sun 05/07/2015

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Linneaus Tripe, Victoria & Albert Museum

Marina Vaizey

Linnaeus Tripe? Shades of a minor character in Dickens or Trollope, but in fact the resoundingly named Tripe (1822-1902) was an army officer and photographer, the sixth son and ninth child of a professional middle-class family from Devonport, his father a surgeon in the Royal Navy. He joined, as so many of his background did – younger son, but of a certain social status – the East India Company’s army (the 12th Madras Native Infantry) aged only 17, the third Tripe son to do so. The Company was...

Imagine... Jeff Koons: Diary of a Seducer, BBC One

Fisun Güner

Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa feeeelings. Just like that Morris Albert hit of the Seventies for star-crossed lovers everywhere, I lost count of the number of times I heard that word in this Alan Yentob meets Jeff Koons love-in. Or, more precisely, “feeling” singular, since Koons, one of the most bankable artists in the world, was talking about the “feeeeling” aroused when you looked at one of his art works. The engendered feeling was, we learned, a cross between sex-lust, consumer-lust and...

Gallery: Philip Jones Griffiths' Vietnam


The most celebrated reportage to come out the Vietnam War was Michael Herr’s Dispatches, rightly acclaimed as the most visceral journey into the dark...

Richard Dadd: The Art of Bedlam, Watts Gallery

Mark Sheerin

The Watts Gallery in rural Surrey is a very genteel setting for a show by a figure who for most of his life was denied polite society. Richard Dadd...

Barbara Hepworth, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

One of the earliest surviving sculptures by Barbara Hepworth is a toad made from a khaki-coloured, translucent stone; you can imagine it cool and...

Imagine... Frank Gehry: The Architect Says Why Can't I?, BBC One

Marina Vaizey

Portrait of the artist with a passion for questioning everything

Philip Guston, Timothy Taylor Gallery

Fisun Güner

Small but powerful survey of the American artist's late figurative paintings

Six of the best: Art


theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

Gallery: Christina Broom's Soldiers and Suffragettes


Images from a new exhibition and book celebrate the unsung pioneer of UK press photography

Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings 1961-2014, De La Warr Pavilion

Mark Sheerin

Later works offer calmer, more sensual pleasures, but Riley remains an optical magician

Fighting History, Tate Britain

Florence Hallett

A desperate effort to prove that history painting is alive and well only saps what life is left

Carsten Höller: Decisions, Hayward Gallery

Sarah Kent

Disappear down the endless walkway and, like Alice, enter another world

James Turrell: Lightscape, Houghton Hall

Marina Vaizey

The American artist plays with perception in a mind-altering display of his light sculptures

Agnes Martin, Tate Modern

Sarah Kent

Ravishing paintings perfectly poised between conceptual clarity and sensuousness

Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk, Turner Contemporary

Fisun Güner

The overexposed artist with pots, frocks and comforting clichés about Britain

Perspectives: War Art with Eddie Redmayne, ITV

Marina Vaizey

Oscar-winning actor proves that he did learn something as a Cambridge art history student

Corin Sworn: Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Whitechapel Gallery

Sarah Kent

Impostors and stolen identities explored in an installation inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte

Edmund de Waal: I Placed a Jar, Brighton Festival

Florence Hallett

The ceramic artist and author talks about pots, words and the burden of memory

Tough & Tender: Sheila Rock's English Seascapes

Sheila Rock

Best known for her punk portraits, the American photographer introduces a gallery of images from a very different love letter to England

Rachel Kneebone, Brighton Festival

Mark Sheerin

The artist's porcelain sculptures are both lyrical and macabre

DVD: National Gallery

Jasper Rees

Frederick Wiseman's masterful portrait of an institution is made for piecemeal consumption

Modigliani, Estorick Collection

Florence Hallett

A trailblazer of the avant-garde captivated by the art of the past

Nathan Coley, Brighton

Mark Sheerin

Questions of faith and the Brighton bombing preoccupy the Scottish artist

Cornelius Johnson, National Portrait Gallery

Florence Hallett

A forgotten artist eclipsed by Van Dyck as portrait painter to Charles I

John Wood and Paul Harrison, Carroll/Fletcher

Sarah Kent

The Laurel and Hardy of the art world venture from comedy to failed utopian dreams

Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern

Sarah Kent

Eclipsed by her painter husband, the artist is finally receiving full recognition

YZ Kami, Gagosian Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Hypnotically arresting portrait and abstract paintings that play with variation and repetition

Jo Baer, Camden Arts Centre

Sarah Kent

The Minimalist who rejected abstraction for figurative painting. Or did she?

Ellen Altfest, MK Gallery

Mark Sheerin

An artist out of step with much of the art of her times paints canvases as charged as altar panels

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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