News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th November 2013

Commencing

Pop Art Design is the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the exchange of ideas between artists and designers in the Pop Art age after the Second World War. Brash, colourful and playful, Pop Art was a movement that signalled a radical change of direction in America and Britain. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s Pop was characterised by an intense dialogue between the fields of design and art. It shaped a new sense of cultural identity, with a focus on celebrity, mass production and the expanding industries of advertising, television, radio and print media. Radically departing from all that had gone before, artists delighted in adopting the design language of advertising, television and commerce to create work that was playful but often also intentionally irreverent and provocative, and in turn, designers routinely looked to Pop Art as a constant source of inspiration. Bringing together more than 200 works by over 70 artists and designers, the exhibition includes iconic and lesser known works by such artists as Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol, shown alongside objects by Achille Castiglioni, Charles and Ray Eames, Peter Murdoch, George Nelson and Ettore Sottsass. Highlights include Robert Rauschenberg's proto-pop painting 'Tideline'; Studio 65's 'Leonardo' sofa; James Rosenquist's 'I Love You with My Ford'; Judy Chicago's spray-painted 'Car Hood'; the monumental floor lamp 'Moloch' by Gaetano Pesce; Joe Tilson's 'Page 1, Penelope'; Gunnar Aagaard Andersen's 'Portrait of my Mother's Chesterfield Chair'; 'The Bishop of Kuban' by Eduardo Paolozzi; and Richard Hamilton's 'The Gold Guggenheim'. The show also presents a wealth of graphic material from posters and magazines to album sleeves, as well as film, photography and documentation of Pop interiors and architecture. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 9th February.

High Spirits: The Comic Art Of Thomas Rowlandson examines life at the turn of the 19th century through the work of one of the leading caricaturists of Georgian England. The absurdities of fashion, the perils of love, political machinations and royal intrigue were the daily subject matter of Thomas Rowlandson. Satirical prints, the precursor of the newspaper cartoon, were a key part of life in Georgian England, and Rowlandson was working at a time when English satirical prints were prized by collectors across Europe. A number of the works in the exhibition were purchased by George, Prince of Wales, later Prince Regent and King George IV. Ironically the Prince was often the butt of caricaturists' jokes and sometimes tried to prevent the publication of images that he felt were particularly offensive. The exhibition features over 90 of Rowlandson's drawings and prints, offering a new perspective on an era perhaps best known through the novels of Jane Austen. Collected by fashionable society, they were also enjoyed by the crowds that gathered in front of the latest productions in print shop windows to gossip about and laugh at the scandals of the day. Favourite themes were drunken gatherings, runaway coaches, rowdy theatregoers, impoverished artists and 'loose' women. Caricatures were passed around at dinner parties and in coffee houses, pasted into albums and used to decorate walls in homes and coffee houses. They were even applied to decorative screens, which could easily be folded away so not to offend female guests with the often bawdy imagery. An example, decorated with hundreds of figures and scenes painstakingly cut from Rowlandson's satirical prints, is on public display for the first time in this exhibition. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 2nd March.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, returns as the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice and snow sculpture experience; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 150 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; 32 cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Cirque Berserk featuring a Globe of Death; a double decker carousel and other traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Star Flyer, Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 5th January.

Continuing

Georgians Revealed: Life, Style And The Making Of Modern Britain reveals the people of Georgian Britain as they really were, through the objects that tell the stories of their lives. The exhibition covers the period 1714 to 1830, during which British society was transformed, the population trebled, and London became a modern city. Scores of ideas, objects, institutions and customs that we now take for granted took root in Georgian Britain. Taking tea, reading magazines, gardening and shopping for leisure were commonplace, and conspicuous consumption became the pastime of the emerging middle classes. Popular culture as we know it began, and with it the unstoppable rise of fashion and celebrity. At assemblies and masquerades, in theatres and fashionable shops, the different classes rubbed shoulders, and it was all recorded in illustrated books, newspapers, handbills and prints, plus the first fashion plates and shopping catalogues. Art galleries, museums and charities were founded, such as Royal Academy, the British Museum, and the Royal Institution, as were retail emporia, such as Fortnum & Mason and the Burlington Arcade.. During this time of incredible innovation, ideas were endlessly debated in the new coffee houses and spread via the new medium of mass print. The exhibition features some 200 exhibits, including not only a rich and rare collection of illustrated books, newspapers, maps and advertisements, but artworks, engravings, cartoons and artefacts, to evoke this era of irrevocable change, and to tell the stories of notorious and scandalous characters whose escapades would not be out of place in the celebrity magazines of today. The British Library until 11th March.

Louise Bourgeois: I Give Everything Away celebrates the work of one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. In a career spanning seven decades, from the 1940s until her death in 2010, she produced some of contemporary art's most enduring images, making sculptures, installations, writings and drawings which, in mining her own psyche, have entered the collective unconscious. Bourgeois's work is personal yet universal, rooted in the details of her own life, but reaching out to touch the lives of others. This exhibition of work on paper presents some of her most intimate work, both drawing and writing. It begins with a labyrinthine presentation of 'Insomnia Drawings', a suite of 220 drawings and writings made between November 1994 and June 1995 specifically to combat the insomnia which she once described as regulating her life. Created in the suspended state between sleeping and waking, they contain all the major themes of Bourgeois's work and reveal the close link between drawing and writing that is such a key part of her practice. Other highlights include two suites of large-scale works 'When Did This Happen?' and 'I Give Everything Away,' both a mix of writing, drawing and printmaking that are haunted and haunting. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until 23rd February.

Louise Bourgeois: A Woman Without Secrets is a complementary exhibition comprised of later works. These include 'Poids', 'Couple I', 'Cell XIV (Portrait)', 'Eyes', the cycle of 16 monumental drawings 'A L'Infini', together with Bourgeois's final vitrine, 'Untitled'. It confirms how Bourgeois, working in a variety of materials and scales, explores the mystery and beauty of human emotions. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 18th May.

An American In London: Whistler And The Thames features works that offered a fresh and striking view of mid Victorian London. James Abbott McNeill Whistler first arrived in London in 1859 and his paintings mark one of his most successful and profound assaults on the art establishment of the day. The American born artist immersed himself in the life of Victorian London, with a particular focus on the bustling neighborhood surrounding Battersea Bridge, including the workers and women who frequented the Thames-side wharves and pubs, the barges that navigated the perilous passage under the bridges, and the steamboats and wherries crowded with day trippers that paddled up and down Battersea Reach. This exhibition of some 70 works comprises an array of paintings of Chelsea and the Thames, along with prints and rarely seen drawings, watercolours and pastels. These include 'Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses', 'The Tall Bridge', 'The Last of Old Westminster', 'Black Lion Wharf', 'Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge', 'Pink and Silver - Chelsea, the Embankment' and 'Wapping'. They are complemented by historical photographs that provide further insight into the Chelsea neighbourhood where he lived and worked, plus portraits of Whistler and his patrons, bringing to life the key personalities that featured in the period. The display culminates in some of Whistler's iconic Nocturnes, including 'Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf', 'Grey and Silver: Old Battersea Reach' and 'Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 12th January.

Masterpieces Of Chinese Painting 700 - 1900 is an ambitious survey of one of the world's greatest artistic traditions. The exhibition gathers together the finest examples of Chinese painting created over a 1200 year period and shows more than 70 works, including some of the earliest surviving Chinese paintings. From small scale intimate works by monks and literati to a 14m long scroll painting, many of the paintings are shown in Europe for the first time. The exhibition examines the recurrent themes and evolving aesthetics characteristic of Chinese paintings and looks at the constant interplay between tradition and innovation. It considers how paintings were created for a variety of settings from tombs, temples, palaces, domestic houses and private gardens and in a range of formats from banners, screens, hand-held fans to portable handscrolls and hanging scrolls. Materials, including a large piece of ultramarine pigment created from lapis lazuli discovered in a 10th century artist's studio and studio equipment reconstructed according to a 14th century manual reveal the technical process and traditional techniques employed. Highlights include a 9th century double-sided ceremonial banner 'Bodhisattva Wearing Monastic Robes' showing a sacred and enlightened figure; an illustrated manuscript attributed to Liang Lingzan 'Five Planets and Twenty-Eight Mansions', the earliest surviving painting of astronomy from the Imperial collection; 'Nine Dragons' by Chen Rong, the oldest and finest dragon scroll, in which each of the mythical creatures are expressed in different positions amidst clouds, water and mountains, representing the dynamic forces of nature in Daoism; 'Four Pleasures', attributed to Ren Renfa, a series illustrating the delight in the literati pursuits of calligraphy, painting, music and games; and 'Flowers on the River' by Bada Shanren, one of the longest paintings in the world, showing a superb and intricate handling of ink and control. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th January.

Laura Ashley, The Romantic Heroine marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Laura Ashley label, celebrating the vision of the romantic heroine of fashion in the 1960s and 1970s. Departing from the knee length and mini-dress styles dominating fashion of the period, Laura Ashley created the look described as 'soft-core femininity' and 'Victorian type demureness'. It was a look that prompted a generation of young women to dress up as Thomas Hardy's milkmaid from Tess of the d'Urbevilles, or Cathy from Wuthering Heights searching in vain across the northern moors for Heathcliff. The exhibition focuses on the dresses that caught the imagination and chimed with the zeitgeist. By the tail end of the Swinging 60s the bright and shiny bubble of optimism had burst, and designers found inspiration, and comfort, in nostalgia for times gone by. There was an appetite for escapism and a move back to nature. TV and film hits included Upstairs Downstairs and Far From the Madding Crowd, while fashion fans shopped at Antiquarius on the Kings Road and collected Art Nouveau and Aubrey Beardsley prints. This exhibition encapsulates the vision of the romantic heroine that this iconic designer gave to fashion in the 1960s and 1970s in a selection of 70 dresses from this era. Laura Ashley gave the world the chaste cotton print maxi-dress in earth-hewn natural colours and a notion of life in a golden age - a pastoral idyll far away from the mad city life. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 5th January.

Stanley Spencer: Heaven In A Hell Of War provides a unique opportunity to see the responses to the First World War away from their permanent country home of Sandham Memorial Chapel, while it undergoes restoration. Stanley Spencer painted scenes of his own wartime experiences, as a hospital orderly in Bristol and as a soldier on the Salonika front. His recollections, painted entirely from memory, focus on the domestic rather than combative and evoke everyday experience - washing lockers, inspecting kit, sorting laundry, scrubbing floors and taking tea - in which he found spiritual resonance and sustenance. Peppered with personal and unexpected details, they combine the realism of everyday life with dreamlike visions drawn from his imagination. In his own words, the paintings are 'a symphony of rashers of bacon' with 'tea-making obligato' and describe the banal daily life that, to those from the battlefield, represented a 'heaven in a hell of war'. For Spencer, the menial became the miraculous - a form of reconciliation. These large scale paintings, which took 6 years to create, were completed in 1932. As well as being one of Britain's most important war artists, Spencer was a key figure in the development of figurative art in 20th century Britain and this exhibition offers a chance to look up close at his accomplished paintwork, sensitive use of colour, and masterly still-life. Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, until 26th January.

Concluding

Cosmos & Culture examines humanity's relationship with the stars through stories drawn from the whole of astronomy's history and from around the world. The exhibition reveals how telescopes and other instruments have opened our eyes to the huge variety of the cosmos, from Thomas Harriot's first sight of the Moon through a telescope 400 years ago to future plans for liquid mirror telescopes on the lunar surface, and from William Herschel's discovery of Uranus with a hand-built telescope to the international engineering project of the new infrared Herschel Space Observatory. It explores how people have tried to make sense of Earth's place in the universe through the constantly changing science of astronomy, with rare works including editions of Copernicus's 'On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres' and Galileo's 'Dialogue on the Two World Systems', showing how the understanding of our position in the cosmos has changed. Developments in astronomy across many cultures are represented by artefacts from around the globe, such as Arabian astrolabes, European astrological tables, Chinese globes, Byzantine calendars and Japanese star maps. The aesthetics of astronomy are shown in large-scale images from some of the world's great telescopes. Finally, the exhibition examines how astronomy has inspired - and been inspired by - fiction, particularly thoughts of extraterrestrial life, through books by H G Wells, Hal Clement and Arthur C Clarke, 1930s pulp fiction magazines such as 'Amazing Stories', and film and television titles including 'It Came From Outer Space' and 'Doctor Who', plus cosmic music from Debussy to the Grateful Dead. Science Museum until 14th December.

Victoriana: The Art Of Revival offers a major examination of Victorian revivalism in all its forms. Featuring graphic design, film, photography, ceramics, taxidermy, furniture, textiles and fine art, this multi-media show explores work inspired by the 19th century and created over the last 20 years, highlighting the ongoing influence of the Victorian age. From the macabre to the quaint, the sensational to the surreal, the exhibition brings together 28 major contemporary artists who encapsulate the many forms and motivations of modern takes on Victorian style. Highlights of the weird and wonderful inventions and interventions include Rob Ryan's take on a pair of ceramic Staffordshire dogs 'I Remember, Nobody Remembers'; Jane Hoodless's part eaten wedding cake 'Shorn Out of Wedlock'; Miss Pokeno's combination of armchair and taxidermy 'Trophy Chair'; Carole Windham's ceramic couple 'Dearly Beloved'; Timorous Beasties's 'Devil Damask Flock Wallpaper'; Patrick StPaul's collection of strange things in glass jars 'Whisper in the Midst of Silence'; and Yumiko Utsu's altered painting 'Octopus Portrait': plus works by Yinka Shonibare, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego, Dan Hillier, Paul St George, Kitty Valentine and Jake and Dinos Chapman. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 8th December.

Australia is the most significant survey of Australian art ever mounted in Britain. Focusing on the influence of the landscape, the exhibition spans from 1800 to the present day, and features 146 artists with over 200 works, including paintings, drawings, photography, watercolours and multimedia. The story of Australian art is inextricably linked to its landscape: an ancient land of dramatic beauty, a source of production, enjoyment, relaxation and inspiration, yet seemingly loaded with mystery and danger. For Australian artists, this deep connection with the landscape has provided a rich seam of inspiration for centuries. The exhibition maps the period of rapid and intense change, from the impact of the first settlers and colonisation on the indigenous people to the pioneering nation-building of the 19th century, through to the enterprising urbanisation of the last century. Reflecting the vastness of the land and the diversity of its people, early, as well as contemporary Aboriginal art sits alongside the work of the first colonial settlers, immigrant artists of the 20th century and the work of some of today's most established Australian artists. Highlights include Frederick McCubbin's 'The Pioneer'; four paintings from Sidney Nolan's 'Ned Kelly' series; Eugene von Guerard's 'Bush Fire'; Rover Thomas's 'Cyclone Tracy'; Emily Kame Kngwarreye's 'Big Yam Dreaming'; Grace Cossington Smith's 'The Bridge in Building'; Charles Meere's 'Australian Beach Pattern'; and Shaun Gladwell's video 'Approach to Mundi Mundi'; plus 'Fire and Water', a newly commissioned work by Judy Watson that aims to evoke a sense of the distinctiveness of the Australian landscape whilst considering the art historical developments and contributions of Australian art across the last two centuries. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th December.