News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th November 2007

Commencing

Launchpad, the 'hands on' gallery has had a £4m makeover, relocating it to an area of 1,200sqm, one third larger than the existing space. Over 50 sophisticated interactive exhibits and devices built specifically for the gallery, aim to excite, inspire and engage children in the fundamental principles of science and technology. They are a combination of updated 'classics' from the previous gallery, world firsts created by designers and technicians from the Science Museum and around the world, and new installations inspired by existing pieces previously unseen in Britain. The gallery is particularly aimed at 8-14 year olds, although provision has also been made for younger children as well. It introduces young visitors to the principles of electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, energy transfer, light, sound and materials. New exhibits include 'Water Rocket', which launches a plastic bottle 30m across the gallery using air pressure; 'Big Machine', a 4m high reinvention of the 'Grain Pit' exhibit, where visitors combine forces by pulling levers and pulleys to demonstrate mechanical advantage; 'Sound Bite', which invites visitors to turn their own head into a sound box by biting vibrating posts to hear 'unheard' messages; 'Icy Bodies', where spinning dry ice pellets turn into jets of gas making patterns in water; and 'Social Light', allowing visitors to manipulate their own shadow to reflect laser beams or create rainbows, which can then be captured as a unique artwork and emailed to friends. Science Museum, London, continuing.

Millscapes: Art Of The Industrial Landscape looks at the industrial architecture of the North West, from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, when mills, and the canal systems, aqueducts, warehouses and streets of terraced housing built with them, completely transformed the landscape, through the decline after the Second World War, to today's changing skylines. Paintings of early water powered mills in rural settings contrast with images of those built on the edge of urban developments, and dark, smoggy industrial landscapes, seen in French Impressionist Pierre Adolphe Valette's 'Bailey Bridge, Manchester', and James Purdy's view of 'Millbottom,' Oldham', together with works by unknown artists, including 'Lowerhouse Printworks, Burnley' and 'Frenches Mill, Saddleworth'. Paintings from the 1930s and 1940s include 'Our Town' and 'Street Scene' by LS Lowry, the rigid lines and smoking chimneys providing a stark contrast to Harry Rutherford's cheerful and informal 'Mill Girls, Ashton'. By the 1980s, over half of the mills and cloth-finishing works in Greater Manchester had been demolished or were derelict, and the subsequent regeneration is captured in Liam Spencer's 'Rooftops' and 'The End of the Mancunian Way', Peter Stanaway's 'Now the Mill Has Gone', Walter Kershaw's 'Mutual Mills Reflections', Alan Rankle's 'Saddleworth Study: Uppermill' and David Gledhill's 'Old Mill Street'. Gallery Oldham until 2nd February.

The Age Of Enchantment: Beardsley, Dulac And Their Contemporaries 1890-1930 marks the dramatic change in the world of the illustrated book that occurred following the death of Aubrey Beardsley. The 'degenerate' images of scandal and deviance disappeared, as the age of decadence was softened to delight rather than to shock. Whimsy and a pastel toned world of childish delights and an innocent exoticism unfolded in the pages of familiar fables and children's stories, such as The Arabian Nights and Hans Andersen's tales, published with lavish colour plates. A new generation of illustrators emerged, led by the masters of this new art form, artists Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielson and Arthur Rackham, followed by Jessie King, Annie French, the Detmold Brothers, Sidney Sime, Laurence Houseman, Charles Ricketts and Harry Clarke. The exhibition comprises over 100 works arranged by theme: the Exotic, the Arabian World, the Chinese World, Greeks and Romans, Fairies and Monsters. Among the many highlights are Beardsley's 'Salome', 'Le Morte d'Arthur' and 'The Rape of the Lock'; Dulac's 'Circe' and 'The Ice Maiden'; Rackham's 'Lizzie, Lizzie, Have You Tasted for My Sake the Fruit Forbidden'; Clarke's 'The Pit and the Pendulum; and plates from 'the Detmold's 'The Jungle Book' and Sime's 'Zoology'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 2nd February.

Continuing

London Transport Museum is reopening after a two year, £22m refurbishment, redesign and extension project, introducing a new upper level. This has seen hundreds of objects from cap badges to a steam locomotive removed to storage, while the building was conserved and redeveloped, and then returned, along with 1,000 additional objects. The new galleries tell the story of the development of London, its transport systems, and the people who travelled and worked on them, over the last 200 years. All modes of transport are now covered - walking, cycling, taxis and river transport as well as buses, trams and the underground. The displays also feature original artworks and advertising posters, and explore the extraordinary design heritage of London's transport system, as well as London transport at war, and the expansion of the capital during the 20th century through the development of the underground. In addition to exploring the past, the new displays also look at future transport developments and how transport has shaped five other world cities: Delhi, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Museum Sketchbook: The Watercolours And Sketches Of Bruce Rowling documents the refurbishment process through the eyes of artist Bruce Rowling, with his sketchbooks and watercolours describing in detail the week to week activities, as the museum was dismantled, rebuilt and then reassembled, supplemented by finds from archaeological investigations, photographs and video.

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, continuing.

Hand, Heart and Soul: The Arts And Craft Movement In Scotland looks at developments in art, architecture and design across Scotland between 1880 and 1939. It examines how Arts and Crafts artist-designers changed perceptions about the place of art in Scottish society. Hand, Heart and Soul refers to the three characteristics of the movement. The Hand is that of the designer of maker in an age of increasing mechanisation. The Heart is a reference to the commitment the practitioners showed to their art and to the wider needs of society. The Soul is a reference to the commonly held sense of Celtic identity and tradition. Through the furnishing of public buildings, exhibitions, church craft and home design, it aimed to restore beauty to everyday experience. This found expression in such diverse fields as furniture, textiles, jewellery and metalwork, glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, mural decoration and architectural design and crafts. Exhibits include Charles Rennie Mackintosh's stained glass window design for the Glasgow School of Art, depicting a scene from the story of Tristan and Isolde; Phoebe Anna Traquair's embroidered triptych 'The Savoir of Mankind'; a gold and enamel cup set with amethysts by Helena Mary Ibbotson; Francis Henry Newbery's painting 'Daydreams', which unusually depicts a contemporary female figure; a richly decorated plate and dish by Elizabeth Amour Watson's Bough Studio; and videos and photographs of buildings, such as Skirling House, designed by Ramsey Traquair, and Mackintosh's Hill House in Helensburgh. Millennium Galleries, Sheffield until 20th January.

Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes features paintings of the female nude produced by Walter Sickert in and around Camden Town between 1905 and 1912, which are among his most significant contributions to 20th century British art. The exhibition brings together over 25 of the artist's finest canvases and related drawings, to provide the first major account of his reinvention of the nude as a subject for modern painting. It explores the ways in which Sickert developed an uncompromisingly realist approach to the nude, in order to address major social and artistic concerns of the early 20th century. Rather than the familiar treatment of the unclothed figure as an abstracted ideal of beauty, Sickert's nudes appeared to be naked women in real contemporary settings. His four famously enigmatic Camden Town Murder paintings are brought together for the first time, as the most powerful expression of his fascination with the darker aspects of urban life in Edwardian London. They are accompanied by a selection of working drawings for these paintings that reveal Sickert's remarkable practice of exploring different narrative possibilities before arriving at the final image. Other highlights include 'La Hollandaise', 'The Iron Bedstead', 'Mornington Crescent Nude' and 'The Studio: The Painting of a Nude' in which his studio is the subject of the work itself, with his own arm shown cutting across the foreground of the composition, caught in the act of painting. The Courtauld Gallery, London until 20th January.

Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs see the return of treasures from the 3,000 year old tombs in Valley of The Kings in Egypt for the first time since 1977 at the British Museum, Britain's first blockbuster show. The new exhibition, twice the size of earlier one, includes some 130 treasures from the royal burial chambers, many of which have never before travelled outside Egypt, although the famous gold and blue mask is not among them. There are however, many splendid artefacts, including Tutankhamun's golden diadem, the gold crown that encircled the head of his mummified body; the gold and precious stone inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his internal organs; a golden statue of Duamutef, responsible for protecting the mummified body; an inscribed ivory game board for 'senet', associated with life and the afterlife; a gold ceremonial dagger and sheath found in the mummy wrappings to protect him during his journey to 'The Fields of the Blessed'; a blue glass headrest, inscribed with a protective spell; some of the 365 gilded and painted wood Shabiti workman figures (one for every day of the year) placed at the king's bidding; together with Tutankhamun's child-sized ebony, ivory, and gold throne; and gold coffins and funerary masks and objects belonging to other Pharaohs. A special section of the exhibition explores the mystery of Tutankhamun's death, using CT scanning technology, and a life-sized bust, made using data from these scans, allows visitors see the face of the young Pharaoh for the first time. The Bubble at The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10, until 30th August.

Back To The Future: Sir Basil Spence 1907 - 1976 is a retrospective of the eclectic career of the architect who, in the post Second World War building boom alone, designed a nuclear power station, an airport, the first of the 'new' universities and a cathedral, amongst many other projects - all of which looked forward to their users' future needs. The exhibition comprises over 200 works, with materials from the Spence archive, many never previously seen by the public. The show features a wide selection of original drawings, sketch books, designs and models, together with samples of materials and artefacts recovered from the projects, as well as period films showing the buildings in their original condition, giving a complete picture of Spence's design process. Among the projects featured are the university of Sussex in Brighton; the Household Cavalry Barracks in Knightsbridge; the extension to the parliament building in Wellington, New Zealand; pavilions at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow 1938 and Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada; individual country houses together with landmark housing schemes in the Gorbals in Glasgow and Canongate in Edinburgh; libraries at the University of Edinburgh and Swiss Cottage in London; and Coventry Cathedral, with related artworks by Jacob Epstein, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 10th February.

The Painting Of Modern Life is the first major survey exploring the use and translation of photographic imagery, one of the most influential developments in the last 50 years of contemporary painting. The exhibition comprises some 100 paintings by 22 artists, displayed chronologically. Beginning in the 1960s, when artists such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Richard Artschweger began making paintings that translated photographic images taken from newspapers, advertisements and snapshots, it shows how photography has influenced not just the content, but also the technique of painting. The widespread use of monochrome by painters such as Vija Celmins and Luc Tuymans, Richter's use of a wet brush to 'blur' paintings and his meticulous reproduction of a flashbulb light, and snapshot like white boarders framing the works of Richard Hamilton and Malcolm Morley, all deliberately alluded to photography, while David Hockney and Franz Gertsch drew on their own photographs. Highlights include: Andy Warhol's 'Race Riot' and Big Electric Chair'; Gerhard Richter's grieving Jackie Kennedy in 'Woman with Umbrella'; David Hockney's portrait of Ossie Clarke and Peter Schlesinger, 'Le Park des Sources, Vichy'; Richard Hamilton's 'Swingeing London', with Mick Jagger under arrest for drugs possession; Elizabeth Peyton's 'new royalty' in 'Mendips' and 'Arsenal, (Prince Harry)'; and Peter Doig's 'Lapeyrouse Wall' painted from a camera phone image. Hayward Gallery until 30th December.

Concluding

Objects Of Instruction: Treasures Of The School Of Oriental And African Studies launches a new gallery featuring the School's rich but little known artistic and archival collections, bringing together a broad range of interesting and beautiful objects from across Asia and Africa. The show is divided into five geographical areas: East and South East Asia, South Asia, the Himalayas, the Middle East and Africa, together with a section on 'European views of Asia and Africa', reflecting the 'Orientalist' perspectives of early explorers and traders. Among this wealth of material are illustrated Islamic manuscripts, from Persia, Armenia, Crimea, Turkey and India, with gold leaf and lapis lazuli dye, including a luxurious Mughal copy of the Anvar-i Suhayli, a book of animal fables; Chinese and Japanese paintings and prints; many lavishly illustrated books, including one with oriental drawings of animals, and a Sumatran 'book of magic'; varied ceramic objects from the Middle East and East Asia, including from Ming dynasty China; decorative Buddhist manuscripts and sculptures from South-East Asia, including a Khmer stone lion sculpture from Cambodia, and a 200 year old alabaster sculpture of seated Buddha, once the property of King Thibaw of Burma; newly restored 18th century Tibetan silk hangings donated by the 14th Dalai Lama; contemporary African paintings and textiles; and important archaeological collections from East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London until 15th December.

The Naked Portrait is the first exhibition to focus on 'naked portraiture' as a strand in the art of the last century. The title is borrowed from Lucian Freud, who has used it for many of his paintings. In contrast to the wider genre of the 'nude', naked portraiture engages with the specific identity of an individual sitter, subverting portraiture's usual concerns with social facade, status and self-image. This exhibition brings together many of the most significant artists of the last century, and features over 160 examples of the genre, embracing painting, photography and sculpture, through the work of over 70 artists from Pierre Bonnard to Tracey Emin. By revealing the widespread interest in naked portraiture as a subject throughout the period depicted, the exhibition also examines the rapidly changing cultural and moral landscape of the last century. It includes paintings by Francis Bacon, Vanessa Bell, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Saville and Stanley Spencer; photographs by David Bailey, Helen Chadwick, John Coplans, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Boris Mikhailov, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Wolfgang Tillmans and Sam Taylor-Wood; and sculpture by Dan Brown, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marc Quinn and Auguste Rodin. Themes within the exhibition challenge the received notions of ideal physical beauty, age identity, the artistic exploration of love and desire, the projection of 'otherness' in terms of social class, race, or celebrity, and the fundamentals of the human ageing process and mortality. The exhibition features portraits of both well known subjects, such as Linford Christie, Germaine Greer, Dustin Hoffman, Christine Keeler, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolf Nureyev, Georgia O'Keefe and Charlotte Rampling, and uncelebrated subjects, known intimately only by the artists. Many of the images also represent the artists themselves. Compton Verney, Warwickshire until 9th December.

Lawrence Weiner: Inherent In The Rhumb Line explores the concept underpinning maritime navigation. On a flat surface, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points while maintaining a constant direction, however, on the curved surface of the Earth, these two properties cannot be true at the same time. The rhumb line is the path of constant compass direction, potentially continuing into infinity. In the 16th century, Gerald Mercator's revolutionary mathematical flat projection made rhumb lines the easiest way to steer from one place to another. It distorts the size of the land masses and shows rhumb lines crossing the meridians at a constant angle, although, were a rhumb line followed around the globe a spiral course would be traced. Lawrence Weiner is a poet painter who takes fragments of stories, slogans and poems, and presents them as cryptic clues. These have been written on the walls inside and outside the gallery, as well as taking the form of spoken words and printed matter. In this exhibition Weiner proposes a method that uses the rhumb line to lose, rather than find, one's way. Shown beside Weiner's film 'Inherent In The Rhumb Line' are the words to an old sea shanty, alluding to the freedom of the seas and navigating over the bounding main. This song has been handed down, passed around, reinterpreted and repeated, with each version different from, but as true as, the next. Twelve drawings also punctuate the gallery spaces in reproduced form, and as with map making, each reproduction produces distortion. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 9th December.