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Joining the Gang

Nicholas Penny: Anthony Blunt, 29 November 2001

Anthony Blunt: His Lives 
by Miranda Carter.
Macmillan, 590 pp., £20, November 2001, 0 333 63350 4
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... What does seem clear is that by 1950 he had narrowed his life and become, in the words of Michael Hirst – one of his appointments to the staff of the Courtauld Institute – ‘a driven man and increasingly closed in’, relentlessly working on his scholarly books but rarely listening to music or reading outside his field of study, with little ...

White Coats v. Bow Ties

Nicholas Penny, 11 February 1993

Jacopo della Quercia 
by James Beck.
Columbia, 598 pp., $109.50, February 1992, 0 231 07200 7
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Michelangelo and the Creation of the Sistine Chapel 
by Robin Richmond.
Barrie and Jenkins, 160 pp., £18.99, April 1992, 0 7126 5290 6
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Rembrandt. The Master and his Workshop: Paintings 
by Christopher Brown, Jan Kelch and Pieter van Thiel.
Yale, 396 pp., £35, September 1991, 0 300 05149 2
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Michelangelo’s Drawings: The Science of Attribution 
by Alexander Perrig.
Yale, 299 pp., £35, June 1991, 0 300 03948 4
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Michelangelo and his Drawings 
by Michael Hirst.
Yale, 128 pp., £14.95, August 1990, 0 300 04391 0
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The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation 
by James Saslow.
Yale, 559 pp., £22.50, April 1991, 0 300 04960 9
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... to apply it first to a less versatile talent. Very much less noise accompanied the publication of Michael Hirst’s elegantly written and succinctly argued Michelangelo and his Drawings, which is now established as a classic, essential reading for all serious students of the artist – and indeed for all serious students of Renaissance ...

Mantegna’s Revenge

Nicholas Penny, 3 September 1987

Mantegna 
by Ronald Lightbown.
Phaidon/Christie’s, 512 pp., £60, July 1986, 0 7148 8031 0
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The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo Rediscovered 
edited by Massimo Giacometti, translated by Paul Holberton.
Muller, Blond and White, 271 pp., £40, September 1986, 0 584 11140 1
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... of the 15th-century decorations, and of Raphael’s tapestries. There is also an article by Michael Hirst which subjects to scrutiny the fragile sheets from the little sketchbook by Michelangelo in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He finds more material there, and has made more sense of it, than any previous scholar. To move from these tiny ...

How Not to Invade

Patrick Cockburn: Lebanon, 5 August 2010

Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 480 pp., £20, March 2010, 978 0 571 23741 8
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The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle 
by Michael Young.
Simon and Schuster, 295 pp., £17.99, July 2010, 978 1 4165 9862 6
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... underestimation of the ability of the Lebanese to defend themselves is the main theme of David Hirst’s elegantly written and highly informed history. For many years one of the most perceptive correspondents in the Middle East, he says he decided to write this book after the 34-day war in the summer of 2006, when Israel rained explosives on Lebanon in a ...

The Medium is the Market

Hal Foster: Business Art, 9 October 2008

... In 1975, Andy Warhol peered into the future and saw … Damien Hirst? ‘Business Art is the step that comes after Art,’ Warhol wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Not only was it OK for artists to make as much money as possible, but ‘making money is art’ and ‘good business is the best art.’ At the time Warhol was the master of Business Art – he established Andy Warhol Enterprises in 1957, and films, Interview magazine, books and TV programmes were to follow – but his operation was small beer by contemporary standards ...

The way we live now

Ross McKibbin, 11 January 1990

New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s 
edited by Stuart Hall and Martin Jacques.
Lawrence and Wishart/Marxism Today, 463 pp., £9.95, November 1989, 0 85315 703 0
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... enterprise: some of the contributors are no sort of Marxist (David Marquand, for example) and two, Michael Rustin and Paul Hirst, are politely but firmly critical of the New Times thesis. It says something about their editorial style that no attempt is made by the editors to answer or even comment on Rustin and ...

Adrenaline Junkie

Jonathan Parry: John Tyndall’s Ascent, 21 March 2019

The Ascent of John Tyndall: Victorian Scientist, Mountaineer and Public Intellectual 
by Roland Jackson.
Oxford, 556 pp., £25, March 2018, 978 0 19 878895 9
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... he discovered a more promising research area: the phenomenon of repulsion in a magnetic field that Michael Faraday had recently termed ‘diamagnetism’. In 1851 he returned to Britain, relying for money on teaching and journalism, particularly for the Philosophical Magazine, edited by William Francis (later of Taylor and Francis, the popular scientific ...

A New Twist in the Long Tradition of the Grotesque

Marina Warner: The monstrousness of Britart, 13 April 2000

High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s 
by Julian Stallabrass.
Verso, 342 pp., £22, December 1999, 1 85984 721 8
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This is Modern Art 
by Matthew Collings.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 297 84292 7
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... was something like Manager of Decommissioned Underground Material and I had gone to see him with Michael Morris, one of the directors of Artangel, a company that puts on art events in different media in unusual places. He was trying to get permission to use the runnels and platforms for The Vertical Line, a performance piece devised by John Berger. In Ways ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... of artists, who first came to public notice in 1988 with the Freeze show organised by Damien Hirst, were the beneficiaries of the hard work of the St Ives Group, the Independent Group, the Royal College Pop artists and so on, all of whom had successively edged British art into a position where it could at last compete in the world of international ...

What’s It All About?

Tom Lubbock, 6 April 1995

Shark-Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the Nineties 
by Sarah Kent.
Zwemmer, 270 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 302 00648 6
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The Reviews that Caused the Rumpus, and Other Pieces 
by Brian Sewell.
Bloomsbury, 365 pp., £12.99, November 1994, 0 7475 1872 6
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... the 1993 Prize, an actual dispute about contemporary art was staged at the Tate – defending, Michael Craig-Martin, leading light at Goldsmiths’ College; prosecuting, Hilton Kramer, editor of the New Criterion (it’s telling that there was no obvious British champion on this side). It was made a condition that the speakers should not address each ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue, 20 September 2001

... It hit the big time a while ago, with sought-after interviews with the Stone Roses and George Michael (‘breaking a six-year silence’). Guest editors have included Damien Hirst and David Bailey – Big Issue chic. The ads say something, too: Levis, Sony, Calvin Klein, Bacardi; British Nuclear Fuels, a contentious ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – better known as his shark – Damien Hirst ‘takes the format of the Minimalist open box, or shallow tray or modular cube, and inserts a kind of human or at least a bodily content in it.’ So Hirst gave the empty box a content, in the literal sense of the ...

Loadsa Serious Money

Ian Taylor, 5 May 1988

Regulating the City: Competition, Scandal and Reform 
by Michael Clarke.
Open University, 288 pp., £25, May 1986, 9780335153817
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Regulating fraud: White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process 
by Michael Levi.
Tavistock, 416 pp., £35, August 1987, 0 422 61160 3
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... the extraordinary sums of money involved,1 were quickly followed by the prosecution in Britain of Michael Collier. Chairman of Morgan Grenfell, the largest securities firm in the City of London, for making an instantaneous profit of £15,000 on the purchase of shares in a company he knew was about to be taken over. A steady series of cases involving ...

Get out

Julian Bell: Francis Bacon, 19 October 2000

Looking back at Francis Bacon 
by David Sylvester.
Thames and Hudson, 272 pp., £29.95, June 2000, 0 500 01994 0
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... his death, Daniel Farson wrote an affable, elbow-nudging Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon; Michael Peppiatt followed with the more measured speculations of Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma (1996); and last year the Tate staged a small exhibition of his recently uncovered, painfully bathetic sketches on paper. Sylvester, who worked on that and ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... have them somewhere). Sarah Lucas and I walked the streets in search of more drink after Damien Hirst told Will Self to ‘crack a fucking smile’. I think I sang with Milli Vanilli. Life coaches will tell you that nothing interesting happens after three o’clock in the morning. They’re wrong. I nearly died in an experimental-plane accident with John ...

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