Recent articles

in Leader

Editorial – July 2017

WHOLESALE GRATIFICATION  In the last issue I noted the gradual but relentless erosion of space allocated to historical pictures in Tate Britain. This contraction will now accelerate because the collection is to be re-hung, yet again, on this occasion thematically – a policy undoubtedly designed to demonstrate the State Art Commandment that all roads shall lead to the Usual Suspects. […]

in Leader

Editorial – May 2017

TATE BRITAIN NEEDS ITS IDENTITY BACK In recent issues I’ve described how since 1945 the 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 […]

in Leader

Editorial – March 2017

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!’ I was reminded of this amusing sneer when Doctor Maria Balshaw was announced as Serota’s replacement, an elevation met with the customary uncritical lauding with which a fawning Fourth Estate […]

in Leader

Editorial – January 2017

Has The Arts Council Betrayed Its Origins? Serota takes over at the Arts Council this month, 47 years after first being employed by the same body as a regional arts officer in what was 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 […]

in Leader

Editorial – November 2016

Art Education is Stuck Two years ago someone suggested I answer the question ‘What Happened to Art Education?’. This appealed slightly because it was a subject about which I thought I ought to know more than was the case. Something is clearly awry when so many complaints are aired about the poverty of tuition and when degree shows have become […]

in Leader

Editorial – September 2016

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 Middle East and Levant are in post-apocalyptic ruin, in part the result of lies told in our own Parliament; an exodus of desperate humanity is seeking refuge from a criminal death-cult; […]

in Leader

Editorial – July 2016

Der Clapham Strassenbahn When very young, and when 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 distance (through rain), the beautifully crafted, hand-built models, of which there were many different marques and specifications. Every town corporation in the county had its own […]

in Comment

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 […]

in Comment

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 […]

in Essays

Alexander Adams: Why are artists poor? – July 2017

Imagine the most absurd and outrageous provocations about art that you can. For example: there is no such thing as a pure work of art; artists are unusually ill-informed; there is no market reward for good art; government subsidies make artists poor. Both defensive supporters of state funding and critical traditionalists will be muttering that art should not be viewed […]