sat 15/12/2018

Visual Arts Reviews

Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

Sarah Kent

Familiarity breeds contempt, which makes it difficult to look at Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen (pictured below). The reproduction of this proud beastie on T-towels, aprons, jigsaws and biscuit tins blinds one to the subtle nuances of the original painting.

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Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

David Nice

One part of the brain, they tell us, responds to visual art and another, quite different, to music; we can't cope adequately with both at once. Which is why I'm often wary of those musical organisations which think that what we hear needs to be livened up with more to see: mixing Debussy with so-called "Impressionists", for instance, or Stravinsky with Cubism.

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Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain review - time for a rethink?

Katherine Waters

When, in 1853, Edward Burne-Jones (or Edward Jones as he then was) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, it could hardly have been expected that the course of his life would change so radically. His mother having died in childbirth, he was brought up by his father, a not particularly successful picture- and mirror-framer in the then mocked industrial city of Birmingham.

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Klimt/Schiele, Royal Academy review - the line of gauntness

Maev Kennedy

The most touching tribute to the relationship between two giants of early 20th century art, Gustav Klimt and the much younger Egon Schiele, hangs in the first room of this fascinating exhibition at the Royal Academy  – Schiele’s poster for the 49th Secessionist exhibition in 1918.

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The new V&A Photography Centre review - a new museum to make us proud

marina Vaizey

Prints of all kinds; the first small wooden camera invented by Fox Talbot that made the negative positive process possible; Box Brownies and hundreds of other cameras from then until now. All that is just for starters in the V&A's new, fully-fledged, mini museum of photography.

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Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill review - a brave attempt to recreate an important collection

Sarah Kent

It took 24 days to sell off the 4,000 items which Horace Walpole had amassed during 50 years of avid collecting.

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Modern Couples, Barbican review - an absurdly ambitious survey of artist lovers

Sarah Kent

What an ambitious project! Modern CouplesArt, Intimacy and the Avant-garde looks at over 40 couples or, in some cases, trios whose love galvanised them into creative activity either individually or in collaboration.

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Mantegna and Bellini, National Gallery review - curated for curators

Florence Hallett

Pitched as “a tale of two artists”, the National Gallery’s big autumn show promises a history woven in shades of friendship and rivalry, marriage and family, privilege and hard graft.

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The Everyday and the Extraordinary, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne review - the ordinary made strange

Sarah Kent

There’s a building site outside the Towner Art Gallery and a cement mixer seems to have strayed over the threshold into the foyer. This specimen (pictured below right) no longer produces cement, though. David Batchelor has transformed it into an absurdist neon sign by outlining it with fluorescent tubes. 

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Oceania, Royal Academy review - magnificent encounters

Katherine Waters

In the video, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner smiles shyly before beginning. As she speaks, her voice gains conviction, momentum, power. Her poem tells of the Marshall Islands inhabitants, a “proud people toasted dark brown”, and a constellation of islands dropped from a giant’s basket to root in the ocean. She describes “papaya golden sunsets”, “skies uncluttered”, and the ocean itself, “terrifying and regal”.

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