wed 28/09/2022

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Hallyu! The Korean Wave, V&A review - frenetic but fun

Sarah Kent

Remember Gangnam Style, the music video that went viral in 2012? PSY’s cheeky lyrics and daft moves attracted 1.6 billion hits on YouTube, sparked dozens of parodies and turned the world on to K-pop. And that was just the beginning; K-pop has since mushroomed into a global phenomenon characterised by catchy tunes and fast-paced dance routines performed by beautiful young people in snappy outfits.

Marina Abramović: Gates and Portals, Modern Art Oxford and Pitt Rivers Museum review - transcendence lite

Sarah Kent

I have powerful memories of performances by Marina Abramović. Back in 1977 at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, she and her then partner Ulay stood either side of a doorway, facing one another. There was only enough room to squeeze through sideways and, since both were naked, choosing whom to face was an interesting challenge.

Winslow Homer: Force of Nature, National Gallery...

Sarah Kent

Across the pond Winslow Homer is a household name; in his day, he was regarded as the greatest living American painter. He was renowned especially...

Carolee Schneeman: Body Politics, Barbican review...

Sarah Kent

Life is messy and so is Carolee Schneeman’s work. She wanted it that way. Breaking down the barriers between art and life, between inhabiting a woman...

Germany / The 1920s / New Objectivity / August...

Juliette Bretan

The businessman in Heinrich Maria Davringhausen’s Der Schieber (The Profiteer), 1920-1921 sits several floors above the city streets, pencil in hand...

Gustav Metzger: Earth Minus Environment, Kestle Barton review - an illuminating glimpse of a visionary activist-artist

Mark Hudson

Ecological dirty-realism plus mass-media overload in an idyllic Cornish setting

Milton Avery: American Colourist, Royal Academy review - from backward-looking impressionist to forward looking-colourist

Sarah Kent

A slow reveal of the painter dubbed the American Matisse

Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War review - a lovingly crafted documentary portrait

Saskia Baron

In love and war: one of England's great watercolourists reappraised

Vivian Maier: Anthology, MK Gallery review - what an amazing eye!

Sarah Kent

The brilliance of an amateur photographer who was almost lost to the world

Venice Biennale 2022 review - The Milk of Dreams Part 2: The Arsenale

Mark Hudson

This wildly ambitious mega-exhibition unravels in spectacular style

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

Mark Sheerin

History, politics and poetry abound in a show offering inspiration and agitation

Whitstable Biennale review - a breath of fresh air

Sarah Kent

From philosophising to crab creatures, a festival programme themed around 'Afterwardness'

10 Questions for art historian and fiction writer Chloë Ashby

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

On sights, acts of seeing and book 'Wet paint', inspired by Manet’s 'A Bar at the Folies-Bergère'

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

Mark Hudson

The biggest and most challenging exhibition you’ll be seeing in some time

Cornelia Parker, Tate Britain review – divine intelligence

Sarah Kent

The most interesting artist of our time

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

Sarah Kent

The artist as voyeur

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

Bill Knight

Previously unseen "overpainted photographs" take pride of place

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

Sarah Kent

Can damage ever be life enhancing?

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

Mark Kidel

Revealing survey of women artists in 1920s Paris

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

Sarah Kent

Too many followers, too few originators

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

Sarah Kent

Angst-ridden art that defines an era

A Century of the Artist's Studio, Whitechapel Gallery review - a voyeur's delight

Sarah Kent

The desire to peek behind the scenes is satisfied, delightfully

Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child, Hayward Gallery review - the wife, the mistress, the daughter and the art that came out of it

Sarah Kent

Reclaiming the past through old clothes and other memorabilia

America in Crisis, Saatchi Gallery review - a country in jeopardy

Sarah Kent

Political upheaval in America, 1969 and 2021

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, Royal Academy review – a life lived in extremis

Sarah Kent

From raw emotion to elegant displays of self loathing

Paula Rego: The Forgotten, Victoria Miro review - relentless focus

Jack Barron

A selection of later work is more than a coda to Tate's recent retrospective

Best of 2021: Visual Arts

Theartsdesk

Our highlights of the year just gone

Anselm Kiefer Pour Paul Celan, Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris review - an installation of rare profundity

Mark Kidel

Anselm Kiefer's spectacular homage to the poet Paul Celan

Kehinde Wiley, National Gallery review - more than meets the eye

Sarah Kent

From Soho to the snowbound emptiness of Norway in winter

Footnote: A brief history of british art

The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.

Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.

British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.

In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.

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