News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th November 2012


Ansel Adams: Photography From The Mountains To The Sea features the work of one of the most popular and influential photographers in American history. Ansel Adams was a photographic pioneer, who brought the American wilderness into the homes of millions with his spectacular images of rugged and romantic landscapes. This is the first exhibition to focus on Adams's lifelong fascination with water in all its forms, combining some of the most famous photographs of the 20th century with lesser-known examples, providing a new context for enjoying this important artist and his legacy. It includes images of crashing waterfalls, dramatic rapids and geysers, placid ponds, raging rivers and beautiful icescapes. Fluid, ephemeral, and unpredictable, Adams returned to water throughout his career, and this selection traces his development from a young boy taking holiday snaps to one of the most accomplished image makers of modern times. It shows his progress from an early 'Pictorialist' style, towards a distinctly Modernist approach, demonstrated through his use of techniques such as sharp focus, seriality, and sequence. Highlights include the very first photograph Adams ever made at the age of 14, featuring a watery pool at the Panama Pacific Exhibition of the 1915 World's Fair; the three American Trust murals, produced in the 1950s on an unprecedented scale, and testament to his technical innovation; Adams's favourite work, 'Golden Gate before the Bridge'; and the iconic images 'Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite' and 'Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California'. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 28th April.

Robin Ironside: Neo-Romantic Visionary is a retrospective of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the mid 20th century, who has now been almost forgotten. Robin Ironside was a painter, illustrator, designer, writer and curator. Exquisite and intricate, his remarkable paintings draw upon many sources of inspiration, from art and architecture to music and poetry, and his use of hallucinogenic drugs. Completely self-taught, Ironside saw his paintings as belonging to the imaginative tradition of British art. Elegant and learned, witty and melancholic, eccentric and obsessive, Ironside was as extraordinary as his art, whose emotional spectrum ranges from sensual delight to anxiety and death. The subjects of his pictures, which owed a lot to John Piper, John Martin and classical sculpture, were nearly all imaginary, usually with literary, scholarly or classical themes, and often executed with a magnifying glass. Many of his works contain a young male protagonist who is probably based in part on himself. In the 1940s and 50s Ironside worked as a designer for ballet and opera at the Royal Opera House, and his understanding of set design is evident in the architectural spaces of some of his other paintings, which could almost be a design for a stage set, due to the theatrical framing of the space. The exhibition is comprised of nearly 70 items, with paintings spanning his entire career, together with representative selections of his theatre designs, book illustrations, other designs and publications. Grosvenor Museum, Chester, until 6th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, returns as the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice and snow sculpture experience; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Cirque Berserk featuring a Globe of Death; a double decker carousel and other traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Star Flyer, Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.


Mughal India: Art, Culture And Empire explores one of the most powerful and splendid of all the world's great dynasties. The 'Great Mogul' seated on a jewel-encrusted throne is one of the most enduring images of India. The Mughal dynasty produced a great number of rulers of outstanding ability in statecraft and culture, whether in empire-building or as patrons of art and architecture. This exhibition is the first to document the entire historical period, from the foundation of the Mughal dynasty by Babur in the 16th century, through the heights of the empire and the 'Great' Mughal emperors of the 17th century, into the decline and eventual collapse in the 19th century, through more than 200 manuscripts, paintings and jeweled objects. Highlights include the paintings 'Akbar ordering the slaughter to cease in 1578' a folio from an imperial manuscript on the history of Emperor Akbar, one of the greatest rulers of the Indian subcontinent; 'Squirrels in a plane tree', an iconic masterpiece painted by Abu'l Hasan, a pre-eminent artist of the imperial court; 'Prince Aurangzeb reports to Emperor Shah Jahan in durbar', a historically important illustration featuring the Emperor famed for commissioning the Taj Mahal, enthroned inside his palace fortress at Lahore; and 'Portrait of Prince Dara Shikoh', featured in the only surviving album compiled by Dara Shikoh, a passionate connoisseur of the arts and scholar of religion; plus a gold crown, inset with diamonds, emeralds, turquoises, rubies, and pearls, lined with velvet, bought by Queen Victoria 1861; a jade flywhisk handle or morchhal, set with rubies and emeralds in gold collets to form flowers and leaves; and 17th century Mughal cavalryman and horse armour. British Library until 2nd April.

Illuminated looks at 'light', both as an influence, as it is incorporated through artists work, and in a metaphorical sense. The exhibition features artists who incorporate sculptural, photographic, and metaphorical light in their work, often using scientific methodologies and influences, as well as artists who produce work that is in some way transformative, or suggests a change in either an object or within the human spirit or psyche. It includes a preparatory drawing for 'The Alchymist' by Joseph Wright of Derby; David Batchelor's sculptural installations, made from objects found in the streets of London and given new life as empty but brightly coloured light works; Katie Paterson's film 'Ancient Darkness TV', a collaboration with astronomers from the Mauna Kea Volcano telescope, featuring an image of 'ancient darkness' from the furthest point of the observed universe, 13.2 billion years ago, shortly after the Big Bang and before Earth existed, when stars, galaxies and the first light began to form; David Ward's 'RINK', with imagery from scientific sources, such as astronomy and line generated by particle collisions in the study of particle physics; and 'Brilliant Noise' by Semiconductor, a film based on satellite files and imagery of the Sun from NASA. QUAD, Derby, until 3rd February.

Northern Renaissance: Durer To Holbein celebrates the Renaissance in northern Europe, the counterpart to the revolution in art and scholarship that took place in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. While monarchs vied for territorial power, reformers questioned the central tenets of Christian faith, and scholars sought greater understanding of their world. At the heart of this new thinking was the challenge to the teachings of the Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther. Artists responded by turning from emotive devotional subject matter to portraiture and mythology, producing works of ingenuity, beauty and superb technical skill. The exhibition comprises over 130 paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, miniatures and sculptures. Among the highlights are Durer's 'The Apocalypse: The Four Horsemen', 'The Prodigal Son', 'Pupila Augusta', 'A Knight, Death and the Devil', 'St Jerome in his Study', 'Burkhard of Speyer' and 'Desiderius Erasmus'; Leonardo da Vinci's 'A masquerader as a Lansquenet'; Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents'; Jan Gossaert's 'Adam and Eve'; Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Apollo and Diana'; Hans Holbein the Younger's 'Noli me Tangere', the preparatory pencil drawing for and painting 'Sir Henry Guildford', 'Sir Richard Southwell' and 'Derich Born'; and Francois Clouet's 'Mary, Queen of Scots'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 14th April.

Death: A Self Portrait - The Richard Harris Collection is a selection of works from a unique collection devoted to the iconography of death and our complex and contradictory attitudes towards it. Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer based in Chicago, the collection is spectacularly diverse, including artworks, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera from across the world. The exhibition of some 300 works, by turns disturbing, macabre and moving, includes rare prints by Rembrandt, Durer and Goya; anatomical drawings; war art and antique metamorphic postcards; human remains; Renaissance vanitas paintings; a group of ancient Incan skulls; 20th century installations celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead; and a spectacular chandelier made of 3000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey. Contemplating Death explores the pressing of our own mortality upon us, through memento mori which range across media and centuries to include works by Warhol, van Utrecht and Mapplethorpe, together with netsuke miniatures and porcelain, bronze and ivory skulls. The Dance Of Death focuses on the levelling universality of death, from the iconography of the medieval 'Danse Macabre', which emerged in a landscape of plague, famine and war, to the entwined skeletons who dance through Tibetan Chitipati art. Violent Death is dominated by Jacques Callot's 'The Miseries and Misfortunes of War', Francisco Goya's 'The Disasters of War' and Otto Dix's 'The War', works of chaos, brutality and, more troublingly, aesthetic beauty. Commemoration follows some of the varied rituals around death, burial and mourning, from a Pacific Island tau tau, or grave guardian, and pre-Colombian Aztec vessels to American photographs of individuals posing with macabre props. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road London NW1, until 24th February.

Biba And Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki celebrates the legendary 1960s store, the clothes, the lifestyle and the far reaching influence of the iconic brand. In addition to the Biba 'lifestyle', the exhibition also looks at the life and times of the charismatic and talented woman behind the Biba label, Barbara Hulanicki, including her earlier career in fashion illustration, and her later achievements in interior design and architecture. With its cutting edge yet affordable fashion, Barbara Hulanicki's Biba store and label transformed the High Street shopping experience in the 1960s and 70s. Young working women shopped alongside models and celebrities, including Cathy McGowan, Twiggy, Cher and the Rolling Stones. Art Deco, Victorian and Hollywood glamour all combined in striking, romantic and sensual designs. Biba began as a tiny boutique in Church Street in Kensington that opened in 1964, but eventually overreached itself by taking over the former Derry and Toms department store, 9 times the size of the original, with Egyptian columns, Edwardian fashion styles, Victoriana and marble floors - a wonderland that attempted to embrace an entire lifestyle, even down to cans of baked beans, generating 100,000 visitors a week (although many only came to stand and stare). The exhibition tells the extraordinary story through illustrations, film, fashion, music, photography, ephemera and the memories and reminiscences of those who shared the experience. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 14th April.

Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision features a remarkable but forgotten group of large-scale narrative paintings produced in the 1640s and 1650s by England's leading painter of the time. Peter Lely was Charles II's Principal Painter and the outstanding artistic figure of Restoration England. Since the 17th century, he has been celebrated for his flattering pictures of the great and the beautiful of Charles II's court. However, when Lely arrived in England from Holland in the early 1640s, he devoted himself to paintings inspired by classical mythology, the Bible or contemporary literature. Often depicting a sensuous pastoral world of shepherds, nymphs and musicians in idyllic landscapes, these ambitious pictures are all the more extraordinary for having been painted during the turmoil of the English Civil War and its aftermath. Among the highlights of the exhibition are 'The Concert', featuring a self-portrait of the artist as the striking viol player who holds the picture aesthetically and thematically together, 'Nymphs by a Fountain', 'The Rape of Europa', 'Cimon and Iphigenia', 'Two Children Singing' and 'A Boy as a Shepherd'. Lely was an enthusiastic collector, and by the end of his life had amassed one of England's richest collections of 16th and 17th century Italian paintings and drawings, several examples of which are included in the exhibition. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 13th January.


Art Of Change: New Directions From China is the first major exhibition in Britain to focus solely on contemporary installation and performance art from China. It brings together works by some of the country's most innovative artists and artist groups from the 1980s to today: Chen Zhen, Yingmei Duan, Gu Dexin, MadeIn Company, Liang Shaoji, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu , Wang Jianwei and Xu Zhen. Comprising 40 works, the exhibition features significant early examples of the artists' work, alongside recent pieces and new commissions. Change, and the acceptance that everything is subject to change, is deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy. The exhibition features works that deal with transformation, instability and impermanence, looking at how these themes are conveyed through action or materials. Highlights include: Chen Zhen's 'Purification Room', where everyday items such as a bed, chair, refrigerator and TV are collected together and covered in a layer of mud, which dries, cracks and changes its colour in a sort of archaeology of the future; Liang Shaoji's 'Nature Series', choreographing the activities of silkworms and exploring all the phases of their lives from birth to death, causing them to weave their silk webs around sculptural objects such as hanging chains and tiny, individually-made beds; and Xu Zhen's 'In the Blink of an Eye', which presents a human floating freely in the gallery space (how he achieves this remains a mystery). Hayward Gallery until 9th December.

Happy Birthday, Mr Punch celebrates the 350th anniversary of the first recorded sighting in Britain of a Punch And Judy show, in Covent Garden, as mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his diary. It is an exhibition of two parts. Punch Professors In England is a collection of photographs by Tom Hunter of contemporary Punch practitioners, known since Victorian times as 'Professors', who for generations have brought the story of Punch and Judy to life with their wit and personality. These portraits depict each Professor with their booth, expressing their highly individual approaches to their appearance and performance in quintessentially English settings. From the oldest Punch and Judy man in the Britain (who is, in fact, a woman) to a father and daughter Punch and Judy team, these images reveal the unique characters who keep the tradition alive. Each Punch and Judy booth is uniquely decorated and adorned with a beautiful hand painted stage drop, making each one an artwork in its own right, with its own history and tradition. That's The Way To Do It! is a display that delves into Punch's theatrical origins as the charismatic 16th century Italian character Pulcinella, looking at his influence on popular culture and his development into the comedian of the seaside booth we know today. Objects include historic Punch and Judy puppets; Mr Gus Wood's booth, dating from 1912; prints and posters; and the first ever photograph of a Punch and Judy show being watched from 1860. Museum Of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2, until 9th December.

Bronze celebrates the historical, geographical and stylistic range of art's most enduring medium. The exhibition brings together outstanding works from the earliest times to the present in a thematic arrangement, with works spanning over 5,000 years, including Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, and rare survivals from the Medieval period. It features over 150 of the finest bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe, and includes important discoveries from the Mediterranean, as well as archaeological excavations, many of which have not been seen in Britain before. Different sections focus on the Human Figure, Animals, Groups, Objects, Reliefs, Gods, Heads and Busts. Among the earliest works in the exhibition are the 14th century BC bronze and gold 'Chariot of the Sun'; a Chinese 'Elephant-shaped vessel', from the Shang Dynasty; and the masterpiece of Etruscan art, the 'Chimera of Arezzo'. The Renaissance is represented Ghiberti's 'St Stephen'; Rustici's monumental ensemble of 'St John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee'; Cellini's modello for 'Perseus'; and works of Donatello; and later, De Vries's relief of 'Vulcan's Forge'; together with works by Giambologna, De Vries and others. Rodin's 'The Age of Bronze'; Matisse's series of four 'Back Reliefs'; Brancusi's 'Danaide', Picasso's 'Baboon and Young'; and works by Moore, Bourgeois and Koons are representative of the best from the 19th century to today. Due to its inherent toughness and resistance, bronze's uses over the centuries have been remarkably varied. A section of the exhibition is devoted to the complex processes involved in making bronzes, exploring how models are made, cast and finished by a variety of different techniques. Royal Academy of Arts until 9th December.