Reviews

Camille Lenain

How to be queer in the Arab world

Artists from across North Africa and the Middle East are expressing themselves in a sprawling show at the Institut du Monde Arabe

16 Oct 2022
La Condition Humaine (detail; 1935), René Magritte.

At Nottingham Contemporary, caves really are the rocks of ages

A show about caves and the artists who have been inspired by them goes deep underground and incredibly far back in time

30 Sep 2022
Sabine Weiss

Unmasked emotion – the photographer who saw beneath the surface

Working across photojournalism, fashion photography and portraiture, Sabine Weiss captured her subjects with curiosity and emotion

28 Sep 2022
Presence and Absence Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic goes missing in Oxford

The performance artist is absent from her latest show, instead getting visitors to do the work through wellness-style meditations. Is it worth the effort?

27 Sep 2022

What can we learn from looking at doubles?

An exhibition examining ‘doubles’ in modern art at National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. ends up a little out of focus

26 Sep 2022
tomb-raiding

What separates archaeologists from treasure-hunters?

Maria Golia’s history of tomb-raiding in ancient Egypt makes for an entertaining read but there are graver matters to consider

26 Sep 2022
Ibrahim El-Salahi

The extraordinary life of Ibrahim El-Salahi

In his memoir, the artist reflects on how his life and approach to making art have been shaped by the events in his home country of Sudan

26 Sep 2022
Richard Cosway

How Van Dyck made his mark on English portraiture

It’s no secret that Van Dyck inspired generations of artists, but a new book paints a more nuanced picture of the painter’s reception

26 Sep 2022

The English oddballs who cultivated their very own gardens of Eden

In ‘English Garden Eccentrics’, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan introduces us to a gallery of historical horticulturists, all determined to create their own private paradises

26 Sep 2022
Design for Colmans Mustard ad (1890s), Alfred Munnings. © the Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings

How Alfred Munnings got his commercial break

From mustard adverts to Art Nouveau-inspired posters, a show of early works by the horse painter and vehement anti-modernist is full of surprises

26 Sep 2022
Duncan Grant Drawing

Duncan Grant’s private erotica finally gets a public outing

There’s nothing remotely shameful about the artist’s exuberant and explicit sketches of cavorting satyrs and manly men

22 Sep 2022
The Forest of Bavella, Corsica, 7:10 am, 29 April 1868 (1868), Edward Lear. Photo: Woolley and Wallis Salerooms Ltd.

There’s nothing nonsensical about the lonely landscapes of Edward Lear

The Victorian poet and painter mapped out his moods in meticulous detail, sometimes even minute by minute

16 Sep 2022
York Watergate, built in 1626

Bank account – the story of London’s lost riverside palaces

The Strand is now one of the capital’s busiest thoroughfares, but it was once home to a string of magnificent mansions

16 Sep 2022
Carolee Schneemann

In search of the real Carolee Schneemann

The late performance artist celebrated the messiness of bodies in her work – so it’s a shame her survey at the Barbican all feels a bit clean

14 Sep 2022

How Duchamp got himself out of the doldrums

The artist was at something of a standstill before a French critic came along with the idea for a book that gained him a host of new admirers

6 Sep 2022
A Corner of the Restaurant in Spielplatz

The British nudists who had their minds set on higher things

Annebella Pollen’s history of nudism in 20th-century Britain takes the movement as seriously as it took itself

31 Aug 2022
Still Life with Apples and Peaches by Paul Cézanne

Learning curves – how to see Cézanne with fresh eyes

By making unexpected connections and comparisons, this revelatory show allows the painter’s real achievements to become clearer than they have ever been

30 Aug 2022
Milton Avery Blue Sea, Red Sky

Is Milton Avery really a forgotten American great?

We’ve struggled to classify the painter as one of history’s greats for very good reason

30 Aug 2022
Angus McBean as Nepture (1939), Angus McBean. National Portrait Gallery, London.

Why are the British so fond of fancy dress?

Dressing up – at balls, fetes and simply for fun – has long provided Britons of all classes with a creative outlet

30 Aug 2022
Layli and Qays at school from the Khamsa of Nezami Ganjavi (f. 196b from Or. 6180)

Fine romances – the art of illustration in 15th-century Herat

As two of the British Library’s most beautiful manuscripts show, the art of illustration hit new and extraordinary heights in 15th-century Herat

30 Aug 2022
View of Anthony Caro’s ‘River Song’ (2011–12) in NorthPark Center in Dallas, Texas, founded in 1965 by Raymond and Patsy Nasher.

The call of the shopping mall

In ‘Meet Me by the Fountain’, Alexandra Lange uncovers the surprisingly utopian origins of the modern mall and defends it from its critics

30 Aug 2022
Gregório Lopes The Virgin and Child with Angels

How Renaissance artists captured Portugal’s golden age

Portugal’s period of ascendancy can be charted through the paintings of the times

30 Aug 2022
Un rayon soleil(1873), Celestin Nanteuil. Musée de Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes.

The artists who have managed to see the forest for the trees

People have always been fascinated by forests but, as a show in Lille suggests, seeing them as ideal, untouched places misunderstands their true nature

25 Aug 2022
caricature of the Psychical Society’s annual dance by Heath Robinson

Harmless fun – the crafty cartoons of Heath Robinson

More than a century later, the English cartoonist’s ingenious drawings can still tickle the imaginations of modern audiences

19 Aug 2022