Visual arts

Relaunching London's Tate Gallery—RePresenting Britain 1500-2000

Mona Hatoum at the Tate Britain, Millbank, London

By Paul Bond, 12 May 2000

The closure for refurbishment of the Tate Gallery on Millbank temporarily deprived London of one of its major collections, as well as one of its better gallery spaces. The Tate (web site: has been one of the success stories of British galleries, expanding from its Millbank home to sites in Liverpool and St. Ives, Cornwall. Even with these additions the collection had still outgrown the spaces available. The decision was taken to seek out another location within London to run alongside the existing site in order to display more of the collection.

Exhibition in Bielefield, Germany—Kazimir Malevich: The Later Work

New insights into the work of Russian avant-garde artist

By Sybille Fuchs, 11 May 2000

Showing at the Kunsthalle art museum in Bielefeld, Germany (February 2 through May 21, 2000)

Honoré Daumier, Intimate Contemporary

By Tim Tower, 25 April 2000

A retrospective of 245 lithographs, sketches, sculptures and oil paintings by the nineteenth century Parisian Honoré Daumier is now on view at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Previously exhibited in Ottawa and Paris, this historic exhibition will close on May 14. The first of its kind ever seen in America and arguably the finest ever assembled, it is a show not to be missed.

Michelangelo to Matisse—Drawing the figure

A look at 500 years of figure drawing

By Maria Esposito and John Christian, 17 April 2000

A collection of 242 rarely seen figure drawings—from the Renaissance through to the 1940s—was on show earlier in the year at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Some of the 136 artists represented include Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Boscoli, Raphael of Urbino, Hans Holbein, Peter Paul Rubens, Henry Fuseli, Jean-Auguste Ingres as well as Jean-Francoise Millet, Edouard Claude Manet, Pablo Picasso, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Jean Dubuffet and Lucian Freud.

Then and now

1900: Art at the Crossroads at the Royal Academy, London

By Paul Bond, 24 March 2000

At the turn of the last century, Paris was host to a giant exhibition designed to display all that was best about the modern world. One of the Exposition Universelle's main attractions was a stunning display of electric light—the first that many ordinary Parisians had seen. In this respect it owed much to major displays of the nineteenth century, like London's Great Exhibition, which had demonstrated an assurance in new production techniques and the opening of the world to colonial expansion. These were triumphal displays of the power and might of the imperialist countries—capitalism at its height, developing new products, exploiting hitherto untapped resources and forcing open new markets.

Science, art or carnival sideshow?

The "Human Body Worlds" exhibit in Cologne

By Dietmar Henning, 23 March 2000

The “Human Body Worlds” exhibit has been on display since February 12 at Cologne's Heumarkt market square, where it is scheduled to run until July 31. The exhibit was first presented in Japan, attracting more than two and half million visitors. Only after this success with the public—and the associated commercial success—was the exhibit then put on display in Germany. Two years ago, 800,000 people came to see “Human Body Worlds” in Mannheim. Later the exhibit was visited by 550,000 people in Vienna, and 600,000 in Basle, Switzerland. In terms of numbers of visitors, it is reportedly the largest exposition ever held in Austria.

A vital and challenging exhibition

Viva la Vida —Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand 29 January-30 April

By John Braddock, 20 March 2000

A significant exhibition of twentieth century Mexican art, focusing on the work of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo is currently showing at the City Art Gallery in Wellington, as part of the New Zealand Arts Festival 2000. This exhibition— Viva la Vida—Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism —which has already drawn considerable public interest, brings to a new audience important work by the movement of artists associated with the Mexican revolution and the social struggles of the 1920s to the 1940s.

Walker Evans and photography

By David Walsh, 3 March 2000

Walker Evans, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 1-May 14; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 2-September 12, 2000; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 17, 2000-March 11, 2001

Striking visions of the First World War

CRW Nevinson: The Twentieth Century

5 January 2000

An exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London until January 30, 2000, then at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, February 20 to May 7

The rehabilitation of Gustav Gründgens

Gustav Gründgens —A German Career: an exhibition at the Berlin Staatsbibliothek

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 December 1999

December 22 marked the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the German actor and theatre director Gustav Gründgens, a flamboyant radical in the 1920s and early 1930s, who became one of the Hitler regime's most pliable artistic servants. Following the Nazi takeover in 1933, and under the direct patronage of Prime Minister Hermann Goering, Gründgens became director of Berlin's principal theatre, the Staatstheater, and remained in the job until near the end of the war in 1944. He is emblematic of the intellectual who chooses ego and career, even in the service of monsters, over principle. Gründgens' renegacy and opportunism were fictionally immortalised in Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto.

A brave New World —not that you'd know it

Amazons of the avant-garde—an exhibition at the Royal Academy, London until February 6

By Paul Bond, 13 December 1999

In the early years of this century, the Russian art world raced through a rapid self-education in the latest developments in culture. Russian artists travelled abroad, particularly to centres like Paris and Munich.

The humanity of Van Dyck

By Paul Mitchell, 1 December 1999

“Van Dyck 1599-1641” , London Royal Academy of Arts, 11 September-10 December

A superb exhibit on militarism

Camouflage: An exhibition of paintings and etchings by Chandraguptha Thenuwara

By Darshana Medis, 19 November 1999

A series of paintings and etchings by a noted Sri Lankan artist, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, was exhibited recently at the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA Gallery), in Ethulkotte, a suburb of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city. Entitled Camouflage, the exhibit consisted of 27 works, including a number of remarkable pieces.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: From a higher reality to a respect for reality

By Stuart Nolan and Barbara Slaughter, 5 November 1999

Henri Cartier-Bresson is an outstanding representative of a generation of artists who transformed photography into a recognised art form.

Two master photographers from Japan

By Richard Phillips, 9 October 1999

Exhibitions of pre-World War II Japanese photography are rarely held in western countries. Visual arts courses generally ignore the period, focussing almost entirely on European and American photographers. English-language photographic histories provide little information, one or two paragraphs at the most, and usually without reproductions.

Anger and form in the work of Ben Shahn

By Joanne Laurier, 3 September 1999

Common Man, Mythic Vision: The Paintings of Ben Shahn, a retrospective organized by the Jewish Museum in New York City, is now on display at its third and final location, the Detroit Institute of Arts, through October 31. The exhibit consists of 43 of Shahn's works painted between 1936 and 1965, focusing on the artist's post-World War II evolution.

Diego Rivera's artistic mastery

By Tim Tower, 2 September 1999

The exhibition, Diego Rivera, Art and Revolution, previously on display in Cleveland and Los Angeles, will show in Houston between September 19 and November 28, before concluding its tour in Mexico City. This major retrospective of the artist's work, the first in more than a decade, includes over 100 images assembled from major collections throughout the world. The works are divided into four parts representing the artist's entire career, but with special emphasis on pieces with which many viewers may not be familiar.

Cindy Sherman Retrospective

An artist to be taken seriously

By Richard Phillips, 18 August 1999

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is hosting a major retrospective by American artist/photographer Cindy Sherman. The exhibition, which includes photographs from the mid-1970s through to 1996, is jointly organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Los Angeles and will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto after the Sydney season concludes on August 30.

Clarice Beckett Retrospective

The subtle work of a much-neglected Australian artist

By John Christian, 22 July 1999

Politically Incorrect: Clarice Beckett Retrospective The Art Gallery of South Australia, August 6—September 19 Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, September 30—October 31

Gustave Moreau

An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (June 1-August 22)

By David Walsh, 14 July 1999

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is currently presenting two exhibits devoted to French art of the late nineteenth century— Cézanne to Van Gogh: The Collection of Doctor Gachet (May 25-August 15) and Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream (June 1-August 22).

Fifty years of American art

The American Century: Art & Culture, 1900-1950, an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, April 23 to August 22, 1999

By David Walsh, 29 June 1999

The Whitney Museum in New York is offering a two-part exhibit this year on American art of the twentieth century. The first installment is presently at the museum through August 22; the second will run from September 26 until January 23 next year.

The forging of a new art

"New Art for a New Era: Malevich's Vision of the Russian Avant-Garde" At the Barbican Centre, London

By Paul Bond, 16 June 1999

The Russian Revolution of 1917 released a burst of creative artistic effort in Russia and internationally. Visitors to London currently have a chance to see both how this manifested itself and how it was ultimately strangled, in a wide-ranging series of events at the Barbican — under the collective title ‘St Petersburg: Romance and Revolution'.

Francisco Goya (1746-1828)

"Fantasy is the mother of the arts and the source of their wonders"

By Maria Esposito, 21 May 1999

An exceptional collection of prints and paintings by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes opened last month at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The internationally-acclaimed exhibition, "Goya: Another Look", which runs until July 11, has been assembled by the Palais des Beaux-Arts in France from private and public collections. Included in the exhibition are Los Caprichos, a collection of 80 prints produced in the late 1700s, and an extensive assortment of other etchings and lithographs by Goya.

Kandinsky and the development of a visual language

Kandinsky—Watercolours and other works on paper: An exhibition at the Royal Academy, London until July 4

By Paul Bond, 14 May 1999

Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) stands as one of the dominant figures of twentieth century art. A pioneer of abstract painting, who systematically attempted to convey emotion and feeling outside of direct representation, he was hailed by the leading Surrealist André Breton as having led (with Picasso) the insurrection against imitation in art.

Review: Emily Kame Kngwarreye retrospective

The Art of the "Dreaming"

By Susan Allan, 7 May 1999

Alhalkere--Paintings from Utopia is a major retrospective exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye just concluded at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and previously on show in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It constitutes both a tribute and insight into the life and work of this remarkable Aboriginal artist.

Face to face with the Spanish Revolution: A rare exhibition of photographs by Robert Capa

By Vicky Short, 1 April 1999

A rare exhibition of photographs of the Spanish Civil War taken by Hungarian photojournalist Robert Capa is being shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia National Museum Arts Centre) in Madrid. Entitled "Face to Face", the exhibition runs until April 5, 1999.

Classic Cézanne: Art Gallery of NSW, 28 November 1998 to 28 February 1999

"One must see nature as no-one has seen it before"

By Adrian Falk, 20 January 1999

Anyone visiting Sydney before February 28 should take advantage of this unequalled opportunity to see 82 works by one of the very greatest artists. The exhibition is the product of eight years' planning, with pictures loaned from many public and private collections. It is intelligently curated and beautifully presented. To describe it as a "once in a lifetime" experience would not be an overstatement.

Interview with David King at the opening of his exhibition The Commissar Vanishes

"Stalin and his regime destroyed the revolution."

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 December 1998

An interview with photographer David King

Exposing Stalin’s “retouching”

The Commissar Vanishes: The falsification of photographs and art in Stalin's Russia, an exhibition based on documents from the Collection of David King--Berlin, Haus am Waldsee, Argentinische Allee 30

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 December 1998

Following successful stops in Vienna and Milan, David King's extraordinary exhibition on the history of Stalin's photographic falsifications is on display at the Haus am Waldsee in Berlin until 7 February.

Double Happiness is a Warm Gun: Twenty paintings by Guo Jian

A biting critique of China in the 1990s

By Richard Phillips, 21 November 1998

A collection of rarely displayed images

By Richard Phillips, 27 October 1998

The enduring significance of the work of Max Ernst

Max Ernst, an exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Centre Paris, and a selection of his writings compiled in Max Ernst: Beyond Painting, Wittenborn, Schultz, 1948.

By Stuart Nolan, 1 October 1998

A recent exhibition of the works of Max Ernst at the Pompidou Centre in Paris provided valuable insight into the artist's life and works.

Striking images, but a misleading interpretation

By Harvey Thompson, 25 September 1998

Starting in 1993, Donovan Wylie spent 24 months photographing

The Force of Giacometti—painter, sculptor

By Lee Parsons, 22 September 1998

While he may not be as widely known as some of his more celebrated contemporaries, Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) is generally regarded as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century.

Chagall's response to war and revolution

By Paul Bond, 15 September 1998

Rodchenko's art and fate: the experiment continues

By David Walsh, 29 August 1998

The first comprehensive US retrospective of the remarkable Russian and Soviet artist Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891-1956) is currently on display in New York City. The exhibit will subsequently travel to Germany and Sweden.

"Shouts from the Wall," an exhibit of Spanish Civil War posters - Fascinating artifacts from a momentous struggle, and crude apologetics for Stalinism

By Lonnie Sommers, 28 August 1998

Landscape and artistic development in new worlds

By Sue Phillips, 25 August 1998

Detroit authorities force dismantling of art work

The last days of the Heidelberg Project

By E. Galen, 20 August 1998

Lucian Freud: Some New Paintings, Tate Gallery, London, through July 26, 1998

A rare chance to see the recent works of Lucian Freud

By Paul Bond, 8 July 1998

Twenty-five works by one of Britain's most remarkable painters at the Tate Gallery

Pictures of the 'floating world'

By Peter Symonds, 27 June 1998

An extensive exhibition of woodblock prints, paintings and fashionable costumes currently featured at the National Gallery of Australia, provides the viewer with an insight into a remarkable period of artistic development in Japan.

Art Gallery of New South Wales acquires Braque's Le Verre d'Absinthe

A 'new artistic concept of space'

By Maria Esposito, 18 June 1998

The recent purchase of Georges Braque's Le Verre d'Absinthe (The Glass of Absinthe) by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, is an important addition to the gallery's collection of paintings by this significant 20th century artist.

The photographer Walter Rosenblum: Some kind of respect

By David Walsh, 5 June 1998

A photographer who looked for the best in people and things

"Sluice Gates of the Mind" at Leeds Central Gallery

Groundbreaking exhibit on British Surrealism

By Stuart Nolan, 12 May 1998

The recent exhibition, "Sluice Gates of the Mind", organised by Andrew Wilson, deals with two relatively unknown figures of British Surrealism, poet and artist Ruben Mednikoff and psychiatrist and untrained painter Grace Pailthorpe, and the intense relationship between them.

Taking pictures in the twentieth century

By David Walsh, 17 April 1998

It is impossible to look at Strand's rigorous, unsentimental, modernist photos from 1916 or so without recognizing, first and foremost, the striking changes that had taken place in American society and mentality since the turn of the century.

A Look at Andy Warhol

By Lee Parsons, 15 April 1998

Warhol has had a significant influence on several generations of artists and on fashion trends and commercial art production since the 1950s. The question inevitably arises: what enduring value, if any, does his work possess?

The photographs of Dorothea Lange

“To make the world a place for creation”

By Richard Phillips, 20 March 1998

This 85-print exhibition, although small in comparison to Lange's vast body of work, gives an overview of her social outlook, the depth of her creative vision and her place in the development of documentary photography.

Detroit in ruins

Downtown Detroit: An American Acropolis

By David Walsh, 5 May 1997

The central districts of many large American cities have entered into advanced stages of decay. This presents distinct problems for the artist concerned with the fate of these urban areas and their inhabitants. How should the photographer, for instance, respond to this state of affairs?

'There are no rules in painting'

The break in tradition

31 December 1969

Reviewed by David Walsh