V&A’s New Europe 1600-1815 Galleries Completed

On 9 December 2015, the V&A is opening its new suite of galleries dedicated to the arts of living in Europe between 1600 and 1815. This is a major part of the V&A’s ongoing redevelopment programme known as FuturePlan. With Lesley Miller as lead curator, preparation of the reopening has included a full reinterpretation of the collection and many important objects have undergone restoration: several large tapestries have been cleaned in Belgium, including the Gobelins tapestry after the Poussin painting The infant Moses tramples on Pharoah’s crown manufactured in Paris in the 1680s. Most of the items on display were made for patrons of the highest orders of society – princes, duchesses, courtesans, kings and queens. A highlight is a specially commissioned contemporary installation by Cuban collective Los Carpineros, who built a curved architectural sculpture, which forms a ‘room within a room’, seating for around 30 people and room for events, discussions and salons. The £12.5M project completes the restoration of the entire front wing of the museum, which includes seven galleries, for the installation of more than 1,000 treasures from the V&A’s collection of 17th and 18th century European art and design as well as new acquisitions. ZMMA are the architects and exhibition designers for the new galleries. Sir Peter Luff, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund, who are supporting the project, said “the seven galleries are of international importance meriting dramatic refresh and a complementary programme of activities to attract and inspire a new generation of museum visitors.” FuturePlan aims to create contemporary new settings for the V&A’s collections while restoring much of the building’s original...

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“The Fabric of India” at the V&A

On 3 October 2015 to 10 January 2016, the V&A London will open its doors for a first major exhibition “The Fabric of India” as part of the museum’s India Festival. “The Fabric of India” will explore the dynamic and multifaceted handmade textiles from India between the 3rd century up to present day featuring over 200 of the finest and most fascinating objects from the V&A and collections worldwide. These include a range of historic dress and heirloom fabrics that reflect the country’s cultural heritage. The exhibition will also illustrate the variety of textile making materials, the processes of using natural dyes and the techniques of block printing, weaving and embroidery across the ages. The V&A India Festival will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Museum’s Nehru Gallery. The gallery presents significant objects from the V&A’s South Asian art collection produced between the 16th and 19th centuries. For this celebration, the V&A will present several series of exhibitions and events including “The Fabric of India” to explore the rich culture of South Asia, both past and...

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“Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s” at the V&A

The V&A, London is to present the exhibition “Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s” from 16 February until 24 May 2015. On display are 50 photographs of the life of black people in Britain in the latter half of the 20th century. The works, either documenting the experience of black people or by black photographers, were acquired over the past seven years by the museum alongside Black Cultural Archives in an effort to ensure this area was represented in the collection. On display will be intimate portrayals of British-Caribbean life in London in the 1960s-70s by Neil Kenlock, Armet Francis, Dennis Morris and Charlie Phillips. Music, style and fashion are documented in Raphael Albert’s depictions of the black beauty pageants he organised from the 1960s to the 1980s to help celebrate the growing black community in Britain and in Norman ‘Normski’ Anderson’s colourful depictions of vibrant youth culture of the 1980s and...

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V&A proposes new branch on Olympic Park site

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has announced plans to develop a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which has been dubbed V&A East. The museum will benefit from around 20,000 square metres of space, and should open around 2020. It comes as part of a project to transform the Olympic Park site, named “Olympicopolis”, which is to be spread over 227 hectares of land. The V&A East will be part of a new cultural quarter in this development, which will house a branch of University of the Arts London and a Sadler’s Wells dance space, as well as an as-yet-unknown fourth institution. The expansion is set to cost more than £100 million, which is to be funded in part by the Olympics London Legacy Development Collection. The design for the building will be picked from five finalists (who have also yet to be selected from almost 1,000 architects interested), and will be announced in March 2015....

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Constable re-examined at the V&A

“Contstable: The Making of a Master”, an exhibition at the V&A in London from 20 September until 11 January 2015, will present works by the renowned landscape painter alongside those of the Masters who influenced his work. Over 150 works will be shown, encompassing a variety of forms including oil sketches, drawings, watercolours and engravings, revealing much about the artist’s methods and techniques. Other artists displayed alongside Constable will include Ruisdael, Rubens and Claude Lorrain, from whom Constable learned much about the formal values of landscape painting. Constable’s work transformed the genre of landscape painting, being one of the first painters to paint directly from nature as opposed to his imagination, resulting in pieces which capture the effects of the open air and light on the English countryside. The Director of the V&A, Martin Roth, said of the exhibition that it “refreshes our understanding of his work and creative influence. It shows that Constable’s art, so well-loved and familiar to many of us, still delivers surprises.”...

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