wed 03/06/2020

Visual Arts Features

Behind the Scene at the Museum: The Staging of the Diaghilev Exhibition

ismene Brown

The show's curator Jane Pritchard revealed this wonderful kitchen story in a unique walk-round with theartsdesk this week. Her two-year hunt ranged from Diaghilev's passport to glorious Nijinsky costumes, from the Ballets Russes accounts book to astonishing Picasso stage cloths, from precious notated scores by Stravinsky to automated Constructivist art, from ballerinas' slippers and early colour film to Yves St Laurent fashions.

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Living Architecture

Alain De Botton Alain de Botton: 'The salvation of British housing lies in raising standards of taste'

Judging from the success of interior design magazines and property shows, you might think that this country was now as comfortable with good contemporary architecture as it is with non-native food or music. But scratch beneath the metropolitan, London-centric focus, and you quickly discover that Britain remains a country deeply in love with the old and terrified of the new.

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theartsdesk in New York: Over the Sea to Art Getaway Island

Markie Robson-Scott Art Island: just 800 yards off the Manhattan skyline, an unattainable realtor's dream

When it’s 33 degrees and rising, boarding a ferry in New York has to be a good plan. One of the newest and weirdest of the city’s watery destinations is Governors Island (no apostrophe - it was removed in 1783 when the British, who used it to house His Majesty’s Governors, surrendered it to New York state). It’s just 800 yards and 10 minutes away from Battery Park, with a terminal next to Staten Island’s, though the free ferry only runs on Fridays and weekends, when the island is open to the...

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The Museum of Stokes Croft, Bristol

mark Kidel Banksy's imposing mural, 'The Mild Mild West', is Stokes Croft's main visitor attraction

Bristolians were invited to make history last weekend. The city saw the opening of the Museum of Stokes Croft, a one-room cabinet of contemporary urban curiosities that includes fake neighbourhood relics and archaeological finds, an early Banksy T-shirt, a large, totemistic multi-coloured bear full of mirrored surfaces by street sculptor Jamie Gilman, a cheap plastic urn containing the ashes of “Bear” - a popular homeless street poet who died last year - evocative children’s drawings of...

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theartsdesk in Madrid: City of Photography

sue Steward Isabel Muñoz's Kurdish Sufi trance series, Love and Ecstasy: 'an almost impossible number of images to absorb'

International photography festivals are rivalling rock festivals this summer - and rock festivals are featuring photographers. PhotoEspaña (PHE) Madrid beats the lot. Packed with surprise revelations, with central Madrid as the main stage, the fringe all around it, and the whole city involved in the Night of Photography PhotoMaratón, it’s a highly ambitious, even labyrinthine affair.

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theartsdesk in Los Angeles: Dennis Hopper (RIP) On Show

Sarvenaz Sheybany

While most will be familiar with him as an actor, and some will know him also as a photographer and painter, few will be aware of the full extent of the late Dennis Hopper’s artistic practice.

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Interview: Michael Winner on collecting Donald McGill

Jasper Rees

This week a new exhibition with no pretence to seriousness opens at Tate Britain. Rude Britannia: British Comic Art is a comprehensive tour of a great national tradition: having a laugh in a line drawing. The show covers the boardwalk from Gilray and Cruikshank to Gerald Scarfe and Steve Bell. It also includes the work of a cartoonist and illustrator whose world view, more than any other, now seems deliciously quaint and old-fashioned: Donald McGill.

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theartsdesk in Chicago: Radical Invention in the Windy/Second City

Veronica Lee A fresh look at Matisse: 'Bathers by a River', 1916-17

On my previous trip to the Second City in 2009, the much-awaited Art Institute of Chicago extension wasn’t quite ready for visitors, but is now about to celebrate its first birthday, and it’s a treat. The Modern Wing adds 35 per cent more space to the Institute, bringing it up to a nice round one million square feet and making it America’s second biggest art museum after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was designed by Renzo Piano, whose new wing (another glass-and-steel box) will...

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theartsdesk in Glasgow: Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art

Fisun Güner Douglas Gordon: a faster 24 Hour Psycho than ever before

During my two-day whistlestop tour of various galleries and arts venues across Glasgow, I’m afraid I didn’t spot one white bike. There are, apparently, 50 of them that punters are free to use for the two-week duration of the city’s second biennial International Festival of Visual Art. It’s a scheme that pays homage to the original Witte Fietsenplan (White Bike Plan) by radical Sixties Dutch movement Provos. Set up as a statement against consumerism, pollution and congestion,...

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theartsdesk in Newcastle: The AV Festival

Alice Vincent

At seven o'clock on a Friday night, with the first spring twilight of the year as a backdrop, Newcastle’s Civic Centre reverberated to a new composition for its Carillon bells. Mingling eerily with birdsong, it marked a rather different start to the weekend from the hoards of hen nights getting ready for a night on the Toon. This was the opening night of AV, the biennial international festival of electronic arts.

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