sat 24/08/2019

Visual Arts Features

theartsdesk in Philadelphia: In the house of an American Medici

Markie Robson-Scott

MoMa and the Met, the Whitney and the Guggenheim – all very fine, but if you crave something different when in NYC, it’s worth braving Penn Station’s circles of hell to get a train to Philadelphia (takes just over an hour) to visit the mind-boggling Barnes Foundation. This private art collection, worth around $30 billion, is in a league of its own.

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theartsdesk in Johannesburg: Black Diamonds at the Wits Museum

Thembi Mutch

The new Wits Museum in Johannesburg is located in an old Shell petrol station and stands on the corner behind a vast glass frontage. The winner of the 2012 VISI architecture award, it is big, akin to the Guggenheim in its sense of architectural swagger, and aglow with beckoning wonders. And, at noon on a Saturday, it is empty.

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theartsdesk in Kiev: The International Biennale for Contemporary Art

Fisun Güner

Giving his press conference speech at the opening of Kiev’s first international art biennale, David Elliott, the seasoned British curator charged with its organisation, looked exhausted, though far from triumphant and more than a little irate. “It’s not the way I usually handle things,” he said. He had opened his speech with an apology – some of the exhibits were still not ready.

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Intimate Exposure: Marilyn Monroe 50 Years On

Sarah Kent

It’s 50 years since Marilyn Monroe died alone on the night of August 4, 1962, from swallowing too many sleeping pills. The sad story soon became the stuff of legend. When they found her, she was still slumped over the telephone receiver; she had been ringing around, desperately trying to get help. Rumours soon spread about her relationship with Senator Robert Kennedy and possible access to state secrets, which gave rise to far-fetched conspiracy theories implicating the CIA in her death.

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Bruce Lacey: Art's Great Adventurer

Kieron Tyler

“Bruce Lacey has had this unbelievable career,” says the Turner prizewinning artist Jeremy Deller. “His is an alternative version of British art history - people didn't seem to know that Bruce has intersected with British history. I felt he deserves to be looked at again." Deller has put his energies into a documentary, exhibition and film season, all celebrating this influential, but largely unsung and unique British artist.

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theartsdesk at Land's End: The Penzance Convention

Mark Hudson

Standing in Tate St Ives with the sun gleaming on the Atlantic, you wonder who they are, all these chilled, nonchalantly now people. Through the great curved window, the sun is setting over the barren headland of the Land’s End peninsular, the landscape that inspired Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson et al.

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Extract: What's That Thing?

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

In the former mining town of St Helens, a £2 million 66-foot baby’s head bulges out of the ground. On the approach to the new town of Cumbernauld, a 33-foot busty silver mermaid gestures at passers-by like a Vegas barmaid. Half a million pounds’ worth of hand-crocheted lions (pictured below left) will soon grace the streets of Nottingham. Another half a million will go into felling a stretch of Highland forest for a football pitch installation.

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theartsdesk in Leeds: OverWorlds & UnderWorlds

graham Rickson

It’s cold, grey and damp. Welcome to Leeds. The city centre has grown more homogenous, less distinctive since I arrived here in the 1980s, but there are still delights to be found.

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Collect 2012

theartsdesk

Collect is the international art fair for exquisitely crafted contemporary objects. Launched in 2004 by the Crafts Council, the fair represents galleries from around the world and showcases the best ceramic, glass, jewellery, textiles, wood, furniture and fine metalwork by new and established artists.

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Turner Prize 2012 shortlist

Fisun Güner

Where’s Marcus Coates? The gangly shaman-artist was last seen communing with the dark spirit of the soon-to-be demolished Heygate Estate in the Elephant and Castle, but, hell, he’s nowhere on the Turner Prize 2012 shortlist.

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