sun 18/08/2019

Visual Arts Reviews

Stuart Semple, Morton Metropolis

Josh Spero

Sincerity is not a quality the contemporary art world seems to value: the masking of emotions under layers of irony is where we stand. But while Damien Hirst paints from a cynical palette, British Pop Artist Stuart Semple's Nineties-inflected paintings have sincerity to spare.

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Marc Quinn, White Cube

Judith Flanders

Marc Quinn is used to making a spectacle of himself. In Self (1991 and ongoing), a life-sized cast of his head was filled with his own blood. It was a stark and sobering reflection on what we all share, the universality of the most basic of human elements. But with the works in his new show Allanah, Buck, Catman, Chelsea, Michael, Pamela and Thomas, "spectacle" becomes the operative word, and universality is nowhere to be found.

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Modern Masters: Warhol, BBC One

Fisun Güner Alastair Sooke ponders the inescapable coolness of Andy Warhol

I wondered how long it would be before Andy Warhol’s "15 minute" quote came up. From the whizzy, flash-bang opening credits  I knew it wouldn’t be long. I was right: but less than seven minutes? Less than five?  I didn’t time it, since I was still somewhat mesmerised by the sight of perky presenter Alastair Sooke doing a kind of disco-dancey, pointy-arm manoeuvre in front of  Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon during the intro. (Oh no,  Alastair, I wanted to cry, you can’t out-cool...

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Bill Fontana: River Sounding, Somerset House

Sarah Kent 'River Sounding': 'The ship’s bell seems to toll with maudlin finality'

The fountains have been switched on at Somerset House, and I watched a group of tourists giggling as they picked their way through the water jets. They obviously hadn’t noticed the cheerful sound of running water coming from the edge of the courtyard, which encourages you to descend some narrow stairs down to the light wells that illuminate the lower floors of Somerset House.

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Jannis Kounellis, Ambika P3

Fisun Güner Jannis Kounellis: 'The sculpture looms above the visitors dodging in and out of blind alleys'

Last year, visitors to Tate Modern’s Artists’ Rooms could see a room dedicated to Jannis Kounellis. It was filled with some of his most resonant work: a door filled up with drystone walling; burlap sacks of grain, rice, pulses; metal bells. For a founder-member of the Arte Povera movement, it was surprisingly bucolic.

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The Concise Dictionary of Dress, Artangel at Blythe House

Fisun Güner On the roof of Blythe House: 'Armoured' shimmers in the light

Judith Clark is a fashion curator, Adam Phillips a psychoanalyst and writer. In collaboration with Artangel, that font of innovative artistic commissions (including Rachel Whiteread’s House, Michael...

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Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings, British Museum

Fisun Güner

This superb exhibition of Italian Renaissance drawings, featuring 100 works and chosen from the outstanding graphic collections of the Uffizi and the British Museum, explores the evolution of the preparatory sketch in the 15th century. We learn how artists began to experiment with the medium in order to create finished paintings that were far more compositionally and stylistically ambitious, far more dramatic and full of movement, than anything that had come before. And though the drawings...

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Goldsmiths: But is it Art? BBC Four

Fisun Güner

Goldsmiths has produced 20 Turner Prize winners. It produced Damien Hirst and the majority of the Brit Art pack that caused such a Nineties sensation. It has attracted some pretty impressive tutors to its fine art department – ground-breaking artists in their own right, in fact. As such, the school is considered to be something of a star in itself. So what’s its secret? This BBC Four two-parter aimed to find out - and, you’ve guessed it, in keeping with a certain jaunty documentary-making...

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Anthony Caro: Upright Sculptures, Annely Juda

Fisun Güner

Anthony Caro makes works with the human figure in mind. The venerated sculptor, who, at 86, remains seemingly unstoppable, came to prominence in the early Sixties with his brightly coloured abstract steel sculptures. These, such as his seminal 1962 work, Early One Morning – an open-form sculpture of welded steel plates and delicately balancing rods painted in bright red – chimed with an era of optimism and confidence. Any figurative references were entirely incidental.

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Angela de la Cruz/ Anna Maria Maiolino, Camden Arts Centre

Fisun Güner Angela de la Cruz: destruction is an artform

Acts of wanton destruction appear to have taken place at Camden Arts Centre, as canvases lie crushed, ripped, crumpled and broken. Monochrome and minimalist works have had their stretchers, their very backbones, ripped and cracked in two, and their once taut, painted surfaces hang, in some instances, like flayed skin. Their broken carcasses are arranged in a seemingly haphazard fashion, hanging precariously from walls or stuffed into corners. They lie forlornly on the floor, or are pushed with...

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