Recent articles

Nicole Eisenman: the lesbian pioneer who changed art

    I know what I want to get Nicole Eisenman for Christmas. A copy of The Power of Discipline by Daniel Walter. Even a brief perusal of this helpful tome will make clearer why the artistic career presented to us in the Eisenman retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery ends up as such an evident descent. And why the […]

    Frans Hals, National Gallery review — lean in to this glorious show

      My advice to anyone visiting the rousing retelling of Frans Hals’s career that has arrived at the National Gallery is: lean in. As close as the guards will let you. Because that is where the magic happens. Oil paints can be used prosaically, and they can be used with guts and bravura. Hals is spectacularly […]

      Philip Guston: forget the Ku Klux Klan row, this show is unmissable

        The art world is always capable of preposterous behaviour — it’s that kind of world — but even by its own base standards the decision in 2020 to cancel the Philip Guston exhibition that was heading for Tate Modern was cowardly and callow. Cancel culture had sunk to a new low. At issue were the […]

        Sarah Lucas and Marina Abramovic — which exhibition should you book first?

          Two big shows by women artists have opened at prestigious London venues. Both are impressive. Both imaginative. Both tinged with what we might call “a tangible national flavour”. For my money, one of the shows is more worthwhile than the other. But which? At Tate Britain Sarah Lucas, the former enfant terrible of British art, who […]

          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 […]