thu 30/03/2017

Visual Arts Reviews

Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories review - 'in pictures you can let all your rage out'

sarah Kent

“My mother has always been a bit of a mystery to me not only as an artist but also as a mum,” declares Nick Willing by way of introduction to his film for BBC Two on the painter Paula Rego, who turned 82 in January. What follows is as far removed from a traditional biopic as you could hope to find. 

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Michelangelo & Sebastiano, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

The story of two characters whose friendship ended in bitter enmity is juicy enough for a typical spring blockbuster and yet this is an exhibition with a serious and scholarly bent.

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The American Dream: Pop to the Present, British Museum

Marina Vaizey

Dream or nightmare? Bay of Pigs, assassinations, Vietnam, space race, Cold War, civil rights, AIDS, legalised abortions, same-sex marriage, ups, downs and inside outs. From JFK to The Donald in just under 60 years, as seen in 200 prints in all kinds of techniques and sizes by several score American artists (although, shush, a handful are – shock, horror – immigrants).

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Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Alison Cole

A lovely, scholarly and gently revelatory exhibition, Madonnas and Miracles explores a neglected area of the perennially popular and much-studied Italian Renaissance – the place of piety in the Renaissance home. We are used to admiring the great 15th- and 16th-century gilded altarpieces and religious...

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Bruegel, Holburne Museum, Bath

Florence Hallett

Painted in c.1640, David Teniers the Younger’s Boy Blowing Bubbles depicts a theme that would have been entirely familiar to his wife’s great-grandfather, the founder of one of art’s most illustrious dynasties, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569).

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Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun, National Portrait Gallery

sarah Kent

This show of work by two artists who use photography to explore the complexities of their own identity has to be the most interesting exhibition ever staged at the National Portrait Gallery, and opening in the same week as International Women's Day couldn't be more fitting.

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Deutsche Börse/Roger Mayne, Photographers' Gallery

Bill Knight

Lending its name to a major photography prize for the 12th year running, Deutsche Börse has joined the ranks of business organisations known to many for their involvement in the arts rather than what they actually do. Unlike Taylor Wessing or Man Booker, the clue is in the name: German Stock Exchange is reasonably self-explanatory, at least if you speak the language.

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Vanessa Bell, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Marina Vaizey

The Other Room, dating from the late 1930s, is the largest painting in Dulwich Picture Gallery's landmark retrospective, the first show to be dedicated to Vanessa Bell since a posthumous Arts Council show in 1964.

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America After the Fall, Royal Academy

Alison Cole

It may be a cliché to say that this is a “timely” exhibition, but America After the Fall invites irresistible parallels with Trump’s America of today.

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Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, Royal Academy

sarah Kent

This must be the most depressing exhibition I have ever seen. Dedicated to the leaders of the Russian Revolution, the first room features official portraits by Isaak Brodsky of Lenin and Stalin plus drawings and models of Lenin’s vast mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.

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