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In this issue we have an extremely eclectic content mix, and I do hope you enjoy reading it and discovering some little known facts about the wonderful world of art.
Our features include one on Mondrian by Alexander Adams and coverage of the Venice Biennale by Basia Sliwinska and Michael Fornalczyk. Alexander, who reviews two books on the Dutch master Mondrian, tells us what to many may be a surprising fact that ‘We think of Mondrian’s classic grid paintings as the epitome of his art, yet they occupy less than half of a career that spanned 56 years’. Basia Sliwinska and Michal Fornalczyk visited the Venice Biennale and tell us that ‘When the first exhibition opened 120 years ago, there were no national pavilions. Now, 88 national participations present artistic work and initiatives to the public across the Giardini and the Arsenale, and in Venice itself.’
Louis Byrne has been to see the major Ai Weiwei show at London's Royal Academy, and has reported back.
Jenny Kingsley has written us a perspective article for us on a trip she made to Bergamo, a town that lies 50km from Milan. She writes that ‘The citta alta sits on a hilltop surrounded by Venetian defensive walls. It is so quintessentially pretty that it could be part of a Hollywood movie’ Having read Jenny’s piece, I really want to visit Bergamo myself.
Exhibitions include ‘Jean-Etienne Liotard’, which Patricia Andrew visited when it was on at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, and in London can be seen at the Royal Academy 24 October–31 January 2016. You do not know the work of Liotard? You are not alone; Patricia quotes Christopher Baker, director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and one of the exhibition’s organizers, ‘Liotard is perhaps one of the greatest artists that most people have never heard of’. Read Rosalind's review to find out why his neglect is so unjustified.
Darrelyn Gunzburg went to exhibition ‘Out of Chaos: Ben Uri 100 Years in London’ at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, King’s College, London, which is on until 13 December 2015. Darrelyn tells us that the Ben Uri is still looking for an exhibition space in central London. This is its mission. ‘Meanwhile the story that this current exhibition tells is both sobering and exhilarating. The voices in the Ben Uri collection come from different times and different countries but they all have one thing in common: they tell the story of the migration, moving from chaos to a place where, with the blessing of good fortune, they were able to find safety in a new land, the UK’. ‘She says ‘Above all, this is a beautiful exhibition, lovingly articulated, carefully crafted, and worth every moment you spend with it’.
Alexander Adams tells us that ‘in 2002 art collectors Joey and Toby Tanenbaum announced the donation of over 200 works of art by European artists to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario’. This donation transformed the gallery’s holdings, making it a major centre in Canada for the study of French painting. This newly published catalogue, which Alexander reviews, documents the most significant items of the donation.
Ros Ormiston reviews the book Paul Cezanne: Drawings and Watercolours by Christopher Lloyd. She tells us that ‘ he underlying purpose of this book is to encourage people to look more closely at Cézanne’s works on paper. During his career as an artist, for over 40 years, Cézanne created more than 1,500 drawings and 600 watercolours’. I wonder if this is another unappreciated art fact?
Ute Tellini writes on a book published in German, Jackson Pollock: Art as a Quest. She states that ‘This book is a long-overdue addition to the literature on Jackson Pollock, perhaps the greatest modern American painter, as Life magazine first suggested in 1948’. She concludes her review by stating that she sincerely hopes that this title will be published soon in the US and UK.
Sonal Khullar identifies a ‘dynamic’ relationship between modernism and Indian culture in her book Worldly Affiliations, Artistic Practice, National Identity and Modernism in India 1930 – 1990, which is reviewed for us by Susan Platt. Khullar questions whether modernism, originating in the colonial Western powers, can be a useful means of confronting the legacy of colonialism. Roy Clarke, reviewing Painted Nudes – Saul Leiter, writes that ‘Saul Leiter was an original. As a pioneer of post-war photography his meditative multi-layered colour images of New York City of the 1940s and ’50s legitimized colour photography as a medium of fine art. This new volume, a welcome addition to the Leiter canon, showcases a hitherto little known aspect of his oeuvre: the painted photograph’.
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