Arts & Culture

Artwork by Peter Campbell.

Woke Conspiracies

William Davies

24 September 2020

A British equivalent of Fox News, wherever it may come from, would have its own distinctive character – less evangelism and more Elgar, fewer guns and more poppies – but the commercial and political logic would be the same.

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Aubrey Beardsley

Rosemary Hill

24 September 2020

‘I represent things as I see them,’ Aubrey Beardsley said, ‘outlined faintly in thin streaks (just like me).’ Beardsley, who died at 25, passed his brief life in the fin-de-siècle . . .

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’

Michael Wood

24 September 2020

The meanings​ of its title sit a little heavily on I’m Thinking of Ending Things, originally a novel by Iain Reid, which Charlie Kaufman has now adapted as a movie (on Netflix). Out of context . . .

Flandrin’s Murals

Nicholas Penny

10 September 2020

Hippolyte Flandrin was the most interesting, and perhaps the most uncompromising, of Ingres’s students. Like Ingres, he worked as a portrait painter, but he devoted most of his career to the . . .

The Trials of Andy Warhol

Colm Tóibín

10 September 2020

Andy Warhol in 1955 ‘Overlooked No More’ is the title of an occasional series in the obituaries section of the New York Times that prints obituaries of those – mainly women but also African . . .

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 17 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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Ian Penman, 2 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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It’s a playground: 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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That Wooden Leg: 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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Vorsprung durch Techno

Ian Penman, 10 September 2020

The young Americans who heard something in Kraftwerk didn’t identify with the moneyed ease and ruffled shirtfronts of mainstream disco, or see any kind of career in old-school supper-club soul. In...

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Virtuosa: Sofonisba Anguissola

Caroline Campbell, 10 September 2020

On the face of it, Sofonisba’s range is extremely restricted. There is little beyond portraiture, and only four works that are not connected to direct observation. Almost all her known paintings...

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At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood, 13 August 2020

Hirokazu​ kore-eda’s film The Truth, released in France in January and now available online, feels like a respectable weepie, a mother and daughter story, except that it keeps being...

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Art Lessons

Peter Campbell, 13 August 2020

If a botanist or architect had taken the pictures she might have been noticing kinds of plant and kinds of building. I was more interested in the way the world offers itself up as a series of ready-made...

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Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester, 13 August 2020

One afternoon I watched twenty minutes or so of esports car racing, fell asleep, and then wandered off to do something else. I came back a couple of hours later and turned the telly back on to see if the...

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No flourish was too much: Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf, 13 August 2020

For the French, Tissot was too English. For the English, he was too ‘vulgar’, which was just another way of saying he was too French. Neither liked his determination not to pick a side.

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At Oberlin: Eva Hesse

Anne Wagner, 30 July 2020

The idea of negation was central to the tensions Eva Hesse created and mediated in her sculptures. One of her favourite descriptions of them was ‘chaos structured as non-chaos’: it captures...

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Michael Tippett’s freewheeling creative spirit had started to rub the British classical music establishment up the wrong way. He was going rogue at a time when much British music sounded stiff, rule-bound...

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On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs, 16 July 2020

When I look at Dorothea Lange’s daughter-in-law sleeping, I remember that the US is the only OECD country where women have no right to paid maternity leave, and when I look at the child sleeping...

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Since​ 1961 more people have gone into space than have raced in Formula 1 Grand Prix. This doesn’t mean that it’s harder to become an F1 driver than an astronaut. But motorsport is...

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At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant, 16 July 2020

McQueen’s work returns again and again to the question of how to mark a life, particularly one ended by violence. In Grenada in 2002, he filmed a young fisherman called Ashes riding the prow of his...

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At the Movies: ‘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....

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