Art

Anarchy & Beauty

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At the centre of his understanding of art, William Morris saw an inseparable connection between the imagination of the worker and his or her labour.

His concept of art was not simply making art objects to place in galleries or hang on rich people’s walls, but the human labour involved in making all the objects of our lives. He argued ideas of beauty were integral to us as human beings. Art was a result of the pleasure gained in the process of making something beautiful.

Mondrian and Colour

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Turner Contemporary, Margate. Until 21 September

Piet Mondrian declared that he was not interested in painting pictures, but that his art was about "seeking truth".

For him, this search came to mean reducing images of the things he saw around him to their most objective essence - to remove the subjective and thereby achieve clarity.

Mondrian's most famous works, the grids, use simple horizontal and vertical lines to separate the bright primary colours of red, yellow and blue to create a "universal harmony". It is easy to see the effect Mondrian's abstraction has had on areas of graphic design and architecture.

ReNew Marxist Art History

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This volume of essays was initially conceived as a collection of contributions and articles (or "Festschrift" to give such a work its proper name) in honour of the Marxist professor, writer and historian Andrew Hemingway to mark his retirement from the Department of History of Art at University College London.

But the editors developed a second objective, that is to provide a snapshot of the current state of "an art history that can be considered Marxist".
The book provides a lucid and important statement about where and how the discipline stands today.

Matisse: The Cut-Outs

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Tate Modern, London, until 7 September

Shortly after Henri Matisse's death the writer and artist John Berger wrote a short illuminating essay on Matisse's work in which he remarked, "I can think of no modern artist with less interest in history or psychology." He was born in the year that the Cutty Sark was launched and died the year in which the first hydrogen bomb was tested.

The high price of oils

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The art market is awash with cash, and Qatar is now hoovering up classical and modern collections thanks to its oil and gas dollars. This puffed up market of speculators has distorted creativity, argues Ben Windsor.

Each year Art Review magazine compiles a list of the 100 most powerful people in the art world. This year, the highest ranked artist, Ai Weiwei, languishes at No 9. All places above him are taken by directors of public museums and private galleries (the trend setters of the art world) with one exception.

Art and the market: creativity for sale

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Modern art has always had a troubled relationship under capitalism, writes Noel Halifax. Art movements that express the urges of rebellion, find themselves consumed by capital.

Throughout his life the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky had an interest in art. He took part in heated debates after the 1917 Revolution in Russia over the nature of art, poetry, cinema and literature. Trotsky debated with the "Prolecult" movement about the meaning and use of art in the revolution.

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