sun 17/01/2021

Tate Britain

Best of 2020: Visual Arts

Unhappy as it is to be ending the year with museums and galleries closed, 2020 has had its triumphs, and there is plenty to look forward to in 2021. Two much anticipated exhibitions at the National Gallery were delayed and subject to closures and...

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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Tate Britain review - enigmatic figures full of life

A person in a brown polo neck turns away, looking down (pictured below right). The encounter feels really intimate; we are almost breathing down this beautiful neck and exquisitely painted ear. Yet the subject retains their privacy; you can’t even...

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The Best Exhibitions in London

 Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy ★★★ A fascinating subject that proves too unwieldy for a single exhibition. Until 13 Apr Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery ★★★★ A novel collaboration between curators and cinematographer Peter...

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Best of 2019: Visual Arts

Notable anniversaries provided the ballast for this year’s raft of exhibitions; none was dead weight, though, with shows dedicated to Rembrandt, Leonardo and Ruskin among the most original and exhilarating of 2019’s offerings. Happily, a number of...

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William Blake, Tate Britain - sympathy for the rebel

Poor Satan. Adam and Eve are loved-up, snogging on a flowery hillock and all he’s got for company is a snake — an extension of himself no less, and where’s the fun in monologues? Poor, poor Satan. He’s a hunk too, if you don’t mind blue. Coiffed...

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Frank Bowling, Tate Britain review - a marvel

In a photograph taken in 1962, Frank Bowling leans against a fireplace in his studio. His right hand rests on the mantlepiece which bears books, fixative and spirit bottles, his left rests out of sight on the small of his back. His attire is...

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Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain review - tenuous but still persuasive

Soon after his death, Van Gogh’s reputation as a tragic genius was secured. Little has changed in the meantime, and he has continued to be understood as fatally unbalanced, ruled by instinct not intellect. Van Gogh’s characterisation of himself as a...

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Mike Nelson, The Asset Strippers, Tate Britain review – exhilarating reminder of industrial might

Mike Nelson has turned the Duveen Galleries into a museum commemorating Britain’s industrial past (pictured below right). Scruffy workbenches, dilapidated metal cabinets and stacks of old drawers are pressed into service as plinths for the display...

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Don McCullin, Tate Britain review - beastliness made beautiful

I interviewed Don McCullin in 1983 and the encounter felt like peering into a deep well of darkness. The previous year he’d been in Beirut photographing the atrocities carried out by people on both sides of the civil war and his impeccably composed...

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Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain review - time for a rethink?

When, in 1853, Edward Burne-Jones (or Edward Jones as he then was) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, it could hardly have been expected that the course of his life would change so radically. His mother having died in childbirth, he was brought up...

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Turner Prize 2018, Tate Britain review - a shortlist dominated by political issues

I’ve just spent four hours in the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain. The shortlisted artists all show films or videos, which means that you either stay for the duration or make the decision to walk away, which feels disrespectful. For unlike...

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Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One, Tate Britain review - all in the mind

Not far into Aftermath, Tate Britain’s new exhibition looking at how the experience of World War One shaped artists working in its wake, hangs a group of photographs by Pierre Anthony-Thouret depicting the damage inflicted on Reims. Heavy censorship...

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