tue 24/10/2017

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Soutine's Portraits, Courtauld Gallery review - a superb, unsettling show

Alison Cole

This is the latest in a line of beautifully curated, closely focused exhibitions that the Courtauld Gallery does so well. Its subject is the great Russian-French painter Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) who, remarkably, has not had a UK exhibition devoted to his work for 35 years.

The Best Exhibitions in London

Theartsdesk

Basquiat: Boom for Real, Barbican ★★★★ Appraising the graffiti artist whose paintings fetch over $100 million at auction. Until 28 Jan

David Bomberg, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester...

Katherine Waters

During his time at the Slade David Bomberg — the subject of a major new retrospective at Pallant House Gallery — was described as a "disturbing...

Harry Potter: A History of Magic, British Library...

Jasper Rees

Harry Potter has a track record of trickery. He miraculously persuaded a generation of screen addicts to get stuck into hardbacks. Lately he has been...

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Tate Modern review –...

Sarah Kent

The Kabakovs' exhibition made me thank my lucky stars I was not born in the Soviet Union. A recurring theme of their work is the desire to escape –...

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, V&A review - seven cities, seven masterpieces

David Nice

Stunning range in spacious operatic rooms

h.Club 100 Awards 2017: The Winners

Theartsdesk

News from The Hospital Club's annual awards for the creative industries, plus theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year

Young Reviewer of the Year Award Winner: Katherine Waters on Marc Quinn

Katherine Waters

The winning entry of theartsdesk's award reviews Drawn from Life at Sir John Soane's Museum

Young Reviewer of the Year Award: the four finalists are...

Theartsdesk

Announcing the shortlist of our critics' competition, with extracts from each entry

Jasper Johns, Royal Academy review - a master of 50 shades

Marina Vaizey

'Something resembling truth': the master mark-maker transforms the familiar into the exotic

Basquiat: Boom for Real, Barbican review - the myth explored

Sarah Kent

Appraising the graffiti artist whose paintings fetch over $100 million at auction

Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell Collection review - guilty pleasures at the National Gallery

Florence Hallett

How pastel became a truly modern medium

Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain review – exceptional beauty

Sarah Kent

A singular vision that transforms everyday objects into extraordinary sculptures

DVD: Every Picture Tells a Story

Marina Vaizey

The art films of James Scott: a very mixed anthology, dating from 1966 to 1983

h.Club 100 Awards: Art, Design and Craft - weaving magic at Dovecot Tapestry Studio

Florence Hallett

Introducing one of this year's nominees, from a shortlist packed with talent

Sue Steward 1946-2017: She came, she saw, she salsa'd

Theartsdesk

The Arts Desk's adventurous music and photography critic remembered

James Hamilton: Gainsborough - A Portrait review - an artistic life told with verve and enthusiasm

Marina Vaizey

An original, chatty but scholarly biography of the great English artist

Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy review - a fascinating compilation

Marina Vaizey

Intriguing insight into the artist's relationship with his possessions

Trajal Harrell: Hoochie Koochie, Barbican review - flamboyant and mesmerising

Sarah Kent

Narcissism meets restraint in a fascinating hybrid of performance art and dance

Rose Finn-Kelcey: Life, Belief and Beyond, Modern Art Oxford review - revelation and delight

Sarah Kent

First posthumous show of an influential but little-known artist

Enter theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year Award

Theartsdesk

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club 100 Awards, we're launching a new competition to find a brilliant young critic

The Encounter, National Portrait Gallery review - dazzlingly evocative drawings

Florence Hallett

An unexpected glimpse inside the artists' studios of the past

theartsdesk in Antwerp: Richard Deacon says nothing

Mark Sheerin

Art and life are irreconcilable in the British sculptor's solo show

theartsdesk at Les Rencontres d'Arles: breadth and depth at the veteran photo festival

Bill Knight

The world in focus at inspirational annual photography event

The Exhibition Road Quarter review, V&A - an intelligent and much needed expansion

Marina Vaizey

One of the country's great museums gets a makeover

Sargent, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - wonders in watercolour

Marina Vaizey

The great portraitist lets his hair down

Portraying a Nation, Tate Liverpool review – an inspired juxtaposition

Sarah Kent

Two artists hounded by the Nazis for their unflinching portrayal of the German people

National Gallery of Ireland review - bigger and better

Marina Vaizey

Dublin celebrates the reopening of its refurbished art gallery with Vermeer

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Tate Modern review - rediscovering a forgotten genius

Sarah Kent

How a major 20th century painter was erased from history

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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