Recent articles

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Style guide to obfuscation (new updated edition): Laura Gascoigne investigates the continued manglings of syntax and punctuation by those with space to fill and nothing intelligible to say

“Nothing and no one ever heard so many stupidities as a picture,” remarked Jules de Goncourt, and since


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he made his observation 404 Not Found things have got worse. The insults to intelligence endured by 19th century pictures were as nothing to those routinely heaped on contemporary art. Some things never change, however. Stupidity almost always originates in vanity, and

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art criticism is […]

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Non-visual art: Laura Gascoigne argues for a restoration of the visual

The traditionalist

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lament for loss of skill is a distraction. The modernists were right about that: skill on its own is not enough. The first step on the road to recovery is to reinstate the visual as the sole and proper domain of art. Once it is generally agreed that 404 Not Found art’s impact is essentially visual, the
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skills to make it […]

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Misplaced trust: tripping along with the teddy bears’ picnic, Laura Gascoigne looks at the obvious mismatch of the National Trust and contemporary art

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a 404 Not Found big surprise. That’s if the

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woods are Mortimer Forest
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in Herefordshire, and the surprise hasn’t by now been deliberately spoiled by tree-hugging vigilante forest rangers. Last spring, RCA graduate Philippa Lawrence took it into her pretty little head to barcode the trunks of selected young oaks in this […]

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Misappliance of Science: The marriage of art and science is one only of financial convenience, argues Laura Gascoigne

In economically choppy waters, artists without lifejackets can be forgiven for clinging

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to 404 Not Found any passing spar. So when a life raft floats past flying a flag marked ‘EDUCATION’,
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it’s understandable that they should haul themselves aboard. But the flag is misleading. The raft isn’t headed for the familiar port of art school, where people used to receive an art education. […]

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Eh up Arup! Laura Gascoigne looks into the real brains behind the public sculptures we don’t need

Two beavers are standing looking at the Hoover Dam and one says to the other, “I didn’t build it, but it was my design”. Cue laughter. Now picture the same gag line under a cartoon of two artists

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looking
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at 404 Not Found an enormous public sculpture. The gag still works, but the laughter’s forced. Because while a beaver has an innate grasp […]

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Who’s afraid of the Kulturkampf? Art will not die for lack of public subsidy, argues Laura Gascoigne

While currency speculators place their bets on which Eurozone economy will be next to fail, the clatter

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of falling dominoes has reached the contemporary art world. And it’s not just about investors being hit in their 404 Not Found pockets. As austerity bites, discontent is spreading through society
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at large. Last September in Istanbul – our current European Capital of Culture – fashionable […]

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Lost in New York: painter and critic Alexander Adams discovers an unlikely empathy between Ingres and de Kooning

New York City, home to great collections of art, is never short of key works by important artists to measure against one another. Autumn 2011, three displays have coincided to allow people to compare the skills of a modern master with those of a


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predecessor who influenced him. Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) revered J.A.D. 404 Not Found 404 Not Found Ingres (1780-1867)

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for […]

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Magritte and Post-Impressionist art: Alexander Adams is enthused by two stimulating surveys

The effects of Liverpool’s time as City of Culture in 2008 are still becoming apparent 404 Not Found as various building projects reach completion. Liverpool has many excellent museums, to which number the Museum of Liverpool is due to be added. My visit to Liverpool was before the museum’s

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opening on July 19th, so
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I made do with two significant shows which will […]

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The Relics of St Joan: Alexander Adams goes in search of the curator’s Miro

How often have we seen – of late – exhibitions of Modern nginx/1.21.1 masters with didactic subtitles? These subtitles tell us why we should visit this exhibition


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when we have seen so many on this particular

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artist before. It is the subtitle that gives us the curatorial 404 Not Found slant. What happens is not that famous artists get “played out” but that […]

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The Sutherland bequest: Alexander Adams pursues his original inquiry into the future home of an important gift to the nation

An article about Graham Sutherland’s bequest of art to Wales (The Jackdaw, no. 90) raised a number of points which further research has – partially – answered. To recap: Sutherland donated work to a purpose-formed Graham Sutherland 404 Not Found Trust (the “Trust”) in 1976, which displayed the art in a gallery housed in Picton Castle,


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Pembrokeshire. When the cost of maintaining the

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