News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th March 2012


British Design 1948 - 2012: Innovation In The Modern Age showcases the best of British design and creative talent from the 1948 'Austerity Olympics' to 'London 2012'. It is the first comprehensive exhibition to examine the ways in which artists and designers who were born, trained or working in Britain have produced innovative and internationally acclaimed works over the last 60 years. The exhibition charts the development of British design in fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial products, featuring some 300 objects. These include much loved designs such as a 1959 Morris Mini Minor; a 1961 E-type Jaguar car; a Brownie Vecta camera by Kenneth Grange from 1964; an Alexander McQueen evening gown from the 2009 Horn of Plenty collection; a 6m model of Concorde; fine art by Richard Hamilton and David Hockney; textiles from the 1950s by Lucienne Day and 1980s by Laura Ashley; a 1964 Moulton bicycle; Kit Williams's 1979 golden hare jewel from Masquerade; Brian Duffy's original photograph for the cover of David Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane album; a Brian Long Torsion chair from 1971, and 1960s furniture by Max Clendinning; a Sinclair ZX80 home computer and Jonathan Ive's Apple iMac; and Foster & Partner's 30 St Mary Axe building and Zaha Hadid's new Olympic Aquatics Centre. Key themes investigated include the Festival of Britain, the Queen's Coronation, the 1950s New Towns movement, developments in retail such as Habitat, and the British Art School system, plus counter-cultural movements from Swinging London to Cool Britannia. Victoria & Albert Museum until 12th August.

The Romance Of The Middle Ages showcases manuscripts and early printed books containing medieval romance. The exhibition looks at how these stories have inspired writers and artists across the centuries from the early modern period, including Shakespeare, Ariosto and Cervantes, through medievalism in the 18th and 19th centuries, including Walter Scott, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, to contemporary versions and adaptations, including manuscripts and drafts by Philip Pullman. The objects on display range from lavishly illustrated volumes about King Arthur or Alexander the Great, to personal notebooks and fragments only saved by chance. The exhibition features works by great figures of English medieval literature, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, shown alongside books and artworks that illustrate romance legends. Highlights include: 'The Song of Roland', the earliest copy of France's national epic, from the mid 12th century; the earliest surviving romances in English, 'King Horn and Havelok the Dane', from the early 14th century; 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', one of the most precious manuscripts of Middle English poetry; 'The Red Book of Hergest', containing 'The Mabinogion' and many other texts, from 1400; William Caxton's 'The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye', the first book ever printed in the English language, from 1473; a draft illustrated page from JRR Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'; and Terry Jones's own working copy of the screenplay of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 13th May.

Louise Bourgeois: The Return Of The Repressed explores the artist's complex and ambivalent engagement with the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. The exhibition shows original documents from Louise Bourgeois's recently discovered psychoanalytic writings, as well as her drawings and sculptures, in the house of the founding father of psychoanalysis. It is based on the discovery by Bourgeois's longtime assistant Jerry Gorovoy of 2 boxes of writings at the beginning of 2004, and 2 more in early 2010. These constitute an archive of over 1,000 loose sheets recording her reactions to her psychoanalytic treatment from 1951, with several texts referring directly to Dr Henry Lowenfeld, whom she saw from 1952 to 1982. In some cases these texts complement existing diaries that she kept throughout her life, while others serve to fill in the gaps for those years in which she did not keep a diary. The exhibition foregrounds the importance of these writings, displaying nearly 50 original manuscripts for the first time, ranging through sketches, notes, dream recordings, lists and drawings. Highlights of the sculptures and drawings on display include pieces such as 'The Dangerous Obsession'; 'Cell XXIV (Portrait)'; the woven fabric text 'I Am Afraid'; and drawings and 4 gouache on paper works from the series 'The Feeding. Janus Fleuri', sometimes considered the most significant of all Bourgeois's works; plus an inevitable giant spider in the garden. The exhibition raises fundamental questions about the relationship between art and life, and the therapeutic nature of art itself. The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3, until 27th May.


Turner Inspired: In The Light Of Claude examines the influence of the 17th century artist on the work of the 19th century artist. JMW Turner's daring free painting technique and radical approach created a revolution in painting at the beginning of the 1800s. The inspiration for these dramatic developments was the artist Claude Gellee's mastery of light on canvas. This exhibition tells the story behind Turner's inspiration and the revolutionary works that went on to inspire future generations of artists. The show reveals how Turner's life long desire to absorb all he could from the Old Master lay at the heart of his work. From the Roman Campagna-inspired views of the Thames Valley to paintings of the emerging industrial landscape, such as 'Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Night', the exhibition demonstrates Turner's skill at recreating gleaming light and atmosphere. It focuses on the major Claude inspired themes that run through Turner's career, and that on occasion shocked and dazzled audiences of his day: the evocation of light and air in landscape, the effect of light upon water, and his often radical reworking of contemporary scenes. The exhibition brings together large majestic oils on canvas, mezzotints, etchings, watercolours and works in gouache, plus leaves from Turner's pocket sketchbooks that show intimate drawings in pen, pencil and ink on paper, which have rarely been on public display. The importance of the sea to Britain's identity is another crucial theme of Turner's work, and Claude's harbour scenes exerted a powerful hold on his imagination, as shown in works including 'Le Havre: Sunset in the Port' and 'East Cowes, the Seat of J Nash, Esq'. National Gallery until 5th June.

Visions Of Mughal India: The Collection Of Howard Hodgkin presents for the first time in its entirety the outstanding private collection of Indian paintings of one of the leading artists of our time. Howard Hodgkin has been a passionate collector of Indian paintings since his school days, and his collection has long been considered one of the finest of its kind in the world. At times he has devoted almost as much effort to developing his collection as to his own work as a painter. The collection above all is a personal one, formed by an artist's eye. It comprises over 115 paintings from the Mughal period, 1550 to 1850, including the refined naturalistic works of the imperial Mughal court; the poetic and subtly coloured paintings of the Deccani Sultanates; and the boldly drawn and vibrantly coloured styles of the Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills. There are illustrations of epics, royal portraits, scenes of court life and hunting, and fantastic scenes from legend and history. In addition, there are studies of animals, birds and flowers in scintillating colours, plus many outstanding paintings and drawings of elephants, a particular Hodgkin predilection. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 22nd April.

Fans In The Age Of Plastics examines the development of synthetic materials and their subsequent application to the art and craft of fan making. From utilitarian tableware and contemporary clothing, through to avant-garde sculpture and information technology, plastics have, during the last 100 years, ruthlessly usurped natural materials, coming to define consumer culture in the modern era. Such transformations, however, do not happen overnight, and this exhibition charts the rise of man-made materials such as celluloid, and their application to the manufacture of fans. Beginning with 'nature's own' thermo-plastics, tortoiseshell and horn, traditionally used to craft fans of considerable artistry and expense, the exhibition also examines the first experimental forays of the late 19th century, when scientists sought to create polymers that aped the properties of prestige natural materials. Today, even the most perceptive eye can be deceived by fine quality imitation tortoiseshell. Also featured with the exhibition are a number of pocket-size mechanical fans and accompanying patents dating from the first half of the 20th century. These functional yet wholly innovative 'air-agitating' devices demonstrate that even the ancient craft of fan making, virtually unchanged since the 17th century, could not escape the ceaseless drive to modernise and streamline the design and production of all manner of consumer goods. The Fan Museum, 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London, until 3rd June.

Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan is a retrospective of the work of one of the most influential Italian artists of the 20th century. The exhibition highlights Alighiero Boetti's exploration of numeric, linguistic and classificatory systems, as well as his engagement with people and politics. Boetti has most commonly been associated with the Italian Arte Povera artists of the late 1960s, and while this exhibition begins with his objects made from everyday materials, including 'Stack' and 'Little Coloured Sticks', it also reveals his early scepticism about art movements through such works as his mock 'Manifesto'. In the late 1960s Boetti began to explore the figure of the artist, showing how it embodied the dual roles of divine shaman and public showman. He went on to represent himself as a pair of twins and changed his name to Alighiero E Boetti (Alighiero and Boetti). Alongside his early self portraits, the exhibition includes the late 'Self-Portrait', and a life size bronze cast of the artist spraying his heated head with a hose. Boetti's engagement with geopolitics and his travels to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Afghanistan is reflected the 'Mappa', world maps, in which each country is coloured with its national flag, recording political change across the globe from 1971 to 1994, charting the independence of African states, and the break-up of the USSR. Boetti's lifelong fascination with games, numbers, words, dates and sequences is also featured, in works such as 'Dama', which uses a chequerboard pattern to evoke an absurd domino-like game; 'Ordine e disordine', which comprises 100 multicoloured word squares dispersed on the wall; several biro drawings in which Boetti's favourite phrases are encoded; the embroideries 'The Thousand Longest Rivers in the World, and 'The Hour Tree'; and a set of rugs whose patterns are based on numeric systems. Tate Modern until 27th May.

Cotton: Global Threads offers a social rather than historical account of the production, consumption and global trade in cotton through history. Cotton, which is the best selling and most widely used fibre in the world, was the first global commodity. Its manufacture has exposed both the promise and the perils of global capitalism, and no other industry is so closely associated with the exploitation of human labour - from the slave plantations of the American South and Marx and Engels' 'satanic mills' of Lancashire to the garment factories of South China today. With exhibits ranging in date from the late Middle Ages to the present day, the exhibition takes in Lancashire and South Asia, the Americas and Africa. At the heart of the exhibition are displays of fashion and textiles that examine India's extensive global trade networks in cotton centuries before production shifted to Northern Europe; the effect that cotton had on Western fashion, providing the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution; and the impact of spinning and weaving technology on the development of the cotton industry in Lancashire. The displays also examine cotton's human and environmental impact, and at the pivotal political and economic role it has played in establishing national independence from colonial rule. New works by contemporary artists Yinka Shonibare, Lubaina Himid, Anne Wilson, Abdoulaye Konate, Aboubakar Fofana, Grace Ndiritu and Liz Rideal, working in a range of disciplines, address one or more of the exhibition themes. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 13th May.

A Place To Call Home: Where We Live And Why charts the story of the design and appeal of everyday homes in Britain. Through archival and original material, the exhibition, curated by Sarah Beeny, explores the characteristics of a British obsession, and the drivers that have shaped how and where we live, from the advent of mass speculative building in the late 18th century to the present day, via inter-war suburban expansion and post-war tower blocks.

High Society explores in detail the intense period of architectural experimentation in the post-war years, examining the massive building types that now puncture the skylines of Britain's towns and cities. The exhibition looks in detail at 5 classic post-war, high-rise housing schemes from across the country: The Alton Estate, Roehampton, London; Churchill Gardens, Pimlico, London; Park Hill, Sheffield; Hutchesontown, Glasgow; and Thamesmead, London.

The Home I Grew Up In features a range of personal insights and revelations on houses and housing from media, art and design figures. These include: Alain de Botton, philosopher and author; Chris Smith, National Planning Director, English Heritage; Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum; Dan Pearson, garden and landscape designer; Grayson Perry, artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery; Janet Street Porter, journalist and broadcaster; Jonathan Dimbleby, writer and broadcaster; Kirsty Wark, journalist and broadcaster; Paul Smith, fashion designer; and Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer.

Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1, until 28th April.


David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture demonstrates the Yorkshire artist's long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape. David Hockney's vivid paintings inspired by the Yorkshire landscape, many large in scale and created specifically for the exhibition, are shown alongside related drawings and films. Through a selection of works spanning 50 years, this new body of work is placed in the context of Hockney's extended preoccupation with landscape. Hockney's involvement with the depiction of space is traced from the 1960s, through his photo collages of the 1980s and the Grand Canyon paintings of the late 1990s, to the recent paintings of East Yorkshire, many of which have been made en plein air. These include 3 groups of new work made since 2005, when he returned to live in Bridlington, showing an intense observation of his surroundings in a variety of media, in the vivid colours he brought back from California. Hockney has always embraced new technologies, and recently he has used the iPhone and iPad as tools for making art. A number of the iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras are displayed on multiple screens, providing a spellbinding visual journey through the eyes of David Hockney. The exhibition reveals his emotional engagement with the landscape he knew in his youth, as he examines on a daily basis the changes in the seasons, the cycle of growth and variations in light conditions. Royal Academy until 9th April.

Her Maj: 60 Years Of Unofficial Portraits Of The Queen celebrates the Diamond Jubilee with a humorous history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. A gallery of royal portraits - affectionate, teasing, and at times downright unflattering - shows how Her Majesty's appearance in cartoons has undergone a striking transformation during the course of her reign. Until the 1950s it was accepted that the monarch could be referred to but never depicted. The exhibition follows the Queen as she emerges from near invisibility into cartoons that echo her portrait on coins and bank notes, then as Elizabeth I or Britannia, and finally as 'Liz' an 'ordinary housewife' in a headscarf. The greater openness of the 1960s led cartoonists to imagine what life was really like 'at home with the Windsors' in royal residences ankle deep in corgis. The ups and downs of family life, the indiscretions of her husband, the difficulties with her children and their spouses, and problems with the press, provided a rich vein of material for cartoonists, as did the question of the monarchy and public money. Many of the works reflect the fact that the Queen represents both the Monarchy and the State, and thus her actions can convey historic significance beyond that of any prime minister. The exhibition includes 80 works by over 30 cartoonists, including Steve Bell, Peter Brookes, Dave Brown, Michael Cummings, Fluck and Law, Stanley Frankin, Nicholas Garland, Carl Giles, Martin Honeysett, Nicola Jennings, John Jensen, Richard Jolley, MAC Ken Pyne, Martin Rowson, E H Shepard, Ralph Steadman and Wally Fawkes aka Trog. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russel Street, London WC1, until 8th April.

Landscape, Heroes And Folktales: German Romantic Prints And Drawings explores the visual arts in Germany of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a time of great cultural flowering, complemented by a growing sense of national identity. The Napoleonic wars in Europe caused economic ruin and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval structure which had held the loose conglomeration of German states and principalities together for centuries, causing German artists to seek a new identity. Some returned to the values and techniques of medieval and Renaissance art as part of this process, particularly striking in the draughtsmanship of Peter Cornelius, or the work of Friedrich Overbeck, whose composition, 'Italia and Germania', epitomised the mood of the period. Schnorr von Carolsfeld spent most of his life working on designs for an ambitiously illustrated 'Picture Bible', all deeply imbued with Raphael's style. The most striking prints of the period were made in the recently invented technique of lithography, such as the 'Portrait of the Eberhard brothers' by Johann Anton Ramboux, or the set of landscapes of days of the week showing views around Salzburg by Ferdinand Olivier. In contrast to Italianate classical views so typical of the 18th century, delicate studies of plants and trees and large prints and drawings of a rugged countryside reveal a much deeper interest in Germanic landscape. A group of wildlife watercolours by Wilhelm Tischbein are remarkable for their freshness, and etchings by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, show idyllic scenes of lovers in verdant woodland glades. The greatest and rarest of German romantic prints on view is 'The Four Times of Day' by Philipp Otto Runge. British Museum until 8th April.