Recent articles

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Laura Gascoigne: Photography, Wrong Sort Of – January 2017

“And the Praemium Imperiale Award for Painting goes to… a photographer!” Yep, Cindy Sherman has won the Imperial Japanese gong for mastery of greasepaint for that interminable string of selfies in fancy dress we all wearied of circa 1980. If not for greasepaint, it would have to be for psychological insight – and despite her readiness to raid the dressing-up […]

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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: Drawing, tradition and Peter Clossick

Despite the best efforts of the state-art establishment visual intelligence survives, argues Eric Coombes In 1941, Augustus John contributed A Note on Drawing (from which I quoted a few words in the previous issue) to a book edited by Lillian Browse, containing reproductions of his own drawings. John records his sense of good fortune in having been a student at […]

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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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Editorial – November 2017

AND I SAY TO MYSELF Remain alert to the possibilities, eyes up 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 is a journey through natural and man-made masterpieces, ingenuity everywhere apparent. To stand any chance […]

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Editorial – September 2017

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 scenes threatened us with eternal agony if we broke their rules. The scarcity of pictures outside of church meant we were naturally curious about anything drawn or coloured. Wandering pedlars would show […]

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