Reviews

Untitled #22 (1976), from the series 'Christopher Street', Sunil Gupta.

From rural India to Greenwich Village – life through the lens of Sunil Gupta

The photographer’s first UK retrospective explores his abiding interest in the experience of outsiders in society

21 Oct 2020
Bal au château des Noailles (c. 1929), Man Ray. Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, dist. Rmn-Grand Palais/Guy Carrard; © Man Ray 2015 Trust/Adagp, Paris 2020

À la mode – Man Ray’s forays into fashion photography

The artist was a reluctant photographer – yet from the 1920s to ’40s, the Surrealist vision he brought to fashion photography helped elevate it to an art form in its own right

20 Oct 2020
In Tangier (1987–90), Howard Hodgkin.

Recollected works – ‘Howard Hodgkin: Memories’, reviewed

In these paintings from the 1980s and ’90s, Hodgkin found a way to depict that ‘almost impossibly nebulous subject’ – his own past experiences

16 Oct 2020
Left: Head of Saint John the Baptist (1877/78), Auguste Rodin. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Right: La Portinaia (1883/84), Medardo Rosso. Collection PCC, Lugano

What did Impressionism mean for sculpture?

A survey of artists inspired by the movement considers how successfully sculpture can convey a sense of transience

14 Oct 2020
John Simmons (detail; 1847), artist unknown.

The Black sailors who served in the British navy come out of retirement

An exhibition at the Old Royal Naval College tells the stories of the Black pensioners who lived there in the 18th and 19th centuries

9 Oct 2020
Installation view of ‘The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue’ at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2020. On the right is Ramberg’s Black Widow (1971).

The bound and fragmented bodies of Christina Ramberg

The artist’s strange, Surrealist-inspired paintings have in turn inspired more recent explorations of gender and body image

9 Oct 2020

‘Her canvases breed uncertainty from certainty’ – the art of Carmen Herrera

Still working at the age of 105, the Cuban-born artist has had an unusually long career – and the results repay close attention

7 Oct 2020
Black Water (1964), Armando. Installation view at the Kunstmuseum den Haag, 1964.

Murky waters – Armando and the art of moral ambiguity

An opaque installation by the Dutch artist raises difficult questions about ethics and interpretation

6 Oct 2020
Panel 10 (detail) (1954) from ‘Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56), Jacob Lawrence. Metropolitan Museum of Art. © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jacob Lawrence’s radical history of the United States

The reunion of the artist’s series of ‘Struggle’ paintings couldn’t be more timely

5 Oct 2020
Kingsgate Castle, near Broadstairs, designed by W.H. Romaine-Walker for Lord Avebury and built 1902–12.

Domestic reform – a liberal approach to architecture in the Edwardian era

Timothy Brittain-Caitlin’s account of Edwardian houses challenges many misconceptions

3 Oct 2020
Mourning Dove (detail) from the series ‘ADSVMVS ABSVMVS’ (1982), Hollis Frampton.

The seriously absurd photographs of Hollis Frampton

Although the film-maker usually used still images as a means to other ends, his photographs are a useful introduction to his work

1 Oct 2020
Tablescape #2, (1999), Robert Kobayashi. Courtesy Susan Inglett Gallery

Showing his metal – the ingenious art of Robert Kobayashi

The artist made paintings and sculptures out of nailed-together strips of metal – and they’re transfixing

1 Oct 2020
Cromwell and Charles I (detail; 1831), Paul Delaroche.

Cavalier attitudes – the complicated visual legacy of the English Civil War

From memorials to history paintings, responses to the conflict often took telling liberties

30 Sep 2020
Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous (detail; 1509), Lucas Cranach the Elder.

The seductive splendour of Lucas Cranach the Elder

An exhibition at Compton Verney shows off the full range of the master’s work – from slinky nudes to opulent portraits of the rulers of Saxony

26 Sep 2020
Soul Refresher (Mountain Rose Soda) (2020), Abbas Zahedi.

Brent’s borough-wide biennial offers welcome refreshment

A George Michael mural and a mountain rose-flavoured soda are among the contributions to the borough’s inaugural biennial

25 Sep 2020
Imitation Lesson; Her Shadowed Influence from ‘A Countervailing Theory’ (2019), Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; © © Toyin Ojih Odutola

Master class – a fictional civilisation makes its mark at the Barbican

Toyin Ojih Odutola’s scenes of a race of women warriors are a tour de force in pastel, charcoal and chalk

17 Sep 2020
Nude, East Sussex Coast (detail; 1959), Bill Brandt.

Common ground – the elemental forms of Bill Brandt and Henry Moore

The first exhibition to bring the sculptor and photographer together reveals intriguing points of convergence between their work

12 Sep 2020
Citizen Tallien in a Cell in La Force Prison, Holding Her Cut Hair (detail), (1796), Jean-Louis Laneuville. Private collection. Photo: courtesy Yale University Press; © Christies Images/Bridgeman Images

The women who wanted to look like living statues

A study of neoclassical dress in the 1790s shows that fashion can be a serious business

4 Sep 2020
The frontispiece and opening of the MS 411 psalter.

What’s left of Thomas Becket? – ‘The Book in the Cathedral’, reviewed

Christopher de Hamel argues that a book of psalms in a Cambridge library is the only surviving relic of the murdered archbishop

4 Sep 2020
(1936), Barnett Freedman for London Transport.

‘Britain’s most visible artist’ – Barnett Freedman at Pallant House, reviewed

Freedman’s engaging designs were once impossible to avoid – and his lesser-known war paintings are a revelation

1 Sep 2020
Draftsmen’s Congress (2020), Paweł Althamer. Installation view at the 2nd Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, RIBOCA2, 2020.

How the Riga Biennial adapted to a world changed by Covid-19

With a shortened run and reimagined artworks – plus, of course, social distancing – the exhibition has embraced the need to adapt

28 Aug 2020
John Giorno (1936–2019).

New York confidential – John Giorno’s memoir, reviewed

In his posthumously published memoir, the poet recollects his life as a lover of some of the greats of the New York art scene

27 Aug 2020
Carlton House: the Blue Drawing Room (detail; c. 1816), Charles Wild

Acquired taste – the fashion for French interiors in Britain

Dealers played a pivotal role in creating a demand for ancien–régime style across the Channel

22 Aug 2020
Seen – Edmonia Lewis

A biography of Edmonia Lewis takes on a life of its own

A meticulously researched graphic novel about the sculptor Edmonia Lewis is a suitably original tribute to the enterprising artist

21 Aug 2020