sat 23/01/2021

Visual Arts Features

theartsdesk in Florence: The British Are Going

Jasper Rees

In the 1450s in Florence, Alberti was working on the facade of Santa Maria Novella, Donatello and Fra Filippo Lippi were active, while Leonardo was born in nearby village of Vinci. And the English established a diplomatic presence. It has continued almost uninterrupted, pausing only in times of direct conflict. This month, it ends as the British consulate closes its doors for the last time.

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The Underbelly Project: New York

Jasper Rees

New York, late August 2010

I am at the opening of a swanky new gallery. Around me, the latest daubs by the hottest names adorn the walls of room after room. It’s worth mentioning a couple of discrepancies from your regular opening. This is a canapé-free environment, for one. There is no chilled white wine, no pretentious appraisal of carefully lit works. Nobody has come dressed to thrill. In fact, nobody has come at all. Apart from me.

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theartsdesk in Moscow: Nikolai Ge at the Tretyakov Gallery

Tom Birchenough

The Nikolai Ge retrospective at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery marks the 180th anniversary of the artist’s birth – not the kind of round centenary or bicentenary landmark that often brings such projects to fruition. But the show is literally a revelation – at its centre are the religious works from the last years of his life, many of which returned only this year to Russia from abroad.

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Colouring Light: Brian Clarke - An Artist Apart

mark Kidel

My relationship with the artist Brian Clarke, the subject of my forthcoming film, goes back a long way: when I first filmed him for a documentary I made for BBC Two in 1993 - a film about windows as symbols and metaphors in the series The Architecture of the Imagination - I was not only struck by the outstanding quality of his work as a painter and stained-glass artist, but by the exceptionally articulate and perceptive way in which he talked about art.

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How Manga Comics Became A Dance

ismene Brown

A new production opens tonight at Sadler's Wells based on the graphic novels of Osamu Tezuka, Japan's master of manga art. Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and composer Nitin Sawhney shared a love of comics as a boy that turned into the more sophisticated admiration for the narrative subtlety and precise visions that the best of comics led to. And to Cherkaoui it seemed a compelling world for theatrical treatment.

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theartsdesk in New York: A Rooftop Ramble in the High Line Park

Markie Robson-Scott 'A dramatic statement, 25ft off the ground': High Line Park in Manhattan

The High Line Park on the far west side of Manhattan, built on an old elevated train track, is a unique combination of everything New Yorkers love - fabulous views, a piece of history, a traffic-free zone (no dogs, skateboards or bicycles), unusual plantings, and the chance to gawp at people and real estate. And with the recent opening of its second section, there’s even more space to see and be seen in.

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Fanfare for the Harpa Concert Hall

David Nice

After three days' motoring and clambering around the most awesome natural landscapes I've ever seen, how could a mere concert hall in a city the size of Cambridge begin to compare?

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Edinburgh Art Festival: A Festival woven together by the city itself

Caroline Boyle David Mach's 'Precious Light' responds to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible

A few days visiting the Edinburgh Art Festival and the city itself becomes the encircling gallery. Under great canvases of lowering grey cloud, plunging up and down the different levels of the Old Town and the New, things unfold against the intense hues of emerald-green spaces, the coppery contrast of the beeches, the cold hardness of the towering walls of stone and the eddying flow of the crowds. Within this frame is the opportunity to see a wide diversity of exhibitions and events in...

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Where Graffiti is a Rarefied Art

Mark Hudson Quik, 'Paint on Canvas': 'His work sassily combines Lichtenstein and Koons probably without even intending to'

Monaco, dormitory town of the discreetly super-rich, isn’t the most obvious place to find a major exhibition of street art, the subject on which many recent commenters on theartsdesk are impassioned. The pavements of this city within a principality on the scale of village, clinging to a precipitous Mediterranean hillside above a gleaming marina, betray barely a...

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Extract: Stealing Rembrandts

theartsdesk

On October 10, 1994, a burglar with a sledgehammer smashed a window at the Rembrandt House Museum and stole a single painting, Man with a Beard (1647). The work had once been considered a Rembrandt, but is now attributed to an unidentified student of his. Its theft occasioned this inevitable headline in the International Herald Tribune: “Rembrandt Needed a Night Watchman”. Beard made its way back four years later after being seized from an Amsterdam lawyer who was...

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