fri 19/07/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

Action Gesture Paint, Whitechapel Gallery review - a revelation and an inspiration

Sarah Kent

It’s not often that an exhibition makes me cry, but then it’s not often that a show reveals the degree to which we have been duped. Action Gesture Paint includes the work of some 80 women, half of whom I’d never heard of. Given that I’ve been a critic for over 40 years and consider myself well-informed, that’s pretty mind-boggling.

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Les Rencontres de Bamako, Mali review - imagining another future

Andy Morgan

During morning and evening rush hour, Bamako seizes up under the pressure of all the cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses, bringing the three bridges over the Niger River to a standstill and testing Mali’s reputation for patience and humour to its limits. From a mere 130,000 at independence in 1960, the population of the city has now ballooned to over three million.

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Fabienne Verdier, The Song of the Stars (Le chant des étoiles), Musée Unterlinden, Colmar review - sacred and contemporary art in dialogue

mark Kidel

I have wanted to visit the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar for many years: the home of Matthias Grünewald’s masterpiece, the Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516), one of the great works of North European religious art. The opportunity finally arose in an oblique way, as the museum has been hosting a major exhibition by the French painter Fabienne Verdier.

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All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Helen Hawkins

A film telling just the story of photographer Nan Goldin’s campaign against Purdue Pharmacy would have been worth the ticket price alone.

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Spain and the Hispanic World, Royal Academy review - a monumental survey

Alastair Davey

Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library are displayed as a monumental survey of Spanish art from Antiquity to the 20th century. The new exhibition stands as testament to the extraordinary vision of its founder, Archer M Huntington.

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Best of 2022: Visual Arts

Sarah Kent

Have you noticed how exhibitions now seem to go on for ever and ever? Three months seems to be the norm, but five months is not unknown. Ever wondered why? In terms of time and money, mounting a major exhibition is incredibly expensive, of course.

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Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tate Modern review - a forest of huge and imposing presences

Sarah Kent

First off, I must confess that fibre or textile art makes me queasy. I don’t know why, but all that threading, knotting, twisting, coiling and winding gives me the creeps. So it’s all the more extraordinary that I was blown away by Magdalena Abakanowicz’s huge woven sculptures.

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Things, Musée du Louvre, Paris review - the still life brought alive

mark Kidel

Only a Eurostar day-trip away, at least from London, the Louvre is hosting an exceptional exhibition, which makes the journey to Paris well worthwhile. Things – A History of Still Life (Les choses – une histoire de la nature morte) is one of those massive shows that explores a complex theme in a thoroughly original and adventurous way.

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Donna Fleming: Apocalypse, The Pie Factory, Margate review - personal passions and intense feelings

Paul Rider

Donna Fleming’s exhibition at the Pie Factory Gallery in Margate is called Apocalypse, which is confusing because it has nothing to do with the end of the world. Fleming does not even watch the news because she “does not want to think about miserable things”. Instead the title refers back to the Greek word that apocalypse is derived from, apokalypsis, which means uncovering.

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Making Modernism, Royal Academy review - a welcome if confusing intro to seven lesser known artists

Sarah Kent

The Royal Academy’s Making Modernism is a welcome introduction to seven women painters working in Germany at the beginning of the last century.

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