As the contemporary art world goes dark, and as galleries – official spaces and commercial ones – slam shut their doors, one inevitably starts to wonder what the art world will be like once all this is over—the British art world, and also the global one.
12 March 2020
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) has, even since his death more than thirty years ago, retained a central position in the world of contemporary art.
On Monday, January 13 the Times (London) published a chirpy article by Ben Luke promising wonders to come in London’s official galleries during the coming year. I have to say that the prospects he offered didn’t look so wonderful to me – that is to say where contemporary art is concerned.
18 December 2019
From a critic’s point of view, It is pretty difficult, to sum up, the year 2019. It was, for example, a year when greater and greater emphasis was placed on doing full justice to women artists.
21 November 2019
The latest in an excellent series of significant exhibitions at the British Museum – much better than the smaller ones the B.M. does in the cramped spaces of what used to be the reading rooms of the British Library – is about the legendary city of Troy, long besieged and finally at last taken and destroyed by a coalition of Greek states.
19 November 2019
I increasingly get the feeling that the two London Tates are struggling to know what to do with the huge central spaces that are a characteristic feature of both buildings. The new show at Tate Britain – Steve McQueen: Year 3 – is symptomatic of this, though it is in many ways a more successful solution to the problem than some of the previous ones.
19 November 2019
As the nation plunges towards Brexit, and, as the official galleries – specifically the two big London Tates – grow more and more self-satisfied and increasingly inclined to offer displays of civic virtue as substitutes for anything you can actually describe as art, one turns towards the commercial galleries for solace.
8 October 2019
Two London shows from big commercial galleries reflect different but related aspects of the current international scene. One, at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, is for the internationally known American artist Cy Twombly.
Recently the Guardian newspaper here in Britain offered yet another of those ‘best of’ lists to which both the print press and websites of various kinds are now addicted. In this case, what it listed was ‘the best art of the 21st century’.
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.