fri 21/11/2014

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Imagine... Anselm Kiefer, BBC One

Florence Hallett

Anselm Kiefer reminds me a bit of someone I once worked for. Totally unpredictable, and possessed of a formidable intelligence and creativity, his mental leaps can be bewilderingly hard to follow, leading occasionally to truly breathtaking results, but crashing and burning just as often. Everyone else, like me, or in Kiefer’s case his long-suffering assistant Tony, not to mention poor old Alan Yentob, has to trot along behind, barely able to keep up with the barrage of ideas, questions and...

Gallery: Honoré Daumier and Paula Rego - a conversation across time

Fisun Güner

Baudelaire called him a “pictorial Balzac” and said he was the most important man “in the whole of modern art”, while Degas was only a little less effusive, claiming him as one of the three greatest draughtsman of the 19th century, alongside Ingres and Delacroix.Honoré Daumier has always been held in the highest esteem by fellow artists, both in his own time and today, with contemporary artists such as Peter Doig and Paula Rego keen admirers. But beside his technical skills, Daumier was also...

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014,...

Florence Hallett

It is hard to know whether the thematic and stylistic threads running through this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize are evidence of some general shift in...

Allen Jones, Royal Academy

Sarah Kent

There’s no escaping it; Hat Stand, 1969, is a beastly object. The blank-faced mannequin is too literal to succeed as a sculpture, and the conceit is...

Emily Carr, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Florence Hallett

Walking into this exhibition is a bit like walking into a great forest. The dark green walls are hung all around with paintings of trees; we look up...

Six of the best: Art


theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude, Courtauld Gallery

Fisun Güner

Erotic, angsty works on paper beguile and bewitch

Giovanni Battista Moroni, Royal Academy

Florence Hallett

Renaissance Italy's forgotten master of the fleeting moment

Imagine... The Art That Hitler Hated, BBC One

Marina Vaizey

What happened to the 'degenerate' art that vanished during the Nazi era?

Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, National Portrait Gallery

Marina Vaizey

An affecting look at the life and impact of the arts and crafts designer who ardently championed socialism

Gerhard Richter, Marian Goodman Gallery

Marina Vaizey

The heavyweight German artist inaugurates prestigious blue-chip gallery in London

Russian Avant-Garde Theatre, Victoria & Albert Museum

Sarah Kent

The moment when theatre was transformed by visionary Russian directors

Grayson Perry: Who Are You?, Channel 4

Jasper Rees

Engaging series about portraiture in action captures subjects at a crossroads

Pierre Huyghe/ Paul McCarthy, Hauser & Wirth

Fisun Güner

Eerie enviromental dystopias and hair-raising misanthropic rages

Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World, Globe Theatre

Sarah Kent

The delightfully shambolic talent show that's become a national treasure

Witches and Wicked Bodies, British Museum

Florence Hallett

From classical antiquity to the Victorian era, witches have held artists under their spell

The spooky and the bold in the art of contemporary China

Mark Sheerin

Asia Triennial Manchester showcases the biggest exhibition of contemporary art from south of the Great Wall

Schama on Rembrandt: Masterpieces of the Late Years, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

Simon Schama campaigns and entertains, but does he explain?

Richard Serra, Gagosian Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Hardly ever has a heavyweight operated with so light a hand

Germany: Memories of a Nation, British Museum

Marina Vaizey

A staggeringly ambitious and powerful history spanning six centuries and told through objects

Richard Tuttle, Tate Modern / Whitechapel Gallery

Florence Hallett

Renowned American artist revisits old themes in his biggest sculpture yet

Steve McQueen: Ashes, Thomas Dane Gallery

Sarah Kent

A film and a broken column pay tribute to a young innocent with limited horizons

Rembrandt: The Late Works, National Gallery

Fisun Güner

In his last decade, the Dutch artist suffered hardship, but painted some of his most enduring masterpieces

Glenn Ligon: Call and Response, Camden Arts Centre

Sarah Kent

The man who sneaked politics into abstraction fails to upset any apple carts

Cathedrals of Culture

Tom Birchenough

'Genius loci': the souls of six buildings caught by six directors, in 3D

Listening, BALTIC 39, Hayward Touring

Sarah Kent

Tune in to Korean women who use special sounds to dive deep and trucks that change your radio station

Sigmar Polke: Alibis, Tate Modern

Marina Vaizey

He diligently avoided a signature style, but the late German artist's wit and intellect were always evident

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, British Library

Jasper Rees

Shlock, horror and shrieks: the story of popular entertainment displayed

Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy

Fisun Güner

When he is good he is very, very good, but, my word, does he over-egg the pudding

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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