sun 14/07/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

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

Katherine Waters

In 1922 Hussein Abdel-Rassoul, a water boy with Howard Carter’s archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings, accidentally uncovered a step in the sand. It proved to be the breakthrough for which Carter, on the hunt for the final resting place of King Tutankhamun, was looking.

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

Katherine Waters

Artist George Stubbs liked horses. The MK Gallery’s exhibition “all done from Nature” will try to convince you that he also cared about people. He did, to an extent; the commissions came that way. But about half way through the exhibition, the diminutive Study for Three Hunters and Two Grooms Waiting in a Stable-Yard, 1765-70, gives pause for thought.

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

Sarah Kent

Lucian Freud died in 2011 after a career spanning some 70 odd years. Over the decades, he painted and drew himself repeatedly, creating a fascinating portrait of a man who spent an inordinate amount of time scrutinising himself and others.

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Bridget Riley, Hayward Gallery review - the thrill of seeing

Florence Hallett

“People collect diamonds because they sparkle; or they sit on a bench in Cornwall and look out to sea”. At the Hayward Gallery for the opening of her retrospective, Bridget Riley speaks of such uncomplicated pleasures with evident delight.

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Pre-Raphaelite Sisters, National Portrait Gallery review – a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes

Sarah Kent

Focusing on twelve women who played a key role in the lives of Pre-Raphaelite painters like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, this timely exhibition begins with a whimper and ends with a bang. First up at the National Portrait Gallery is Effie Gray whose marriage to art critic, John Ruskin was annulled after six years for non-consummation.

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Rembrandt's Light, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - a film-maker out of time?

Florence Hallett

Among the numerous exhibitions marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, this small show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery stands out.

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Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary, Whitechapel Gallery review – a gentle rebellion

Sarah Kent

Now in her mid-seventies, Anna Maria Maiolino has been making work for six decades. Its a long stretch to cover in an exhibition, especially when the artist is not well known. Perhaps inevitably, then, this Whitechapel Gallery retrospective seems somewhat sketchy and opaque, a feeling compounded by having titles in Portuguese.

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Gauguin Portraits, National Gallery review - me, myself and I

Florence Hallett

“Gauguin was undoubtedly self-obsessed” begins the National Gallery’s latest dead cert blockbuster, as it cheerfully hijacks a de facto series begun next door at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art, Barbican review - great theme, disappointing show

Sarah Kent

The Barbican’s latest offering – a look at the clubs and cabarets set up by artists mainly in the early years of the 20th century – is a brilliant theme for an exhibition.

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Kara Walker: Fons Americanus, Tate Modern review – a darkly humorous gift

Sarah Kent

Soaring some 40 feet up towards the ceiling of Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall, Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus looks ludicrously out of place – like a Victorian interloper within this cathedral to contemporary art.

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