wed 19/06/2019

Visual Arts Reviews

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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Picasso 1932: Love Fame Tragedy, Tate Modern review - a diary in paint?

Florence Hallett

Painted in ice-cream shades punctuated with vivid red, the series of portraits made by Picasso in the early weeks of 1932 are as dreamy as love letters. His mistress Marie-Thérèse Walther – we assume it is she – lies adrift in post-coital languor, her body spread before us as a delicious and endlessly fascinating confection.

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Joan Jonas, Tate Modern review - work as elusive as it is beautiful

Sarah Kent

The American artist, Joan Jonas is one of the pioneers of performance art. Now 82, she is being honoured with a Tate Modern retrospective and Ten Days Six Nights, a festival of live art in which many of her performances are being recreated.

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Tacita Dean: Portrait, National Portrait Gallery / Still Life, National Gallery review - film as a fine art

Sarah Kent

Sometimes you come across an artwork that changes the way you see the world. Tacita Dean’s film portrait of the American choreographer Merce Cunningham (main picture) is one such encounter.

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Victorian Giants, National Portrait Gallery review - pioneers of photography

Marina Vaizey

It is a very human crowd at Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography. There are the slightly melancholic portraits of authoritative and bearded male Victorian eminences, among them Darwin, Tennyson, Carlyle and Sir John Herschel.

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Murillo: The Self-Portraits, National Gallery review - edged with darkness

Katherine Waters

Mortality inflects commemoration. So it is with portraiture: the likeness  particularly those which celebrate lives of status and accomplishment  will always be limned with death.

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All Too Human, Tate Britain review - life in the raw

Florence Hallett

Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud are here to draw in the crowds, but also to set the tone of a Tate Britain exhibition that explores the equivalence of flesh and paint in depictions of the body that even at their most tender and sensual rarely stray far from the brutal and disturbing.

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Another Kind of Life, Barbican review - intense encounters with marginal lives

Sarah Kent

“I start out as an outsider, usually photographing other outsiders, and then at some point I step over a line and become an insider,” wrote American photographer Bruce Davidson.

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