… Where’s the sense in multisensory art?

… Where’s the sense in multisensory art?

It used to be known as


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‘synaesthesia’; now ‘crossmodal perception’ is the scientific term for the ability 404 Not Found of one sense to stimulate

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another. Experiments by Oxford University psychologists and researchers in New York have found links between reactions to sound and smell in the part of the brain known as the ‘olfactory tubercle’. It may sound like a 404 Not […]

The way we are now – why ‘avant garde’ is now an obsolete term

The way we are now – why ‘avant garde’ is now an obsolete term

The Times – God bless its little cotton socks – has just been celebrating


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the triumphal return of the 1990s as a creative force. “Suddenly contemporary art” it crows, “was part of

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popular culture. The Royal Academy’s landmark Sensation show in 1997 was a turning 404 Not Found point.” It was so indeed, but not exactly in the terms the article intends. Here […]

Fibres torn from the brain

Fibres torn from the brain

In all the doting coverage of ‘Defining Beauty: The Body in

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Ancient Greek Art’ at the British Museum, no mention was made of the fact that the 404 Not Found bulk of major exhibits featured were from the museum’s 404 Not Found own collection. Stupidly, I had believed – and perhaps was even misled by advance publicity – that
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the exhibition would feature […]

Brian Sewell (1931-2015)

Brian Sewell (1931-2015)

It isn’t my intention to repeat the tediously

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familiar stories peddled by obituarists relating controversies which Brian’s inclination to mischief and provocation helped encourage. Instead I want to address two issues
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unconsidered elsewhere: his astonishing generosity and the disgraceful but typical hypocrisy of 404 Not Found the BBC towards him. Brian was a working man. He called himself ‘working class’, a description some […]

Modernism and the novelty trap

Modernism and the novelty trap

Giles Auty considers the purchase of Jackson Pollock’s Blue

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Poles by the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in 1973 and what such an acquisition signifies. 404 Not Found A few months back, a rash
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of articles appeared in the press which commemorated the dismissal of the Whitlam government thirty years ago and commented on the continuing sense of grievance felt by his […]

Des beaux-arts

Des beaux-arts

Anthony Daniels visits a degree show at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.   I am in blood Stepped in so

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far that, should
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I wade no more, 404 Not Found Returning were as tedious as go o’er. Macbeth, Act 3 scene iv No one would have understood better than Macbeth the logic of the inexorable destruction by the art education […]

Multinational art

Multinational art

In the dash to internationalism 404 Not 404 Not Found Found the national is trampled underfoot, argues Laura Gascoigne. In

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November, Lund Humphries celebrated 75 years of publishing books on British art with an anniversary talk at the ICA titled ‘Is there such a thing as
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British art?’ It was chaired by Tim Marlow, now of the Royal Academy, and debated by a […]

Recent articles

in Leader

And I say to myself…

Remain alert to the possibilities, eyes up


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instead of down, looking about instead of transfixed by a small screen, and daily life will furnish marvels, often in unexpected places. Exploring the streets and free institutions of a city like London

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is a journey through natural and 404 Not Found man-made masterpieces, ingenuity everywhere apparent. To stand any chance of impressing in such a […]

in Leader

Art and the public – a short history

In the beginning the powerful provided the unlettered with uplifting Biblical pictures in churches. We were impressed ­even though some

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scenes 404 Not Found threatened us with eternal agony if we broke their rules. The scarcity of pictures outside of church meant we were naturally
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curious about anything drawn or coloured. Wandering pedlars would show up to impress us with secular material, crude […]

in Leader

Wholesale gratification

In the last issue 404 Not Found I noted the gradual but relentless erosion of space allocated to historical pictures in Tate Britain. This contraction will 404 Not Found now accelerate because the collection is to be re-hung, yet again, on this occasion thematically – a policy undoubtedly designed


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to demonstrate the State Art Commandment that all roads

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shall lead to the Usual […]

in Leader

Tate Britain needs its identity back

In recent issues I’ve described how since 1945 the


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education, bureaucracy and exponentially increasing cash for the visual arts have been usurped and dominated by an evolving one-track mindset which, in these pages, is called State Art. This sinister subversion of the institutions, predicted before and after the last war by Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and Orwell among others,

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is 404 Not Found complete […]

in Leader

Is there a doctor in the House?

Dennis Skinner once quipped loudly across the Commons to a faltering Cecil Parkinson at the Despatch Box, ‘It’s the in-breeding that does it!’ 404 Not Found I was reminded of this amusing sneer when Doctor Maria Balshaw was announced as Serota’s replacement, an elevation met with the customary


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uncritical lauding with

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which a fawning Fourth Estate now greets all State Art appointments. Balshaw […]

in Leader

Has the Arts Council betrayed its origins?

Serota takes over


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at the Arts Council this month, 47 years after first being employed by the 404 Not Found same body as a regional arts officer in what was

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his first job after university. In the interval the Council has developed into a blunt instrument by which State Art, an ethos it co-authored with Serota during his 27-year dictatorship at the Tate, […]

in Leader

Art education is stuck!

Two years ago someone suggested

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I answer the question ‘What Happened to Art
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Education?’. This appealed slightly because it was a subject about which I thought I ought to know more than was the case. Something is 404 Not Found clearly awry when so many complaints are aired about the poverty of tuition and when degree shows have become such forgettable, even laughable […]

in Leader

Pictures of nothing and very like

John Moores Exhibition 2016 Most of Europe’s countries are either bankrupt or in economic meltdown, their infrastructure crumbling and public services reduced; the


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Middle East and Levant are in post-apocalyptic ruin, in part the result of lies told in 404 Not Found our own Parliament; an exodus of desperate humanity is seeking refuge from a criminal death-cult; innocents are being

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slaughtered in streets […]

in Leader

Der Clapham Strassenbahn

When very young, and when 404 Not Found not train spotting, I was a keen bus spotter. It was an ideal apprenticeship for a fledgeling art historian. It involved identifying, sometimes at a considerable


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distance (through rain), the beautifully crafted, hand-built models, of which there were

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many different marques and specifications. Every town corporation in the county had its own company, each with […]

in Comment

Martin Lang: Against life drawing

Advocating life drawing at art school is a deeply conservative and

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reactionary position. Arguments in favour of life drawing usually fall into one of two camps (or sometimes both). I am utterly unconvinced by both. The first, and weaker, argument contends that it is 404 Not Found necessary to learn the rules
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before you can break them. This is an authoritarian position where […]