Recent articles

Rembrandt as you’ve never seen before

    Iwas talking to a famous art dealer the other day — they’re always good for an alternative view of art realities — and he told me that the biggest growth area in art is the private museum. Everyone everywhere, it seems, is opening them. Especially collectors of contemporary art. There are many reasons. The tax […]

    Why Joan Mitchell is the $20m darling of abstraction

      In a few weeks’ time, at Sotheby’s in New York, there’s a painting by Joan Mitchell coming up for sale, called Sunflowers. It was painted in 1991 and the estimate is that it will sell for $20 million. Most art world observers, however, are expecting it to go for more. Maybe a lot more. Joan Mitchell […]

      Me, Tracey Emin and the most remarkable artist I’d never heard of

        Do you remember Tracey Emin getting drunk on television? It was 1997, at the Turner prize. A group of arty men — including me — had come together to debate “Is painting dead?” The discussion was prompted by an article I had written in defence of Emin in this paper in which I argued that […]

        Black Venus at Somerset House is riveting

          Having read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, I did not expect the Black Venus show at Somerset House to be an uplifting experience. When it comes to guilt in these sensitive matters, I am the full package: white, middle class, middle-aged (going on old) and, to top it all, an art […]

          Dear Earth review: ‘A thunderous lack of self-awareness’

            Jesus walks into a synagogue in Nazareth. He addresses the congregation and they listen with interest. At the end of his speech, he repeats a well-known proverb: “Physician, heal thyself.” The doubting people of Nazareth, he predicts, will be quoting those words at him in the future. The congregation get agitated. And chase him out […]

            Peter Howson: the tortured war artist who painted Madonna nude

              Far back in the annals of art — it was definitely more than 30 years ago because I was still typing on an Olympia — a new movement appeared in Scotland. Its painters were figurative, cocky, colourful, so people began calling them the New Scottish Colourists, or, more hopefully, the New Glasgow Boys. At the […]

              Grayson Perry is the Hogarth of modern Britain

                Grayson Perry is being unpredictable. Again. The first thing to note about the big retrospective of his career that has opened at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh is that it has opened at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh — and not at Tate Modern or Tate Britain or the Hayward Gallery or the […]

                Maria Prymachenko: the artist who forged Ukraine’s fighting spirit

                  On February 25, 2022, in the opening days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Local History Museum in Ivankiv was set ablaze by Putin’s soldiers. The invading Russians were on their way to Kyiv. And although no one can be certain they targeted the museum on purpose, it was the first building in the […]

                  I was left puzzled by Tate Modern’s celebration of African photography

                    Tate Modern’s selection of contemporary African photography, in a show called, hopefully, A World in Common, is a puzzling event. On its most basic puzzling level it is surprisingly difficult to follow. Arranged, on paper, into three distinct themes, it fails in reality to make any of them feel solid. Instead we meander backwards and forwards […]

                    For 66 Poles, Windrush was the end of a terrible odyssey

                      Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks on June 22, 1948. It was, of course, a momentous landing. Lured to these shores by promises that were broken, the Caribbean arrivals of the “Windrush generation” had every reason to feel betrayed. Rightly, we heard a lot about them […]