News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th September 2010


Diaghilev And The Golden Age Of The Ballets Russes 1909 - 1929 explores the world of the influential artistic director and the most exciting dance company of the 20th century, who combined dance, music and art in bold ways to create 'total theatre'. Diaghilev's dedication to pushing boundaries, and collaborating with the best designers, choreographers and artists, transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. The exhibition includes more than 300 objects, including giant backcloths, original costumes, set designs, props, posters, programmes, photographs, art, film and sound, which bring the energy of the Ballets Russes' performances to life. Among the highlights are: Picasso's huge front cloth for 'Le Train Bleu', dedicated and signed, as well as a costume he designed for 'Parade'; the costume for Modest Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godonov' worn by Feodor Chaliapin; the turban for 'Le Pavillon d'Armide' and the gold and pearl tunic from 'Le Festin', worn by Vaslav Nijinsky, alongside sculptures of him by Auguste Rodin and by Una Troubridge; 9 costumes designed by Nicolas Roerich for 'The Rite Of Spring', which caused a riot in the aisles at its first performance in Paris; Nijinsky's notation for 'L'Apres-midi d'un faune', on display for the first time as it was intended to be read, and the musical score for Stravinsky's 'Pulcinella'; the designs for the original production of 'The Firebird', including the actual backcloth; and costumes by artist collaborators Leon Bakst, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau, Joan Miro and Marie Laurencin. A specially created film features composer Howard Goodall explaining the development of music that accompanied the Ballets Russes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 9th January.

The Pre-Raphaelites And Italy challenges what is known about the influence of Italy - its culture, landscape, and history - on one of Britain's most significant and enduringly popular art movements. In re-examining their early years, the exhibition aims to shed new light on the artists who emerged as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the 1850s. From the influence of the movement's champion, John Ruskin, one of Italy's most dedicated tourists, to their illustrations of early Italian art and literature, the exhibition explores the idea of Italy itself, a place which captured the imagination of a whole generation of British men and women, and which was the source of such varied artistic responses. The exhibition brings together over 140 pictures, including works by John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais, William Holman Hunt, John Brett and Edward Burne-Jones. Highlights include Rosetti's 'Monna Vanna', 'Dante Drawing an Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice's Death' and 'Borgia Family'; Ruskin's Venetian architectural drawings; Burne-Jones's 'The Fall of Lucifer' and drawings for the mosaics of the American Church in Rome, united for the first time in Britain; and Brett's 'Florence from Bellosguardo' and 'Capri in the Evening', which has not been seen in public since 1865. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 5th December.

John Pawson: Plain Space is a retrospective of the work of the British designer hailed as 'the father of modern architectural minimalism' by the New York Times. John Pawson is known for his rigorous process of design, creating architecture and products of visual clarity, simplicity and grace. The exhibition celebrates Pawson's career from the early 1980s to date, through a selection of landmark commissions, including the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the new Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic; and Calvin Klein's flagship store in New York, as well as current and future projects. At its centre is a site-specific, full-sized space designed by Pawson to offer a direct and immersive experience of his work. Specially commissioned, large-scale photography looks at his architecture in the landscape. Actual architectural elements in stone, bronze, wood and metal taken from a range of buildings, including the Baron House in Sweden and Pawson's own house in London explore his sensitive use of materials. The process of design and construction is shown through photography, film, sketches, study models, prototypes and interviews relating to a number of projects including a private home in Treviso, Italy currently under construction. Personal items from the Pawson archive are also on display, including letters from Karl Lagerfeld and the writer Bruce Chatwin. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, until 30th December.


Rachel Whiteread: Drawings offers an opportunity to explore works on paper by the contemporary artist best known for large scale sculpture. This is the first ever exhibition of Rachel Whiteread's doodling (her word) on paper, using pencil, gouache, ink and correcting fluid to build texture. Whiteread calls these drawings and collages her working diary, and they provide an intimate insight into the creative process behind her work. The drawings feel coolly constructed and painstakingly analytical, reminiscent of work by minimalist painters. While her sculptures are often large and involve a team of fabricators, these paper works provide a more personal counterpoint. Nevertheless, they also share many of the themes familiar from Whiteread's public commissions: texture and surface; void and presence; and the subtle observation of human traces in everyday life. The drawings include pictures of floors, several plans of tables, and meditations on keyholes and a doorknob. Most of these fixtures and fittings are laid out on graph paper to give the appearance of plans, and the technical look and feel is balanced by a tentative, hand drawn line. At times, this mix of the personal and the precise results in works that look not unlike interior design mood-boards: 'Untitled (Ten Tables)' could be a kitchen design, 'Floor Study' could be a swatch for a new line of tiles, and 'Study for Valley' brings to mind a designer sunken bath. The show reflects many of Whiteread's best known projects, with highlights including experiments made towards her life size cast of a council house; some boxes from her installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern; studies for the inverted resin plinth she made for Trafalgar Square; and her Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, which is clad in bookshelves turned inside out, with a ceiling rose that is a knotted wreath of concentrated black ink. Tate Britain until 16th January.

Lighthouses: Life On The Rocks aims to illuminate the triumph of engineering required to build a lighthouse, and the tall tales of the lighthouse keepers before they slip out of living memory. Britain's last manned lighthouse was converted to automatic operation in November 1998, and the life of a lighthouse keeper was no more. The construction of lighthouses miles out to sea, on rocky outcrops, exposed to the full force of the ocean, are some of the greatest engineering achievements of the Industrial Age. A massive four tonne optic, with its dazzling array of prisms and lenses, forms a sculptural centre piece to the exhibition, which features sketches, notebooks, photographs and an incredible array of salvaged objects, both large and small. Among these are the solid bronze doors from Bishop Rock, which, despite being situated 40ft above sea level and weighing over 100kg each, were smashed open by monstrous waves during a storm in 1994, clearly demonstrating the ferocity of the seas. Visitors also have the opportunity to step inside the world of the lighthouse keeper, with a reconstruction of a lighthouse's living quarters, featuring original curved furniture from Godrevy Lighthouse, and objects that reflect the life of a keeper. Theirs was a life of strict routine and relative isolation, and to fill their time, when not tending to the light, these men would write poetry, craft ships in light bulbs or come up with ingenious ways of supplementing their limited supplies, such as kite fishing. National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth, until 31st December.

Under Attack: London, Coventry, Dresden examines the effects of the aerial bombing raids, known in Britain as the Blitz, that defined the experience of many European cities during the Second World War. It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Blitz in England and the 65th anniversary of the Dresden Firestorm bombing. This exhibition illustrates the struggle to keep the cities of London, Coventry and Dresden moving during the war. It focuses on the role that public transport played in helping to create a sense of identity and normality. In particular, it seeks to explore the areas of commonality, as well as difference, and convey the shared experience of people from all walks of life - irrespective of nationality. The exhibition looks at some of the myths and reality of the wartime experience, and reviews the changing nature of popular memory in relation to the Blitz and the Firestorm. Displays show how each city prepared for war and the contrasting role of their transport systems. In London and Coventry, public transport was used to evacuate children and others out of the city, whilst in Dresden, the city itself was regarded as a shelter with transport bringing refugees into the centre. In London thousands of the people who remained took shelter by sleeping on the platforms of tube stations every night. The public transport system in London played a significant part in the liberation of women, as they became a major part of the workforce, replacing men who had gone into the services. Posters and photographs, magazines and newspapers bring the period alive, particularly Walter Spradbery's poster 'The Proud City' showing St Paul's cathedral standing defiant amid the rubble, which was reprinted 27,000 times and in several languages. London Transport Museum until 31st March.

Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for 6 miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include Fear The Glampire, a glamorous, gothic creation designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen; Dino Doom, a fantasy-inspired dinosaur attack in a spectacular large tableau, flooded with lighting effects and projections; Haunted Blackpool, genuine Blackpool ghost stories depicted in a spooky feature using projections and dramatic sounds and lights; and Fountainsey Island, with Gynn Island converted into a bright and colourful water paradise, awash with a mix of electronic fountains, water-based features and lights.Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 7th November.

Doll Face: Photographs Of Dolls By Craig Deane features large-scale images of dolls from the museum's extensive collection. Portrait and still life photographer Craig Deane has created 35 of close-cropped, 3ft tall portraits that confront the audience with the essence of each doll. Returning the viewer's gaze like a police mug shot, their huge scale shows a great amount of detail that allows time to really study their faces. Deane is interested in both the representation of the human form and the objects people surround themselves with. Mankind's desire to make images and objects in their own likeness stretches back to the dawn of civilisation, and while dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also coveted by adults for their beauty, nostalgic value, and historical and financial importance. Deane is particularly interested in exploring the evolving representations we have made of ourselves - and given to our children to play with - as illustrated by the broad spectrum of dolls held in the 8,000 strong collection at the museum. The dolls photographed include a beatnik CND doll from the 1960s, a pedlar doll with a leather face from the 1830s, a Japanese doll from the early 1900s, a French adult male doll from the 1860s, a bisque doll with teeth from the 1930s, and a vinyl three faced doll from Hong Kong from the late 1960s. The oldest doll in the collection comes from ancient Egypt and is over 3,000 years old. The museum has dolls which speak, walk, blow kisses or play musical instruments, made from many different materials: rubber, prunes and mutton bones as well as the more usual cloth, wood, ceramic, plastic and wax. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London E2, until 2nd January.

Eadweard Muybridge is a retrospective of the work of the pioneering Anglo-American photographer. Bringing together over 150 works, this exhibition demonstrates how Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in the emerging art form of photography, exploring how he created and honed remarkable images that continue to resonate powerfully. Although best known for his extensive photographic portrayal of animal and human subjects in motion, Muybridge was also a highly successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, war correspondent and inventor. His revolutionary techniques produced timeless images that have profoundly influenced succeeding generations of photographers, filmmakers and artists. This exhibition focuses on the period of rapid technological and cultural change from the late 1860s to 1904, and includes the celebrated experimental series of motion-capture photographs such as 'The Attitudes of Animals in Motion' and the sequence 'Animal Locomotion'. The display also reveals how Muybridge constructed, manipulated and presented these photographs, and features his original zoopraxiscope, which projected his images of suspended motion to create the illusion of movement. The carefully managed studio photographs contrast with his panoramic landscapes of America, recording both the natural beauty of this vast continent, and the rapid colonial modernisation of its towns and cities. Images from this period include views of Yosemite Valley, Alaska, Guatemala, urban panoramas of San Francisco, and a survey of the construction of the eastward bound railroad through California, Nevada and Utah. These photographs form a unique social document of this period of history, as well as representing a profound achievement of technological innovation and artistic originality. Tate Britain until 16th January.


Raphael: Cartoons And Tapestries For The Sistine Chapel brings together for the first time the full size designs and the actual tapestries made for the Vatican City almost 500 years ago. This is a display of 4 of the 10 original tapestries designed by Raphael for the walls of the Sistine Chapel, never before seen in Britain, alongside the designs (or cartoons) acquired by Charles I in 1623. The tapestries of the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', 'Christ's Charge to Peter', 'The Healing of the Lame Man' and 'The Sacrifice at Lystra', were commissioned from Raphael by Pope Leo X. The tapestries were made in Brussels, Europe's leading centre for tapestry weaving, and then sent to Rome for display. As the cartoons remained in Brussels, Raphael himself never saw the cartoons beside the tapestries woven from them. This display sees the 4 tapestries hung next to the 7 cartoons. The design of each cartoon corresponds in every point to the tapestry it was made for - but in reverse. The weavers cut Raphael's cartoons into strips and copied them closely, weaving each tapestry from the back, so the front image was the reverse of its cartoon. The painted strips of cartoon were joined together again later, and became prized as artworks in their own right. They were acquired by Charles I in order to have copies of the tapestries made for himself. In addition to the tapestries and cartoons, the display also includes some of Raphael's preparatory drawings, the 17th century British tapestry copy of 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', and other items relating to Pope Leo X and the Sistine Chapel. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th October.

William Morris: A Sense Of Place examines the domestic life, design work, writings and political beliefs of the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. William Morris's childhood homes were key to forming his precocious sense of place and the love of nature that underpinned his subsequent life and thinking. Material illustrating his adult life, from lodgings shared with Edward Burne-Jones at Red Lion Square; his first married home at Red House, which became the focus of creativity for Morris and his friends; his country retreat at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds; and his final home at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, shows how his domestic environment formed an important backdrop for his creativity, and the formulation of his ideas about society. The industrial society into which Britain had evolved by the mid 19th century represented inequality, exploitation and ugliness to Morris, setting him on the path to Socialism and the foundation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Designs and samples, textiles, books, and photographs from public and private collections illustrate Morris's life and work. Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, until 17th October.

British Sporting Art explores the genre from horseracing and hunting to boxing, football, cricket - and even ratting. Central to the theme of the exhibition, which includes works by George Stubbs, Alfred Munnings, Edwin Landseer and George Morland, is John Bowes, the founder of the museum, his love for horseracing, and his prolific racing career. The branch of painting that has come to be known as British Sporting Art was at its height during the 18th century, when horseracing fervour swept the nation. It was a golden age for sporting artists, the most famous of which was Stubbs, who immortalised winners on canvas, despite it being rejected by connoisseurs as a low form of art, and by Joshua Reynolds as mere genre painting. A featured painting is of one of Bowes' most successful racehorses, Cotherstone, by J F Herring Jnr. Artists such as Gillray, quite different from those depicting field sports, produced detailed portraits of boxers and comical sporting scenes, which were reproduced in popular print form. The exhibition considers whether this in itself is a statement about the class system in the 18th century, particularly as the print industry became prominent. It also examines the next generation of painters - Herring Snr and Jnr and Henry Alken - who faced less prejudice than their predecessors, and concludes with more recent sporting paintings by Munnings. The period art is accompanied by bronzes of racehorses, deer and gundogs by contemporary sculptor Sally Arnupt. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 10th October.