News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th September 2012


Bronze celebrates the historical, geographical and stylistic range of art's most enduring medium. The exhibition brings together outstanding works from the earliest times to the present in a thematic arrangement, with works spanning over 5,000 years, including Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, and rare survivals from the Medieval period. It features over 150 of the finest bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe, and includes important discoveries from the Mediterranean, as well as archaeological excavations, many of which have not been seen in Britain before. Different sections focus on the Human Figure, Animals, Groups, Objects, Reliefs, Gods, Heads and Busts. Among the earliest works in the exhibition are the 14th century BC bronze and gold 'Chariot of the Sun'; a Chinese 'Elephant-shaped vessel', from the Shang Dynasty; and the masterpiece of Etruscan art, the 'Chimera of Arezzo'. The Renaissance is represented Ghiberti's 'St Stephen'; Rustici's monumental ensemble of 'St John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee'; Cellini's modello for 'Perseus'; and works of Donatello; and later, De Vries's relief of 'Vulcan's Forge'; together with works by Giambologna, De Vries and others. Rodin's 'The Age of Bronze'; Matisse's series of four 'Back Reliefs'; Brancusi's 'Danaide', Picasso's 'Baboon and Young'; and works by Moore, Bourgeois and Koons are representative of the best from the 19th century to today. Due to its inherent toughness and resistance, bronze's uses over the centuries have been remarkably varied. A section of the exhibition is devoted to the complex processes involved in making bronzes, exploring how models are made, cast and finished by a variety of different techniques. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th December.

Daring Explorers reveals some of the situations that Victorian species seekers had to deal with, risking their lives in remote places, collecting animals and plants in the name of science. Surviving rhino attacks, typhoid and shipwrecks, these men, and a few women, left an important legacy, and their stories are told through hair-raising letters to loved ones, 'holiday snaps' and the specimens and equipment that made it back to England, even if sometimes the collectors didn't. The exhibition focuses on four fearless collectors, and compares their daring and skills: Charles M Harris, whose first expedition attempt to the Galapagos in 1897 was a disaster - the ship's captain died of yellow fever, one man was sacked for drunkenness and another ran away; William Doherty, who lost several years' worth of collections, journals and scientific notes in Java, Indonesia; Henry Palmer, who ran out of cash and could not send his specimens back or even leave Hawaii until more money arrived; and Alexander F R Wollaston, who lost most of his equipment and his original expedition diary when his canoe capsized in a remote area of New Guinea in 1912. But it's not just the collector's stories that still captivate. Many of the specimens that made it home continue to be used in scientific research, revealing fascinating information to scientists today. Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, until 18th November.

Art Of Change: New Directions From China is the first major exhibition in Britain to focus solely on contemporary installation and performance art from China. It brings together works by some of the country's most innovative artists and artist groups from the 1980s to today: Chen Zhen, Yingmei Duan, Gu Dexin, MadeIn Company, Liang Shaoji, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu , Wang Jianwei and Xu Zhen. Comprising 40 works, the exhibition features significant early examples of the artists' work, alongside recent pieces and new commissions. Change, and the acceptance that everything is subject to change, is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy. The exhibition features works that deal with transformation, instability and impermanence, looking at how these themes are conveyed through action or materials. Highlights include: Chen Zhen's 'Purification Room', where everyday items such as a bed, chair, refrigerator and TV are collected together and covered in a layer of mud, which dries, cracks and changes its colour in a sort of archaeology of the future; Liang Shaoji's 'Nature Series', choreographing the activities of silkworms and exploring all the phases of their lives from birth to death, causing them to weave their silk webs around sculptural objects such as hanging chains and tiny, individually-made beds; and Xu Zhen's 'In the Blink of an Eye', which presents a human floating freely in the gallery space (how he achieves this remains a mystery). Hayward Gallery until 9th December.


Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde explores the revolutionary ideas about art and society of Britain's first modern art movement. Combining rebellion and revivalism, scientific precision and imaginative grandeur, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood shook the art world of mid 19th century Britain. This exhibition offers a rare chance to see around 180 works, including famous and less familiar Pre-Raphaelite paintings as well as sculpture, photography and the applied arts. Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelites rebelled against the art establishment of their day. Their unflinchingly radical style, inspired by the purity of early Renaissance painting, defied convention, provoked critics and entranced audiences. This exhibition traces developments from their formation in 1848 through to their late Symbolist creations of the 1890s. It shows that whether their subjects were taken from modern life or literature, the New Testament or classical mythology, the Pre-Raphaelites were committed to the idea of art's potential to change society. In pieces such as Madox Brown's 'The Last of England' they served this aim by representing topical social issues and challenging prevailing attitudes. Other artworks, including Edward Burne-Jones's 'King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid', took a different approach, embracing beauty and ornamentation as a resistance to an increasingly industrialised society. Highlights include Millais 'Ophelia', Holman Hunt's 'The Scapegoat', and 'The Lady of Shalott'; Rossetti's 'Found; and Burne-Jones's Perseus series. The paintings are juxtaposed with works in other media including textiles, stained glass and furniture, showing the influence of Pre-Raphaelitism in the early development of the Arts and Crafts movement and the socialist ideas of the poet, designer and theorist, William Morris. Tate Britain until 13th January.

Miro: Sculptor is the first major British exhibition of sculpture by the 20th century Spanish artist. While celebrated for his paintings, Joan Miro strove to 'destroy painting' through an art form that transcended the two-dimensional plane, and was an early pioneer of construction - a radical approach to making that transformed the discipline of sculpture. Miro produced around 400 sculptures and a similar number of ceramic works, the majority concentrated within the later part of his career. He viewed sculpture as equally important to his work as painting although it was generally less known and critically examined. From his initial exploration of collage and assembled sculpture around 1930, sculpture became increasingly central, most notably from the 1960s to his death in 1983. This exhibition ranges from early small, smooth-finished bronze sculptures such as 'Oiseau Solaire', through to the raw bronze constructions of found objects (including mannequins, dolls, rustic vessels, discarded cans) made consistently from the 1960s onwards, and highly-coloured, painted bronzes of the 1960s and 70s. Miro's anthropomorphic sculpture reveals his surrealist impulse as each work is invested with character. By casting everyday objects in bronze Miro demonstrated his insistence that his work must engage with something real and recognisable. Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, Miro's work increased significantly in scale and the exhibition provides the rare chance to experience a significant collection of his large-scale outdoor works, usually seen only at his foundation and estate in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. In addition to the sculptures themselves, the process of Miro's work is examined through artefacts, drawings, models and photographs. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, until 6th January.

Addressing The Need: The Graphic Design Of The Eames Office features the work of America's iconic 20th century design couple. Charles and Ray Eames were world famous for their pioneering furniture, still in production today, but less well known is their graphic design work. Ray was trained as a painter and Charles as an architect. Together, they were designers who embraced a way of living where a design process both rigorous and playful was at the core of all they did. During their 40 year partnership, the Eames's spent the best part of their life designing exhibitions, making films and designing toys, which they considered a very serious pursuit. This exhibition examines their graphic contribution in all its forms, from exhibitions, advertisements, brochures, pamphlets, posters and timelines, presented in conjunction with some of their best-known furniture, films and toys. It features graphic material never exhibited before, much of it very rare, serving to examine the rigorous thought processes of two designers working together to unite the structure and creativity of art and architecture and, ultimately, addressing the need in each of their projects. Experimenting with the possibilities of technology preoccupied Charles and Ray Eames. This is exemplified in their seminal film 'Powers of 10' which explores the relative size of everything in the universe. The Eames Office produced 125 films in 28 years, using filmmaking as a tool for problem-solving, and finding it an ideal medium to clearly express complex and abstract ideas. The exhibition is housed in the 1940s extension to the Grade I listed Pitzhanger Manor House, designed by the architect John Soane in 1800 as a weekend retreat and place of entertainment for his family. PM Gallery & House, Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London W5, until 3rd November.

Alan Turing And Life's Enigma looks at the code breaker and computer pioneer's later work in the field of biology. From 1948 until his death in 1954, at a time when people knew very little about genetics or DNA, Alan Turing used an early Ferranti Mark 1 computer to study a subject known as morphogenesis. He was trying to crack how a soup of cells and chemicals could transform itself and grow into complex natural shape. In an article published in 1952, 'The chemical basis of morphogenesis', where he proposed a reaction-diffusion model of spatial pattern formation, Turing suggested that everything from the spots and stripes on animals to the arrangement of pine cones and flowers could be explained by the interactions between two chemicals. He was one of the first people to propose a formal model that could explain the self-organisation phenomena present in a wide variety of biological systems, and he did so with an impressive clarity of thought. This exhibition includes Turing's own notes together with slides, drawings, diagrams and other objects and materials involved in his research. The Manchester Museum until 18th November.

Cecil Beaton: Theatre Of War is the first exhibition of the little known war work by the society, fashion and portrait photographer. Commissioned by the Ministry of Information, Cecil Beaton took some 7,000 photographs between 1940 and the end of the Second World War. These rarely seen images show Beaton adopting new methods to create a body of work that he later considered to be his most important. From powerful, humanised portraits to abstract ruins, Beaton captured the war in a manner unlike any other photographer. He travelled extensively throughout Britain, the Middle East, India, Burma and China, photographing leaders and ordinary people, military and civilian life, industry and agriculture, artists and architecture. Beaton's photographs from the Far East, depicting deeply traditional communities on the brink of lasting change, are ranked among the best of his career. As well as photographs, the exhibition presents a selection of objects, memorabilia and film works, showing how war formed a turning point in Beaton's life and career. Highlights include clips from wartime films for which Beaton designed costumes, including Dangerous Moonlight, Kipps, The Young Mr Pitt and Major Barbara; a costume designed for a Royal Opera House production of Turandot; costume accessories worn by Margot Fonteyn; a scarf signed by John Gielgud and the cast of Lady Windermere's Fan; his Academy awards; vintage magazines, documents and cameras; and his original wartime diaries. Imperial War Museum, London until 1st January.

Mind The Map: Inspiring Art, Design And Cartography explores the themes of journeys, identity and publicity. The Underground, London Transport and Transport for London, have produced outstanding maps and posters for over 100 years. These have not only shaped the city, but have inspired the world. The exhibition charts the tube map's evolution alongside art inspired by tube maps, older decorative maps, and vintage advertisements, and presents some interesting examples of the interaction between technical design and art. It includes previously unseen historic material by artists such as Harold McCready, Frederick Charles Herrick, MacDonald Gill, Reginald Percy Gossop, Ernest Michael Dinkel and Lewitt-Him, together with new artworks by artists including Simon Patterson, Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell, Jeremy Wood, Claire Brewster, and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre. The display explores geographical, diagrammatic, decorative and digital transport maps, as well as the enduring influence of Harry Beck's iconic 1931 London Tube map on cartography, posters, design, art and the public imagination. One of the most interesting pieces on display is a 1928 tube map by Richard Park, which overlays a section of the tube network on top of a 1745 map of London by John Rocque, tracing modern London over much older streets. Looking in particular at the relationship between identity and place, the exhibition examines the impact maps have had on our understanding of London, and how they influence the way we navigate and engage with our surroundings. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, until 28th October.


In The Blink Of An Eye: Media And Movement explores our fascination with movement and the desire to record it through photography, film, television and new media. The exhibition reveals how artists, photographers, inventors and scientists have responded to the challenges of capturing and simulating movement, and examines the relationships between art, science, entertainment, sport and historical record. The show offers a unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about how movement has been captured and displayed - from Victorian optical toys like the zoetrope, phenakisoscope and praxinoscope, through the emerging technology of photography, when it became possible to record and analyse the movement of people and animals, to a current state of the art CGI motion-capture suite, plus specially commissioned works by contemporary artists. Classic images by photographers as diverse Harold Edgerton, Eadweard Muybridge, Roger Fenton, Richard Billingham and Oscar Rejlander can be seen alongside historic items of equipment, films and interactive displays. The exhibition also examines how high-speed, time-lapse and time-slice photography have revealed a world invisible to the naked eye. For the newly commissioned pieces, artists Quayola and Memo Akten have made 'Forms', an interactive video installation inspired by Eadweard Muybridge's seminal studies of movement; Bob Levene and Anne-Marie Culhane have created 'Time Frame', an artwork filmed at the UK Olympic training centre in Loughborough; and Jo Lawrence has made 'Barnet Fair', an animation inspired by the theme of the exhibition. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 14th October.

John Piper - The Gyselynck Collection features works in a variety of media by one of Britain's most influential modernist artists. The exhibition comprises the collection of over 30 John Piper works acquired by collector Michael Gyselynk, and is the first time the works have been displayed together in public. It provides a unique opportunity to view work spanning Piper's entire career across his different mediums, and represents many aspects of his artistic output, including abstract landscape compositions, topographical and figurative paintings, collage and ceramics. During his career Piper developed a unique style, fusing fluidity of line with elemental forms and perfectly balanced use of colour to communicate the spirit of a place, the feel of a body or the essence of a landscape. Among the highlights are 'Composition', one of a few pure abstracts by Piper painted during a period when he was experimenting with abstraction; 'Reclining Nude', a painted ceramic dish produced by Fulham Pottery, one of eight beach girl designs where the figure has been formed using the minimum of line made from a piece of finely rolled clay laid on a roughly shaped platter; and 'Autumn Flowers', a large and vibrant example of Piper's expressive work from towards the end of his life, when he could no longer travel far and often painted the flowers from his garden. River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 8th October.

The Nazi Games: Politics, The Media And The Body is a timely reminder of how governments have used Olympic Games for propaganda purposes, examining the most successful - and infamous - example. The 1936 Olympic Games left a deep impression on history, including astounding innovations, from the athletes' village and torch relay, which were adopted permanently by the Olympic organisation, to live broadcasts of events, from slow-motion replays of athletes to overwhelming displays of political power. The Nazis exploited the mass media to create images of the body that pushed its message of racial purity and superiority. Drawing on an extensive collection of propaganda, including pamphlets, photographs and illustrated books, the exhibition exposes the astonishing skill of the Nazis as manipulators of public opinion, while also highlighting the stories of people who resisted Nazi views of the ideal sporting body. Among the exhibits are dramatic stills by Leni Riefenstahl; an American pamphlet called 'Preserve the Olympic Ideal', which made the case against American participation; and a range of bona fide souvenirs designed to cash in on the Games, often incorporating Nazi imagery. There is also an exhibit about a German refugee doctor at Stoke Mandeville hospital who set up a sporting contest that eventually became the Paralympics. The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1, until 3rd October.