wed 15/08/2018

Visual Arts Reviews

Chris Ofili, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

Flashes of intense colour pulse rhythmically across the piece, contrasting with delicate washes and pools of watery pigment that seem to quiver plumply, set to run uncontrollably at any moment. Lines drawn fast and bold describe four figures, while more tentative, carefully made marks barely delineate a foot, and a bird in a cage.

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Queer British Art 1861-1967, Tate Britain

David Nice

"Good for the history of music, but not for music," one of Prokofiev's professors at the St Petersburg Conservatoire used to say of artistically dubious works which created a splash, according to the composer's diaries.

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Geta Bratescu, Camden Arts Centre

Sarah Kent

What a delight to be introduced to an artist whom you have never heard of and whose work is inspirational.

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Giacomo Balla: Designing the Future, Estorick Collection

Alison Cole

The wonderful Estorick collection, tucked away in Highbury Fields in London, is internationally renowned for its collection of modern Italian art, with a core of major Futurist works.

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Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories review - 'in pictures you can let all your rage out'

Sarah Kent

“My mother has always been a bit of a mystery to me not only as an artist but also as a mum,” declares Nick Willing by way of introduction to his film for BBC Two on the painter Paula Rego, who turned 82 in January. What follows is as far removed from a traditional biopic as you could hope to find. 

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Michelangelo & Sebastiano, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

The story of two characters whose friendship ended in bitter enmity is juicy enough for a typical spring blockbuster and yet this is an exhibition with a serious and scholarly bent.

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The American Dream: Pop to the Present, British Museum

marina Vaizey

Dream or nightmare? Bay of Pigs, assassinations, Vietnam, space race, Cold War, civil rights, AIDS, legalised abortions, same-sex marriage, ups, downs and inside outs. From JFK to The Donald in just under 60 years, as seen in 200 prints in all kinds of techniques and sizes by several score American artists (although, shush, a handful are – shock, horror – immigrants).

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Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Alison Cole

A lovely, scholarly and gently revelatory exhibition, Madonnas and Miracles explores a neglected area of the perennially popular and much-studied Italian Renaissance – the place of piety in the Renaissance home. We are used to admiring the great 15th- and 16th-century gilded altarpieces and religious...

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Bruegel, Holburne Museum, Bath

Florence Hallett

Painted in c.1640, David Teniers the Younger’s Boy Blowing Bubbles depicts a theme that would have been entirely familiar to his wife’s great-grandfather, the founder of one of art’s most illustrious dynasties, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569).

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Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun, National Portrait Gallery

Sarah Kent

This show of work by two artists who use photography to explore the complexities of their own identity has to be the most interesting exhibition ever staged at the National Portrait Gallery, and opening in the same week as International Women's Day couldn't be more fitting.

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