Exhibitions

How capitalism killed sleep

7 December 2019 9:00 am

What can you make a joke about these days? All the old butts of humour are off limits. No wonder…

A museum-quality car-boot sale: V&A’s Cars reviewed

7 December 2019 9:00 am

We were looking at a 1956 Fiat Multipla, a charming ergonomic marvel that predicted today’s popular MPVs. Rather grandly, I…

The extraordinary paintings of Craigie Aitchison

23 November 2019 9:00 am

One of the most extraordinary paintings in the exhibition of work by Craigie Aitchison at Piano Nobile (96–129 Portland Road,…

What really happened at Troy?

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Heinrich Schliemann had always hoped he’d find Homer’s Troy. Although he had no archaeological background to speak of, he did…

John Flaxman is the missing link between superhero movies and Homer

9 November 2019 9:00 am

As you enter the forecourt of the Royal Academy, you see them. A row of artistic titans, carved in stone,…

The truth about food photography

2 November 2019 9:00 am

While looking at the photographs of food in this humorous exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery, I thought of how hopelessly…

English National Opera's triumphant new production of Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus, directed by Daniel Kramer. [Photo: Alistair Muir]

A triumph: ENO’s Mask of Orpheus reviewed

26 October 2019 9:00 am

ENO’s Mask of Orpheus is a triumph. It’s also unintelligible. Even David Pountney, who produced the original ENO staging in…

The beauties of the universe are revealed in the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

19 October 2019 9:00 am

In the early 1660s, Pieter de Hooch was living in an area of what we would now call urban overspill…

‘Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ’, 1890–91, by Paul Gauguin

Pilferer, paedophile and true great: Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

On 25 November 1895, Camille Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien. He described how he had bumped into his erstwhile…

‘Body’ and ‘Fruit’, 1991/93, by Antony Gormley

A cast of Antony Gormley? Or a pair of giant conkers? Gormley’s new show reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

While Sir Joshua Reynolds, on his plinth, was looking the other way, a little girl last Saturday morning was trying…

On photography, shrines and Maradona: Geoff Dyer’s Neapolitan pilgrimage

7 September 2019 9:00 am

At the Villa Pignatelli in Naples there is an exhibition by Elisa Sighicelli: photographs of bits and pieces of antiquity…

‘Flowers’, 1942, by Ivon Hitchens

Whooshing seedlings and squabbling stems: Ivon Hitchens at Pallant House reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Set down the secateurs, silence the strimmers. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Ivon Hitchens was a…

‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, c.1826, by Ingres, a copy of which hung over Freud’s desk

Why was Sigmund Freud so obsessed with Egypt?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago, I visited the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna with a party of American journalists. Even in those…

‘Paean’ (1973) by Bridget Riley

Where are the art fans in Edinburgh? Getting their eyes frazzled by Bridget Riley

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The old observatory on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill may be the most favourably positioned art venue in the world. Recently resurrected…

Lines of beauty: Nancy Ekholm Burkert’s illustration for James and the Giant Peach

Before Quentin Blake, there was Nancy Ekholm Burkert – Dahl’s forgotten illustrator

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Bunnies were out. Beatrix Potter had the monopoly on rabbits, kittens, ducks and Mrs Tittlemouses. ‘I knew I had to…

Like walking into a Rothko: ‘Din blinde passager’ (‘Your blind passenger’), 2010, by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson’s art is both futuristic and completely traditional – which is why I love it

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Superficially, the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at Tate Modern can seem like a theme park. To enter many of the exhibits,…

‘Telepainting’, 1964, by Takis

Full of wonders: Takis at Tate Modern reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Steel flowers bend in a ‘breeze’ generated by magnetic pendulums. This is the first thing you see as you enter…

The women who invented collage – long before Picasso and co.

6 July 2019 9:00 am

The art-history books will tell you that sometime around 1912, Picasso invented collage, or, actually, perhaps it was Braque. What…

‘The Ball’ (1899) by Félix Vallotton

No masterpieces but there are beautiful touches: Félix Vallotton at the RA reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) was a member of the Nabis (the Prophets), a problematically loose agglomeration of painters, inspired by Gauguin…

Untitled #122, from the Fashion series, by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman – selfie queen

29 June 2019 9:00 am

The selfie is, of course, a major, and to me mysterious, phenomenon of our age. The sheer indefatigability of selfie-takers,…

‘Centaur’, 1964, by Paula Rego

Remarkable and powerful – you see her joining the old masters: Paul Rego reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

In 1965 a journalist asked Paula Rego why she painted. ‘To give a face to fear,’ she replied (those were…

Dark masterpiece: ‘Two Figures’, 1953, by Francis Bacon

There is a jewel of a painting at Gagosian’s Francis Bacon show

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It is no easier to make a good painting,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, than it is…

Virtuosic exploration of paint: Frank Bowling at Tate Britain reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

‘The possibilities of paint,’ Frank Bowling has observed, ‘are endless.’ The superb career retrospective of his work at Tate Britain…

The stuff of nightmares: ‘The Five Firemen’, 1938, by Grace Pailthorpe

British surrealism at its most remarkable and nightmarish

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Holding the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936 was a coup for the British avant-garde, putting newbie surrealists such…

‘True Love’, 1981, by Posy Simmonds

The quiet genius of Posy Simmonds, Hogarth’s heir

1 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It’s no use at all,’ says Posy Simmonds in mock despair, holding up her hands. ‘I can’t tell my left…