News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th October 2005


Self Portrait: Renaissance To Contemporary is the first large scale exhibition to bring artists' own images together across periods and places within the tradition of western painting, from 1433 to the present day. It explores the diversity of the image with which the artist is represented through painted self portraits by 56 of the world's greatest artists, from Jan van Eyck to Chuck Close. Works by artists renowned for their self portraits, such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Kahlo and Bacon, are included alongside less well known artists, such as Pieter van Laer, Johannes Gumpp and Hans Thoma. The international range of artists represented includes Carracci, Degas, Velazquez, Hogarth, Kauffmann, Corinth, Reynolds, Zoffany, Courbet, Nolan, Warhol, Hopper, and Freud. Focusing on the self portrait through oils, the exhibition traces continuity and change in the genre, and the particular importance of the medium of oil paint to its development. It is especially concerned with the ways in which portrait likenesses can express the creativity and inventiveness of the artist. By showing the different ways in which artists have chosen to paint their own image, the exhibition opens up questions of consciousness, process and identity. The exhibition includes seven early works from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where the collection of self-portraits begun by the Medici - now displayed in the 'Vasari corridor'- is the most important and famous group of self portraits in the world. National Portrait Gallery until 29th January.

Immortal Pharoah: The Tomb Of Thutmose III is an exact replica of the burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings of one of ancient Egypt's greatest pharaohs. Ruling during the Eighteenth Dynasty, from 1479 to 1426 BC, Thutmose III belongs to the country's most glorious era. The walls of the tomb contain a complete depiction of the Amduat (Book of the Dead) the oldest Egyptian book of the netherworld, which chronicles the pharaoh's journey through the afterlife. According to ancient beliefs, in order to gain eternal life everyone who dies has to successfully complete a 12 hour journey mirroring the journey of the sun god from dusk till dawn. Mummification and the leaving of treasures were ways of helping to protect the dead through this journey, to ensure that they secured eternal life and not eternal damnation. The Amduat was believed to contain the secret to eternal life, holding the crucial knowledge that was needed to help people pass a series of tests to see if they were worthy of immortality - helping them to use their wits and knowledge, including magic, to beat demons and serpents. Thutmose's tomb is the oldest discovered burial site featuring the entire book. It comprises 12 separate panels - one for every hour of the journey - filled with elegant line drawings in black and red showing the pharaoh moving through the underworld. An array of original exhibits and artefacts illustrates the themes of the Amduat, and the rituals surrounding burial, mummification and the belief in resurrection. City Art Centre, Edinburgh, until 8th January.

Robert Brownjohn celebrates the work of the graphic designer who created many of the most memorable images of the 1960s, from the titles for the James Bond films From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, through graphics for the Obsession exhibition at the Robert Fraser Gallery, to the Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed. Famed for his flamboyant lifestyle as well as his talent, Brownjohn studied under modernist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and made his name as an innovative typographer and image maker with award winning advertising campaigns in late 1950s New York. He moved to London in 1960, working first in advertising and then in films and commercials, where he had the iconic idea of projecting text onto the faces and bodies of dancers and models. Catching the experimental spirit of the time, Brownjohn's audacious choice of images brought the emerging graphic design industry and modernist visual theory into mainstream culture. Shocking though his work could be, it was always refined by formal rigour and ingenious combinations of typography, illustration and found materials. Sadly, Brownjohn's 'live fast die young' philosophy resulted in only a brief, though spectacular, career. With material from his personal archive, this exhibition explores his work and enduring legacy. Design Museum until 26th February.


The Science Of Aliens explores the possibility of life on other worlds, derived from the work of leading scientists, who used the latest discoveries and scientific principles to imagine alien worlds and creatures. The exhibition is divided into four zones: Alien Fiction reflects alien life as represented in films‚ television and literature, revealing how they are modern expressions of deeper themes that have fascinated generations through fairytales and myths, with exhibits of science fiction creatures including the Queen from the film Aliens, Vogons and the Clangers. Alien Science begins with an exploration of the evolution of life on Earth, including frightening specimens from Earth's deepest oceans, and how they help scientists understand the possibilities for alien life forms, before embarking on a journey around our solar system and into deep space in search of aliens. Alien Worlds imagines the kind of life that could evolve on two fictional‚ but scientifically credible worlds, where giant interactive landscapes enable visitors to interact with the creatures‚ learn more about them, and influence their behaviour‚ making them hide‚ hunt and move around their planets‚ before triggering world altering global events - the first time these cutting edge interactives have been seen in the UK. Alien Communications looks at the search for alien intelligence‚ showing how scientists are listening for signals from outer space, and how they have attempted to communicate with alien civilisations. The Science Museum until 26th February.

National Waterfront Museum is a new £30.8m museum designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre, which tells the story of the deep impact that the industrial revolution had on the people of Wales. It is a mix of old and new, incorporating a Grade II listed waterfront warehouse, and a glazed, central walkway, joining it to a new glass and slate building, comprised of four interlinked pavilions increasing in size from one end to the other. There are 15 themed galleries celebrating Wales's story of industry and innovation from the 18th century into the future. Over one hundred audio visual exhibits and 36 interactive displays, using the latest technology, complement some of the oldest surviving technological artefacts in Wales. Among the heavyweight exhibits from its industrial heritage are a 28-tonne rolling steel mill from the Llanwern works, one of very few surviving coal wagons, a brick press, a replica of the Pen-y-darren steam locomotive, a Cardiff built monoplane, and outdoors alongside the quay, the lightship Helwick.

Nelson In Wales is a temporary exhibition examining Nelson's Welsh connections - the copper plates that sheathed the hulls of the British fleet, making them faster than their opponents, were cast in Swansea, while the fleet's guns and cannonballs were cast at Cyfarthfa, then the largest ironworks in the world. It includes a large and detailed model of the flagship Victory, and Nelson memorabilia, which as well as telling the story of his life, considers Nelson's image as the hero of early 19th century Britain. National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, continuing.

Diane Arbus: Revelations is the largest retrospective ever assembled of work by the legendary New York photographer, whose work captured 1950s and 1960s America, and transformed the art of photography. The exhibition consists of nearly 200 of Arbus's most significant photographs, including many images that have never been exhibited publicly before. Among the iconic pictures are 'A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx', 'Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.', 'Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park' and 'A young man in curlers at home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C.'. The exhibition also reveals the artist's methodology and intellectual influences, through a presentation of contact sheets, cameras, letters, notebooks, and other writings, as well as books and ephemera from Arbus's personal library. She was born in New York City and was a photographer primarily of people she discovered in the metropolis and its environs. In her photographs, the self-conscious encounter between photographer and subject becomes a central drama of the picture. Her "contemporary anthropology" - portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities - stands as an allegory of post war America and an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theatre and reality. Alternatively, she created a 20th century version of a Victorian Freak Show. Victoria & Albert Museum until 15th January.

Araki: Self? Life? Death? is the first major exhibition to be held in London of work by Nobuyoshi Araki, arguably Japan's greatest living photographer, and certainly its most controversial. Araki's inexhaustible creative energy is clearly evident in the 300 books he has published over the last four decades, while his photographs, which often challenge social taboos surrounding sex and death, have drawn critical attention throughout the world. This exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of his prolific career, with over 4,000 images on show. Encompassing contemporary Japanese sub-culture, Araki's subjects range from poetic scenes of old Tokyo, to erotic images of kimono-clad women bound in rope, and shots of nudes with exotic flowers as props. The exhibition features many of Araki's most significant works, including images of Tokyo's Shitamachi children, 'Satchin and Mabo'; 'Sentimental Journey', an intimate collection of 'diary' photographs of his honeymoon; and 'Tokyo Nude', a group of large format photographs, displayed in pairs, contrasting languid nudes with desolate Tokyo streets. Many rare images, previously unpublished outside Japan, are presented, together with new works created specially for the show. The exhibition also features a display of books published by Araki, as well as sketchbooks, scrapbooks, Xerox photo albums and other working materials seen for the first time. Through his innovative approach to his medium - sometimes combining painting, drawing and film - Araki has become an influential figure in contemporary art, beyond the field of photography. Barbican Gallery until 22nd January.

The De La Warr Pavilion, the Modernist architectural icon on the seafront in Bexhill, celebrates its 70th anniversary by reopening on 15th October as a national centre for the contemporary arts, following an £8 million refurbishment and redevelopment programme. Commissioned by the 9th Earl De La Warr in 1935, and designed by German emigre architects Eric Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, the De La Warr Pavilion was Britain's first public building built in the Modernist style. Following the refurbishment by architects John McAslan+Partners, unsympathetic post Second World War alterations have been removed, and the spaces opened up to reveal their original splendour, with public access restored again to all parts of the building, after its long slow decline. It now comprises: foyer, shop, cafe and bar, restaurant, ground floor art gallery with seminar room, first floor gallery, open air ground floor and roof sun terraces - including Neil McLaughlin's new bandstand with a shell like canopy, a 1,000 seater auditorium, and a large studio performance space, all linked together by the magnificent sweeping curved chrome-steel stairway. Barber & Osgerby have designed a new range of furniture for the public areas in keeping with the modernist style. The refurbished De La Warr Pavilion will offer an extensive programme of performing and visual arts. Further information can be found on the DLWP web site via the link from the Heritage section of ExhibitionsNet. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, continuing.

Universal Experience: Art, Life, And The Tourist's Eye is an exhibition that explores the phenomenon of global tourism, through the work of 50 major contemporary artists from around the world. With nearly 700 million people travelling internationally each year, tourism has become the largest industry in the world. Installations and sculptures, large scale film projections and intimate photographs and videos, transport visitors on a journey to real and imagined spaces and places, backwards and forwards through recent history. These works reveal how tourism is not only transforming the world we inhabit, but also revolutionising the way we view and understand our surroundings, at home and abroad. Among those artists featured are Chris Burden, Maurizio Cattelan, Tacita Dean, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Gabriel Orozco, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Zhan Wang and Andy Warhol. Highlights include 'The Moment', a vast kaleidoscopic audio visual work by Doug Aitken, capturing the acute sense of disorientation experienced on waking in an unfamiliar place; Thomas Hirschhorn's 'Chalet Lost History', a labyrinthine low tech installation about the looting of Baghdad's archaeological museum, equating the exploitation of military conquest with tourism and pornography; and Darren Almond's video piece 'Ozwiecim' capturing 'holocaust tourists' as they arrive and depart in buses from Auschwitz. Hayward Gallery until 11th December.


The Cassell Silver is a display of eleven masterpieces of English silver from the 15th to 18th centuries, from the collection formed by Sir Ernest Cassel, including unique pieces of silver associated with some of England's most prominent families. Cassel was a German immigrant, who arrived in England in 1869 with, it is said, a bag of clothes and a violin. Within fifteen years, he had become one of the most successful financiers in Europe, married an Englishwoman, converted from Judaism to Catholicism, and become a friend and financial adviser to the Prince of Wales. Cassel built up a celebrated art collection, an important part of which was the early English silver. The highlights of the display are the Proctor ewer and basin, and the Bell Salt. The ewer and basin, hallmarked London 1592-3, are exceptional examples of Tudor plate with floral decoration within strapwork. The enamelled roundel on the basin depicts the arms of Richard Proctor, Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company, for whom they were made. Ewers and basins, used for washing hands at the table before forks were introduced, were the most prestigious type of table plate in Renaissance Europe, and formed the centrepiece of ornamental buffet displays. The salt, hallmarked London 1597-8, is shaped in the form of a bell, and has pale gilding and strapwork decoration. Salt was of high symbolic importance on medieval and Renaissance tables as the seating of people at the table in relation to the salt represented their social status. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford until 6th November.

Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics and low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for six miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket.

The Festival Of Light is an accompanying programme of events and contemporary light installations. These include a History Of The Illuminations exhibition, where visitors can get up close to working illuminations, and see original drawings and diagrams dating back to the 1930's; Michael Trainor's giant mirror ball installation 'They Shoot Horses Don't They?' spectacularly illuminated by Greg McLenahan, and 'A cow attempts to deceive a butcher by pretending to be a fairground attraction', a full size cow covered in 540 fairground lights that puts on an animated show; 'Bajra', a 135,000 bulb illuminated peacock from India, designed by Nandita Palchoudhuri; and Philip Oakley's 'The Magic Tree', a 40ft high tree with 72 constantly changing colour Pulsar Chromaspheres hanging like exotic fruit. Blackpool Promenade until 6th November.

Spirit Of Place: Landscapes In British Printmaking celebrates the landscape tradition in British printmaking over the last 100 years, including recent acquisitions on view for the first time. The works in the exhibition embrace a wide range styles and techniques, from realistic to surrealistic, and etchings to screenprints. Among the artists and works featured are Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs's 'Sellenger', whose plate he worked on over many years, re-etching the sky and burnishing areas of copper to achieve the perfect tonal balance; Keith Vaughan, whose lithographs combine abstract forms with elements taken directly from landscape as in 'Landscape 1949'; Paul Nash, whose 'Void of War', is part of his record of the scenes of death and destruction that he encountered on the plains of the Flanders; Joseph Webb, whose plates are based on mystical religious feelings and a sense of awe in the face of ancient buildings as in 'Rat Barn'; Graham Sutherland's 'The Garden', in which the imagery is more stylised and abstracted than in his early work, with the atmosphere more psychologically charged and disquieting; Paul Drury's 'Evening England', a subtle re-working of a previous wood engraving, with tiny 'points of light' created by allowing the paper to show through the hatched lines; and Peter Lanyon's 'Underground', an almost abstract work, suggesting dark cavities - perhaps mineshafts, caves or ancient burial grounds - lit by glimpses of sky. Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st November.