sat 04/12/2021

Visual Arts Features

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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theartsdesk in Monte Carlo: Nouveau Musée Nationale de Monaco

Fisun Güner

Famous for its fast cars, casino, and stashing away Sir Philip Green’s gazillions, the principality of Monaco certainly isn’t a destination short on bling, nor a sense of faded, somewhat seedy glamour. So it probably isn’t high on anyone’s list for culture, least of all for contemporary art. But things are definitely on the turn: a new museum offering a genuinely challenging programme of international contemporary art has recently opened.

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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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