Arts & Culture

‘Nude in Profile towards the Right’ (1898)

Edvard Munch

Celia Paul

4 August 2022

Edvard Munch seems especially concerned with beginnings and endings. This awareness isolated him. He couldn’t live in the present because it was always overshadowed by the past or by the future. He found it difficult to sustain a relationship. He had many liaisons but they didn’t last long. He had no children.

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A Disservice to Dolly

Andrew O’Hagan

4 August 2022

For scholars​ of heartbreak and trepidation, the Dolly Parton songbook is a core text. No other singer would say ‘please’ when begging Jolene not to take her man. In Country Music, Ken Burns’s . . .

Documenta Fifteen

Eyal Weizman

4 August 2022

Documenta,​ held every five years in Kassel, is the world’s most influential show of contemporary art. On 19 June, a day after the opening, an eight-metre-high banner titled People’s Justice, painted . . .

On the Pitch

Emma John

4 August 2022

Which​ was the best goal? Lauren Hemp’s high-precision cross, headed home by Beth Mead? Mead’s left-footed shot angled past a diving keeper after a jinking run past three defenders? Or Georgia Stanway’s . . .


Tom Stammers

4 August 2022

In​ 1975 Angela Carter published a withering review of a star-studded production of Die Walküre, staged in the Roman amphitheatre at Orange. The classical setting was not Norse-friendly; the acoustics . . .

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 17 August 2017

Perhaps, then – though the thought is a grim one – we turn to Guernica with a kind of nostalgia. Suffering and horror were once this large. They were dreadful, but they had a tragic dimension.

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Ian Penman, 2 July 2015

Sinatra’s sexual charge was like his song: underplayed, tinged with unflappable cool picked up second-hand in the shady cloisters of jazz.

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Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

Wagner’s work is everywhere preoccupied with boundaries set and overstepped, limits reached and exceeded.

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At the End of My Pencil

Bridget Riley, 8 October 2009

As I drew, things began to change. Quite suddenly something was happening down there on the paper that I had not anticipated. I continued, I went on drawing; I pushed ahead, both intuitively and consciously. The squares began to lose their original form.

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It’s a playground: Kiarostami et Compagnie

Gilberto Perez, 27 June 2002

A photograph of Abbas Kiarostami in Hamid Dabashi’s book shows him crouching over a frying pan that has two eggs in it. Beside him, and like him focused on the eggs, is the original movie camera invented by Lumière.

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That Wooden Leg: Conversations with Don Luis

Michael Wood, 7 September 2000

‘Studio Vingt-Huit – high up a winding street of Montmartre, in the full blasphemy of a freezing Sunday; taxis arriving, friends greeting each other, an excitable afternoon...

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Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

‘Be modern – worship food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this...

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The Raphael Question

Lawrence Gowing, 15 March 1984

When I used to give a survey course for first-year students, I dreaded December. That was when I reached the High Renaissance and my audience fell away. It was not only the alternative seasonable...

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Dressing and Undressing

Anita Brookner, 15 April 1982

Fashion,​ according to Baudelaire, is a moral affair. It is, more specifically, the obligation laid upon a woman to transform herself, outwardly and visibly, into a work of art, or, at the very...

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At Modern Art Oxford: Ruth Asawa

Eleanor Nairne, 4 August 2022

If her work has been admired, it has sometimes come at a cost to her philosophy. Ruth Asawa’s statements about the therapeutic nature of art-making are usually glossed over by curators, as is the proximity...

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Xavier Giannoli’s​ Illusions perdues won a raft of César awards this year, including for best film, best cinematography and best adaptation. This success seems like something of a...

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Lancelot v. Galahad: Basketball Narratives

Benjamin Markovits, 21 July 2022

Basketball players are larger than life – the average NBA player is six and a half feet tall. Going to a game is like entering an episode of Star Trek in which the Enterprise has landed on a planet that...

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Charles Ray’s sculptures seem to capture the moment before our perception fixes, before we recognise a form for what it represents: a torso, a body, a woman or man. This is what looking at sculpture...

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E Bada! What Isou Did to Language

Rye Dag Holmboe, 21 July 2022

Words, Isidore Isou thought, had done great damage throughout history. By breaking them down and exposing them as a collection of arbitrary symbols, he hoped to make space for a new language to emerge....

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Massive Egg: Skies over Magritte

Hal Foster, 7 July 2022

Breton called Magritte the ‘cuckoo’s egg’ of Surrealism, and though his work did eventually hatch in the Surrealist nest, he had little interest, as a very calculated painter, in Surrealist practices...

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At Studio Voltaire: Maeve Gilmore

Francesca Wade, 7 July 2022

Part of what is interesting, or unsettling, in Maeve Gilmore’s work is her use of contrasts: not only in terms of colour and pattern, but also in her symbolism. The mood of Boys in Orchard is melancholy,...

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In Brittany

Jeremy Harding, 7 July 2022

The prints in Un Village suggest that Madeleine de Sinéty was eager to be part of the network of social relations she discovered in Poilley, the manners and protocols of village life, its rhythms of labour...

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EastEnders is not, or not only, a slice-of-life drama. Like all soap operas, like all operas, it repeatedly oversteps the limit. The idea of ‘digging the dirt’ is given a whole new meaning, as if the...

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The demarcated ring on the grassy plateau was from its outset about heaven, in the sense of afterlife. Was it always also about the heavens, in the sense of sky-watching? Can we rediscover how Stonehenge’s...

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Children​ have some of the best lines in Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Joseph Kosinski and following not very hard on the heels of the original, which came out in 1986. When Penny Benjamin...

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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...

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At the Towner Gallery: Jananne Al-Ani

David Trotter, 12 May 2022

The point of view is that of the operator of a drone or missile locked onto its target, as the dissolves take us from one appointment to another with Schwarzkopfian relish. Still, hurry isn’t the whole...

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Thomas Gainsborough complained that he was ‘sick of portraits’, but he seems, nonetheless, to have valued his fancy pictures – these were the works for which he charged the highest prices. And unlike...

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At the Ikon Gallery: Carlo Crivelli

Nicholas Penny, 7 April 2022

Carlo Crivelli invites us to think about the nature of art and illusion. Does the trick of painting a fly on a painting serve also to remind us that the painting itself is a work of fiction, or does it...

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On Roy DeCarava

Gazelle Mba, 7 April 2022

Roy DeCarava saw things that other people didn’t. He saw beauty in a crushed aluminium can and the light behind a pair of curtains. He could see music, not just hear it. His pictures capture what jazz...

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The world Jacques Lartigue took part in and portrayed was one where Zola ran into Colette, where Nana met Gigi. And the names – or rather, the nicknames – are part of its sonic environment. Lartigue...

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Yves Saint Laurent’s​ admirers seemed determined to memorialise him when he was alive and by the end of his career they had largely succeeded. In 1983, he was the first living designer to...

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