tue 22/10/2019

Visual Arts Reviews

Pre-Raphaelite Sisters, National Portrait Gallery review – a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes

Sarah Kent

Focusing on twelve women who played a key role in the lives of Pre-Raphaelite painters like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, this timely exhibition begins with a whimper and ends with a bang. First up at the National Portrait Gallery is Effie Gray whose marriage to art critic, John Ruskin was annulled after six years for non-consummation.

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Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a film-maker out of time?

Florence Hallett

Among the numerous exhibitions marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, this small show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery stands out.

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Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary, Whitechapel Gallery review – a gentle rebellion

Sarah Kent

Now in her mid-seventies, Anna Maria Maiolino has been making work for six decades. Its a long stretch to cover in an exhibition, especially when the artist is not well known. Perhaps inevitably, then, this Whitechapel Gallery retrospective seems somewhat sketchy and opaque, a feeling compounded by having titles in Portuguese.

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Gauguin Portraits, National Gallery review - me, myself and I

Florence Hallett

“Gauguin was undoubtedly self-obsessed” begins the National Gallery’s latest dead cert blockbuster, as it cheerfully hijacks a de facto series begun next door at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art, Barbican review - great theme, disappointing show

Sarah Kent

The Barbican’s latest offering – a look at the clubs and cabarets set up by artists mainly in the early years of the 20th century – is a brilliant theme for an exhibition.

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Kara Walker: Fons Americanus, Tate Modern review – a darkly humorous gift

Sarah Kent

Soaring some 40 feet up towards the ceiling of Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall, Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus looks ludicrously out of place – like a Victorian interloper within this cathedral to contemporary art.

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William Blake, Tate Britain - sympathy for the rebel

Katherine Waters

Poor Satan. Adam and Eve are loved-up, snogging on a flowery hillock and all he’s got for company is a snake — an extension of himself no less, and where’s the fun in monologues? Poor, poor Satan. He’s a hunk too, if you don’t mind blue. Coiffed hair and toned arms with a sexy sky slouch. Ever seen such a lovely lounger? Ever seen such a mournful moue? He’s angel worthy of our pity, even if he is fallen.

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Van Gogh’s Inner Circle, Noordbrabants Museum review - the man behind the art

Katherine Waters

Vincent van Gogh (b. 1853) could be difficult, truculent and unconventional. He battled with mental illness and wrestled with questions of religion throughout his life. But on good form he was personable. He was said to be an excellent imitator with a wry sense of humour, and was a loyal (if often fierce) friend and family relation.

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Peter Doig, Michael Werner review - ambiguous and excellent

Katherine Waters

There are two moons in Night Bathers, 2019 (pictured below) One is set in the sky, a great soupy plate with a greenish fringe creating an ugly smear of white across the night. The other is a treacherously hazy rectangle, floating like a cloud above a reclining bather — so inexplicable it could double as a cataract. The latter is, perhaps, a reflection of the former, but at a surreal remove — no reflection looks like that, no reflected light would fall there.

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Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, V&A review - a bracing full-body immersion

Florence Hallett

If leafing through the pages of Vogue is a soothing balm, Wonderful Things is a bracing full-body immersion.

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