fri 20/01/2017

Visual Arts Buzz

The arts' search for funding goes digital


Even visitors from distant galaxies will be aware that, when it comes to the arts, state munificence is not what it was. Cuts are biting deep into an industry which is not always able to provide facts and figures in support of its importance to national wellbeing. When public money runs dry, the only other source is private wealth.


Any actual sporting art on show?

jasper Rees

There’s a lot of art currently happening under the wing of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The common denominator, if there is one, is showstopping ambition and the concept of the inclusive spectacle. What there isn’t much of, whisper it softly, is art inspired by sport.


Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, Fourth Plinth

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Superficially it's the very picture of innocence. A boy clings to his wooden steed, one hand clutching the neck, the other flying free. Few Fourth Plinth commissions will be more easily co-opted for official public duty. Hope, youth, the exultation of the ordinary: the state will be able to do plenty with this. Already Boris Johnson has tried to make an Olympic mascot of the boy. Joanna Lumley, who unveiled the work earlier today, hoped his gold-plating boded well for the Summer.


Artists send Valentine's Love Letter to the Earth

peter Culshaw

A Valentine’s card to the Earth donated by artists might seem a bit schlocky, even if cynicism is not the appropriate emotion on Valentine's Day. This is, however, no woolly-headed stunt, but part of dynamic lawyer Polly Higgins’s serious and - who knows - possibly achievable campaign to raise the profile of her efforts to turn “ecocide” into a recognised crime, one with which individuals and corporations can be prosecuted.


The private space of Lucian Freud revealed

Marina Vaizey

Pallant House in Chichester has just inaugurated the series of Lucian Freud exhibitions this season which have have now become memorial commemorations since the artist’s death last July.  Freud’s life and studio have taken on a mythic quality, here reinforced by the photographs taken by his long-term studio assistant, David Dawson (see gallery below).


Damien Hirst's spots go global

Fisun Güner

Brace yourselves for pure Damien Hirst madness next year. As well as Tate Modern’s retrospective survey opening in April, there will be a “worldwide” retrospective of Hirst’s spot paintings opening next month.

The Gagosian Gallery will be hosting the global exhibition of Hirst’s jaunty but dull spot paintings across all of its 11 galleries, from Hong Kong to Paris, and from New York to London, as well as in Los Angeles, Athens, Rome and Geneva.


Turner Prize is won for the third time in a row by a Scottish artist

Fisun Güner

George Shaw might have been the popular favourite, but it was Martin Boyce who carried the vote to win this year’s Turner Prize. The 44-year-old artist from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, follows fast on the heels of two fellow Scots: Susan Philipsz won the prize in 2010 and Richard Wright in 2009. But neither seemed as much of a clear-cut choice as Boyce, for although the public vote wasn’t his, the critics were pretty much united in backing him.


Performing Medicine: The Anatomy Season

Fisun Güner

Do you think you could identify the range of facial expressions worn by Eleanor Crook’s strangely animated wax figure models? A glimmer of a woozy, lopsided grin, perhaps? The suggestion of a drunken leer? Possibly not, for the repertoire of facial expressions she gives her subjects – which are, in fact, the products of painstaking observation – are not, she explains, found amongst the living, but are unique to the dead.


BIBLE story: artist inserts himself into the New Testament

Alice Vincent

It’s a shame that Joseph Steele’s BIBLE didn’t come a week later. Halloween would have been a far better backdrop to the haphazard heathenism that the evening entailed.


Ron Arad's Curtain Call, The Roundhouse

Alice Vincent

The round and the curtain are two of theatre’s oldest pieces of stagecraft.



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