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At Inverleith House

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton, 14 August 2008

... Richard Hamilton’s ‘Protest Pictures’ have turned the galleries of Inverleith House in Edinburgh into a time-machine.* News events from the last fifty years flash up in every room, from a drug bust and a student murder in the 1960s, through the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s, to the Gulf debacles of the last two decades. In each instance Hamilton is concerned to capture the mediation of the event in order both to deconstruct its effects and to turn them to his own ends ...

At the Guggenheim

Hal Foster: David Smith, 9 March 2006

... of Modernist art: that it was smashed by Fascism and totalitarianism in prewar Europe, then triumphally restored in postwar America as the analogue of American Freedom. A good show disturbs settled views, and this centennial survey by the Spanish curator Carmen Giménez (on until 14 May) does so beautifully. As befits an exhibition that will travel to Tate ...

At the Whitney

Hal Foster: Ed Ruscha’s Hollywood Sublime, 2 September 2004

... way of light.’ As he processes it in his pictures, this light is true and illusory at once, the hallucinated (or medicated) stuff of Hollywood dreams that offers a ‘feeling of concrete immortality’. At the same time, Ruscha presents this dream-space as thin and fragile (one of his keyed-up sunsets contains the words ‘eternal amnesia’ in small print ...

In Venice

Hal Foster: At the Biennale, 4 August 2005

... Why go to the Venice Biennale and further burden a city already sinking under the pressure of its own attractiveness? It’s simple: the Biennale remains the best crash-course in contemporary art, with two major surveys, a score of national pavilions, and sundry projects scattered around town, sometimes in exquisite churches or palazzi. Documenta, the other prestigious international exhibition in Europe, tends to be more curator-driven; also, it takes place only every five years, and its setting, Kassel in Germany, isn’t a World Heritage Site ...

In Central Park

Hal Foster: The Gates, 3 March 2005

... resolve as lines; yet this effect ran counter to site-specific art that, at its best, seeks to challenge any easy consumption of the work as image and to promote an embodied sense of the landscape as topography. No doubt The Gates also resolved as drawing when seen from above, and certainly they offered a terrific pretext for wealthy people around the park ...

At the Guggenheim

Hal Foster: Russian Art, 3 November 2005

... With every blockbuster, the Guggenheim prompts suspicion: ‘How did it get the loot, and to what end?’ The current mega-show, Russia! Nine Hundred Years of Masterworks and Master Collections, on until 11 January, is drawn mostly from the Tretyakov Gallery and the Hermitage, and it doesn’t seem too paranoid to wonder about the geopolitics in play ...

At the Grand Palais

Hal Foster: Richard Serra, 22 May 2008

... Fair, the Grand Palais has a stone façade of mixed styles typical of the Belle Epoque, but the hall that rises above it is cleanly expressed in steel and glass, a triumph of confident engineering, also characteristic of the time, that complements, in its horizontality, the verticality of the Tour Eiffel down the Seine. The cruciform space of the Palais is ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’, 1 November 2007

... its potential for imaginative invention, in part because he did not deem it suited to the ‘other half’ of his mandate for art, which was to extract ‘the eternal and the immutable’ from this protean modernity. The other half was still the province of painting, and so painting – perhaps pressured by photographic ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: Ed Ruscha, 19 November 2009

... Whatever my work was made up of in the beginning,’ Ed Ruscha said in 1989, ‘is exactly what it is like today.’* Well, not ‘exactly’, but his art is consistent, and this is still true 20 years later, as is made clear by the excellent survey of his paintings of the last 50 years curated by Ralph Rugoff, now at the Hayward until 10 January ...

At the Guggenheim

Hal Foster: Pop Surrealism, 18 December 2003

... The first painting you see at the James Rosenquist retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York until 25 January is President Elect: a broad headshot of a beaming JFK, manicured fingers with a piece of cake, and the sleek side of a pale green sedan. A collage study reveals the sources to be a campaign poster and two magazine ads; cropped and gridded, then painted on canvas, the images promise good times ahead: a youthful President, a skilful housewife (moist cake was the ultimate test), a nice car ...


Hal Foster: Cindy Sherman, 10 May 2012

... A master of impersonation, Cindy Sherman has served as her own model in her photographs since 1975, playing with familiar roles of female identity in series after series of inventive work. From the beginning she appeared almost too good to be true. Sherman was popular, first with other artists, gradually with the art world at large, eventually with a broad public; at the same time she could be seen as a postmodernist, for, along with peers in ‘appropriation art’ like Sherrie Levine, Barbara Kruger and Louise Lawler, she advanced a novel idea of the picture as a text of other pictures, in her case alluding to B-movie types and stock TV characters ...

At the Guggenheim

Hal Foster: Italian Futurism , 20 March 2014

... The Italian futurists​ were hell-bent on modernity, largely because Italy was late to industrialise. Led by the strident Marinetti, these artists, architects, photographers, writers and composers were the self-appointed shock troops of the new. They were ready, rhetorically at least, to ditch traditional culture, calling for museums to be set ablaze and Venice to be paved over, and disdained liberal institutions, railing against the vagaries of parliamentary democracy in particular ...

The Last Column

Hal Foster: Remnants of 9/11, 8 September 2011

... to have lodged safely in a crevice: keys, coins and rings’; along with golf balls, these things shall inherit the earth. In his introduction to Memory Remains, Torres notes the blurred lines, in the objects as well as in the photographs, between document and art, and some artefacts do appear almost artistic. Intentionally or not, sculptors who worked in ...

On Richard Hamilton

Hal Foster, 6 October 2011

... Painter of Modern Life’ (1863), ‘I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.’ In 1957 Hamilton defined Pop too as ephemeral, yet he agreed with Baudelaire that the artist must work ‘to distil the eternal from the transitory’. With ...

At Dia:Beacon

Hal Foster: Fetishistic Minimalist, 5 June 2003

... The Dia Art Foundation has supported a select group of innovative artists with lavish patronage since its founding in 1974. At first, it favoured Minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd and Dan Flavin and installation artists such as Walter de Maria and James Turrell, and certainly the early projects underwritten by Dia, from permanent exhibitions in New York City to massive earthworks in the American desert, were grand ...

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