Exhibitions

‘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…

Plastic fantastic: British Industried Fair, 1948

How plastic saved the elephant and tortoise

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Plastics — even venerable, historically eloquent plastics — hardly draw the eye. As this show’s insightful accompanying publication (a snip…

Moore’s art has never looked more in context than it does here, undulating in the spring sunshine with Palladian architecture on one side and vistas of greenery on the other: ‘Large Reclining Figure’, 1984

Moore’s art has never looked better: Henry Moore at Houghton Hall reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Henry Moore was, it seems, one of the most notable fresh-air fiends in art history. Not only did he prefer…

‘Landline Star’, 2017, Sean Scully

A beautiful exhibition of a magnificent painter: Sean Scully at the National Gallery reviewed

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Sean Scully once told me about his early days as a plasterer’s mate. At the age of 17 he was…

‘Head by Head’, 1905, by Edvard Munch

Absorbing – a masterclass in print-making: Edvard Munch at the British Museum reviewed

13 April 2019 9:00 am

An eyewitness described Edvard Munch supervising the print of a colour lithograph in 1896. He stood in front of the…

Why were the Victorians so obsessed with the moon?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a group of slightly ramshackle workmen decide to put on a play. The play…

‘The New and Fashionable Game of the Jew’, 1807

Is now a good time to talk about Jews and money?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Is now a good time to talk about Jews and money? The Jewish Museum in London thinks so, and perhaps…

‘Scenes from the Passion: The Hawthorne Tree’, 2001, by George Shaw

The joy of George Shaw’s miserable paintings of a Coventry council estate

30 March 2019 9:00 am

All good narrative painting contains an element of allegory, but most artists don’t go looking for it on a Coventry…

Full of lovely paintings that might lead you astray: The Renaissance Nude reviewed

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Early in the 16th century, Fra Bartolomeo painted an altarpiece of St Sebastian for the church of San Marco in…

Soft cell: ‘Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202’, 1970–73, by Dorothea Tanning

Wicked, humorous and high-spirited: Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Art movements come and go but surrealism, in one form or another, has always been with us. Centuries before Freud’s…

‘Afternoon at the Beach in Valencia’, 1904, by Joaquin Sorolla

Enjoy a blast of Spanish sun from Joaquin Sorolla

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Artists can be trained, but they are formed by their earliest impressions: a child of five may not be able…

The first great English artist – the life and art of Nicholas Hilliard

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left a religiously divided country to a young iconoclast who erased a large…

Apocalypse now: ‘Wood near My House, Somerset’, c.1991, by Don McCullin

Few soldiers have seen as many terrible sights as Don McCullin

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Diane Arbus saw mid-20th century New York as if she was in a waking dream. Or at least that is…

‘The Fisherman’s Cottage’, 1906, by Harald Sohlberg

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg

23 February 2019 9:00 am

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg. The Norwegian painter  eschewed the cosy fireside for the great…