Past Exhibitions and Displays 2010
Isotype: International picture language
Isotype or 'international system of typographic picture education' was a method of showing facts pictorially. Its basic elements were pictograms - simplified pictures of people or things - graphically arranged to illustrate and explain social and economic issues to ordinary people. This display, in collaboration with the University of Reading, traced the story of Isotype over four decades, from its invention in 1920s Vienna to its flourishing in post-war Britain.
'Magic Lantern', installation by Mat Collishaw
26 November 2010 – 27 March 2011
Mat Collishaw was commissioned to animate the Museum's architecture with a work of haunting beauty. A monumental zoetrope – the cylindrical device first designed in 1834 to project a rapid succession of images to simulate motion was the result. Over the winter and spring, 'Magic Lantern' transformed the Museum's edifice into a beacon of light, brought to life by fluttering moths visible from dusk each evening.
Mapping Materials and Makers: Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951
12 November 2010 – 15 May 2011
This was the first comprehensive study of sculptors, related businesses and trades investigated in the context of creative collaborations, art infrastructures, professional networks and cultural geographies. The project took an innovative approach to the research that moved beyond the conventional image of the sculptor as the sole creator of handcrafted works and revealed the collaborative nature of sculpture.
Walter Crane: A Revolution in Nursery Picture Books
9 November 2010 – 3 April 2011
The artist and designer Walter Crane (1845-1915) was the most prolific and influential picture book creator of his generation. Crane's lively designs for mass-market nursery books featuring alphabets, nursery rhymes and fairy tales were intended to stimulate children's visual awareness while they learned to read. This small display brought together original artwork and first editions of Crane's innovative picture books to offer a fascinating insight into his radical approach to early education.
Designer Bookbinders: Man Booker Prize bindings 2010
8 November 2010 – 31 January 2011
Each of the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelists receives one copy of his or her book, bound by an eminent British bookbinder. This year's binders were Glen Bartley, Mark Cockram, Sue Dogget, Angela James, Dominic Riley and David Sellars. Traditional skills and materials were used in new ways to achieve a modern design that is relevant to the text.
Sacred Silver used by the London Huguenot communities
3 November 2010 – 2 October 2011
This display of sacred silver from Huguenot churches dating from 1717 to 1898 included a Communion flagon presented for use in the French Hospital chapel, Victoria Park, Hackney in 1867. Made by Barnards, its sale was recorded in their London business archive recently saved for the V&A. The silver was lent by the French Hospital, Rochester, Kent which provides sheltered housing for elderly people of Huguenot descent.
Judaica from the Gilbert Collection
Until 31 October 2010
This small display featured a Torah crown and pair of rimmonim, ornate Jewish ritual objects from Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert's collection.
So Noble a Confection: Producing and Consuming Chocolate, 1600 - 2000
19 October 2010 – 14 September 2011
For the past 400 years chocolate has fed both our senses and our imagination. This display charted the origins, making, importation and consumption of chocolate in South America and Europe, 1600 – 2000. Drawing on a wide range of V&A objects, including ceramics, metalwork and prints, it examined our enduring love affair with the 'divine nectar'.
Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography
13 October 2010 - 20 February 2011
Shadow Catchers presented the work of five international artists who challenged the assumption that a camera is necessary to make a photograph. By casting shadows on light sensitive paper or chemically manipulating its surface these artists seemingly captured the presence of objects, figures or glowing light. The exhibition included works by Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Adam Fuss, Garry Fabian Miller and Floris Neusüss.
A History of Camera-less Photography
13 October 2010 – 23 March 2011
The first photographs ever made were created without the use of a camera. This display explored the camera-less image from its discovery in the 1850s to the present day. Drawing together unique examples from the V&A collection this display showcased the work of the key figures in the history of photography, including Anna Atkins, Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy.
START HERE: Selected work by Foundation students from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design inspired by the V&A Collections
4 October 2010 – 7 January 2011
This display showed work by Foundation students from Central Saint Martins. They were invited to visit the V&A in March this year to inform and influence the work they produce for their final projects.
2 October - 21 November 2010
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.
Underground Journeys: Charles Holden’s designs for London Transport
2 October 2010 - 13 February 2011
This display examined the designs carried out by Charles Holden and his architectural practice, Adams Holden and Pearson, for London Transport, undoubtly his greatest and most successful patron. The full range of his work, from stations on the Northern line extension and refurbishment of Piccadilly Circus station through to his creation of a new London Underground headquarters at 55 Broadway and his iconic modernist station designs produced for the Piccadilly line extensions was shown. Holden's relationship with London Transport's chief executive, Frank Pick was also investigated as their collaboration and integrated approach to design and architecture was instrumental in shaping London Transport's corporate brand.
Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909 - 1929
25 September 2010 - 9 January 2011
This exhibition showcased the glamour and magic of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, exploring its origin and legacy 100 years after its first performance. A larger than life personality, Diaghilev's artists included such luminaries as George Balanchine, Coco Chanel, Robert Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova, Vaslav Nijinsky and Pablo Picasso.
With thanks to the Blavatnik Family Foundation and The Linbury Trust.
I Cling to Virtue
17 September - 10 October 2010
I Cling to Virtue presents a family collection of objects, artefacts and films that document the rise and fall of the Lövy family. By layering anecdotes from the artists' own genealogies with those of illustrious families both real and fictional, a multi-dimensional portrait of 20th century family life is represented through objects, texts and media produced using a wide range of techniques.
Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel
8 September - 24 October 2010
This is a display of four of the ten tapestries designed by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. These are the original tapestries from the only series designed by Raphael of which examples survive, and are comparable with Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling as masterpieces of High Renaissance art.
The Lumley Inventory and Pedigree, and the Roxburghe Club
10 August - 19 September 2010
The Lumley Inventory is a late 16th-century illustrated manuscript, the most important surviving document of Elizabethan visual culture. It was made for John Lumley, first Baron Lumley (about 1533-1609), one of the great Elizabethan collector-patrons. The manuscript is now on loan at the V&A, where it has been researched by a team of experts.
Peter Rabbit™: the tale of The Tale
3 July 2010 - 8 January 2011
Peter Rabbit™: the tale of The Tale drew on the collections of both the V&A and Frederick Warne to trace the story of Peter Rabbit from its beginnings as an illustrated letter in 1893 to its publication by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902, and beyond. Widely considered to be one of the most popular children's books of all time, The Tale of Peter Rabbit has gone on to sell an astonishing 40 million copies worldwide. For the first time, the complete extant original illustrations from the book was shown in sequence alongside the text of the story.
V&A Illustration Awards Display 2010
22 June 2010 – 5 January 2011
These awards celebrated the best illustration published over the last year. The competition offered the most substantial financial prizes in this field.
This year's panel of judges included the comedian and artist Vic Reeves and the editor of GQ magazine, Dylan Jones. Original artwork from the best illustrated book, book cover, magazine and student illustrator of the year were on display, together with a selection of all competition entries.
Architectural Studies for the V&A
21 June - 19 September 2010
Eight internationally renowned architects presented concept designs for a hypothetical redevelopment of the V&A's Boilerhouse Yard. The designs, comprising architectural models and plans responded to a brief to create temporary exhibition space below ground and a courtyard at street level off Exhibition Road.
The participating practices are:
Jamie Fobert Architects
Tony Fretton Architects Ltd.
Heneghan Peng Architects
Amanda Levete Architects
Francisco Mangado (Mangado + Asociados)
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
Sutherland Hussey Architects
Fashion Fantasies: fashion plates and fashion satire, 1775-1925
21 June 2010 - January 2011
This display juxtaposed two genres of print that fantasise fashion on paper: fashion plates and graphic social satire. The fashion plate communicated changes in fashion but also encouraged viewers to engage with a luxurious fantasy. At the same time fashionable dress was subject to imaginative distortions in the hands of graphic satirists interested in exposing social foibles. From the oversize wigs of the 1770s to the short skirts and fur stoles of the 1920s, the display charted the dialogue between fashion plate and fashion satire.
1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces
15 June - 30 August 2010
The V&A commissioned a group of international architects to build a series of structures throughout the Museum which responded to the theme of the 'retreat'. The starting point for these experimental projects was the idea of a small enclosed space representing an escape from the chaos of urban life to an area for peace, contemplation, shelter or creativity. One of the central aims of the exhibition was to move away from explaining architecture through drawings and models and instead allow the visitor to experience the architecture itself.
Up Close and Personal
7 June 2010 – 31 May 2011
This display of eleven objects examined the often overlooked category of domestic personal possessions. These were items that their owners would have used every day at work, in the home, or in their free time. Some would have been expensive luxuries, while others would have had a more sentimental value. Through these objects we learnt not only about their use but also about the people who owned them.
Richard Slee: From Utility to Futility
5 June 2010 – 3 April 2011
Richard Slee is a renowned British artist who has built up an international reputation. For this display, he presented new works specifically for the two large wall cases and three free-standing cases in the Ceramics galleries. While Slee's primary medium remains ceramics, he also ventured into other materials, processes and subject matters.
The Other Britain Revisited: Photographs from New Society
14 May - 26 September 2010
Outstanding documentary photographs from 1962 to 1982, originally published in the pioneering magazine New Society. The display featured the work of twenty-three photographers who captured the diversity of life in Britain and pivotal social issues in the late twentieth century. The magazine engaged with young British photojournalists working in the tradition of 'concerned' photography and recognised early the talent of figures such as Brian Griffin, Martin Parr, and Chris Steele-Perkins, who have gone on to achieve wide acclaim.
Modern Masters: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol
1 May - 23 June 2010
This display featured prints by four of the 20th century's greatest artists: Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Over 50 works drawn from the V&A Museum's collections were selected to illustrate these modern masters' engagement with the printed medium. Both celebrated and less familiar prints in a range of techniques were included, spanning a period of 75 years and representing one of the most creative and diverse artistic periods in the history of western art.
My Generation: The Glory Years of British Rock
30 April – 2 September 2010
This display showed 200 of Top of the Pops' resident photographer Harry Goodwin's most striking and memorable photographs, capturing the mood and style of the 60s and 70s, and the impact of its musical stars.
The Concise Dictionary of Dress
28 April – 27 June 2010
Commissioned by Artangel, The Concise Dictionary of Dress re-described clothing in terms of anxiety, wish and desire, as a series of definitions created by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and accompanying installations designed and assembled by fashion curator Judith Clark.
Design for Life
26 April – 6 June 2010
Handbags, lighting, cutlery and many other products created by young people as part of the Design For Life project. Design For Life was a partnership project led by the V&A with Bolton Museum and Archive Service, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, Museums Sheffield and the Shipley Art Gallery, Tyne & Wear. It is part of the DCMS/DCSF strategic commissioning programme.
Art & Design at Faber and Faber
17 April - 30 May 2010
Following on from last year's celebration of Faber and Faber's 80th anniversary, this display demonstrated the importance of design at the centre of one of Britain's most illustrious independent publishing houses. It explored Faber's selection and use of illustrators and artists and the application of sensitive typography in its books. It drew from Faber's publication programme of books on art, architecture and the crafts throughout these 80 years.
Grace Kelly: Style Icon
17 April - 26 September 2010
This display traced the evolution of Grace Kelly's style from her days as one of Hollywoods most popular actresses in the 1950s and as Princess Grace of Monaco and presented over 50 of Grace Kelly's outfits together with hats, jewellery and the original Hermès Kelly bag. The display also included dresses from her films, the gown she wore to accept her Oscar award in 1955, Kelly's Oscar statuette, the lace ensemble worn for her civil marriage ceremony to Prince Rainier in 1956 and 35 haute couture gowns from the 1960s and 70s by her favourite couturiers Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Yves St Laurent.
Quilts 1700 - 2010
20 March - 4 July 2010
This exhibition showcased the V&A's collection of patchwork and quilted covers, bringing together over 300 years of British quilting history, from the spectacular bed hangings and silk coverlets of the 18th century, to the creative reinvention of the quilt by contemporary artists.
Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill
6 March - 4 July 2010
This was the first major exhibition on Horace Walpole, the most important English collector of the 18th century, and brought together many of his most remarkable objects. Walpole was the first to systematically assemble the visual evidence of English history, and the first to recognise the importance of the portrait miniature to the history of British art.
'We are all mad here': Alice in popular culture
5 March - 12 June 2010
This display explored ways in which Lewis Carroll's fictional world of Alice has pervaded our popular culture, art, literature, music and religion with modern illustrated editions, graphic novels, comics and ephemera.
David Watkins - Artist in Jewellery, a Retrospective View (1972 - 2010)
23 February 2010 – February 2011
This display celebrated the career of David Watkins, leading British artist jeweller and sculptor in metal. This retrospective featured 68 pieces of jewellery that show how his early jewellery as miniature sculptures developed to become large scale wearable objects that also exist independently as art objects. The use of different techniques, materials and styles displayed across these pieces showed his versatility as an artist jeweller and as a contemporary force in international design
The Half by Simon Annand
25 January – 11 April 2010
This display showcased the work of Simon Annand, photographer of leading actors in the West End for the last 20 years. It provided a rare glimpse into the dressing rooms of actors in the precious, private few moments before the show: The Half.
The Metropolitan Police Service's Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries
23 January – 21 February 2010
This display showcased some of the investigative methods involved in detecting and preventing the increasingly sophisticated crime of art forgery. Exhibits included the diverse body of work assembled by the forger, Shaun Greenhalgh, who executed such fake "masterpieces" as the Egyptian Amarna princess and paintings purporting to be the work of the English artist, L S Lowry.
Gargoyles and Shadows: Gothic Architecture and 19th-Century Photography
7 January – 16 May 2010
Drawing on the V&A's rich holdings of 19th-century photographs, this display examined the relationship that developed between photography and architectural practice in the 19th century and explored how photography facilitated the re-discovery of an idealised past.