America’s Cool Modernism

America’s Cool Modernism

If your penchant is for figures in a landscape, or even just figures, then steer clear of Oxford for the next five months, or, at least the exhibition currently showing at the Ashmolean. Hard-edged, geometric cityscapes fight with hard-edged rural scenes of barns, silos and grain elevators. There are some...

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Special Forces: In The Shadows at the National Army Museum

Special Forces: In The Shadows at the National Army Museum

It is a year since the National Army Museum had its makeover, funded in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and it has transformed what was a rather dingy and dusty old mausoleum, to a light and airy, twenty-first century, rock’n’roll, razzamattazz display of film posters, neon signs, interactive consoles,...

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Charles II: Art and Power

Charles II: Art and Power

England was no longer a Monarchy after King Charles 1 of England, Scotland and Ireland was executed in 1649 at Whitehall Palace. This brutal act marked the climax of the English Civil War. The following period was known as the ‘Interregnum’, and England was, de facto, a Republic, ruled by...

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Modigliani

Modigliani

This is Tate’s Big One for the autumn/winter season. Alexei Modigliani is a favourite with the public, probably because he represents everything an artist living in Paris at the time of Picasso should be.  He ticks all the boxes: often penniless and sometimes starving, he adopted the role of the...

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Red Star over Russia

Red Star over Russia

    The sub-title of this densely-illustrated exhibition is A Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-1955, and is taken from the enormous and comprehensive collection of the graphic designer and historian David King, who died last year. It is a remarkable achievement, amassing, as he did, over a quarter of a...

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Living with Gods: People, Places and Worlds Beyond

Living with Gods: People, Places and Worlds Beyond

The human race has always had an awareness of its own ‘divinity’, its soul, and the belief in a ‘ higher power’ since the earliest Ice Age up to the present time. ‘Divinity’ is in us all and fear, insufficiency and inadequacy turns us towards it. Our ‘divinity’ gives us...

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Cézanne Portraits

Cézanne Portraits

Although Cézanne himself said that he was more interested in ‘capturing a moment in time’ and the physicality of paint than in any underlying personality of the sitters for his portraits, it is impossible not to detect the persona beneath the application of oils and the layering of colours. How...

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Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio

‘Small, but perfectly formed’ is a good description of virtually any exhibition held in the Sackler Galleries. Matisse in the Studio is the perfect example of just how the right number of pictures and objects in four rooms make a cohesive and containable show by telling stories. After the Introduction, the exhibition divides into...

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A date with ‘The Master’: Balenciaga at the V&A

A date with ‘The Master’: Balenciaga at the V&A

Christobel Balenciaga was called ‘The Master’, and for anyone in any doubt, a walk around the current celebration of his work at The Victoria & Albert Museum will explain why. Despite the fact he died in 1972, his influence can be seen in silhouette after silhouette on the catwalks today,...

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The Postal Museum and the Mail Rail

The Postal Museum and the Mail Rail

Whilst I am perfectly au fait with using the Great British Postal Service (at least when it comes to regrettable late night impulse purchases off  Amazon), I have never, it must be said, been particularly curious about the history and inner workings of one of our oldest institutions. Indeed most...

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