Contemporary art

‘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 women who invented collage – long before Picasso and co.

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Claudia Massie on the women who invented collage – long before Picasso and co.

Why has British art had such a fascination with fire?

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Laura Gascoigne on art’s enduring fascination with fire

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…

Sun & Sea (Marina), the Golden Lion-winning opera at the Venice Biennale. Photo: © Andrej Vasilenko

If opera survives, it’ll be thanks to artists and curators, not opera houses

25 May 2019 9:00 am

It was bucketing it down in Venice, yet the beach was heaving. Families, lovebirds, warring kids, a yappy mutt, all…

‘Scenes from the Passion: The Hawthorne Tree’, 2001, by George Shaw

The joy of George Shaw’s miserable paintings of a Coventry council estate

30 March 2019 9:00 am

All good narrative painting contains an element of allegory, but most artists don’t go looking for it on a Coventry…

Soft cell: ‘Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202’, 1970–73, by Dorothea Tanning

Wicked, humorous and high-spirited: Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern reviewed

14 March 2019 9:00 am

Art movements come and go but surrealism, in one form or another, has always been with us. Centuries before Freud’s…

Art or propaganda? Wolfgang Tillmans’ pro-EU poster for the 2016 referendum

Keep politics out of art

9 March 2019 9:00 am

If you want to lose friends and alienate people in the art world, try telling them you support Britain leaving…

Careful, Phyllida: the artist posing by her rickety sculptural wonderland at the RACareful, Phyllida: the artist posing by her rickety sculptural wonderland at the RA

Phyllida Barlow’s sculptural wonderland reigns supreme at the Royal Academy

2 March 2019 9:00 am

‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’ If there’s an exception to prove Shaw’s rule, it’s Phyllida Barlow. The…

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The widow of the Shah of Iran was painted by Warhol and assembled the greatest collection of art outside of Europe. Will Heaven meets her

‘One World’ by Mark Wallinger

The winner of the 2018 What’s That Thing? Award for bad public art is...

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Not a bad year for the award. Honourable mentions must go to the landfill abstractions of Oxford’s new Westgate Centre,…

Read The Spectator article that gave birth to musical minimalism 50 years ago

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Fifty years ago, in a review by composer Michael Nyman, The Spectator helped christen a musical movement that came to dominate the world

Stuffed doll in Edwardian-style black dress with stiletto through face, south Devon, England , 1909–13

The objects that sound witchiest on paper just look sad: Spellbound reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Just in front of me, visiting Spellbound at the Ashmolean last week, was a very rational boy of about seven…

Antony Gormley’s art works better in theory than in practice

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Antony Gormley has replicated again. Every year or so a new army of his other selves — cast, or these…

Here’s why not to go to the Hamptons

16 June 2018 9:00 am

New York The summertime exodus is upon us. The Hamptons are overflowing with mouth-frothing groupies looking for celebrities, and the…

The glums: Marisol Montiel and Ana Luisa Montiel in Taryn Simon’s ‘An Occupation of Loss’

Grief-conjurors, space-mincers and earth-shovellers: performance roundup

19 May 2018 9:00 am

They enter two by two. Grannies, mainly. Headscarved, mainly. Some locking arms. A bit glum. Like rejects from Noah’s ark.…

The glorious history of Chatham Dockyard, as told through the eyes of artists

31 March 2018 9:00 am

‘Ding, Clash, Dong, BANG, Boom, Rattle, Clash, BANG, Clink, BANG, Dong, BANG, Clatter, BANG BANG BANG!’ is how Charles Dickens…

Games without frontiers: Ian Cheng’s ‘Emissaries Guide – Narrative Agents and Wildlife’ (2017)

The artist who creates digital life forms that bite & self-harm. Sam Leith meets him (and them)

24 March 2018 9:00 am

The artist Ian Cheng creates digital life forms that bite and self-harm. Sam Leith meets him (and them)

‘Majesty’, 2006, by Tacita Dean

Intelligent, poetic and profound: Tacita Dean at the National and National Portrait galleries

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Andy Warhol would probably have been surprised to learn that his 1964 film ‘Empire’ had given rise to an entire…

‘The Appearance’, 2018, by Eric Fischl

Surreal jokes and juicy strokes: Martin Gayford on the power of paint

17 March 2018 9:00 am

René Magritte was fond of jokes. There are several in René Magritte (Or: The Rule of Metaphor), a small but…

Tracey Emin finds a kindred spirit in Turner

28 October 2017 9:00 am

In the 1880s the young Max Klinger made a series of etchings detailing the surreal adventures of a woman’s glove…

‘The Japanese’ by Hans Makart, 1870–75

How do artists vanish?

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Here’s an intriguing thought experiment: could Damien Hirst disappear? By that I mean not the 52-year-old artist himself — that…

‘Untitled (Clear Torso)’, 1993, by Rachel Whiteread

At her best, Rachel Whiteread is almost edibly attractive – but less is more

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Rachel Whiteread is an indefatigable explorer of internal space. By turning humble items such as hot-water bottles and sinks inside…

‘Spray’, by Harold Williamson (1939)

The marvels of British interwar realism

19 August 2017 9:00 am

One day, somebody will stage an exhibition of artists taught at the Slade by the formidable Henry Tonks, who considered…

An early super yacht supplied with prostitutes: an artist’s impression of Caligula’s royal barge, 18th century

The allure of shipwrecks

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Daisy Dunn investigates the allure of shipwrecks – from Caligula to Damien Hirst