Browsing Category: 20th century

  • Quentin Bell, May Day Procession with Banner (1937)

    For many on the Left, the Spanish Civil War may have been a somewhat romantic affair. But it soon turned into an epic disappointment. It was a disappointment on the scale of WWII. Pallant House in Chichester is currently showing the first exhibition devoted to British artists during the Iberian conflict. It makes a good …

    January 8, 2015
  • Barbican Estate, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon (1965-76)

    There are two Barbicans, we soon learn on a tour of the East London council estate: the multi-purpose arts centre; and the mysterious residential units which sell for seven figure sums. Most visits to the former involve passing beneath the latter. But there is so much more to this brutalist landmark and unlikely home than …

    December 14, 2014
  • Eduardo Chillida, From Within (1953)

    It hangs like a chandelier designed to throw shade. You cannot walk beneath it without speculating on your own death. And it’s made of iron, technology of another age. The view’s not so great from this angle, but the form echoes a swastika. And that would be a treacherous swastika with a half yard long …

    October 24, 2014
  • Jef Cornelis @ Liverpool Biennial

    Don’t get me wrong. BBC4 presenters do their jobs well. As they pace their way through churches and galleries. As they strike up instant rapports with curators. You’ve got to love ’em. But there’s little doubt that things ain’t what they used to be. If you look at an Alastair Sooke, next to a Kenneth Clark or a …

    October 13, 2014
  • Ernö Goldfinger, Balfron Tower (1968)

    It’s been a sheltered low-rise sort of upbringing for this blogger. So the chance to ride a steel elevator up 24 floors to flat 130 of the Balfron Tower was not to be missed. This masterpiece of social housing is Grade II listed, and the flat in question is a pop up showpiece of 1960s …

    October 6, 2014
  • The finite charms of the Chapman brothers

    In a book you can be fairly sure the Chapmans have read, A Thirst for Annihilation, philosopher Nick Land reports on the encounter between American GIs and the mass graves of the Nazi death camps. If memory serves me right, many of the liberators, upon encountering piles of unburied bodies, said they experienced a rush-like …

    December 17, 2013
  • Photo diary: murals in Derry and Belfast

    This weekend, I was on assignment in Derry-Londonderry, UK City of Culture 2013. I’ll write about the gallery going elsewhere, and for the time being post a few photos of politically charged street art. Above is a mural on the wall of the Museum of Free Derry. Behind the subject and the illustrated bullet holes …

    March 25, 2013
  • Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Celebration? Realife, 1972-2000

    Throwing a party, like making art, is one of those activities we can attend to when all of our most basic needs have been satisfied. Food, shelter, art – that is surely the order. But if we are to suppose that ancient people ever let their hair down, who would decorate the cave? With a …

    February 11, 2013
  • Bill Henderson, Funky Black and Catch Me, 1978

    This painting reaches back through the years to a teenage in the 80s. This spiky pattern would have bowled me over and indeed still does. Perhaps I once had a duvet cover like it. What makes Henderson’s painting, dare it be said, boyish are the preponderance of dynamic angles and bold colours, complete with moody …

    December 5, 2012
  • Linda Remahl, Mien (2012)

    Peeping through holes at ladies dancing is not the main prospect which comes to mind when you plan a gallery visit. And to see Remahl’s work, men will have to stoop. But your sense of decorum is just about preserved when you realise that this peephole only features some arty, black and white, jump cut …

    August 1, 2012