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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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... we are given no evidence of it here: indeed, it isn’t clear that the game was so ‘wonderfully complex’. What does seem clear is that by 1950 he had narrowed his life and become, in the words of MichaelHirst – 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 ...
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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... try to construct a systematic approach to the analysis of a drawing style but it would seem prudent to apply it first to a less versatile talent. Very much less noise accompanied the publication of MichaelHirst’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 ...

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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... of the night, abandoning their local Christian allies to triumphant Hizbullah guerrillas. The gross 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 ...

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 ...
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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... by John Shearman of the complex building history of the chapel, its liturgical function, the programme of the 15th-century decorations, and of Raphael’s tapestries. There is also an article by MichaelHirst 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 ...

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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... and maths until ten at night. Having finished his dissertation on screw surfaces by early 1850, 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 ...

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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... the premises for a rave that didn’t happen and now didn’t want to pay. The man’s job title 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 ...
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 the Seventies and early Eighties. Rather than a meteor arriving out of the blue, the new generation 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 ...
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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... would have done no harm, though that might have been construed as inhibiting the openness of the 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 ...
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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... flashpoint in a conflict where neither the arguments nor the battle-lines are clear. Shortly before 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 ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue

20 September 2001
... But there are funny bits and star turns too. Julie Burchill has been a contributor; so has Noam Chomsky. 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 ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern

20 July 2000
... ends his book with a brilliant insight, noting that in a number of his works, including The Physical 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 ...
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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... stockmarkets. Press reports of June 1986 about cases of insider-trading in the United States, and 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 ...

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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... legacy is being ground down to prose, the apocalyptics have come to seem a little quaint. A year after 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 ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World

14 December 2017
The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... great explorer. He claims to have spotted Richter when he was still an ‘emerging’ artist. He hasn’t the slightest doubt that ‘contemporary art’ is ‘the New Old Masters’. When, in 2015, Hirst and Koons arrived in the Gulf at the behest of Sheikha Al-Mayassa, it was ‘like putting Michelangelo and da Vinci in the same room’.De Pury offers one explanation for the huge market that has ...

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