News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th June 2011


Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond The Moulin Rouge brings together a group of paintings, posters and prints to celebrate the remarkable creative partnership that captured the excitement and spectacle of bohemian Paris, and has to come to define the world of the Moulin Rouge. Nicknamed 'La Melinite' after a powerful form of explosive, the dancer Jane Avril was one of the stars of the Moulin Rouge in the 1890s. Known for her alluring style and exotic persona, her fame was assured by a series of dazzling posters designed by the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Avril became an emblematic figure in Lautrec's world of dancers, cabaret singers, musicians and prostitutes. She was also a close friend of the artist and he painted a series of striking portraits of her. These go beyond Lautrec's exuberant poster images of the star performer, and give a more private account of Avril captured out of costume. In the strong, solid colours of lithograph prints, the showgirl icon appears in outrageous hats or with inky calves provocatively displayed. Off stage she is a pale faced, thoughtful and psychologically rounded individual in tender paintings. Highlights include the iconic painting 'At the Moulin Rouge', in which Avril is instantly recognisable by her red hair; 'Jane Avril in the Entrance to the Moulin Rouge', where she seems withdrawn, and far older than her 22 years; and 'Jane Avril leaving the Moulin Rouge', showing her as a passer-by, an elegant but anonymous and solitary figure; and the posters 'Jane Avril au Jardin de Paris', which was credited as launching her career; 'Divan Japonais', showing her in profile as a member of the audience; and 'Jane Avril', one of the last posters, showing her full length, with a snake coiling up her dress, animating her wild dance. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 18th September.

Riverside Museum is a spectacular £74m building designed by Zaha Hadid, covering 7,800sqm with no supporting columns, that provides an new home for Glasgow's transport collection. The development has a riverside location at Pointhouse Quay in Yorkhill, opposite Govan shipyard, where the Clyde meets the River Kelvin. It is the site of the former A & J Inglis Shipyard, close by the Harland & Wolff and Robert Napier yards, adjacent to the Glasgow Harbour development. For the first time the new building will allow the proper interpretation of Glasgow's maritime history, and is crammed with over 3,000 objects, from skateboards to locomotives, paintings to prams, velocipedes to voiturettes. Visitors can climb aboard some of the exhibits to get a feel for vintage public transport, with 4 steam locomotives, 3 trams, 2 subway cars, a train carriage and a bus. In addition, the 19th century sailing ship, the Glenlee, the only Clyde built Tall Ship in Britain, is moored outside, following a £1.5m refit. There are 3 re-created streets (with vehicles) that span the years from 1890 to 1980 with complete shops, including an Edwardian photography studio, a 1930s Italian Cafe, a 1960s garage and a subway station. Further highlights include the 'Wall of Cars', with some of the earliest motorcars built by Albion, Argyll and Arrol-Johnson; the 'hanging Bicycle Velodrome', including the world's oldest pedal bicycle; a collection of 159 model ships, including Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and QE2, all ships that were built on the Clyde; and Stanley Spencer's epic Clydeside murals from the Second World War. Accompanying the displays are the personal experiences, memories and stories of hundreds of Glasgow's inventors, paramedics, tram drivers, pilots, schoolchildren, cafe owners, clippies, firefighters, skateboarders, dancers, refugees, teenagers, racing champions and ship captains.

Out Of Australia: Prints And Drawings From Sidney Nolan To Rover Thomas focuses on Australian artists of the past 70 years through their graphic art. The exhibition comprises 126 works on paper by 60 artists and is arranged broadly chronologically. It begins in the 1940s, with the rise of the distinctive school of Australian artists known as the 'Angry Penguins', where Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester experimented with surrealism and expressionism. The influence of the Jewish 'enemy alien' refugee artists from Europe is traced through the work of Erwin Fabian, Klaus Friedeberger and former Bauhaus teacher Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, during and after their internment in Australia. Works by Australian artists in London and Paris during the 1950s and 1960s include Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, Robert Klippel, Brett Whiteley and Colin Lanceley. The examples from the 1960s and 1970s show the development of printmaking in Australia, with the landscape etchings of Fred Williams, the feminist works of Barbara Hanrahan and Bea Maddock, the figurative expressionism of George Baldessin, and the abstract metaphysical etchings of Roger Kemp. The 1980s and 1990s are represented through drawings by Dick Watkins, James Gleeson and Ken Whisson, with political and social issues expressed in the prints of Mike Parr, Ann Newmarch and Micky Allan, and the AIDS activist David McDiarmid. The exhibition concludes with works by contemporary artists including Brent Harris, Ricky Swallow and G W Bot, and prints by Indigenous Australian artists including Rover Thomas, Robert Cole, Pedro Wonaeamirri, Gloria Petyarre, Kitty Kantilla, Judy Watson and Dorothy Napangardi. British Museum until 11th September.


The Vorticists: Manifesto For A Modern World explores the avant-garde British art movement of the early 20th century. Led by painter Wyndham Lewis and named by American poet Ezra Pound, the Vorticist artists reacted against the culture of Edwardian England with a radical new aesthetic that embraced the maelstrom of the modern world. The exhibition celebrates the force and vitality of Vorticism by bringing together over 100 works, including paintings, sculptures and rarely seen photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn, claimed as the first ever abstract photographs. It goes beyond a purely British interpretation of Vorticism, highlighting the movement's connections with the American avant-garde in New York. Amidst dramatic social and political change, and rapidly developing technology, these artists observed the world around them as if from a vortex, the still centre of a chaotic modernity. With self-proclaimed leader Wyndham Lewis, Vorticism included sculptors Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Jacob Epstein, and painters William Roberts, Frederick Etchells and Edward Wadsworth, together with the less well known Jessica Dismorr, Dorothy Shakespear and Helen Saunders. The exhibition also includes the work of associated artists such as David Bomberg and C R W Nevinson. Among the highlights are Jacob Epstein's iconic sculpture 'Rock Drill'; the zig-zagging forms of David Bomberg's 'The Mud Bath'; Wyndham Lewis's 'The Crowd'; and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's monumental 'Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound'. The exhibition also highlights the literary presentations of the Vorticists' ideas, with the group's ground breaking journal 'BLAST No.1: Review of the Great English Vortex' and 'BLAST War Number: Review of the Great English Vortex', showing its powerful design, and literary contributions by T S Eliot, T E Hulme and Ford Madox Ford. Tate Britain until 4th September.

Secrets Beneath: Ancient Chinese Burial Practices And Beliefs reveals ancient Chinese burial practices during the Han dynasty, almost 2,000 years ago. Like the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Chinese believed in a life after death that was very similar to this world. To allow them to enjoy this afterlife, the rich and powerful members of China's ruling elite wished to have all of the comforts of their past life. During the Han dynasty elaborate burials included beautifully crafted bronze vessels for food and drink, together with models of servants, granaries and even farm animals. The body of the dead person might also be further protected with finely carved pieces of jade, a stone that was believed to have magical qualities. This exhibition showcases some of the beautifully crafted tomb goods from this period, ranging from bronze offering vessels to fine ceramics, and a solid jade burial mask. Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology, Durham, until 6th September.

Watch Me Move: The Animation Show presents the full range of animated imagery produced in the last 150 years. The exhibition brings together industry pioneers, independent film-makers and contemporary artists, including Eadward Muybridge, the Lumiere Brothers, Ray Harryhausen, Etienne-Jules Marey, Harry Smith, Jan Svankmajer, William Kentridge and Nathalie Djurberg, alongside the creative output of commercial studios such as Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Aardman, Studio Ghibli and Pixar. Cutting across generations and cultures, the show features over 170 works, from iconic clips to lesser-known masterpieces. Taking the viewer behind the dream world of the finished film, it includes puppets, stage sets, storyboard drawings, wire-frame visualisations, cel and background images. Transforming the gallery into an immersive environment, the exhibition is divided into 7 interconnected themes: Apparitions, focusing on the emergence of the animated image, from early scientific experiments with photography to computer generated imagery; Characters, presenting stars of the animated screen from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear; Superhumans, featuring individuals with extraordinary powers from Marvel and DC comics, plus Japanese manga; Fables, examining the interpretations of ancient myths, fables and fairy tales; Fragments, demonstrating the potential of animation to construct individual stories; Structures, looking at experiments with its most basic properties - form, sound, movement and duration; and Visions, showing how animation has moved into a whole new virtual sphere thanks to the realism of CGI technologies. A separate cinema is showing classic films of all ages. Barbican Gallery, London, until 11th September.

Pirates: The Captain Kidd Story explores the myths and mysteries surrounding common perceptions of 17th and 18th century pirates. The exhibition also examines English society of the period, looking at gruesome ritual executions (including that of Captain Kidd on 23rd May 1701 at Execution Dock in Wapping), and the manipulation of the East India Company. The story of Scottish privateer William 'Captain' Kidd helped to create much of the pirate mythology that has been handed down since the Golden Age of piracy. Kidd's legacy is found in every tale of buried treasure, and with his contemporaries in crime, such as Blackbeard, has inspired fictional characters from Long John Silver to Captain Jack Sparrow. The exhibition reveals the close connection between the pirates of the high seas and the London that funded their activities, as Kidd was enmeshed in intrigue that involved corrupt MPs and the East India Company. The exhibition shows the remarkable breadth of pirate treasure plundered from ships bound for London's luxury goods markets. Over 170 objects in the display include images of the Quedah Merchant ship wreck, the vessel that was captured by Kidd on 30th January 1698; a real pirate flag; original maps of the period; the Admiralty Marshall's Silver Oar; a gibbet cage; an original 1724 edition of Captain Johnson's 'History of the Pyrates'; Kidd's last letter - with the promise of hidden treasure; and an early 18th century cannon. There is also an audio-visual presentation about the history of screen pirates, including Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate, Errol Flynn in Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk, and of course, Robert Newton as Long John Silver. The Museum of London Docklands, until 30th October.

Ravilious In Essex features works painted by the watercolourist, illustrator and designer during the time he lived in Essex in the 1930s. Eric Ravilious had a particular talent for taking a relatively humdrum (if eccentric) subject, and making it an object of wonder. Rusting machinery, old trams, telegraph poles, iron fences, broken down cars and discarded farm equipment were all his favourites. Ravilious perfectly captured the timelessness of English village and rural life in the decade before the Second World War. This exhibition offers an opportunity to survey his development as a watercolourist, with paintings from his time in Great Bardfield: 'The Attic Bedroom' and 'Two Women in a Garden', Castle Hedingham: two different views of 'Hull's Mill' and 'Village Street', and Ironbridge: 'Ironbridge at Ewenbridge'. Other works include 'Butcher's Shop' and 'Tree Trunk and Wheel Barrow'. The paintings are accompanied by Ravilious's wood engravings, including book covers and other materials that have not been seen in half a century. There are even the wood blocks themselves, still ink-black and showing the signs of use. In addition, there is an opportunity to compare the designs Ravilious created for Wedgwood with the engravings and watercolours. Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, until 12th August.

The Government Art Collection: At Work is the first in a sequence of 5 exhibitions providing an opportunity for the public to see a selection of works from the Collection for the first time. The Government Art Collection's 13,600 works dating from the 16th century to the present day are shown in 450 embassies and government buildings worldwide. The diverse nature of the Collection, and its role promoting British culture on the world stage, is open to public scrutiny in Britain after 113 years. Special guests selectors who have a close connection with the artworks, from leading political figures to staff who see works from the Collection every day, have chosen works revealing hidden stories. Among these, Peter Mandelson has selected a 16th century portrait of Elizabeth I by an anonymous painter; Samantha Cameron has chosen LS Lowry's 'Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook' with matchstick figures shown at play at a country fair; Lord Boateng has picked 'Peas are the New Beans' by Bob and Roberta Smith, a humorous comment on accountancy; Dame Anne Pringle, British Ambassador to Moscow, has plumped for Derek Boshier's contribution to 1960s British Pop Art, 'I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race'; and Nick Clegg has opted for 'Tea' by academician David Tindle, a little known painter of still lifes and landscapes in washed-out hues. Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 2nd September.


The Cult Of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860 - 1900 celebrates the first artistic movement to inspire an entire lifestyle, prizing the importance of art and the pleasure of beautiful things above all else. Comprising over 250 objects, this exhibition gathers many of the greatest masterpieces in painting together with sculpture, design, furniture and architecture, as well as fashion and literature of the era. Aestheticism was a British movement born as a reaction to the art and ideas of the Victorian establishment. The display traces its development from the romantic bohemianism of a small avant-garde circle in the 1860s to a cultural phenomenon. The style was characterised by a widespread use of motifs such as the lily, the sunflower and the peacock feather, drawing on sources as diverse as Ancient Greek art and modern day Japan, which had just been opened up to the West. Aestheticism created an unprecedented public fascination in the lives of artists, and the exhibition explores the dazzling array of personalities in the group, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Oscar Wilde. The clear artistic ideal that emerged from the confusion of styles in the mid 19th century was the 'cult of beauty' that brought together the Pre-Raphaelite bohemians like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, maverick figures such as James McNeill Whistler, and the painters of grand, classical subjects like Frederic Leighton and G F Watts. These painters created an entirely new type of beauty, where mood, colour and harmony were more important than the subject. The public became mesmerised by the extravagant dress and the homes or 'Palaces of Art' of figures like Leighton and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The exquisite interiors and collections within these houses inspired aristocrats, intellectuals and entrepreneurs across the country to reproduce a similar style in their own homes. A number of setpieces within the exhibition evoke interiors of the day, such as the celebrated Grosvenor Gallery exhibition, Whistler's Peacock Room and Rossetti's bedroom in Chelsea. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th July.

Facade examines the key design feature in architecture - the identity, or face, of a building. The exhibition explores through artists' and architects' work, how facades can be used to both reveal and conceal, and often what, upon closer scrutiny, lies beneath the surface: the tension between appearance and reality. One of the most striking architectural developments over the last 50 years has been the increasing presence of glass facades, which have become all but ubiquitous, at least in larger towns and cities, affecting both the environment and people's lives. Firstly shops, then offices, and more recently apartment blocks have been clad increasingly in ever greater expanses of glazing. The exhibition explores some of the origins of this in the radical writings and architecture from around 1910 onwards, the subsequent development of glass technologies, and the range of its manifestations and effects since. It also throws this seeming 'triumph of transparency' into relief, by contrasting it with its inverse, the blank, dark or broken/blind facade in architecture. Reflecting contemporary developments, it looks at how new glazed-facade technology seems to metamorphose between the transparent and the opaque, hinting at a more ambiguous play between material surface and its depth - what lies beneath. Artists and architects whose work is featured include: Alexander Apostol, Foster + Partners, Gelitin, Gregor Schneider, Ian Kiaer, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Michael Raedecker, Mossessian and Partners, Ola Kohlemainen, Phil Coy, Sauerbruch Hutton, Heike Klussmann and Thorsten Klooster. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 10th July.

Afghanistan: Crossroads Of The Ancient World features some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Afghanistan, with precious and unique pieces on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, which currently undergoing reconstruction. The geographical position, overland connections and history ensured that Afghanistan, at the centre of the Silk Road, enjoyed close relations with its neighbours in Central Asia, Iran, India and China, as well as more distant cultures stretching as far as the Mediterranean. The exhibition features over 200 stunning objects, ranging from Classical sculptures, polychrome ivory inlays originally attached to imported Indian furniture, enamelled Roman glass and polished stone tableware brought from Egypt, to delicate inlaid gold personal ornaments worn by the nomadic elite. Together they showcase the trading and cultural connections of Afghanistan and how it benefited from being at the crossroads of the ancient world. All of these objects were found between 1937 and 1978 and were feared to have been lost following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the civil war which followed, and the rule of the Taliban. The earliest objects in the exhibition are part of a treasure found at the site of Tepe Fullol, which dates to 2000 BC, representing the oldest gold objects found in Afghanistan, showing how it was already connected by trade with urban civilisations in ancient Iran and Iraq. The later finds come from three additional sites, dating between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD. These are Ai Khanum, a Hellenistic Greek city on the Oxus river and on the modern border with Tajikistan; Begram, a capital of the local Kushan dynasty, whose rule extended from Afghanistan into India; and Tillya Tepe, (Hill of Gold), the find spot of an elite nomadic cemetery. British Museum until 3rd July.