News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th February 2001


Goya: Drawings From His Private Albums offers evidence supporting the claim that Francisco Goya was the first modern artist. Over a period of thirty-five years he distilled his more intimate thoughts and perceptions of Spanish society in a series of albums of drawings. This exhibition is the first to concentrate exclusively on these, bringing together over 100 of the finest drawings from all eight albums, including some which have only recently come to light. The albums were broken up and dispersed after his death and are now scattered widely throughout the world. These drawings demonstrate Goya's powers of observation and invention. They include bizarre flights of fantasy, nightmare and biting satire, and show his imagination at work on a vast range of subjects: the spectacle of carnival, the traumas of war and religious persecution, images of childhood and old age, eroticism, madness and witchcraft.

Brassai: The Soul Of Paris reveals through his iconic black and white images, a bygone era of café society, shady dance halls and the ordinary lives of Parisians at the dawn of the Modern Age. Brassaï started life as a journalist, but his desire to illustrate his articles with his own images, led him to start photographing his surroundings, capturing the mood of Paris by night and the beauty of the city streets in the rain. This major retrospective, organised by the Pompidou Centre, presents over 200 vintage silver salt prints from Brassaï's own archive, alongside his drawings and small sculptures. It includes shots of Paris by day and night, nude studies, classic portraits of Picasso, collaborations with Salvador Dalí for the Surrealist publication Minotaure, and photographs of graffiti and found objects from the Parisian streets. Brassaï shows us Paris as he saw it: twilight at the Eiffel Tower, the market at Les Halles, the Place de la Concorde and backstage at the Moulin Rouge. His images capture the private moment in the public place, and always find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Goya/Brassi at the Hayward Gallery until 13th May.

Making Chocolate is one of three new features which have just opened at the home of British chocolate in Bournville. It tells the story of chocolate through the centuries from the Aztec rainforest of Central America to Victorian England. Visitors can follow the journey of chocolate across the continents from its origins as cocoa to liquid chocolate in the factory in a new multi-sensory cinema. They can visit the chocolate Coronation Street, see the set where the credits were created, and learn some of the tricks of the animator's trade. To accompany this there is a chance to review forty years of television advertisements. Cadbury World continuing.

Bacon's Eye is the first opportunity to see a wide range of newly discovered material attributed to Francis Bacon. During his lifetime, Bacon was always adamant that he worked directly onto canvas, without making any preliminary studies. However since his death, a large number of works on paper have been discovered, appearing to offer new insights into his working methods - and personal obsessions. Shortly before he died Bacon gave a parcel of papers to Barry Jule, containing over 1000 photographs, sketches and collages, apparently collected or created by him, which have yet to be fully catalogued. One prominent item is 'The X Album', a collection of seventy oil sketches in a photograph album that apparently belonged to Bacon's nanny. They relate to his work from the '50s and '60s and include many nudes, portraits and studies of facial malformations. Consisting of over 300 works on paper, the exhibition includes items from the Joule archive and recognised works by Bacon from the Tate Gallery. These pieces are presented alongside a small number of paintings illustrating new ways of looking at Bacon's work. Barbican Gallery until 16th April.


Rembrandt The Printmaker celebrates the most original printmaker of all time with over two hundred prints, drawings and oil sketches, covering the full range of styles and subjects for which he is famous. These include self-portraits, vignettes of everyday life, character studies, landscapes and scenes from the Bible. Always experimental, and deploying a variety of technical innovations, Rembrandt often reworked prints by scratching at his copper plates many times to improve and extend their expressive power. He also printed from plates before they were finished, producing images which allow us to follow his thinking as his ideas developed, as do the preparatory drawings and related oils which are also included. Rembrandt not only produced prints, but built up an extensive collection of prints of others, by which he was inspired to create his own imaginative and personal interpretations of a subject. He depicted the realities of human life, embracing the ugly and mundane as well as the beautiful, an approach not generally taken up by other European artists until the 19th and 20th centuries. This exhibition draws from the collections of The British Museum and the Rijksmuseum to present the most comprehensive display of Rembrandt's prints ever assembled. The British Museum until 8th April.

David Bailey: Birth Of The Cool concentrates on the work from the early years of the career of Britain's best known photographer, presenting both the familiar and previously unseen masterpieces from the years 1957 to 1969. Many of the now iconic images of the '60s were created by Bailey, here represented by portraits of Jean Shrinpton, John Lennon, Catherine Deneuve, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, the Kray twins, Cecil Beaton, Sylvia Plath and other seminal figures. It is arguable whether he simply recorded the important people and events of the period, or in fact actually created them. In Bailey, the photographer himself became a pop icon, and it was he who was the inspiration for the central character Antonioni's film Blow Up. Bailey continues to work, and part of the exhibition juxtaposes the '60s images with his new Cool Britannia series from the '90s, which includes portraits of Naomi Campbell, Damien Hirst and Jarvis Cocker. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 22nd April.

Julian Opie, the Brit Artist whose trade mark is signage man, has his work everywhere already, thanks to the Best Of Blur album marketing campaign. To top that, this exhibition doesn't just hang on the walls but almost reaches out and grabs people in off the street. As befits his retail experience, the gallery windows are filled with female nudes. Opie's style is something akin to a 21st century version of Egyptian hieroglyphs - the stick man simplicity of heavy black or white outlines on plain slabs of colour. Two dimensional figures are given a three dimensional twist by being painted on the side of piles of building blocks. Portraits are reduced to the barest minimum of visual information about a face needed to convey its individuality. Is it real art reflecting contemporary logo-land obsession, or the latest King's new clothes? Are the pop heroes he paints any more real than Tintin who they resemble? Opie's process is to scan a photograph, electronically reduce it to the barest essentials, and then reproduce the result in as many forms as possible. Is he not a direct descendant of Warhol? Lisson Gallery, London until 17th March.

The Smell Of Fear brings a new dimension to the Britain's famous dinosaur pit. The world's most advanced robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex is not only lifelike in movement and sound - but smell. Oils including Dragon's Breath and Swamp have been blended to create the realistic odour of its breath, which would have smelt of the remains of rotting flesh trapped between its teeth. At three quarters full size, it stands 4m high and nearly 7m long. The gallery also contains 15 complete dinosaur skeletons as well as life-size robotic models of three vicious Deinonychus. This is the first event in 'Year Of The Predator', which will include an exhibition featuring robotic models of a great white shark, an interactive chameleon, and a deadly Sydney Funnel Web spider, opening in the summer. Natural History Museum continuing.

Costumed Tours feature a guide dressed in the appropriate time period for one its unique and fascinating documents, but telling the human stories and social history behind all the items in the collection. Drawn from a vast archive, the items on display illustrate many of the momentous events and famous characters that have shaped the nation's history. As well as offering evidence left behind by some of the Britain's most notorious and celebrated citizens, the exhibition also sheds light on the ordinary and extraordinary events of everyday life through the ages. Current exhibits include the Domesday Book, the gold seal of Henry VIII, a telegram from the Titanic, the Dam Busters logbook, and a letter from 'Jack the Ripper'. The tours last about 45 minutes and take place at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm on one Saturday each month. Public Record Office on 24th March, 28th April, 19th May, 23rd June, 28th July, 18th August, 29th September, 27th October, 24th November, and 29th December.

Robin & Lucienne Day: Pioneers Of Contemporary Design is the first major retrospective of Britain's most distinguished and influential post-war designers, covering a period from 1940s to the present. Robin Day's revolutionary designs for furniture - including the ubiquitous polypropylene chair - and Lucienne Day's daring and inspired use of colour and pattern in fabrics, embodied the optimism of post-war Britain. Through innovative use of the latest materials Robin Day created design classics, such as the radical 1952 plywood and steel chairs, and the 1963 molded polypropelyne for Hille, which are still in production today, in more than 32 countries around the world. His work spanned the public, commercial and domestic marketplaces, including the auditorium, restaurant and orchestra seating at the Royal Festival Hall in 1951. Lucienne Day's revolutionary 1951 textile design 'Calyx' for Heals, using the abstract imagery of Joan Miro and Alexander Calder, helped to create what is now recognised as quintessentially '50s 'Contemporary' design. In the '60s she embraced the geometry of Op Art, again capturing the spirit of the time. Her work also includes iconic chinaware designs for Rosenthal. To complement the exhibition, classic Robin and Lucienne Day designs now being produced by Habitat, SCP and Twenty Twenty One are also on display. Barbican Centre Gallery until 16th April.


Imperfect Beauty: The Making Of Contemporary Fashion Photographs could be considered another milestone on the "Culture Lite" road. An ephemeral industry, which is already treated more seriously than it deserves, receives less scrutiny than it demands. With the phenomenal growth of magazine titles fashion imagery has never been so widely available. In the last decade, the distinctions between editorial and advertising photography as well as fine art and commercial styles have blurred, resulting in unprecedented opportunities for fashion image-makers. This exhibition displays examples of the world of fashion magazines, design of contemporary beauty products and fashion styling and asks "how they did it". First hand interviews with internationally renowned photographers, art directors and stylists feature alongside examples of their work. Contributors include Juergen Teller, David Sims, Melanie Ward, Fabien Baron and Nick Knight reflecting on their inspirations, working practices and perceptions of their industry. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th March.

Orchid Exotica is the seventh annual festival devoted to one of nature's most spectacular and extravagant plants. For the first time orchids are cascading among the gigantic trees and steamy pools in the large tropical zone of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the newest of Kew's spectacular glasshouses. There are over five thousand species involved, including the endangered Lady's Slipper. Also for the first time, there is a cut flower display in Decimus Burton's Victorian Temperate House - the world's largest ornamental glasshouse - and the Marianne North Gallery. The festival includes Behind-the-scenes tours of the orchid nurseries on Tuesdays and Fridays, a wide-ranging seminar programme, and family events with story walks. Orchid plants are on sale to the public. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew until 11th March.

Libeskind At The Soane: Drawing A New Architecture juxtaposes the work of controversial contemporary architect Daniel Libeskind and Victorian giant Sir John Soane. The man who designed the unfolding cardboard box like extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum up against the man who designed the Bank Of England. It provides an opportunity to see drawings and models of Libeskind projects from six different countries, together with a series of rarely glimpsed conceptual drawings - the Micromegas. The result is an installation of nine specially commissioned miniature models scattered like architectural fragments from a future age beneath the canopy dome of Soane's Breakfast Parlour. The Gallery houses an explosion of geometrical forms in ten meticulously constructed abstract compositions made in the late 1970s before Libeskind became a practitioner. The exhibition is completed by drawings showing current projects including the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Studio Weil in Spain; the V&A Spiral; and his latest scheme, the Denver Art Museum. Often cited as the favourite "undiscovered" Victorian collection in London, Sir John Soane's Museum has so much crammed in already, it's hard to imagine how it is possible to add further exhibits. Sir John Soane's Museum until 10th March.