thu 22/06/2017

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

The National Gallery of Ireland review - bigger and better

Marina Vaizey

The marvellous National Gallery of Ireland, founded in the 1860s, has opened its doors to its brilliantly revamped, updated and expanded galleries. As a spectacular bonus in its opening summer, Vermeer and Masters of Genre Painting reposes in the enfilade of the newly re-done permanent galleries for temporary exhibitions.

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

Sarah Kent

I can’t pretend to like the work of Fahrelnissa Zeid, but she was clearly an exceptional woman and deserves to be honoured with a retrospective. She led a privileged life that spanned most of the 20th century; born in Istanbul in 1901 into a prominent Ottoman family, many of whom were involved in the arts, she died in 1991.

A Handful of Dust, Whitechapel Gallery review -...

Sarah Kent

Why is dust so fascinating yet, at the same time, so repellent? Maybe the fear of choking to death in a dust storm or being buried alive in fine sand...

Michelangelo: Love and Death review - how to...

Alison Cole

As perhaps the greatest artist there has ever been – and as one of the most fascinating and complex personalities of his era – Michelangelo should be...

The Best Exhibitions in London


Albertto Giacometti, Tate Modern ★★★★★ An ample and moving encounter with a visionary modernist Until 10 SeptChris Ofili, National Gallery ★★★★★...

Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! Serpentine Gallery

Sarah Kent

The man in a frock reflects on a divided Britain and makes kitsch okay

The Discovery of Mondrian review - the most comprehensive survey ever

Florence Hallett

Marking 100 years of De Stijl, The Hague celebrates a local hero

Jean Arp: Poetry of Forms review - subversive pioneer honoured in Holland

Alison Cole

A celebratory retrospective in Otterlo is heading for Margate

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, British Museum

Florence Hallett

The final years of Japan's greatest artist

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold


Works by Basquiat and Lichtenstein have joined an exclusive list. Who else is on it?

Highlights from Photo London 2017 - virtual reality meets vintage treasure

Bill Knight

Our resident photographer rummages through a mixed bag

Visual art at Brighton Festival - disturbing, playful, but ultimately rudderless

Mark Sheerin

A depleted art strand lacks direction

57th Venice Biennale review - riveting and bewildering

Alison Cole

Extreme art trek provides enough high points to justify the foot sores

Canaletto & the Art of Venice, The Queen's Gallery - preview

Florence Hallett

One of the world's great collections reveals the secrets of an 18th-century master

Alberto Giacometti, Tate Modern

Marina Vaizey

An ample and moving encounter with a visionary modernist

Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors, Gagosian

Alison Cole

Bullish Picasso still fascinates in Sir John Richardson’s richly curated show

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains, V&A review – from innocence to experience and beyond

Adam Sweeting

Brilliantly inventive exhibition revisits a half-century of the Floyd

theartsdesk at The Hospital Club


Announcing a new partnership with the most creative club in London

Richard Long: Earth Sky, Houghton Hall

Florence Hallett

The sculptor uses English materials to take over an 18th-century estate in Norfolk

Chris Ofili, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

Weaving with water: a tribute to Trinidad, the Old Masters and Mario Balotelli

Queer British Art 1861-1967, Tate Britain

David Nice

A vital selective history in images, but is much of it great art - and does it matter?

Michelangelo's Madonna and Child

Alison Cole

Why the Taddei Tondo, on loan to the National Gallery's Michelangelo & Sebastiano exhibition, makes the perfect Easter image

Geta Bratescu, Camden Arts Centre

Sarah Kent

A one-woman riot: the Romanian artist who has come in from the cold

Giacomo Balla: Designing the Future, Estorick Collection

Alison Cole

Futurism, fashion and flair: works from the Biagiotti Cigna Collection

Brighton Festival 2017: 12 Free Events

Thomas H Green

Brighton Festival CEO Andrew Comben's guide to this year's best free stuff

DVD: Revolution - New Art for a New World

Sarah Kent

Margy Kinmonth goes in search of the art that launched the Russian Revolution

Road Art: Art's wildest frontier


Street art is so last millennium. All the signs are that road art is the next big thing

Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories review - 'in pictures you can let all your rage out'

Sarah Kent

The artist who talks freely about her marriage, but not the following 30 years

Artist Tyler Mallison: 'I don’t think about materials as being merely visible objects or things'

Mark Sheerin

Technology as material, Madonna as muse: the artist talks about the themes shaping his current exhibition

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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