I have personal reasons to be interested in this book – Company Curiosities, by Arthur Macgregor. A direct ancestor of mine, not however mentioned in the text, was Chairman of the British East India Company in some of its glory days at the end of the 18th century.
25 June 2019
This is the time of year when London’s grandee galleries – official and commercial – are so busy presenting us with blockbuster shows that lesser lights tend to get squeezed out, at least where publicity is concerned. Here are a couple of exhibitions on a somewhat lesser scale that it would be a pity to miss. One, at Huxley-Parlour in Swallow Street, offers the work of the American artist Donald Sultan, one of the stars of the return to painting (as opposed to other forms of artistic expression) that took place in American art in the 1980s.
27 March 2019
Two shows have just opened at major London institutions –Sorolla at the National Gallery and Mike Nelson at Tate Britain. Different as they are, they both give one cause to reflect on the current situation in British art. Indeed, about what is happening to British culture in general.
6 February 2019
There’s a conflict of impulses in the art world just now. On the one hand, there is a desire to reflect what’s going on in society.
15 January 2019
Mayfair’s Golden Oldies: Bernard Jacobson At 50 and Stephen Buckley @ Mayor Gallery – Edward Lucie-Smith
The Bernard Jacobson Gallery in the heart of London has had a long connection with artists’ prints and printmaking since it first opened its doors, on a different site to the current one, in 1969.
Looking forward to the art year ahead of us – 2019 – there are certain things one notices immediately, in the announcements so far made by various official and semi-official institutions based here in Britain and more specifically in plans announced by galleries here in London.
28 December 2018
In the current context of London exhibitions, the unabashed rock-‘n’roll energy of the Philip Colbert Hunt Paintings’ show, recently opened upstairs at the Saatchi Gallery
It has been in many ways a somewhat melancholy year for art, here in Britain – or should I say: ‘here in London’? -since pretty well all the shows I will mention here took place in a capital city that seems to be drifting steadily away from the rest of Britain.
5 November 2018
The Modern Couples show currently at the Barbican has eyes slightly too big for its own – or at any rate for my stomach. Nevertheless, it is, in the present climate for the visual arts, an event that is both timely and important.
18 September 2018
As the title of this fascinating new show at Charlie Smith London suggests, Hugh Mendes is here offering multiple self-portraits, in the form of portraits of other people.
22 May 2018
Julian Schnabel currently occupies an ambiguous position in the art world, which his new solo exhibition at Pace is likely to do little to clarify.
This year’s list of finalists for the Turner Prize has just been announced. While the names on the shortlist are virtuously unfamiliar, the general artistic direction is not.
The contemporary art world seems an increasingly strange place to be.
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.