The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChosetoChallenge. If there was one person about whom this could be said it was Larissa Reisner. This legendary woman was at the very juncture of the worst and best in humanity. A new translation of her war despatches, The Hammer and the Anvil, evokes a key […]
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John Bellamy Foster’s epic account explains how the the concept of a dialectics of nature was crucial in the development of ecological thought.
Artists in Quarantine No.7 Painting and drawing make Julie Held feel alive and with the world. An intensely social person, she belongs to several artists’ organisations including the London Group. So now she is aching.
Artists in Quarantine No.5 So much has changed that going out to see things and meet people, let alone see and touch real physical art works has the taste of forbidden fruit. No one of us has ever experienced what now appears as a dystopia come true. The possibility of re-infection is ever present, and […]
Oh no, not another Impressionism show! Gauguin again? Is this to pull in the punters with a bankable display of old favourites? Recycling the reliable? Well, actually no. The first major London show to open since the pandemic is not a spectacular blockbuster. Instead it’s an intimate and moving experience. Beautifully displayed in the Royal […]
Artists in Quarantine No.4 Invisible to the naked eye, the Covid-19 virus seems an impossible subject for an artist stimulated by the visual world around her/him. And yet for David Downes the ‘Covids’ became a source of inspiration.
“Streetcar gongs ceased their clamour; newsboys cast their unsold papers into the street; from the doors of mill and factory, store and workshop, streamed sixty-five thousand working men. School children with fear in their hearts hurried homeward. The life stream of a great city stopped.” Ole Hansen, Mayor of Seattle “On a grey winter morning […]
By Corinna Lotz Spirit of Contemplation, a large sculpture by Albert Toft, confronts you right at the beginning of The Enchanted Interior. Toft’s slip-sliding nude usually adorns the entrance stairway at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery. But here she can be viewed in the round and is doubly disturbing. Is she a female version of Rodin’s […]
“Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or it will not be at all”. The last sentence of André Breton’s 1928 Surrealist novel Nadja could have been written in reaction to the work of Frances Aviva Blane. Her latest book, FAB, accompanying her forthcoming exhibition at De Queeste Art in Belgium, delivers a series of visceral shocks. Its […]
We are living in dark, unprecedented times and there are many reasons to feel despondent. I won’t dwell on these here. This year’s Glastonbury story began with youth leader and grime artist (though I don’t doubt he’d make a good Prime Minister) Stormzy, on Friday evening, and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation […]
There is a tension, a longing, in this splendid first-ever retrospective of Peter Clossick’s work. Through prolonged observation and countless applications of the brush, pencil or charcoal he creates a sensuous image of inner thought. This is slow object art. The opposite of fast art. And yet, there is a powerful sense of immediacy and […]
The world is on fire but it’s a great time for art – thus Tate Modern’s director, Frances Morris, opening the first-ever UK show devoted to Russian artist Natalia Goncharova. Political and constitutional crisis, the rise of populism and species extinction surround us. At the same time, galleries and museums are offering a huge range […]
It’s been calculated that globally we will be exchanging over 293 billion emails each day by the end of 2019. And that’s not counting WhatsApp, Tweets and Facebook messages. So how did we get here? Making your Mark, an elegant show at the British Library, traces the evolution of writing over the last 5,000 years. […]
Finding Evald Ilyenkov is a bit of a detective story, charting the rediscovery of long-buried events and writings by a remarkable Soviet-era philosopher. Much of his work is only now becoming available in English and other languages, as the imperative to study his thought becomes more urgent and widespread. Evald Ilyenkov never wanted to write for […]
It was International Women’s Day and Liines were doing themselves proud to a big crowd, who quickly warm to this 3 piece from Manchester and for good reason. There’s a non pretentious style & substance to this band, all in black, cool light blue Telecaster and 2 tone bass, but it’s in their sound that the […]
In Birds of East London Stephen Watts invites us into “an opening onto an open field”. There is “no gate to be climbed through in my lyric” he says. And yet the brief lines that follow are truly challenging – recalling T.S. Eliot and Paul Celan’s intensity and mystery. Watts, who has lived in Tower […]