mon 22/04/2019

Visual arts

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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Phyllida Barlow: Cul-de-sac, Royal Academy review - unadulterated delight

It doesn’t get better than this! Phyllida Barlow has transformed the Royal Academy’s Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries into a euphoric delight. Entering the space, you have to turn right and process through the three galleries; but by closing the...

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John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing, Two Temple Place review - inside the mind of a visionary

The power of seeing was the bedrock of John Ruskin’s philosophy. In the bicentenary of his birth, a revelatory exhibition at Two Temple Place in London opens out the idea and makes it manifest through both his own work and the treasures of his...

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Don McCullin, Tate Britain review - beastliness made beautiful

I interviewed Don McCullin in 1983 and the encounter felt like peering into a deep well of darkness. The previous year he’d been in Beirut photographing the atrocities carried out by people on both sides of the civil war and his impeccably composed...

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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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Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum - sumptuous

The heart of the V&A’s sumptuous Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is a room dedicated to the workmanship of the fashion house’s ateliers. A mirrored ceiling reflects dazzling strip-lit cases which hold the ghosts of ballgowns, slips and...

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Fausto Melotti: Counterpoint, Estorick Collection review - harmonious things

For an artist whose cerebral and frequently playful works reference physics, myth and music, Fausto Melotti’s artistic education was appropriately heterogeneous.The foundations were laid early on at the Elisabettina School in his hometown of...

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Bill Viola/Michelangelo: Life Death Rebirth, Royal Academy review - empty rhetoric versus focused intensity

Its a preposterous act of hubris, isn’t it? Pairing large scale video installations by American artist Bill Viola with drawings by Michelangelo can’t possibly illuminate our experience of either art form; or can it? Are we meant to conclude that...

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Best of 2018: Art

Exhibitions routinely claim to be a once in a lifetime experience, but there can be no doubt about the prince among them this year, the Royal Academy’s spectacular Charles I: King and Collector. Reuniting old master paintings, miniatures, classical...

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Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

Familiarity breeds contempt, which makes it difficult to look at Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen (pictured below). The reproduction of this proud beastie on T-towels, aprons, jigsaws and biscuit tins blinds one to the subtle nuances of the...

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Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

One part of the brain, they tell us, responds to visual art and another, quite different, to music; we can't cope adequately with both at once. Which is why I'm often wary of those musical organisations which think that what we hear needs to be...

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