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Family at war

In a dark corner of the Museum of Natural History in New York there is a diorama of a giant squid caught between the jaws of a whale. It is huge, vivid and quite alarming — two mighty beasts tussling, and never a victor. This is the spectacle which gives this film its curious title:

New world orders

This year’s Tate Triennial has been so universally panned it seems cruel to add to the chorus of criticism. Still, it’s fair to ask why it’s so dreadfully dreary — and the answer, I think, is a lack of fantasy. Fantasy, as an ingredient of visual art, has fared badly under modernism and postmodernism. Somewhere

Taking shape

The Serpentine Gallery is a pleasure to visit, which makes it all the more frustrating that its exhibition programme in recent years has been so dominated by the modish and ephemeral. Thankfully, from time to time, an exhibition of real worth manages to squeeze past the art censors. American painters seem to have fared better

Real life

Like everyone else I loved Planet Earth (BBC1, Sunday), which came to only a temporary end this week. The images are fabulous. If the global-warming doomsayers are right, and if in 50 years’ time what’s left of us are living on mountain tops, chewing grey squirrels and watching DVDs powered by lichen, it will be

‘Enemy of obviousness’

‘Quelle catastrophe.’ Thus Samuel Beckett on hearing that he had won the Nobel Prize in 1969. He would doubtless have been similarly disdainful of the events arranged to mark his centenary, which falls on 13 April. A disregard for fame and success, and even for his followers, was one of Beckett’s artistic hallmarks and it