sun 24/06/2018

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

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

Katherine Waters

It’s not as immersive as New York’s The Gates, 2005, nor as magnificent as Floating Piers, 2016, in Italy’s Lake Iseo – it has also, according to Hyde Park regular Kay, “scared away the ducks,” – but superstar artist Christo’s The London Mastaba looks quite absurdly unreal and is totally free for the public.

Enter theartsdesk / h Club Young Influencer of the Year award

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'That brick red frock with flowers...

Roger Neill

The well-known portrait of New Zealand’s greatest writer, Katherine Mansfield, is exactly 100 years old on 17 June 2018 (main picture). It was...

Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh - transforming...

Miranda Heggie

In just five years, what the team behind Hidden Door Festival has achieved is quite remarkable. Having sprung up in 2014, taking over a group of...

The Best Exhibitions in London

Theartsdesk

Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One, Tate Britain ★★★★ Otto Dix’s prints at the heart of ambitious survey of British, French and German...

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!

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Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece, British Museum review - magnificence of form across the millennia

Marina Vaizey

A game-changing exhibition illuminates the great sculptor and his links to antiquity

Shape of Light, Tate Modern review - a wasted opportunity

Sarah Kent

The relationship between art and photography reduced to commonplaces

10 Questions for Artist David Shrigley

Thomas H Green

The provocative artist talks festivals, moshpits, Google and much more

Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank review - the artist puts himself in the frame

Sarah Kent

The reluctant subject who reveals his soul

Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss, Islington Green review - divine lamentation

Sarah Kent

A journey to the underworld in song

Monet and Architecture, National Gallery review - a revelation in paint

Marina Vaizey

The king of the blockbuster seen in a new light

Helaine Blumenfeld: Britain’s most successful sculptor you’ve never heard of

Rupert Edwards

The director of a new Sky Arts documentary profile of the sculptor explores her work

10 Questions for Artist Brett Goodroad

Thomas H Green

The rising Califiornian painter discusses art, literature and truckin'

Michael Rakowitz: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, Fourth Plinth review - London's new guardian

Katherine Waters

Mythical Assyrian guardian deity occupies square commemorating battle

America's Cool Modernism, Ashmolean Museum review - faces of the new city

Marina Vaizey

Landmark show offers pioneering images of a nation searching for identity

Picasso 1932: Love Fame Tragedy, Tate Modern review - a diary in paint?

Florence Hallett

Biography prevails in a compelling account of the artist's year of wonders

Joan Jonas, Tate Modern review - work as elusive as it is beautiful

Sarah Kent

The pioneer of performance art who disguises her presence

'There's a poetry in painting that gives endless possibilities'

Alexandra Baraitser

Painter Alexandra Baraitser on curating her sixth exhibition, 'Silent Painting'

Tacita Dean: Portrait, National Portrait Gallery / Still Life, National Gallery review - film as a fine art

Sarah Kent

Films whose beauty is more akin to painting than to cinema

Victorian Giants, National Portrait Gallery review - pioneers of photography

Marina Vaizey

Artistic searches, technical advances fuel the discoveries of the Victorian age

Murillo: The Self-Portraits, National Gallery review - edged with darkness

Katherine Waters

Exquisite exhibition prompted by Murillo's two self-portraits considers what can survive time's wreckage

theartsdesk in Korea: national pride and candour

Peter Quantrill

Music and art without borders in a country cut in half

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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