mon 16/01/2017

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Gavin Turk, Newport Street Gallery

Sarah Kent

The timing of Gavin Turk’s retrospective couldn’t be better.

Australia's Impressionists, National Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Painted in 1891 by Tom Roberts, A Break Away! shows us a flock of maddened, thirsty sheep careering down a hillside stripped of grass by drought, accompanied by rollicking sheepdogs and cowboy shepherds on horses. If those sheep pile on top of one another into the puny stream at the bottom of the hill, injury – even death – will occur. The perspective is vertiginous, and the scene almost visibly pulsates with energy. 

John Berger: the critic as artist

Florence Hallett

It’s hardly the lot of an art critic to be loved and admired, still less to speak to an audience that might reasonably be called “the public”. And...

Best of 2016: Art

Florence Hallett

Before we consign this miserable year to history, there are a few good bits to be salvaged; in fact, for the visual arts 2016 has been marked by...

Sunday Book: Treasure Palaces - Great Writers...

Florence Hallett

The modern experience of visiting museums is so far from the hushed contemplation envisaged by our Victorian forebears that the very idea is...

Zaha Hadid, Serpentine Gallery

Sarah Kent

A visionary architect who developed her ideas in paintings and drawings

Robert Rauschenberg, Tate Modern

Marina Vaizey

Inventive and idiosyncratic: the restless genius of an American pioneer

Painters’ Painters, Saatchi Gallery

Sarah Kent

An invigorating look at a medium that not only refuses to die, but invites continual reinvention

'Before punk, there was Rauschenberg'

Justin Adams

As a major retrospective opens at Tate Modern, musician and producer Justin Adams reflects on his lifelong love of an American great

Portrait of the Artist, The Queen's Gallery

Marina Vaizey

A rich history of art through painters' eyes

Flaming June, Leighton House Museum

Florence Hallett

Reunited with the artist's final works, a painting rarely seen but endlessly reproduced

Six of the best: Art


Picasso, Caravaggio and abstract expressionism: our favourite shows to see now

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016, National Portrait Gallery

Bill Knight

The judges have sifted through thousands of entries from across the world: we get a photographer's verdict on this year's competition

The Radical Eye, Tate Modern

Sarah Kent

The passion of Elton John: a first-class collection in private hands

Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans, Royal Academy

Marina Vaizey

A treat full of trickery: Belgium's master of the grotesque through the eyes of a fellow countryman

Bowie/Collector, Sotheby's

Alison Cole

From Tintoretto to Basquiat, a connoisseur's collection goes on show then on sale

Paul Nash, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

Key themes recur, but the visionary landscape painter experimented constantly

Adriaen van de Velde, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Dutch Golden Age landscapes brought to life by a vivid cast of characters

Opinion: ArtReview Power 100

Marina Vaizey

Hans Ulrich Obrist tops a list dominated by globetrotting gallerists, curators and museum directors

Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement, Courtauld Gallery

Alison Cole

Inspiring show highlights experimental studies of the female form in motion

The Vulgar, Barbican Art Gallery

Sarah Kent

The most vulgar thing about haute couture is the price tag

Beyond Caravaggio, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

Blood, sweat and sex appeal: endlessly imitated, the Italian bad boy was in a league of his own

The Best of Frieze Masters 2016

Alison Cole

Heading to Regent's Park this weekend? Here's our pick of this year's must-sees

Picasso Portraits, National Portrait Gallery

Florence Hallett

Experimental and incisive, portraits that reveal a man as vicious as he was affectionate

David Shrigley: Really Good, Fourth Plinth

Alison Cole

Thumbs up for Trafalgar Square's latest sculpture

Turner Prize 2016, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

Poetic and utterly baffling, this year's shortlist is as eccentric as it is divergent

Helaine Blumenfeld: 'Beauty has become synonymous with something banal'

Rachel Halliburton

To coincide with her retrospective 'Hard Beauty', the sculptor talks about philosophy, language and the conflicting roles of artist, mother and wife

Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy

Marina Vaizey

Energy, alcohol and bucketloads of paint: a triumphant reunion for New York's most exciting artists

William Kentridge: Thick Time, Whitechapel Gallery

Alison Cole

A parallel universe revealed in immersive installations and monumental tapestries

Footnote: A brief history of british art

The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.

Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.

British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.

In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.

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