fri 03/07/2020

Visual Arts Features

Art Rock: The best and worst songs about artists

Fisun Güner

That ultimate art rocker David Bowie is 66 today. The Victoria & Albert Museum is opening with a major survey of Bowie the style icon this spring. What’s more, he’s just released a new single, with an album following in March. Fittingly, for an art school idol, he once wrote a song about his favourite artist Andy Warhol (“Andy Warhol looks a scream / Hang him on my wall / Andy Warhol, Silver Screen / Can't tell them apart at all”).

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theartsdesk in Lille: Flemish Landscape Fables - Bosch, Bles, Brueghel and Bril

Fisun Güner

If hell doesn’t exist for us in the 21st century, at least not in the literal rather than the Sartrean sense, than how should we read the fabulous visions of 16th-century Flemish artists such as Hieronymus Bosch? As proto-Surrealism? As the outpourings of a mind unique in its insights into the torments of the soul and seeking expression in the inexpressible?

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Yuletide Scenes 5: Hunters in the Snow

Fisun Güner

The great Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder was instrumental in developing landscape painting as a genre in its own right. Hunters in the Snow, 1565, is one of five surviving paintings (Bruegel painted six) in his cycle depicting The Labours of the Months. Populated by villagers, peasant workers, farmers, hunters and children, each painting is of a panoramic landscape at a different time of year.  

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Yuletide Scenes 4: Mystic Nativity

Sarah Kent

I’ve always loved this painting in the National Gallery by Sandro Botticelli. The jewel-like colours and exquisite clarity of detail create a consoling sense of lucidity, as though everything has been revealed to be alright.

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Yuletide Scenes 3: Snow Falling in the Lane

Mark Hudson

Christmas might not seem the most appropriate time to ask you, dear reader, if you’ve ever suffered a nervous breakdown. Yet for many this festival of conviviality amid the darkest hours of the year exacerbates a sense of loneliness and desperation. The break in routine, so welcome for most of us, can become a swift passage to the mental abyss.

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Yuletide Scenes 2: The Adoration of the Magi

Steven Gambardella

Rubens's gigantic masterpiece loudly contradicts the folkloric silent night. This typically muscular painting is deafening in its depiction of the commotion around the holy family when the Magi arrive to offer gifts to the divine king of Christian belief.

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William Burroughs: All Out Of Time and Into Space, October Gallery

Tim Cumming

October Gallery first mounted a show of William Burroughs’ paintings in 1988, soon after the writer had published The Western Lands, the last novel in his final trilogy. More books would come – on lemurs, pirates, Madagascar, cats, dreams – but no further fiction.

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A Voyage Round my Father at the Freud Museum

Markie Robson-Scott

What would Sigmund Freud say to newcomers infiltrating his priceless collection of Greek, Chinese and Egyptian antiquities?

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Opinion: Turner Prize 2012 - the year of film art

Fisun Güner

Unusually for a Turner Prize, or for contemporary art generally for that matter, it was the year that film outshone other media. Paul Noble may have initially been the popular, and the bookies' favourite, but as technically impressive as his panoramic drawings are they are also quite lifeless, made inert by the process of their meticulous execution.

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William Turnbull, 1922-2012

Mark Hudson

William Turnbull was a Dundee shipyard engineer’s son who became a highly respected fixture on the London art scene for over six decades, principally as a sculptor, but also as painter and printmaker.

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