News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th March 2007


Surreal Things: Surrealism And Design is the first exhibition to explore the influence of Surrealism on the world of design - theatre, interiors, fashion, film, architecture and advertising. Alongside paintings by Magritte, Ernsta and Dali are some of the most extraordinary objects of the 20th century, from Dali's 'Mae West lips' sofa and 'Lobster Telephone', to Elsa Schiaparelli's 'Tear' and 'Skeleton' dresses, and Meret Oppenheims's 'Table with Bird's Legs'. With nearly 300 exhibits, the show looks at how artists engaged with design, and designers were inspired by Surrealism. Among the highlights are Giorgio de Chirico's set and costume designs for Diaghilev's Le Bal; Dali's 'Venus de Milo aux tiroirs' and 'Arm' chair; Oscar Dominguez's satin lined 'Wheelbarrow' arm chair and 'Fur' bracelet; Marcel Jean's tromp l'oeil 'Armoire Surrealiste' and 'Le Spectre du Gardenia'; Alberto Giacometti's 'Disagreeable object'; Isamu Noguchi's 'Cloud' sofa; a model of Frederick Kiesler's Surrealist room from Peggy Guggenheim's The Art of This Century Gallery in New York; examples of how Surrealist imagery was adopted and popularised in advertising by companies such as Shell and Ford, and in magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar; film clips, including the dream sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Spellbound'; and a study of Monkton, the purple painted Sussex home of the Surrealist patron Edward James. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd July.

Lady Mary Wortley Montague celebrates the life of one of the most influential women of the 18th century, described by one of her contemporaries, Joseph Spence, as "the most wise, the most imprudent, loveliest, disagreeablest, best natured, cruellest woman in the world". Lady Mary Wortley Montague was a key figure in the introduction of the smallpox inoculation in England, a practice she came across while living in Turkey. She left her husband and spent many years travelling across Europe, where she embraced the cultures of the countries she visited. A close friend of the women's rights campaigner Mary Astell, she fought resistance to new ideas, and led a defiantly non-conformist lifestyle. Intelligent, witty and sometimes eccentric, Lady Mary composed hundred of letters throughout her life, commenting on both her experiences, and the work of other writers of the period, such as Alexander Pope, Samuel Richardson and Jonathon Swift. Centred on a portrait of Lady Mary by Jonathan Richardson, this exhibition brings together a selection of paintings and prints depicting the lady herself, her family, friends and adversaries, alongside a selection of their original letters, providing a vivid picture of 18th century society and cultural life. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 3rd June.

Camouflage explores the story of the development of military camouflage, and its adoption into popular culture, from the First World War to the present day. It explains how the introduction of aerial surveillance led to the need to camouflage guns, equipment and buildings, how artists sought to confuse U-boats by painting ships in 'Dazzle' zig-zag patterns; why camouflage uniforms were adopted world wide in place of the colourful uniforms of the 19th century; and how over recent decades, through art, design and fashion, the original use of camouflage has been subverted to make the wearer stand out rather than disappear. Among the military exhibits are some of the hand painted disruptive pattern uniforms made for the first camouflage unit set up by the French army in 1915, dummy heads created by the sculptor Henry Bouchard, which were held up above trenches to locate German snipers during the First World War; the original 'Dazzle' plans and ship models; an armour plated fake tree used as an observation post; and rubber bear feet issued to agents landing behind enemy lines to disguise their shoe prints. Other diverse items featured in the exhibition include Andy Warhol's camouflage prints, as well as art by Alain Jacquet and Boetti; couture by John Galliano, Philip Treacy, Jean Paul Gaultier; urban camouflage designs by Adelle Lutz for David Byrne's film True Stories; and a costume created by Gerald Scarfe for the English National Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Imperial War Museum until 18th November.


Alvar Aalto: Through The Eyes Of Shigeru Ban is the first major UK retrospective of the work of the Finnish architect who was a landmark figure of 20th century architecture and design, ranking alongside Modernist masters such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. The exhibition is designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, renowned for his original use of materials, and explores the themes linking these two influential architects, demonstrating how they share an organic approach to design. Both architects combine traditional materials with modern technology and experimented with the idea to provide an individual human touch to pre-fabricated housing structures. It examines the development of Aalto's architectural ideas and style, featuring models, drawings, photographs and artefacts from 14 of his key projects, built mainly in Finland, Denmark, Russia and the USA. Spanning six decades, featured projects include Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Villa Mairea, AA-System Houses, Experimental House, North Jutland Art Museum and the development of the urban centre for Seinajoki. Shown alongside Aalto's original models and maquettes are newly commissioned analytical models of his buildings produced by Shigeru Ban Laboratory, Keio University, Tokyo. Also displayed are recent photographs of Aalto's buildings taken by American photographer Judith Turner, which shed new light on his work. In addition, the exhibition showcases Aalto's wide ranging product designs, including his famous stacking stool and other furniture, as well as glassware, light fittings and textiles. Barbican Art Gallery until 27th May.

Durer To Friedrich: German Drawings From The Ashmolean, spans four centuries and comprises 40 drawings by a range of the most celebrated German Old Masters. The works of 16th century artists Altdorfer, Durer, Grunewald and Holbein are displayed alongside later artists from the 19th century, including Friedrich and the Nazarenes. Highlights include Albrecht Durer's 'Youth Kneeling before a Potentate' (thought to be a self portrait of the artist); Matthias Grunewald's 'An Elderly Woman with Clasped Hands', the most striking of his few drawings to have survived; the costume study 'Figure of a Woman in Contemporary Dress' by Hans Holbein the Younger, used by Ruskin in his Lectures on Landscape to teach students the rules of drawing; 'Portrait of a Man' by Hans Burgkmair, who played a significant role in the development of the chiaroscuro woodcut; and from two centuries later, Caspar David Friedrich's 'Landscape in Bohemia with a View of Mount Jeschken', characteristic of his early sepia style where the washes were applied in a single layer on top of the original pen drawing; and Friedrich Overbeck's 'The Prophet Elijah Casting his Mantle over Elisha', drawn as part of a plan to produce an illustrated Bible. The Ashmolean, Oxford until 20th May.

Journey To The New World: London 1606 To Virginia 1607 marks the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. After an eventful voyage three small merchant ships arrived in Virginia, and on 13th May 1607, 104 men and boys landed to begin work on a fortified trading outpost called James Towne. Drawing on archaeological evidence and artefacts unearthed since 1994 at the site of the original settlement, together with documents and objects from London, the exhibition charts the crucial role of Londoners in the founding of the United States of America. It is a tale of daring survival, of hope and despair, conflict and failure, tragedy and triumph, and shows how ordinary and extraordinary men, women and children helped to create a new nation. It also tells of how the expedition changed forever the lives and culture of the Native American Indians already living in what was to become Virginia. Through bodices and beads, coins and cups, prints, charts, maps, astronomical and maritime instruments, it reveals the colonists' diet, health and lifestyles, their relationship with the local indigenous peoples, and their attempts to manufacture goods for trade. Tracing the story of Jamestown and the Virginia colonies from their birth to eventual prosperity with the development of the tobacco trade, it looks at the hidden story of hardship, adventure and big business behind the founding of the United States. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay, until 13th May.

Guercino: Paper To Mind celebrates the work of one of the most significant Italian artists of the Baroque period, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri nicknamed Guercino ("squinter") after a childhood incident left him cross-eyed. A prolific and fluent draughtsman, who was known as 'the Rembrandt of the South', he was hailed for his inventive approach to subject matter, his deftness of touch and his ability to capture drama and movement. This exhibition reflects the Guercino's remarkable technical and compositional ability, as well as his wide ranging choice of subject matter. The works featured include a large study of a male nude, an imaginary landscape, a caricature, a number of informal scenes from everyday life, and exploratory studies for large painted compositions. His sympathy for a variety of human situations is particularly apparent in such humorously observed scenes as 'Interior of a baker's shop'. A prominent feature of Guercino's drawing technique is his varied use of drawing media and techniques. Thus, a goose feather pen dipped in ink enabled him to record his ideas on paper quickly and easily in 'Cupid restraining Mars', characterised by its spontaneity and energy; while in 'A child seen from behind', rubbed red chalk conveys the feel of a baby's dimpled skin; and in 'Two women drying their hair', loosely applied brown wash is used to describe the cascading wet hair drying in front of the open fire. Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House until 13th May.

Bright Wings Of Summer: Hertfordshire's Butterflies uses butterfly expert Brian Sawford's photographs as a starting point to explore the wonder and importance of butterflies and moths, the environmental pressures that they are under, and what can be done to ensure their future in a drastically changing landscape. It reveals that locally, while several species have been lost, and a number such as the Grizzled Skipper are close to extinction, volunteers are helping others such as the Purple Emperor to reassert itself in local woodland. An extensive activity programme in association with Hertfordshire and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation includes a guided tour through Tring Park, sessions making butterfly mobiles and storytelling for children, and talks about butterfly conservation for adults.

Fossil Folklore is another exhibition running concurrently, which reveals the truth behind the myths that have grown up around fossils, from dragons and griffins to fairy loaves and angels' money. Associated activities include fossil printmaking for children.

Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring - Butterflies until 22nd April, Fossils until 8th July.

Ortonesque: Joe Orton 1933 - 1967 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the death of the playwright Joe Orton, whose outrageously savage and funny take on life's darker issues led to the coining of the adjective 'ortonesque'. The exhibition takes a chronological look at his life and times, including his life in Leicester (where he was born) and London, his relationship with Kenneth Halliwell, the time spent in prison and on the dole, his alter ego 'Edna Welthorpe', his holidays in Morocco, his plays, novels and diaries, and finally, his death and legacy. The exhibition of original items and memorabilia, many of which have never been on public display before, includes the 1967 Evening Standard Award for the play 'Loot', his Morocco diaries, the fur coat that Orton's agent, Peggy Ramsay, bought him (used in the 1987 biographic film Prick Up Your Ears), the Adler typewriter that he used for many years, several of the vandalised Islington Library book covers, and the suitcase he used to visit Morocco and Libya with Kenneth Halliwell, together with literary and personal papers, comprising scripts, photographs, posters, programmes, scrapbooks, letters and manuscripts. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, until 7th May.


Callum Innes: From Memory brings together a selection of some of the most significant works by one of Britain's most prolific and rigorous artists, and offers an opportunity to trace the development of his paintings over the past fifteen years. The work of Callum Innes is the result of repeated application and removal of paint from the canvas. Although the final result is calm and authoritative, his paintings nevertheless bear traces of the controlled chaos of their production. He works in series, and examples of 'Identified Forms', 'Isolated Forms', 'Repetitions', 'Monologues', 'Resonances' and paintings made with shellac are included in the exhibition. The 'Monologues' are monumental works made by brushing turpentine into a simply painted ground and dissolving the paint into an expressive, associative torrent. In the shellac paintings Innes draws on the oppositional qualities of shellac and paint to make luminously associative imagery. A major part of the exhibition is devoted to the series of 'Exposed Paintings', in which the canvas is divided geometrically into fields of dense and dissolved paint, and unpainted ground. The exhibition reveals how this series has diversified over time. In a new sequence of paintings, Innes exploits the possibilities offered by dissolving violet into and against black in a range of differently proportioned horizontal bands. Modern Art Oxford until 15th April.

Canaletto In England: A Venetian Artist Abroad 1746 - 1755 brings together over 50 of the paintings executed by Canaletto during the nine years he spent in London, which re-launched his artistic career. Canaletto's views of England are often panoramic, but are also precise to the last brick and flagstone - and include many local characters. Yet at the same time, each scene is saturated in a distinct (and slightly un-English) quality of light, as he brings a rather idealised vision to bear on his new home. The Thames is seen by Canaletto as a huge commercial version of the Grand Canal, and beyond the river's boundaries, a rural idyll, where he painted suburban the villas of the aristocracy and medieval castles. Highlights include 'The City seen through the Arch of Westminster Bridge', 'The Old Horse Guards from St James's Park', 'The City from the Terrace of Somerset House', 'Westminster Bridge with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames', 'Syon House', and 'Warwick Castle, The South Front'. Canaletto also continued to paint Italian views and capricci (fantastical scenes combining Italian and English features) during this period, and these are also included in the exhibition. Highlights include ' The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco on Ascention Day', 'Rome, The Arch of Constantine from the South', 'Capriccio of a Ruined Gothic Chapel by a Sluice Gate' and 'Capriccio Renaissance Triumphal Arch seen from the Portico of a Palace'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 15th April.

The Triumph Of Eros: Art And Seduction In 18th Century France explores themes of love and eroticism. The impetus for the exhibition, and at its core, is a recently discovered collection of rare French erotic engravings, collected in the 19th century Tsar Nicolas I, which has never been seen outside St Petersburg. The exhibition begins by examining the resurgence of interest in the ancient Roman and Greek god of erotic passion Cupid, or Eros, in 18th century French visual culture. It shows how his image was depicted, from paintings by Boucher on the theme of Cupid as an allegory of the arts, to an inkstand by the Sevres porcelain factory, with Cupid mischievously drumming on the inkwells. A highlight is the marble sculpture 'Menacing Cupid', by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, produced for Madame de Pompadour, which quickly became the most famous modern visual representation of Cupid, and was reproduced in many forms. Cupid's ever present influence upon different representations of love and seduction include not only idealised visions of love's triumph, such as Boucher's 'Pastoral Scene', but also representations of frustrated and thwarted love, as depicted in Watteau's 'Capricious Girl'. However, the exhibition also probes the ways in which the erotic in 18th century French art could easily slip over into the pornographic, the decent into the indecent. Works by Lancret, Nattier and Fragonard, including 'The Swing', explore the nature of disorderly passion, voyeurism and sexual licence, pushing at the boundaries of what was, and perhaps still is, deemed aesthetically acceptable. Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House, until 8th April.