News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th June 2001


Vermeer And The Delft School presents the work of the artistic community which emerged in the Dutch town of Delft in the late 1640s. Although Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch are the best known, there were also many other painters, as well as tapestry-makers, silversmiths and faiencers - creators of blue and white Delftware porcelain. This exhibition features 13 paintings by Vermeer and 11 by De Hooch, plus 50 works by 26 other artists, including Gerard Houckgeest's church interiors, portraits by Michiel van Mierevelt, Paulus Potter's landscapes, Leonaert Bramer's interpretations of biblical stories, and the flower still lifes by Balthasar van der Ast. As it attracted over 550,000 visitors during its recent ten week appearance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this exhibition is expected to be the hottest ticket of the summer, and opening hours will be extended to 9pm at weekends. National Gallery until 16th September.

National Space Centre, the latest £52m lottery funded science venture, is Britain's only attraction dedicated to space science and astronomy, where the stories, personalities and technology of the past and present, are used to explain our current understanding of space, and how it will affect the future. There are five differently themed galleries housing space hardware, including rockets, satellites and capsules; a planetarium; a space research unit run in conjunction with Leicester University; and a learning centre, incorporating hundreds of interactive hands-on activities, and state of the art audio-visual technology. Designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners, the centre's main feature is a 41 metre high semi-transparent ribbed Rocket Tower clad with reflective 'pillows', that incorporates decks at various levels that allow close up views of the largest artefacts. These include a British Blue Streak rocket, an American Thor Able rocket, and a Russian Soyuz capsule. National Space Centre, Leicester continuing.

Portrait Award 2001 is the 21st year of the annual competition which is now recognised as an international showcase for young artists working in the field of portraiture. As always, its wide range of approach and media employed have produced a surprisingly varied and entertaining collection. From 661 entries, eight prizewinners have been chosen, with forty nine other artists also selected for exhibition. This year the first prize, which has been increased to £25000, has been won by Stuart Pearson Wright with 'The Six Presidents Of The British Academy'. All exhibited artists are eligible for consideration for the Travel Award, which offers artists the opportunity to work in a different environment. Last year's winner, Si Sapsford, journeyed to Salcombe and Reykjavik to study and depict the lives of lifeboat crews, and the resulting works are also included in this exhibition. National Portrait Gallery until 16th September.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around a thousand works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 10,000 submissions. This year's senior hanger, ancient terrible Peter Blake, has introduced some changes - Shock! Horror! Firstly, he has invited submissions from particular artists and celebrities. Secondly, he has divided works into categories of Royal Academicians, Honorary Academicians, Invited Artists and Submissions, and hung them in different rooms, thus separating professionals from amateurs. Thirdly, he has increased the non painting content by introducing photographs, and devoting a whole room each to sculpture and architectural designs. Among the celebrity works on view (whose presence would seem to have been earned by publicity value rather than artistic merit) are Paul McCartney's flying choc ices, Holly Johnson's Village People sailor, and Ronnie Wood's shaggy bison. Ubiquitous Brit Art stars Tracey Emin contributes a chair embroidered/appliqued with primary school messages, Gavin Turk, a black plastic sack of rubbish recreated in bronze, the Chapman Brothers (metamorphosed into the Chapwoman Sisters) a painting of kittens, and Rankin, a photograph of a waxwork of Kylie Minogue - all presumably considered too conservative for the Turner Prize. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th August.

Taking Positions: Figurative Sculpture And The Third Reich is an exhibition of bronze figures made in Germany between 1918 and 1948, considering the different ways in which sculptors reacted to working in the Third Reich. It focuses on those who chose to remain in Germany, including Arno Brecker and Gerhard Marcks, rather than those who went into exile. This show presents work both by sculptors who created the heroic neo-classical figures that became symbolic of National Socialism, and those who used the figure to articulate more open, even resistant attitudes. Some people feel they that this Nazi association is responsible for the decline of interest figurative sculpture. Perhaps this exhibition will permit a more objective assessment. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds until 26th August.

A Journey Through Landscapes brings together existing and specially created gardens, landscapes and architecture as part of the Japan 2001 Festival. Six contemporary Japanese designers have built town gardens that give traditional elements a modern feel. A microcosm of Japanese landscape has been created in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, with a terraced rice field, Zen rock garden and woodland habitat. The bamboo garden, originally created in 1891 and boasting 135 species, now has a new focal point with a timber framed thatched house, in which demonstrations and workshops are being held. The permanent Japanese gardens are crowned by the Chokushi-Mon Gateway, a four-fifths scale replica of the Karamon of Nishi Hongan-ji in Kyoto, the finest example of Japanese building in Europe, which was built in 1910 and has been recently restored. The three gardens, one of which includes a Haiku stone, give an impression of the different aspects of the Japanese landscape of the late 16th century when the original gateway was constructed. Over 100 coy carp kites form a trail leading to the Gateway. There are also exhibitions of 19th century lacquer ware, hand dyed and painted Yuzen Kimono and a changing collection of Bonsai trees. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew until 30th September.

100 Views of Mount Fugi examines the mythological status of Japan's highest mountain, which has inspired Japanese poets and painters throughout the centuries. Since ancient times it has been revered as a deity, from the medieval period it has been a goal of pilgrimage, and it still remains a unique symbol of Japanese cultural identity. The works on view, dating from the 17th century to the present day, include paintings, watercolours on hanging silk scrolls, ink drawings and woodblock prints. They reveal how artists have projected their own personal interpretation onto this eternal symbol. The exhibition features far more than 100 renditions of Fugi, ranging in size from a thumbnail to an entire wall. Hokusaki's cycle Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fugi alone contains almost 50; Minamoto Sadayoshi painted 31 on a horizontal scroll showing the rise and fall of vapours issuing from it; and Hiroshige's woodblock series Fifty-Three Stations Of The Tokaido Highway are like freeze frames from a film zooming in towards it. British Museum until 29th July.

Action Stations is a new attraction which has just opened in a Victorian boathouse at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, alongside the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. Features include The Navy Today, a multimedia exhibit showing the current deployment of Royal Naval Task Forces around the world; Horizons, revealing modern Navy life at sea; Command Approved, a large format film showing the Navy in action; The Team Works, interactive games testing Recognition, Co-ordination, Manoeuvres, Targets and Observations; Be The Navy, five interactive islands: Royal Marines, Helicopter Flight Deck, the Bridge, the Operations Room and Weapons which provide physical or electronic challenges; and courtesy of a simulator, the experience of a ride in a rigid raider boat, a Sea Harrier or a Lynx helicopter. Flagship Portsmouth continuing.

The Silk Purse Procedure explores works in which the original meaning or form of an object is lost through a process of transformation. Making reference to the proverb "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", international artists endeavour to show that such metaphorical changes are possible. Cornelia Parker has converted a coin into a strand of wire; Janine Antoni has examined the process of turning a cow into a hide into a leather bag; Dario Roberto has taken a baseball bat and whittled it down to a couple of toothpicks; Peter Harris has reworked paintings by Gavin Turk; and William Speakman has made food out of live fish. Arnolfini and Spike Island, Bristol until 8th July.


Creative Quarters: The Art World In London traces how artists have been drawn to particular districts of London at different times over the last 300 years. It also examines the nature of these creative quarters and the interaction of artists with other trades and industries. Starting with William Hogarth in Covent Garden in 1685, the eight locations include Willam Blake and Barbara Hepworth at different times in Hampstead, J M W Turner in Chelsea, and Francis Bacon in Soho, and arrive in the East End today. The exhibition locates a total of 132 artists in their time and place, and includes works by Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and James McNeill Whistler. These depict the artists themselves, and the studios and streets in which they worked, and are shown alongside rare contemporary objects. The Museum Of London website has an accompanying online exhibition. Museum Of London until 15th July.

Turner's Gallery, House and Library goes back to basics to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of J M W Turner, Britain's greatest painter. It has recreated Turner's own showcase with the collection of paintings which hung in a purpose-built gallery in his house in London. These are the works by which he wished to be remembered. It presents an impression of what contemporary visitors to Queen Anne Street would have seen, including a simulation of the 'Indian red, neither pale nor dark' that a friend recalled on the walls of the original gallery. Another section of the exhibition presents Turner's house, through which visitors passed on their way to the gallery. This contains his personal collection of pictures, drawings and prints which reflect his friendships and interests, and provided inspiration for his work. Books from Turner's fine library are also displayed many with dedications from their authors. Tate Britain until 15th July.

Luis Barragan: The Quiet Revolution is a major retrospective of the work of the Mexican architect who is an outstanding figure in the field of modern architecture, having had a significant influence in domestic, commercial and garden design. Barragan is best known for his dramatic emphasis on colour and geometric simplicity, and the use of water, light and scale in his work. despite the fact that he died over a decade ago, Barragan is a designer whose time has come, as his work bears a striking resemblance to the end products of the Home Front and Home Front In The Garden television series. Many of today's design preoccupations of 'bringing the outside in' (and inside out) result from his unique approach to domestic space. This exhibition looks at Barragan's most admired buildings, as well as some projects which were never executed. It charts the evolution of his vision of modern spaces for living and working through plans, sketches, photographs and models. Design Museum until 8th July.