News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th October 2008

Commencing

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck To Titian explores the dramatic rise of portraiture in the Renaissance, through the masters of northern and southern Europe. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view Renaissance portraiture in depth, comprising over 70 paintings, alongside important sculptures, drawings and medals, including masterpieces by among others, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Van Eyck, Holbein, Durer, Lotto, Pontormo and Bellini. In the 15th and 16th centuries, portraits played a vital role in every aspect of human life: childhood, politics, friendship, courtship, marriage, old age and death. This exhibition provides fresh insights into fundamental issues of likeness, memory and identity, while revealing a remarkable community of Renaissance personalities, from princes, envoys and merchants to clergymen, tradesmen and artists. Among the highlights are Holbein's 'The Ambassadors' and 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling', Titian's warrior portrait of the young Philip II, Anthonis Mor's 'The Court Jester Pejeron' and 'Portrait of Philip II in Armour', Durer's 'Self Portrait', Palma Vecchio's 'Portrait of a Young Woman', Tullio Lombardo's marble relief 'A Young Couple as Bacchus and Ariadne', Arcimboldo's 'Emperor Rudolph II', and Guido Mazzoni's painted bust 'Laughing Boy'. The exhibition underlines the degree of cross-cultural exchange active in Europe at this time, with Van Eyck, Titian and Memling in demand from north to south, so that the influence of their work carried far beyond the courts of their patrons. National Gallery until 18th January.

Constructed - 40 Years Of The UEA Collection presents highlights from the University of East Anglia's collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Architecture and Design. The collection, which was founded in response to the modernity of the University's architecture, now numbers some 400 objects, including sculpture, painting, graphics and design, together with architectural models, stage sets and furniture. The earliest group of works in the exhibition date from between 1910 and 1930, and include a Le Corbusier chair and architectural model, a painting by Sonia Delaunay, the Pravda Tower model by the Vesnin brothers, Rietveld chairs, a charcoal drawing by David Bomberg and 2D works by Wassily Kandinsky and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. The next group features the work of emigre artists who came to England during the Second World War, and includes a room setting with Isokon furniture, and pieces designed by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. The third group, The British Constructionists, includes work by artists such as Victor Pasmore, Mary and Kenneth Martin, Peter Lowe, Gillian Wise and Anthony Hill, together with European artists such as Jesus Raphael Soto and Francois Morellet, and features 3D constructions, sculptures, reliefs and works on canvas that use a strong simple palette of colours, clean lines and geometric shapes. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 14th December.

The Booker At 40 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the leading literary award, The Booker and Man Booker Prize, with the first public display of an extensive archive. It includes every book that has won since 1969, as well as a wide selection of shortlisted titles. The display demonstrates how the design of book jackets has changed in 40 years, also reflected in ephemera such as posters and other promotional materials. Since 1991 each winning and shortlisted writer has received a unique bound book made by members of the British Society of Designer Bookbinders, a selection of which have been loaned by the authors. A special feature of the exhibition is the original Booker trophy, created by the artist Jan Pienkowski, which was given to the winner in the first four years of the prize. In 1973 a new, smaller version of the trophy was created by Patricia Turner, who scaled it down from an original height of 25in to 10in. In a special section of the display dedicated to collecting, the literary agent and book collector Peter Straus reveals his passion for signed limited first editions and proof copies, memorabilia, and the many different editions of winning and shortlisted books, which have been published around the world. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th May.

Continuing

Cartoons And Coronets: The Genius Of Osbert Lancaster marks the centenary of the satirist, illustrator, theatre designer and cartoonist. Osbert Lancaster was one of the most famous artistic personalities of his day, and a flamboyant member of the London literary circle. This exhibition celebrates his range as an artist and as a chronicler of style and fashion. It draws on an unparalleled archive of original designs, illustrations, works on paper, sketchbooks and photographs, none of which have ever been previously exhibited. Highlights include original illustrations of architectural styles published in Pillar To Post and Homes Sweet Homes, where he coined definitions such as 'Stockbrokers' Tudor', 'Pont Street Dutch' and 'Vogue Regency', which subsequently entered the language; illustrations for novels, including those of Nancy Mitford, P G Wodehouse and Simon Raven, and book jackets for Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time; set and costume designs for Sadler's Wells, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne; designs for murals, including those in the Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum and the Zuleika murals in the Randolph Hotel in Oxford; and portraits of John Piper, Freya Stark, Benjamin Britten, Max Beerbohm and Evelyn Waugh. Lancaster became a household name through his long career creating cartoons for the Daily Express, where he invented the form of the 'pocket cartoon', occupying a single column. Examples here reflect the trials and tribulations of the Littlehampton Family, featuring Maudie, her husband Willie, Canon Fontwater, Father O'Bubblegum and Mrs Rajagojollibarmi. The Wallace Collection, London until 11th January.

The Body Carnival is an examination of the modified body in all its forms, focusing on the practises of tattooing, piercing, corsetry and cosmetic surgery. Presented from an insider's perspective by Joolz Denby, writer, artist, 'cultural revolutionary' and tattooist, it is a highly personal vision. Exhibits include Anthony Bennett's life size sculptures of the 'Pierced Angel' and 'The Great Omi'; photographs of examples extreme tattoos and piercings shot from odd angles by Ashley and Ian Beesley; the inner workings of a tattoo studio revealed in the presentation 'Bijou Tatu'; and an examination of the practice of corseting, which charts its progress from genteel underwear to flamboyant outerwear, with examples by Viviene Westwood and Alexander McQueen. For all its sympathetic intention and protestations of a serious reflection of contemporary fashion, it is really the modern equivalent of a Victorian travelling fair sideshow - only The Elephant Man is missing. Not for the squeamish. Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford until 30th November.

The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art is the inaugural exhibition in the third incarnation of the Saatchi Gallery, designed by architects AHMM, comprising 70,000 sq ft of space, divided into 15 galleries, over 3 floors, in the grand classical Georgian Duke of York's regiment headquarters building on the King's Road in Chelsea. As before, the aim is to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible, with its commercial purpose underlined by a corporate partnership with the contemporary art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company. The exhibition brings together the work of 24 of China's leading artists in a cutting edge survey of recent painting, sculpture and installation. The range is typical new art eclectic, including: Liu Wei's model city made from sewn together dog chews; Zhang Huan's enormous head manufactured from incense ash, and a stuffed donkey attempting coition with Shanghai's tallest building; Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's super-realist sculptures of 13 world leaders careening about in motorised wheelchairs like dodgem cars; Zhang Dali's group of figures hanging upside down from the ceiling; Xiang Jing's huge naked girl sitting on a giant stool; and Shi Xinning's painting of Chairman Mao meeting the Queen Mother. All the work comes from Saatchi's collection of about 2,500 pieces. The gallery also includes a dedicated space featuring a rotating selection of work by Saatchi Online artists for both exhibition and sale. The Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road SW3.

In Memoriam: Remembering The Great War examines the personal stories of those who lived, fought and died during the First World War, in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Featuring previously unseen material, the exhibition uses the experiences of over 90 individual men and women, servicemen and civilians, to illustrate the different aspects and key events of the Great War and its aftermath. Among the personal items on display are: the watch and 'King's Shilling' given to Edward Packe, who enlisted in the Army in August 1914; the Victoria Cross awarded to Jack Cornwell, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jutland; the smashed aircraft windscreen of British flying ace James McCudden, who had shot down 57 aircraft by the time of his death in action in 1918; the Military Cross awarded to Wilfred Owen, which was worn by his mother every day until her death; the paint box and brushes used by Official War Artist John Nash, who served on the Western Front; the torn tunic worn by Harold Cope, who was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Somme; the cross that marked the grave of Prime Minister's son Raymond Asquith; the diary kept by Florence Farmborough, who was a nurse on the Russian Front; an extract of Geoffrey Malins's film The Battle of the Somme, which was viewed by at least half the population when it was screened in 1916; the camisole worn by Margaret Gwyer, who survived the sinking of Lusitania; and a wreath tossed into the car carrying Prime Minister Lloyd George after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles; together with the paintings 'Gassed' by John Singer Sargent, 'A Battery Shelled' by Percy Wyndham Lewis and 'The Menin Road' by Paul Nash. Imperial War Museum, London until 6th September 2009.

Super Kingdom comprises a series of 'tree houses', made for the use as an over-wintering and nesting home for native and visiting birds and animals, in the ancient woodland environment of Kings Wood, Challock. They have been created by London Fieldworks (AKA artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson), who specialise in projects where art, science, technology and nature meet. What makes the animal habitats unique, is that they are built in the imperious architectural style of fascist dictators. Although made of wood, the houses echo Stalin's Palace of Science and Culture, Mussolini's Quadrato Collosseo and Ceauscescu's People's Palace. As well as providing winter shelter, the tree houses will also function as a film set for a video and animation work examining hibernation patterns, to be shot over the next few months, for exhibition in the spring. In addition to the tree houses, the wood also contains sculptures by other artists, all made from natural materials. Kings Wood, Challock, Kent, 01233 740040, until spring.

Rothko focuses on the late works of Mark Rothko, one of America's most important post war painters, made between 1958 and 1970. Rothko's iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour, are among the most enduring and mysterious created by an artist in modern times, glowing deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks and greys. The exhibition comprises around 50 works, comprising paintings and works on paper, the most important of which are 16 Seagram murals. These were commissioned in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant in the new Seagram building in New York, but having made the paintings, Rothko decided that it was not a suitable place for them to be seen. The bright and intense colours of his earlier paintings had made way to maroon, dark red and black, and Rothko realised that their brooding character required a very different environment. Though the original commission was for only 7 paintings, Rothko eventually painted 30 canvases in the series. This is the first time in their history that such a large group of these paintings (belonging to a number of galleries around the world) have been seen together. The Seagram murals are shown alongside other landmark series of Rothko's paintings, including major 'Black-Form' paintings, large scale 'Brown on Grey' works on paper, and works from his last series 'Black on Grey'. Tate Modern until 1st February.

Concluding

Dan Dare And The Birth Of Hi-Tech Britain examines the heady excitement of the reinvention of Britain after the Second World War, showing how the years from 1945 to 1970 saw a long climb from austerity to affluence. Dan Dare, pilot of the future, as featured in the Eagle comic, was the emblematic hero of those times, embodying a faith in the nation's ability to 'conquer the future' through its resourcefulness and powers of invention. A popular feature in the comic was a detailed cutaway drawing explaining how new inventions like nuclear submarines were constructed, and original artworks of these are featured in the exhibition. Sadly, the pride and faith in the future of British design and manufacturing of that time was as misplaced as the idea of a British astronaut commanding an expedition across the universe. Thus the future as imagined here, seems almost more remote than that imagined by Victorians. Nevertheless the exhibition allows visitors to revel in consumer technology world firsts, from food processors to portable televisions, plus a Bloodhound missile, one pillar of Britain's defence against Soviet threat in the Cold War, together with the British built WE177 nuclear weapon; a Hillman Imp car; a section of Comet 1, the world's first jet airliner; a nuclear reactor control panel for British submarines, with infamous SCRAM button; Pye radios designed by Robin Day; a Roentgen IV X-ray machine, the mainstay of the new NHS diagnostic service; and a Coventry Climax racing engine of type that took Stirling Moss to victory. Science Museum until 25th October.

Hadrian: Empire And Conflict looks beyond the established image of the Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD, best known for his interest in architecture, his passion for Greece and Greek culture, and the eponymous wall he built between England and Scotland. The exhibition offers new perspectives on his life and legacy, exploring the sharp contradictions of his personality, and his role as a ruthless military commander. Set against the backdrop of the events of Hadrian's long reign, it explores his immense legacy, incorporating recent scholarship and the latest archaeological discoveries from Tivoli, his spectacular villa near Rome, which he filled with exquisite works of art from all over the empire. Based upon important material seen together for the first time, the exhibition examines Hadrian's background as a member of the economically powerful and ascendant Spanish elite, his relationship with his lover Antinous, his military campaigns, the iconic architecture of his time, his extensive travels, and his impact and influence on the modern world. It features over 180 objects, including sculpture, bronzes, silverware, letters and manuscripts, mummy portraits, pottery, knives and tools, jewellery and architectural fragments and models of his grand vision, with highlights being the iconic bronze head of Hadrian and the Vindolanda tablets. British Museum until 26th October.

John Muir Wood And The Origins Of Landscape Photography In Scotland is the first exhibition to examine this subject. It concentrates on images produced between 1840 and 1860, and in particular, on the work of John Muir Wood, arguably Scotland's first systematic landscape photographer. With bulky camera equipment, Muir Wood travelled by steamer along the Firth of Clyde, exploring the geography of Arran, Bute and the north Ayrshire coast. Chosen from an archive of 900 images, the selected photographs present a romantic view of nature during a time of rural upheaval, and strongly evoke the contrast between Victorian social and religious values and increasing urbanisation. Many of Muir Wood's photographs seem desolate, yet they are curiously uplifting. His ruined cottage image may appear to be a stony skeleton, but it lies above lush grass and a stream. Muir Wood's grasp of sensual detail is evident in how he captures the raw texture of scattered rocks in the water, and how the pallid tones of his forest photography suggest an almost ethereal glow. The exhibition puts Muir Wood's imagery into context by displaying examples of the landscape work of other early photographers, including Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill, Thomas Keith, Horatio Ross and W H Fox Talbot. It charts the emergence of a new creative form as each struggled to express the Scottish landscape imagination through photography. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 26th October.