John-Paul Stonard

John-Paul Stonard’s Creation, a history of art since ancient times, was published in 2021.

At the Whitechapel: On Nicole Eisenman

John-Paul Stonard, 2 November 2023

The Abolitionists in the Park​ (2020-21), a large oil painting by the American artist Nicole Eisenman, shows a group of figures sitting in City Hall Park in New York. They are part of the 2020 protest to defund the New York Police Department in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Eisenman herself appears twice in the scene – as a sleeping form on the left of the picture and on the...

At Thaddaeus Ropac: Joseph Beuys

John-Paul Stonard, 16 March 2023

Drawing was never just drawing: Joseph Beuys was already thinking, it seems, in terms of an expanded notion of what art might be; a drawing might show nature, but also itself appear as a fragment of the natural world. To contribute to art, Beuys held, you had to go beyond art.

At the Barbican: ‘Postwar Modern’

John-Paul Stonard, 23 June 2022

In July​ 2007 I drove west from New Haven for eight hours to Getzville, north of Buffalo, to meet Magda Cordell. She was then in her eighties; I wanted to ask her about life as an artist in London in the 1950s. Born in Hungary, Cordell had arrived in Britain after the war with her husband, the composer Frank Cordell, and soon became part of the London scene. She was the only female painter...

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard, 16 April 2020

There is​ something perverse about the imagery of the Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). His neatly made ink drawings and watercolours of objects, rooms and seascapes, until recently on display at the Royal Academy (the exhibition can be viewed online) convey a psychological feeling for the inert, but little or no emotional connection to the things they depict. Women stand...

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard, 20 February 2020

The​ West Bund quarter of Shanghai runs along a bend of the Huangpu river, about eight kilometres south of the city’s downtown. There were once docks here, with a large facility for mixing concrete. Planes landed at Lunghua airfield. As industry moved out from the city, the riverside became available to developers. West Bund is now Shanghai’s art quarter, and an annual art fair...

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