Arts feature

Poles apart

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 15 February 2009 Cartoons & Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster The Wallace Collection, until 11 January 2009 Saul Steinberg (1914–99) was born in Romania and studied architecture in 1930s Milan. His first cartoons appeared in 1936 and he began to build a reputation, despite the threat of

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In perfect harmony

It is worth remembering that the BBC, despite its recent, excessively well-aired problems, gives us a great many stimulating, well-made programmes, on both radio and television. Rather surprisingly, given its format and the yawning, ever-present potential for dumbed-down disaster, the BBC2 Maestro series, aired in August/September this year, turned out to be all of those

Luminous landscapes

Oleg Vassiliev: Recent Works Faggionato Fine Arts, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1, until 23 January 2009 The septuagenarian Russian artist Oleg Vassiliev is exhibiting for the first time in London. Vassiliev was born in Moscow, in 1931, and studied graphic art at the Surikov Art Institute (Moscow State Art Institute), a training which provided him

Treasure trove

Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art Islamic art is a fast growing subject of study. Too many countries are involved for it to be categorised like French or Japanese art. In New York and London Islamic art tends to be confined to a section of an institution such as the Met, the British Museum or the

A rich legacy

The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions Metropolitan Museum, until 1 February 2009 Philippe de Montebello retires from the position of Director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, after 31 years of service, at the end of this year. A forum of curators has organised an exhibition of

Crumblies’ gig

It all started earlier this year, when my friend Chris managed to get four tickets for the first Leonard Cohen concerts at the O2. ‘There’s one for you if you want it,’ he said. Well, obviously I wanted it, but cash was a little short at the time — in fact, not so much short

Flights of fancy | 3 December 2008

Les Contes d’Hoffmann Royal Opera Der fliegende Holländer Barbican Astonished delight was the first reaction, of everyone, I think, at the Royal Opera’s latest revival of John Schlesinger’s production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann: astonishment that Rolando Villazón seems not only to have overcome his vocal and possibly other crises, but to be, in all

Bad neighbours

Lakeview Terrace 15, Nationwide Summer 15, Key Cities Lakeview Terrace is one of those menacing, neighbour-from-hell type thrillers with Samuel L. Jackson playing Abel Turner, an LAPD cop who bristles with hostility from the moment Chris and Lisa, an interracial couple — he’s white, she’s black — move in next door. This is a movie

Relative values

The Family Reunion Donmar Chicken Hackney Empire August: Osage County Lyttelton T.S. Eliot was in his fifties when he turned to the theatre. What’s amazing about his 1939 play, The Family Reunion, is its experimental verve and nonchalant risk-loving energies. Harry, a country squire, returns from eight years abroad to take possession of his estate.

Food for thought | 6 December 2008

My favourite programme last week was France on a Plate (BBC4, Sunday) in which Dr Andrew Hussey investigated the link between gastronomy and la gloire; French glory and destiny. He began with a recreation of François Mitterrand’s last meal, which climaxed with the illegal consumption of ortolans, an endangered songbird which is blinded then boiled