Last month Edward Lucie-Smith filmed this exclusive video for Artlyst with the well known NY figurative painter Philip Pearlstein, at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
27 January 2018
For those of us who remember the state of the Hayward Gallery before the just completed rehab, the current Andreas Gursky show, which celebrates its re-opening
22 January 2018
The new Bridget Riley show at David Zwirner is a knockout.
31 December 2017
The British contemporary art world is apparently in a healthy state at the moment.
14 December 2017
What were the best exhibitions in 2017? What’s on my list of ten? The answers to this pair of questions really depend on which set of attitudes you choose to embrace. For me, choices No 1 and No 2 were nothing to do with contemporary art.
1 November 2017
Like quite a lot of grand museum exhibitions in London recently, this new show at Tate Britain doesn’t quite tell its announced story.
10 October 2017
Duchamp And Dali – Royal Academy: This provocative little show at the R.A., done in parallel with the same institutions big retrospective for Jaspers Johns, asks a number of questions about both the past history of the visual arts avant-garde, and about its current travails.
6 October 2017
The two Frieze art fairs held simultaneously in London every year are now, according to received opinion, the biggest temperature taking, temperature raising events in the whole of the UK art calendar.
25 September 2017
From the Vapor of Gasoline, the odd title of the new mixed exhibition at White Cube Mason’s Yard comes from a slogan Jean-Michel Basquiat scrawled across one of his paintings. The phrase, so the exhibition list tells one ‘conjures [up] a society running on empty’. That may well be so, but one has to remember that the painting concerned was produced in 1985, more than thirty years ago, at the very height of Basquiat’s success in the New York art world, then much closer to being globally dominant than it is now.
24 August 2017
Ralph Steadman has just published a very handsome new picture book, folio size, entitled Critters, about species threatened with extinction.
I went to see the R.A.’s new Matisse show, but not at the press view, as I was abroad. I did go very shortly after it opened. Not unexpectedly, it was jammed with visitors, and I mean jammed. You had to dodge round backs to get a proper view of some of the smaller items, notably the drawings.
1 August 2017
Hot on the heels of the Princess Zeid show at Tate Modern, which runs until October 8th, is a much smaller and shorter-lived exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, by an artist also Middle Eastern, royal, and female, which runs only until August 18th. The artist is splendidly entitled Khawala Bint Ahmed Bint Kahalifa Al Suwaida.
8 July 2017
A small confession to make here: I wrote a brief text for the catalogue of this show because Jamaica is where I originally come from. The subject of the exhibition is Jamaican art, manifested in its relationship to religion.
6 July 2017
The G F Watts Gallery, near Guilford, with one of very few art spaces in Britain that is basically dedicated to a single artist. Equivalents, perhaps, are Leighton House in Kensington, the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, and maybe – just maybe – Damien Hirst’s splendid new gallery in Newport Street, Vauxhall. There, however, the great Damien has been careful to show work by artists other than himself, though most of what is on view comes from his own collection.
22 June 2017
I confess I had a few reservations about the Fahrelnissa Zeid retrospective now at Tate Modern.
Right now, in terms of the shows, it’s offering the public, the Royal Academy is on a roll. There’s been one great, news-making exhibition after another, under the guidance of its Director of Exhibitions, Tim Marlow, who came to them from White Cube. Those whom Munnings would have dismissed as lunatics have taken over the […]
30 May 2017
Until the Modern epoch, and indeed right up to the present day, Hokusai was by far the most influential non-European artist to impact European art.
26 May 2017
The now very senior Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) has often found himself classified as a Pop artist, largely because a large part of his subject matter – still lifes of commonplace objects (in his case often items of mass-produced food) – overlaps with the kind of things that members of the American Pop movement chose to depict.
The next two occupants of the so-called Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square have just been announced and, true to form, the British visual arts establishment has laboured and given birth to a mouse. Or, to be fair, to two mice, one of them just slightly larger than the other. I speak not in terms of size, but in those of probable effect.
23 March 2017
Howard Hodgkin died just two weeks before the opening of the current retrospective of his work at the National Portrait Gallery.
20 March 2017
The current Paolozzi exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery is, for an old stager like me, a bit of a puzzle. There was a time when Paolozzi was a very big deal – one of the major innovators in British art, the destined successor to the first generation of major British Modernists, chief among them Henry Moore.
16 March 2017
The Design Museum’s new exhibition, Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution, is in many respects a great improvement on its rather incoherent opening show (or collection of shows).
8 February 2017
It seems a long time since Tate Britain had a real blockbuster show. Even the Turner Prize, once a focus of popular attention, has received less and less publicity recently, to the point where the dissidents of the Stuckist Movement can no longer be bothered to picket it, even when the annual prize exhibition is held here in London, and not banished to some deserving gallery in the provinces.
When Maria Balshaw takes over from Sir Nicolas Serota at Tate (not yet officially confirmed as I write this, but a racing certainty), she takes over an empire that seems to be in excellent health.
2 January 2017
Edward Lucie-Smith discusses the relevance of Conceptual Art in the millennial age.
10 December 2016
Painter’s Painters at the Saatchi Gallery picks up the theme of figurative painting as a still essential and central form of art making and tries to give it a new spin.
5 December 2016
I’m always left in two minds about Robert Rauschenberg. On the one hand, there is his enormous influence on the course of today’s contemporary art. Everywhere you look, you see things that came from him. He is a prophetic artist in all sorts of different ways: installation, junk sculpture, fascination with new technologies, performance art, collaborations
22 November 2016
The Art of Rivalry is a relief in art critical terms. It is well and clearly written, with no pretentions. Sebastian Smee is currently the art critic for the Boston Globe, where he has been since 2008.
22 November 2016
Damien Hirst has become a major patron, in addition to being a celebrated artist. When he stages a show at his Great Newport Street Gallery, which is one of the most handsome art spaces in London, though not alas one blessed with good links to public transport, pretty well everything you see will be items that belong to him. This is the case with the aptly entitled Who What When How & Why, a solo show for his fellow YBA Gavin Turk. It’s a significant alliance in more ways than one.
15 November 2016
I’ve just made a visit – a first but not the last, I hope – to the much talked about Hauser & Wirth set up near Bruton in Somerset. I already knew their rather grand gallery situated on Savile Row in London, where it jostles elbows, so to speak, with our city’s grandest purveyors of […]
14 November 2016
When I visited the Royal Academy’s in many ways excellent new show devoted to the Belgian Symbolist/Expressionist painter James Ensor, I was, much as I enjoyed it, haunted by an uneasy feeling. Not only that I was missing something, but that the curator, the distinguished Belgian contemporary artist Luc Tuymans, had somehow missed something too. Missed it, or averted his […]