Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews
It was inevitable that David Shrigley's breezy new sculpture for Trafalgar Square – part of the popular Fourth Plinth Programme – would be appropriated for political purposes. As the giant seven-metre-high thumbs-up Really Good was unveiled by Mayor Sadiq Khan it was greeted with a sudden downpour, but exuded a defiant post-Brexit cheery optimism. "London is open to the world," declared Khan to the sodden onlookers, welcoming immigrants, EU citizens, people of all ages and backgrounds.Shrigley...
While the Turner Prize shortlist can reasonably be expected to provide some sense of British art now, the extent to which British art can or should attempt to reflect a view of British life is surely a moot point. Art that is socially or politically engaged can all too easily tend towards the artless, its functionality placing it uncomfortably close to pamphleteering, with the certainties of propaganda drowning out the possibilities of art. Curious then, that the best of this year's four...
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.
40 Years On: The Arts Britain Ignores and Diversity in British Theatre
Friday 14 October
A national conference exploring diversity in British theatre and the current landscape for BAME artists, companies and audiences.
Created by Curve in partnership with local BAME–led organisations Serendipity Arts and Inspirate, 40 Years On: The Arts Britain Ignores and Diversity in British Theatre will feature an opening address by Naseem Khan to mark the 40th anniversary of her ground breaking report The Arts Britain Ignores.
Khan will look at the impact of the report and will join a host of industry panellists in examining how far UK theatre has progressed since.
The conference will be made up of structured panel sessions focusing on three topics; Commissioning, Training and Leadership.
Each panel session will cover various key issues facing our industry and include BAME leaders from across UK Theatre.
To find out more about the conference and to book tickets, click here, or alternatively, call the ticket office on 0116 242 3595
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