thu 22/02/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

Mark Rothko, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris review - a show well worth the trip across the Channel

mark Kidel

The vast and various spaces of Frank Gehry’s monumental Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris suit the needs of the thrilling Mark Rothko exhibition now inhabiting its labyrinthine multi-storey suite of galleries.

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Women in Revolt!, Tate Britain review - a super important if overwhelming show

Sarah Kent

The soundtrack to Tate Britain’s seminal exhibition Women in Revolt! is a prolonged scream. On film, Gina Birch of the punk band The Raincoats gives vent to her pent-up anger and frustration by yelling at the top of her lungs for 3 minutes (main picture).

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A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography, Tate Modern review - pulling out the stops to address issues around cultural identity

Sarah Kent

The introductory panel to Tate Modern's exhibition of photography, film and installation contains some stark facts that remind us of the history informing the work of these 36 African artists. Some 10 million Africans were sold into slavery and by 1914, 90 per cent of this vast continent was under colonial rule (a third of it British), which one could describe as a lesser form of enslavement.

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El Anatsui: Behind the Red Moon, Tate Modern review - glorious creations

Sarah Kent

The enormous volume of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has overwhelmed many of those invited to exhibit there, but Ghanaian artist El Anatsui responded to the challenge with magnificent hangings that tame the huge, industrial space.

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RE/SISTERS: A Lens on Gender and Ecology, Barbican review - women fighting to protect the environment

Sarah Kent

RE/SISTERS is a show about the brave women who’ve been fighting to protect our planet and the artists whose work – mainly in film and photography – is, in itself, a form of protest. The opening section, Extractive Economics demonstrates the problem – companies trashing the planet for profit, regardless of the cost to people and the environment.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine, Hayward Gallery review - a Japanese photographer uses droll humour to ask big questions

Sarah Kent

A polar bear stands guard over the seal pup it has just killed (main picture). How could photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto have got so close to a wild animal at such a dangerous moment? Even if he had a powerful telephoto lens, he’d be risking life and limb. And what a perfect shot! Every hair on the bear’s body is crystal clear; in fact, it looks as if her fur has just been washed and brushed.

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Turner Prize 2023, Towner Eastbourne review - four contestants strike a sombre mood

Sarah Kent

It’s incredible to think that the Turner Prize has been going for nearly 40 years. It was initially set up to generate interest in contemporary art by sparking debate. Not surprisingly, the media took this as an invitation to stir up controversy by focusing on work they considered shocking and this, in turn, encouraged artists to be provocative.

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Philip Guston, Tate Modern review - a compelling look at an artist who derided the KKK

Sarah Kent

At last, after waiting several years, we get to see Philip Guston’s paintings at Tate Modern. His retrospective was scheduled to open in summer 2020 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, but the murder of George Floyd made the institution nervous. The problem? Guston’s absurdist paintings of Klu Klux Klan (KKK) members.

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Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas, Tate Britain review - overcrowding muffles the voice of the wildest of the YBAs

Sarah Kent

I think of Sarah Lucas as the bad girl of British art, the one who uses her wicked sense of humour to point to rampant misogyny and call out the perpetrators. Of her generation of YBAs (Young British Artists), she has produced the edgiest, funniest and most disrespectful work.

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Marina Abramović, Royal Academy review - young performers stand in for the absent artist

Sarah Kent

One of the most cherished memories of my 40 plus years as an art critic is of easing my way between Marina Abramović and her partner Ulay. They were standing either side of a doorway at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, leaving just enough room for people to squeeze through, trying not to touch their naked bodies.

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