News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th January 2009


Andrea Palladio: His Life And Legacy is the first exhibition devoted to the legendary architect to be held in London in a generation, and celebrates the quincentenary of his birth. Andrea Palladio was not only one of the greatest Italian architects, he was also a practitioner whose work has continued to resonate down the centuries. Active in Vicenza, Venice and the Veneto region, he crafted a new architectural language, derived from classical sources, yet shaped to fulfill the functional demands and aesthetic aspirations of his own age. While Palladio's impressive oeuvre includes private and public buildings and churches, it is his town palaces and country villas that influenced subsequent generations of European and American architects. Large scale models, computer animations, original drawings, books and paintings present the full range of this exceptional architect's output and his legacy, demonstrating why Palladio's name has been synonymous with architecture for 500 years. The exhibition follows his career from the Basilica, his early palaces in Vicenza, and his innovative solutions to rural buildings, such as the Villa Poiana and the Villa Barbaro at Maser, to his great Venetian churches, culminating in the Villa Rotunda. However, Palladio's fame and influence rested not only on his executed buildings, but on his 'Four Books of Architecture', in which he illustrated the basic grammar and vocabulary of architecture, his reconstructions of classical buildings, and also his unbuilt projects. These designs became models for new constructions throughout the world, particularly in Britain, when they were brought here by Inigo Jones. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th April.

Out Of China: Monumental Porcelain By Felicity Aylieff is an exhibition of giant vessels, majestic in scale, which show how the artist has taken the medium of clay and its decoration to a new sculptural level. To say that Felicity Aylieff's work crosses the boundaries of ceramics and sculpture is an understatement. The vessels are 3 metres high, and are the largest pieces that can be fired in the kilns of Mr Yu's Big Ware Factory, in the historic porcelain centre of Jingdezhen in China. Generally cylindrical or shaped like an elongated 'upside down teardrop', they are decorated in brightly coloured contemporary abstract designs. Each pot was hand painted over a period of two days, with a variety of instruments employed to ingrain different sections of the urn. Sweeping brooms, carvers and Chinese calligraphy brushes were experimented with, adding layers of colour to forge a greater depth of surface. In some, enamel butterflies have been applied, decreasing in size to the top of the base to give the illusion of flying away. Weighing 240 kilograms, and requiring a team of assistants to move them, Aylieff's works are imposing, impressive and truly unique. In addition to the vessels themselves, the exhibition also includes Aylieff's working drawings, and illustrated excerpts from the journal she kept during her time in China. The Lightbox, Woking, until 15th March.

Hussein Chalayan: From Fashion And Back is the first comprehensive presentation of work by the contemporary fashion designer, who has twice been named British Designer of the Year. Spanning 15 years of experimental projects, the exhibition explores Hussein Chalayan's creative approach, his inspirations, and the many themes which influence his work, such as cultural identity, displacement and migration. Exhibits include 'Afterwords', exploring the notion of 'wearable, portable architecture', in which furniture literally transforms itself into garments; 'Airborne', bringing the latest LED technology to fashion design, with a spectacular dress consisting of Swarovski crystals and over 15,000 flickering LED lights; 'Before Minus Now', a dress made of materials used in aircraft construction, which changes shape by remote control; and 'Readings', a dress comprising of over 200 moving lasers, presenting an extraordinary spectacle of light. Motivated by ideas and disciplines not readily associated with fashion (and producing designs that are fascinating but clearly unwearable) Chalayan's work crosses between architecture, design, philosophy, anthropology, science, technology and possibly, pretension. Design Museum, London, until 17th May.


Ancient Egyptian Gallery is a new gallery, centered round the wall paintings of a spectacular tomb-chapel. The paintings are some of the most famous images of Egyptian art, and come from the now lost tomb-chapel of Nebamun, an accountant in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, who died a generation or so before Tutankhamun. They show him at work and at leisure, surveying his estates and hunting in the marshes. An extensive conservation project has been undertaken on the 11 large fragments, which are now on public display for the first time in nearly 10 years. They are displayed together for the first time in a setting designed to recreate their original aesthetic impact, and to evoke their original position in a small intimate tomb-chapel. Drawing on the latest research and fieldwork at Luxor, a computer 'walk-through' of the reconstructed tomb-chapel is available in gallery. Next to the paintings, 150 artefacts show how the tomb-chapel was built, how it remained open for visitors, and also the nature of Egyptian society at the time. Most of the objects are contemporary with Nebamun and reflect those depicted in his paintings. Some, however, contrast with the idealised world view that is shown on elite monuments like the tomb-chapel, and reveal that most people's experience of life was not all about leisure and prestige as in the paintings. Thus spectacularly luxurious objects, such as a glass perfume bottle in the shape of a fish, are juxtaposed with crude tools of basic survival, such as a fishing net. British Museum, continuing.

Whistler: The Gentle Art Of Making Etchings showcases a research project, currently underway at the University of Glasgow's Department of Art History, in collaboration with the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Art Institute of Chicago. James McNeill Whistler's wide ranging output included some of the most beautiful and influential etchings of the late 19th century. The project explores Whistler's innovative creative processes, from unmarked copper plate to finished print, providing an illuminating picture of the working artist and his distinctive technique. The choice of subject, composition and materials, in addition to the exhibition, publication and marketing of the etchings, is also examined. Whistler's full output is represented, from the earliest etchings to the impressive late Amsterdam views, together with working tools, copper plates, and rare archival material. The history, context and subjects of Whistler's etchings repay close examination. His titles provide clues as to the subject, but these were often clearer to a Victorian connoisseur than to 21st century viewers. The project's research team has carefully studied each etching, identifying models and sites, history and fashion, and the symbols and stories that underlie the compositions. Whistler did not always date his copper plates, but the form of his butterfly signature helps to date the printing of particular impressions. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 30th May.

Unique Forms - The Drawing And Sculpture Of Umberto Boccioni features work by perhaps the most significant of the five artists associated with the first wave of Futurist painting in Italy. Equally articulate with verbal and visual imagery, Boccioni became the foremost theorist of Futurist aesthetics, which he expounded with tremendous energy and rigour in his tract 'Futurist Painting and Sculpture'. Like all Futurists, Boccioni was fascinated with speed and movement, but he expressed this particularly through the muscular energy of the human body and galloping horses. Comprising some 20 works, the exhibition includes a number of different drawings entitled 'Dynamism of a Human Body', and other works on paper such as 'Figure in Movement', 'Speeding Muscles', 'Study for Empty and Full Abstracts of a Head', and 'Study for the City Rises', plus the sculptures 'Development of a Bottle in Space' and 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space', his acknowledged masterpiece, together with photographs of other lost sculptures.

Luca Buvoli - Velocity Zero is an installation by the contemporary artist Luca Buvoli, exploring the themes that fascinated the Futurists, and the gulf between the ideals that the movement's members espoused, and the reality of their application. At its heart, sections of the Futurist manifesto are read out loud by people with speech difficulties - the halting speech of the readers contrasting with the values of speed and efficiency espoused by the Futurists.

Estorick Collection, London N1, until 19th April.

High Art: Reynolds And History Painting 1780 - 1815 examines the period when History painting was regarded as the pinnacle of High Art, and was strongly promoted by Sir Joshua Reynolds above other genres, such as portraiture, landscape and still life. This exhibition includes historical and biblical subjects by Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, John Francis Rigaud, and Henry Fuseli. Seminal self portraits by Reynolds and West allude to the knowledge and learning required to pursue history painting, with casts of antique statues, a bust of Michelangelo and books on history included as props to enhance the image of the artist. Similarly, Henry Singleton's 'The Royal Academicians in General Assembly' depicts the Academicians in their grand rooms at Somerset House, surrounded by antique casts and some of the paintings included in this display.

High Life: Celebrating The Loan Of W P Frith's 'Private View at the Royal Academy 1881', which was Frith's last major panoramic painting, shows the Victorian elite seeing and being seen at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1881. Frith includes a host of notable figures from Oscar Wilde and Lily Langtry to the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, and from the actress Ellen Terry to the illustrator John Tenniel. Hung alongside this picture are subject paintings by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Briton Riviere, a portrait of Lord Leighton by G F Watts, and H H Armstead's marble relief of 'The Ever Reigning Queen', which was first seen by the public in the exhibition that Frith depicts.

Royal Academy of Arts until 29th November.

Lee Miller And Friends features the work of the legendary beauty and fashion model, who became an acclaimed photographer, first of fashion, and then on the battlefield. Miller's relationships with Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, and painter and collector Roland Penrose, placed her at the heart of 20th century artistic and literary circles, and in a career spanning more than three decades, she came into contact with an astonishing range of people. Many of these became her friends and were the subjects of her penetrating portraits, including Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Fred Astaire and Marlene Dietrich. This exhibition places Miller's images alongside original pieces by her artist friends, including Eileen Agar, Leonora Carrington, Joan Miro, Eduardo Paolozzi, Paul Eluard and Pablo Picasso, given to Miller in exchange for her photographs. Among the more unlikely images are a photograph of Picasso standing in front of an English village signpost, alongside his drawing of a lithograph of flying bullets made the same day in the visitor's book of Lee's home, Farley Farm; a shadow portrait of Eileen Agar appearing 'pregnant with a camera' against the Brighton Pavilion; and a picture of Miller in Hitler's bathtub, taken in his apartment in Munich. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 29th March.

Top To Toe: Fashion For Kids explores the history of children's fashion, reliving iconic and defining moments from the past 300 years of children's clothing. The exhibition profiles the changing attitudes, themes and fads, from evocative brands like Ladybird and Clothkits to knitted swimsuits, leg warmers and ponchos. It comprises over 100 items, embracing vintage garments, photographs, paintings, advertisements and rare objects, revealing that while materials, styles, colours and shapes developed, some classic garments have remained unchanged, or have been revived due to the practicality of their design. Highlights include a silk and metal thread 18th century toddler's 'pudding hat'; a boy's red woolen dress from 1850; a 19th century muff and hat made of peacock feathers; a girl's printed silk dress with velvet, ribbon, machine lace trim from 1855; a boy's Harrods suit from the 1920s; and the changing face of character merchandising, from a costume based on the illustrations in the Victorian novel Little Lord Fauntleroy, to 1930s child film star Shirley Temple's clothing range. In addition, there is an examination of myths and questions, such as why boys are associated with blue and girls with pink; whether children were always dressed in mini versions of adult clothes; and the contrasting influences of contemporary celebrity and popular culture with the past, when Royal children were the role models. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, until 19th April.


War And Medicine looks at the continually evolving relationship between warfare and medicine, beginning with the disasters of the Crimean War in the 1850s and continuing through to today's conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As humankind has developed increasingly sophisticated weaponry with which to harm its enemies, medicine has had to adapt to cope with the volume and the changing nature of resulting casualties. The exhibition highlights the personal experiences of surgeons, soldiers, civilians, nurses, writers and artists, and looks at the impact of war on the 'home front' as well as on front line medicine, considering the long term implications for society of the traumas suffered and the lessons learned. Central to the exhibition is the uncomfortable and sometimes paradoxical relationship between war and medicine and the question of their influence upon each other. It embraces a wide range of subjects - from the pioneering plastic surgery techniques first developed during the First World War to treat disfiguring facial wounds, through to the recent controversies surrounding Gulf War Syndrome and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The display of over 200 exhibits - objects, artefacts, and recordings, as well as interpretative material, film and artworks - looks at some of the extraordinary difficulties faced by doctors, surgeons, administrators, nurses and their patients in war time. It also considers what has been learned from such extreme circumstances and the wider implications for society and public health in general. Wellcome Collection, London until 15th February.

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations is a retrospective featuring drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages by the American artist whose work filled the pages and covers of The New Yorker for six decades. Saul Steinberg originally studied as an architect, before turning to cartoons and illustration, and he also worked as a propagandist, a fabric and card designer, a muralist, a fashion and advertising artist, a stage designer and a creator of image-filled books. This exhibition, featuring over 100 items, covers the whole range of his work, from high art to low, from murals to magazines, from caricature to cartography, including some of the 1,200 covers and editorial illustrations he created for the New Yorker. Steinberg invented a new form of 'conceptual cartooning', or cartooning-about-cartooning, and his images became a byword for visual sophistication, associated with New York. Among the highlights are: 'The Line' - a strip drawing 33ft long, following the mutations of a continuous, straight, horizontal line, which becomes, in turn, a washing line, the top of a bridge, the wainscot of a room, the edge of a table, the water surface of a swimming pool seen in cross section, and the horizons of several kinds of landscape, before ending up as a plain line being drawn by a hand; 'Techniques at a Party' - showing a gathering of 18 guests, each realised in a different manner: very solid, very feint, very messy, pointillist, Picassoid - each portraying the guest's party personality; and most famously, 'View of the World from Ninth Avenue' - a subjective map, showing the New Yorkers parochial awareness of the rest of the planet: 10th Avenue is full of detail, but beyond the Hudson river things start to foreshorten abruptly. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15th February.

Soho Nights is the second part of a project documenting the vibrant character of London's Soho from the 1930s to the 1950s, and the first exhibition to be staged in the Photographers' Gallery's new location. This exhibition explores Soho after dark, and the energy and excitement found at its various theatres and coffee bars. Contrasting formal dancing venues and the spontaneity of the jive scene, it draws on the archives of the legendary magazine Picture Post, and the film maker Ken Russell's series of photos from the Cat's Whiskers Coffee Bar - which was always so packed that hand gestures replaced conventional dancing, leading to the birth of the hand jive. The exhibition includes vintage prints, original copies of Picture Post and specially enlarged printed contact sheets. Editorial stories such as 'The Making of a Glamour Girl' and 'Excitement in the Making' capture the pace and excitement of night time Soho. Picture Post was one of the most successful magazines to be published in the UK, from its launch on 1st October 1938 to its last issue on 1st June 1957. It attracted the best photographers, and captured the dynamism and vitality of Britain by focusing on the lives of ordinary people. Its emphasis on popular entertainment and the rise of youth culture meant that the clubs and cafes in Soho were fashionable and popular subjects. Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1, until 8th February.