News and Events
Private View held by Richard Andrews
Constable: The Making Of A Master explores the sources, techniques and legacy of the work of one of Britain's best loved artists, revealing the hidden stories behind the creation of some of his most well known paintings. The exhibition juxtaposes John Constable's work with the art of 17th century masters of the classical landscape whose compositional ideas and formal values he revered. The display brings together over 150 works, comprising oil sketches, drawings, watercolours and engravings, including such celebrated works as 'The Hay Wain', 'The Cornfield', 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' and 'The Leaping Horse', plus oil sketches Constable painted outdoors directly from nature, which are unequalled in capturing transient effects of light and atmosphere. Constable was schooled in the old masters, meticulously copying their work and reflecting on their compositions in his individual style. On display are paintings including 'Moonlight Landscape' by Rubens and 'Landscape with a Pool' by Gainsborough, which inspired his early work. Constable made a number of close copies of the old masters, and Claude's 'Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats' and Ruisdael's 'Windmills near Haarlem', as well as etchings and drawings by Herman van Swanevelt and Alexander Cozens, are displayed alongside Constable's direct copies, many of which are brought together for the first time since they were produced almost 200 years ago. In the last decade of his life Constable and the engraver David Lucas collaborated on a series of mezzotints after his paintings, and a group of these prints are shown together with the original oil sketches on which they were based. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.
Buddha's Word: The Life Of Books In Tibet And Beyond brings together some of the world's oldest Buddhist manuscripts and art from around the world. The exhibition follows the journey of Buddha's words in three different spaces. In the first, a Himalayan Buddhist Altar demonstrates an exploration of the text as sacred object, as a relic of the Buddha. The second shows how Tibetan books are made and analysed, investigating the long history of printing in Tibet and the recent discoveries made by scientists and scholars about the pigments used. The final section traces the journeys taken by Buddha's word from India, across Asia, to places such as Sri Lanka and Japan, Mongolia and Taiwan, taking different material forms in different places. Many of the artefacts, statues, prints and manuscripts in the exhibition have never been on public display before. These include some of the oldest illuminated Buddhist manuscripts dating back to the 11th century, as well as specimens of skillfully illuminated wooden covers; a quartet of scroll paintings brought back from the infamous Younghusband Expedition; and a gift from the 13th Dalai Lama. This exhibition tells the story of the transformation of Buddha's words, from palmleaf, to paper, to digital dharma. It focuses on books, not just as objects of learning and study, but as relics of the Buddha, and sacred objects in their own right. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge, until 17th January.
The Art Of The Brick endeavors to turn the humble LEGO building brick into works of art. Nathan Sawaya's exhibition is created with millions of LEGO building blocks and is unique in its scope, with 80 sculptures ranging from new conceptual pieces to three dimensional replicas of iconic classical artworks. The results look rather like pixilated images of the real things. Highlights range from a full size man ripping his chest open with his insides spilling out and a semi submerged swimmer, through a 7ft pencil, a hand reaching out from a computer screen to hit the keyboard and a 20ft dinosaur, to Michaelangelo's David, the Venus de Milo, the Creation of Adam, taken from the Sistine Chapel, Rodan's Thinker and Edvard Munch's The Scream. Incidentally, that's 16,349 bricks for David, 18,483 for Venus, 1,948 for Adam, 4,332 for the Thinker and 3,991 for The Scream. Whether this can actually be described as art (and whether Sawaya is actually an artist or simply a snake oil salesman) is up to the viewer. The display brings to mind Gunther von Hagens's Body Worlds, although it is slightly less alarming. To paraphrase Johnson, it may not be art done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all. Old Truman Brewery, Loading Bay, Ely's Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London E1, until 4th January.
Ming: 50 Years That Changed China explores a pivotal period that transformed China during the rule of the Ming dynasty. In the years between 1400 and 1450 in China bureaucrats replaced military leaders in the hierarchy of power, the emperor's role changed from autocrat to icon, and the decision was taken to centralise, rather than devolve, power. China's internal transformation and connections with the rest of the world led to a flourishing of creativity from what was, at the time, the only global superpower, evidenced here through gold, silver, paintings, porcelains, sculpture, ceramics, silk hanging scrolls, weapons, costumes, furniture and textiles. This is the first exhibition to explore the great social and cultural changes in China that established Beijing as a capital city and the building of the Forbidden City - still the national emblem on coins and military uniforms today. As well as the imperial court, the exhibition focuses on archaeological finds from three regional princely tombs: in Sichuan, Shandong and Hubei covering southwest, northeast and central China. Four emperors ruled China in this period, and the exhibition includes the sword of the Yongle Emperor, "the warrior"; the handwriting of the Hongxi emperor, "the bureaucrat";the paintings of the Xuande emperor, "the aesthete"; and portraits of the officials who ruled while the Zhengtong emperor was a boy. In addition to the costumes of the princes, their gold and jewellery, and furniture, the exhibition also covers court life, the military, culture, beliefs, trade and diplomacy. British Museum until 5th January.
The Influence Of Furniture On Love is an exhibition of works made in response to the rooms of a 17th century farmhouse by a selection of artists who have stayed there. The title of the exhibition is taken from an unpublished essay by the economist John Maynard Keynes entitled "Can we consume our surplus or the influence of furniture on love", discussing whether it is possible for the rooms within which we live to "suggest to us thoughts and feelings and occupations". The Grade II Listed farmhouse, which was built reputedly from timbers of ships salvaged from the sinking of the Spanish Armada in 1588, has hosted many hundreds of artists since the Wysing organisation was founded 25 years ago. Artists live, sleep and eat there, and together they discuss the works that they are developing during residencies and retreats. The exhibition features works by An Endless Supply, Ruth Beale, Juliette Blightman, Ben Brierley, Céline Condorelli, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Luca Frei, Gil Leung, Seb Patane, Florian Roithmayr, Phil Root, Laure Prouvost, Cally Spooner, The Grantchester Pottery, Philomene Pirecki , Elizabeth Price, Mark Aerial Waller, Neal White and Lisa Wilkens. Wysing Arts Centre, Fox Road, Bourne, Cambridge, until 2nd November.
A World To Win - Posters Of Protest And Revolution looks at a century of posters agitating for political change. From the 'Votes for Women' campaigns of the early 20th century, through campus demonstrations in the 1960s, to the recent 'Occupy' movements, political activists around the world have used posters to mobilise, educate and organise. Making or displaying a poster is in itself a means of taking political action, while for many social and political movements posters have represented an important form of cultural output. Themes of protest and political participation have gained a powerful contemporary resonance in the wake of the Arab Spring and the global financial crisis. This display of posters, bills, placards and polemical papers covers a century particularly redolent with protest. The imagery of radicalism goes beyond political party or ideology, and at times, adversaries use the same motifs. For instance, propaganda by the Nazis, the Soviets, and later the Hungarian revolutionaries employ strikingly similar images of hulking labourers smashing up the establishment. A section on 'subvertising' exhibits protesters' doctoring or parodying of corporate logos to administer a good kicking to multinational companiess. This display is a quiet reminder of the power of clever design. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd November.
Maps To Memorials - Exploring The Work Of MacDonald Gill examines the career of a man who produced a captivating and innovative range of graphic design in many forms, across the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition features rarely seen original artwork, maps and posters by MacDonald (Max) Gill, a master of graphic art and design, including pen-and-ink drawings, designs and papers recently unearthed at Gill's family home. The younger brother of the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, Max was best known for his decorative maps, but he was also an architect, a graphic designer and a decorator of interiors. Having studied under the calligrapher Edward Johnston, he became a master of hand lettering, with designs included book jackets, heraldic emblems, memorial inscriptions and architectural drawings. They ranged in size from a postage stamp to a 200ft long mural. His work as a commercial artist spans the years between the start of the First World War and the end of the Second World War, a period when advertising became accepted as an art form in its own right. Gill is best known for creating the first diagrammatic tube map, and his London Wonderground poster series, offering early tube travelers detailed depictions of street life in a style reminiscent of medieval maps. However, his more permanent memorial is his creation of the font for the headstones on the white British war graves that have memorialised the fallen since the First World War. The Roman typeface was drawn with longevity in mind, cut at a deeper 60-degree angle and with much tighter serifs, so the letters would still be legible after years of being battered by the elements The Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk, until 12th November.
Frank Auerbach: Paintings And Drawings From The Lucian Freud Estate offers the first public view of the most significant private collection of paintings and drawings by one of Britain's greatest living artists. The works by Frank Auerbach were collected by the painter Lucian Freud throughout his life and hung in his house in London until his death in 2011. The works on display span Auerbach's career from his student days in the late 1940s up to 2007. Auerbach repeatedly returned to the same subjects over decades, constantly finding new and different ways to explore the indefinable qualities and raw sensations stimulated by the forms and structures he sees. The collection encompasses two subjects to which he has constantly returned: landscapes of London and portraits of friends and relatives of the artist who have sat for Auerbach for long periods of time. It also includes a group of five sketches, including birthday cards which show the friendship and respect that Auerbach and Freud had for each other. The portraits comprise works on paper of an intimate group of sitters, mainly of Estella (Stella) Olive West, his principal model between the early 1950s and 1973, and his wife Julia. The landscapes feature subjects such as 'Rebuilding the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square', showing Auerbach's interest in the rebuilding of London in the post war years; and 'Mornington Crescent - Winter Morning', charged with the zigzagging energy of the moving clouds and bare trees. Tate Britain until 9th November.
Late Turner - Painting Set Free reassess the extraordinary body of work during the final period of Britain's greatest painter, when some of his most celebrated paintings were created. The exhibition begins in 1835, the year that Joseph Mallord William Turner reached 60, and closes with his last exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1850. It demonstrates how his closing years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour, initiated by one of his most extensive tours of Europe. The show includes iconic works such as 'Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus', 'The Wreck Buoy', 'Heidelberg: Sunset' and 'Peace - Burial at Sea'. Rather than focusing on any assumptions about the pessimism of old age, Turner maintained his commitment to the observation of nature. He brought renewed energy to the exploration of the social, technological and scientific developments of modern life, in works such as 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway'. He also continued to engage with the religious and historical themes that linked him to the cultural traditions of his era, such as 'The Angel Standing in the Sun'. Turner consciously developed his style and technique with each subsequent painting he produced. These works were often poised equivocally between finished and unfinished, for example in a series of reworkings in oil of subjects originally published as prints in his 'Liber Studiorum'. From pictures of the whaling industry in the 1840s to 'sample studies' and finished watercolours such as 'The Blue Rigi, Sunrise', Turner constantly sought to demonstrate his appeal to new admirers. Featuring many large-scale oil paintings alongside drawings, prints and watercolour, the exhibition addresses the sheer range of materials and techniques Turner embraced, and demonstrates his radicalism. Tate Britain until 11th January.
Primrose: Early Colour Photography In Russia examines colour experiments and developments in photography spanning the 1860s through to the 1980s. In tracing these technical and artistic advancements, the exhibition also moves through the social history of Russia itself. The display features over 140 works looking at different periods and their prevailing photographic aesthetics. The earliest photographs are from when tinting of prints with watercolour and oil paints was undertaken by hand. Initially used for portraits, this technique was extended to architectural, landscape and industrial subject matter. In the early 20th century, under the patronage of Tsar Nicholas II, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky travelled the country to capture its vastness and diversity, while nobleman Pyotr Vedenisov provided valuable insights into the lifestyle of the Russian elite. After the Revolution, photomontage, such as those by Varvara Stepanova, became central to the state agenda allowing for the communication of new Soviet myths to a largely illiterate population. The later works of Alexander Rodchenko, featuring pictures of sporting and art events taken in a pictorial style, provided a way to express his disillusionment with the notion of a Soviet utopia. In the mid-1950s photography moved closer to everyday reality as seen in Dmitri Baltermants' pictures. At the same time hand-tinted portraits began appearing, taken anonymously, as private photo studios were still forbidden. Referencing these anonymous studio portraits Boris Mikhailov looked to expose Soviet ideology through humour and stereotypical imagery. Photographers Gallery, 16 - 18 Ramillies Street, London W1,until 19th October.
Enduring War: Grief, Grit And Humour examines how people both at home and on the front line coped with life during the First World War: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. With personal objects, such as letters, a handkerchief bearing lyrics for 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', and schoolboy essays reacting to airship raids over London, as well as recruitment posters, magazines and even a knitting pattern for balaclavas, the exhibition considers themes such as humour, faith, comradeship and family, and looks at the contribution so many made to the war effort. Key items in the exhibition include a letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his mother describing his worries about his son serving at the Front, written in the light of his belief in Spiritualism; a letter written from the Trenches by the poet Isaac Rosenberg; and the original manuscripts of other well known war poets, such as Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier'. Exploring the importance of humour during the war as a way to express or mask anxieties, the exhibition includes a selection of caricatures, cartoons, humorous Christmas cards, a romance novel set in a munition factory and trench journals, magazines full of in-jokes and dark humour created at the Front to lift the troops' spirits. In a poignant conclusion the exhibition explores the grief expressed over the millions of lives lost during the First World War: a soldier's last letter home as he goes into battle, alongside manuscripts of Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', Vaughan Williams' 'A Pastoral Symphony' and Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen'. The British Library until 12th October.
Louis Kahn: The Power Of Architecture is an assessment of the visionary architect, expert manipulator of form and light, and creator of uniquely dramatic buildings. The exhibition explores Louis Kahn's work and legacy through architectural models, original drawings, notebooks, travel sketches, photographs and films, bringing to life his singular career and diverse output. Although regarded as one of America's foremost architects, Kahn nonetheless realised few buildings in his lifetime and died practically bankrupt, but his search for an architecture that grows out of a sense of place seems more important than ever. Kahn drew on a wide range of sources, from ancient ruins to the work of Le Corbusier, using innovations in construction techniques to design modern buildings that also project an elemental, primitive power. He was a perfectionist and an artist, who also believed that architects have an important social responsibility. All of Kahn's important projects are extensively documented, from his early urban planning concepts and single-family houses to late works such as the Roosevelt Memorial, not completed until after his death. Kahn's greatest masterpieces all take the form of inspiring institutions: The Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, designed to be 'a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso'; the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, a showcase for his ability to work with light; and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, testament to the impact of his monumental style. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, until 12th October.