Exhibitions

Doing it for themselves: the first issue of the first punk fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’

Nothing sacrilegious about this British Library Punk show, says Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols

28 May 2016 9:00 am

There have been many punk exhibitions over the years so I can’t help but chuckle at the ‘experts’ who are…

Cartoon for St Luke, Chichester Cathedral Tapestry, 1965, by John Piper

The shimmering, restless, groovy fabrics of John Piper

21 May 2016 9:00 am

A story John Piper liked to tell — and the one most told about him — is of a morning…

Satirical diptych, 1520–1530, anonymous Flemish artist

This Parisian exhibition has rewritten the story of art

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Why do we put one work of art beside another? For the most part museums and galleries tend to stick…

‘Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu’, 1702–3, by Maria Merian

The 17th century painter who hacked her way through Suriname in search of insects

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Maria Sibylla Merian was a game old bird of entrepreneurial bent, with an overwhelming obsession with insects. Born in Frankfurt…

‘The Haystack’, late April 1844, by William Fox Talbot

How a Liberal MP's inability to draw led him to invent photography

30 April 2016 9:00 am

William Henry Fox Talbot had many accomplishments. He was Liberal MP for Chippenham; at Cambridge he won a prize for…

‘True Love’ detail, 1981, by Posy Simmonds

The British are leaders in graphic novels so why do we not take the art form more seriously?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Art Spiegelman, the American cartoonist behind Maus, the celebrated Holocaust cartoon, dreamt up a good definition of graphic novels: comics…

‘Undressed’ is too much boob, not enough woman: ‘Tamila’ lingerie set from the Agent Provocateur Soirée collection

Too much boob – not enough woman: Undressed at the V&A reviewed

16 April 2016 9:00 am

The V&A is selling £35 Agent Provocateur pants. This is, of course, a business deal because Agent Provocateur — along…

‘Merde d’Artiste’, 1961, by Piero Manzoni

In defence of conceptual art

16 April 2016 9:00 am

At the tail end of last year, an artist called Peter Goodfellow mounted an exhibition of paintings titled Treason of…

‘Macbeth, Banquo and Witches on the Heath’, 1794, by Henry Fuseli

Why do some museums insist on playing piped music into exhibitions?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

There was a genteel brouhaha last year — leaders in the Times, letters to the Telegraph, tutting in the galleries…

Wooden model of a brewing and baking workshop, Egypt, c.2000 bc, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Ancient Egypt’s obsession with death was in fact a preoccupation with life

2 April 2016 9:00 am

The Fitzwilliam Museum is marking its bicentenary with an exhibition that takes its title from Agatha Christie: Death on the…

‘Wall Street, New York’, 1915, by Paul Strand

A lot of art is trickery - and all the better for it

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One day, in the autumn of 1960, a young Frenchman launched himself off a garden wall in a suburban street…

‘La Vecchia’ (c.1506) by Giorgione

RA’s Giorgione show is so rich it’s worth returning to several times

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was once shown a room full of paintings by a proud collector, who had purchased them on the…

‘Venus’, 1490s, by Sandro Botticelli

V&A's Botticelli Reimagined has too many desperate pretenders

5 March 2016 9:00 am

When Tom Birkin, hero of J.L. Carr’s novel A Month in the Country, wakes from sleeping in the sun, it…

'Visions of the Hereafter' by Hieronymus Bosch

Hell made fun – the joy of Hieronymus Bosch

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The 20th-century painter who called himself Balthus once proposed that a monograph about him should begin with the words ‘Balthus…

‘Silent Treatment’ by Andrew Cranston

Part bijou Kiefer, part woozy Vuillard: the paintings of Andrew Cranston

20 February 2016 9:00 am

The ten vignettes that punctuate the white walls of the Ingleby Gallery invite us to step into the many-chambered mind…

‘Untitled (Oxidation Painting)’, 1978, by Andy Warhol

Warhol the traditionalist: the Ashmolean Museum show reviewed

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When asked the question ‘What is art?’, Andy Warhol gave a characteristically flip answer (‘Isn’t that a guy’s name?’). On…

‘Nympheas (Waterlilies)’, 1914–15, by Claude Monet

The link between herbaceous borders and the avant-garde

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Philip Larkin once remarked that Art Tatum, a jazz musician given to ornate, multi-noted flourishes on the keyboard, reminded him…

Installation shot of  Michael Craig-Martin's Serpentine exhibition 'Transience'. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones

Cool, beguiling, Duchampian set of still lives from Michael Craig-Martin at the Serpentine Gallery

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Michael Craig-Martin has had a paradoxical career. He is, I think, a disciple of Marcel Duchamp. But the latter famously…

Marilyn Chambers at Raymond Revuebar, 1979

A paean to the fleshy delights and tacky excess of Soho at Christmas

12 December 2015 9:00 am

This Christmas, says Stephen Smith, we should raise a glass to the fleshy delights of Soho’s Raymond Revueba

'Leslie and Clodagh Waddington' (1996) by Peter Blake

How pop is Peter Blake?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Painters and sculptors are highly averse to being labelled. So much so that it seems fairly certain that, if asked,…

‘Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman’ or ‘The Music Lesson’, 1662–5, by Vermeer

Artistic taste is inversely proportional to political nous

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Wherever the British settle, wherever they colonize,’ observed the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, ‘they carry and will ever carry trial…

‘La Mort de Louis XIII’, 1731, by Jean-François de Troy

The strange death of Louis XIV

21 November 2015 9:00 am

At the beginning of the summer of 1715 Louis XIV complained of a pain in the leg. In mid-August gangrene…

'Antennae with Red and Blue Dots' by Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder: the man who made abstract art fly

14 November 2015 9:00 am

One day, in October 1930, Alexander Calder visited the great abstract painter Piet Mondrian in his apartment in Paris. The…

'Contrast (Order and Chaos)' (1950) by M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher: limited, repetitive, but he deserves a place in art history

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Surely,’ mused the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, ‘it is a bit absurd to draw a few lines and then claim:…

‘Street Kids’, c.1949–51, by Joan Eardley

Why I find women-only exhibitions depressing

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Modern Scottish Men, a new exhibition celebrating the achievements of male artists in the 20th century, opens next month in…