wed 20/10/2021

Visual Arts Features

Remembering Derek Jarman

Ron Peck

It was very odd, in January this year, to see that Super-8 camera of Derek’s in a glass case and a few open notebooks in his beautiful italic handwriting in some other glass cases in the same room. There were five or six small-scale projections from his films in other rooms, including The Last of England, and some art works, but, somehow, Derek wasn’t there at all for me.

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theartsdesk at the Marrakech Biennale: "Where Are We Now?"

Mark Sheerin

Whether fingerprint or labyrinth, the swirly logo for Marrakech Biennale 5 feels apt. The festival has left its mark upon the city. It questions Moroccan notions of identity. And, going by the tagline, “Where are we now?” it reflects the ease with which you can get lost in this rich and bewildering land.

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Listed: The Vikings - Life and Legend

Gareth Williams

The British Museum's exhibition The Vikings: Life and Legend promises to redefine the Viking age for a new generation. First seen at the National Mueum in Copenhagen, it has now travelled - much as the show's subjects once did - across the North Sea. It includes objects from 25 lending institutions spread across nine countries - 10 if you include Scotland, whose national law requires export licence.

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Listed: 10 American paintings before Pollock

Fisun Güner

The National Gallery recently embarked on a first: they acquired their first American painting. Men of the Docks, 1912, (main picture) may not be George Bellows’ most famous or best-regarded work; nonetheless, it’s a gritty and beautifully observed slice of New York life among the city’s dockside workers.

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theartsdesk in the Shetlands: Seasick Vikings

Thembi Mutch

“Would we be able to prosecute the Vikings today, should we? I mean are there parallels between what the Nazis did by plundering art and gold, or what the German soldiers did who raped Norwegian women when they occupied Norway?” Silke Roeploeg might perhaps fit the Viking caricature: tall, blonde, physically fit, ruddy weathered cheeks, and smart.  She is however German, and a lecturer on the Highland and Islands Nordic studies, which includes a component on Vikings.

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theartsdesk in Sydney: Upside Down Under

Christopher Beanland

Sydney has a nervous tic. People think Australians are brash and bolshy but that's not true. There's a deep sense of ingrained anxiety here. That anxiety comes from being at the edge of the world, a long way from Europe and in an unfamiliar and unrelenting land. It has been expressed through the art of Australia for 200 years. Today the country and its biggest city are both more confident, so the anxiety expresses itself in subtler ways.

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Art: Top 10 exhibitions of 2013

Fisun Güner

Not an exhaustive list, but, in no particular order, these are the shows I'm still left thinking about as the year draws to a close. The best have opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about an artist. A few are still on. Try not to miss. And do suggest your own favourites in the comments below. As you'll see, I've also nominated one "Disappointment of the year" and one "Most ill-conceived show of the year". Don't hesitate to suggest your own in these catagories too.

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Yuletide Scenes 7: Madonna and Child Enthroned

Sarah Kent

What better way to celebrate Christmas than by contemplating this sublime altarpiece by the celebrated Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini? It hangs above a sidechapel in the church of San Zaccaria in Venice offering blissful relief from the noise and bustle of the narrow streets around San Marco. 

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Yuletide Scenes 6: Journey of the Magi

Jasper Rees

It was the fate of Benozzo Gozzoli (c 1422-1497) to be a contemporary of the immortals. A merry journeyman dauber, his talents were overshadowed in his lifetime and are overlooked now. He had a good start in life, working for both Fra Angelico and Ghiberti, but his beautiful frescoes are to be found tucked away in hill towns, innocently crumbling in wayside Tuscan chapels, or locked in the basements of the great museums.

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Yuletide Scenes 5: Winter

Marina Vaizey

Russia is the largest country on earth, unimaginably vast. Its people naturally have a great attachment to their country – and its landscape – in spite of their turbulent history, and in the late 19th century painters portrayed with deep feeling their native environment, their feelings for the motherland perhaps intensified among the more sophisticated the more they had travelled and studied in Europe. 

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