sat 16/01/2021

Visual Arts Features

theartsdesk in New York 1: Guitar Month

Markie Robson-Scott

February is guitar month in New York City. Synchronicity rules at those two giants, the MoMA and the Met. At MoMA, Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914 shows his austere guitar paintings, collages and drawings - often using newspaper, wallpaper and sand - as well as constructions of guitars made of cardboard and one of sheet metal and wire. “What is it? Painting or sculpture?” asked snooty visitors to his Paris studio. “It’s nothing, it’s el guitare,” Picasso, who didn’t play an...

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theartsdesk in Florence: Was This the Greatest Renaissance Show Ever Held?

Jasper Rees

Last weekend something happened that, to me at least, would once have been unimaginable: I slipped into a museum in Florence just after 10 o’clock on a Saturday night. Familiar paintings from the city’s great store lined the walls. Normally they’d have been tucked up for the night by five in the afternoon, and not seen again till Tuesday morning.

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theartsdesk in Cairo: Old Bones, New Coffins

Josh Spero

The Egyptian Government is investing in the arts, which would normally be a cause for celebration. However, in building the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, it feels like the country’s cultural budget is being spent on another new display case for its past rather than on encouraging a contemporary arts scene. The NMEC, which was first mooted in 1982 (the year after Sadat was assassinated, if that signifies anything today), will open this year in south-east Cairo, after seven years...

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Year Out/Year In: Art's Giants in Close-Up

Fisun Güner

Last year gave us three giants of Post-Impressionism. The Royal Academy promised to unveil the real Van Gogh by showing us the man of letters; Tate Modern delivered a sumptuous survey of Gauguin; and a significantly smaller but nonetheless intelligent and illuminating display at the Courtauld Gallery homed in on just one series of paintings in Cézanne’s oeuvre - the ambitious, masterly and compositionally complex The Card Players.

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theartsdesk in Brussels: The EU Takes On Google

ismene Brown

This year the Eurozone is going to be the big political subject; fragmentation the looming concern. Culturally too, one would think that Europe, with 23 official languages, and another 60 minority languages spoken, is too much of a warren to be able to find any possible unanimity. But two ambitious projects are afoot in Brussels: to enable the translating of major literature across languages, and to join up all the museums, galleries and centres of knowledge in one great cultural cornucopia...

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theartsdesk's Christmas Presents Guide

theartsdesk

With the lightning speed of online delivery, there is still masses of time to select the best and most enjoyable presents for Christmas, thanks to the taste and wisdom of theartsdesk's pack of writers.

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theartsdesk in Siberia: Cold Comfort Krasnoyarsk

ismene Brown

In England you may joke about having Siberian weather with minus 7 degrees. This is really what Siberian winter looks like - at minus 26 degrees. The river is gushing steam, a hellishly peculiar sight. After travelling for 16 hours and through seven time zones to get to Krasnoyarsk at six in the morning, I am not sure I’m seeing what I’m seeing.

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theartsdesk in Dublin: UNESCO City of Literature and Treasury of Art

sue Steward

The Celtic Tiger ran rampant through Ireland during the boom years of 1995-2007 when national institutions expanded their collections, galleries popped up and collectors, buyers and artists had a rare time. With literature, the new young Chick Lit writers made their mark, sometimes even outselling the serious contemporaries, and Seamus Heaney rightly got a Nobel Prize. With the crash, prices in Dublin’s major art auction houses fell by 50 per cent as the blinged-up property developers froze...

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Opinion: Frieze Art Fair spells bad news for art

Sarah Kent

With the Frieze Art Fair now upon us, the only sane response for anyone interested in art is to leave London until the wretched event is over. Art fairs are for art what pimps are for virgins, to misquote Barnett Newman. The work, in other words, doesn’t stand a chance. And just as supermarkets don’t give shelf space to products for you to admire the packaging, art fairs don’t display work for you to look at and enjoy. In each case, the point is to purchase.

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Interview: Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans

sue Steward

The 2010 Brighton Photo Biennial has seen unprecedented numbers of visitors flock to the coast, and tonight will host a talk by one of the most original fine-art photographers working in Britain today.

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