News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th August 2010

Commencing

An Englishman In New York: Photographs By Jason Bell features a series of previously unseen portraits inspired by the 120,000 British men and women currently living in New York City. Jason Bell has lived between London and New York since 2003, and whilst shooting an assignment for American Vogue about anglophilia with English models in an English tearoom, he became interested in investigating the English people resident in the city. He went on to identify and photograph a cross-section of the leading British born figures living in New York, in locations appropriate to them. The 20 portraits on display include Thomas P Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; writer Zoe Heller, on her stoop in Tribeca; artist Cecily Brown in her Flat Iron studio; Nicola Perry in her Tea and Sympathy teashop; lingerie designer Jana Kennedy in her cramped apartment workroom; musician Sting in Central Park; director Stephen Daldry in front of the theatre where Billy Elliott is playing; journalist and television presenter Tom Brook in Times Square; actress Kate Winslet on her roof terrace; model Lily Donaldson in Tomkins Square Park; Simon Noonan, Barney's window dresser and television pundit in a window display; Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward sunbathing in Hudson River Park; Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett in his A Salt & Battery fish and chip shop; and historian Simon Schama at the Columbia University subway station; plus the less well known helicopter pilot, spray tanner, deep-sea diver, detective, plumber, cab driver and rat-catcher. National Portrait Gallery until 17th April.

Another World: Dali, Magritte, Miro And The Surrealists is a comprehensive survey of surrealist art, arguably the most important art movement of the 20th century. The show features works by international artists including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro, alongside their British counterparts such as Ronald Penrose, John Armstrong, Edward Wadsworth, Eileen Agar, and Ithell Colquhoun. Surrealism, meaning 'beyond realism', refers to the world of dreams, nightmares, the irrational and the strange. Presented chronologically, the exhibition is displayed in an unusual manner, with coloured walls densely hung, alongside display cases filled with books and manuscripts. Among the highlights are Man Ray's sculpture comprised entirely of wooden coat hangers; Marcel Duchamp's iconic 'Fountain'; Rene Magritte's 'Threatening Weather'; Yves Tanguy's 'Never Again'; Jackson Pollock's 'Birth'; and Eduardo Paolozzi's sculptures 'St Sebastian I' and 'His Majesty the Wheel'. These is also a substantial number of prints, sketches, photographs, archival material, periodicals, scrapbooks, letters and other publications, including several print portfolios that have never been shown before by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until 9th January.

The Language Of Line: John Flaxman's Illustrations To The Works Of Homer And Aeschylus marks the 200th anniversary of John Flaxman's appointment as the first Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy. Although recognised as one of the leading sculptors of his day, it was Flaxman's talent as a draughtsman that won him international acclaim. His dynamic yet understated outline illustrations to the works of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus and Dante were an immediate success when published as engravings and proved highly influential for generations of artists. This display features a selection of Flaxman's drawings for the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Tragedies of Aeschylus. The works reveal delicate modifications to the designs that offer insight into the Flaxman's creative process prior to the production of the engraved plates. His experimentations with pose and composition are resolved into an archetypal style of linear clarity in the engravings, highlighting the practice underpinning his ability to convey dramatic, emotive and even comic effect with a single line. Royal Academy until 29th October.

Life, Action And Sentiment: John Flaxman On The Art Of Modern Sculpture comprises many preparatory sketches Flaxman drew to work through his ideas on how to convey life, action and sentiment in three-dimensional form. Kept for reference at his studio, these informal, linear drawings are shown together for the first time. They reveal Flaxman's almost obsessive dedication to his cause, the creation of a modern school of sculpture. Strang Print Room, University College London, Gower Street WC1 until 17th December.

Continuing

Romantics features paintings, prints and photographs exploring the origins, inspirations and legacies of British Romantic art. The exhibition focuses in particular on works from the 19th century, by artists such as Henry Fuseli, John Linnell and Samuel Palmer, when the ideal of the artist as an enlightened and inspired genius brought with it an interest in the power of visions, exacerbated by a trend for gothic literature and art. This freedom brought artists the opportunity to experiment with imagery and subject matter to create pictures of astonishing emotional intensity. Among the highlights of over 170 key works are: 8 'lost' spectacular hand-coloured etchings by William Blake, annotated with lines of his poetry, re-discovered by accident in the 1970s; Fuseli's 'Titania and Bottom'; Joseph Wright of Derby's 'Sir Brooke Boothby' John Constable's 'Beaching a Boat, Brighton', 'Cloud Study' and 'Flatford Mill'; Richard Dadd's 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke'; Henry Wallis's 'Chatterton'; and late works by JMW Turner, characterised by the experimental use of colour and the depiction of light, which were heavily criticised at the time, such as 'Norham Castle, Sunrise', 'Study of Sky and Sea, Isle of Wight' and 'Sun Setting over a Lake'; plus works by Neo-Romantics of the mid 20th century, Graham Sutherland and Paul Nash, who looked back to British Romantic visionaries. Tate Britain until 31st December.

Industrial Revolutionaries: People Who Shaped The Modern World spans 150 years of industrial history, looking at the personalities that helped create the modern world, and then fought to redress the resulting problems of inequality through radical social reform and political activism. Delving in to the lives of key individuals, and the movements they created, this exhibition reveals their influence, political history and global impact through over 70 objects, including Joseph Wright of Derby's portrait of Richard Arkwright; a model of Horrockses Yard Works; a Tee-Total teapot; a newly conserved tram wagon; Preston Prison whipping horse; specially recorded versions of street ballads; and unseen archive footage by filmmakers Will Onda and Mitchell and Kenyon. The individuals featured are: Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the water-frame, entrepreneur and developer of the factory system; Charles Dickens, who visited Preston during the lock-out and strike of 1853, influencing his novel Hard Times; Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who wrote about these events, seeing them as a test case for proletarian revolution; Elizabeth Gaskell, who fictionalised weaver and orator George Cowell in her novel North and South; Joseph Livesey, champion of the poor and temperence campaigner; Henry Hunt, a radical MP and people's hero; Father Joseph 'Daddy' Dunn, who was instrumental in Preston being the first gas-lit town in Britain; Rev John Clay, chaplain and reformer in crime and public health; Annie Hill, child mill worker whose portrait was painted by artist Patti Mayor; and John and Samuel Horrocks, industrial innovators who developed the Yard Works and created Britain's largest cotton-manufacturing company. Harris Museum, Preston, until 6th November.

Mapping Portsmouth's Tudor Past brings together for the first time a group of hand-drawn maps that give a unique insight into Tudor Portsmouth and a view of the world 500 years ago. The exhibition includes two large-scale maps of Portsmouth, one dating from 1545 (the year the Mary Rose sank defending the country from French invasion), which is the earliest scale map of an English town and one of the earliest in Europe, and the other dating from 1552, which was probably made for the visit of Edward VI; two maps of the Solent from the collection of William Cecil, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State, which were made to review the defences of Portsmouth Harbour, and highlight both fortifications and potential invasion beaches; the Brouscon tidal atlas of 1540, displayed with a tidal calculator recovered from the Mary Rose, demonstrating a sophisticated Tudor understanding of the tidal currents and timings around the British Isles; a chart of Portsmouth Harbour originally dated as c1620 on the basis of the ship depictions drawn on it, but now believed to be earlier, possibly as early as the pre-Armada 1580s; the Agnese atlas of c1535, open at the pages showing the 'known world', including the east coasts of America and Europe/Africa, through to India; a portolan chart of 1579 showing Spain up to the British Isles; and a first edition Waghenaer sea atlas of 1586, reputed to have been used by the Admiralty Board during the Spanish Armada battles two years later. The maps say a great deal about the state of the nation's defences, and show an impressive sophistication, but they also have a beauty that makes them works of art as well as planning documents for war. Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, until 17th October.

Ray Harryhausen: Myth And Legends is a retrospective of the work of the man who put 'special' into 'special effects' in films before the computer age. Ray Harryhausen, who began his art after seeing the original 'King Kong' film in 1933 went on to develop a technique known as Dynamation, which is a process that allows animated models to be integrated with live action. Photographing his own handmade models one painstaking frame at a time, this pioneer of stop-motion animation created monsters and mythical creatures, which thrilled and inspired generations of film fans. It is not a huge show, since most of Harryhausen's titans and tyrannosaurs were only 18in high, (except for a larger-than-lifesize Medusa) but it includes the detailed and expressive dinosaurs from 'Valley of the Gwangi'; the crab carcass that he re-articulated with a metal skeleton for 'Mysterious Island'; and one of the battling skeletons created for the first of his three 'Sinbad' films. Where models have been lost they are represented by bronze sculptures, which, along with illustrations and storyboards, showcase Harryhausen's skill as an artist. Each display case for the smaller figures comes with a screen showing them in action, or featuring their creator talking about them. Sometimes the decayed state of the models tells its own story of what low-budget genre film-making was like. The latex skin of a tyrannosaur made for an unfinished film has rotted to reveal the sophisticated metal armature beneath; the giant octopus from 'It Came From Beneath the Sea' only ever had 6 legs for budgetary reasons, and is now just a glowering head as its limbs were recycled as dinosaur tails; and the model of Raquel Welch, complete with fur bikini, for 'One Million Years BC', has aged less well than the real thing. London Film Museum, Riverside Building, County Hall SE1, until June.

Volcano: Turner To Warhol is the first exhibition to explore the history of human perception of volcanoes, and the artistic outpourings that they have inspired over the past 500 years. Through paintings, photographs, prints, film, books and diaries, and from images made on the spot to the most fanciful imaginings, the show demonstrates the long held fascination of artists for these extraordinary natural phenomena. Works from all over the world trace a route through the sequence of a volcanic eruption - from calm to the first ominous rumblings, to cataclysmic explosion, panic and death, and finally back to dormancy and extinction. Among the highlights are paintings of Icelandic volcanoes never shown before in the Britain; David Allen's portrait of Sir William and Lady Hamilton in their Naples home overlooking the active volcano, shown alongside Hamilton's publication Campi Phlegraei (Fields of Fire), lavishly illustrated by Pierre Fabris, whose works reveal the shocking beauty of volcanoes, and revolutionised our way of seeing them; Hiroshige's cool and elegant images of Mount Fiji; Pierre-Jacques Volaire's 'Vesuvius Erupting at Night'; JMW Turner's 'Eruption of the Souffrier'; Joseph Wright's 'Vesuvius in Eruption'; Michael Sandle's series of drawings of the 1981 eruption of Mount St Helens in America; James P Graham's films of Stromboli, which explore both the destructive and creative nature of the island volcano; and Warhol's huge canvas 'Vesuvius'. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 31st October.

Steve McCurry - Retrospective features the work of the American photo-journalist who is responsible for some of the world's most famous photographs. Recognised internationally for his classic reportage, over the last 20 years Steve McCurry has worked for the National Geographic and other publications on numerous assignments, including along the Afghan border, in Baghdad, Beirut and the Sahel. Compelling, unforgettable and moving, McCurry's images are unique: un-stylized and unopposed snapshots of people that reveal the universality of human emotion. His coverage of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when he crossed the border disguised as a local with rolls of film sown into his clothes, won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad Showing Courage and Enterprise. There are over 80 images in this exhibition, featuring ordinary people in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Tibet, including the world renowned 'Afghan Girl'. The intensity of the subject's eyes and her compelling gaze made this one of contemporary photography's most celebrated and best known portraits. It came to represent the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and highlighted the refugee situation worldwide. McCurry is a master photographer, but what he truly excels at is his reading of colour and light. His pictures are famous as much for the extraordinary beauty of the colour and light they capture as for the subjects he covers. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 17th October.

Concluding

Rude Britannia: British Comic Art examines the role of humour in British visual culture, from the 1600s to the present day. Through a diversity of art forms, including painting, drawing, sculpture, the comic, film and photography, visual humour is explored in many dimensions. The exhibition is presented and interpreted by some of the country's best known cartoonists and comedy writers, including Steve Bell, Harry Hill, Gerald Scarfe, and the team at Viz Magazine. Drawing on material far beyond the traditional realm of visual satire, the display brings together art, installations and performances, with works by contemporary artists such as Angus Fairhurst contrasted with key historical pieces by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and George Cruikshank. Radio, film and new media play a part in the show, reflecting how technological developments have consistently reinvigorated the genre and engaged new audiences. The exhibition reveals the wide variety of ways in which Britain's thriving tradition of comic art has taken shape, and the links between comic practices of the past and present: Donald McGill's saucy seaside postcards are shown alongside works by Aubrey Beardsley and Sarah Lucas, in a section devoted to all things bawdy; Britain's love of the absurd and the visionary is represented by such diverse material as Edward Lear's illustrations, Spike Milligan's cartoons and David Shrigley's sculpture; and politics, social commentary and morality are each explored, from Hogarth's satires of Georgian society to Gerald Scarfe's caricatures of the Thatcher government. Tate Britain until 5th September.

The Deep plunges visitors into the abyss, 11,000 metres down in the ocean, revealing a weird and wonderful deep sea environment. Combining specially created imagery, real specimens - some on display for the first time - and life size interactive installations, the exhibition takes visitors on an immersive voyage to the planet's final frontier. With bizarre creatures that have adapted to their harsh world in unique ways, it reveals the extraordinary yet fragile biodiversity that exists in the deep oceans, and the work of scientists who are helping to preserve this important ecosystem. Highlights include: over 50 real deep sea creatures, preserved for scientific research; a sperm whale skeleton, together with the creatures that can live on a whale carcass for up to 50 years; a replica of a bathysphere steel ball used to go down to the depths by the first deep sea explorers in the 1930s, just 1.5m across, alongside a life size walk in model of a contemporary submersible; delicate glass models of sea creatures made in the late 1800s by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka; a Japanese spider crab, with a leg span of 4m; a 'mermaid' - actually created from a modified guitar fish; a giant squid and a sperm whale in simulated battle, suspended from the gallery ceiling; a viperfish, with fangs so big they cannot fit in its mouth and slide up the front of its face; and historic specimens and reports from the first major oceanography expedition, made by the Royal Navy ship HMS Challenger in 1872. Natural History Museum until 5th September.

Ernesto Neto: The Edges Of The World comprises a series of immersive installations. Best known for his sensuous sculptures, the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto creates site-specific installations with an abstract, biomorphic quality - evocative of skin and interior body systems - that investigate the way in which spatial alterations transform the relationships between people. Visitors experience a sequence of interlinked spaces that merge sculpture and architecture. They can wander through fabric installations, cushioned soft spaces, ascend stairs into artworks overhead, and following on from Neto's signature 'nave' works, venture barefoot through an all-encompassing nylon vessel. Outdoors, whether submerged in a sculptural pool, or balancing on an undulating path, visitors find themselves becoming active participants in the artworks.

The New Decor is an international survey of some 30 contemporary artists, who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture. By reconfiguring and reinventing the familiar objects of domestic life, these artists look beyond design and function to create provocative sculptures and installations. They are concerned with the evolution of interior and exterior environments, shedding light on their experiences, asking the viewer to consider their own relationship to the spaces they inhabit, and look again at objects they may take for granted. Artists represented include: Martin Boyce, Los Carpinteros, Jimmie Durham, Elmgreen & Dragset, Gelitin, Mona Hatoum, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Ernesto Neto, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, Rosemary Trockel, Tatiana Trouve and Franz West. In French the word decor refers to stage sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this exhibition explore an arena between practicality and imagination, theatre and everyday life.

Hayward Gallery until 5th September.