Culture

Fernand Leger: New Times, New Pleasures

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Tate Liverpool is currently hosting a major exhibition of the work of Fernand Léger.

Léger (1881–1955) is one of the 20th century’s great modernist artists. He worked in a diverse range of media which the exhibition successfully brings together with abstract and figurative paintings, a large-scale mural, films, graphic designs, drawings, books and textiles.

Roma

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Yalitza Aparicio. Remember her name. As an amateur debutante she plays Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Roma. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of upstairs/downstairs life in his native Mexico City, set in 1971 when he would have been ten.

Cleo is one of two live-in workers for the middle class family whose male doctor head deserts them, leaving mum, four young kids and gran to face their futures together poorer.

In defence of degenerate art

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The so called “alt-right” project is an attempt to throw an ideological blanket over a range of deeply reactionary political tendencies. These range from racist right wing “mainstream” conservatives (such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg in Britain), to far-right populists (like US president Donald Trump and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán) and outright fascists (such as Marine Le Pen in France and Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache).

A woman who created and recorded history

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A fascinating new exhibition in east London shows the work of suffragette and photographer Norah Smyth. The images, mostly taken from 1914 to 1916, record the work of the East London Federation of Suffragettes. They are on loan from the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam and are displayed together for the first time.

22 July and Utoya – July 22

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On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

Disobedience

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Disobedience

Disobedience is Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s first English language film, a north-west London-set drama, based on the 2006 novel by Naomi Alderman. Compared to his previous film, 2017’s A Fantastic Woman, this is a downbeat, subtle story of two women who grew up in an orthodox Jewish community.

Sorry to Bother You

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Last August Boots Riley, the American rapper and activist, caused controversy by launching a blistering attack on Spike Lee’s blockbusting film BlacKKKlansman. Riley’s criticism revolved around whether police officers should be portrayed as allies in the fight against racism. For Riley, Ron Stallworth (BlacKKKlansman’s protagonist) “is the villain”.

Martin Parr: Return to Manchester

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Almost 50 years ago, the teenage Martin Parr came up north to Manchester Polytechnic where he learnt his trade as a photographer, shooting in black and white. He looked for people, often managing to get close to them. He hung out in the city centre, Piccadilly Gardens, where he found young couples and fans of the Osmonds willing to pose for him. He explored every Yates’ Wine Lodge in the area on weekday dinner times, often rather sad places.

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