wed 28/02/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

In the Air, Wellcome Collection review - art in an emergency

Mark Sheerin

Air is a weighty subject, and in both senses; if we did not contain its gases in our bodies, the air would crush us. Ninety-nine per cent of the world’s population breathe polluted air daily. There was a time on this planet, 3.5 billion years ago, before oxygen. Startling facts like these are perhaps to be expected from an exhibition at the scientific Wellcome Collection.

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Whitstable Biennale review - a breath of fresh air

Sarah Kent

If you need an excuse to spend a day in the charming seaside town of Whitstable, the Biennale is it. After a four-year hiatus, the festival is back with a somewhat edgy, apocalyptic feel.

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Venice Biennale 2022 review - The Milk of Dreams Part 1: The Giardini

Mark Hudson

Cecelia Alemani's vision for The Milk of Dreams, the International Exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2022 had me excited – and perplexed – from the moment I heard about it.

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Cornelia Parker, Tate Britain review – divine intelligence

Sarah Kent

Cornelia Parker’s early installations are as fresh and as thought provoking as when they were made. Her Tate Britain retrospective opens with Thirty Pieces of Silver (pictured below left: Detail).

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Walter Sickert, Tate Britain review - all the world's a stage

Sarah Kent

Who was Walter Sickert and what made him tick? The best way to address the question is to make a beeline for the final room of his Tate Britain retrospective. It’s hung with an impressive array of his last and most colourful paintings.

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Ming Smith: A Dream Deferred, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery review - snapping the Blues

Bill Knight

Ming Smith is a Black female photographer. When she first dropped off her portfolio at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1978 the receptionist assumed she was a courier. When MoMA offered to buy her work she declined at first because the fee didn’t cover her bills. Luckily for us, she relented.

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Ali Cherri: If you prick us, do we not bleed?, National Gallery review - cabinets of curiosity

Sarah Kent

I’m a sucker for traditional vitrines and the procession of old style display cases installed by Ali Cherri in the Renaissance galleries of the Sainsbury Wing look very handsome.

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Pionnières: Artistes dans le Paris des années folles, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris review - thrilling and slightly flawed

mark Kidel

The hidden history of women artists continues to generate some ground-breaking exhibitions that contribute to a radical re-assessment of art and cultural history. This is a welcome trend, though not entirely without risk, as a new show in Paris demonstrates, and as other exhibitions have managed less convincingly.

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Surrealism Beyond Borders, Tate Modern review - a disappointing mish mash

Sarah Kent

The night after visiting Tate Modern’s Surrealism Beyond Borders I dreamt that a swarm of wasps had taken refuge inside my skull and I feared it would hurt when they nibbled their way out again.

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Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-65, Barbican review - revelations galore

Sarah Kent

The Barbican’s Postwar Modern covers the period after World War Two when artists were struggling to respond to the horrors that had engulfed Europe and find ways of recovering from the collective trauma.

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