mon 21/01/2019

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Best of 2018: Art

Florence Hallett

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.

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

Sarah Kent

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 original painting.

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz...

David Nice

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...

The Best Exhibitions in London

Theartsdesk

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne, Courtauld Gallery ★★★★★ Much loved treasures seen afresh reveal the collector's eye. Until 20...

Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain review - time...

Katherine Waters

When, in 1853, Edward Burne-Jones (or Edward Jones as he then was) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, it could hardly have been expected that the...

Klimt/Schiele, Royal Academy review - the line of gauntness

Maev Kennedy

Elegance and brutality converge in drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna

The new V&A Photography Centre review - a new museum to make us proud

Marina Vaizey

'Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital' launches the V&A's latest project

Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill review - a brave attempt to recreate an important collection

Sarah Kent

150 items returned to their Gothic Revival home

Modern Couples, Barbican review - an absurdly ambitious survey of artist lovers

Sarah Kent

Exhibition revises the notion of the artist as lone genius, but reveals little else

Mantegna and Bellini, National Gallery review - curated for curators

Florence Hallett

An intriguing tale undone by loose ends

Elmgreen & Dragset, Whitechapel Gallery review – when is a door not a door ?

Sarah Kent

Reality games played by this artist duo in real time and space

The Everyday and the Extraordinary, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne review - the ordinary made strange

Sarah Kent

Old favourites revisited with pleasure at show of familiar objects transformed

Oceania, Royal Academy review - magnificent encounters

Katherine Waters

Powerful introduction to the art of the Pacific Islands

Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery review - seeing is not always believing

Sarah Kent

Sculptures that trick the eye and gladden the heart

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, V&A review - gaming for all

Alfred Quantrill

A comprehensive look at gaming present and future has surprisingly broad appeal

Turner Prize 2018, Tate Britain review - a shortlist dominated by political issues

Sarah Kent

Identity politics, fake news, colonialism and racism addressed in film and video

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne review - much loved treasures, seen afresh

Marina Vaizey

Favourite paintings from the Courtauld Gallery reveal the collector's eye

I object, British Museum review - censorship, accidental?

Katherine Waters

Exhibition on dissidence and subversion doesn't allow objects to speak for themselves

Renzo Piano, Royal Academy review - worth the effort

Sarah Kent

Church spires informed the shape of the Shard

h 100 Awards: Art, Design and Craft - making art public

Florence Hallett

Showcasing the strength of British visual culture, and the people bringing it to public attention

h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

Marina Gerner

The second finalist in theartsdesk's award in association with The Hospital Club reviews Revolution at the Royal Academy

Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns, National Gallery of Ireland review - experiments in Pont-Aven

Katherine Waters

Friendship and rivalry among the Post-Impressionists

theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

David Nice

Individual souls conjoined with a passionate belief in peace and music achieve miracles

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A review - appearances aren't everything

Katherine Waters

Sumptuous exhibition prioritises image over artist

diep~haven 2018 review - a missed connection?

Mark Sheerin

Curiously apolitical festival of contemporary art at a ferry crossing

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

Katherine Waters

Rockstar artist’s floating oil drums provoke questions around the purpose of public art

Enter theartsdesk / h Club Young Influencer of the Year award

Theartsdesk

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club100 Awards, we're looking for the best cultural writers, bloggers and vloggers

'That brick red frock with flowers everywhere': painting Katherine Mansfield

Roger Neill

Anne Estelle Rice painted the New Zealand writer 100 years ago, spinning a tale of love, friendship and artistic kinship

Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh - transforming spaces

Miranda Heggie

Now in its fifth year, this celebration of vibrant art in disused buildings is better than ever

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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