Modernism

Don’t read Ulysses; listen to it

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Don’t read James Joyce’s Ulysses, says John Phipps. Listen to it

A play for bureaucrats: David Hare's Straight Line Crazy reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

It’s good of Nicholas Hytner to let Londoners see David Hare’s new play before it travels to Broadway where it…

The genius of Iannis Xenakis

5 March 2022 9:00 am

This year is the centenary of the birth of Iannis Xenakis, the Greek composer-architect who called himself an ancient Greek…

Abstract and concrete: the beauty of brutalism

5 February 2022 9:00 am

Nothing divides the British like modernist architecture. Traditionalists are suspicious of its utopian ambitions and dismiss it as ugly; proponents…

Ralph Vaughan Williams: modernist master

5 February 2022 9:00 am

He is caricatured as a populist and purveyor of ‘folky-wolky’ melodies, says Richard Bratby, but Vaughan Williams was a modernist master of uncompromising originality

Disappointingly conventional and linear: BBC radio's modernism season reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

This week marks the beginning of modernism season on BBC Radio 3 and 4, which means it’s time for some…

When did postmodernism begin?

15 January 2022 9:00 am

There’s a scene in Martin Amis’s 1990s revenge comedy The Information in which a book reviewer, who’s crushed by his…

The Sunday Feature is one of the most consistently interesting things on Radio 3

9 October 2021 9:00 am

The story is likely apocryphal — and so disgraceful I almost hesitate to tell it — but it goes like…

Deserves to be much better known: Sophie Taeuber-Arp at Tate Modern reviewed

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Great Swiss artists, like famous Belgians, might seem to be an amusingly underpopulated category. Actually, as with celebrated Flemings and…

Welcome to the Impasse Ronsin – the artists’ colony to beat them all

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Rosie Millard is transported to the Impasse Ronsin, a tiny, squalid cul de sac in Paris’s 15th arrondissement that was once the centre of the modern-art world

The magnificent fiasco of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House

10 April 2021 9:00 am

John Ruskin believed the most beautiful things are also the most useless, citing lilies and peacocks. Had he known about…

Why did David Bomberg disappear?

11 January 2020 9:00 am

David Bomberg was only 23 when his first solo exhibition opened in July 1914 at the Chenil Gallery in Chelsea.…

The man who built Britain’s first skyscraper

16 November 2019 9:00 am

In 2011 Britain’s first skyscraper was finally given Grade I listing. The citation for 55 Broadway — the Gotham City-ish…

How Camilla’s grandfather helped popularise the architecture Prince Charles detests

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Was the Bauhaus the most inspired art school of all time or the malignant source of an uglifying industrial culture…

Notre Dame from above (image: Lana Sator) and, right, Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster's Millau Viaduct (image: Bernard Jaubert / Imagebroker / Rex / Shutterstock)

Notre Dame is an architectural nullity

27 April 2019 9:00 am

Notre Dame is only important from a Shakespeare’s-birthplace point of view. Architecturally it is a nullity beside the cathedrals of…

Dancer, choreographer, iconoclast: Merce Cunningham in 1962

Merce Cunningham’s work was magical, intangible, Einsteinian – revival is futile

13 April 2019 9:00 am

On Tuesday, thousands of miles apart, in three great cities, London, New York and Los Angeles, 75 dancers will dance…

Back to the future: ‘The Asset Strippers’, by Mike Nelson

Powerful elegy for a world that is slipping away: Tate Britain’s The Asset Strippers reviewed

30 March 2019 9:00 am

There was a moment more than 20 years ago when Bankside Power Station was derelict but its transformation into Tate…

Polite postmodernism: Burbridge Close, Dagenham, by Peter Barber Architects is a recent housing development for the elderly that Roger Scruton approves of

Here’s what I want from modern architecture, explains housing tsar Roger Scruton

23 February 2019 9:00 am

The creation of a commission to examine beauty in new building created a stir in the media, with the chairman…

‘Your Britain: Fight for it Now’, 1942, by Abram Games

Is modernist architecture unhealthy?

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Architects and politicians have a lot in common. Each seeks to influence the way we live, and on account of…

Modernist architecture isn’t barbarous – but the blinkered rejection of it is

25 August 2018 9:00 am

When I was younger, one of my favourite books was James Stevens Curl’s The Victorian Celebration of Death. His latest…

Villa Tugendhat, Brno, Czech Republic

Modernist architecture only worked for the wealthy

4 August 2018 9:00 am

It was Le Corbusier who famously wrote that ‘A house is a machine for living in’ (‘Une maison est une…

Vanessa Kirby as Julie and Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean in Julie at the National Theatre. Photo: Richard H Smith

This adaptation of Miss Julie is a textbook lesson in how to kill a classic

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Polly Stenham starts her overhaul of Strindberg’s Miss Julie with the title. She gives the ‘Miss’ a miss and calls…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

The old ways

28 October 2017 9:00 am

I’m sitting across a café table from a young man with a sheaf of drawings that have an archive look…

Cartoon for St Luke, Chichester Cathedral Tapestry, 1965, by John Piper

The shimmering, restless, groovy fabrics of John Piper

21 May 2016 9:00 am

A story John Piper liked to tell — and the one most told about him — is of a morning…