• 27 April 2015

These books are in my cataloguing pile this week…

I really hope to see this exhibition as I have heard good things of it and it appeals to my collecting instincts. Magnificent obsessions : the artist as collector (Munich : Prestel in association with Barbican Art Gallery, 2015) is the catalogue of an exhibition held at the Barbican 12 February – 25 May 2015. It showcases the collections of artists such as Peter Blake, Edmund de Waal, Howard Hodgkin, Damien Hirst, Martin Parr and Andy Warhol. Howard Hodgkin’s collection of Indian miniatures is famous as of course is Edmund de Waal’s collection of netsuke, the history of which is recounted in The hare with amber eyes, but I did not know about Andy Warhol’s collection of cookie jars and it is nice to see some of Walter Potter’s collection, purchased recently by Peter Blake. His interest in Potter’s work mirrors my own and in the text he describes seeing it in Bramber, Sussex as a child and the process of bidding for it at auction. Damien Hirst’s collection also contains items from Walter Potter’s collection including a seven-legged, two-bodied lamb. If nothing else this exhibition celebrates the variety and eccentricity of many artists’ collections.

in the collection of Peter Blake

Walter Potter, Seven-legged, two-bodied lamb, in the collection of Peter Blake

Cornelia Parker (Manchester: The Whitworth, 2015) marks the reopening of the Whitworth after an eighteen-month, £15 million redevelopment project. The exhibition covers her entire career and she worked with scientists as well as curators at the gallery to create a dramatic new artwork for the exhibition:

‘Ahead of her new Whitworth exhibition, Cornelia Parker worked closely with scientists at the University of Manchester, most notably Kostya Novoselov, who, with Andre Geim, was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of graphene - the world’s thinnest and strongest material. Working with gallery staff, Novoselov took microscopic samples of graphite from drawings in the Whitworth’s collection by William Blake, Turner, Constable and Picasso, as well as a pencil-written letter by Sir Ernest Rutherford (who split the atom in Manchester). He then made graphene from these samples, one of which Parker made into a work of art to mark the opening of the gallery and exhibition. A Blake-graphene sensor, activated by breath of a physicist, set off a firework display which returned iron meteorite into the Manchester sky. This meteor shower marked a spectacular and un-missable opening to the new Whitworth’ ((http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/currentexhibitions/corneliaparker/))

The catalogue consists largely of images but includes essays as well as interviews with Cornelia Parker and Professor Novoselov.

Two catalogues accompany the exhibition on the Tudors held in Paris at the Musée du Luxembourg, 18 March – 19 July 2015 in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London. The main catalogue, simply entitled Les Tudors (Paris : Musée du Luxembourg, 2015) is arranged by monarch and has essays on Anglo-French relations in the 16th century, Tudor architecture from the 16th-19th centuries, Tudor dress over the same period and the depiction of the Tudors in French prints. The exhibition includes loans from all over Europe and the US and the catalogue is beautifully illustrated.

The smaller catalogue, Album de l’exposition du musée du Luxembourg : Les Tudors / Charlotte Bolland et Cécile Maisonneuve (Paris : Musée du Luxembourg, 2015) provides a smaller, image-based overview of the exhibition.

Even though we are closed at the moment, I hope you will enjoy knowing that we have been keeping up to date with current publications which will all be available when we re-open in the Autumn.

About the author

  • Librarian at the Paul Mellon Centre