tue 14/07/2020

Visual Arts Features

What Lies Beneath: The Secret Life of Paintings

Florence Hallett

The doctoring of political images became something of a tradition in the last century, with Stalin, Hitler and Mao all airbrushing their enemies from photographs. The latest infrared technology has revealed that something similar may have happened during the English Civil War, with a portrait of Oliver Cromwell apparently having been painted over with an image of the Parliamentarian Sir Arthur Hesilrige, who fell out with Cromwell when he became Lord Protector in 1653. 

Read more...

First Person: Curating Shelagh Wakely

Sarah Kent

I’ve curated nearly 70 exhibitions in my time. The most challenging was Elizabeth Frink’s retrospective at the Royal Academy. Weighing in at several tons, the large bronzes are virtually impossible to shift, so I had no room for manoeuvre. To get the installation right, I placed cardboard miniatures inside a model of the main galleries and prayed they would look good full scale. 

Read more...

Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts

ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this week a brisk new book that urges arts and politicians to reject the emotive clichés and lazy token battles and focus on what matters. In Pain in the Arts, Tusa urges that both sides take personal responsibility for an essential part of human life.

Read more...

Marina Abramović: 512 Hours, Serpentine Gallery

Fisun Güner

I’ll admit, there's a scene that made me well up during the excellent Marina Abramović biopic The Artist is Present. If you've seen it you’ll know the scene I mean – it’s where Ulay, Abramović’s former partner, in art and in life, takes the seat opposite her on the last day of her MoMA marathon performance. And the tears come, hers and his and then ours, and she takes his hands, and then more tears. Oh god.

Read more...

Maria Lassnig, 1919-2014

Fisun Güner

Maria Lassnig, the Austrian figurative painter best known for her emotionally complex self-portraits, died yesterday aged 94. She was virtually unknown in the UK until her solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 2008. In a compact survey which focused on recent work one self-portrait - You or Me, 2005 (main picture) - attracted the greatest attention.

Read more...

10 Questions for Artist Yinka Shonibare MBE

Mark Sheerin

Yinka Shonibare MBE makes work from a less entrenched position than his many decorations suggest. This Member of the British Empire (he adopted the initials as part of his name after receiving the honour in 2005) is naturally also a Royal Academician, an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths, and has an honorary doctorate from the RCA.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Basel: More than Minimalism

David Nice

In a near-perfect, outward-looking Swiss city sharing borders with France and Germany, on a series of cloudless April days that felt more like balmy June than capricious April, anything seemed possible.

Read more...

Alan Davie, 1920-2014

Mark Hudson

Alan Davie, who died on Saturday aged 93, was one of the great 20th-century British artists, a life-long maverick whose explosive canvases cut a swathe through the provincial aridity of the postwar art scene.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Calais: Monument, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Mark Sheerin

Were it not for the bombs which rained down on Calais, its current Musée des Beaux-Arts would not exist. The 1966 building was part of a civic reconstruction programme, so it too is a war memorial of sorts. And it's now playing host to an exhibition dedicated to the idea of the monument which looks to commemorate the two world wars.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Bilbao: Yoko Ono at the Guggenheim Museum

Fisun Güner

Addressing a crowd of journalists gathered at the press launch of her major retrospective at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Yoko Ono begins by telling us how cynical she is. It’s quite a claim considering it’s just about the last thing you’d ever think to call her. Perhaps she’s finally tired of being dismissed as a naive idealist.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

First Person: Royal College of Music Director of Programmes...

I wasn’t the only one who felt emotional when I left our beautiful building in South Kensington for the last time before lockdown. By that stage...

DVD/Blu-ray: Moffie

Characterised by jarring juxtapositions of intense, appalling violence and the serene beauty of...

This House is Full of Music, Imagine..., BBC One review – a...

No happy family, surely, was ever quite like this one. Love and mutual respect bound up with...

Car Park Comedy, Henley review - Comedy Store's mixed b...

Hot on the heels of The Car Park Club and @TheDriveIn comes Car Park Party, a series of...

Album: The Pretenders - Hate for Sale

It is difficult to live up to your own legacy when you’ve reached an iconic status in...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Dennis Herrold

It’s been a long strange trip for Dennis Herrold. The Virginia-born rocker’s sole single, December...

Blu-ray: Black Rainbow

Aged 87, director Mike Hodges is due another...

Love Sarah review - missing key ingredients

The cakes look great, but it's back to the recipe books in almost...

theartsdesk Q&A: horn player Sarah Willis

Horn player Sarah Willis joined the Berlin Philharmonic in 2001. She juggles her position with spells of teaching, interviewing soloists and...

theartsdesk Radio Show 29 - Morricone, Moroccan psychedelia...

Peter Culshaw’s periodic global music...