Modernism

Modernist architecture isn’t barbarous – but the blinkered rejection of it is

25 August 2018 9:00 am

When I was younger, one of my favourite books was James Stevens Curl’s The Victorian Celebration of Death. His latest…

Villa Tugendhat, Brno, Czech Republic

Modernist architecture only worked for the wealthy

4 August 2018 9:00 am

It was Le Corbusier who famously wrote that ‘A house is a machine for living in’ (‘Une maison est une…

‘Never work’: graffiti on the walls of Nanterre University, March 1968

How situationism changed history

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Luke Haines on the situationists – the avant-garde art movement that sparked off the riots and foresaw the future

Vanessa Kirby as Julie and Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean in Julie at the National Theatre. Photo: Richard H Smith

This adaptation of Miss Julie is a textbook lesson in how to kill a classic

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Polly Stenham starts her overhaul of Strindberg’s Miss Julie with the title. She gives the ‘Miss’ a miss and calls…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

Part elevation of a new house in New Delhi, 2017, by George Saumarez Smith

The architectural trads are back – we should celebrate

28 October 2017 9:00 am

I’m sitting across a café table from a young man with a sheaf of drawings that have an archive look…

Who next for a blast? Wyndham Lewis in 1917, photographed by George Charles Beresford

Flappers, futurists, Bloomsbury and Putney – Wyndham Lewis's many enemies

1 July 2017 9:00 am

A superb retrospective at IWM North makes no apology for Wyndham Lewis: painter, poet, publisher and picker of fights. Laura Freeman reports

Up, up and away: ‘Endless Column’, 1937, by Constantin Brancusi

The most celebrated work of modernism that almost nobody has seen

24 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Everything is slow in Romania,’ said our driver Pavel resignedly, and, as it turned out, he was not exaggerating. He…

‘Choshi in Soshu province’, woodblock print from A Thousand Pictures of the Sea, c.1833, by Hokusai

How Hokusai achieved immortality

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Hokusai wanted to paint everything, says Laura Freeman, and at 70 he was only just beginning

Architectural Mecca: Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, by Le Corbusier

Vatican II gave carte blanche to architecture’s wild men, with overwhelming results

15 April 2017 9:00 am

In the 1960s, the Catholic Church gave carte blanche to architecture’s wild men, says Jonathan Meades, with overwhelming results

Square off: Mies van der Rohe’s Mansion House Square

London’s lost modernist masterpiece

25 February 2017 9:00 am

What a strange affair it now seems, the Mansion House Square brouhaha. How very revealing of the battle for the…

‘Allegro Moderato Fireman’s Parade’ (from the Calcium of Light portfolio), 1974–76, by Eduardo Paolozzi

Paolozzi was not a slim man but you have to run to keep up with him

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Rudolfo Paolozzi was a great maker. In the summer, he worked almost without stopping in the family’s ice-cream shop, making…

Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé by Edouard Manet, 1876

Stéphane Mallarmé: the happy Modernist

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Can American publishers be dissuaded from foisting absurd, bombastic subtitles on their books as if readers are all Trumpers avid…

Paradise regained: Milton Keynes shopping centre (now called thecentre: mk) in 1972

Milton Keynes is 50 years old. Should we celebrate?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

We may snigger at Milton Keynes but let’s not forget its utopian spirit, says Stephen Bayley

‘The Four Elements’, before 1937, by Adolf Ziegler, which hung above Hitler’s fireplace

Was Nazi art really that bad?

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Bad men and bad politics don’t necessarily equal bad art. So perhaps it’s time to reassess Hitler’s taste in painting, says William Cook

‘Salvador Dalí, New York’, 1947, by Irving Penn

A great ad for the optical benefits of rehab: the Elton John Collection reviewed

7 January 2017 9:00 am

‘Radical’ is like ‘creative’, a word that has been enfeebled to the point of meaninglessness. Everybody seems to want to…

Trump l’oeil: the atrium of Trump Towers

Donald Trump's interiors: make America crass again

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Donald Trump’s taste is as revealing of the man as any of his outbursts, says Stephen Bayley

‘Man eating Jalebee’, by Bhupen Khakhar (1976)

Modern figurative art — abstraction’s poor relation —gets a timely advocate

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Timothy Hyman’s remarkable new book makes the case for the relevance of figurative painting in the 20th century, a period…

Visionary: ‘Battle of Germany’, 1944, by Paul Nash

Wonderfully mellow, rich and strange: Paul Nash at Tate Britain reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

In 1932 Paul Nash posed the question, is it possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British?’ — a conundrum…

Majestic, exhilarating and overpowering: Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism reviewed

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Martin Gayford is dazzled by the scale, majesty and visual power of the Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism show

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

An act of doctrinaire official vandalism: the ‘hole’ during works in Les Halles district, 1975

The rise and fall of Les Halles – centre of Paris’s demi-monde

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Depending on your point de vue, Haussmann’s imperial scheme for Paris created townscape of thrilling regularity or boring uniformity. Whatever;…

One of the Maunsell Forts at Red Sands near Whitstable: built during world war two as an anti-aircraft gun tower, it became the home of pirate radio in the 1960s

Estuarial towns are an architectural utopia, says Jonathan Meades

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Estuarial towns are an architectural utopia — and the source of some sublimely weird sights, says Jonathan Meades

Grand visions: Birmingham’s Bull Ring shopping centre in 1965, a year after completion

Birmingham can be maddening – but culturally it has a lot to teach London

27 August 2016 9:00 am

On Saturday night, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra makes its first appearance at the BBC Proms under its new…

A collector of genius: Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim, collector of genius

20 August 2016 9:00 am

She had come a very long way from the shtetl, but Marguerite ‘Peggy’ Guggenheim was still the poor relation of…