sun 04/12/2016

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

'Before punk, there was Rauschenberg'

Justin Adams

In this cut and paste world, we have become used to a multiplicity of images: screens, words and pictures from across the globe and across history flicker through our field of vision, competing for our attention with the natural world, the urban environment and our own memories, thoughts and dreams. The artist who most successfully began to express this new vision of the world was Robert Rauschenberg.

Portrait of the Artist, The Queen's Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Born in Rome and taught by her artist father, Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652) led a colourfully energetic life. As an adolescent she was raped by her father’s assistant  – an episode which unusually, then as now, actually came to public trial – but she nevertheless became a confident, resolute woman, and a successful artist.

Flaming June, Leighton House Museum

Florence Hallett

The chances are, you’ve only ever seen Flaming June in reproduction: since 1963 it has resided in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, an out-...

Six of the best: Art


★★★★★ Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy Energy, alcohol and bucketloads of paint: a triumphant reunion for New York's most exciting artists Until...

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016,...

Bill Knight

It’s that time of year again. The National Portrait Gallery exhibits the finalists in the annual Taylor Wessing Portrait prize. The judges have seen...

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

Gaga for Dada: The Original Art Rebels, BBC Four

Florence Hallett

Inspiring student pranks and political satire, Dada is the lifeblood of 20th century culture

Bricks!, BBC Four

Marina Vaizey

Forty years on: the accidental furore around Carl Andre's work remembered

Giuseppe Penone, Marian Goodman Gallery

Alison Cole

Arte Povera works are rich in meditation on the relationship between man and nature

NEON: The Charged Line, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool

Clem Hitchcock

A very 20th-century medium gets a retrospective in the city of electric sunshine

First Person: Portrait of Britain

Bill Knight

Bill Knight on his prizewinning photograph and the competition that turns advertising screens into art galleries

Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison

Sarah Kent

A spell in gaol has never been so rewarding

London's Burning

Katie Colombus

A cultural revelation that speaks as much of the present as it does of the past

Björk Digital, Somerset House

Tina Edwards

Virtual-reality show confirms Björk's place in the avant-garde

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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