On art.

I am a keen looker at art: not, I think, a connoisseur, nor an ignoramus. Definitely not a practitioner. I am keen on the British tradition in art, and perhaps especially the development of a civilised Modernism (as opposed to dogmatic Modernism).

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79th Armoured Div souvenir, 1945

Gillian Parnell came across this remarkable cigarette box, presumably made in Hamburg in 1945 by or for the 79th Armoured Division. As of 25 August 2014, she has it on sale at eBay. Pix below.... Read more...

Published

25 August 2014

Loving the fake (#2 of 2): Human zoos

I love the "problem" of tourism and - most sharply - the problem of the "human zoo". Almost all our travel, at least where it involves looking at people rather than landscape or animals, has a dimension of anthropological voyeurism. Much of it is a matter of play-acting amongst imagined peasantries or primitives. This has now reached new heights of self-consciousness, and is blissfully funny as well as serious.... Read more...

Published

24 April 2014

Loving the fake (#1 of 2): Digital rip-offs

I love the idea of fake art in the age of digital rip-offs. To put it in grander terms, I love the "issue" of conservation - facsimile, and reproduction, actually - in an age of mass culture and digitalisation. (In my next blog, I want to riff in rather the same way about the modern issue of tourism and anthropology, flowing from Human Zoo tourism.) We have entered a wonderful time in which re-envisioning, for instance, Tutankhamun, Seti I and and Piranesi fairly make the mind explode with potential. I explore some of this below the fold: Read more...

Published

24 April 2014

Jamini Roy: BBC stuck in anti-colonialism

I have been listening to an interesting show, From Bengal to Baker Street, about the Indian painter Jamini Roy. Poor old Radio 4 couldn't get beyond its anti-colonial meta-narrative... Read more...

Published

06 March 2014

Lovely WW1 (and other) horse art

The St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington always boxes above its weight and its current show, "Home Lad Home, the War Horse story" is no exception. It isn't an enormous display, but it is very moving on several counts, and not least its beauty and - more surprisingly - its positivity. This show and the fine town which houses the gallery make a wonderful away-day. Read more...

Published

06 March 2014

Brutalism: Big it up for Meades

Jonathan Meades is a vital figure, a sort of a Christopher Hitchens for architecture, with a dash of Ian Nairn, but considerable wallops of Suggsy, and a undertone of some late 18th Century person (wonderful to think it might be JM's admired Burke himself). I very much approve his appreciation of Brutalism, though I would go further and wider.... Read more...

Published

26 February 2014

John Craxton, Stanley Spencer and the Levant

The John Craxton show at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is very lovely, and much more so than I dared expect. This is Ne0-romanticism, or the English Romantic, at its giddy, evocative best. (It is very decently reviewed by Robin Blake in the FT.) It jived surprisingly with the London visit of Stanley Spencer paintings from the Sandham Memorial Chapel. (These are well-reviewed by Adrian Hamilton in the Independent.) Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

Chinese and Japanese art: masters for the West

It was off to the V&A Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700 - 1900 (ends 19 January 2014)  and to the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge for The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints (12 January, 2014). Yes, I was stupid enough to miss the Japanese Shunga show in the British Museum's Rooms 90/91, the very place which set me off on this quest... Read more...

Published

03 January 2014

If I were an illustrators’ patron ….

I have been thinking about why I have found most comics, graphic novels and animated films kind of not what I was after, and what I would love to see - but could only summon-forth from the mind and hand of someone else... Read more...

Published

24 November 2013
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