Surprise! Fragonard’s Abdications

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, 6 January 2022

Fragonard represents the sexual encounter as a physical act that absorbs the couple entirely, taking them beyond society: their arms enlaced and their faces, joined by a kiss, obscured from the viewer. In...

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At the Swiss Institute: Rosemary Mayer

Francesca Wade, 6 January 2022

There is something unsettling about the way Rosemary Mayer’s sculptures shift as you walk around them. They move on the air currents, changing colour with the light. Up close, they reveal the labour...

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Blighted Plain: Wiltshire’s Multitudes

Jonathan Meades, 6 January 2022

In​ his introduction to the first edition of The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (1963), Nikolaus Pevsner wrote with barely contained anger thatWiltshire would be as wonderful as it must have...

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At the Movies: ‘Dune’

Michael Wood, 16 December 2021

‘Abeginning​ is a very delicate time,’ we are told in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune (1965), and again in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation. None of that ‘a long time...

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Reading books like this, I feel like a Philip K. Dick character in the grip of wild-eyed madness. I want to run around telling the authors to snap out of it, to stop wasting their time and their Sontag...

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At the Panto

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 December 2021

 It was a festival of Nike socks, North Face joggers, Calvin Klein T-shirts and scooped up hair. It wasn’t a Glasgow I’m accustomed to seeing. The hall was littered with pumpkins, baskets of apples,...

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No Looking Away: Solo Goya

Tom Stammers, 16 December 2021

However esoteric, these paintings were intended to be seen: Goya thrilled visitors to his house with scenes inspired not just by his own fantasies, but also by the magic lantern shows and phantasmagorias...

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At Dulwich: Helen Frankenthaler

Emily LaBarge, 16 December 2021

Helen Frankenthaler’s work is often described as light and lyrical, but it has a solemnity. Details yield like little shocks. Recognisable forms emerge and disappear again. You might see a butterfly,...

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Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era

Christopher Tayler, 2 December 2021

The​ great realisation of the Stan Lee era at Marvel was that heroes didn’t need to be paragons. They could be anxious teenagers with money worries, like Spider-Man, or members of a bickering pseudo-family,...

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Which red is the real red?

Hal Foster, 2 December 2021

Probably with Magritte in mind, André Breton once offered the image of ‘a man cut in two by a window’ as the paragon of the Surrealist picture. This is close to what Jasper Johns presents: a model...

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At the Easel

Naomi Grant, 2 December 2021

As a student, I was always taught to look rather than to think, but still life painting seems to confound this wisdom; moments of intense scrutiny so often yield disappointing results. Could it be that...

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Chapels for Sale: At the Altarpiece

Charles Hope, 2 December 2021

Art historians often ask where the saints and the Virgin are and what are they doing in altarpieces, especially those, common in Venice, in which the painted space seems an architectural extension behind...

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At the Movies: ‘Last Night In Soho’

Michael Wood, 18 November 2021

Ghosts​ and time travel don’t usually mix. In the one case, they visit us; in the other, we visit them. In Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, both things happen simultaneously....

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At Tate Modern: ‘The Making of Rodin’

Richard Taws, 18 November 2021

Many​ of the works in The Making of Rodin, currently on show at Tate Modern (until 21 November), are displayed on what look like the packing cases in which they arrived. A notice on the wall...

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Life Pushed Aside: The Last Asylums

Clair Wills, 18 November 2021

I am haunted by the figure of Rolanda Polonsky, walking through the hospital corridors. If my eight-year-old self had opened the doors that frightened me I might have found her, back then, exactly as she...

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At the Hunterian: Joan Eardley gets her due

Andrew O’Hagan, 4 November 2021

Joan Eardley’s paintings show decrepit buildings and startled faces, but also something more essential – movement, stillness. We see the spirit of young lives caught in meagre surroundings, but there...

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Diary: Media Theranos

Pooja Bhatia, 4 November 2021

I had left Ozy Media in 2017 without exercising my stock options, believing the likeliest outcome for the company was not an acquisition or an IPO, as Watson insisted, but slow shrinkage, dwindling to...

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I hope it hurt: Nochlin’s Question

Jo Applin, 4 November 2021

Each generation seems to need to discover ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ for itself, to work through its claims. But then art history is a discipline still shaped by what Linda Nochlin...

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