Reviews

Grayson Perry, courtesy Channel 4

Grayson Perry becomes the nation’s art teacher

The artist’s encouraging approach shows a nation in lockdown that technique isn’t everything

4 May 2020
A view of Tate Modern, London, in March 2020.

Programme notes – Museums in Quarantine on BBC4, reviewed

Alistair Sooke and Simon Schama take on tour-guide duties in a series of new 30-minute films. But how satisfying can the Tate on the telly really be?

30 Apr 2020
business as usual: hostile environment (detail of still; 2020), Alberta Whittle.

Call to attention – Glasgow International goes online

The festival has put together a digital programme that invites close and contemplative attention

29 Apr 2020
£5 banknote, designed by Reynolds Stone in 1963

A cut above – the singular style of Reynolds Stone

The designer may not be a household name, but his work is still instantly recognisable – from passports and magazines to banknotes and bookplates

28 Apr 2020
The Christ Vine and Scenes from the Legend of St Barbara (detail; 1523), Lorenzo Lotto. Suardi Chapel, Trescore Balneario. Photo: Pro Loco Trescore Balneario

Local colour – what the Renaissance looked like beyond Venice, Florence and Rome

A new study focuses on the painters working outside the main artistic centres of Italy

27 Apr 2020
The Nurture of Jupiter (c. 1639), Nicolas Poussin. Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Dual purpose – passion and reason in the art of Nicolas Poussin

A new study emphasises the marriage of thought and feeling in the painter’s work

22 Apr 2020
Installation view of ‘Tomás Saraceno: Aria’ at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Spiders and soaring sculptures – Tomás Saraceno in Florence

An exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi positions the wildly ambitious artist as a Renaissance man for our times

20 Apr 2020
Femmes à leur toilette (1937–38), Pablo Picasso.

Material benefits – ‘Picasso and Paper’, reviewed

The pleasure Picasso took in paper as a medium was palpable in the Royal Academy’s recent show

18 Apr 2020
A view of ‘15 untitled works in concrete’ by Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas, in 2012. Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Minimal effort – ‘The Longing for Less’ by Kyle Chayka, reviewed

This hard-to-classify book brings together Donald Judd, Japanese aesthetics, and the aspirations of contemporary lifestyle bloggers

15 Apr 2020
Hanging scroll depicting the goddess Dakini (detail; 14th century), Japan. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

How artists in Kyoto made contemplative work in turbulent times

The Met’s display of 14 centuries of work from the longtime artistic centre of Japan gives plenty of pause for thought

10 Apr 2020
Fling, Dribble, and Drip (detail; 1970), Lynda Benglis, frontispiece of Jerry Saltz’s How to be an Artist (2020).

Freedom of expression – Jerry Saltz’s ‘How to be an Artist’, reviewed

The critic’s guide to creative living is full of joy – but how far can you get by following someone else’s rules?

8 Apr 2020
Cape Ann Granite (1928), Edward Hopper

The forgotten landscapes of Edward Hopper

The great painter of urban solitude was also a dab hand at empty expanses – from dunes and forests to the open road

6 Apr 2020
Tomb of the Unknown Whore (No. 2) (1965), William N. Copley.

Sex and the city – William N. Copley in New York

The American artist fused Surrealism and Pop to create an eccentric – and highly erotic – style that was all his own

31 Mar 2020
The Yusupov Palace theatre, designed by Andrey Mikhailov in the 1830s,

Russian spark – the palace builders of St Petersburg 

A ritzy new book brings to life the eclectic tastes and unbridled opulence of aristocratic families in late imperial Russia

27 Mar 2020
Thomas McKeller (detail) (1917–21), John Singer Sargent. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

‘Thomas McKeller was singular among Sargent’s pantheon of models’

What did it mean for a wildly successful artist to paint a black elevator operator in stuffy Boston society?

26 Mar 2020
The Silhouette of the Artist (1907), Léon Spilliaert. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent. Photo: Hugo Maertens

Solitary refinement – the uncanny art of Léon Spilliaert

The Belgian Symbolist is at his spookiest and most original when he depicts reality

25 Mar 2020
Terraza Alta III (2018), Abel Rodríguez.

A visual journey through the Amazon rainforest

Displaced from his home in the Colombian Amazon, Abel Rodríguez draws on his memories to document its flora and fauna

24 Mar 2020
Photo of F.E. McWilliam’s studio in 1939

Show business – the artists who realised a house could be more than just a home

Artists who had studios and homes specially built for them often wanted to create spaces that would boost their careers

23 Mar 2020
Portrait of Baudouin de Lannoye (detail; c. 1435), Jan van Eyck.

Close encounters – Van Eyck in Ghent, reviewed

How Van Eyck achieved his effects is still very hard to explain, but there’s no denying their power

18 Mar 2020
Flinders Petrie Admiring a Find, the Ramesseum, Western Thebes (1895), Henry Wallis. Courtesy University College London Art Museum

Henry Wallis – the Pre-Raphaelite painter who fell out of fashion

The artist’s ‘The Death of Chatterton’ was one of the most popular paintings of the 19th century, but what else did he do?

18 Mar 2020
The Plant that Heals May Also Poison (1974), Ree Morton.

Plastic, pastries and pastel tones – Ree Morton at the ICA LA, reviewed

In a career that lasted barely a decade, the American artist forged a distinctive – and highly personal – voice

17 Mar 2020
City II (1968) Huguette Caland

‘A real hit parade of work from almost every country in the Arab world’

An important survey of abstract Arab art throws up questions about the influences swirling around in the post-war period

3 Mar 2020
7th Nov. (still; 2001), Steve McQueen.

In sharp focus – Steve McQueen at Tate Modern, reviewed

A series of understated yet powerful works make clear that McQueen is as effective in the gallery as in the cinema

2 Mar 2020
(1638–40), Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Musei Capitolini, Rome.

Baroque stars – the birth of a style in 17th-century Rome

Caravaggio and Bernini are the headliners – but the Rijksmuseum’s show reveals the range of artists who adopted the baroque style

2 Mar 2020