tue 24/11/2020

Visual arts

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

It must be tough being Michael Clark, subject of one the largest retrospectives ever dedicated to a choreographer still living. Post-punk’s poster boy is that curious thing, a creative figurehead who defined a very particular anti-establishment...

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Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

Sin, what a wonderful theme for a show – so wonderful, in fact, that it merits a major exhibition. The National Gallery’s modest gathering of 14 pictures, mainly from the collection, can’t possibly do it justice; yet it’s worth a visit if only to...

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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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Artemisia, National Gallery review - worth the wait

It takes nerve to throw a shadow across the face of your heroine, still more to banish to the margins the severed head that might so easily dominate the painting’s centre ground. Instead, in imagining the aftermath of Judith’s beheading of...

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Hold Still, National Portrait Gallery review - snapshots from lockdown

A digital exhibition for digital times – and just right: as a reproductive medium, photographs can work brilliantly when reproduced again. Currently closed for a major redevelopment, the National Portrait Gallery asked members of the public to send...

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My Rembrandt review - hard cash and hubris

In the gloomy splendour of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch gazes up at Rembrandt’s Old Woman Reading, 1655. The painting has belonged to the Scott family for more than 250 years, and like generations before him, the...

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George IV: Art & Spectacle, The Queen's Gallery review - all is aglitter

Prince of Wales, Prince Regent, and finally King: George IV, (1762-1830) was an unpopular and greedy ruler, but his compulsive collecting and passion for redecorating have made a huge contribution to the arts of the nation, and form a significant...

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Khadija Saye: In This Space We Breathe, 236 Westbourne Grove review - a celebrated series finds new resonance

Khadija Saye was 24 when she died in the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, the same year that her series of photographic self-portraits showed in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale: she was the youngest artist in a roster of well-established...

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The Golden Age of Modern Spanish Art, Colnaghi review - the sun shines in the City of Light

When Picasso left Barcelona for Paris in 1900, he took what by then was a well-trodden path for artists eager to be at the very centre of the art world. Trained in the academies of Barcelona, their ambitions nurtured in the bohemian environment of...

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Visual Arts Lockdown Special 4: half-way houses

With the first round of galleries opening their doors in June and a new round getting ready to open in July, we’ve a half-way home of a roundup this week. This month’s re-openings include the National Gallery, the Royal Academy, the Barbican, the...

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Celia Paul: My Studio, Victoria Miro review - sublime isolation

From her fourth floor flat, which is also her studio, the painter Celia Paul looks out over the British Museum, the figures of the Muses carved into its pediment huge and present compared to the antlike, and usually teeming, human life below (main...

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Shirley Baker: A Different Age, James Hyman Gallery review - the old at leisure

The note of longing scored into this exhibition’s title is well-judged: as things are now, it is the sight of the elderly in the company of friends, watching the world go by from a doorstep or park bench, that provokes a pang of nostalgia, far more...

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