Video still from No Tomorrow (2022)

Can contemporary art really make us laugh?

Funny peculiar or funny haha? Perhaps some of the artists who seem a bit obscure are actually trying to make us laugh

28 Nov 2022

Can stones unlock the secrets of our existence?

Contemporary artists are looking to geological forms less for aesthetic cues than for perspective on time, place and human agency

28 Nov 2022

What’s the point of old postcards?

Unused postcards may seem like a blast from the past, but they can still send a powerful message

27 Nov 2022
Armcuff Digital Benin

Digital Benin opens a new chapter in the restitution saga

The project that launched this week is not the first to attempt cataloguing the Benin Bronzes, but it’s by far the most comprehensive

11 Nov 2022

For the arts in England, levelling up feels a lot like levelling down

The Arts Council’s latest funding announcement has moved money out of London, but the entire sector has a lot to worry about

6 Nov 2022
Cézanne The Three Skulls

Body politics – how physical illness affects an artist’s work

We are well used to art expressing mental anguish, yet when we are presented with work that responds to physical pain, our urge is to look away

24 Oct 2022
Whitechapel foundry Alan Hughes

It’s time for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to get back to business

Plans to transform London’s oldest working factory into a hotel have, happily, fallen through – but with the site back up for sale, its future is still uncertain

Fixed assets? The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Museums beware: permanent collections are not piggy banks

The Association of Art Museum Directors’ new guidelines for deaccessioning are welcome, but they still leave its members open to monetary temptation

5 Oct 2022
Gareth Cadwallader

Is slow painting gathering steam?

Slow painters, who only finish a few works each year, may be less visible in the art world, but their work is no less valuable

26 Sep 2022
Aswan High Dam

Who is UNESCO really for?

As UNESCO marks the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention this November, questions of what – and who – the convention is meant to protect are still up in the air

26 Sep 2022
The heart of M74, otherwise known as the Phantom Galaxy, recorded by the James Webb Telescope.

With the James Webb Telescope, star-gazing has become even more sublime

As data from NASA’s telescope is translated into images we can understand, the wonders it reveals are still out of this world

11 Sep 2022

There’s no need for the future of Clandon Park to be a restoration drama

Critics of the National Trust’s plan to keep the fire-gutted house as a ruin are ignoring the organisation’s history and that of the building itself

1 Sep 2022
Joseph Wright of Derby painting

Higher purpose – Joseph Wright of Derby’s brush with the divine

The artist’s depiction of an 18th-century scientific experiment may reveal an altogether more spiritual concern

30 Aug 2022
Andi Galdi Vinko

Are artists who are parents getting a raw deal?

Artists have long turned to their children as subjects for their art but with each generation, such work is met with new objections

30 Aug 2022
Pound sterling notes

What the UK’s updated anti-money laundering rules mean for the art market

The new guidance provides some welcome clarity for art businesses, but a few grey areas remain

24 Aug 2022
Issey Miyake

How Issey Miyake brought art into fashion

The Japanese fashion designer revolutionised womenswear by creating comfortable clothes appreciated for their androgynous elegance and ease

11 Aug 2022
The Tempi Madonna (1508), Raphael. Alte Pinakothek, Munich

How Raphael gave the Virgin Mary more to do

In the works of Raphael the Virgin Mary often plays a more active and more joyful role than she is allowed by other artists

27 Jul 2022
Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum (left); stone figure of Eros from the 3rd century BC Sidmara sarcophagus (right).

When it comes to restitution, UK museums should be careful what they wish for

The V&A’s director Tristram Hunt has floated the idea of changing the law to allow national museums to make permanent returns. Robert Hewison advises treading very carefully

24 Jul 2022
Madame C d’Madame C d’A (detail; 1932), Glyn Philpot.

Putting a name to one of Glyn Philpot’s most mysterious faces

Who is the subject of the painter’s cryptically titled ‘Madame C d’A’? Tessa Murdoch looks for clues among his most progressive patrons

24 Jul 2022
Cosmic Cycle (Rising Universe) in the centre of Horsham, West Sussex, commissioned to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Percy Bysshe Shelley and removed in 2016.

We now know where all the UK’s public sculptures are – but are they any good?

Art UK’s new catalogue allows us to assess the artistic merits of the nation’s monuments – and to mourn a lost memorial to Percy Bysshe Shelley

15 Jul 2022
A Mother’s Duty painting

An everyday luxury – the artists finding beauty in banality

Artists have long found beauty in the mundane, but choosing to represent everyday subject matter is a privilege that requires the luxury of time

27 Jun 2022
Paula Rego studio

‘The meekest person can manipulate’ – a tribute to Paula Rego (1935–2022)

The Portuguese-British painter told stories of parental abandonment, misogyny and exile with a power that put her in a class of her own

10 Jun 2022
Michelangelo in his studio, visited by Pope Julius II

Why did Renaissance artists steal each other’s drawings?

The monetary value of preparatory studies was slight in the Renaissance – but for the ideas they contained, they were worth their weight in gold

8 Jun 2022
Isamu Noguchi sculpture

Child’s play – why artists are looking to childhood for inspiration

Artists have long embraced playful behaviour – not just as a form of creative release, but also as a way of dealing with conflict and taboo

30 May 2022