News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th May 2011


Festival Of Britain 60th Anniversary celebrations are spread over the entire 21 acre Southbank site. The outdoor festival experience is divided into four distinct 'lands', which take their inspiration from some of the themes of the 1951 South Bank exhibition: People of Britain, Land of Britain, Sea and Ships and Power and Production. The artists, designers and curators involved in creating the lands include Ben Kelly, Michael Marriott, Colette Bailey and Clare Cumberlidge. Visitors can find out about the Festival in the Museum of 1951 in the Royal Festival Hall, featuring memorabilia, artworks, personal histories, models, memories and photographs, including the newly restored 'Patchwork of the Century', which showcased political and social achievements of women during the previous 100 years; John Piper's 'The Englishman's Home', the 50ft mural celebrating English architecture; 2 panels from Feliks Topolski's 'Cavalcade of the Commonwealth' mural; and Reg Butler's sculpture 'Birdcage', the only surviving artworks from the Festival. Outdoors, visitors can go on a seaside holiday by the river, where there is a 70m urban beach and 14 artist commissioned beach huts; relax at the bar/cafe in a new garden on the rooftop of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, created in partnership with the Eden Project; visit the British countryside and its wildlife, including a giant straw fox; enjoy traditional vintage funfair rides, including Austin cars and a helter skelter; cool off in Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms fountain; listen to live music on the bandstand in Southbank Centre Square; have their 4D image encapsulated in crystal, or a memento photograph taken on a Royal Ensign motorbike and sidecar; and eat and drink al fresco at weekly markets and pop-up structures across the site, including a retro fish and chip van, a popcorn tricycle, and the Bombay beach-inspired cafe Dishoom Chowpatty Beach. Southbank, London until 4th September.

Atkinson Grimshaw Painter Of Moonlight is the first major exhibition in over 30 years devoted to self-taught Victorian artist. The exhibition charts John Atkinson Grimshaw's career from his early Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 1860s, to the series of tiny, subtly toned oil paintings, produced at the end of his life, which captured the extraordinary light of sun, snow and mist on the beach - small symphonies in green and grey that link him with his friend and close contemporary, James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Grimshaw defied his strictly religious parents and left a good job with the railway to become an artist. He rapidly made a name for himself as a painter, first for Pre Raphaelite style landscapes, and then for his interpretation of the Victorian city and the new urban experience of its inhabitants, in nocturnal urban scenes, with distinctive leafless trees silhouetted against the moonlit sky. Grimshaw was not afraid to experiment, making theatrical fairy paintings and allegorical portraits of fashionable women, who could as easily have stepped out of a painting by the French artist Tissot. The exhibition brings together over 50 major works, including 'Silver Moonlight', 'In the Gloaming (A Yorkshire Home)', 'Blea Tarn, First Light', 'The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale', 'Autumn Glory: the Old Mill Cheshire', 'Leeds Bridge', 'October Gold', In Peril' and 'Sic Transit Gloria Mundi'. Also included in the show are Grimshaw's sketchbook and photograph album, which illuminate his research techniques, and newly discovered family photographs, which reveal his private life: his tenderness towards his children, his love of nature and his sense of fun. Mercer Gallery, Harrogate, until 4th September.

At Home in Japan - Beyond The Minimal House aims to question the widespread Western stereotype of the minimal Japanese house, characterised by large empty spaces devoid of people and things. The exhibition goes behind the doors of contemporary urban homes to find out how private domestic lives are actually lived in Japan today. It re-evaluates contemporary Japanese life through an ethnographic lens, re-examining a variety of aspects of the home, from decoration, display, furniture and the tatami mat, to eating, sleeping, 'gifting', cleaning, hygiene, and worship. The display recreates the layout of a standard urban apartment, with an entrance hall, a 'western style' room, tatami room, bathroom, and, finally, the LDK - living-dining-kitchen - area, the largest communal space inside the home. Each of the rooms is filled with a selection of the everyday possessions with which inhabitants might surround themselves. Through an active engagement with these day-to-day spaces and objects, visitors can not only experience a degree of what it feels like to be at home in contemporary Japan, but also to encounter another culture on an empathetic level, instead of gazing at and imagining its exotic nature from a distance. The exhibition is based on original ethnographic research by Dr Inge Daniels from Oxford University, carried out over a one year period inside 30 urban homes in the Kansai region (including Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka), and project specific photography by Susan Andrews from London Metropolitan University. Geffrye Museum, Hoxton, London, until 29th August.


Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It explores science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound. The exhibition traces the development of the genre from True History by Lucian of Samosata written in the 2nd century AD to the recent writings of Cory Doctorow and China Mieville, and shows and how visions of the future have evolved. It also examines how science fiction is distinct from other related genres such as fantasy and horror. Highlights include Thomas More's Utopia, which coined the word that became the name of the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in his book; Lucian's True History, depicting a group of adventurers setting out on a sea voyage, visiting a number of fantastical lands, who, lifted up by a giant waterspout, are deposited on the Moon; Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race, about a subterranean world occupied by advanced beings, the Vril-ya, who use a substance Vril as an energy source that makes them powerful and potentially dangerous to the Earth - together with an original advertisement for Bovril (which derived its name from 'Vril'); Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinius, an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, in an imaginary language, which is as yet undeciphered, describing both the natural world, dealing with flora, fauna and physics, and the various aspects of human life: clothing, history, cuisine, and architecture; and H G Wells's The War of the Worlds, one of the earliest stories that details a conflict between mankind and an alien race, which is also variously interpreted as a critique of evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and Victorian fears and prejudices. British Library until 25th September.

Peter Blake: Museum For Myself is the first exhibition following a refurbishment and extension that has seen the museum's 18th century classical building restored, and joined by a contemporary building with a ceramic and glass facade, designed by Eric Parry. This has doubled its space, allowing an improvement in all aspects of the museum's departments and services, including exhibitions, collection, library, teaching, cafe and shop. The exhibition combines many of the extraordinary objects from Peter Blake's personal collection with some of his important works, exploring the creative relationship that he has with this cabinet of curiosities. Blake's astonishing collections include Victorian collage and folk art, pop ephemera, works by his artist friends, showbiz autographs and marching troupes of toy elephants. They embrace such strange and wonderful things as General Tom Thumb's boots, Max Miller's shoes and Ian Dury's Rhythm Stick. Works by Blake from throughout his career include pioneering pieces such as 'Locker', with its collage of images of Brigitte Bardot; collages of found objects including the title work 'A Museum for Myself', an arrangement of some of his favourite things; and more recent works such as 'Elvis Shrine', and his series of 'Museums of Black and White'. Arranged around him in his West London studio Blake's collection offers a kaleidoscopic mirror of his mind and obsessions that have been reflected in his work for decades: stuffed animals in tableau from Mr Potter's Museum of Curiosities; Punch and Judy Puppets; the paraphernalia of the fairground; souvenirs of the wrestlers and pop-stars who feature in his art; and the waxwork of Sonny Liston, which features on the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album, Blake's most famous work. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 4th September.

Women War Artists explores the experiences and achievements of female war artists from the First World War to the present day. The exhibition examines the importance of women artists as eyewitnesses, participants, commentators and officially commissioned recorders of war, considering their experiences both in theatres of conflict and at home. The artists' experiences range from official commissions to secret observations and provocative interpretations of the world at war, capturing and interpreting key moments in history through art. Organised into three different themes, War Zone, Working Together, and Costs Of War, the exhibition shows the diversity of the artists' reactions to war and conflict. Personal reflections from some of the artists provide an insight into how war has shaped their lives. Among the highlights are 'A Shell Forge' by Anna Airy, one of the first women officially commissioned during the First World War; Priscilla Thornycroft's 'Runaway Horse in an Air Raid Alarm 1939', on public display for the first time; 'The Nuremberg Trial' and 'Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-ring' by Laura Knight, the first woman for 150 years to be elected to the Royal Academy; Doris Zinkeisen's 'Human Laundry, Belsen, April 1945', arguably the most powerful of all works that emerged from the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp; works by Linda Kitson, the first female artist officially commissioned to accompany troops in battle, in the Falklands conflict; and Frauke Eigen's photographs of the exhumation of mass graves in Kosovo. Imperial War Museum until 8th January.

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.

The Lives Of Great Photographers focuses on the pioneers behind the camera, exploring the extraordinary stories surrounding some of photography's most important innovators and artists. Without rivals Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, photography as it is known today would not exist. Julia Margaret Cameron, although primarily considered an artist, copyrighted her work and attempted to make a living by selling copies. Eadweard Muybridge pioneered chronophotography, whereby movement is captured by a sequence of photographic exposures. Olive Edis employed photography as the first serving war artist during the First World War. Edward Steichen's career was remarkable for its variety as he moved effortlessly from art, to fashion, to advertising. Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange were both driven by their social consciences to record the Great Depression in America. Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa pioneered photojournalism as founding members of the world's first photographic agency, Magnum. The exhibition also includes the less well know photographers Roger Fenton, Lady Clementina Hawarden, Alfred Stieglitz, Andre Kertesz, Weegee, Tony Ray-Jones, Fay Godwin and Larry Burrows. Each photographer is represented by their photographic portrait and a selection of their images. Alongside are the kinds of cameras they would have had to carry and use in the course of their work, and rarely seen material, such as pages from notebooks detailing what was going through their minds when they were thinking about how to get the pictures they wanted. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 4th September.

Bali: Dancing For The Gods explores the culture of Bali, and in particular the way moral values and a respect for the environment are passed from one generation to the next through the stories and dance of Balinese Hinduism. The exhibition reveals the inextricable links between the arts and Balinese social structure, with explanations of the life cycle, the ubiquity of temples and offerings and priests' place in society. It includes items from the archive of dance critic Beryl de Zoete, who was co-author, with choreographer Walter Spies, of the classic work Dance & Drama in Bali. Their visual exploration of the performing arts of Bali offers a unique insight into the life and religion of the Balinese people in the 1930s. Historic films and photographs provide the backdrop for a journey through the cultural heart of Bali, showing both change and continuity in the life of this jewel in the Indonesian ocean. Highlight objects include a full gamelan orchestra, lavishly decorated with gilded carvings of flora and fauna; temple paintings and wall hangings depicting legends of Balinese Hinduism, including epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other mythological scenes; and a spectacular life-sized funeral bull. Accompanying dance costumes, masks, puppets, sculptures and textiles show the religious context of performance in Bali. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 8th January.


Secret Egypt allows visitors to investigate the truth behind some of the most popular myths about ancient Egypt. The display brings together over 200 objects from some of the most important Egyptian collections in Britain, some of which have not been on public display before. Exhibits include a granite colossus statue of Ramases II from the British Museum, a rare sandstone head of Queen Nefertiti from the Ashmolean, crocodile mummies from Bolton Museum and a gold pendant from Manchester Museum, discovered by archaeologists in the hands of an ancient robber trapped in a collapsed tomb. The show examines the Egyptian belief system surrounding the protection and endurance of the physical body, the truths of how the pyramids were constructed, how the process of mummification was conducted, the logic of the design and decoration of the burial chambers, the thinking behind the inclusion of the funerary objects for use in the afterlife, and how the Egyptian civilisation came to an end. At the climax of the exhibition visitors are invited to explore a recreated tomb, to ponder why the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. The display includes an offering chapel and a mummy of a woman called Perenbast, an example of the care and respect given during the preparations for passing into the eternal life. Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 5th June.

Watteau: The Drawings is the first major retrospective of drawings by the influential 18th century French artist. Drawing lay at the heart of Jean-Antoine Watteau's creative process. He prized his drawings and kept them in bound volumes which enabled him to refer to them when composing his paintings, as they were an essential source of inspiration for figure poses. Although Watteau worked in red chalk throughout his career, represented here by 'The Shipwreck' and 'Interior of a Draper's Shop', he is best known for his 'trois crayons' technique, the subtle manipulation and expert balancing of red, black and white. This exhibition of some 80 drawings demonstrates the breadth of Watteau's oeuvre and his lightness of touch, including 'fetes galantes', the genre he invented, which depicted social gatherings of elegant people in parkland settings. Watteau made drawings of figures in poses that were charming, ambiguous and natural. The subjects depicted in his drawings varied enormously from the joyous spirit of fantasy as depicted in 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', to his theatrical works inspired by the commedia dell'arte, 'Two studies of Mezzetin and a Pierrot', to the highly exotic, portrayed in works such as 'Seated Persian Wearing a Turban', and to the itinerant, 'Standing Savoyard'. Watteau is renowned as a painter, and although he executed drawings initially for their own sake, he reproduced many of his drawn figures in his paintings. The figure of a 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', features in his oil on canvas 'The Shepherds'. Watteau's influence was profound, pre-empting the spirit of the French Rococo and foreshadowing the work of the Impressionists in execution and treatment of colour. His work both as a draughtsman and as a painter influenced subsequent generations of French artists, notably Francois Boucher and Jean-Honore Fragonard. Royal Academy of Arts until 5th June.

Esprit et Verite: Watteau And His Circle is actually two exhibitions in one, celebrating Watteau, the artist who changed the course of French painting by introducing a particular kind of eroticism, and Jean de Jullienne, his publisher, and one of France's most significant art collectors. The relationship between Watteau and Jean de Jullienne represents a key moment in the development of French 18th century painting and patronage. The exhibition combines a display of 10 of the most important Watteau paintings in the world, spanning almost his entire career, including 'A Lady at her Toilet', 'Les Champs Elysees', 'Les charmes de la vie', Voulez-vous triompher des belles' and 'Sous un habit de Mezzetin', with significant masterworks of the 17th and 18th centuries drawn from the collection of Jean de Jullienne, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Wouwermans, Netscher, Bourdon, Greuze, Rosa and Vernet. Jean de Jullienne is famous for his role as editor of and dealer in Watteau's work, but a unique illustrated inventory of his collection from 1756, on public display here for the first time, demonstrates the breadth of his tastes. The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London W1, until 5th June.