Art / Exhibitions

Shooting the Witness: The cartoons of Naji Al-Ali

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The Political Cartoon Gallery, London, until 12 April

As a Palestinian child growing up in Kuwait, the cartoons of Naji Al-Ali in my father's daily newspaper had a powerful effect on me. At the time I was a typical Arab kid: acutely aware of our plight yet blissfully ignorant of the endemic political issues plaguing the Palestinian struggle. I felt that these seemingly simple cartoons affected me in a personal and private way, which is exactly what every one of his millions of admirers felt too.

Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution in Photography

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Hayward Gallery, London, Until 27 April

This exhibition is dedicated to the photographic work of Alexander Rodchenko, and even today, almost 100 years on, living in a society overflowing with images, his photographs are still fresh, still have a sense of wonder and relevance. This comes from what they record - an epoch of revolution and defeat, of hope and despair.

From Russia

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Royal Academy of Arts

In the third room of this extraordinary exhibition there is a group of works painted in Paris in 1908-10. It was the time of Cubism, of Pablo Picasso's Dryad, of Henri Matisse's sensual Nude, Black and Gold and the wonderfully energetic Dance II that is the exhibition's emblematic painting. Two years earlier Paul Cézanne painted the last of his studies of the Mont Sainte-Victoire when the hill itself disappears behind the sheer force of the painter's hand; now we are no longer looking at a place but at the experience, the sight and feeling of the place.

Bauhaus 1919-1933

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Middlesbrough's bright new MIMA is showing the most extensive exhibition of work from the Bauhaus in Britain since 1968.

Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus represented one of the most striking examples of attempts to unite industrial production, art and design. It is a cross-over point for various strands of modernist thinking and practice. It was first established in Weimar amid the social turmoil and revolution following the First World War.

In rejecting European academia, Bauhaus students and teachers sought to bridge the gap between artist and craft worker and between art and society.

Seduced

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Barbican, London, until 27 January 2008

This exhibition, subtitled "Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now", includes some 300 works from a wide variety of periods and cultures. As well as Indian, Chinese and Japanese art, items range from the Greek and Roman periods to today.

Greek pots, for example, show men having sex with either women or male teenagers. Roman marble statues display erections. Meanwhile, the most recent exhibits address the impact of Aids.

Exhibition: The First Emperor

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British Museum, until 5 April 2008

In 1974 a farmer digging a well in China's Shaanxi province stumbled upon one of the world's most stunning archaeological finds, the terracotta warriors. The 7,000 or so life-size and incredibly detailed figures formed part of the vast burial complex of China's first emperor, Qin Hsihuangdi. Around a dozen of these figures form the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the British Museum.

Reflections on Empire

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Jonathan Maunder looks at contemporary art in the US in the post-9/11 era.

In his poem "Lennox Avenue Mural", the black American poet Langston Hughes captured perfectly the tension in a society where people's hopes and ideals are continually frustrated:

"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over -
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?"

And the Word was Good

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Review of Word Into Art, British Museum, London: Jonathan Maunder welcomes an exhibition of modern art from the Middle East.

The Word Into Art exhibition at the British Museum is a real treat artistically, and at the same time a great riposte to current prejudices about Islam and the East. Taking in both artists who have remained in their country of origin and those who have settled elsewhere, the exhibition is a diverse, engaging and at times beautiful journey into Middle Eastern history and identity, as well as the thoughts and feelings of the individual artists themselves.

Art of the Ordinary

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Review of 'From the Bauhaus to the New World, Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy', Tate Modern, London.

Anyone using the London Underground this month cannot fail to notice the striking posters advertising the latest mega-exhibition at the Tate Modern. The show brings together two great figures of modernist art, the German-born Josef Albers (1888-1976) and the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946).

The careers of the two artists overlapped during the 1920s when they both taught at the Bauhaus, the German school of art and design that pretty much invented "modernism" as we now know it - pioneering everything from anglepoise lamps to sans serif fonts.

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