tue 16/10/2018

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Modern Couples, Barbican review - an absurdly ambitious survey of artist lovers

Sarah Kent

What an ambitious project! Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde looks at over 40 couples or, in some cases, trios whose love galvanised them into creative activity either individually or in collaboration.

The Best Exhibitions in London

Theartsdesk

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne, Courtauld Gallery ★★★★★ Much loved treasures seen afresh reveal the collector's eye. Until 20 Jan

Mantegna and Bellini, National Gallery review -...

Florence Hallett

Pitched as “a tale of two artists”, the National Gallery’s big autumn show promises a history woven in shades of friendship and rivalry, marriage and...

Elmgreen & Dragset, Whitechapel Gallery...

Sarah Kent

A whiff of chlorine hits you as you open the door of the Whitechapel Gallery. Its the smell of public baths, and inside is a derelict swimming pool...

The Everyday and the Extraordinary, Towner Art...

Sarah Kent

There’s a building site outside the Towner Art Gallery and a cement mixer seems to have strayed over the threshold into the foyer. This specimen (...

Oceania, Royal Academy review - magnificent encounters

Katherine Waters

Powerful introduction to the art of the Pacific Islands

Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery review - seeing is not always believing

Sarah Kent

Sculptures that trick the eye and gladden the heart

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, V&A review - gaming for all

Alfred Quantrill

A comprehensive look at gaming present and future has surprisingly broad appeal

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

Sarah Kent

Identity politics, fake news, colonialism and racism addressed in film and video

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne review - much loved treasures, seen afresh

Marina Vaizey

Favourite paintings from the Courtauld Gallery reveal the collector's eye

I object, British Museum review - censorship, accidental?

Katherine Waters

Exhibition on dissidence and subversion doesn't allow objects to speak for themselves

Renzo Piano, Royal Academy review - worth the effort

Sarah Kent

Church spires informed the shape of the Shard

h 100 Awards: Art, Design and Craft - making art public

Florence Hallett

Showcasing the strength of British visual culture, and the people bringing it to public attention

h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

Marina Gerner

The second finalist in theartsdesk's award in association with The Hospital Club reviews Revolution at the Royal Academy

Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns, National Gallery of Ireland review - experiments in Pont-Aven

Katherine Waters

Friendship and rivalry among the Post-Impressionists

theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

David Nice

Individual souls conjoined with a passionate belief in peace and music achieve miracles

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A review - appearances aren't everything

Katherine Waters

Sumptuous exhibition prioritises image over artist

diep~haven 2018 review - a missed connection?

Mark Sheerin

Curiously apolitical festival of contemporary art at a ferry crossing

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Galleries review - good news for ducks?

Katherine Waters

Rockstar artist’s floating oil drums provoke questions around the purpose of public art

Enter theartsdesk / h Club Young Influencer of the Year award

Theartsdesk

In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club100 Awards, we're looking for the best cultural writers, bloggers and vloggers

'That brick red frock with flowers everywhere': painting Katherine Mansfield

Roger Neill

Anne Estelle Rice painted the New Zealand writer 100 years ago, spinning a tale of love, friendship and artistic kinship

Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh - transforming spaces

Miranda Heggie

Now in its fifth year, this celebration of vibrant art in disused buildings is better than ever

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

Katherine Waters

Otto Dix’s prints at the heart of ambitious survey of British, French and German artists’ inter-war work

David Shrigley talk, Brighton Festival review - comedic stroll through a career in art

Thomas H Green

High speed PowerPoint entertainment from the kingpin of oddball cartoons

Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA, BBC Four review - unexpected facts aplenty

Marina Vaizey

From the Wild West to Abstract Expressionism, Waldemar Januszczak on an enthusiastic journey

Highlights from Photo London 2018 - something old, something new

Bill Knight

Apps, augmented reality and Henry Fox Talbot rub shoulders at London's annual photo festival

The New Royal Academy and Tacita Dean, Landscape review - a brave beginning to a new era

Sarah Kent

From an institution known for excellent exhibitions to a hub of learning and debate

David Shrigley/Brett Goodroad, Brighton Festival review - showcases puncturing the medium's pretence

Mark Sheerin

An exhibition and an event that both seem keen to democratise the artistic process

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to celebrate Brighton Festival!

Theartsdesk

Enter our competition to win a spectacular weekend at England's finest arts festival

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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