wed 17/08/2022

Visual Arts Features

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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theartsdesk in Tbilisi: The Dilemma over Georgian Architecture

Peter Nasmyth Old Tbilisi: Gudiashvili Square, the balcony of 'Lermontov's House'

In Tbilisi, Georgia, artists and art historians are calling for the Government to stop destroying their classic Old Town with its winding streets and wooden balconies. New organisations have been formed, exhibitions held to publicise this creeping eradication of history. Now another grand, once-protected building, the former Institute of Marxism and Leninism, has appeared in the cross-hairs.

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theartsdesk in Kuala Lumpur: Culture as a Weapon

Terry Friel

As hot, sweaty tourists dangle their feet in pools for Thai Nibble Fish to eat the dead skin from their feet at Kuala Lumpur’s quirky Art Deco Central Market, a small theatre upstairs is packed for a play about racial divisions and the myth of social unity here.

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theartsdesk in Folkestone: Art Echoes by the Seaside

Sarah Kent

The locals are understandably proud of Folkestone; Everywhere Means Something to Someone is an idiosyncratic guidebook offering an insider’s view of the town that bears witness to the depth of people’s attachment to it. Put together for the Folkestone Triennial by the artists’ collective Strange Cargo, this compendium of facts, memories and musings makes for compulsive reading.

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theartsdesk in Hong Kong: Between the Devil and the Deep Weiwei

Josh Spero Ai Weiwei dropping a Han Dynasty urn (1995)

When people talk incessantly of freedom of speech, it means they are proud to have it or desperate to have it or desperate to defend it, or a mixture of all three. In Hong Kong, where I went at the end of May for the fourth edition of ART HK, people in the art world are constantly mentioning how free their speech is or else using a symbol to prove it - Ai Weiwei, the artist now imprisoned by China for "economic crimes" (ie subversive art). By speaking of Ai and displaying his work, one...

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theartsdesk in Paris: Inside Anish Kapoor's Leviathan

mark Kidel

All aboard! 4000 visitors a day are queuing up for a voyage in the belly of a whale. Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan, a commission for the Monumenta series at the Paris Grand Palais, is a runaway success, one of those Zeitgeist-attuned mega-installations that double up as fairground attraction and religious experience.

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In the Beginning Was the Word: The King James Bible 400th

theartsdesk

The King James Bible, that great monument in the biography of the English language, is 400 years old this year. To use its own wording, it is as old as the hills, as old as Methuselah. Contemporaneous with Shakespeare, it has given us as many of the richly colourful phrases by which we still live: a nest of vipers, a thorn in the flesh, a fly in the ointment, a lamb to the slaughter, the skin of your teeth, in the twinkling of an eye. And so on and on.

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