sat 23/06/2018

contemporary art

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Galleries review - good news for ducks?

It’s not as immersive as New York’s The Gates, 2005, nor as magnificent as Floating Piers, 2016, in Italy’s Lake Iseo – it has also, according to Hyde Park regular Kay, “scared away the ducks,” – but superstar artist Christo’s...

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Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA, BBC Four review - unexpected facts aplenty

“Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light” was a vision of the American flag, that star-spangled banner, riding proud from Francis Scott Key’s patriotic poem of 1814 based on an episode in the War of 1812. His sentiments were decades later...

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The New Royal Academy and Tacita Dean, Landscape review - a brave beginning to a new era

This weekend the Royal Academy (R.A) celebrates its 250th anniversary with the opening of 6 Burlington Gardens (main picture), duly refurbished for the occasion. When it was dirty the Palladian facade felt coldly overbearing, but cleaning it has...

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Red, Wyndham's Theatre - Mark Rothko drama paints a vivid picture

The band’s back together. Alfred Molina plays Rothko for the third time in Michael Grandage’s revisiting of John Logan’s richly textured two-hander, first seen at the Donmar in 2009 and then bypassing the West End for Broadway. Another excellent...

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Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss, Islington Green review - divine lamentation

What a superb location for a performance! The flats on the north-east corner of Islington Green back onto a crummy atrium from which a staircase leads down to a vaulted, concrete pit (pictured below). A cross between a car park and a bull ring, or a...

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'There's a poetry in painting that gives endless possibilities'

It was always my dream to be an artist but I never expected to be a curator. Graduates considering vocations in critical and curatorial practice went to the Royal College of Art or studied art history at university. Not me: I trained at Chelsea...

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Tacita Dean: Portrait, National Portrait Gallery / Still Life, National Gallery review - film as a fine art

Sometimes you come across an artwork that changes the way you see the world. Tacita Dean’s film portrait of the American choreographer Merce Cunningham (main picture) is one such encounter. Occupying a whole room at the National Portrait...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Mystery of Picasso

What a gallimaufry! The polymath Picasso (1881-1973) was one of the most prolific, obsessed and best-known artists in the history; in fact, without qualification, he remains the best-known, for his genius, his mastery of so many media, his public...

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Out from the Darkness: painting out prison

When I was sent to an adult high security prison aged 14 all the normal colour, shapes and movement that I saw around me each and every day as a child disappeared. It wasn’t there. Prison does that; it’s all straight lines, hard on the eye, hard to...

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Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Tate Modern review – funny, moving and revelatory

The Kabakovs' exhibition made me thank my lucky stars I was not born in the Soviet Union. A recurring theme of their work is the desire to escape – from the hunger and poverty caused by incompetence and poor planning, and the doublethink required to...

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Jasper Johns, Royal Academy review - a master of 50 shades

The Royal Academy has a winning line in spectacular exhibitions that have become essentials in London, theatrically and dramatically revelatory presentations in themselves. Here is another winner, the American star Jasper Johns, a collaboration with...

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Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain review – exceptional beauty

The gallery walls of Tate Britain have been taken down so turning a warren of interlinking rooms into a large, uncluttered space in which Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures are arranged as a single installation. What a challenge! And curators Ann...

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