News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th July 2008


Skeletons: London's Buried Bones features 26 examples from a collection of 17,000 skeletons that have been archived and examined at the Museum of London's Centre for Human Bioarchaeology over the last 30 years. The skeletons reflect London's rich past and varied social geography, from the affluent district of Chelsea to the Cross Bones cemetery in Southwark, believed to have been established originally as a graveyard for prostitutes. Each has its own tale to tell, and collectively they uncover 2,000 years of history, increasing our understanding of how Londoners once lived, and providing insights into the health, diet, diseases and lifestyle of the deceased. The skeletons include: a 22 week old foetus, whose remains were found with its mother, which is the youngest ever individual discovered on a British archaeological site; Chelsea's resident butcher and beadle, William Wood, who had a condition linked to having a diet high in rich foods and died at the age of 84 in 1842; a young female discovered at the Royal Mint, whose bones were stained green from copper residues; and a young woman (possibly a prostitute) found in Cross Bones burial ground in south east London with traces of syphilis in her bones. Causes of death revealed range from 'decay of nature' (old age) through now almost eradicated diseases, such as smallpox and rickets, and those still current, such as prostate cancer, to the CSI favourite 'blunt force trauma'. Each of the 26 skeletons is accompanied by a recent image taken by photographer Thomas Adank of the burial site where they were discovered. The Wellcome Collection, London until 28th September.

The Art Of Italy In The Royal Collection: Renaissance And Baroque brings together paintings and drawings, most of them masterpieces, by 20 artists, from royal palaces and residences across Britain. The exhibition celebrates the artistic legacy of Charles I and Charles II, whose taste so profoundly influenced the character of the Royal Collection. Described by the painter Peter Paul Rubens as 'the greatest amateur of paintings among the princes of the world', Charles I built up a collection of Italian masters to rival that of any European court of the period. Although the collection was sold during the Commonwealth, a significant number of paintings were reclaimed or bought back by Charles II after the Restoration. Research for this exhibition has resulted in a number of important re-attributions. Among these, two paintings previously thought to be versions of lost works by Caravaggio, 'The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew' and 'A Boy Peeling Fruit', are now generally recognised by experts as the original works. Among the other highlights are Bronzino's 'Portrait of a Lady in Green', Tintoretto's 'Esther Before Ahasuerus' and 'The Muses', Bellini's 'Portrait of a Young Man', Fetti's 'David with the Head of Goliath', Romano's 'Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa', Garofalo's 'Holy Family', and Lotto's 'Portrait of Andrea Odoni'. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 24th October.

Beano And Dandy Birthday Bash! celebrates the 70th birthday of The Beano comic, together with The Dandy, which launched just eight months earlier, on 4th December 1937. These two comics have been responsible for entertaining generations of British children, with their iconic characters such as Korky the Cat, Beryl the Peril, Desperate Dan, Keyhole Kate and Lord Snooty and his Pals. In the 1950s the British comic entered one of its most dynamic periods, and at D C Thomson artists such as David Law, Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid were producing brilliant, ingenious drawings which inspired many future cartoonists and animators. The decade saw the introduction of many classic characters, some of whom are still with us today, such as Dennis the Menace, the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx and Roger the Dodger. This exhibition presents original comic artwork from eight decades, and shows how the comics and their characters have developed over time. The cast of characters includes Ball Boy, Bully Beef and Chips, Brassneck, The Three Bears, Les Pretend and Winker Watson, as well as feisty girl characters such as Pansy Potter - The Strongman's Daughter, and more recently, Ivy the Terrible. Some things have changed - the comics' graphic style has evolved to suit modern tastes - but children still love the mischief and mayhem created every week in The Beano and The Dandy. The Cartoon Museum, London WC1, until 2nd November.


Hadrian: Empire And Conflict looks beyond the established image of the Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD, best known for his interest in architecture, his passion for Greece and Greek culture, and the eponymous wall he built between England and Scotland. The exhibition offers new perspectives on his life and legacy, exploring the sharp contradictions of his personality, and his role as a ruthless military commander. Set against the backdrop of the events of Hadrian's long reign, it explores his immense legacy, incorporating recent scholarship and the latest archaeological discoveries from Tivoli, his spectacular villa near Rome, which he filled with exquisite works of art from all over the empire. Based upon important material seen together for the first time, the exhibition examines Hadrian's background as a member of the economically powerful and ascendant Spanish elite, his relationship with his lover Antinous, his military campaigns, the iconic architecture of his time, his extensive travels, and his impact and influence on the modern world. It features over 180 objects, including sculpture, bronzes, silverware, letters and manuscripts, mummy portraits, pottery, knives and tools, jewellery and architectural fragments and models of his grand vision, with highlights being the iconic bronze head of Hadrian and the Vindolanda tablets. British Museum until 26th October.

Blaschkas' Sculptures From The Sea is an opportunity to see some remarkable Victorian glass models of creatures from the sea for the first time in decades, after years of painstaking restoration. The 49 delicate models of squid, sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and other marine invertebrates were made by the Blaschka family of glassmakers of Dresden in Germany, from 1863 onwards. Each glass model is a unique blend of art, science and craftsmanship, with striking colours and spectacular forms. They were made in a variety of ways, with many formed over wire skeletons or armatures, and the glass fused together or glued. These spectacular creations still amaze scientists with their accuracy, yet Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf never passed on the exact details of their specialist techniques. Originally created to be used as teaching aids, some models look more lifelike than real specimens in preservation fluid in jars. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 30th September.

Fashion In The Mirror; Self-Reflection In Fashion Photography offers a look behind the scenes of fashion photography from the 1950s to the present day, showing how snappers picturing the latest trends often turned the camera at least partly upon themselves. Finding both comedy and poetry in the set-up of the studio, the photographers reveal the processes and paraphernalia of the fashion shoot. They become mirrored in their own work and, as viewpoints are inverted and gazes misdirected, cameras stare back out at the viewer from the edge of the frame, or in the foreground of the picture. Revealing the fashion industry's secrets and undermining its glamorous illusions, the photographers in this exhibition create work that exposes this world from within. The exhibition features work by 21 internationally renowned photographers, including Richard Avedon, Terence Donovan, Steven Klein, William Klein, Nick Knight, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Harri Peccinotti, Irving Penn, John Rawlings, Bob Richardson, Melvin Sokolsky, Juergen Teller, Mario Testino, Jonathan de Villiers and Tim Walker. As well as the photographers often including themselves in the photographs, the addition of assistants, stylists and photographic equipment within the images draws attention to the cliche of the 'fashion entourage' and queries the myth of the slick fashion image. The Photographers' Gallery, London, until 14th September.

Boucher And Chardin: Masters Of Modern Manners celebrates the works of Francois Boucher and Jean-Simeon Chardin, two of the greatest French genre painters, and their artistic response to the taste for tea drinking and chinoiserie, which became fashionable in 18th century France and Britain. Chardin introduced a new intimacy and middle class values into French genre painting, while Boucher produced genre scenes set in a fashionable and carefree dream world. The highlights of the exhibition are Boucher's 'A Lady on Her Day Bed', on show in Britain for the first time in 70 years, depicting a coquettish young woman lost in a daydream after she has put down a billet-doux, her sumptuous boudoir a treasure trove of trifles and trinkets, providing a fascinating record of French fashions of the time; and Chardin's near contemporary 'Lady Taking Tea', a much more private, austere, muted and less playful scene, but brilliant at mood and at capturing the psychology of its sitter, plus a companion piece, 'The House of Cards'. Other contemporary British paintings include Hogarth's 'Western Family', which depicts tea drinking as a symbol of the dangers of luxury. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition examines the background to the fashion of tea drinking through objects and books, including essays warning that the beverage could cause effeminacy and impotence. There is also a trail through the museum's permanent collection of items linked to 18th century tea drinking. The Wallace Collection, London until 7th September.

Gwon Osang And Choe U-ram features sculptures by two contemporary cutting edge Korean artists. Gwon Osang builds life size sculptural figures by assembling hundreds of photographic images on to a three dimensional armature, to build up the surface appearance of his models, including the face, their hair and their clothes. The process gives his beautifully crafted figures both photo-realist and surreal qualities. The photographs, being 3D reality captured through a 2D illusionistic medium, assume a peculiarly disorientating quality when wrapped around the 3D form. It is as if the photographs have been 're-embodied' during a papier-mache class. In addition, the figures' rather unsteady or ungainly poses, when enshrouded by the photographs' characteristic split-second suspense, result in a kind of glossy magazine mummification. Osang's past subjects include a pinhead man, a two headed man and a man with three swan's heads. Here he turns his taste for everyday weirdness towards musician Graham Massey and a mounted police officer. Choe U-ram combines the latest precision engineering technologies with art to create robotic sculptures with echoes of organic forms. He uses cut and polished metals, machinery and electronics to create kinetic sculptures inspired by sea creatures and plant life. Here, Choe U-ram is exhibiting two enormous robotic works, 'Urbanus Female' and 'Urbanus Male', in the atrium. Manchester Art Gallery, until 21st September.

Freeze Frame is a display of some of the earliest photographs of the Arctic, its landscape and people, mounted to coincide with International Polar Year. The exhibition looks at two expeditions to the Arctic, under Captain Edward Inglefield in 1854, and Captain George Nares in 1875. Both expeditions used photographic processes that were in their infancy, involving a significant amount of bulky equipment and chemicals in order to develop the negatives. However, the technique used by Nares had a shorter exposure time, allowing more photographs of the expedition activities to be recorded. Inglefield's photographs were taken on the west coast of Greenland, where he stopped during his voyage to communicate with a naval expedition based at Lancaster Sound searching for Sir John Franklin. The photographs were taken using the wet collodion process, first introduced in 1851. They show Inglefield's ships Phoenix, Diligence and Talbot, and include portraits of the Inuit, Danish and British people he encountered in Greenland. Nares commanded the Polar Expedition with HMS Alert and Discovery. The two photographers, one in each ship, used the dry-plate process, which had been first proposed in 1871. The expedition failed in the objective of reaching the Pole due to the ice and the crews suffering from scurvy, however, significant scientific results were achieved. The prints show expedition activities, people and landscape and were published, setting a precedent for later polar expeditions in the 20th century. Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 31st December.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 10,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Humphrey Ocean, Tony Cragg and Gordon Benson, with the theme Man Made. Highlights include a gallery curated for shock and awe by no longer so enfant but ever more terrible Tracey Emin, featuring works by Mat Collishaw, Louise Bourgeois, Gary Hume, Elke Krystufek, Michael Fullerton, Juergen Teller, Damien Hurst, Rebecca Warren, Sigalit Landau and Rachel Kneebone; and 'Promenade', a monumental sculpture by Anthony Caro in the courtyard. Other artists featured include Gavin Turk, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Keifer, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Ron Arad, along with architects Nicholas Grimshaw, Renzo Piano, Bernard Tschumi, David Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of RB Kitaj, who died last year, featuring some of his greatest paintings and works on paper alongside more recent pieces. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.

Art In The Age Of Steam captures the excitement of the steam train in art from the earliest days, through the boom years of Victorian railways to the end of the line in the 1960s. The exhibition looks at how artists responded to the extraordinary impact that steam trains had on landscape and society, as aboard these great machines, passengers travelled at faster speeds than ever before, and notions of time and space were forever changed. It comprises around 100 paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and posters, from some of the world's greatest artists and photographers, covering the years 1830 to 1960. Highlights include: Manet's 'The Railway', Van Gogh's 'La Crau from Montmajour, with train', Pissarro's 'Lordship Lane Station', four paintings by Monet, including 'Gare Saint-Lazare', Honore Daumier's 'The Third-class Carriage', Gustav Caillebotte's 'Pont de l'Europe', Edward Hopper's 'Railroad Train' and 'Railroad Sunset', Giorgio de Chirico's 'The Anxious Journey', and photographs by Bill Brandt, Alfred Stieglitz and O Winston Link. British artists are represented by Turner's iconic 'Rain, Steam and Speed', 'The Travelling Companions' by Augustus Egg, showing two crinoline-clad girls in a luxurious railway compartment, while 'The Railway Station' by William Powell Frith, vividly captures the hustle and bustle of Paddington station, and James Tissot's 'Gentleman in a Railway Carriage' consults his watch and a timetable. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 10th August.

Skin+Bones: Parallel Practices In Fashion And Architecture is the first show in the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, a new exhibition space where the Hermitage Rooms used to be, which will focus on photography, design, fashion and architecture. Traditionally, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct, but in recent years however, the two disciplines have become closer than ever before. Frank Gehry's controversial design for tower blocks on the seafront at Hove in Sussex has even been described as looking like 'transvestites caught in a gale'. Taking the early 1980s as its starting point, this exhibition examines the many visual and conceptual ideas that unite the two disciplines. By examining designs by over 50 internationally renowned architects and designers, including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, through garments, maquettes, architectural models and photographs, the exhibition reveals how inspiration in both disciplines have come from the same sources. It also shows how they can borrow each other's techniques, as with Hussein Chalayan's Remote Control Dress, made from aircraft material with moveable flaps and structural lines like the design of an aeroplane, and Heatherwick Studio's Temple, which echoes the undulating, organic folds of a piece of cloth combined with a mille-feuille stepped texture on the outside. Embankment Galleries, Somerset House until 10th August.