Published  10/05/2001

Galaxy UK

A little publicised coming-together of British national and regional museums and galleries is emerging as a major line-up of talent for the next autumn and winter seasons. The National Portrait Gallery in London will offer ‘Painted Ladies’, revealing the portraits by Lely of female notables at the Restoration court of Charles II. At the Royal Academy there will occur the long-awaited Frank Auerbach exhibition. The British Museum will offer an exhibition of the work of the printmaker Stanley William Hayter, long overdue, and there will be parallel events at the Scottish National Gallery of art and photography, at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and at the Design Museum. Sculptors have been allocated key spaces: Tony Cragg to a riverside terrace at Somerset House, and Rachel Whiteread to spaces in London and Edinburgh. In the city of Burke and Hare, she has been allocated a setting in an ancient graveyard, just below the mortuary slab. This collective festival will be promoted in Paris and New York this spring and summer. The political spin from the Arts Minister is, of course, that at last this will cure the image abroad of burning pyres and animal pestilence, and the cattle mortuary. Oops.

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