wed 22/05/2019

Visual Arts Features

John Berger: the critic as artist

Florence Hallett

It’s hardly the lot of an art critic to be loved and admired, still less to speak to an audience that might reasonably be called “the public”. And how many will find their ideas still current 40 years on? All of these things can be said for John Berger, who has died aged 90, a man whose radical approach to looking at art was an absolute inspiration, and whose ideas were a solid presence in my childhood, woven into my early memories as surely as the pages of a photo album.

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'Before punk, there was Rauschenberg'

Justin Adams

In this cut and paste world, we have become used to a multiplicity of images: screens, words and pictures from across the globe and across history flicker through our field of vision, competing for our attention with the natural world, the urban environment and our own memories, thoughts and dreams. The artist who most successfully began to express this new vision of the world was Robert Rauschenberg.

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Opinion: ArtReview Power 100

Marina Vaizey

Compiled by an anonymous panel, the 15th edition of ArtReview magazine’s annual list of the most powerful and influential people in the art world was published on Thursday. And who doesn’t like lists, to poke fun at, to argue with – or perhaps even agree with?

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Helaine Blumenfeld: 'Beauty has become synonymous with something banal'

Rachel Halliburton

Helaine Blumenfeld was living in Paris in the 1960s when she received an invitation from the Russian-born sculptor Ossip Zadkine to attend one of his salons. Zadkine had emigrated to Paris at the beginning of the century, evolving a style influenced first by Cubism and then African art.

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First Person: Portrait of Britain

Bill Knight

This exhibition includes one of my images, so I hesitated when I was asked to write about it – but I only hesitated for a moment. I have learned that if you are reluctant to promote your own work other people are even more inclined in that direction, so you should seize any chance you get.

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Zaha Hadid: 'The most extraordinarily gifted architect of her generation'

Hugh Pearman

A lot of colour has drained out of world architecture with the unexpected death last week of Dame Zaha Hadid, aged 65. She was a vivid personality who made astonishing buildings, succeeding as an Iraqi-born woman in gaining worldwide renown from her adopted London.

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Opinion: Paintings with nothing to lose but their frames

Marina Vaizey

The dazzling, controversial, fascinating exhibition In the Age of Giorgione at the Royal Academy inadvertently provides a striking example of an unavoidable and perhaps insoluble problem common to almost all exhibitions of painting – especially those with a high proportion of loans – in public museums and galleries.

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100 Works of Art That Will Define Our Age

Kelly Grovier

The back cover of my book makes a big claim. “This book dares”, it says, “to predict the 100 most significant works of art made since the 1990s.” Although the tagline is an entirely accurate description of what I attempt to accomplish in my study of contemporary art, the phrase “dares to predict” has always made me a little anxious. It seems to suggest that the act of forecasting or foreseeing is deliberately provocative, defiant, or even risky.

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Keep Calm and Knuckle Under

Hugh Pearman

“He lives in Woolwich and Warsaw”. From which author note you might conclude that Owen Hatherley, author of The Ministry of Nostalgia, is not your ordinary kind of UK critic, comfortably ensconced (usually) in North or fashionable East London. Fashion has always passed Woolwich, if not Warsaw, by, though Hatherley himself is quietly stylish, somewhat in the manner of his hero Jarvis Cocker. Can one extrapolate a whiff of left-puritanism from this alliterative choice of abode?

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When Bowie and Boyd hoaxed the art world

Jasper Rees

In 1994 the art magazine Modern Painters invited fresh blood onto its editorial board. The new intake included a novelist, William Boyd, and a rock star, David Bowie. "That’s how I got to know him," says Boyd. "We’d sit at the table with all these art critics and art experts feeling like new boys slightly having to prove ourselves. He interviewed Balthus, he interviewed Tracey Emin.

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