wed 26/02/2020

Visual Arts Reviews

Highlights from Photo London 2018 - something old, something new

Bill Knight

Photo London seems much better this year, mainly because I am at last able to find my way around the labyrinthine Somerset House without getting lost in photography. Things got off to a good start when I bumped into Annie Leibovitz in reception. Actually "bumped into" isn’t quite the right expression – she and her entourage went through like an express train.

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The New Royal Academy and Tacita Dean, Landscape review - a brave beginning to a new era

Sarah Kent

This weekend the Royal Academy (R.A) celebrates its 250th anniversary with the opening of 6 Burlington Gardens (main picture), duly refurbished for the occasion. When it was dirty the Palladian facade felt coldly overbearing, but cleaning it has highlighted the bands of sandstone and brown marble columns that lend warmth to the Portland stone.

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David Shrigley/Brett Goodroad, Brighton Festival review - showcases puncturing the medium's pretence

Mark Sheerin

In his 1991 novel Mao II, Don DeLillo called the literary medium “a democratic shout”. His oft-quoted claim is that any man or woman on the street could strike it lucky, find their voice, and write a great book. Not only does everyone carry round a novel, but those novels are potentially brilliant.

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Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece, British Museum review - magnificence of form across the millennia

Marina Vaizey

In bronze, marble, stone and plaster, as far as the eye can see, powerful figures and fragments – divine and human, mythological and real; athletes, soldiers and horses alongside otherworldly creatures like Centaurs – stride out.

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Shape of Light, Tate Modern review - a wasted opportunity

Sarah Kent

"From today painting is dead" was the pessimistic outcry of Paul Delaroche on first seeing a photograph. Ever since its inception, photography has had a vexed but fruitful relationship with painting.

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Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank review - the artist puts himself in the frame

Sarah Kent

Shot in 2004 when photographer Robert Frank was 80 (main picture), this award-winning film was aired on The South Bank Show the following year, but is only now on release.

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Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss, Islington Green review - divine lamentation

Sarah Kent

What a superb location for a performance! The flats on the north-east corner of Islington Green back onto a crummy atrium from which a staircase leads down to a vaulted, concrete pit (pictured below).

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Monet and Architecture, National Gallery review - a revelation in paint

Marina Vaizey

Art historians can so easily get carried away looking for a thesis, a scaffolding on which to hang theories which can sometimes obscure as much as reveal. Not so here: as near perfect as might be imagined, this is a beautifully laid out, fresh look at a master painter, that lights up the National Gallery's basement exhibition space.

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Michael Rakowitz: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, Fourth Plinth review - London's new guardian

Katherine Waters

Fifteen years ago on a cold grey Saturday in mid-February, Trafalgar Square was filled with people marching to Hyde Park in opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. A million people gathered in London. Three times that number turned out in Rome.

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America's Cool Modernism, Ashmolean Museum review - faces of the new city

Marina Vaizey

Hie thee to Oxford, for it is doubtful that we will see the like of this exhibition again this side of the Atlantic.

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