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Arts & Culture

Jacques Tati as Monsieur Hulot in ‘Les Vacances de M. Hulot’

Tativille

David Trotter

2 July 2020

Charlot, a compound of abstractions, had always been the anvil on which Chaplin could beat out allegory whenever he needed to. Hulot, by contrast, became less and less distinct as Jacques Tati’s ambitions ramified. The new kind of comedy had somehow to be the comedy of an environment and its many and variously motivated users. 

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‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

2 July 2020

Spike Lee’s​ Da 5 Bloods (on Netflix) is an extraordinary mixture: a swashbuckling pirate movie about buried gold and a shoot ’em up Western mysteriously transplanted to the East. But . . .

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

2 July 2020

The​ Type Archive near Stockwell in London used to be a hospital for cab horses and circus animals, but since 1992 it has been home to every sort of mould, matrix, burin, bodkin and slug. The archive . . .

On the Pitch

Ben Walker

18 June 2020

‘The people’s game without the people,’ the football commentator Peter Drury said on 12 March, introducing BT Sport’s coverage of the Europa League fixture between Wolverhampton . . .

How to Draw an Albatross

Gaby Wood

18 June 2020

Before my appointment​ with the albatross, I’d planned to draw it differently. We first met through glass: the skeleton was in a cabinet in the museum, displayed on a high shelf. If you looked . . .

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 16 August 2017

Perhaps, then – though the thought is a grim one – we turn to Guernica with a kind of nostalgia. Suffering and horror were once this large. They were dreadful, but they had a tragic dimension.

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Swoonatra

Ian Penman, 1 July 2015

Sinatra’s sexual charge was like his song: underplayed, tinged with unflappable cool picked up second-hand in the shady cloisters of jazz.

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Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

Wagner’s work is everywhere preoccupied with boundaries set and overstepped, limits reached and exceeded.

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At the End of My Pencil

Bridget Riley, 8 October 2009

As I drew, things began to change. Quite suddenly something was happening down there on the paper that I had not anticipated. I continued, I went on drawing; I pushed ahead, both intuitively and consciously. The squares began to lose their original form.

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Kiarostami et Compagnie

Gilberto Perez, 27 June 2002

A photograph of Abbas Kiarostami in Hamid Dabashi’s book shows him crouching over a frying pan that has two eggs in it. Beside him, and like him focused on the eggs, is the original movie camera invented by Lumière.

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Conversations with Don Luis

Michael Wood, 7 September 2000

‘Studio Vingt-Huit – high up a winding street of Montmartre, in the full blasphemy of a freezing Sunday; taxis arriving, friends greeting each other, an excitable afternoon...

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Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

‘Be modern – worship food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this...

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The Raphael Question

Lawrence Gowing, 15 March 1984

When I used to give a survey course for first-year students, I dreaded December. That was when I reached the High Renaissance and my audience fell away. It was not only the alternative seasonable...

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Dressing and Undressing

Anita Brookner, 15 April 1982

Fashion,​ according to Baudelaire, is a moral affair. It is, more specifically, the obligation laid upon a woman to transform herself, outwardly and visibly, into a work of art, or, at the very...

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At the National Gallery: Nicolaes Maes

Clare Bucknell, 18 June 2020

How​ would a child know that Jesus was a special kind of adult? In early modern depictions of Christ blessing little children, it’s conventional for even the smallest babies to be aware...

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When​ in 2010 a group of Old Testament paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán were offered for private sale it came as something of a surprise. The owner couldn’t be blamed for failing...

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At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood, 4 June 2020

Many​ new films have deferred release dates, and cinemas keep reminding us to watch at home the films they can’t show. ‘The olden days,’ Anthony Lane said in a recent, very...

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Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades, 21 May 2020

Archigram was an out-of-hours architectural band of six men – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene – whose day jobs were with big...

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Edward James was filmed in the late 1970s, striding round Las Pozas in a sweater and a tattered dressing-gown, surmounted by parrots. When asked what motivated him, he replied: ‘Pure megalomania!’ 

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Asmartly​ dressed man, wearing suit, tie and hat in the 1920s fashion, walks towards us along a New York street, accompanied by a stylish woman. Suddenly, he is flat on his back. He gets up,...

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Short Cuts: Internet Speak

Lauren Oyler, 7 May 2020

The tone of my correspondence veers from ebullient to combative to conspiratorial to semi-ironically frustrated, outraged, mournful. A message that follows spelling and grammar conventions is rare; it’s...

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‘Linderism’

Brian Dillon, 7 May 2020

On​ 5 November 1982, the post-punk group Ludus played a gig at the Haçienda, the Manchester club run by Factory Records and best known today for its association with New Order and the...

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The Ghent Altarpiece

Julian Bell, 16 April 2020

The lush heaviness into which your eyes sink suggests that whatever breathes or glistens or crinkles – clouds, foliage, faces, cloaks, jewels, metalware and stone – has been stroked and befriended...

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At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard, 16 April 2020

Léon Spilliaert's ghostly works seem to have more in common with Chinese ink painting than with the art of fin-de-siècle Belgium. There is life in the ordinary objects Spilliaert paints –...

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Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes, 2 April 2020

For one so sensitive and so irritable, reviewing the Salon must have been a secular martyrdom. The 1879 Salon was ‘a heap of crackbrained nonsense’: of its 3040 pictures ‘not a hundred...

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In​ Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and in the myth he was staging, the Furies that drove vengeance and justice are appeased, and converted into the so-called Kindly Ones. Pier Paolo Pasolini...

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Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson, 2 April 2020

Like sturgeons and swans in medieval England, public information began as royal property. Today, we understand more vividly than ever before that information is also a commodity: I have it, you don’t;...

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What did Lucian Freud know about pregnancy? Not very much, perhaps. But he did know about sex. The expression on Kitty’s face is not dissimilar to that of an animal before mating.

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Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison, 2 April 2020

In Petipa’s works, the ballerina is as abstract as Goethe’s Eternal Feminine. His heroines, as Alastair Macaulay writes, are advocates of traditional values who ‘live only for marriage...

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Ubu Jarry

Hal Foster, 19 March 2020

What happens when a travesty of authority becomes a template for power, when Dada sets up in the White House or at 10 Downing Street?

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Françoise Gilot

Lili Owen Rowlands, 19 March 2020

He painted her hair as a green, swooping bun that sat on the side of her head like a leaf. ‘We’re all animals, more or less,’ Picasso explained, but she belonged to the plant kingdom.

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The BBC on the Rack

James Butler, 19 March 2020

A post-broadcast era need not be a post-democratic one; an increasingly plural public sphere could be a resource as much as a threat. The BBC’s hegemony in Britain affords it opportunities to...

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