Recent articles

in Essays

Freedom of expression

  ALEXANDER ADAMS rehearses recent arguments concerning freedom of expression before arriving at his own conclusion.   “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.” JOHN STUART MILL       On February 14th, 2015 an Islamist gunman attacked a café in Copenhagen where a debate on free speech was being held. […]

in Comment

Wonders of creativity

Laura Gascoigne investigates why what was once so very special is now common as muck and comprehensively commandeered by the fat controllers In The Masque of Augurs, Ben Jonson introduces the comic figure of Vangoose, a “rare artist” and producer of masques with a reputation for the wildly fantastical. “Now we would bring in some dainty new thing, dat never […]

in Comment

Turning Wool into money … or fool’s gold

Eric Coombes responds to an editorial about the art cash cow Is a celebrity a person ‘famous for being famous’, or merely ‘someone in the media that one had never heard of’. Despite being obscure – in this paradoxical and mysterious mode of obscurity – celebrities, however ill-informed and stupid they might be, are entitled to have their ‘opinions’ widely […]

in Comment

The triumph of avant-garde lite

Edward Lucie-Smith charts the decline of contemporary art from Modernism and the avant garde to being a mere epiphenomenon of the fashion industry Ten days or so ago, before beginning to write this, I was idly browsing a slightly out-of-date copy of the Evening Standard Magazine. Anything to avoid the toil of having to write something myself. Faute de mieux, […]

in Comment

‘The Late’ shows

Edward Lucie-Smith considers the phenomenon of ‘The Late Style’ in relation to Rembrandt and Turner The new Rembrandt show at the National Gallery in London (until January 18th) is clearly meant to challenge the enormous success the same institution enjoyed with its recent exhibition devoted to Leonardo da Vinci. It is a populist homage to one of the undoubted giants […]

in Essays

Do real artists still paint flowers?

Patrick Cullen explains the enduring appeal of paintings requiring only to be looked at I showed some paintings of flowers I had done recently to a friend. He said he quite liked them but they appeared to create a problem for him. He seemed to feel that flowers were no longer a subject for serious artists, more one for Sunday […]

in Comment

Art under kleptocracy

Laura Gascoigne examines the paradox of why most artists’ earnings are below the poverty line while the art market is thriving as never before Another month, another book on the contemporary art economy, this time from an overlooked perspective. The New Economy of Art, a joint publication by DACS and Artquest, looks at the art market from the POV of […]

in Leader

Tottenham Caught Napping

Advised that as part of the Crossrail project (current budget £15 billion) each of five central London tube stations through which it passes had been allocated, for the purpose of decoration by their artists, to the five principal dealers associated with State Art, you might think a major public contract couldn’t possibly get away with such lazy commercial partiality. In […]

in Leader

‘Sculpture’ versus Sculpture

Among the least impressive legacies of arts administrators’ obsession with Modernism and its aftermath is the impossibility of predicting a work’s status solely from its appearance. You might form your own view about it, but you can’t predict what State Art’s opinion will be because there are no published criteria or guidelines for making such a judgement. You can’t second […]

in Comment

View from the summit

Laura Gascoigne wades through managerial drivel to consider the plight of museums outside London. Searching for quirky museums for a series in The Oldie, I turned up the name of the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. A recce of the BBC Your Paintings website revealed that its Victorian collection, left to the town in 1932 by mill […]