thu 28/05/2020

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 3: gigapixel Rembrandt, magic mushrooms, and more

Florence Hallett

The limitations of life on screen are all too apparent at the moment, and yet still there are instances where online can offer something beyond the reach of an old-fashioned trip to an art gallery.

Unto the Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin, Watts Gallery–Artists' Village, review - a breath of fresh air

Florence Hallett

Museums and galleries have found innovative and varied ways to keep their collections within reach, and to bring us the many temporary exhibitions forced to close by the virus. But even the most dedicated gallery-goer may by now be tiring of online talks and tours, which so often make unreasonable demands on both guide and viewer and increasingly feel like a very poor substitute for the real thing.

XXI presented by ARTCELS, HOFA Gallery review -...

Florence Hallett

When New York artist Adam Parker-Smith said “I feel like so many of my ideas start out as jokes, for better or worse”, he may not have anticipated...

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 2: read, search,...

Katherine Waters

Arguably one of the most poignant effects of the lockdown has been to simultaneously draw attention to the connections between the arts and the...

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse,...

Florence Hallett

Anyone lucky enough to have a garden will be newly appreciative of the oasis that even the humblest of outdoor spaces can provide. Based on the Royal...

Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution, Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent online review - capturing the unrepeatable

Florence Hallett

A short but evocative guided tour of this exceptional exhibition goes online

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 1: DIY art, Russell Tovey's chat show, and guided tours online

Florence Hallett

Our pick of the visual arts during lockdown

Rebuilding Notre-Dame: Inside the Great Cathedral Rescue, BBC Four review - a race against time

Florence Hallett

A year after the devastating fire, the cathedral's future is still uncertain

10 Questions for Irina Nalis

Joe Muggs

Multidisciplinary thinking at a multidisciplinary festival in a time of crisis

Léon Spilliaert, Royal Academy review - a maudlin exploration of solitude

Sarah Kent

The world seen through the eyes of melancholy

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery review - a mixture of euphoria and dismay

Sarah Kent

Our complex relationship with trees explored to powerful effect

Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age, National Gallery review – beautifully observed vignettes

Sarah Kent

The theatre of domestic life in 17th century Holland

Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Katherine Waters

Cerebral show teases out fascinating affinities between photography and sculpture

David Hockney: Drawing from Life, National Portrait Gallery review - an anatomy of love

Florence Hallett

The artist's close friends star in the first exhibition of his drawings for over 20 years

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, Barbican review – a must-see exhibition

Sarah Kent

The masculine identity seen under the microscope

Steve McQueen, Tate Modern review – films that stick in the mind

Sarah Kent

Memorable artist's films by the award winning director

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium, Whitechapel review - ten distinctive voices

Sarah Kent

Exhilarating proof that painting is alive and kicking

Darren Waterston: Filthy Lucre, V&A review - a timely look at the value of art

Sarah Kent

Whistler's Peacock Room destroyed, or so it seems

Imran Perretta, Chisenhale Gallery review - a deeply affecting film

Sarah Kent

Testament of growing up in London as a young Muslim arouses enormous empathy

Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy review - the most versatile of materials

Florence Hallett

A fascinating subject that proves too unwieldy for a single exhibition

The Best Exhibitions in London

Theartsdesk

The best exhibitions on now

Best of 2019: Visual Arts

Florence Hallett

The exhibitions we loved most over the past 12 months

Caravaggio & Bernini, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - high emotion in 17th century Rome

Florence Hallett

Painting and sculpture vie for supremacy in the eternal city

Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

Katherine Waters

Stunning photographs and fabulous photomontages by overlooked and elusive artist

Eco-Visionaries, Royal Academy review - wakey, wakey!

Sarah Kent

Big issues raised, but not answered

Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?, Jewish Museum London review - rallying against death

Katherine Waters

Set aside time to absorb the stunning work of this modernist painter murdered at Auschwitz

Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, Saatchi Gallery review - worth its weight?

Katherine Waters

Blockbuster artefacts in show that cares more about visitor numbers than visitor experience

George Stubbs: 'all done from Nature', MK Gallery review - a glorious menagerie

Katherine Waters

Go see the animals

Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits, Royal Academy review - mesmerising intensity

Sarah Kent

Beady eyes that try to read the soul as well as the body

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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