Exhibitions

A museum-quality car-boot sale: V&A's Cars reviewed

7 December 2019 9:00 am

We were looking at a 1956 Fiat Multipla, a charming ergonomic marvel that predicted today’s popular MPVs. Rather grandly, I…

Remarkable and imaginative: Fitzwilliam Museum’s The Art of Food reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Eating makes us anxious. This is a feature of contemporary life: a huge amount of attention is devoted to how…

The extraordinary paintings of Craigie Aitchison

23 November 2019 9:00 am

One of the most extraordinary paintings in the exhibition of work by Craigie Aitchison at Piano Nobile (96–129 Portland Road,…

John Flaxman is the missing link between superhero movies and Homer

9 November 2019 9:00 am

As you enter the forecourt of the Royal Academy, you see them. A row of artistic titans, carved in stone,…

The truth about food photography

2 November 2019 9:00 am

While looking at the photographs of food in this humorous exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery, I thought of how hopelessly…

English National Opera's triumphant new production of Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus, directed by Daniel Kramer. [Photo: Alistair Muir]

A triumph: ENO's Mask of Orpheus reviewed

26 October 2019 9:00 am

ENO’s Mask of Orpheus is a triumph. It’s also unintelligible. Even David Pountney, who produced the original ENO staging in…

The beauties of the universe are revealed in the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

19 October 2019 9:00 am

In the early 1660s, Pieter de Hooch was living in an area of what we would now call urban overspill…

Inspiring and sweet-smelling: David Nash’s 200 Seasons at Towner Art Gallery

You'll be blubbing over a wooden boulder at David Nash's show at Towner Art Gallery

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Call me soppy, but when the credits rolled on ‘Wooden Boulder’, a film made by earth artist David Nash over…

‘Body’ and ‘Fruit’, 1991/93, by Antony Gormley

A cast of Antony Gormley? Or a pair of giant conkers? Gormley’s RA show reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

While Sir Joshua Reynolds, on his plinth, was looking the other way, a little girl last Saturday morning was trying…

The rare gifts of Peter Doig

21 September 2019 9:00 am

‘My basic intention,’ the late Patrick Caulfield once told me, ‘is to create some attractive place to be, maybe even…

‘Flowers’, 1942, by Ivon Hitchens

Whooshing seedlings and squabbling stems: Ivon Hitchens at Pallant House reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Set down the secateurs, silence the strimmers. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Ivon Hitchens was a…

‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, c.1826, by Ingres, a copy of which hung over Freud’s desk

Why was Sigmund Freud so obsessed with Egypt?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago, I visited the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna with a party of American journalists. Even in those…

Going to the dogs: ‘Pluto Aged 12’, 2000, by Lucian Freud

An exhibition about dogs, chosen by dogs: Dog Show reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Stepping into any art gallery, the last thing you expect to be greeted by is a cacophony of barking and…

Wooden head from southern Nigeria, collected by Northcote W. Thomas in 1910

Lucian Freud insisted a forgery could be as great as the real thing. Was he right?

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Perhaps we should blame Vasari. Ever since the publication of his Lives of the Artists, and to an ever-increasing extent,…

Like walking into a Rothko: ‘Din blinde passager’ (‘Your blind passenger’), 2010, by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson’s art is both futuristic and completely traditional – which is why I love it

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Superficially, the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at Tate Modern can seem like a theme park. To enter many of the exhibits,…

‘The Tea Party’, 1727, by Richard Collins

A brief history of tea

20 July 2019 9:00 am

It had to happen. Since almost everything became either ‘artisan’ or ‘curated’, conditions have been ripe for a curator of…

‘Telepainting’, 1964, by Takis

Full of wonders: Takis at Tate Modern reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Steel flowers bend in a ‘breeze’ generated by magnetic pendulums. This is the first thing you see as you enter…

‘The Ball’ (1899) by Félix Vallotton

No masterpieces but there are beautiful touches: Félix Vallotton at the RA reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) was a member of the Nabis (the Prophets), a problematically loose agglomeration of painters, inspired by Gauguin…

‘Centaur’, 1964, by Paula Rego

Remarkable and powerful – you see her joining the old masters: Paula Rego reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

In 1965 a journalist asked Paula Rego why she painted. ‘To give a face to fear,’ she replied (those were…

Dark masterpiece: ‘Two Figures’, 1953, by Francis Bacon

There is a jewel of a painting at Gagosian's Francis Bacon show

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It is no easier to make a good painting,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, than it is…

Virtuosic exploration of paint: Frank Bowling at Tate Britain reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

‘The possibilities of paint,’ Frank Bowling has observed, ‘are endless.’ The superb career retrospective of his work at Tate Britain…

Plastic fantastic: British Industried Fair, 1948

How plastics saved the elephant and the tortoise

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Plastics — even venerable, historically eloquent plastics — hardly draw the eye. As this show’s insightful accompanying publication (a snip…

A mesmerising retrospective: Victoria Crowe at City Art Centre, Edinburgh, reviewed

25 May 2019 9:00 am

This mesmerising retrospective takes up three floors of the City Art Centre, moving in distinct stages from the reedy flanks…

‘A was an Artist’, from William Nicholson’s An Alphabet, 1897

The duo that broke the mould of poster design

18 May 2019 9:00 am

The best double acts — Laurel and Hardy, Gilbert & George, Rodgers and Hart — are often made up of…

It’s all Greek to me: a schoolchild’s homework on a wax tablet, Egypt, 2nd century AD

Would James Joyce have finished Ulysses without coloured pens?

11 May 2019 9:00 am

The Mesopotamians wrote on clay and the ancient Chinese on ox bones and turtle shells. In Egypt, in about 1,800…