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Laura Gascoigne: Is It The Real World Or An Exercise? – November 2016

The Ukrainians have a lot of empty plinths where statues of Lenin once stood and last July, taking a leaf out of the Gormley Sutra, steps were erected around the one in Kiev’s Bessarabska Square so that people could climb up to admire the view and/or take selfies. The installation, Inhabiting Shadows, was the work of Mexican artist Cynthia Gutiérrez, […]

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Laura Gascoigne: Reach for the Starchitects – The Switch House

A survey by the Office for National Statistics in May revealed that the British are changing their spending habits. Instead of filling our homes to the rafters with consumer durables and not-so-durables, we’re spending our spare cash on ‘experiences’, including recreation and, yes, culture. “People are interested in servicing a lifestyle rather than buying stuff,” one trend forecaster commented in […]

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Laura Gascoigne: Crime Without Punishment

In May, policemen with shovels moved in again on 79-year-old mobster Robert Gentile’s Connecticut ranch. It’s the third time they’ve searched the property and the second time they’ve dug it up in the hope of finding the 13 masterpieces, including Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. A few […]

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Giles Auty: Review of The New Philistines by Sihrab Ahmari

Although I no longer live permanently in Britain, I have been fascinated to learn about the apparent stir caused there recently by this worthy and unusual little book. The feelings of indignation and outrage which underwrite it are understandable. Yet even the fiercest cultural arguments seldom seem to stir much in the way of violent emotions in Britain. By custom […]

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Giles Auty: The Vital Value of Dissent

From the raised kitchen window of my house I can see most of the birds which regularly visit the garden. In summer these are mostly magpies, currawongs and cockatoos while in winter quite large flocks of pale green female satin bowerbirds arrive which are often accompanied by an all-black male. The latter is, in fact, the only bird which could […]

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Eric Coombes: The Destruction of Art Education and Its Implications for School Pupils

The near-destruction in the western world of a centuries-long tradition of visual education could be described – hyperbolically but not misleadingly – as having been accomplished overnight. The inherited gifts of that tradition are now being casually, ungratefully and even malevolently thrown away. In its chronologically long-range survey, What Happened to Art Education? provides the context in which the extraordinary […]

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Alexander Adams: Canon Fodder – November 2017

Alexander Adams investigates the status of the canon in art under Post-Modernism and the dangers of undervaluing it The canon of great art has never been the target of greater ire than it is today, but many leftist critics and their traditionalist opponents misunderstand the canon. The truth is unsettling for both groups. This essay seeks to clarify the nature […]

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Alexander Adams: New Order – September 2017

Alexander Adams seeks to explain how identity politics, Feminism and New Criticism underpin the ideology of a generation of curators, and concludes by discussing the probable direction of the Tate under Dr Balshaw An Allegory Once upon a time there was a society which made objects that had meaning and that people enjoyed looking at. The society put these objects […]

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Dick French: On The Town – November 2017

It used to be said that a night out with John Bellany would take three years off your life. I’ll find out one day. We were both great friends of Cyril Reason, who was one of our tutors at the RCA, and although Cyril was less extreme than Bellany he was a thirsty man. I’ll never forget one night in […]

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Dick French: On The Town – September 2017

I’ve just been to see an exhibition by an artist whose name for the moment escapes me. He is having an exhibition of his furniture-friendly Pop-Art style abstractions. They’re copies of book covers – title above, abstraction below. A few years ago there was someone, perhaps it was the same bloke, doing large pictures of penguin book covers. Scrape that […]