News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th October 2008


Byzantium 330 - 1453 highlights the splendours of the Byzantine Empire, comprising around 300 exquisitely crafted and richly decorated objects, including icons, detached wall paintings, micro-mosaics, ivories and enamels, plus gold and silver metalwork. The exhibition begins with the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and concludes with the capture of the city by the Ottoman forces of Mehmed II in 1453, following a chronological progression covering the range, power and longevity of the artistic production of the Byzantine Empire. Through a number of themed sections, it explores the origins of Byzantium; the rise of Constantinople; the threat of iconoclasm when emperors banned Christian figurative art; the post-iconoclast revival; the crescendo in the Middle Ages; and the close connections between Byzantine and early Renaissance art in Italy in the 13th and early 14th centuries. Among the highlights are: the silver gilt Antioch Chalice, once believed to have been the Holy Grail; a two-sided icon of Virgin Hodegetria and the Man of Sorrows; an incense burner in the shape of a church, in partially gilded silver; the ornate Chalice of the Patriarchs; the Riha Paten, illustrating the Communion of the Apostles, in silver with gilding and niello; an imperial ivory casket from Troyes cathedral depicting hunting scenes and riders; a 12th century manuscript, the Homilies of Monk James Kokkinobaphos; and the Icon of the Archangel Michael, silver gilt on wood, with gold cloisonne enamel and precious stones. The Royal Academy of Arts, until 22nd March.

Le Corbusier - The Art Of Architecture is an assessment of the single most influential (and controversial) architect of the 20th century. Across the world his revolutionary designs were instrumental in the development of modern architecture. From high rise towers to furniture design, his vision of functionalism - using modern materials and engineering techniques - provided radical yet practical solutions to modern urban living, which still evoke strong views today. Featuring original architectural models, vintage prints, original furniture, unique drawings and paintings, specially built models, reconstructions of historical interiors, photographs, digital animations and documentary films, the exhibition takes an in depth look at the projects, interiors and art of Le Corbusier - and also reveals the man behind the myth. It gives a comprehensive introduction to Le Corbusier's work and influences, presenting his most important architectural projects, furniture and interior designs, paintings, textiles, drawings and books. Grand projects include the Palais des Nations, Geneva, the Soviet Palace competition project, Unite d'Habitation in Marseilles, the chapel at Ronchamp, the Philips Pavilion in Brussels and the Capitol buildings at Chandigarh. Previously unpublished material includes original film footage by Le Corbusier, the large scale mural painting from his own office, and a reconstruction of his monumental architectural model 'Ville Contemporaine', his utopian masterplan for Paris. The Crypt, Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, until 18th January.

Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms attempts to shed new light on the artist who made such a big impression on popular culture and consciousness in the second half of the 20th century, through a display of many of his lesser-known works. The exhibition presents Warhol's films, screen-tests, videos and television programmes, which combined with archive material, seminal paintings and installations, illuminates his creative process. It comprises three installations: Cosmos, an overview of the various media and techniques with which Warhol worked; Filmscape, in which 19 of Warhol's most famous films are showcased; and TV-Scape, with all of Warhol's television programmes screened synchronously. Highlights include iconic prints such as Marilyn Monroe, Campbell Soup Tins and Electric Chair; films such as Horse, Chelsea Girls and Mario Banana (No. 1); screen tests of writers, musicians and artists such as Allen Ginsberg, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali; Factory Diaries, video diaries showing the inner workings of the Factory, capturing regulars and celebrity visitors; all 42 episodes of his cable television series Fashion, Andy Warhol's TV and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes, in which he appeared with celebrity friends; Silver Clouds, a room of Warhol's helium filled pillow shaped metallic reflecting balloons; and the entire contents of Time Capsule 92, a treasure trove of ephemera, including letters, invitations, receipts, newspaper cuttings and photographs. Hayward Gallery until 18th January.


Beside The Seaside: Snapshots Of British Coastal Life 1880 - 1950 brings together photographs, posters and seaside memorabilia to capture the essence of both working life and early tourism along the British coast. From dramatic rugged coastlines and idyllic fishing villages to sea bathing, promenades and donkey rides, the popularity of the seaside has led to its enduring status as a quintessential British experience. The exhibition both highlights the British seaside holiday, and explores a diversity of activities along the British coast. Following the advent of the railways in the mid 19th century, quiet coastal settlements and towns such as Eastbourne and Scarborough were transformed into thriving holiday destinations, where beaches, piers, promenades and hotels were developed to cater for a range of tastes and budgets. Photographs range from fashionable Edwardians relaxing under parasols by the sea, and crowds of visitors enjoying the sunny piers and bustling promenades of popular holiday resorts, to fisherman sorting through the day's catch, rows of fishing trawlers returned to port, and a cockle picker mid hunt. The exhibition draws heavily on images made by Francis Frith, a pioneering Victorian photographer, whose passion for photography and travel led to him found what eventually became the largest photographic publishing company in the world. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 19th April.

A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson In England is a retrospective of one of the most radical British artists of the 20th century, and the leader of the modern movement in Britain between the wars. Most famous for his abstract paintings and reliefs of the 1930s, Nicholson began as a figurative painter and had a deep and enduring relationship with the English landscape. The exhibition reconsiders his position in British art history, offering a new understanding of the modern in art, particularly in relation to national and local identities. It concentrates on three periods and groups of work that have been neglected for many years: landscapes made in Cumberland and Cornwall in the late 1920s; landscapes, abstract paintings and reliefs made alongside each other in St. Ives during the Second World War; and the Cubist still lifes made between 1945 and 1958 (when he left Britain to live in Switzerland), which secured Nicholson's international reputation. The selection of some 80 key works included in the exhibition demonstrate his continuity of vision and approach, highlights those periods that have previously been marginalised, and reveals a view of Ben Nicholson quite different from the established one. Highlights include '1928 (Walton Wood Cottage No 2)', '1928 (Foothills, Cumberland', 'Cold Fell', '1932 (Crowned Head - The Queen), '1943-45 (St Ives, Cornwall)', 1945 (Still Life)', 'July 22-47 (Still Life - Odyssey 1), 'March 1949 (Trencrom)', '1935 (White Relief)' and '1940 (Plover's Egg Blue)'. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, until 4th January.

Kenneth Grahame: The Wind In The Willows illuminates the 30 year career of Kenneth Grahame at the Bank of England, and includes previously unseen and unpublished documents relating to his non-literary work. The display also examines the questions surrounding his sudden resignation from the Bank, possible influences on his writing, and the strange incident in 1903, which saw him shot at by an intruder. Among the items on display are Grahame's resignation letter, which identifies the mental pressures he cited as his reason for leaving, as well as letters from the Bank's doctor who gave a contradictory assessment of his mental health. Although Grahame's Bank career is little known, it is generally agreed that it influenced his writing, both directly, with the traits of his colleagues appearing in the characters he created, as well as through the atmosphere of life at the institution that imbues his work. Although The Wind In The Willows was published just 4 months after Grahame left the Bank, he did not write much more in the subsequent 24 years that he lived. The display also includes the official Bank House Lists from 1879 and 1908, recording Grahame's entry and exit, his starting salary and final pension details (he was entitled to a pension of £710 but was granted only £400 by the directors). Among the other exhibits is a letter in which the children of King George V thank Grahame for his kindness when they made a surprise visit to the Bank. Bank of England Museum, London, continuing.

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck To Titian explores the dramatic rise of portraiture in the Renaissance, through the masters of northern and southern Europe. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view Renaissance portraiture in depth, comprising over 70 paintings, alongside important sculptures, drawings and medals, including masterpieces by among others, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Van Eyck, Holbein, Durer, Lotto, Pontormo and Bellini. In the 15th and 16th centuries, portraits played a vital role in every aspect of human life: childhood, politics, friendship, courtship, marriage, old age and death. This exhibition provides fresh insights into fundamental issues of likeness, memory and identity, while revealing a remarkable community of Renaissance personalities, from princes, envoys and merchants to clergymen, tradesmen and artists. Among the highlights are Holbein's 'The Ambassadors' and 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling', Titian's warrior portrait of the young Philip II, Anthonis Mor's 'The Court Jester Pejeron' and 'Portrait of Philip II in Armour', Durer's 'Self Portrait', Palma Vecchio's 'Portrait of a Young Woman', Tullio Lombardo's marble relief 'A Young Couple as Bacchus and Ariadne', Arcimboldo's 'Emperor Rudolph II', and Guido Mazzoni's painted bust 'Laughing Boy'. The exhibition underlines the degree of cross-cultural exchange active in Europe at this time, with Van Eyck, Titian and Memling in demand from north to south, so that the influence of their work carried far beyond the courts of their patrons. National Gallery until 18th January.

Constructed - 40 Years Of The UEA Collection presents highlights from the University of East Anglia's collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Architecture and Design. The collection, which was founded in response to the modernity of the University's architecture, now numbers some 400 objects, including sculpture, painting, graphics and design, together with architectural models, stage sets and furniture. The earliest group of works in the exhibition date from between 1910 and 1930, and include a Le Corbusier chair and architectural model, a painting by Sonia Delaunay, the Pravda Tower model by the Vesnin brothers, Rietveld chairs, a charcoal drawing by David Bomberg and 2D works by Wassily Kandinsky and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. The next group features the work of emigre artists who came to England during the Second World War, and includes a room setting with Isokon furniture, and pieces designed by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. The third group, The British Constructionists, includes work by artists such as Victor Pasmore, Mary and Kenneth Martin, Peter Lowe, Gillian Wise and Anthony Hill, together with European artists such as Jesus Raphael Soto and Francois Morellet, and features 3D constructions, sculptures, reliefs and works on canvas that use a strong simple palette of colours, clean lines and geometric shapes. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 14th December.

The Booker At 40 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the leading literary award, The Booker and Man Booker Prize, with the first public display of an extensive archive. It includes every book that has won since 1969, as well as a wide selection of shortlisted titles. The display demonstrates how the design of book jackets has changed in 40 years, also reflected in ephemera such as posters and other promotional materials. Since 1991 each winning and shortlisted writer has received a unique bound book made by members of the British Society of Designer Bookbinders, a selection of which have been loaned by the authors. A special feature of the exhibition is the original Booker trophy, created by the artist Jan Pienkowski, which was given to the winner in the first four years of the prize. In 1973 a new, smaller version of the trophy was created by Patricia Turner, who scaled it down from an original height of 25in to 10in. In a special section of the display dedicated to collecting, the literary agent and book collector Peter Straus reveals his passion for signed limited first editions and proof copies, memorabilia, and the many different editions of winning and shortlisted books, which have been published around the world. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th May.


Case Studies unravels some of the mysteries surrounding the very beginnings of railways, thanks to the discovery of a hitherto unknown a pen and wash illustration showing the locomotive 'Catch Me Who Can', from Trevithick's first London railway of 1808. Destined to become an icon of transport history, a copy of picture by John Claude Nattes reveals that three 'Rowlandson' prints of the railway are actually forgeries, dating to only just before the First World War. Objects on display accompanying the picture include the two known Trevithick model self moving engines, together for the first time since the 1930s, and the mysterious 'Sans Pareil' model, once thought to date from the Rainhill trials of 1829, but now revealed to be much earlier, and made by Timothy Hackworth around 1811, when he was experimenting towards building the famous 'Puffing Billy' locomotive. The exhibition is part of Search Engine, a new £4m state of the art Archive and Research Centre, which allows access to previously hidden treasures, including some of the most valuable and important objects from the dawn of powered transport. The archive includes over 1.5m photographs from the early days of photography in the 1850s onwards; over 1m engineering drawings of railway vehicles; sound and oral history archives; the UK's most comprehensive railway library; personal and business archives from key figures and organisations in the British railway industry; and the UK's most comprehensive collection of British railway posters, graphic art and advertising materials. National Railway Museum, York, until November.

Weird And Wonderful Gadgets And Inventions is an opportunity to see over 50 extraordinary 'labour saving devices' patented over the last 150 years, from the private collection of Maurice Collins, author of Eccentric Contraptions and Ingenious Gadgets. Built up over a period of 30 years, the Collins's family collection contains gadgets ranging early versions of technology we take for granted today, to inventions that would not be out of place in a Heath Robinson compendium. Among the highlights are: a two handled self pouring teapot; a clockwork burglar alarm; the purse pistol, a one bullet gun concealed in a seemingly normal ladies purse; a grenade for putting out fires; a mechanical page turner for musicians; a brass and copper clockwork teasmade; an automatic nose hair cutter; the original Sat-Nav wristwatch, which incorporated a roll of paper with directions printed on it; a mechanical envelope sealer, which dampened and then pressed home the flap; a pianist's finger stretcher, designed to increase a musicians' 'spread'; a beer can hole maker; spectacles with built in battery powered lights above the lenses; the Dynamo Shaver; an eye massager, which puffed cool air to massage the eyeballs; and a whisky bottle lock. Business & IP Centre, The British Library until 10th November.

David Shrigley consists of previously unseen animations and sculptures by the man who is best known for his intuitive drawings, typically dead-pan in their humour, most recently seen weekly in The Guardian. David Shrigley's cartoon like sketches are deliberately dysfunctional and deal with everyday doubts and fears of the human condition. Throughout his works a nonsensical and anarchic voice is ever present. With handwritten, unedited texts or assigned titles altering the perspective, the results range from poignant to absurd. Shrigley's work often asks questions about the nature of contemporary art and its audience. He satirises a mass consumption of art that lacks real meaning, while demonstrating the ease in which such trends can be exploited. With a dreamlike 'Alice in Wonderland' quality, Shrigley's sculpture plays with form, transforming and distorting everyday objects or playing with scale. Among the highlights are 'Cheers', a pair of grey fishing waders and Wellington boots filled with expanding foam; tents and sleeping bags with a life of their own, growing uncontrollably; 'Gravestone', a giant stone engraving, that looks at fears and attitudes towards mortality; and the black and white films 'Lightswitch' and 'Sleep'. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, until 9th November.