News and Events
Private View held by Richard Andrews
Germany Divided explores how 6 key artists redefined art in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, and negotiated with the recent past, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. All the artists in the exhibition came originally from eastern Germany and migrated to the West, the majority before the borders were sealed in 1961. As a generation, they came out of the experience of growing up in the aftermath of a Germany defeated in the Second World War, and its subsequent partition in 1949. Much of their work is informed by the sense of collective guilt experienced by the German people over its recent past, the country's physical and psychological destruction, and the division of the country by two opposing ideologies - the democracies of the free West and the Communist system of the Soviet bloc. The exhibition features over 90 works, around half by Georg Baselitz, with the remainder by Markus Lupertz, Blinky Palermo, A R Penck, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. The works by Baselitz cover the principal phases of his career from the 'Pandemonium' drawings of the early 1960s, the development of his ironic 'Heroes' in the mid 1960s, the subsequent fracturing of his motifs to the eventual inversion of the motif from the late 1960s. There are also an important examples by Richter, including his 'Pin-up' and 'Installation' drawings, the characteristic Ice Age meets cybernetics stick-figures of Penck, as well as sculptural drawings by Lupertz and Palermo, and a drawing and sketchbook by Polke satirising the 'economic miracle' of post-war reconstruction in West Germany. British Museum until 31st August.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia Photographs 1975 - 2012 is the first exhibition in Britain of work by the New York based photographer, one of the most important working in the medium today. This survey contains over 100 photographs from 6 major series, which demonstrate the way in which Philip-Lorca diCorcia negotiates the line between fiction and documentation. Although actual locations are often used, and the people in the photographs are themselves, rather than models or actors, the overall composition, lighting and positioning of subjects have been carefully planned in advance. 'Hustlers' (1990 - 1992) depicts male prostitutes, each in a different carefully staged setting. The evocative titles of each photograph give the name, age, hometown and the amount diCorcia paid each man for posing for the picture. 'Streetwork' (1993 - 1999) shows unsuspecting passers-by photographed on the street, a theme also developed in the series 'Heads' (2000 - 2001), where single, isolated figures walking through New York's Times Square are captured as if frozen in time. In 'Lucky 13' (2004) - an American phrase that describes the warding off of a losing streak - dramatically lit pole-dancers are presented in near life size photographs, suspended in time and space and caught in the act of falling. diCorcia's current series 'East of Eden' (2008 onwards) draws loosely on narrative incidents from the Old Testament in images that are stylistically varied and include landscapes and staged scenes. The exhibition also encompasses the entirety of the series 'A Storybook Life' (1975 - 1999) 76 photographs that are sequenced to suggest a network of interconnected lives and stories. The Hepworth Wakefield until 1st June.
Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight seeks to highlight how important a role diagrams have played in communicating scientific ideas. For many people, the rise of the infographic is linked to the digital age, yet this exhibition shows that scientists and statisticians have used images to explain data for centuries. The items on display run from a 17th century illustrated diagram to a moving infographic of currents in the world's oceans compiled by NASA. Among the highlights are the earliest piece in the show, Robert Fludd's 'Great Chain of Being', a visual representation of a hierarchically ordered universe from 1617; Eberhard Werner Happel's map charting the oceans' currents, based on the observations of contemporary explorers and mariners, from 1685; Edmond Halley's 'An Historical Account of the Trade Winds, and Monsoons', which was the first meteorological map in 1686; William Farr's 'Temperature And Mortality Of London', charting cycles of temperature and cholera deaths for 1840-1850; John Snow's plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections in Soho, which revealed they stemmed from a public water pump in Broad Street; Florence Nightingale's 'Rose Diagram' from 1858, showing that significantly more deaths in the Crimean War were due to poor hospital conditions than battlefield wounds; Ernst Haeckel's 'The Pedigree of Man', organising all life on Earth into trees, inspired by the ideas of Charles Darwin, from 1879; and the Epidemic Planet chart, based on the Global Epidemic and Mobility model, which researchers used to accurately forecast the 2009 pandemic influenza outbreak. British Library until 26th May.
Strange Beauty: Masters Of The German Renaissance takes a fresh look at paintings, drawings and prints by major artists of the period, examining the striking changes in the ways these works were perceived in their time, in the recent past, and how they are viewed today. The exhibition has a particular focus on works by Hans Holbein the Younger, Albrecht Durer and Lucas Cranach the Elder. The German Renaissance was part of the cultural and artistic awakening that spread across Northern Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, and German artists developed an international reputation, their fame reaching all parts of Europe. Paintings such as Holbein's 'The Ambassadors', Albrecht Altdorfer's 'Christ taking Leave of his Mother', Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Cupid complaining to Venus', Hans Baldung Grien's 'Portrait of a Man' and Durer's 'Saint Jerome' were highly valued in the 16th century for qualities such as expression and inventiveness. However, by the 19th and early 20th centuries German Renaissance art was receiving a very mixed reception. Some viewers admired the artists' technical mastery and their embodiment of a perceived German national identity, while others perceived these works of art as excessive or even ugly, particularly when compared to works of the Italian Renaissance. Other highlights in the show include Matthias Grunewald's drawing 'An Elderly Woman with Clasped Hands', the Holbein miniature of 'Anne of Cleves', Hans Baldung Grien's 'Portrait of Young Man with a Rosary', and for the first time ever, a reconstruction of the altarpiece Benedictine Abbey of Liesborn, created around 1465, but dismembered, sold and scattered across the globe in 1803. National Gallery until 11th May.
Making Painting: JMW Turner And Helen Frankenthaler explores the act of painting through the work of two artists separated by one hundred years and nearly four thousand miles. JMW Turner, celebrated as a great 19th century painter of landscape, transformed the way we see and interpret our natural surroundings. In her canvases of the late 1950s onwards, American artist Helen Frankenthaler translated landscape into abstract compositions characterised by flooding colour and increasingly large scale. The exhibition explores the fellowship that the two artists, a Romantic 19th century Briton and an Abstract Expressionist 20th century American, share in paint across their temporal divide. It includes a significant group of paintings by Frankenthaler from the 1950s to the 1990s, which revolutionised painting, creating bouquets of washy, pastel forms and dark lines, alongside oil paintings and watercolours by Turner from throughout his career, which progress from early bucolic scenes to skies of riotous swirling pigment. There is an exhilarating sense of freedom in Frankenthaler's work, just as there is in the late paintings of Turner. Turner Contemporary, The Rendezvous, Margate until 11th May.
Court And Craft: A Masterpiece From Northern Iraq features a brass container inlaid with intricate scenes of courtly life in gold and silver, a masterpiece of luxury metalwork from the Islamic world. Originally thought to be a wallet, document carrier, or saddlebag, it is now believed to be a shoulder bag, made in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq around 1300. Through some 40 works, the exhibition explores the origins, function and imagery of this masterpiece, as well as the cultural context in which it was made. The 14th century illustrations of the Il-Khanid court, 3 of which are on display, depict such shoulder bags worn by the page of the Khatun, the wife of the ruling Khan. The exquisite crafting of the bag resembles goldsmiths' work, and it is possible that similar bags were produced in gold and even encrusted with jewels. A bejewelled container of the same shape is held by one of the attendants to the Chinese princess Humayun, in a manuscript of poems by Khwaju Kirmani. A highlight of the exhibition is a life-size display recreating this lavish court scene and featuring objects similar to those depicted: crescent-shaped gold earrings like those worn by the lady, a Chinese mirror similar to the one held by the page, and a Syrian glass bottle as depicted on the table. The bag is richly ornamented with roundels featuring musicians, hunters and revellers, over a geometric fretwork pattern characteristic of the inlaid brass vessels for which the city of Mosul was famous. The objects in the exhibition, demonstrate that the technical and stylistic traditions of Mosul metalwork not only survived the Mongol conquest but flourished well into the Il-Khanid period. A section of the exhibition examines the inlaid metalwork tradition of Mosul during the 13th and early 14th centuries. Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, until 18th May.
Richard Hamilton is the first retrospective to encompass the full scope of one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Richard Hamilton is widely regarded as a founding figure of pop art, and he continued to experiment and innovate over a career of 60 years. This exhibition explores his relationship to design, painting, photography and television, as well his engagement and collaborations with other artists. It features the groundbreaking installation 'Fun House'; a print of the era-defining 'Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?'; and the depiction of Mick Jagger in 'Swingeing London 67'; as well as images looking at wider contemporary issues and political subjects, such as the Kent State shootings and the IRA 'dirty protests'; as well as figures like Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair in works such as 'Treatment Room' and 'Shock and Awe'. Hamilton's interest in interiors, architecture and design is also represented by his depictions of everything from the Guggenheim Museum in New York to a classic Braun toaster. This show reflects the importance of his exhibition designs and installations, with key examples such as a recreation of his first installation 'Growth and Form', and 'Lobby', in which a painting of a hotel lobby is echoed by a column and staircase in the gallery room itself. Hamilton was also notable for his many collaborations with other artists, which include a life-long series of Polaroid portraits that he invited other artists to take of him, such as Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. This interest in the work of others can also be seen in his final computer-aided paintings, which were inspired by the Italian Renaissance masters. Tate Modern until 26th May.
Seven Billion Two Hundred And One Million Nine Hundred And Sixty-Four Thousand And Two Hundred And Thirty-Eight is the number of people alive at the moment that this show opened. The exhibition brings together for the first time all of Gavin Turk's neon pieces made between 1995 and 2014, examining the evolution of his work. Quintessentially a modernist medium - now rendered obsolete by digital LED - neon is the vaporous stuff of retro-futuristic glory, of Hollywood optimism and capitalist spectacle, and of history's malleability and forgetfulness: neon light's inventor, French chemist Georges Claude, envisioned their use for fascist propaganda. Set within a darkened chamber, Turk's luminous symbols beacon with occultish effect. Visually reduced to minimal typographies, they offer communication in its barest form: a seeing eye, a flickering flame, primordial hieroglyphs, with their ancient mysteries and secrets, evolved to modern day usage. The title of the exhibition reflects Turk's fascination with world population and inspired him to create the largest neon work of his career to date. 'We are One', is an eight and a half metre wide piece designed to broadcast the world's population from the museum's facade for the duration of the exhibition. Two pieces hold special significance for Turk: a red star, made in conjunction with his Che Gavara series, is a replica of the actual signage on his London studio, and an eight pointed Maltese cross, a symbol dating back to the First Crusade, whose points represent the eight lands of origin, the origin of languages, and the values of truth, sincerity and faith. The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 21st April.
By George! Handel's Music For Royal Occasions explores the life and work of the composer most closely associated with the British monarchy. German born George Frideric Handel enjoyed the patronage of three British monarchs during his lifetime: Queen Anne, George I and George II. Handel tutored the royal princesses and composed music for almost all important royal events. He went on to compose the coronation anthems for George II, as well as 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' and the 'Water Music'. Among the exhibits are the 1727 Order of Service for the Coronation of George II, annotated by the Archbishop of Canterbury; the painting 'A perspective view of the building for the fireworks in the Green Park taken from the reservoir' by Paul Angier; autographed manuscripts including 'Zadok the Priest' (performed at every coronation since 1727), the 'Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne', and 'Lessons for Princess Louisa', composed to teach the Royal princesses to play the harpsichord; musical instruments of the period; rarely-seen documents from the archives of Westminster Abbey giving an insight into the organisation of major Royal events; and paintings of the Royal Family, including Philip Mercier's 'The Music Party' (Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, and his sisters, Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, Princess Caroline Elizabeth, Princess Amelia Sophia Eleanora), and portraits of King George I, by studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller, and King George II by John Shackleton. Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1, until 18th May.
Only In England: Photographs By Tony Ray-Jones And Martin Parr is the inaugural exhibition in the Media Space, which will explore relationships between, and lesser-known histories of, photography, science, art and technology. The display features over 100 works by the British photographer Tony Ray-Jones alongside 50 rarely seen early black and white photographs, The Non-Conformists, by Martin Parr. Fascinated by the eccentricities of English social customs, Tony Ray-Jones spent the latter half of the 1960s travelling across the country, photographing what he saw as a disappearing way of life, in seaside towns, on the streets, at tea dances, and at Glyndebourne, Eton, Wimbledon and Crufts, creating a body of photographic work documenting English identity - eccentric and still divided by class and tradition. Humorous yet melancholy, these photographs were a departure from anything else being produced at the time, and have had a lasting influence on the development of British photography. In 1970, inspired by Ray-Jones, Martin Parr produced The Non-Conformists, shot in black and white in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley, documenting the variety of non-conformist chapels and the communities he encountered. This project started within two years of Ray-Jones's early death and demonstrates his legacy and influence. Around 50 of Ray-Jones vintage prints are on display, alongside an equal number of photographs that have never previously been printed. Martin Parr was invited to select these new works from the 2,700 contact sheets and negatives in Ray-Jones's archive. Science Museum until 16th March.
Castiglione: Lost Genius is the first British exhibition of works by one of the great artists of the Baroque. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was perhaps the most innovative and technically brilliant Italian draftsman of his time. Although he practised as a painter, he won fame for his drawings and prints. Castiglione worked in oils on paper to produce large, vibrant compositions, and combined drawing and printmaking in the technique of monotype. Despite leading a violent and turbulent life, Castiglione produced works of grace and rare beauty, which were highly esteemed for a century after his death, but he unaccountably fell from fame in the modern era. In 1762 George III bought a vast collection of 250 drawings by Castiglione and his assistants, which is now the finest surviving group of his works, and from which this exhibition is selected. The show is organised chronologically, starting with early pastoral scenes created in Genoa, where Castiglione developed a highly unusual technique that became his hallmark - large oil sketches on paper. He conceived these compositions as finished works of art rather than studies, working from his head straight onto paper in a distinctive palette of red-brown and blue-grey. Castiglione went on to invent the monotype, a hybrid of drawing and printmaking, which involved drawing in ink onto a copper plate, scraping with sticks, rags or the finger to bring out the image, and taking a single impression on a sheet of paper. The show ends with smaller oil sketches from Castiglione's last years, where he made up for his loss of mobility by adding more color. Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 16th March.
Peter Blake Illustrates Under Milk Wood By Dylan Thomas is a celebration and an exploration of the Welsh poet's most enduring work, on display for the first time. Peter Blake's illustrations of Dylan Thomas's 1953 'play for voices' is the culmination of a 28 year project. A longtime admirer of Thomas, Blake has always been fascinated by the radio play and remembers first hearing Under Milk Wood while at the Royal College. He claims to listen to it twice a week and read it once a month as he continues to work on the characters, dreams, scenes and locations. Blake aims to take the text literally and illustrate the Thomas's descriptions, but they are his personal interpretations. The exhibition of some 200 works features portraits drawn in black and white pencil on tinted paper, watercolours illustrating the dream sequences, 'narratives and locations' in a mix of media including collage, and photographs that Blake took himself on a visit to Laugharne in the 1970s. All the portraits are both imaginary and real because Blake believes that a face cannot be invented so he borrows from images he finds. Among the faces he has borrowed are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, racing driver Tommy Sopwith, Beryl Bainbridge, Billie Piper and Terry Wogan, whose familiar features have been used in a portrait of a woman. National Museum, Cardiff, until 16th March.