With the order to close museums and galleries as well as other public spaces, a little like a 16th-century closing of the playhouses against the plague which saw theatrical companies tour the provinces to maintain their revenue streams, what is there for an arts fan to do? Well... You could watch some design and architecture … Continue reading Art in the time of plague
The day before I went to the Barbican Gallery's "Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography" exhibition, I underwent the strenuous business of finding Westminster City Hall--not easy, when Google Maps insists this is either on South Bank by Westminster Bridge, where the ignoble "Shrek Adventure" is, or in Marylebone, rather than where it actually is, at 64 … Continue reading Delicate, emotional, and complex: Masculinity for the 21st Century?
Or rather, how not to make an exhibition of one painting, particularly an exhibition with a £20 entry fee, of a painting which is usually available to view for free in the gallery, and is not a loan or recent acquisition. The Virgin on the Rocks: And Nothing But The exhibition space is arranged around a … Continue reading The Virgin on the Rocks: How To Make An Exhibition Of One Painting
There is a well-known Soviet-era joke about newspapers. In Moscow, there were two papers. Pravda (Truth), and Izvestia (News). And as the saying goes: if it's in Izvestia it's not Truth, and if it's in Pravda, it's not News. Like most jokes, it reveals something about the culture it comes from, in this case a … Continue reading Opinion: Cui Bono? What can we infer from press ownership, and who owns Britain’s news?
Featured strings: Just Go Nuts, Overlooked Treasures This is my last blog entry for Artstring; I've had the most tremendous time exploring the collections at the National Gallery, Science Museum and British Museum in greater depth than I had previously, and I sincerely hope, as I mentioned in my introductory post that other museums, London and worldwide, follow suit … Continue reading Finishing on a high: personal faves and highlights
Featured string: Standing on the shoulders of giants: science in art We don't tend to memorialise scientists in art any more despite still producing great thinkers, any more than we really publicly memorialise military leaders in quite the same way; new statues rising in cities or atriums of public buildings tend to be either corporate … Continue reading Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Science in Art
Featured string: The Splendour of the Ordinary Spending a lot of time with museum collections and history, as I'm lucky enough to be allowed to, means grappling with the surprising timeline of inventions and "normalisations" (when using stuff that's been invented becomes normal--this can sometimes be a large gap. For example, the first video call was … Continue reading The Splendour of the Ordinary
Featured string: Teeny Weeny Peeny: the phallus We're all adults here. Or at least I hope we are. So we should be able to face the following with some semblance of maturity: there a lot of dicks in art. Especially old art. So many gentlemen's members (very rarely are the members in question attached to ladies, … Continue reading Let’s Talk About Dicks, Baby
Featured Strings: If You Liked London Zoo, Animal Charm: Lovely Livestock From the earliest years of our lives and some of our earliest art as human beings (even perhaps before we were human beings), animals are everywhere in art. Before photography, art was the only way of providing any kind of accurate image of unknown … Continue reading The Animal Parade
Featured String: Against Nature This string deals with things that are or were at some point considered "taboo". The word itself doesn't come from English, but has travelled back to English-speakers with James Cook from a number of Polynesian languages, where similar-sounding words have the same meaning: something that's forbidden to do. Some taboos are almost universal: … Continue reading Against Nature: Changing Views of What’s “Normal”