wed 27/01/2021

Tate Modern

Best of 2020: Visual Arts

Unhappy as it is to be ending the year with museums and galleries closed, 2020 has had its triumphs, and there is plenty to look forward to in 2021. Two much anticipated exhibitions at the National Gallery were delayed and subject to closures and...

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Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern review - photography as protest

Hail the Dark Lioness (Somnyama Ngonyama in Zulu) is a powerful celebration of black identity. These dramatic assertions of selfhood are more than just striking self portraits, though. South African artist Zanele Muholi uses the pronouns they and...

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Bruce Nauman, Tate Modern review - the human condition writ large in neon

"The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths” reads the neon sign (pictured below right) welcoming you to Bruce Nauman’s Tate Modern retrospective. The message is tongue-in-cheek, of course. How on earth could an artist cope with such...

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Steve McQueen, Tate Modern review – films that stick in the mind

The screen is filled with the head and shoulders of a man lying on his back; he could be dead in the morgue or lying on the analyst’s couch. He doesn’t move (it’s a still), but we hear his voice recounting the terrible story of the day he...

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Best of 2019: Visual Arts

Notable anniversaries provided the ballast for this year’s raft of exhibitions; none was dead weight, though, with shows dedicated to Rembrandt, Leonardo and Ruskin among the most original and exhilarating of 2019’s offerings. Happily, a number of...

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Kara Walker: Fons Americanus, Tate Modern review – a darkly humorous gift

Soaring some 40 feet up towards the ceiling of Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall, Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus looks ludicrously out of place – like a Victorian interloper within this cathedral to contemporary art. Resembling those monuments you walk...

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Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, Tate Modern review – beautiful ideas badly installed

At their best, Olafur Eliasson’s installations change the way you see, think and feel. Who would have guessed, for instance, that Londoners would take off their togs to bask in the glow of an artificial sun at Tate Modern. That was in 2003, when The...

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Natalia Goncharova, Tate Modern review - a prodigious talent

The times they are a-changin’. On show at the Barbican is a retrospective of Lee Krasner’s stunning paintings and, for the first time ever, Tate Modern is hosting two major shows of women artists. At last, the achievements of great women are...

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Dorothea Tanning, Tate Modern review – an absolute revelation

Tate Modern’s retrospective of Dorothea Tanning is a revelation. Here the American artist is known as a latter day Surrealist, but as the show demonstrates, this is only part of the story. Tanning’s career spanned an impressive 70 years – she died...

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Franz West, Tate Modern review - absurdly exhilarating

Franz West must have been a right pain in the arse. He left school at 16, went travelling, got hooked on hard drugs which he later replaced with heavy drinking, got into endless arguments and fights, was obsessed with sex and, above all, wanted to...

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Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory review, Tate Modern - plenty but empty

“Slow looking” is the phrase du jour at Tate Modern, an enjoinder flatly contradicted by the extent of this exhibition, which in the history of the gallery’s supersized shows counts as a blow-out. Unless you plan to camp overnight, much will need to...

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Shape of Light, Tate Modern review - a wasted opportunity

"From today painting is dead" was the pessimistic outcry of Paul Delaroche on first seeing a photograph. Ever since its inception, photography has had a vexed but fruitful relationship with painting. Delaroche specialised in hyper-real historical...

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