wed 24/07/2024

Visual Arts Features

Interview: Jonathan Meades, Auteur-at-Large

Adam Sweeting

In his forbidding dark suit and heavy-framed sunglasses, declaiming his artfully wrought texts to camera with the ominous certainty of a hanging judge, Jonathan Meades is one of TV’s most unmistakable presences. While it may be lamentable that we don’t see him more often, it’s miraculous, in the current climate, that we see him at all.

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theartsdesk in Fort Lauderdale: Norman Rockwell, the American Friend

Graham Fuller

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) may be the great idealiser of American smalltown life, but many of his paintings took their cues from Dickens, and they thus have an English tang. None more so than Merrie Christmas (pictured below), which Rockwell painted for the cover of 7 December 1929 edition of the Saturday Evening Post: Tony Weller, the philosophising coachman father of Mr Pickwick’s manservant Sam, is shown cracking his whip with one hand and doffing his holly-...

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Art 2010: Looking Ahead

Mark Hudson Van Gogh's 'Hospital at Saint Rémy', 1889: 'the first major Van Gogh exhibition in London for 40 years could break all attendance records'

2010 begins with a worldbeating blockbuster capable of breaking all attendance records – and it ends with another. It’s more than 40 years since Britain saw a major exhibition of the work of Vincent van Gogh; 40 years in which the tormented Dutch genius has gone from being merely an extremely famous and influential painter to, by common consent, the world’s favourite artist, the man who sacrificed himself for his art, whose light-filled canvases tell us most about what we think art should be –...

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Photography 2009: Favourite Books

sue Steward L R Gent Bacongo: 'Sapeurs spend fortunes on their outfits in poverty-riddled Congo'

Every day till 3 January theartsdesk will carry a survey of one of the arts we cover. We begin with Photography. Photography books are exploding on to the market like fireworks just as the book as a tangible object is becoming increasingly endangered. And with so many titles emerging from established and pop-up publishers, it’s a hard task to pin them down to the best of 2009 without some shocking omissions. So I’ll call them “Favourites” -...

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theartsdesk in the Emirates: A Cultural Arms Race

Terry Friel Water featured: I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art

Rising spectacularly from the warm turquoise waters of Doha Bay, the building which is probably I.M. Pei’s final and perhaps his greatest work, the iconic Museum of Islamic Art, symbolises the cultural arms race among the Islamic Emirates strung out along the Gulf, on the flank of Big...

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theartsdesk in Rome: Building the Future, Slowly

william Ward

The rapturous reception for Zaha Hadid’s groundbreaking, breathtaking new confection in Rome, Il Museo dell’Arte del XXIesimo Secolo - the 21st-Century Art Museum (MAXXI for short) - has reopened for the umpteenth time one of Italy’s favourite cultural debates. Why the hell does it take so long to build anything decent in our capital city, especially when we have one of the finest traditions - if not the finest - in architecture, civil engineering and construction, of anywhere in...

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Tim Davies, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea

sue Steward Cadet: Running at Preston (DVD installation): 'the artist runs in circles, filming the poppies, the grey uniforms, and gold lettering on the plinth'

Wales doesn’t figure high on the UK charts of art awareness, but one of its leading contemporary artists, 43-year-old Tim Davies, represents a generation who are producing significant, original work without approbation from the Hoxton or Shoreditch taste-makers, and often, attention comes from abroad. In Wales, of course, it’s a different story: he was Gold Medal winner in the 2003 National Eisteddfod, and on the other hand the only British artist shortlisted for the prestigious international...

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A Gold Medal for the Cultural Olympiad?

Josh Spero

Worries that London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad had fallen at the first hurdle – as it seemed when the proposed Olympic Friend-ship, carrying a cargo of British artists and philosophers around the world, was scrapped – can be assuaged.

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theartsdesk in Paris: Surrealist Blues

Anne Billson Sans titre by Jacques-André Boiffard

I've been having rather a surreal autumn here in Paris. First, I was lucky enough to catch the last day of Une semaine de bonté at the Musée d'Orsay, where the original collages were on display in five colour-coded chambers. For those not in the know, Max Ernst's...

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The Museum of Everything, Primrose Hill

Josh Spero

The art world has never been unself-aware – its navel is deeper and more gazed-at than almost any other art form. So what happens when you bring artists unaware of the art world into the contemplated and contemplating fold? The Museum of Everything, a new space in Primrose Hill, north-west London, which opened this week, is devoted to Outsider Art and by extension to answering this question.

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