News and Events
Private View held by Richard Andrews
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the artist's paper cut-outs, made between 1943 and 1954. When ill health prevented Matisse from painting, he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make maquettes for commissions, from books and stained glass window designs to tapestries and ceramics. In the cut-outs, outlines take on sculptural form and painted sheets of paper are infused with the luminosity of stained glass. The exhibition brings together around 120 works, many seen together for the first time, in a reassessment of Matisse's colourful and innovative final pieces. A draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor and painter, Matisse's unparalleled cut-outs are among the most significant of any artist's late works. Matisse's first cut-outs were collected together in Jazz, a book of 20 plates, and copies, featuring a text hand-written by Matisse, are shown alongside the original cut-outs. Other major pieces in the exhibition include 'The Snail', its sister work 'Memory of Oceania' and 'Large Composition with Masks', which a photograph of Matisse's studio reveals were initially conceived as a unified whole, are shown together for the first time since they were made. The show includes the largest number of 'Blue Nudes' ever exhibited together, including the most significant of the group 'Blue Nude I'. The exhibition re-examines the cut-outs in terms of the methods and materials that Matisse used, and their double lives, first as contingent and mutable in the studio and ultimately as permanent works through mounting and framing. The exhibition highlights the tensions in the works between finish and process; fine art and decoration; contemplation and utility; and drawing and colour. Tate Modern until 7th September.
26 Characters is a photographic installation with a twist that transforms writers into their childhood story heroes. Photographer Cambridge Jones has captured a gallery of 26 rogues and rascals, wizards, witches and wild things, portrayed by some of Britain's best-loved writers and storytellers, which unfolds through museum's atmospheric and unfinished buildings. Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman metamorphoses into the Wicked Witch of the West; Terry Pratchett achieves outlaw status as Just William; Neil Gaiman gets stripey as a well-known woodland creature; and Anthony Horowitz is both Jekyll and Hyde. Other celebrity authors taking part are Steven Butler, Cressida Cowell, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Ted Dewan, Julia Donaldson, Jamila Gavin, Frances Hardinge, Charlie Higson, Katrice Horsley, Shirley Hughes, Terry Jones, Geraldine McCaughrean, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Michael Rosen, Katherine Rundell, Francesca Simon, Holly Smale, Clara Vulliamy and Benjamin Zephaniah. The exhibition also features authors talking about their heroes and the magic of stories, plus new works of imagination specially created for the exhibition by Jamila Gavin, Geraldine McCaughrean and others, read by actors Olivia Colman and Christopher Eccleston. The Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford, until 2nd November.
The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714 - 1760 marks the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Georgian era, exploring the reigns of George 1 and his son George II, shedding fresh light on the role of this new dynasty in the transformation of political, intellectual and cultural life. From paintings, furniture and clocks to garden design, china and silver table settings and jewellery, the exhibition of over 300 works presents an all-embracing picture of early Georgian taste at a time when Britain emerged as the world's most liberal, commercial and cosmopolitan society. During this period, the focus of British cultural life began to shift away from court, as artists achieved success and fame through their own efforts, without the traditional support of a royal patron. The emergence of a new leisure class with an insatiable appetite for luxury goods drove Britain's commercial enterprise. Antonio Canaletto's elegant views of London, then the most important trading city in the world, contrast with William Hogarth's satires on the fashionable tastes of the newly prosperous. The continuous threat to the Hanoverians' rule, both at home and overseas, is reflected in a display of military maps and drawings. A battle plan by George II's son, the Duke of Cumberland, who led the King's Troops at the Battle of Culloden, is shown alongside a letter from Bonnie Prince Charlie's father consoling his son following his defeat. The items that the early Georgian royal family collected, coveted and displayed in their residences reveal not only their artistic taste, but also the very human concerns that drove them. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 12th October.
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain examines the life and work of the leading architect and designer of early Georgian Britain. The exhibition celebrates Willaim Kent's work over four decades when Britain defined itself as a new nation with the act of union with Scotland and the accession of a new Hanoverian Royal Family. Kent was a polymath, turning his hand to painting, sculpture, architecture, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, book illustration, theatrical design, costume and landscape gardening. The exhibition demonstrates how Kent's artistic ingenuity and inventiveness led him to play a dominant role in defining British taste and a new design aesthetic for the period. It brings together nearly 200 examples of William Kent's work, including architectural drawings for prominent buildings such as the Treasury and Horse Guards in Whitehall; spectacular gilt upholstered furniture from Houghton Hall, Wanstead House and Chiswick House; and designs for landscape gardens at Rousham and Stowe; as well as paintings, illustrated books and Kent's model for the Royal palace that was never built, demonstrating the versatility of the 'Kentian' style. Also featured are designs for the new Royal Family including those produced for Frederick, Prince of Wales's Royal Barge, Queen Caroline's Library at St James' Palace and the Hermitage in Richmond Gardens, together with spectacular examples of silver including a chandelier commissioned for the Royal palace in Hanover. The exhibition also examines Kent's projects for the redesign of Georgian London, including projects that were never realised, such as proposals for a new House of Parliament, and interiors for the House of Lords. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.
Titian And The Golden Age Of Venetian Art illuminates an exceptionally creative period in the city of romance's history. The exhibition includes 16 paintings and some 30 drawings and prints by most the greatest names in Venetian art of the 16th century, including Lorenzo Lotto, Palma Vecchio, Jacopo Bassano, Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese. At the heart of the exhibition are two of the greatest paintings of the Italian Renaissance: Titian's 'Diana and Actaeon' and 'Diana and Callisto', part of a series of 6 large mythological paintings with subjects drawn from the ancient writer Ovid's Metamorphoses pained over a period of 10 years, shown for the first time in Scotland with 'Death of Actaeon' also from the series. Other highlights include Bassano's festive pageant, the 'Adoration of the Kings', Paris Bordone's 'Venetian Women at their Toilet', Lotto's 'The Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome, Peter, Francis and an Unidentified Female', Bassano's 'Adoration of the Magi', Tintoretto's altarpiece, 'Christ Carried to the Tomb', and Titian's early pastoral masterpiece 'Three Ages of Man' and 'Venus Rising from the Sea'. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 14th September.
Spitting Image celebrates the 30th anniversary of the launch of the groundbreaking satirical television show. The exhibition looks at the partnership between artists Peter Fluck and Roger Law, whose talent for three-dimensional caricature formed the bedrock for the complex creation that would become Spitting Image. The display includes images of the satirical sculptures created by 'Luck and Flaw' in the 1970s and '80s for magazines such as National Lampoon, Men Only, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine and many others. Featured are Spitting Image caricature drawings and photographs of, amongst others, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Kate Moss, Saddam Hussein, Billy Connolly, Rupert Murdoch, Jo Brand and John Paul II, plus the Royal Family, Margaret Thatcher's cabinet and her political opponents. The exhibition reunites some of the best-known puppets, including Margaret Thatcher, The Queen, Princess Diana and Mr Spock. Also on show are ceramic teapots of Margaret Thatcher, Royal eggcups, books and magazines, dog chews and other ephemera. Spitting Image ended in 1996 after 18 series, but the Spitting Image workshop created spin-off series in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Japan and Russia. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1 until 8th June.
Britain: One Million Years Of The Human Story is the result of more than 10 years research by a 50 strong team of archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists to unlock the secrets of our ancient past. From hippos that swam in the Thames and the earliest Neanderthals in Europe, to ancient evidence of cannibalism, this exhibition brings together rare fossil specimens and artefacts to give the most complete picture of our past so far. Highlights include: specially commissioned Neanderthal and Homo sapiens models that are the most life-like and scientifically accurate ever made; human head casts representing the four human species in the story of evolution; stone tools from Happisburgh in Norfolk that reveal ancient humans arrived in Britain around 900,000 years ago - 400,000 years earlier than previously thought; skeletons from Gough's Cave in Somerset that show clear evidence of cannibalism 14,700 years ago, with skulls carefully shaped into ritual drinking cups; a hippo tooth recovered from Trafalgar Square; the bones of a man buried in a Welsh cave around 33,000 years ago, decorated with periwinkle shells, red dye and jewellery made from mammoth ivory; fossil bones of a Lion found in Crayford in Kent; a woolly rhinoceros skull from Peterborough; and a 400,000 year old partial skull of what was most likely an early Neanderthal woman, found in Swanscombe in Kent; plus contemporary reflections on personal ancestries from Bill Bailey, Clive Anderson, Sian Williams, Professor Alice Roberts, Dr Kevin Fong and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. Natural History Museum until 28th September.
Moore Rodin brings together works by two giants of modern sculpture for the first time. The exhibition features sculpture by Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin, both in the Capability Brown landscaped parkland and indoor galleries. Amongst the works on display are Rodin's bronze 'Monument to the Burghers of Calais', 'Jean d'Aire, Monumental Nude', 'Walking Man, on a Column', 'Cybele' and 'Eve'; and Moore's monumental 'Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae', 'The Arch', 'Upright Motive No.9', 'Locking Piece' and 'Reclining Figure: Bunched'. The exhibition draws parallels between the artists treatment of the figure, which is revealed through models the artists made for larger works. These include maquettes for two of Rodin's most famous works 'The Gates of Hell', and a final study for the sculpture of Balzac commissioned by Emile Zola; and models by Moore including the iconic 'Mother and Child' works, a subject to which he returned to again and again throughout his lifetime, alongside studies for abstract and reclining figures. These works are drawn together to explore the themes of interlocking forms, the torso, finished / unfinished and the figure in landscape. As well as the sculptures, the inside exhibition displays an extensive range of drawings by both artists and a set of photographs taken by Moore of his cast of Rodin's 'Walking Man'. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 31st December.
Sutton Hoo And Europe AD 300 - 1100 is a new display of the museum's Early Medieval collection. The refurbished gallery gives an overview of the whole period, ranging across Europe and beyond, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea and from North Africa to Scandinavia. The display tells the story of a formative period in Europe's history, which witnessed the end of the Western Roman Empire, the evolution of the Byzantine Empire, migrations of people across the Continent and the emergence of Christianity and Islam as major religions. By the end of the period covered in the gallery, the precursors of many modern states had developed, and Europe as we know it today was beginning to take shape. Marking 75 years since their discovery, the gallery's centrepiece is the finds from the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, one of the most spectacular and important discoveries in British archaeology. Excavated in 1939, this grave inside a 27m long ship may have commemorated an Anglo-Saxon king who died in the early AD 600s. It remains the richest intact burial to survive from Europe. Many of its treasures, like the helmet, gold buckle and whetstone have become icons of the Early Medieval as a whole. Outstanding treasures on display include the Lycurgus Cup, the Projecta Casket, the Kells Crozier, Domagnano Treasure, Cuerdale Hoard and Fuller Brooch. The new display also features material never before shown, such as Late Roman mosaics, a copper alloy necklace from the Baltic Sea region, and a gilded mount discovered by X-ray in a lump of organic material from a Viking woman's grave. British Museum continuing.
In The Making captures 25 objects mid-manufacture, putting the aesthetic of the unfinished centre stage, as chosen by the founders of design studio BarberOsgerby. The secret life of cricket bats, felt hats, shoes, boots, marbles, light bulbs, whistles, pencils, coins, horns, lenses and the Olympic torch are revealed, as they are exhibited in an incomplete state, celebrating the intriguing beauty of the production process. The show gives a glimpse of the designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby's ongoing dialogue with manufacturing. This perspective is distinctive to their practice: throughout their careers, they have had a technical curiosity and fascination with the making process. The way in which things are created has had a profound influence on Barber and Osgerby, and continually inspires their work. The exhibition provides a platform to capture and reveal a frozen moment in the manufacturing process and unveils an everyday object in its unfinished state. Often the object is as beautiful, if not more so, than the finished product. These partially made objects give an insight into the multidisciplinary approach that challenges the boundaries of industrial design, architecture and art, which has driven Barber and Osgerby to success, including designing the London 2012 Olympic Torch. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1, until 4th May.
The Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels paints a vivid picture of one of the darkest and most visceral periods of London's history. The Cheapside Hoard is a collection of late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones that was discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London. The story of this extraordinary treasure is multi-faceted - a tale of war, murder on the high seas, chance discovery and clandestine dealings. A jeweller's stock in trade, the Hoard was buried between 1640 and 1666. Comprising nearly 500 pieces, it includes delicate finger rings, cascading necklaces, Byzantine cameos, beautiful jewelled scent bottles, and a unique Colombian emerald watch. It is the single most important source of knowledge on early modern jewellery worldwide. However, research has found that amongst the Hoard are two counterfeit balas rubies, fashioned from rock crystal, cut, polished and dyed to represent natural gems by the dubious jeweller Thomas Sympson. His relatives, John and Francis Sympson, received stolen goods snatched from the jeweller, Gerrard Pulman, who became victim of a plot and was murdered for his stash of jewels on board a ship travelling home from Persia to London in 1631. The exhibition offers new evidence about the individuals and communities engaged in mining, cutting, trading and buying jewels and looks at their creative talents, craft skills and manufacturing techniques. The jewels are shown with a range of objects and portraits of goldsmith-jewellers, patrons and consumers, to paint a picture of the fashions and culture at play in Tudor and early Stuart London, and illustrate the importance of jewellery in early modern society. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, until 27th April.
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.