Reviews

Picasso working on Guernica in his Grands-Augustins studio, Paris (detail; 1937), Dora Maar. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Picasso’s Guernica, as you’ve never seen it before

The ‘Rethinking Guernica’ website allows us to scrutinise Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece in greater detail than ever

11 Jun 2021
The Specials photographed in 1980.

2 Tone was never just about the music – as this show in Coventry makes clear

2 Tone began as a ska-inspired record label, but swiftly became a look and a political stance – and a defining moment in British cultural history

9 Jun 2021

The clay’s the thing – Ceramic: Art and Civilisation, reviewed

Paul Greenhalgh’s ambitious survey takes us from the ancient Greeks to Picasso and beyond

9 Jun 2021
Still from CREATION dance by Deborah Kelly; installation view at The National 2021: New Australian Art’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.

Australian art that doesn’t beat about the bush – The National 2021, reviewed

A survey of new Australian art presents a planet in crisis – but it’s more uplifting than it sounds

4 Jun 2021
Late Afternoon (2020), Etel Adnan.

For Etel Adnan, a show in Turkey is a symbolic homecoming

A retrospective at the Pera Museum in Istanbul demonstrates the vast geographic sweep of the Lebanese-American artist’s work and biography – including her Ottoman roots

3 Jun 2021
Six pack: the contestants in Great British Photography Challenge.

Rankin’s Great British Photography Challenge is too polite for its own good

The TV competition series is billed as a ‘masterclass’ – and none of the contestants will be booted off until the finale. Where’s the fun in that?

3 Jun 2021
Barbara Hepworth in 1957.

Do artists dress to impress?

In ‘What Artists Wear’, Charlie Porter casts an eye over the wardrobe choices of everyone from Barbara Hepworth to Jean-Michel Basquiat

2 Jun 2021
John Craxton (left) and Patrick Leigh Fermor (right), Serifos, Greece, 1951.

John Craxton was a great artist – but his real talent was for living life to the full

A new biography of the British painter has a fine sense of his precocious talent – and real feeling for his rakish charm

29 May 2021
Rabbit (1986), Edward Ruscha. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Down the rabbit hole at LACMA

A temporary display of the museum’s collection telescopes time and space to group objects thematically – but is this a productive path to follow?

26 May 2021

Images of strength – Jennifer Higgie’s ‘The Mirror and the Palette’, reviewed

This wide-ranging book explores how women artists used self-portraiture to establish themselves in a man’s world

20 May 2021
The Landlady (1918), Nina Hamnett. Private collection.

In her life and art, Nina Hamnett had some serious fun

The first survey show dedicated to the ‘Queen of Bohemia’ presents a flamboyant figure who was single-minded about her art

20 May 2021
Glam-rock Nancy Mitford: Lily James as Linda in The Pursuit of Love.

Glam-rock Nancy Mitford – The Pursuit of Love, reviewed

Emily Mortimer’s TV adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel is a wonderfully glamorous affair – and its anachronisms are whip-smart

14 May 2021
Complication (detail; 2013), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Private collection.

The tender fictions of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

In her portraits of imaginary people, the artist conjures a world that feels joyfully real

13 May 2021
Leonardo, leading man: Adrian Turner as Leonardo da Vinci (centre), with Matilda De Angelis as Caterina da Cremona (left) and Freddie Highmore as Stefano Giraldi (right)

‘Leonardo’ is clunky and condescending – so it’s bingeable Renaissance schlock, basically

The Amazon series limps through its art history but is just about salvaged by its endearingly goofy hero

4 May 2021
Four panels of Fragonard’s series The Progress of Love on the fourth floor of the Frick Madison.

The Frick Collection makes a move into modernism

The Breuer Building makes a minimalist foil for the Frick’s permanent collection – but Eve M. Kahn is rather glad the move is only temporary

27 Apr 2021
Detail from one of John Hassall’s advertisements for Colman’s of Norwich from 1898–89.

The dashing Edwardian poster designer who really cut the mustard

In his heyday John Hassall was known as ‘the Poster King’ and his eyecatching ads could be seen on hoardings all over Britain

26 Apr 2021
Installation view of ‘Painting & Sculpture of a Decade 54–64’, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson at the Tate Gallery, London, 1964.

In post-war Europe, museums dared to experiment with how they displayed art

Post-war museum design had a political impetus that was public-spirited in nature – even if that meant displaying sculptures on a bed of coal

22 Apr 2021
Self-portrait with Two Pupils (detail; 1785), Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

Entente cordiale: the pally portraitists of 18th-century France

Portraits were used to further friendships – and as networking opportunities – in Enlightenment France

16 Apr 2021
Basque in glory: the Guggenheim Bilbao photographed in 2020.

The notional gallery? How art museums turned into public palaces

Two new books offer complementary perspectives – the macro and the micro – on the modern museum

9 Apr 2021
Fred Stewart II and Tyler Collins from the series The Birmingham Project (2012), Dawoud Bey. Courtesy Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA and Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey

America the grave – ‘Grief and Grievance’ at the New Museum, reviewed

An exhibition examining Black experience in America is powerful if piecemeal – and is necessarily exhausting

8 Apr 2021
Who’s been framed? The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in the aftermath of the heist in 1990.

Raiders of the lost art – the Gardner heist gets the Netflix treatment

The Gardner Museum heist hasn’t been solved in 30 years – and it’s perfect fodder for a true crime documentary

5 Apr 2021
Work on the wild side – James Morrison painting in Scotland. Photo: Estate of James Morrison

Hardy boy: the wild landscapes of James Morrison, from Angus to the Arctic

As a new documentary reveals, the Scottish painter braved wind, rain and Arctic ice in search of his ‘rough truth’

31 Mar 2021

Fossil hunting and forbidden love – ‘Ammonite’ reviewed

Francis Lee’s film plays fast and loose with Mary Anning’s life – but at least it digs the great geologist out of historical obscurity

31 Mar 2021

The stonecutter who gave life to letters

Ralph Beyer’s idiosyncratic letter-cutting isn’t to everyone’s taste but there’s no denying its power

26 Mar 2021