A round-up of the week’s reviews and interviews…
Cassatt was the real revelation. She’s so well known for her images of mothers and children that they have largely eclipsed the rest of her artistic production. However, once we began to look more closely at her work from the late 1870s and 1880s, a very different side of Cassatt began to emerge. She proved to be more daring and innovative than we’d initially realised or has been acknowledged previously.
This is an artist whose commissions encompassed projects as diverse as stained glass windows, fabric designs, and firework displays. Works on show range from ceramics created in collaboration with Geoffrey Eastop, to prints of mysterious Foliate Heads, to stage designs for Britten’s Gloriana, and even a gleefully theatrical lithograph for the J. Lyons ice-cream parlour chain.
Childless D and H dress up for parties, and leave with relief, bored by their neighbour’s insensitive chatter about their children. They have sex. They worry, they bicker, they guard their independence, and they constantly question and affirm their love for each other. Their house is overtly modernist, their car is silly; as the tactless neighbour implies, they are consciously unusual.
A blitz of a visit on Friday brought me to the city feeling more than a little cynical, but I left that evening clear of thought and optimistic – the organisers have done a tremendous job. Ignore the thematic brackets imposed by the two festivals and their partner projects; it’s enough to know that there are some extremely strong exhibitions in Brighton this month.
Despite being commercially successful, Rodin’s ‘blockbuster’ works, The Kiss (1882), the Thinker (1881) and the Eternal Spring (c.1884), were not his favourite. Instead, Rodin recognised his own achievement in his more subversive, progressive and abstracted works. He considered Mask of Man with a Broken Nose (1863–4) his first good piece of modelling, saying it ‘determined all my future work’.
Imagine this: a terracotta sculpture portraying Zephyrus and Flora enrapt, entwined, enamoured, their bodies a spiral of sensual twisting energy. This winged god of the west wind – a herald of spring – is embracing his beloved goddess of flowers, crowning her with a wreath of roses, while mischievous putti frolic at their feet, gently pushing them closer together.