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Beatrix Potter country: a legacy in Lakeland and beyond

13 December 2011 – 12 June 2012
This display explored the profound connections that Beatrix Potter’s artwork sustains with the Lake District and the part her lasting legacy has played in the preservation of this region and other parts of Britain’s heritage.

Albertopolis: the Development of South Kensington and the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter

26 November 2011–29 April 2012
Drawing on previously unseen objects from the V&A and RIBA collection, this display charted the development of South Kensington and the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter from 1851 up to the present day.

Heroes and Heroines

3 October 2011–25 April 2012
Taking objects from across the Museum’s collections, this display presented some extraordinary characters that offer models of courage, achievement and generosity. Loaded with meaning, the selected objects also touched upon national identity and propaganda, appropriation and subversion, gender and prejudice.

Charles Dickens (1812-70): A Bicentenary Display

15 November 2011–1 April 2012
This display, which celebrated the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth, focused on his most autobiographical novel David Copperfield. It examined the development of the book from the original manuscript through to its publication and showed the variety of children's books, comics, and theatrical productions which have been inspired by Dickens’s story.

Venetian Visions: the art of Canaletto, Tiepolo, Carlevarijs and their contemporaries 1700 – 1800


7 October 2011–1 April 2012
This display drew from the V&A collections of eighteenth century prints, drawings, textiles, ceramics and glass to showcase Venetian arts during this age of stylistic splendour.

Porcelain City: Jingdezhen


4 November 2011–25 March 2012
This was a display of contemporary works in porcelain by four artists from the UK, Japan and China: Roger Law, Felicity Aylieff, Ah Xian and Takeshi Yasuda. All their works were made in collaboration with the network of small porcelain factories which make up the vibrant porcelain city of Jingdezhen in China.

Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn (Ceramic Works, 5000 BC – AD 2010)

Detail from Coca-Cola vase, Ai Weiwei, 1997, Neolithic vase (5000-3000 BC) and paint. Courtesy of André Stockcamp & Christopher Tsai collection, Ancram, New York

15 October 2011–18 March 2012
Featuring a selection of ceramic works and photographs made from 1993 to the present day this exhibition offered a rare opportunity to view some of the most iconic works in the field of Chinese contemporary art.

Read more about Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn (Ceramic Works, 5000 BC – AD 2010)

Rabindranath Tagore

11 December 2011– 4 March 2012
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the V&A held a display of about 50 of his paintings from the period 1928 to 1939, never before displayed outside India.

Read more about Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter

The House of Annie Lennox

Detail from portrait of Annie Lennox by Satoshi Saikusa, 1991. Image © Satoshi Saikusa

15 September 2011–26 February 2012
The House of Annie Lennox was an immersive one-room display exploring the image and creative vision of the artist. On display was a small selection of costumes and accessories worn by Lennox, together with photographs, personal treasures and awards, ephemera from the political campaigns she has championed, music videos and a specially commissioned video of Annie in conversation. You can view that video on the V&A Channel.

View Annie Lennox in conversation

DLR Documenting Life in Residence: a platform for change

3 October 2011 – 29 January 2012
‘Documenting Life in Residence’ charted the journeys of three mid-career craft makers who participated in the V&A Craft Residencies between 2008 and 2010: Mary Butcher (contemporary basketry), Dorothy Hogg (jewellery) and Laurence Kavanagh (automata).

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 - 1990

Postmodernism promotional module image

24 September 2011–15 January 2012
This major exhibition was the first in-depth survey of art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s, examining one of the most contentious phenomena in recent art and design history: Postmodernism. It showed how postmodernism evolved from a provocative architectural movement in the early 1970s and rapidly went on to influence all areas of popular culture including art, film, music, graphics and fashion.

Read more about Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 - 1990

Power of Making

'Alphabet', pencil-tip structures, Dalton Ghetti, USA. Photo by Sloan T. Howard Photography

6 September 2011 – 2 January 2012.
Power of Making celebrated the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects. Curated by Daniel Charny, the exhibition was a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world, presenting a range of skills with imaginative and spectacular results.

Read more about Power of Making

Power of Making was a V&A and Crafts Council exhibition

Private Eye: The First 50 Years

18 October 2011 – 8 January 2012
To mark the 50th anniversary of the notorious magazine Private Eye, the V&A held a display looking at this particularly British phenomenon. It explored how the magazine has used graphic satire and humour to accompany serious investigative journalism. The display highlighted contributions by many of the talented and influential artists most closely associated with the magazine including Willie Rushton, Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe.

 Read more about Private Eye: The First 50 Years

An 18th-century Enigma: Paul de Lamerie & the Maynard Master

11 May 2009 – 31 December 2011
This display revealed the brilliant craftsmanship of Paul de Lamerie, the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century. His success lay in his own exceptional creativity in producing stunning objects, but also in his ability as a businessman, retailing some astonishingly spectacular silver using the most effective and innovative suppliers in the trade.

V&A Illustration Awards Display 2011

7 June – 17 December 2011
The V&A Illustration Awards celebrated the best illustration published over the last year. Original artwork from the best illustrated book, book cover, magazine and student illustrator of the year was displayed, together with a selection of all competition entries.

Read more about V&A Illustration Awards 2011

Beatrix Potter: Botanical Illustrations

14 June – 11 December 2011
This display presented a collection of Beatrix Potter's drawings that blend characteristics of botanical illustration, concerned with the accurate depiction and identification of plants, with those of flower painting, a genteel art celebrating the beauty of nature. Beatrix later remarked that the ‘careful botanical studies of my youth’ informed the ‘reality’ of her fantasy drawings.

Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism

11 August - 27 November 2011
This display explored photographs that make reference to themselves, other media and texts, and demonstrates how such Postmodernist approaches to photography have persisted for over 30 years. Spanning the mid-1970s to the present day, it showed work by some of the most influential artists associated with Postmodernism, such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, alongside more recent work by Anne Hardy, David Shrigley, Clare Strand and others.

The Society of Bookbinders International Competition 2011

5 September – 31 October 2011
The Society of Bookbinders International Competition, in its current format, was started in 1999 and runs every two years in conjunction with the Society’s biennial conference. Like the conference it has grown over the years and now attracts entries from all over the world. This display showcased the winning thirteen books from the 2011 competition in the following five categories: Fine Binding, The Complete Book, Case Binding, Restoration and Historic Binding.

Recording the New: The architectural photography of Bedford Lemere & Co. 1870-1930

4 June – 30 October 2011
Bedford Lemere & Co. was the leading architectural photography company of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In business from the 1870s until the 1940s Bedford Lemere and his son Harry Bedford Lemere pioneered professional architectural photography and set the standards for others to follow. The English Heritage, custodians of the Bedford Lemere & Co. collection, explore the company's extraordinary client list. Employed by a range of industrialists, retailers and government departments, the firm's photographs capture new buildings in pristine condition, often showing the work of leading contemporary architects, interior decorators, designers and artists.

Five Truths

12 July – 29 August 2011
This video installation created by a group of contemporary theatre makers, consisted of five short films suggesting possible variations in what you might see. Ten screens of varying sizes simultaneously played films of Ophelia interpreted dramatically through the lens of Constantin Stanislavski, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook. Created by director Katie Mitchell, video designer Leo Warner, set designer Vicki Mortimer, lighting designer Paule Constable and sound designer Gareth Fry, starring Michelle Terry as Ophelia.

Inspired by... 2011

Untitled, made by Eleanor Vallerini during her during her BTEC Millinery Level 2 class at Kensington and Chelsea College
4 June - 3 July 2011
Inspired by... is the V&A's annual art, craft and design competition that encourages part-time students from adult education to use the Museum's collections as a source of inspiration for their own work. Entries are assessed by curators, designers and educators, and a winner is chosen in each category.

Read more about Inspired by... 2011

Tradition Transformed: Contemporary Korean Ceramics


20 May - 3 October 2011
This display brought together predominantly sculptural works that incorporated traditional techniques with new influences and innovative methods. Many of the pieces in the exhibition were created especially for this tour and provided a representative sampling of dynamic trends in contemporary Korean ceramics.

Design Pro: A Collaboration with Seymourpowell and DesignLab

18 April – 7 September 2011
V&A Schools teamed up with Seymourpowell to devise Design Pro, a workshop that introduced professional design practise in the area of product design and took inspiration from the V&A collections. This display showcased both the students’ and designers’ solutions to the workshop design brief: to redesign the way we make a cup of tea. The workshop explored design processes and aimed to nurture innovative design solutions and encourage forward thinking for the future.

Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography

Figures & Fictions exhibition thumbnail image

12 April – 17 July 2011
This exhibition presented the vibrant and sophisticated photographic culture that has emerged in post-apartheid South Africa. It featured works by some of the most exciting and inventive photographers living and working in South Africa today. The photographs on display responded to the country's powerful rethinking of issues of identity across race, gender, class and politics.

Read more about Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography

This exhibition was sponsored by Standard Bank.

David Goldblatt: Lifetimes under apartheid

David Goldblatt, 'A farmer’s son with his nursemaid, on the farm Heimweeberg, near Nietverdiend in the Marico Bushveld', December 1964. Museum no. E.12-1992

8 April – 31 July 2011
The display presented a selection of images focusing on the later years of South Africa's apartheid rule. The display complemented the exhibition Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography in the Porter Gallery. Photographer David Goldblatt explored the social landscape of South Africa since the late 1940s. In 1987, he generously donated a large collection of his work to the V&A.

Read more about David Goldblatt

Field Study International: Emanations of a Collective Spirit in Art

5 April – 4 September 2011
Field Study is an international network of artists, influenced by avant garde movements of the recent past, in particular Fluxus publications and performances, and Mail Art. Emerged in London in the early 1990s as the collective initiative of a small group, Field Study became open to all in 1995, with the foundation of Field Report, an 'assembling' annual. The display included examples of Field Report and other collective publications, featuring the work of three associated artists: Patricia Collins, Erica Van Horn and Benedict Phillips.

The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860–1900

Blog: Creating the Cult of Beauty

2 April – 17 July 2011
This exhibition charted the development of the Aesthetic Movement in art and design through the decades from the 1860s to the 1890s. As well as paintings, prints and drawings, the show included examples of all the 'artistic' decorative arts, together with drawings, designs and photographs, as well as portraits, fashionable dress and jewellery of the era. Literary life was represented by some of the most beautiful books of the day, whilst a number of set-pieces revealed the visual world of the Aesthetes, evoking the kind of rooms and ensembles of exquisite objects through which they expressed their sensibilities.

Read more about The Cult of Beauty

The exhibition was sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Architectural Designs for V&A at Dundee


1 April – 15 May 2011
V&A at Dundee, housed in a landmark building on the bank of the River Tay, will be Scotland's leading centre for design. This display showcased the six outstanding designs shortlisted for the V&A at Dundee building, including the winning submission from Kengo Kuma and Associates.

Read more about the V&A at Dundee

A Flash of Light: The Dance Photography of Chris Nash

19 March – 29 August 2011
Showcasing Nash's fascination with movement, light, colour and composition, this dazzling display featured three decades of the dance photographer's most significant work. A Flash of Light explored Nash's collaboration with the foremost figures in contemporary dance, including the Rambert Dance Company and Javier de Frutos. By including over 60 prints, the display documented 30 years of Contemporary British Dance and the vision behind Nash's process, combined with a specially commissioned behind-the-scenes film of his work.

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A 12 March - 10 July 2011

12 March – 10 July 2011
This exhibition presented the work of Yohji Yamamoto, one of the most influential and enigmatic fashion designers of the last forty years. Yamamoto became internationally renowned as an idosyncratic and ground-breaking fashion designer in the early eighties. He challenged traditional notions of fashion by designing garments that seemed oversized, unfinished, played with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene

Read more about Yohji Yamamoto

The Architecture of Hope: Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres


28 February – 8 May 2011
This was the first display to comprehensively explore the architecture of the Maggie's centres which provide welcoming and uplifting spaces for those affected by cancer. The buildings of each of the seven existing centres, designed by architects including Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, were examined through models, drawings, photographs and film. Six models for future centres were also shown. The display was co-curated by the V&A and Maggie's.

Picturing Plants: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration

5 February – 25 September 2011
Since its foundation in 1856 the V&A has collected examples of botanical illustration in all graphic media. This display showed some of the many ways of picturing plants and how the style and content of the images were influenced by their purpose and context, as well as by the development of graphic technologies.

Zen and the Arts of Print: Birgit Skiöld and Japan


29 January – 15 May 2011
Birgit Skiöld was a pioneer in championing the status of printmaking as art, and experimenting with techniques including embossing, mixed media, Xerox printing and collage. This display focused on the outcomes of Birgit Skiöld's relationship with Japan, with emphasis on her artists's book, Zen Gardens.

Beatrix Potter: An Awkward Education


11 Jan – 12 June 2011
The student pieces in this display, including still life studies and exercises in design and perspective, were competent but often conveyed a dark and listless formality that contrasted with the light humour and exuberance of her book illustrations. Viewers were given a chance to discover Beatrix Potter before Peter Rabbit in this intriguing display, which offered a window into the education of a Victorian young lady.

Read more about Beatrix Potter: An Awkward Education

Art School Drawings


11 Jan – 12 June 2011
This display brought together drawings by art students and teachers, including early works by Turner and Constable. It explored the changing roles of antique sculpture, anatomical specimens and the nude model in British art education during the 19th century.

Read more about Art School Drawings

Interactive Map

Discover the many treasures in the beautiful V&A galleries, find out where events are happening in the Museum or just check the location of the café, shops, lifts or toilets. Simple to use, the V&A interactive map works on all screen sizes, from your tablet or smartphone to your desktop at home.

Launch the Interactive Map