Arts feature

Sam Leith

The simulation game

Digital art is a crowded field. It’s also now older than I am. Yet despite a 50-year courtship, art galleries have been reluctant to allow it more than a toehold in their collections. Things are changing. Take MoMA’s visit to Paris last year. Alongside the Picassos and Pollocks was a very popular final room, made

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Vince Staples

Grade: B+ Another ex-Long Beach crip replanted in pleasant Orange County via the conduit of very large amounts of record company money and thus now able to draw on his time as a gangsta, while telling us all it was a very naughty thing to have done. The difference between Staples and much of the


What’s the big idea?

Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams dates from the late 1940s. He hadn’t quite reached the peaks of sentimental delicacy he found in his golden period but he was getting there. As a lesser-known curiosity, the script deserves a production that explains itself openly and plainly. Rebecca Frecknall has directed a beautiful and sometimes bizarre-looking


Love Handel

Handel’s Rinaldo has not been highly regarded even by his most ardent admirers. I have never understood why — even less so after the recent performance at the Barbican, with stunning forces, including the English Concert, under the inspiring direction of Harry Bicket. Certainly the plot is absurd, with a last-minute mass conversion of Muslims


Sunday best

For as long as I can remember, Sunday nights have been the home of the kind of TV drama cunningly designed to warm the sternest of heart cockles. Think, for example, of Robert Hardy cheerfully bellowing his way through almost every scene of All Creatures Great and Small (‘PASS THE SALT, JAMES!’). Or of Pop


Time and motion

Andy Warhol would probably have been surprised to learn that his 1964 film ‘Empire’ had given rise to an entire genre. This work comprises eight hours and five minutes of slow-motion footage of the Empire State Building during which nothing much happens. Warhol remarked that it was a way of watching time pass or, you


Mad about Claire Foy

Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller about a woman who is incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital even though she claims to be perfectly sane. But is she? It was filmed fast, on an iPhone 7, and some aspects are worryingly thoughtless — its treatment of mental-health patients, for example, is remarkably Unsensitive.


The new seekers | 22 March 2018

As Bob Shennan, the BBC’s director of radio and music admitted this week, there are almost two million podcast-only listeners in the UK who never tune into BBC Radio. They’re captivated by specialist music (Heart, Absolute, etc), specialist talks (mostly religious such as Premier Christian) or specialist news and current affairs (the Economist, Monocle). And