Somerset house

It’s time to free art from being ‘interactive’ and ‘immersive’

The American artist and critic Brad Troemel once pointed out that art galleries have all turned into a kind of adult daycare, and ever since then I haven’t been able to visit a gallery without noticing it. Nearly two decades ago, Carsten Höller installed a set of big aluminium slides in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, and they were undeniably good fun because going down slides is fun. It’s also fun, although maybe for a different type of person, to ask if going down slides counts as art. These days, though, you can hardly move for this stuff. The world is already interactive. You walk around in it. You

The supreme pictures of the Courtauld finally have a home of equal magnificence

When the Courtauld Gallery’s impressionist pictures were shown at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2019, the Parisian public was so bowled over by the exhibition that some were inclined to claim Samuel Courtauld as an honorary Frenchman. This was not completely unreasonable; after all Courtauld (1876–1947) was a Francophile from an old Huguenot family. But it was even more of a compliment to the magnificent array of French art he had put together. In this city of impressionism, home to the Musée d’Orsay and the Orangerie, half a million visitors came to see it. I went round that show with an eminent art dealer, and as we did

How the Beano shaped art

Superman and the Beano are both 83 years old. The American superhero first pulled on his tights for Action Comics No. 1 in June 1938. The following month, roughly 443,000 copies were sold of the Beano’s first issue, featuring Pansy Potter (the Strongman’s Daughter), Big Fat Joe, Wee Peem (He’s a Proper Scream) and, my personal role model, Lord Snooty. Not until Grand Theft Auto launched in 1997 has anything so culturally significant come out of Dundee. But there is a key difference between Superman and the Beano. While American heroes in general and Superman in particular uphold rules, the Beano’s success — its 4,000th edition in 2019 made it