Arts & Culture

Helen Frankenthaler

Emily LaBarge

16 December 2021

HelenFrankenthaler is best known for her vivid, large-scale ‘soak-stain’ paintings, which initiated the colour field works of the so-called second generation Abstract...

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Solo Goya

Tom Stammers

16 December 2021

The first​ academic book I read on Goya was by Fred Licht, for whom Goya distilled the ‘modern temper’ in art. It was thrilling stuff. Goya, it seemed, was a rebel and a nihilist, who . . .

‘Dune’

Michael Wood

16 December 2021

‘Abeginning​ is a very delicate time,’ we are told in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune (1965), and again in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation. None of that ‘a long time ago’ . . .

At the Panto

Andrew O’Hagan

16 December 2021

At​ the rehearsals for Cinderella, the choreographer was clapping out the beat while ten young dancers jumped and twirled. It was a festival of Nike socks, North Face joggers, Calvin Klein T-shirts . . .

What's up, Maggie Nelson?

Emily Witt

16 December 2021

Why​ is Maggie Nelson writing this way, I wondered, after reading the first pages of her new book, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint. Nelson has written cultural criticism before, but . . .

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 17 August 2017

Perhaps, then – though the thought is a grim one – we turn to Guernica with a kind of nostalgia. Suffering and horror were once this large. They were dreadful, but they had a tragic dimension.

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Swoonatra

Ian Penman, 2 July 2015

Sinatra’s sexual charge was like his song: underplayed, tinged with unflappable cool picked up second-hand in the shady cloisters of jazz.

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Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

Wagner’s work is everywhere preoccupied with boundaries set and overstepped, limits reached and exceeded.

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At the End of My Pencil

Bridget Riley, 8 October 2009

As I drew, things began to change. Quite suddenly something was happening down there on the paper that I had not anticipated. I continued, I went on drawing; I pushed ahead, both intuitively and consciously. The squares began to lose their original form.

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It’s a playground: Kiarostami et Compagnie

Gilberto Perez, 27 June 2002

A photograph of Abbas Kiarostami in Hamid Dabashi’s book shows him crouching over a frying pan that has two eggs in it. Beside him, and like him focused on the eggs, is the original movie camera invented by Lumière.

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That Wooden Leg: Conversations with Don Luis

Michael Wood, 7 September 2000

‘Studio Vingt-Huit – high up a winding street of Montmartre, in the full blasphemy of a freezing Sunday; taxis arriving, friends greeting each other, an excitable afternoon...

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Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

‘Be modern – worship food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this...

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The Raphael Question

Lawrence Gowing, 15 March 1984

When I used to give a survey course for first-year students, I dreaded December. That was when I reached the High Renaissance and my audience fell away. It was not only the alternative seasonable...

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Dressing and Undressing

Anita Brookner, 15 April 1982

Fashion,​ according to Baudelaire, is a moral affair. It is, more specifically, the obligation laid upon a woman to transform herself, outwardly and visibly, into a work of art, or, at the very...

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Chapels for Sale: At the Altarpiece

Charles Hope, 2 December 2021

Art historians often ask where the saints and the Virgin are and what are they doing in altarpieces, especially those, common in Venice, in which the painted space seems an architectural extension behind...

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Which red is the real red?

Hal Foster, 2 December 2021

Probably with Magritte in mind, André Breton once offered the image of ‘a man cut in two by a window’ as the paragon of the Surrealist picture. This is close to what Jasper Johns presents:...

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At the Easel

Naomi Grant, 2 December 2021

As a student, I was always taught to look rather than to think, but still life painting seems to confound this wisdom; moments of intense scrutiny so often yield disappointing results. Could it be that...

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Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era

Christopher Tayler, 2 December 2021

The​ great realisation of the Stan Lee era at Marvel was that heroes didn’t need to be paragons. They could be anxious teenagers with money worries, like Spider-Man, or members of a bickering...

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At the Movies: ‘Last Night In Soho’

Michael Wood, 18 November 2021

Ghosts​ and time travel don’t usually mix. In the one case, they visit us; in the other, we visit them. In Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, both things happen simultaneously....

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Life Pushed Aside: The Last Asylums

Clair Wills, 18 November 2021

I am haunted by the figure of Rolanda Polonsky, walking through the hospital corridors. If my eight-year-old self had opened the doors that frightened me I might have found her, back then, exactly as she...

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At Tate Modern: ‘The Making of Rodin’

Richard Taws, 18 November 2021

Many​ of the works in The Making of Rodin, currently on show at Tate Modern (until 21 November), are displayed on what look like the packing cases in which they arrived. A notice on the wall...

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Fetch the Chopping Knife: Murder on Bankside

Charles Nicholl, 4 November 2021

The first true crime craze – the distant antecedent of our own docu-drama craze – proved to be an essentially Elizabethan phenomenon. I would place its high-water mark in the year 1599, when...

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At the Hunterian: Joan Eardley gets her due

Andrew O’Hagan, 4 November 2021

Joan Eardley’s paintings show decrepit buildings and startled faces, but also something more essential – movement, stillness. We see the spirit of young lives caught in meagre surroundings,...

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I hope it hurt: Nochlin’s Question

Jo Applin, 4 November 2021

Each generation seems to need to discover ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ for itself, to work through its claims. But then art history is a discipline still shaped by what Linda...

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Diary: Media Theranos

Pooja Bhatia, 4 November 2021

I had left Ozy Media in 2017 without exercising my stock options, believing the likeliest outcome for the company was not an acquisition or an IPO, as Watson insisted, but slow shrinkage, dwindling...

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At Sadie Coles: Helen Marten

Brian Dillon, 21 October 2021

‘There is something interesting to be said for everything around us,’ Charles Schulz’s Linus says in a Peanuts-derived commercial for Weber’s bread, first broadcast in the...

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At the Movies: ‘No Time to Die’

Michael Wood, 21 October 2021

The​ new Bond film, No Time to Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, begins inside a memory and ends with a kind of apocalypse. Sound familiar? Not really. Memory has never been a prominent theme...

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Craxton liked small jokes, hiding the date of a painting in the label on a bottle of beer, or turning his signature into part of the pattern on a cigarette packet. His art had become a quest for colour,...

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Amerikanist Dreams

Owen Hatherley, 21 October 2021

Constructivists and other avant-gardists found high architecture in the US – those skylines of cupolas and Gothic spires, draped over steel skeletons – gauche and illiterate, especially compared...

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Unknowables: Antonello da Messina

Caroline Campbell, 7 October 2021

St Jerome sits reading at his desk on an elevated podium; other books and artefacts line the shelves around him. The architecture is lofty, gothic and fantastical. Framing the scene is a stone archway...

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Learned Behaviour

Luke Jennings, 23 September 2021

There are few more exuberantly beautiful spectacles than the Royal Ballet’s dancers in flight. They describe their sense of comradeship, the joy they take in their work, the ideals they share. But...

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I reach a familiar impasse. I have no words, or none that strike me as convincing, for the way Aesop looks – the way his features hover between irony and resignation – but that doesn’t...

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