In September, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a solo exhibition of works by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.…
There’s gold out there. The search for lost masterpieces beguiles many a theatrical impresario but with it comes the danger that the thrill of the chase may convert a spirit of honest exploration into an obtuse reverence for the quarry.
St Paul’s Cathedral is quite rightly something of a national obsession. No other building has protected ‘view corridors’ as a result of legislation in 1935, when new building regulations allowed the surrounding buildings — notoriously a telephone exchange to the south — to overtop the cathedral’s cornice line. These corridors, extending like an unseen net as far afield as Richmond Hill, make architects unaccountably cross, as if they were an unfair curb on the alliance of art and Mammon. Thank God they are there, and that the tallest buildings, springing up once again like genetically modified beanstalks, are at least corralled east of Bank.
The Islamic-art market has seen some changes since it emerged in the late-19th century. At that time, anything Middle Eastern was likely to be classified as ‘Persian’, while for most of the 20th century the preferred term was ‘Islamic art’. Now, it is ‘art of the Islamic world’, and the market is stronger than ever. Last month at Sotheby’s saw a new record for an Islamic weapon: almost £4 million for a dagger from 15th-century al-Andalus.