sat 23/10/2021

Visual Arts Features

Art: theartsdesk at Manchester International Festival 2013

Fisun Güner

I’m watching someone with a mic pacing the linking bridge on the second floor of the Arndale Shopping Centre. He’s repeating the same phrase over and over again, which he’ll do for the next 20 or so minutes. “We’re souls refreshed,” I think it is. Nearby, sitting cross-legged, Lotus fashion, is a girl who, like the man with the mic, is wearing white cotton gloves.  In front of her are three stones, painted white, on a white handkerchief, and two hymnals.

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theartsdesk in Copenhagen: Degas' Method, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Fisun Güner

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is famous for its collection of antiquities: Egyptian carvings, Greek statues and Roman sculpture form the heart of its collection. Indeed, its collection of Roman portrait busts are among the finest in the world. But the 19th century also has a strong sculptural presence.

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theartsdesk in Istanbul: Art pours out of Gezi Park

Sebastian Merrick

I can’t wait to check out Istanbul’s galleries in a couple of years. Already endowed with an exploding arts and design scene, with Istanbul Modern in its unique location hanging over the Bosphorus, the retrospectively-looking Santral half integrated into an Ottoman power plant, and the area around Tophane sprouting art boutiques and design outlets like nobody’s business, its creative output has just been given a huge boost.

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theartsdesk in Warsaw: A New Jewish Museum

Simon Broughton

The Ghetto Heroes Square in the Muranow district of Warsaw is a bleak place surrounded by drab apartment blocks. But at its centre there’s now a new building that attracted over 15,000 visitors in the first two days of its opening on 20 and 21 April, the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. It’s particularly remarkable as the building doesn’t yet have any exhibits on show.

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theartsdesk in Prague: Two Faces of Mucha

Simon Broughton

The work of Alphons Mucha (1860-1939) is immediately identifiable with its decorative flowers, delicate colours and wide-eyed women staring seductively at the viewer. He was one of the pioneers of art nouveau and the art of advertising. In Prague an exhibition recently opened which is packing them in at the glorious art nouveau Obecni Dům (Municipal House) in the centre of the city.

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theartsdesk in Austin, Texas: The Library with Everything

Markie Robson-Scott

April in Austin means South by South West is over, but the city’s permanent attractions remain: Torchy’s tacos, bats under Congress bridge, grackles (the most in-your-face birds ever) as well several cultural destinations on the University of Texas’s huge, pristine campus. Everything really is bigger in Texas, and that includes literary archives.

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Turner Prize 2013 shortlist: Is David Shrigley an artist? and other thoughts

Fisun Güner

“Is David Shrigley an artist?,” a journalist asked at Tate Britain’s Turner Prize shortlist announcement this morning. Well, many would say so, though The Arts Desk critic Judith Flanders  had her own reservations after seeing his Hayward Gallery show, Brain Activity, for which he was nominated. “Just because the work’s funny, doesn’t mean it’s not serious”, was the short-shrift response of Tate Britain director and chair of judges Penelope Curtis.

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theartsdesk in Amsterdam: Reopening of the Rijksmuseum

Fisun Güner

The Rijksmuseum is reopening after 10 years. What took it so long? Escalating costs, contractual problems, a protracted battle with the cycling lobby (this is Amsterdam, after all). I’m sure there’s more, but one whole decade’s worth? It’s a long time to go without a national museum that represents the best of Dutch art to the Dutch people, and to the world.

It’s easy to forget what a spectacular Medievalist fantasy the building actually is

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theartsdesk in Florence: The Springtime of the Renaissance

Jasper Rees

It’s an instinct of curators to put the pieces back together, to reintroduce works of art which time and market forces have scattered to the four winds. In recent memory, exhibitions have reunited in one space all of Monet’s haystacks, Cézanne’s card players and, in the case of the National Gallery’s momentous Leonardo show, both versions of The Virgin on the Rocks. A new exhibition opened this week in Florence which takes the business of synthesis to the next level.

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Parting Shot: Michael Winner, 1935-2012

Jasper Rees

Michael Winner was always proud to call himself a film director but his filmography is notably short of quality moments.

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