Morrison, Ross Lovegrove, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Barnbrook, Sam Hecht, David Chipperfield and Peter Savile. Design Museum, London until 4th January.

Ladybird Make And Do celebrates the art work of Ladybird children's books, centring on the Make And Do series, launched in the 1960s, which encouraged the creation of toys out of household detritus, predating the 'Blue Peter sticky backed plastic' experiences. Although Ladybird books were actually launched in 1915, it was after the Second World War that they found their iconic form. Thanks to a standardised 56 page format made from just one sheet of paper, Ladybird books were not expensive to produce, and for this reason, they kept the same price of half a crown, or two shillings and sixpence, for the next 29 years. The exhibition draws on material from the Ladybird archive, including 24 pieces of original artwork from Things To Make, Tricks And Magic, More Things To Make and Easy To Make Puppets, copies of first editions of the books, and finished examples of the toys for which they contained instructions. As well as providing a picture of childhood in the simpler times of the 1950s and 1960s, the clarity and strength of their material is reflected in their use in unexpected places. How It Works: The Motor Car was used as a reference book by the driving school division of Thames Valley Police; How It Works: The Computer was a recommended text of both universities and the Ministry of Defence; and Understanding Maps was used to train army recruits for the Falklands War. Havant Museum, East Street, Havant, Hampshire, until 1st November.

Soho Archives 1950s & 1960s documents the bohemian area of London's West End, a haven for creativity and criminality, scandal and sexuality, and a source of inspiration for photographers. The exhibition features images from three archives, capturing the vibrancy and exoticism of Soho in what many believe to have been its greatest days, as Britain emerged from the era of post Second World War austerity. Jean Straker founded the Visual Arts Club in Soho in 1951 'for artistes and photographers, amateur and professional, studying the female nude', and his works are remarkable for their lack of artifice, their sexuality and curiosity, and for reflecting the sexual predilections of the era. Magnum photographer David Hurn documented Soho's strippers, in the many peep shows and strip clubs, and with a sympathetic and insightful gaze, depicts these working women in their public and private spaces, both performing and at rest. The Daily Herald Archive shows how press photographers were drawn to Soho, as both a hub of criminality, and the backdrop for an explosion of youth culture. With images from scarred gangsters to the wedding of pop star and teen idol Tommy Steele, these photographs and the scandal they caused are icons of the 1950s and 1960s. The Photographer's Gallery, 5 & 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2 until 16th November.

Francis Bacon is a retrospective that brings together some 70 of the best and most important paintings from throughout the turbulent life of one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. The exhibition, marking Bacon's centenary, explores his philosophy that man is simply another animal in a godless world, subject to the same natural urges of violence, lust and fear that are physically evident in the body. Bacon is known for his idiosyncratic twisted images of people and animals, often splattered with paint, displaying raw emotion, considered to be some of the most powerful images in art. The human body is a recurring theme in his work, and the paintings are displayed just as they were when they were first made, together with many other paintings of animals and visceral landscapes. Highlights include the infamous 'Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X', 'Figure Study 1', 'Crucifixion', 'Study from the Human Body', and 'Study of George Dyer in a Mirror', together with celebrated triptychs such as 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion', 'In Memory of George Dyer' and 'Three Studies for a Crucifixion'. The exhibition also includes the first public display of items from the archive material found in Bacon's studio, which shed new light on his working methods, and the first full length painting of a pope, thought to have been destroyed, that was found rolled up and hidden. Tate Britain until 4th January.

Footlights: Capturing The Essence Of Performance examines how artists have captured the fleeting nature of theatrical performances over the centuries. This wide ranging exhibition offers a glimpse into the world of the performer, and reveals how the visual arts can record momentary events for posterity. As well as paintings, prints, posters, drawings and photographs made by artists depicting a wide variety of spectator orientated events (including some featuring the audience), the show also includes costume and scenery designs. Among the works included - all on paper - are Toulouse Lautrec's iconic Follies Bergere poster of Jane Avril, and print of actress Yves Gilbert in front of her audience; images of Berlin cabaret by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; Stefano della Bella's prints of 17th century street performers; Hogarth's 'Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn' and 'The Laughing Audience'; Antonia Reeve's photographs of Japanese actor Mikijiro Hira, in costume as Macbeth and Medea; and designs for the Russian theatre, such as the set of Coq d'Or by Natalya Goncharova, and costumes by Mikhail Larionov for Les Contes Russes. There is also a small related display of photographs focussing on Scottish stars of stage and screen. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 16th November.

Hotel is a record of photographer Steve Schofield's exploration of the way the British choose to spend their holiday and leisure time. In particular, he looks at how the choice of the themed experience allows people to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, for what is a momentary break from their weekly routines. By photographing the workers in these 'hyper real experiences' Schofield conveys the sense of waiting, not only for the arrival of the guests, but also for the delivery of the promise of an experience that in reality cannot truly be delivered. Schofield travelled to traditional working class resorts such as Blackpool, Southend on Sea and Brighton, visiting all kinds of hotels, from Elvis, Beatles and Pop Culture themed venues, where the past is recreated with a fake 'King', or a plasma screen pumping out black and white performances by the Fab Four, to a Victorian experience, where the workers are dressed in period costume, suggesting total subservience. His richly detailed photographs reveal a sub-cultural world beneath the mask of polite British society. Derby Art Gallery until 2nd November.


The Courtauld Cezannes features the Gallery's entire collection of works by Paul Cezanne, hailed as the finest in Britain, on show together the first time, revealing the development of his ideas. The seminal paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the major periods of Cezanne's long career include 'Montagne Sainte-Victoire', 'Card Players', 'Still Life with Plaster Cast', 'Lac d'Annecy', 'Man With a Pipe', 'L'Etang des Souers, Osny', 'The Turning Road', 'Apples, Bottle and Chairback', and 'Madame Cezanne Sewing'. In addition, there is a group of nine handwritten letters, previously unseen in public, sent to his protege Emile Bernard, in which Cezanne reflects upon the fundamental principles of his art, and offers the famous advice to "treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone". The exhibition also presents the findings of a research project on Cezanne's work, using the latest imaging technologies, which has provided fresh insights into his working methods and techniques, in particular his experimental use of colour and line.

French Prints From Manet To Picasso, is a complementary display of 15 French prints form the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including works by Manet, Gaughan, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Picasso.

Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, until 5th October.

Love explores how artists from the 16th century to the present day have represented the complexity and intensity of the most powerful of emotions. Encompassing divine and mortal love, chaste and unchaste love, family love and charity, the exhibition demonstrates how 30 artists, including Raphael, Cranach, Vermeer, Murillo, Goya, Guercino, Turner, Holman Hunt, Marc Chagall, Stanley Spencer and Garyson Perry, have described or responded to love in a variety of styles. Highlights include the juxtaposition of Tracey Emin's 'Those Who Suffer Love (I'm OK Now)' connecting the agony of the creative process and the intricacies of human relations, looking at tensions similar to those that surrounded Dante Gabriel Rossetti's iconic 'Astarte Syriaca', painted over 100 years earlier; the embrace of Mark Quinn's 'Kiss' questioning concepts of beauty and preconceptions about entitlement to affection; Joseph Wright of Derby's newlyweded couple the Coltmans, paintings by the Singh Twins contrasting the dissatisfaction of celebrity worship with the joy of love reciprocated; neighbourly love overcoming racial and religious prejudice in 'The Good Samaritan' by Jacopo Bassano, as a traveller tends to the wounds of a total stranger; and Lawrence Alma-Tadema's painting of two women whose friendship will be ruined by their love for the same man. National Gallery until 5th 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.