fri 22/06/2018

Visual Arts Features

Photography 2009: Favourite Books

sue Steward L R Gent Bacongo: 'Sapeurs spend fortunes on their outfits in poverty-riddled Congo'

Every day till 3 January theartsdesk will carry a survey of one of the arts we cover. We begin with Photography. Photography books are exploding on to the market like fireworks just as the book as a tangible object is becoming increasingly endangered. And with so many titles emerging from established and pop-up publishers, it’s a hard task to pin them down to the best of 2009 without some shocking omissions. So I’ll call them “Favourites” -...

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theartsdesk in the Emirates: A Cultural Arms Race

Terry Friel Water featured: I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art

Rising spectacularly from the warm turquoise waters of Doha Bay, the building which is probably I.M. Pei’s final and perhaps his greatest work, the iconic Museum of Islamic Art, symbolises the cultural arms race among the Islamic Emirates strung out along the Gulf, on the flank of Big...

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theartsdesk in Rome: Building the Future, Slowly

william Ward

The rapturous reception for Zaha Hadid’s groundbreaking, breathtaking new confection in Rome, Il Museo dell’Arte del XXIesimo Secolo - the 21st-Century Art Museum (MAXXI for short) - has reopened for the umpteenth time one of Italy’s favourite cultural debates. Why the hell does it take so long to build anything decent in our capital city, especially when we have one of the finest traditions - if not the finest - in architecture, civil engineering and construction, of anywhere in...

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Tim Davies, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea

sue Steward Cadet: Running at Preston (DVD installation): 'the artist runs in circles, filming the poppies, the grey uniforms, and gold lettering on the plinth'

Wales doesn’t figure high on the UK charts of art awareness, but one of its leading contemporary artists, 43-year-old Tim Davies, represents a generation who are producing significant, original work without approbation from the Hoxton or Shoreditch taste-makers, and often, attention comes from abroad. In Wales, of course, it’s a different story: he was Gold Medal winner in the 2003 National Eisteddfod, and on the other hand the only British artist shortlisted for the prestigious international...

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A Gold Medal for the Cultural Olympiad?

Josh Spero

Worries that London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad had fallen at the first hurdle – as it seemed when the proposed Olympic Friend-ship, carrying a cargo of British artists and philosophers around the world, was scrapped – can be assuaged.

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theartsdesk in Paris: Surrealist Blues

Anne Billson Sans titre by Jacques-André Boiffard

I've been having rather a surreal autumn here in Paris. First, I was lucky enough to catch the last day of Une semaine de bonté at the Musée d'Orsay, where the original collages were on display in five colour-coded chambers. For those not in the know, Max Ernst's...

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The Museum of Everything, Primrose Hill

Josh Spero

The art world has never been unself-aware – its navel is deeper and more gazed-at than almost any other art form. So what happens when you bring artists unaware of the art world into the contemplated and contemplating fold? The Museum of Everything, a new space in Primrose Hill, north-west London, which opened this week, is devoted to Outsider Art and by extension to answering this question.

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Titian in Love

Mark Hudson

In 1522, Jacopo Tebaldi, agent of Titian’s great patron Alfonso d’Este, paid a visit to the artist who had claimed to be too ill to work. "I have been to see Titian," he wrote to Alfonso, "who has no fever at all. He looks well, if somewhat exhausted, and I suspect that the girls whom he paints in different poses arouse his desires, which he then satisfies more than his limited strength permits. Though he denies it."

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Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne

Mark Hudson Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520-3: Titian’s masterpiece has been endlessly drawn upon by artists down the centuries

In 1519 Titian was commissioned by Alfonso d’Este, the famously irascible Duke of Ferrara, to provide the first of three paintings for a study, the so-called camerino d’alabastro or alabaster room. If the following five years of delays and procrastination drove the duke almost  to distraction, they produced what is arguably the most famous room in the history of Western art.

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Ryan McGinley, Alison Jacques Gallery

Josh Spero

Surrounded by a heaving, drinking, swooning, sweating blanket of admirers and professional artworld partygoers, Ryan McGinley has come a long way from the caves he shot for his latest show, Moonmilk, which opened at Alison Jacques Gallery last night. He finds it hard to move without being papped or kissed or having a catalogue thrust into...

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