News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th May 2008

Commencing

Street & Studio: An Urban History Of Photography presents a history of photographic portraiture taken in cities around the world, in two contrasting locations: the street and the studio. It comprises over 350 works by 19th and 20th century photographers, including such diverse figures as Diane Arbus, Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Helen Levitt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman, Malick Sidibe, Paul Strand, Wolfgang Tillmans and Weegee. Street photography was founded with the development of small and easily concealed cameras, offering the opportunity to catch subjects in informal, impromptu and even intimate moments. Highlights of this practice include Jacques-Henri Lartigue's snap shots of the French bourgeoisie in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and Arnold Genthe's documentary photography of Chinatown in San Francisco. Studio portrait photography was developed to create more formal portraits, offering the photographer opportunities for complex technical manoeuvres, and allowing the sitter to compose and present themselves to the world with associated props and backdrops, as seen in Samuel Fosso's self portraits and Baron de Meyer's fashion photography of famous artists. The exhibition explores the ways in which the two strands intertwine. The highly composed scenes by Robert Doisneau and the fashion photography in the 1950s by Norman Parkinson and William Klein demonstrate how the street became a site of staging, while Andres Serrano's portraits of the homeless and Helmar Lerski's series 'Head of Everyday' show how studio photography began to record people from the street. Tate Modern until 31st August.

Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain 1650 - 1930 looks at the changing styles in the fashion for orientalism in the decorative arts - ornamentation based on a Western fantasy of China as a place of dreams and dragons, the mythical land of Cathy. The exhibition brings together some of the earliest Chinese objects imported to Britain, with examples of British made chinoiserie furniture, ceramics, silver and textiles, as well as rarely seen prints and drawings. In a chinoiserie interior in the 18th and 19th centuries surfaces were adorned with fantastic mountainous landscapes, pagodas, fabulous birds, mandarins, dragons and phoenixes. This exhibition provides a context for the Royal Pavilion, which houses some of the exhibits, its extravagant interiors and imaginative furnishings representing the pre-eminent example of a late flowering of chinoiserie. The style was particularly suited to light, feminine spaces, and women's bedrooms, dressing rooms and drawing rooms in stately homes were frequently hung with hand painted Chinese wallpaper, and furnished with lacquered surfaces that complemented the mysterious translucence of chinoiserie porcelain. Taking tea became a fundamental part of polite society, and stimulated the growth of the ceramics industry. Potters endeavoured to discover the secret ingredients for making Chinese porcelain, and developed their own forms for teapots, bowls and cups, decorated with imaginative chinoiserie motifs, whilst silversmiths created exquisite pieces such as caddies, pots and epergnes, also decorated in the Chinese style. Brighton Museum & Royal Pavilion until 2nd November.

The Treetop Walkway & The Rhizotron are two new features that offer visitors the opportunity to get closer to trees. The 18 metre high Walkway, designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye, is based on a Fibonacci numerical sequence, often found in nature's growth patterns. The tree like metal pylons, which weather to look like wood, each support viewing platforms, linked by the 200 metre Walkway through the canopy of ancient sweet chestnuts, limes and oaks. They offer a unique close up view of the trees - and the birds and other wildlife that live in them - together with a completely different perspective on the surrounding 300 acres of gardens, as well as the London skyline beyond. Meanwhile, the Rhizotron provides an opportunity to delve into the underground world of trees. Entered through an apparent crack in the ground, it reveals the natural world beneath the trees, explaining the relationships between tree roots and the micro-organisms in the soil. Accompanying these new features are a variety of tree themed displays, including a woodland glade with bluebells and cowslips, focusing on the flora and fauna found in and on the woodland floor, with the homes of foxes and badgers, and wasp and wood ant nests, in the Princess of Wales Conservatory; and a display of miniature bonsai trees with conifers, maples, a Japanese white pine, a rhododendron, a beech and an oak tree (offering a similar view as the Walkway for those afraid of heights) in the Bonsai House. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew continuing.

Continuing

Jack The Ripper And The East End examines the infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888, and explores their legacy of myths and legends. Bringing together in public for the first time the surviving original documents from the police investigation, including files, witness reports, photographs and hoax letters, the exhibition maps the world which witnessed the murders and was transformed by them. It follows the crimes and the investigation as they unfolded, and reveals the lives of the victims, witnesses, suspects and police, and the labyrinthine world they inhabited. Artefacts, including Charles Booth's meticulously drawn poverty maps, and oral history recordings from those who grew up in the East End at the time of the murders, throw a light on the slums of Whitechapel and on the grim lives of their inhabitants. The exhibition also explores how the murders were a catalyst for change, creating public revulsion at the desperate state of life in the shadows of the world's richest city, and how both the media and the police were forced into innovation. It illustrates the strategies of detection, and the processes of running and reporting a major police enquiry, reflecting the fierce competition between newspapers to produce the most sensational descriptions of the murders, and lay claim to the latest theories and suspects. Forensic science was not yet available to help identify the murderer, and a range of pseudo-sciences, philosophies and superstitions, including spiritualism, as well as accepted ideas of human nature and morality, shaped the police investigation. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay E14, until 2nd November.

Frank Auerbach - Etchings And Drypoints 1954 - 2007 is a comprehensive survey of the distinctive British artist's work, from experimental drypoint nudes produced while he was still a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1950s to his latest etching and aquatint of David Landau. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see Auerbach's complete body of etchings and drypoints, comprising some 30 works, together with other drawings and paintings, including 'JYM in the Studio'. Portraits drawn with spare lines or frenetic jagged lines sit alongside faces that emerge from heavily greyed out heads in this display, some depicting famous names such as Lucian Freud, others titled just with first names, giving them a personal tone. On first acquaintance Auerbach's work can seem obscure, even crude or unreadable, but its power and strength of feeling is striking, arresting and ultimately beautiful. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 21st June.

The Shell Guides: Surrealism, Modernism, Tourism explores the creative forces that created the Shell County Guides, and considers their cultural influence on a shared understanding of Britain and Britishness. From the 1930s to the 1980s, innovative writers, artists, designers and academics combined their efforts to produce these landmark guides, a powerful but understated synthesis of good writing, good imagery and good design. Their editor, John Betjeman, gathered together a mixture of young artists and authors like Paul and John Nash, Robert Byron and John Piper, who represented some of the best of British creative talent of the period. This exhibition includes many of the original Guides, plus examples of other works by key contributors. The Guides, neither too serious nor too shallow, were aimed at a new breed of car driving metropolitan tourists, who took pleasure in the ordinary and peculiar culture of small town Britain. They provided a surreptitiously subversive synthesis of the British countryside, revelling in the unconventional, the surreal and the mystical, which became ingrained in the British middle class imagination. The guides were illustrated using the most modern and often surrealist photographs, small intimate sketches by the authors, and reproductions of English romantic and popular prints. This incongruous mix of old and new was combined with a graphic layout that blended the contemporary style of the Architectural Review with arcane 19th century typefaces. By the end of the 1930s the Shell Guides were among the most avant-garde publications in Europe - though devoted to a subject that was almost the cultural opposite. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire, until 2nd November.

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 October.

OGS Crawford is a unique opportunity to see images from the archive of Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford, a field archaeologist who pioneered aerial photography after seeing its potential in the First World War. Crawford was a rare visionary who recognised key events and recorded them, documenting the passage of time from pre-history archaeological digs, to the utopian projects propounded by revolutionaries throughout the turbulent times in which he lived: 1886 to 1957. Distance, in Crawford's view, brought clarity, and he saw world history - and the future - in the broadest possible perspective, perceiving patterns in times past and in things to come. Thus he believed the passage of time, from prehistory to a utopian future, could be charted and photographed, evidenced in the design of objects, in the rise and fall of superstitions, and in the organisation of domestic space. Crawford's photographic output was prolific and varied, reflecting both his professional work and a world view critical of a society increasingly led by consumerism and materialism. The exhibition ranges from images of archaeological sites, through between the wars anti-Nazi graffiti in Berlin, rural Hampshire scenes, and suburban advertising hoardings, to aspirational post Second World War housing developments in his home city of Southampton. John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, until 14th June.

Skin+Bones: Parallel Practices In Fashion And Architecture is the first show in the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, a new exhibition space where the Hermitage Rooms used to be, which will focus on photography, design, fashion and architecture. Traditionally, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct, but in recent years however, the two disciplines have become closer than ever before. Frank Gehry's controversial design for tower blocks on the seafront at Hove in Sussex has even been described as looking like 'transvestites caught in a gale'. Taking the early 1980s as its starting point, this exhibition examines the many visual and conceptual ideas that unite the two disciplines. By examining designs by over 50 internationally renowned architects and designers, including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Future Systems, Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, through garments, maquettes, architectural models and photographs, the exhibition reveals how inspiration in both disciplines have come from the same sources. It also shows how they can borrow each other's techniques, as with Hussein Chalayan's Remote Control Dress, made from aircraft material with moveable flaps and structural lines like the design of an aeroplane, and Heatherwick Studio's Temple, which echoes the undulating, organic folds of a piece of cloth combined with a mille-feuille stepped texture on the outside. Embankment Galleries, Somerset House until 10th August.

Concluding

The Return Of The Gods: Neoclassical Sculpture is the first exhibition in Britain to focus the full range of British neoclassical sculpture. It brings together around 30 major figurative works created by British artists or for British patrons from around 1760 to 1860. These extraordinary marble pieces were designed to astonish and captivate, as artists exploited previously unexplored subjects, taken from classical mythology, literature, and ancient and modern history, in order to depict the nude with unprecedented freedom, vitality and sensuality. Artists created emotional figure groups and scenes, and portrayed contemporary people in new ways - their faces and hairstyles, poses and expressions reflecting the idealism and purity of the style. From the grace of Canova's 'The Three Graces' to the dramatic vigour of Thomas Banks's 'The Falling Titan', the human figure, transformed and idealised in white marble, was the essence of this sculpture. Observation of the body, realisation of soft flesh in permanent and beautiful stone, inspired by and transcending classical models from Ancient Rome and Greece, led to the creation of these outstanding masterpieces of figurative sculpture. Other works on display include Thomas Banks's 'Thetis Dipping Achilles into the Styx', John Gibson's 'Hylas Surprised by the Naiades', Nollekens's 'Venus Chiding Cupid and Mercury' and Thorvaldsen's 'Three Graces'. The exhibition also includes an example of antique sculpture, restored in the 18th century, which contrasts with the neoclassical pieces, while highlighting the origins of the style. Tate Britain until 8th June.

Colin St John Wilson: Collector And Architect celebrates the legacy of Wilson through both his architectural achievements, and as the owner of one of the most important private collections of 20th century British art. The collection, amassed over a lifetime, was given to the gallery for which he designed the recently opened new wing, which houses it. The exhibition brings together for the first time many of Wilson's drawings, models and writings from some of his greatest architectural projects, from the British Library, possibly the last great public building of such scale that we shall ever see (and the building of which he used to refer to as his "30 years' war") to the simple Pallant House Gallery itself. It coincides with a major rehang of the Wilson Gift, with works by Wilson's contemporaries Michael Andrews, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, R B Kitaj, Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton, as well as major figures including David Bomberg, William Coldstream and Walter Sickert. Photographs and ephemera documenting the studios designed by Wilson's wife and partner M J Long for several of the artists represented are also on display. The exhibition focuses on three key aspects of Wilson's career: The Early Years, and his participation in the 1956 exhibition This Is Tomorrow at the ICA, widely recognised as a watershed moment in post war British art; The Cambridge Years, when he lectured at Cambridge and became increasing influenced by Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto; and The London Years, resulting in his own personal legacy, the British Library. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 8th June.

Cranach is the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to Lucas Cranach the Elder, a painter, printmaker and book illustrator with a distinctly individual manner. He was one of the most versatile artists of the German Renaissance, court artist to the Saxon electors, a staunch supporter of the Reformation, and a close friend of Martin Luther. During the course of his long career, Cranach created striking portraits and expressive devotional works, and propaganda for the Protestant cause, as well as his own brand of erotic female nude and inventive treatments of biblical, mythological and classical subjects. He was among the first artists to paint full length portraits, and possessed a notable skill in psychological characterisation, and thus his likenesses of the personalities of the day have shaped history's conception of them. This exhibition brings together some 70 works, chosen to represent the quality and range of this formerly neglected master. Highlights include portraits of Martin Luther, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenberg as St Jerome, and the portrait dyptych of John the Steadfast and his Son John Frederick, and the narrative paintings 'The Judgemant of Paris', 'The Beheading of St John the Baptist', 'Adam and Eve', 'The Martyrdom of St Catherine', 'St Helen with the Cross', 'The Golden Age', 'Pieta Beneath the Cross' and the triptych alterpiece 'The Holy Kinship'. Royal Academy of Arts until 8th June.