News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th April 2012

Animal Inside Out reveals the intricate insides of a wide variety of creatures from a frog to an elephant, and shows their comparative anatomy and biology. Having astonished (not to say repulsed) the world with his Body World exhibition, Dr Gunther von Hagens - popularly known as 'Dr Death' - who invented Plastination, the process that stops the decay of dead bodies and prepares specimens for scientific and medical education, has turned his attention from humans to animals. This revolutionary method of preservation involves extracting all water and fatty tissues from the specimen and replacing them with polymers in a vacuum. The skin of each specimen is then eroded using enzymes, bacteria or acids to reveal the skeletons, muscles, sinew, blood vessels, nervous systems and organs underneath. In this exhibition around 100 specimens range from whole animals like the giraffes, the elephant and horse, to small intricate parts like a hare's brain, and includes a shark, giant squid, goat, pig, sheep, ostriches and a gorilla. The Plastination process takes weeks, if not months depending on the size and complexity of the dissection. The star attraction - the Asian elephant - required the use of special cranes and tanks, took 64,000 hours, and cost €3.5m. The preserved animals are displayed as though suspended in motion, such as a vast bull, muscles taut and poised to attack, and a pair of reindeer captured in full flight, so they seem as much a series of artworks as an anatomical display. Natural History Museum until 16th September.

Red Chalk: Raphael To Ramsay explores the versatile and beautiful drawing medium of red chalk, featuring works which, due to their delicate nature are rarely on show, as well as a number of drawings being exhibited for the first time. The exhibition reveals the ways in which artists have, over the centuries, exploited the unique nature of red chalk to produce an array of dazzling and distinctive effects that cannot be achieved with any other drawing medium. The display showcases a diverse range of exquisite drawings by distinguished artists, such as Jean-Antoine Watteau, Francois Boucher, Jean-Honore Fragonard, Robert Hubert and David Allan. Highlights include Raphael's 'Study of a Kneeling Nude', made as a preparatory drawing for one of a series of painted frescos; Salvator Rosa's 'Head of a Bearded Man', which is an arresting example of red chalk being used to produce a highly expressive finished drawing, intended as a piece of art in its own right; a sheet of figurative studies by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, which reveal the incredible precision and control that can be achieved in the medium; Rubens's 'Four Women Harvesting', which demonstrates how effectively chalk can be used for rapid sketching, with the simplest and most minimal strokes; and a preparatory study by Guercino for his monumental oil painting of 'Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred', shown alongside the finished painting. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 10th June.

Zoe Leonard: Observation Point reveals the contemporary New York based artist's constant concern with perception and visual experience. Zoe Leonard explores photographic seeing, how we relate to the mediated image and how we perceive the world around us. The exhibition addresses three distinct aspects of photography - experience, image, object - and in doing so pushes at the boundaries of photography as practice and medium, and its effect on our emotional, political, or psychological experience. Gallery 3 is transformed into a camera obscura, where daylight filters in through a lens, projecting an image of the world outside onto the floor, walls and ceiling, creating a spatially immersive experience. The gallery's north-south axis provides constant light throughout the day, giving rise to a continually shifting, cinematic event. The work Leonard has created for Gallery 1 defies one of the cardinal rules of traditional photography - not to shoot directly into the sun. Photography customarily depicts the colour, form and spatial extension that the light of the sun allows us to discern, rather than the sun as subject itself. These images combine subject and process, retaining the glare and flare on the lens, the grain of the film in the enlarged print and the evidence of Leonard's work in the darkroom. The installation of found postcards of Niagara Falls in Gallery 2 continues Leonard's practice of using the world around her as source material, reframing or representing already existing images so as to refresh our own act of looking. Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3, until 24th June.

Continuing

The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned explores the meaning of beauty, and the lives and loves of the courtesans and libertines who lived and died in the Stuart Court, during the reigns of Charles II, James II, William III & Mary II and Anne. The exhibition explores the story of how kings, queens and courtesans swept away the Puritanical solemnity of the mid 17th century, and attempted to rewrite the moral code of social behaviour. At its heart are portraits of Charles II's principal mistresses, including Nell Gwyn, Moll Davis, Barbara Villiers and Louise de Keroualle, and other resident 'beautiful women' of the Royal Court, some of which are quite explicit. Other highlights that bring to life the glamour and magnificence of the Baroque period include Peter Lely's 'Windsor Beauties', 10 of the most important female courtiers of the day, and Godfrey Kneller's 'Hampton Court Beauties', the 8 reigning 'toasts of the Court', together with exquisite fashion accessories. The exhibition reveals not only what beauty meant at court (how to display grace and how to use looks to gain attention and influence) the beauty secrets of the day, the fashions and elegance of court life, but also what happened when beauty faded, and when a life of virtue was rewarded by obscurity, and a life of vice by syphilis and death. Charles II ruled for 25 flamboyant and decadent years, pursuing 'beauty' in all its forms, collecting artworks and mistresses with equal enthusiasm. The show explores the ambiguity at the heart of the late 17th century Court: beauty was a good thing, a reflection of divine perfection, an indication of virtue, but it was also pursued and possessed. Hampton Court Palace, until 30th September.

SeaCity Museum tells the story of the people of Southampton and the city's historic connection with the sea. The £15m project is a conversion and extension of the Grade II* listed former Magistrates' Courts and Police Station. The buildings' history has been ingeniously incorporated, with an exhibit about the Titanic Enquiry staged in the former courtroom, and the police cells transformed into toilets. In addition, the former civic centre clock tower is now open for tours. There are two permanent galleries, featuring 'Southampton's Titanic Story', telling of the city's part in the world's greatest shipping tragedy as the home of the White Star Line, (most of the crew were Southampton residents), including a 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, showing the intricate layout of the vessel, a pocket watch found on the body of a steward that shows the exact time it stopped, and a Disaster Room, describing the sequence of events from the time the ship struck the iceberg to its sinking; and 'Southampton: Gateway To The World', recounting the stories of people and ships who have departed from or arrived in the port over the last 250,000 years, including a large interactive map revealing the development of Southampton from small stone age settlements into the walled medieval town and through the ages to its present size, and a 1 tonne 7m long model of the Cunard Queen Mary. The third special exhibitions gallery opens with 'Titanic The Legend', in which the story is presented through a variety of perspectives, and considers why the legend endures, the effect it has had on ship design, safety and technological research, and explores the notion of a 'Titanic industry'. Sea City Museum, Havelock Road, Southampton, continuing.

Famous In The Fifties: Photographs By Daniel Farson celebrates the multifaceted career of the Picture Post photographer, television presenter, writer and legendary Soho figure. Daniel Farson's association with bohemia is demonstrated by intimate portraits of Lucian Freud and Brendan Behan and a group of writers shown with lifelong friend John Deakin, photographed in Soho, his haunt of many years. A portrait of Adam Faith inscribed by Farson, 'I put him on TV first', illustrates Farson's impact on television, presenting programmes including Out Of Step and Living for Kicks. His portrait of Joan Littlewood is one of a group that relates to the theatre. In 1967 Littlewood produced Farson's play about Marie Lloyd, a venture which followed his revival of music hall acts as the landlord of The Waterman's Arms on the Isle of Dogs.

Cambridge Connections: Photographs By Antony Barrington Brown presents an equally compelling picture of a very different society. Antony Barrington Brown worked as a photographer and picture editor for the student newspaper Varsity while reading chemistry at Cambridge. He returned to the town in 1951 to set up as a freelance photographer, with the aim of capturing dons in their 'natural habitat', and was commissioned by colleges to portray the Fellows of the University. Barrington Brown is now best known for his photograph of James Watson and Francis Crick around the time of their discovery of DNA. He also worked as a photo-journalist, for the national press, the BBC and Movietone News among others. This display presents a selection from a collection of 240 sittings, taken between 1953 and 1958.

National Portrait Gallery until 16th September.

Brains: The Mind As Matter explores what humans have done to brains in the name of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Featuring more than 150 objects, including real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, videos and photography, the exhibition follows the long quest to manipulate and decipher the most unique and mysterious of human organs, whose secrets continue to confound and inspire. It asks not what brains do for us, but what we have done to brains. Famous and infamous brain specimens are on display, including those of Albert Einstein, Charles Babbage and William Burke, as are the thoughts on brains from the brains of famous thinkers, together with donors, surgeons, patients and collectors. The exhibition has four sections: Measuring/Classifying introduces efforts to define the relationship between the brain's function and form - from Bernard Hollander's cranial measuring system to the tools of phrenology, the skewed morality of these pseudo-sciences illustrates the measuring of brains as a measure of culture; Mapping/Modelling follows the attempts to represent the anatomy of the brain - from early visualisations by Reisch, Vesalius and Descartes in the 16th and 17th centuries to the kaleidoscopic Brainbow images of nerve cells, and the artistic drive to apprehend the complexities of the brain with the increasing philosophical and medical understanding of its centrality to our being; Cutting/Treating explores the history of surgical intervention on a form of human tissue that is uniquely swift to decay and difficult to dissect - from crude trephination kits to complex 3D imaging systems revealing the human stories behind the anatomy of brains; and Giving/Taking traces the stories of brain harvesting and the variety of its purpose - from the horrors of Nazi experimentation to the hope offered by research into neurodegenerative disorders by brain banks. Wellcome Collection, London until 17th June.

Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making Of Harry Potter provides an opportunity to explore the magic of the most successful British film series of all time. The tour takes visitors behind the scenes in the studio where the films were shot, through the actual sets with the original furniture, props and costumes. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so popular. Visitors can step inside the Great Hall, walking on the York stone floor laid 11 years ago, and see the solid oak and pine house tables that were built for the films and aged with axes and chains; explore Dumbledore's office, with the Sword of Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat and the Hogwarts headmaster portraits; stroll along the cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium; see iconic props from the films, including Harry's Nimbus 2000, Hagrid's motorcycle and the triple decker, purple Knight Bus; learn how green screen effects helped to create many iconic sequences for the films, including the spectacular Quidditch matches; discover how creatures were brought to life with animatronics and life-sized models in the Creature Effects Workshop, and come face to face with Buckbeak the Hippogriff, the giant and terrifying spider Aragog, Fawkes the phoenix and the giant head of the Basilisk; and see other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys' dormitory, Hagrid's hut, Potion's classroom and Professor Umbridge's office at the Ministry of Magic. Warner Bros Studios, Aerodrome Way, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, continuing.

Island Stories: Fifty Years Of Photography In Britain features a selection of photographs made in the UK since the 1950s. The exhibition of more than 80 images focuses on individual projects, each of which tells a story. Collectively, they give a picture of life in Britain that reflects upon subjects ranging from landscape and industry to family and community. Each series is chosen, not from the best known pictures of the period, but from great ones that have been seen rather less. The changes in British life over the last 50 years reflected in these images probably exceed those of any other half century in Britain's history except the Victorian era. The images also reflect the changes in photographic methods and preoccupations. Highlights include Don McCullin's series on the coal-pickers of north east England, from 1960s; Roger Mayne's Southam Street series about the games that people could once play in city streets before they were given over entirely to cars; and quirks of photo-history, such as Bill Brandt's ant's-eye-view nudes. Other photographers represented include: Maurice Broomfield, Elsbeth Juda, Raymond Moore, Grace Robertson, Fay Godwin, Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Nigel Shafran, Peter Fraser, John R J Taylor, Mark Edwards and Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th September.

Concluding

Beyond Macbeth reveals how Scotland helped to cement and then enrich the reputation of William Shakespeare, and explores what he meant to different people at different times. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see some of the earliest surviving examples of Shakespeare's works, including a copy of the First Folio, the collection of 36 of his plays published by actor friends in 1623, 7 years after his death. Early versions of Shakespeare's texts were published as small cheap playbooks in a format called 'quarto'. These quartos are at the heart of the exhibition, and include a 1599 edition of Romeo And Juliet; a 1600 edition of Love's Labour's Lost; an exceptionally rare copy of the 1600 second quarto edition of Titus Andronicus; the first Jacobean edition of Richard II from 1608, complete with the abdication scene, which could not be published during the reign of Elizabeth I; and the mysterious collection of Pavier quartos printed in 1619. While quartos are treasured now, they were little regarded in their day, and were often used as working texts that people wrote on, altered and even cut up. The exhibition looks at Shakespeare through the eyes of three individuals and one family, from his own time, when he was just one of many playwrights writing for the London stage, through to his iconic status in the 19th and 20th centuries: William Drummond, a Scottish poet and contemporary of Shakespeare who was one of his earliest admirers; the Bute family, who were aristocratic patrons of the arts and collectors of Shakespeare's works in the 18th century; James Halliwell-Phillipps, a Victorian collector with an obsessive interest in Shakespeare; and John Dover Wilson, a 20th century scholar who brought Shakespeare to a wide audience. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 29th April.

Shakespeare In Art explores how the plays of William Shakespeare have inspired artists over the centuries. The exhibition celebrates the 175th birthday of Newcastle's Theatre Royal with a display of oil paintings, prints, engravings, watercolours, decorative art and objects featuring characters from Shakespeare's best known plays, including Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet, The Merchant Of Venice and many more. Among the highlights are Walter Howell Deverell's 'Scene from As You Like It', Henry Woods's 'Portia', Thomas Francis Dicksee's 'Juliet', alongside William James Grant's vision of the same character, T Vernon's engraving 'Othello Relating his Adventures' after the painting by C W Cope, Charles Coulson's engraving of 'Ophelia' after the painting by Arthur Hughes, two carved oak panels showing scenes from Hamlet and The Tempest, and a selection of watercolours from William George Simmonds's 'Hamlet' series, used to illustrate a 1912 edition of the play. Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, until 29th April.

A Place To Call Home: Where We Live And Why charts the story of the design and appeal of everyday homes in Britain. Through archival and original material, the exhibition, curated by Sarah Beeny, explores the characteristics of a British obsession, and the drivers that have shaped how and where we live, from the advent of mass speculative building in the late 18th century to the present day, via inter-war suburban expansion and post-war tower blocks.

High Society explores in detail the intense period of architectural experimentation in the post-war years, examining the massive building types that now puncture the skylines of Britain's towns and cities. The exhibition looks in detail at 5 classic post-war, high-rise housing schemes from across the country: The Alton Estate, Roehampton, London; Churchill Gardens, Pimlico, London; Park Hill, Sheffield; Hutchesontown, Glasgow; and Thamesmead, London.

The Home I Grew Up In features a range of personal insights and revelations on houses and housing from media, art and design figures. These include: Alain de Botton, philosopher and author; Chris Smith, National Planning Director, English Heritage; Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum; Dan Pearson, garden and landscape designer; Grayson Perry, artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery; Janet Street Porter, journalist and broadcaster; Jonathan Dimbleby, writer and broadcaster; Kirsty Wark, journalist and broadcaster; Paul Smith, fashion designer; and Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer.

Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1, until 28th April.