News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th June 2004

Commencing

Unlocking The Archives: 500 Years Of Seeing The World is the inaugural show of a £7.1m Lottery funded scheme which has opened one of the world's largest collections of geographical knowledge to the public for the first time in 174 years. A new study centre at the Royal Geographical Society, designed by Craig Downie, provides space for displays from the collection, comprising over two million items, including maps, photographs, books, journals, artefacts and documents, which tell the story of 500 years of geographical research and exploration. It also includes a library, reading room and archive storage up to the best contemporary standards. Among the relics from the golden age of exploration in the 19th and early 20th centuries in this exhibition are The South Polar Times, edited by Ernest Shackleton during Captain Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica; Dr David Livingstone's watercolour sketches made the first time he saw the Victoria Falls in Africa, together with notes about the flora and fauna; a prayer wheel used by geographical 'spies' to surreptitiously record data on the first trigonometric survey of India; Charles Darwin's journals from his voyage on HMS Beagle; and the first photographs ever taken depicting Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East; plus more recent items, such as maps used for the D-Day Landings, and the diaries and photographs of Lord Hunt from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. A new treasure trove joins the existing institutions in Exhibition Road. Royal Geographical Society until 17th September.

Enchanting The Eye: Dutch Paintings Of The Golden Age is a selection of works from the Royal Collection, one of the world's finest groups of Dutch 17th century paintings. The 51 pictures in this exhibition embrace genre scenes, portraits, still-lifes, history paintings, landscapes and seascapes. They include works by the great masters of the period, among them Rembrandt's 'Christ and St. Mary', 'Magdalen at the Tomb' and his 'Self-Portrait' of 1642, landscapes by Aelbert Cuyp, and Johannes Vermeer's 'A Lady at the Virginals'. Among the genre paintings - the depiction of everyday life - artists such as Frans van Mieris the Elder, Gabriel Metsu and Gerard ter Borch show the preparation of food, eating and drinking, and the enjoyment of music inside the home. The confidence of the Dutch, one of the richest and most powerful nations in 17th century Europe, is reflected in portraits by Frans Hals, Jan Molenaer and Hendrick ter Bruggen. A number of paintings in the exhibition came to the Collection as contemporary works, 'The Artist's Mother' by Rembrandt, presented to Charles I, was among the first examples by the painter to enter a British collection. The Queen's Gallery, Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 7th November.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. This year, the show has been masterminded by Allen Jones and David Hockney, and there is a special focus on drawing, reflecting their joint passion, and underlining the importance of draughtsmanship in all the various media on display. There are works included by people from outside the spectrum of Fine Art, who nevertheless use drawing as an essential part of their creative process. The featured artist is Richard Long, who explores elemental materials, like mud, dust, water and stones, and has made a new sculpture on the floor of the Central Hall 'White Light Crescent'. Anish Kapoor has selected and hung the gallery dedicated to the display of sculpture, and has co-ordinated the placing of work in the Courtyard. There are memorial displays to Terry Frost, Patrick Procter, Lynn Chadwick, Colin Hayes and Philip Powell. An accompanying programme of lectures, events and workshops covers all aspects of the exhibition. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th August.

Continuing

Henry Moore At Dulwich Picture Gallery looks beyond the monumental bronzes for which Moore is now best known, created in the last two decades of his life, and focuses his earlier career. A major display of 97 works charts the artistic journey made by Moore, from his first recorded pieces, to those of about 1960. They show the development of his most familiar themes, such as mother and child, the family group, the reclining figure, and other more abstract forms. The works include drawings in various media, maquettes, ironstone pebble carvings and table sculptures, which are featured not only in the exhibition rooms, but throughout the gallery, and also for the first time in the gardens, where the inevitable outdoor bronzes are shown to great effect. Among the striking, but now lesser known works, are a series of drawings Moore produced during the Second World War, including scenes of Londoners taking shelter, sleeping on the platforms of Underground stations. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 12th September.

A Secret History Of Clay: From Gauguin To Gormley unearths a little known history of the use of clay in modern and contemporary art. From the individual ceramic vessel to installation and performance art, clay has been widely used by some of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. The most basic material available to mankind, employed throughout history for both practical and artistic purposes, is currently highly fashionable again thanks to the work of Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry. This exhibition traces a narrative that begins with Paul Gauguin's Tahitian double vase, and progressively moves away from the private object to art in the public domain, ending in the gallery sized installation 'Field' by Antony Gormley, comprised of 35,000 miniature figures. In between, there are (amongst others) sensual pots by George Ohr - The Mad Potter of Biloxi; painted plates by Henri Matisse and Maurice de Vlaminck; Sergei V Chekhonin's Russian Revolutionary propaganda ceramics; Italian Futurism with Ivos Pacetti's gilded terracotta 'Gas Mask' and Renato Giuseppe Bertelli's 'Continuous Profile - Head of Mussolini'; Japanese totems by Isamu Noguchi; thrown pots transformed into figures and animals by Pablo Picasso; Joan Miro's primitive head sculptures and plate decorations; Roy Lichtenstein's hotel chinaware transformed with comic strip shading; a Madame de Pompadour porcelain tea service by Cindy Sherman; and Jeff Koons's kitsch Puppy Vase. Tate Liverpool until 30th August.

Censored At The Seaside: The Censored Postcards Of Donald McGill examines a bizarre event in the life and work of a man now regarded as a national treasure. For more than fifty years Donald McGill was the pre-eminent exponent of the British saucy seaside postcard. Yet in the 1950s, his postcards became the subject of complaints and he fell foul of the antiquated 1857 Obscene Publications Act. In May 1954, fifty years after he had produced his first postcard, McGill was brought to trial in Lincoln, and fined £50 plus costs. This exhibition looks at the story behind the prosecution, showing for the first time documents from the public prosecutors office relating to many of the censored cards, as well as the postcards themselves. It also presents a less than flattering picture of the Britain of the time that such a prosecution could have been brought. In addition to the condemned designs, the exhibition includes rare 'roughs' of ideas, and over 30 original works by McGill from all periods of his career. A prolific worker, McGill created new designs each year. Also featured are examples of tributes to McGill by cartoonists Larry, Steve Bell and Biff amongst others. Cartoon Art Trust Museum until 31st July.

Edward Hopper is considered by many to be the pre-eminent painter of modern America, and his works have become iconic images of the twentieth century. By staging scenes from everyday life, illuminated by strong sunlight or artificial light, Hopper captured and defined the American experience, in a similar fashion to the Hollywood film noir. Indeed his works often have a sense of frozen action like a frame from a film, and a generations of film makers, writers and artists including Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, William Boyd, Norman Mailer and John Updike have acknowledged his inspiration. This exhibition comprises over seventy works covering Hopper's entire career, from watercolours, drawings and etchings of Parisian subjects from the first decade of the twentieth century, to the stark portraits of American life created more than sixty years later. The early works indicate some of the key elements of Hopper's style, including dramatic use of light and shade, and solitary pensive figures in interiors. By the late 1920s, paintings such as 'From Williamsburg Bridge' and 'Automat' demonstrate his predominant themes: the use of American vernacular architecture as foreground or cropped backdrop to evoke psychological tension and alienation, enhanced by the formal geometries of light and darkness within. Major paintings from the 1940s onwards including 'Nighthawks' and 'Office At Night' show the different ways in which these themes were developed, while paintings from the last two decades of Hopper's life such as 'Intermission', reveal how his compositions became increasingly minimal. Tate Britain until 5th September.

Paolozzi At 80 displays the richness and diversity of the career of Eduardo Paolozzi, one of the most prolific, inventive and influential figures in post war British art. Paolozzi spent a formative period in Paris in the late 1940s, where his interest in Surrealism stimulated a series of collages, combining elements from cartoons, magazine advertisements and machine illustrations. This fascination with popular culture made him the central figure in the emergence of Pop Art in Britain in the 1960s. Paolozzi worked in a wide range of media, from printmaking to monumental sculpture, and found inspiration in almost every aspect of modern life: man's relationship to machinery, science, technology, robotics, warfare, science fiction, children's toys, music, cinema, philosophy and art. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 31st October.

2D>3D: Contemporary Design For Performance, is a showcase for the work of British theatre designers, featuring productions staged between 1999 and 2002. The exhibition aims to demonstrate the process by which the initial two dimensional sketch comes to life in three dimensional reality, with costumes, scale models, photographs, design drawings, story boards, puppets, masks and props. It also features interactive digital displays of lighting designs, so that visitors can run their own scenic and lighting changes. The exhibition includes work created by 25 set, costume and lighting designers for 30 productions, across the full range of drama, dance, musicals and opera. These range in scale from the bigger budgets of national companies, through mid scale regional theatres, to the more modest achievements in community and educational theatre. The exhibition, organised by the Society of British Theatre Designers, won the international award at the 2003 Prague Quadrennial. In addition, Gold Medals were awarded to Richard Hudson's set design for Handel's opera Tamerlano at Teatro alla Pergola in Florence, and Nicky Gillibrand's costume designs for A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon. The Theatre Museum continuing.

Concluding

Durer And The Virgin In The Garden is a classic exercise in pragmatism, centred on the painting 'The Virgin with the Iris'. It was purchased as being the work of the renaissance artist Albrecht Durer, but scholars subsequently dismissed it as a copy or pastiche. However, a discovery made during the recent restoration of the painting, supports the theory that it actually did originate in Durer's workshop in the early sixteenth century, and draws on a number of his meticulous studies of plants, flowers and other motifs. During this examination of the painting using infrared reflectography, a remarkably detailed underdrawing was revealed, which may be the work of Durer himself. Capitalising on this discovery, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the underdrawing and compare it with Durer's other work. Through a series of drawings and prints, bringing together some of Durer's most famous watercolours, most on show in London for the first time, the exhibition traces the development of the artist's images of the Virgin and Child in a garden. The works include: 'Irises', 'The Virgin with the Animals' and the 'Great Piece of Turf', plus 'Peonies' by Martin Schongauer, a watercolour that was owned by Durer himself, and a painting by Durer of the Virgin and Child. National Gallery until 20th June.

We Are The People: Postcards From The Collection Of Tom Phillips presents over 1,000 photographs of ordinary people in postcard form, selected from the extensive collection of the artist and postcard addict Tom Phillips. In the first half of the 20th century, the picture postcard transformed the art of portraiture from elite pastime to popular craze. With photographic equipment cheaper, and film faster, studios sprang up in every town, and also outdoors on every seaside promenade. In this new medium, poacher and gamekeeper, boss and labourer, manager and clerk were suddenly equal, as everyone became a postcard. Phillips has developed his own idiosyncratic filing system for his collection of over 50,000 postcards, and it is reflected in the themes of this exhibition, including Picnics, Make Believe, Aspidistra, Man And Child, Bathers, Fantasy Transport, Music and Women In Uniform. Studio portraits introduced new possibilities for fantasy and aspiration, as sitters could pose against classical pillars or velvet drapes, in their Sunday Best or fancy dress, and at the wheel of a dummy motorcar or in a cardboard aeroplane. These postcards originate from many different photographers and studios across Britain, and reflect the changing fashions and trends in commercial portrait photography of the period, as well as the changing tastes in dress and pastimes of the sitters. Entertaining, intriguing, humorous, and at times haunting, they provide not only a glimpse into history, but also an invaluable visual record of British society as a whole. National Portrait Gallery until 20th June.

Pain: Passion‚ Compassion‚ Sensibility explores the changing cultural place of pain, and the role of science in shaping our beliefs‚ with visual and verbal representations‚ medical attempts to deal with pain‚ examinations of modern and contemporary theories about the nature of pain, and a look into our reactions to the pain of others. Using a mixture of historical and contemporary exhibits, the meanings and experiences of pain are explored, including amputation, childbirth, circumcision, torture, masochism and sadism. Over 170 film clips, objects and artworks - many rare and unseen from the original collections of Sir Henry Wellcome - include: the tooth of an Egyptian ghoul said to cure neck pain; a Victorian head perforator; Lord Lister's apparatus for application per rectum; 18th century German dental forceps; a carved wooden decapitated head; torture equipment, including a Chinese torture seat and a 16th century thumb screw; a 17th century German execution mask; the blood stained costume of the matador Manuel Granero, worn on the day of his death; etchings from Goya's Disasters of War series; and a human size devotional sculpture of Christ used in Easter processions in Spain. The Science Museum until 20th June.