Art / Exhibitions

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

Issue section: 
Author: 

Royal Academy of Arts

This is an exhibition full of surprises. Before arriving at the exhibition I was full of questions. Hockney's latest paintings are of landscapes. Could I be excited by pictures of trees? Could Hockney, now 75 years old, still paint with the energy and humour he did in his younger days? Could Yorkshire really provide the painter with the inspiration that the US had?

Magnetised Space

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Serpentine Gallery

Lygia Pape's (1927–2004) work developed in the vortex of change and confrontation that Brazil has witnessed since 1945. The country has seen economic expansion on a massive scale; millions of people have been sucked into rapidly expanding urban centres. Immense wells of poverty and destitution exist next to the obscene caprice and rapacious greed of the ruling elites.

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Issue section: 

The British Museum until 19 February

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, Grayson Perry's new exhibition, is a combination of new works alongside selected pieces from all parts of the British Museum's collection. It is a celebration of decorative art and of all those makers, builders and unnamed individuals who have made beautiful objects throughout history.

All Work and Low Pay

Issue section: 
Author: 

Using collections from the Women's Library and strengthened by material from the TUC, this exhibition attempts to cover 150 years of work performed by women and, in part, their resistance.

Its message - that women's work is consistently undervalued and underpaid - is well communicated throughout but it plays it safe in too many places to be particularly challenging.

The first few cases address the variety of work that women do or have done in recent history, and run from teaching and nursing to laundry and admin. A glass case covering the whole of one wall displays objects representing this whole range of work, although with so little space for the exhibition and so much to cover, having the objects on their own with such little information seems a waste.

Magnum Contact Sheets Thames and Hudson

Issue section: 

One of the starting points for this publication of the Magnum photo-collective's impressive collection of contact sheets and the accompanying exhibition is that this once intrinsic part of photographic work has now been "rendered obsolete by digital photography". However, the book shows examples of contact sheets produced as recently as 2010.

Gerhard Richter: Panorama

Issue section: 
Author: 

There is a major retrospective exhibition of Gerhard Richter's work now showing at the Tate Modern gallery in London. Richter's artworks pose difficult questions and are stimulating, disturbing and beautiful. They also, I think, help us frame our modern experience in surprising ways.

There is a lot of hype about Richter and his art. Some critics regard him as the greatest living painter and his artworks sell for millions at auction. There is scant regard for historical context in the Tate's presentation. Richter himself says of his paintings, "I don't even like showing them any more. The press love them. Dreadful!" However, don't let this put you off.

Private Eye: the First 50 Years

Issue section: 
Author: 

An exhibition celebrating 50 years of Private Eye has just opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Te original artwork for over 120 of their funniest cartoons - by artists such as Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Wille Rushton, Barry Fantoni, and Michael Heath - is on show alongside a life-sized cutout of Tony Blair, a stuffed dog, a flying Robert Maxwell and a scattering of inflatable bananas once sold to fundraise for one of the many libel lawsuits issued against the Eye.

Since its first publication in 1961, the Eye has lambasted and lampooned a variety of public figures, most notably billionaire businessman James Goldsmith and the newspaper magnate and non-swimmer Robert Maxwell. Goldsmith issued more than 100 writs against the Eye in 1976 alone.

Lucian Freud 1922-2011

Issue section: 
Author: 

In art, portraits have had a poor time of it since the Second World War. Many came to think of portraiture as at best a minor form of art, inferior to the grander modernist traditions - such as minimalism, conceptual or action art - that ask the really important questions.

When you look at the art usually done under this label, the assessment seems accurate. After all, portraits are often largely painted to flatter the sitter, or at best to make observations about modern life and social attitudes. The latter kind would include artists like David Hockney or the (to my mind awful) portraits of the Glasgow Brutalist school.

Jean Genet: Act One and Act Two

Issue section: 
Author: 

Jean Genet's life was very different to that of most writers. Abandoned as a baby, he spent his teenage years in a reformatory, became a thief and a gay prostitute and was repeatedly imprisoned. In jail he began to write. Thanks to his literary contacts his masturbation fantasies eventually became bestsellers.

This exhibition celebrates Genet as a playwright and political activist. Alongside exhibits relating to Genet's life and work are newer works inspired by themes developed by Genet.

Magritte: The Pleasure Principle

Issue section: 
Author: 

This summer Tate Liverpool plays host to a major exhibition of René Magritte, with over 100 paintings, some from private collections and many never seen before in Britain.

Magritte worked in both the commercial field and "high art", producing some of the most recognised images in the world. Today they are often recycled by advertisers and his work has become a means by which the revolutionary Surrealist movement was tamed and co-opted by capitalism. After shocking the art world - including the official Surrealist movement - his work was used to sell chocolate and beer.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Art / Exhibitions