Culture

Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France

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This exhibition looks at key moments in the development of art from the French Revolution to the Second World War.

The main subject matter of European art from the 15th century onwards had been the ruling classes and their possessions. Realism had been the dominant artistic form. However, the successive political upheavals of the 19th century encouraged the spirit of rebellion in the arts.

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932

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An exhibition marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution and its art should be a celebration of one of the most innovative periods in the history of the visual arts and humanity. Instead the Royal Academy has produced a stolid exhibition without any sense of what the revolution overthrew. Also it is supported by modern Russian art collections, which bolster the narrative of communism as dictatorship.

Trotsky said of 1917, “The revolution is, in the first place, an awakening of human personality in the masses — who were supposed to possess no personality…”

New Nigerians

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New Nigerians

New Nigerians is a rather timely, cynical satire about the state of Nigerian politics. The main protagonist, Greatness Ogholi, is the presidential candidate of the People’s Revolutionary Party. We first meet him giving a rather bombastic quasi-Fanonian speech about the ills that plague the nation and how only he, “the man of integrity”, can bring change. We soon learn that “Greatness” is not great and he is far from being “a man of integrity”.

Run The Jewels 3

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Judging by the opening track you might think that Run The Jewels spent the two years since their last album in anger-management classes. Compared to the in-your-face opening line of their previous album (“I’m gonna bang this bitch the fuck out!”), RTJ3’s opener “Down” reflects on dark days trying to cope with “a pure absence of hope”.

But these aren’t downbeat observations. RTJ draw strength from those times, resolving instead relentlessly to assert themselves through their music. The anger of the previous two albums is still here, only much more focused.

Moonlight

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Set against the blazing Florida glow during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the US, Moonlight documents the turbulent life of Chiron, a young black man. We see him at three pivotal stages in his life — aged ten, 16 and in his early 30s.

From boy to manhood, the film tracks his key relationships: that with his drug-addicted mother Paula (powerfully played by Naomie Harris), which is disintegrating; with his closest friend Kevin; and with the surrogate parents he finds in the form of local drug dealer Juan and his girlfriend Teresa.

Toni Erdmann

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Maren Ade’s film takes on modern life, gender, family and the neoliberal bullshit of the corporate world. Ines, our protagonist and hero, works as a business consultant in Bucharest.

She is smart, driven and committed to the world in which she works and the money she makes. She lives fast, she gives a lot and she expects a lot back.

The Lower Depths

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This play, written by Maxim Gorky in 1902, was widely produced across Europe and made Gorky’s reputation as the father of socialist realist writing.

Gorky experienced the vicissitudes of life. He lost his father at five years old and ended up living in his grandfather’s house where everyone was “choked by a fog of mutual hostility”. After his mother died he was kicked out and left to fend for himself aged eleven. He spent five years wandering across Russia.

We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service

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A Tribe called Quest’s new album is a breath of fresh air in the stale halls of “new” hip hop.

For the last couple of years a dominant theme in US hip hop has been the emergence of trap music. Artists such as Future, Rich Homie Quan, Lil Uzi, Young Thug and others have been propelled into the limelight, and signed for millions, due to their categorisation as trap artists.

Denial

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In 1992 a group of Jewish socialists came together to write an Anti Nazi league pamphlet, “Holocaust Denial: The New Nazi Lie”, in response to the rise of Holocaust deniers, and in particular the British Nazi, David Irving.

The emergence of Holocaust Denial in the 1990s was not a coincidence. The British National Party (BNP) was making advances, as were Nazis elsewhere in Europe.

In 1993 the BNP won a council by-election in the Isle of Dogs, east London, and in the same year black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered near the BNP HQ in Welling, south London.

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