fri 26/11/2021

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

'A nun destroyed my tent': artist Kate Daudy talks about NFTs, refugees, and having her work thrown out with the trash

Jessica Baldwin

It’s been a turbulent week for British artist Kate Daudy. Am I My Brother’s Keeper, her refugee tent (main picture), the art installation and seminal work that propelled her to international fame is gone, thrown out with the trash.

Waste Age, Design Museum review - too little too lame

Sarah Kent

I should have emerged from the Design Museum sizzling with furious determination to help solve the world’s rubbish crisis. Trashing the planet is, after all, the most important issue of our time and Waste Age details the enormity of the problem.

'Of course art doesn't change the world...

Mark Sheerin

Jacqueline de Jong doesn’t want to talk politics. But this should have been foreseeable. After all, she has travelled to Mostyn, in Llandudno, for...

Documenting the unimaginable: photographer...

Rachel Halliburton

Sebastião Salgado has carved out his career by documenting the unimaginable. He takes areas of life all too often ignored by wealthy westerners...

Yoko Ono, Mend Piece, Whitechapel Gallery review...

Sarah Kent

Its more than 50 years since Yoko Ono first presented Mend Piece at the Indica Gallery, London in the exhibition through which she met John Lennon....

Theaster Gates - A Clay Sermon, Whitechapel Gallery review - mud, mud, glorious mud

Sarah Kent

Ceramics as a religion and a way of life

Isamu Noguchi, Barbican review – the most elegant exhibition in town

Sarah Kent

A restless spirit who infiltrated many of our lives

Gerhard Richter: Drawings, Hayward Gallery review - exquisite ruminations

Sarah Kent

Subtle traces of the artist’s hand

Mixing it Up, Hayward Gallery review - a glorious celebration of diversity

Sarah Kent

Anything goes, from paint on canvas to toothpaste and hair gel under plexiglass

Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - adventures in print

Florence Hallett

A fresh look at the American painter's reimagining of woodcut

The Lost Leonardo review - an incredible tale as gripping as any thriller

Sarah Kent

The machinations of the art market laid bare

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Tate Modern review - a creative talent that knew no bounds

Sarah Kent

Jack of all trades and master of every one

Paula Rego, Tate Britain review - the artist's inner landscape like never before

Dora Neill

A magnificent retrospective celebrates one of the outstanding artists of her generation

Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

Mark Sheerin

A retrospective of the abstract sculptor highlights her idiosyncracies

Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Simon O'Hagan

Still life takes the foreground in a long-awaited survey of the painter's career

Afterness, Orford Ness review - a breath of fresh air, literally

Sarah Kent

Art on the island of secrets

Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours, Ashmolean Museum review - a rich array

Dora Neill

Some of Britain's most popular artists highlight the importance and beauty of drawing

Dark Days, Luminous Nights, Manchester Collective, The White Hotel, Salford review - a sense of Hades

Robert Beale

Musicians and artists find out where the bodies are buried

The Making of Rodin, Tate Modern review - surrealist tendencies

Florence Hallett

The sculptor is recast as a proto-modernist in a show focused on works in plaster

Matthew Barney: Redoubt, Hayward Gallery review - the wild west revisited

Sarah Kent

A fusion of classical and modern mythology

David Hockney / Michael Armitage, Royal Academy review - painting with an iPad vs brushes and paint

Sarah Kent

Scenes from France and Kenya - an old dog learns new digital tricks, glorious paintings on bark

Eileen Agar, Whitechapel Gallery review - a free spirit to the end

Sarah Kent

An important female surrealist gets her first retrospective

Turner's Modern World, Tate Britain review - the universal artist

Florence Hallett

The great painter resists the confines of his own era, despite Tate's best efforts

Points of Departure, Brighton Festival 2021 review - Ray Lee's harbour-based sound art impresses

Thomas H Green

At Shoreham's working port, something strangely wonderful is happening

Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects, Gagosian Gallery review - apocalyptic sheds

Markie Robson-Scott

A triumphant change of direction from the queen of casting

This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, Netflix - the last word (for now)

Florence Hallett

Three decades on and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum mystery is still hot

Prix Pictet: Confinement review - a year in photographs

Florence Hallett

Prize-winning photographers respond to the pandemic

Pioneering Women, Oxford Ceramics Gallery online review - domestic pleasures

Marina Vaizey

A survey of female potters explores ancient ubiquity and the allure of pure form

Best of 2020: Visual Arts


Our critics reflect on their favourite exhibitions of 2020

Footnote: A brief history of british art

The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.

Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.

British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.

In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.

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