News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th April 2006

Commencing

Pixar: 20 Years Of Animation provides an artistic and technological insight into the studio that revolutionised animated films, from Toy Story to the forthcoming Cars. The exhibition brings together 250 concept drawings, rough sketches (including early pencil drawings of Woody and Buzz Lightyear) and paintings; 50 3-D maquettes - resin figures created to ensure that the details of the characters are accurate; and computer generated multimedia artworks, to demonstrate the creativity behind the technology. It reveals how the studio has driven advances in technology to allow it to bring imagined worlds to life. Technological developments with CGI (computer-generated images) are charted through refinements over the years, which have achieved ever-greater degrees of realism through subtle changes in skin, fur‚ and other surfaces. The material reveals the levels of detail needed to realise and develop characters‚ storylines and worlds - three key elements utilised by Pixar in film production. At the heart of the exhibition are two specially created audio visual marvels. The first is a spectacular 8ft diameter zoetrope, a cinema device that creates the optical illusion of static images in motion, which features characters from both Toy Story films and uses a series of strobe lights to animate Buzz‚ Woody‚ Wheezy and others. The second is Artscape, an 11 minute audio visual installation that utilises digital technology to immerse viewers in various works on view. The exhibition also looks at the history of animation in film‚ using objects from the museum's permanent collection‚ including original Victorian magic lanterns‚ zoetropes‚ cameras and early pieces of animated film. The Science Museum until 10th June.

Cadbury World, the only British visitor attraction entirely devoted to chocolate, has been reborn after a Ł2m refurbishment, which has added a variety of new attractions. These include a revamped demonstration area with lots of hands on chocolate action; a refurbished Aztec Forest jungle with boardwalks and waterfalls, showing where cocoa became central to the Indians' way of life; an interactive Happiness dance room; a 3D cinema screen where 'Flex6' the robot brings to life the pack and wrap process; Essence, which takes visitors back to the early 1900s to discover the secrets behind the beginning of Cadbury chocolate making; The Purple Planet, an interactive space age adventure in a place where it apparently 'rains chocolate'; and a new a self guided tour around the attraction following a headset commentary featuring Sally Boazman. These join the old favourites including the television archive, which offers a trip down memory lane with the help of some familiar advertisements from the 1950's onwards; the Cadbury Dairy Milk Centenary Time tunnel; Beanmobiles, which provide a ride through a chocolate wonderland populated by familiar characters; and the Cadbury Collection, a museum of memorabilia that is home to a wide range of historical artefacts. Cadbury World, Bourneville, Birmingham, continuing.

Soane's Magician: The Tragic Genius Of Joseph Michael Gandy explores the relationship between the British master architect John Soane, and Joseph Michael Gandy, who painted Soane's masterpieces in dramatic, luminous perspective views. Gandy's watercolours, over 30 of which are on display in this exhibition, are not only some of the most brilliant images of architecture ever painted in Britain, but they also tell the story of the most creative partnership of its type in the history of British architecture. As a student of architecture at the Royal Academy Gandy won the Gold Medal, and following a period studying in Italy, began work in Soane's office. Soane soon recognised that Gandy's genius lay in depicting architecture in perspective, with the use of striking lighting effects, so much so, that he was later dubbed 'The English Piranesi'. For the next 35 years Gandy drew Soane's designs, either to open a client's cheque book, to show a completed project at its best at the annual exhibitions at the Royal Academy, or simply to archive previous unbuilt schemes. Gandy was unique in his ability to express on paper Soane's manipulation of space and light, and the two men shared an idealism unique to the period. As Soane's career came to a close in the 1820s, Gandy painted dozens of huge perspectives imagining London reconstructed by Soane as a monumental neo-classical city of triumphal arches and heroic sculpture. Sir John Soane Museum, London until 12th August.

Continuing

Michelangelo Drawings: Closer To The Master offers a unique insight into the creative thinking of one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. The 95 drawings collected here are artworks in their own right, but also provide a link between his work as a sculptor, painter and architect. The common strand is drawing, as the originality of his works was arrived at only after an exhaustive process of refinement on paper. From pen studies made in his early twenties to the visionary Crucifixion scenes carried out six decades later, this exhibition reunites material not seen together since the dispersal of his studio in 1564. It offers an opportunity to gain an understanding of Michelangelo's artistic powers, and the invention and development of some of his most celebrated works. His primary focus was the male body, and the drawings chart his search to find poses that would most eloquently express the emotional and spiritual state of his subjects. Among the highlights here are 15 studies related to the Sistine Chapel, ranging from diminutive sketchbook pages with quickly penned ideas for poses, to some of his most exquisitely finished red chalk figure studies. The drawings are complemented by two paintings based on designs in the exhibition, 'Christ Purifying the Temple' attributed to Marcello Venusti, and a copy after his lost 'Leda and the Swan'; sculptural models, including two portraits of the artist; and a contemporary album of architectural drawings. A dozen letters written or addressed to Michelangelo give an insight into his way of thinking and an impression of his complex, prickly nature. The British Museum until 25th June.

Legoland is celebrating its 10th birthday with four new attractions. There has been a make-over in Miniland, the area that contains nearly 40 million Lego bricks, and the London skyline has been brought up to date with the addition of contemporary landmarks, including Canary Wharf, 30 St. Mary Axe (The Gherkin), The Lloyd's Building, City Hall and the Millennium Bridge. Digger Challenge allows young builders aged four and upwards to enrol at construction school, and run amok in full control of one of 10 junior sized JCBs. The Spellbreaker 4D Show is a medieval adventure film, featuring a princess, a wizard and a dragon, which puts the viewers in the middle of the action, with spine tingling physical effects they can feel, as well as the 3D special effects that leap out of the screen. A live action show, Secret Of The Scorpion Palace, featuring the exploits of Johnny Thunder, is full of daring high dives, fast paced action sequences, exciting jet-ski races around the City Harbour and plenty of audience participation. These join the existing rides, including The Dragon Coaster, Pirate Falls, Space Tower, Sky Rider and Jungle Coaster. In addition, there is a programme of special events, including Fireworks, After Dark Laser Show, Jousting, Wild West Weekend, Football Fever, Amazing Machines and Marvellous Gardens. Legoland, Windsor, until 29th October.

The Road To Byzantium: Luxury Arts Of Antiquity brings to London a collection of classical Greek, Roman and Byzantine luxury artworks, including finely decorated silver and gold, Athenian red-figure vases and exquisite cameos. Over 160 objects tell the story of the development of art and civilisation over more than a thousand years, from 5th century BC Greece to the Middle Ages, and overturn assumptions that ancient Classical influence on art disappeared from the Christian art of the Byzantine Empire. The story starts with the 'Greek Revolution,' which combined fidelity to nature with ideals of harmony and beauty, represented by items such as the 'First Swallow of Spring' vase from the late 6th century BC, and examples of goldwork, including a quiver cover with scenes from the life of Achilles. Roman artists drew on Greek conventions, as illustrated by delicately engraved gems and cameos, and adapted them to the representation of Roman subjects, such as the marble bust of the Emperor Augustus's wife Livia. Even after Christianity had become the dominant religion of the Empire in the 4th century AD, and Constantine the Great had moved the heart of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, the Classical style continued, as shown by a group of textiles, including a portrait of the goddess Ge, reflecting the continuing interest in 'pagan' mythological themes. Highlights include a group of silver and silver-gilt dishes from the 6th and 7th centuries AD, one depicting a pastoral scene that harks back to the art of Hellenistic Greece. Even later pieces still show stories of Greek heroes: Ajax quarrelling with Odysseus, the doomed lovers Meleager and Atalanta, and Silenus and Maenad, the followers of Dionysus. Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House until 3rd September.

Searching For Shakespeare is the biggest ever exhibition to focus on Shakespeare in his own time, drawing directly on original records relating to the playwright and his contemporaries. The centrepiece is the first portrait presented to the newly founded National Portrait Gallery in 1856, which is considered to be of William Shakespeare, and is known as the 'Chandos' portrait. However, the identity of this picture is still considered unproven and there is no certain lifetime portrait of England's most famous playwright. Displayed together for the first time alongside the 'Chandos' portrait, are five other 'contender' portraits, purporting to represent Shakespeare, and once thought to derive from the 16th and 17th centuries. The exhibition presents the results of new technical analysis and research on several of these pictures, casting new light on the search for Shakespeare's authentic appearance. It demonstrates that the 'Chandos' portrait has the strongest claim to be an authentic likeness, and a presentation reconstructs its probable original appearance. The exhibition also features portraits of Shakespeare's contemporaries - actors, playwrights and patrons, original 17th century costumes, jewellery, silverware and manuscripts. Among the treasures are Shakespeare's will, manuscripts recording the plays performed at the court of James I, the purchase of a house in Stratford upon Avon, the acquisition of a family coat of arms, the Parish Register (the single most important document for determining the essential details of Shakespeare's biography) and a drawing of the Swan Theatre - the only known contemporary drawing of an Elizabethan stage. National Portrait Gallery until 29th May.

A Touch Of The Divine is the first exhibition in Britain devoted to the 16th century Italian artist Federico Barocci, exploring his career and examining the influence and impact of his work. Barocci was born in into a family of distinguished craftsmen and astrologers, and was one of the most famous artists in Italy of his day. Most of his paintings were altarpieces, and many of them are still in the churches for which they were made. He was also a prolific draughtsman and more than 2,000 drawings by him survive. This exhibition comprises over 90 items, two thirds of which are by Barocci himself, the remainder being examples of work by artists such as Raphael, who influenced Barocci, and subsequent artists who were influenced by him, such as Rubens. Some are studies for paintings, while others are drawings in their own right. They are almost exclusively religious in nature, thanks to the patronage he received, and range from a small study of a donkey to complex compositions. Many of the drawings are executed in pen and ink, some using chalk for highlighting. There is also a notable group of head studies in coloured chalks and some very detailed pieces such as 'Il Perdono di San Francesco', which was made by engraving and etching on copper plates. Among the highlights are 'Head and shoulders of a swaddled baby, lying down', 'Study for the head of St Francis', 'Study for The Institution of the Eucharist' and 'The Annunciation, with a view of Urbino through the window and a cat sleeping in the foreground'. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge until 29th May.

lbers And Moholy-Nagy: From The Bauhaus To The New World is an opportunity to rediscover two pioneers of Modernism, Josef Albers and Laszla Moholy-Nagy. Though their careers overlapped only briefly, teaching at the Bauhaus, they shared the same creative visions: an emphasis on experimentation, the subversion of traditional boundaries between high and applied art, and a Utopian belief in art as a force for positive social change. The exhibition starts with their early independent abstract work, centres on the creative explosion of the Bauhaus years, when they both moved freely between medias and disciplines, and then charts their separate paths following emigration to America, where both men continued to push the conventions of artistic practise. It comprises over 200 works in a variety of media, ranging from painting and moving sculptures, to photography, film, furniture and graphic design. They include Albers's glass constructions from the 1920s, his largely unknown photographic work, machine engravings, and a group of early 'Homage to the Square' paintings, together with Moholy-Nagy's innovative photography, such as his 'camera-less' photograms and photomontages, colour photography and film, and experiments with aluminium, and novel synthetic materials such as Perspex and Rhodoid. The highlight is a reconstruction of Moholy-Nagy's 1930 'Prop for an Electric Stage', a dramatically lit kinetic work, comprising several rotating elements on a plinth, which cast light and shadow on the surrounding walls - arguably one of the earliest examples of installation art. Tate Modern until 4th June.

Concluding

Canaletto In Venice features the works that have largely shaped the British and the world's view of Venice. Canaletto's paintings and drawings fixed the 18th century city of canals, palaces, churches and squares in the popular imagination, and introduced townscapes as a genre. His greatest patron (and agent) was Joseph Smith, the British Consul in Venice, and the sale of Smith's entire collection to George III in 1762 brought into royal ownership the world's finest group of Canaletto's works, including an outstanding series of Venetian views. Fourteen panoramic paintings of the Grand Canal form the centrepiece of this exhibition, and are displayed together with 70 works on paper, the largest group of Canaletto's drawings ever shown in the UK. They offer a complete portrait of daily life in the heart of the city, from the quayside houses and workshops on the Grand Canal's upper reaches, through some of the most famous sights, such as the Piazzetta and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, to the less well known churches and squares including San Giovanni Battista dei Battuti on the island of Murano, together with the festivities of a regatta, and Ascension Day celebrations around St Mark's Square. Among the highlights of the drawings are Canaletto's record of the Campanile undergoing repairs after a lightning strike, and a series of 'capricci', in which he rearranged the actual Venetian topography to create a city of his own imagination. The large Capriccio with a monumental staircase is among the greatest works of Canaletto's career. The Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace until 23rd April.

Witness commemorates the 90th anniversary of both the battle of the Somme, and the appointment of the first officially commissioned war artists, recognising that art could and should be used to record war and human experience. Oils, watercolours, prints and sculpture from the First World War are displayed alongside first hand accounts of experiences, from battle and its aftermath, to life on the home front. The exhibition features around 50 works from established artists such as William Orpen to young futuristic painters such as Christopher Nevinson, including both internationally renowned paintings such as 'We Are Making A New World' and 'Over The Top' by Paul Nash and 'A Battery Shelled' by Percy Wyndham Lewis, and lesser known but important works of the period, such as 'Women's Canteen at Phoenix Works Bradford' by Flora Lion, Gassed and Wounded' by Eric Kennington and 'The Underworld: Taking Cover In A Tube Station During A London Air Raid' by Walter Bayes. Many of the artists had seen active service: William Roberts and Wyndham Lewis as gunners, Kennington, Paul and John Nash as infantry, and Nevinson in the medical corps, which gives their work added authority. Accompanying first hand eyewitness accounts, taken from letters, diaries and memoirs, detail the experiences of those both living through and fighting during the war, from land girls and nurses, to Tommies, fighter pilots and the artists themselves. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester until 23rd April.

Lawrence Of Arabia: The Life, The Legend is a biographical exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the death of T E Lawrence, exploring the life of the writer, adventurer, archaeologist, intelligence officer, diplomat and serviceman, who was one of the British icons of the 20th century. It covers his early years, wartime experiences in the Middle East and the role he played in the Arab Revolt, his growing fame after the war, the writing of 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', his 'disappearance' into the services and his untimely death following a motorcycle accident in 1935. A further section of the show examines the creation of the Lawrence legend, propagated by the illustrated travelogues of Lowell Thomas, and how this has been sustained in books, films and the media. The exhibition features a wide range of original materials, many never publicly displayed before, illustrating aspects of Lawrence's life, including his letters, diaries, Arab robes, photographs, film, paintings, personal effects and memorabilia. Highlights are a recently discovered map outlining Lawrence's proposals for the reconstruction of the Middle East after the First World War (showing that he opposed the creation of a single state of Iraq); the Arab Revolt flag raised at the capture of Akaba in 1917; a gilt bronze wreath that Lawrence found on Saladin's tomb in Damascus; and the Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle that Lawrence was riding at the time of his fatal accident. Imperial War Museum London until 17th April.