News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th July 2014


Disobedient Objects is the first exhibition to explore objects of art and design from around the world that have been created by grassroots social movements as tools of social change. From Chilean folk art textiles that document political violence to a graffiti-writing robot, defaced currency to giant inflatable cobblestones thrown at demonstrations in Barcelona, to a political video game about the making of mobile phones, the exhibition demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity. The display showcases forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design as the objects are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations. The focus is on the late 1970s to the present, a period that has brought new technologies, social and political challenges. The objects are made in a number of ways, including: the appropriation of everyday objects for a new subversive purpose, as seen with the Bike Bloc which was produced from discarded bicycles and audio equipment welded together during the 2009 Reclaim Power protests in Copenhagen; the employment of traditional crafts like hand-appliqued protest banners; and hacking cutting-edge technology to create such protest tools as a counter-surveillance drone. Many of the exhibits come directly from activist groups from all over the world, bringing together objects rarely before seen in a museum. Context is provided by newspaper cuttings, how-to guides and film content, including interviews and footage of the objects in action. Each design is accompanied by the maker's statement to explain how and why the object was created. Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st February.

Keith Vaughan: Figure And Ground explores the work of the mid 20th century British artist and examines the themes that preoccupied him - the male figure and pictorial space. Initially influenced by Graham Sutherland, Keith Vaughan's early work was Neo-Romantic in spirit, but in the late 1950s he developed his semi-abstractionist 'assemblies'. The exhibition comprises some 50 items from a wide range of work in different media: drawings for some of his most important book illustration commissions, his experiments in print-making, and his photographs. Highlights include the lithographs 'The Woodman' also known as 'The Blue Boy', 'Old Seaweed Hoist' and 'Finisterre'; paintings 'Harvest Assembly' and 'Small Assembly of Figures'; and illustrations made for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season In Hell. This is a rare chance to see work by one of the leading figures in post Second World War British artists.University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne until 12th September.

Ships, Clocks And Stars: The Quest For Longitude, tells the story of the race to determine longitude at sea and how one of the greatest technical challenges of the 18th and 19th centuries was eventually solved. The exhibition draws on the latest research to shed new light on the history of longitude, and how it changed our understanding of the world. While John Harrison is best known, and his marine sea-watch was vital to finally solving the problem of longitude, this was against a backdrop of almost unprecedented collaboration and investment. Famous names such as Galileo, Isaac Newton, James Cook and William Bligh all feature in this fascinating and complex history. Crucially, it was Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne's observations at the Royal Observatory, his work on the Nautical Almanac and the Board of Longitude that demonstrated the complementary nature of astronomical and timekeeper methods, ultimately leading to the successful determination of longitude at sea. As solutions were developed, the Royal Observatory became a testing site for marine timekeepers and the place at which the astronomical observations needed for navigational tables were made. The significance of this work eventually lead to Greenwich becoming the home of the world's Prime Meridian in 1884. Highlights of exhibition include all five of John Harrison's famous timekeepers together for the first time in nearly 30 years; the original Longitude Act of 1714 document, which has never been on public display before; an intricate 1747 model of the Centurion, the ship which carried out the first proper sea trial of Harrison's first machine; and the elegant, padded silk 'observing suit' worn by Nevil Maskelyne at the Royal Observatory during the 1760s. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 4th January.


Malevich is a retrospective of the radical and hugely influential figure in modern art, who lived and worked through one of the most turbulent periods in 20th century history. Having come of age in Tsarist Russia, Kazimir Malevich witnessed the October Revolution first-hand. His early experiments as a painter led him towards the cataclysmic invention of Suprematism, a bold visual language of abstract geometric shapes and stark colours, epitomised by the 'Black Square', which sits on a par with Duchamp's 'readymade' as a game-changing moment in 20th century art. Starting from his early paintings of Russian landscapes, agricultural workers and religious scenes, the exhibition charts Malevich's journey towards abstract painting and his iconic Suprematist compositions. The show also explores his collaborative involvement with architecture and theatre, including his designs for the avant-garde opera 'Victory over the Sun'. In addition, the exhibition follows his temporary abandonment of painting in favour of teaching and writing, due to state pressure, and his much-debated return to figurative painting in later life. Malevich's work tells a fascinating story about the dream of a new social order, the successes and pitfalls of revolutionary ideals, and the power of art itself. This exhibition, for the first time, offers a chance to trace his groundbreaking developments through both well-known masterpieces and earlier and later work, sculpture, design objects, and rarely-seen prints and drawings. Tate Modern until 26th October.

Discovering Tutankhamun tells the story of one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter's excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 made the name of the 'boy king' synonymous with the glories of ancient Egypt, and the spectacular contents of his tomb continue to enthral the public and scholars alike. Howard Carter's hunt for the lost tomb, and the thrill of its discovery, is told through Carter's original records, drawings and photographs, while the phenomenon of 'Tutmania' is explored through a variety of decorative arts, fashions, magazines, sheet music, posters, advertising and other popular cultural memorabilia. The 10 year long process of recording the remarkable objects buried with the king transformed Tutankhamun into an icon of the modern world. Among the highlights are Howard Carter's handwritten diary in which he records the moment of discovery; the glass plate negatives of the excavation made by photographer Harry Burton; exquisite paintings of jewellery from the tomb made on sheets of ivory; and delicate stone sculptures from the time of Tutankhamun. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 2nd November.

The Human Factor: The Figure In Contemporary Sculpture brings together major works by 25 leading international artists who have fashioned new ways of using the figure in contemporary sculpture. In addressing the body, the most frequently revisited subject in art's history, these artists confront the question of how we represent the 'human' today. The exhibition focuses on sculpture that explores a variety of social, political, cultural and historical concerns and incorporates diverse references ranging from science fiction to war monuments, from popular photography to art history. Highlights include: Paul McCarthy's 'That Girl', consisting of three hyper-realistic casts of actress Elyse Poppers sitting in slightly different postures, plus a four-channel video documenting the intricate fabrication of the sculptures using processes at the cutting edge of special effects technology; Katharina Fritsch's theatrical 'space pictures', featuring life-sized cast figures in front of large screen prints of exterior scenes that function like photo backdrops; Pierre Huyghe's Untilled', which transforms an art deco sculpture of a reclining nude by replacing its head with a living beehive, creating an eerie hybrid of nature and culture; and Cady Noland's 'Bluewald', which comprises an enlarged news photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, after being shot by Jack Ruby, which has been silkscreened onto an aluminium panel propped up like a carnival shooting target with a crude wooden support and perforated with several large circular 'bullet' holes around Oswald's midsection and face. Hayward Gallery until 7th September.

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album presents both a personal visual diary and a document of America's dynamic social and cultural life in the 1960s. The exhibition features over 400 original photographs taken by Dennis Hopper, the American actor, film director and artist between 1961 and 1967. The photographs were personally selected and edited by Hopper for his first major exhibition at the Fort Worth Art Center in Texas in 1970, and the vintage prints were only rediscovered after his death in 2010. Although not formally trained as an artist, Hopper created paintings and assemblages throughout his career and during the 1960s, when he found himself blacklisted in Hollywood, photography became his main creative outlet. For 6 years he worked obsessively, taking an estimated 18,000 photographs, which moved between humour and pathos, the playful and the intimate, the glamorous and the everyday. Hopper took iconic portraits of Paul Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jane Fonda and many other actors, artists, poets and musicians of his day. He photographed his family and friends and captured countercultural movements that ranged from Free Speech to Hells Angels and Hippie gatherings, taking in figures from the Beat and Peace movements such as Michael McLure and Timothy Leary. These often playful photographs were counterbalanced by images of tense and volatile events, such as the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery at the height of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, where he accompanied Martin Luther King. The vitality and directness of the images and the sense of time and place that they convey during a decade when American society was undergoing extraordinary upheaval, resonated strongly with cultural production of the period. Royal Academy until 25th August.

Barbara Kruger features new and recent work by the American artist known for her iconic and provocative text works. Barbara Kruger's instantly recognisable works incorporate bold slogans, colour and dramatic presentations of text and image, to investigate strategies of power and influence at play in mass media and contemporary popular culture. The exhibition includes a new site-specific text work that envelops the entire surface area of a gallery from lintel to floor. Coloured black, white and green - a colour that has seldom appeared in her repertoire - this installation emerged in direct response to the distinctive quality of space and light in the gallery and life in the city. While the exhibition addresses ideas of value and consumerism, this work also presents a more philosophical trajectory, confronting the viewer with questions and declarations such as, "IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT PAIN?" "IS THAT ALL THERE IS?" and "THE BRUTAL RELENTLESS FEARFUL END OF IT ALL." The repeated motif of an emoticon references the explosion of digital culture across online and mobile platforms and the influence of these technologies on our lives. The exhibition also includes a series of classic paste-up works from the 1980s; 'Plenty LA', a film capturing the gaze of the phone-obsessed consumer; and 'Twelve', a 4 screen installation portraying exchanges between a series of characters that are both confrontational and evocative of the casual cruelty of soap operas, talk shows and political debate. Modern Art Oxford until 31st August.

Digital Revolution explores and celebrates the transformation of the arts through digital technology since the 1970s. The festival-style event, the most comprehensive presentation of digital creativity ever to be staged in Britain, comprising immersive and interactive art works alongside exhibition-based displays, takes place across the entire complex with ticketed and non-ticketed elements. The exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media. It also looks to the future considering the impact of creative coding, DIY culture, digital communities and the creative possibilities offered by technologies including augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearables and 3D printing. The show includes new commissions from artists Umbrellium, Universal Everything, Seeper, and Yuri Suzuki; a collaboration with Google in the form of digital art commissions called DevArt, pushing the possibilities of coding as a creative art form, an online inspiration hub and a competition for undiscovered creative coders; work by Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Franklin and his team at Double Negative for Christopher Nolan's film Inception; plus works by artists and performers including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin, Bjork, Amon Tobin; and game developers such as Harmonix Music Systems. Barbican, London, until 14th September.


Mind Maps: Stories From Psychology explores how mental health conditions have been diagnosed and treated over the past 250 years. Divided into four episodes, this exhibition looks at key breakthroughs in scientists' understanding of the mind, and the tools and methods of treatment that have been developed, from Mesmerism to Electroconvulsive Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to the latest cutting edge research and its applications. Bringing together psychology, other related sciences, medicine and human stories, the exhibition is illustrated through historical and contemporary objects, artworks and archive images. Highlights include: the first deep-brain EEG (electroencephalograph) recording of brain waves ever made, using electrodes inserted deep inside the brain (rather than as usual on the scalp) to measure simultaneously the electrical activity of many thousands of nerve cells; a Cavallo-style electrical generator, made by George Adams in late 18th century, including the 'medical bottle' that regulated the shocks it administered to patients; a Hipp chronoscope for measuring the speed of thought in 1880s psychological laboratories, an extremely precise stop-clock that allowed scientists to measure events such as reaction time, attention and perception on the timescale of nerve impulses; 'Nervone' nerve nutrient, launched in the 1920s, available to the public over the counter or prescribed by doctors for a range of conditions such as fatigue, anxiety, headache and depression; a contemporary EEG sensor net used for studying sleep, which, together with the sophisticated computers, have made EEG much easier to use; and 40 versions of the same PET scan colour-coded in different ways by a scanner's computers in order to show how 'hot spots' of activity can be make to appear and disappear. Science Museum until 12th August.

Kenneth Clark - Looking For Civilisation explores the impact of the art historian, public servant and broadcaster, widely seen as one of the most influential figures in British art of the 20th century. The exhibition examines Kenneth Clark's role as a patron and collector, art historian, director of the National Gallery and broadcaster, and celebrates his contribution to bringing art to a more popular audience. It focuses predominantly on Clark's activities in the 1930s and 1940s, when he was a leading supporter and promoter of contemporary British art and artists. Using his own wealth to help artists, Clark would not only buy works from those he admired, but also provide financial support to allow them to work freely, offered commissions, and worked to ensure artists' works entered prestigious collections. The artists he favoured included the Bloomsbury Group, the painters of the Euston Road School, and leading figures Henry Moore, Victor Pasmore, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. With the outbreak of war in 1939, Clark's private patronage became a state project when he instigated the War Artists Advisory Committee to employ artists to record the war. Through the commissioning of such iconic works as Moore's 'Shelter Drawings' and Sutherland's and Piper's images of the Blitz he ensured that the neo-Romantic spirit that those artists' work embodied became the dominant art of the period. From work by the British artists he championed to highlights from his own eclectic collection, the exhibition of around 230 objects includes works by Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland, drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, prints by Hokusai, and paintings by Constable, Degas, Renoir, Turner, Seurat and Cezanne, plus textiles, china and medieval illuminations. Tate Britain until 10th August.

Open For Business is a comprehensive documentation of contemporary British manufacturing and industry, captured by the lenses of 9 international photographers from the legendary co-operative agency Magnum Photos. During 2013, Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Franklin, Bruce Gilden, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Martin Parr, Mark Power, Chris Steele-Perkins and Alessandra Sanguinetti visited over 100 workplaces in 9 cities across Britain, from one-man businesses to FTSE 100 companies. Their photographs range from traditional, handmade crafts to modern, intelligent automation, and from foundries and assembly lines to research laboratories and high tech cleanrooms, showing an economic sector of resilience and diversity. British industry faces several challenges and this display reflects the daily struggle as businesses attempt to cut costs, streamline processes and level up to international competition. The images reveal that, while in some ways industry has changed so much, in others it has changed so little. The photographs document the shifting balance between white and blue-collar workers, the physical reality of process automation and of environments in which a growing staff manage activity from a computer screen. The project raises questions about the corporate responsibility of employers to their employees, highlights the significance of migration to the workforce and shows the pride exuded from workers who make a huge variety of products. It captures British manufacturing's effect on culture and community life, and celebrates the work, activities and lives of its employees. Museum Of Science & Industry, Manchester, until 3rd August.