wed 28/02/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

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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Beatriz Milhazes: Maresias, Turner Contemporary review - the taste and sight of Brazil

Hannah Hutching

For those unable to travel to far-flung places this summer, look no further than Turner Contemporary. Featuring the work of Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, the exhibition transports you to the sandy beaches, vibrant streets and candle-lit cathedrals of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Differently Various, The Curve, Barbican review - a step in a shared direction

Saskia Baron

The Barbican’s effort to open up the art centre to a wider audience than just City workers and wealthy local residents makes a leap forward with a new exhibition in the Curve. The free gallery space that wraps around the back of the main concert hall, has become home to Differently Various, a lively show and series of workshops co-curated by a group of artists from Headway East London, a charity for people who have experienced brain injury.  

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Anselm Kiefer: Finnegans Wake, White Cube Bermondsey review - an awe-inspiring show

mark Kidel

As a child, Anselm Kiefer tells us, in a bombed out German city, he would play in the rubble, creating life out of ruin and destruction. As an artist who is remarkably consistent, without being predictable, he continues to play in the ruins, breathing new life into the detritus of the world as well as his own collection of found objects, waste materials and other elements from which life appears to have been sucked out by time and history.

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Jean Cooke: Ungardening, Garden Museum review - a cramped show of airy and spacious paintings

Sarah Kent

It’s impossible to think about Jean Cooke’s work without taking into account her relationship with her husband, the painter John Bratby, because his controlling personality profoundly affected every aspect of her life.

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Manchester International Festival exhibitions review - a new arts centre puts Manchester firmly on the cultural map

Sarah Kent

At 94, Yayoi Kusama is said to be the world’s most popular living artist. People queue for hours to spend a few minutes inside one of her Infinity Rooms, spaces with walls mirrored to create infinite reflections.

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Brian Clarke - A Great Light, Newport Street Gallery review - a British master proves his worth

mark Kidel

The artist Brian Clarke, surely one of the leading British artists of our time, has been all too readily dismissed as a mere craftsman. So much for being an outstanding and highly original painter who’s also done more for contemporary stained glass than any other artist in the world.

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Carrie Mae Weems: Reflections for Now, Barbican review - going from strength to strength on an epic journey

Sarah Kent

Carrie Mae Weems is the first live black artist to have a solo show at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, yet she is hardly known here at all. So the Barbican’s retrospective is timely, especially since, at 70, Weems is making her best work yet.

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Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis, Hayward Gallery review - hope is what we need, but inspiration is a rarity

Sarah Kent

Dear Earth, Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is a mixed show of artists who address the parlous plight of our planet. The issue obsesses me, so anyone who braves the pitfalls of exploring this difficult subject has my sympathy.

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Life is More Important than Art, Whitechapel Gallery review - themes of arrival, belonging and departure unite fascinating mixed show

Sarah Kent

Standing just inside the door of the Whitechapel’s downstairs gallery is a luggage trolley laden with parcels (pictured below, right).

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