Félix Vallotton: a remarkable artist you may not even have heard of (I hadn’t)

To be absolutely honest, I wasn’t really aware of Félix Vallotton, let alone of any of his pictures, until very recently. A few years ago I read ‘Keeping an Eye Open’, Julian Barnes’ excellent collection of essays on (mostly French) art, but his chapter on Vallotton hadn’t really stayed with me simply because, apart from … Continue reading Félix Vallotton: a remarkable artist you may not even have heard of (I hadn’t)

Photographic genius at the Tate: the remarkable work of Don McCullin

Tate Britain’s exhibition devoted to the work of the great photographer Don McCullin is, in its own pleasingly straightforward and unpretentious way, one of the finest exhibitions I’ve been to in some years. Of course, as someone who used to peruse the Sunday Times magazine in his teens, when McCullin’s strikingly vivid, often deeply disturbing … Continue reading Photographic genius at the Tate: the remarkable work of Don McCullin

My best movies, music and other moments from 2018

When, around this time last year, I posted my round-up of my favourite movies, music and so on of 2017, I felt the need to say what a difference the arts had made for me in a time of depressing political confusion and chaos. I’m not going to kick off another rant this year, even … Continue reading My best movies, music and other moments from 2018

Faces and far more: the photographic genius of August Sander

I’ve had a good week, exhibition-wise, kicking off with a visit to the Tate Modern’s pleasingly not-too-crowded ‘Picasso 1932’, followed by a first-day (and therefore extraordinarily quiet) encounter with the Royal Academy’s historical survey of summer-show landmarks, ‘The Great Spectacle’. I can recommend both shows, but it was a third outing that gave me the … Continue reading Faces and far more: the photographic genius of August Sander

My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…

What with the depressing political mess we found ourselves in throughout 2017, which tended to privilege prejudice over reason, brazen deceit over factual truths, personal profit over compassion for others, and the short-term gains of the present over the long-term requirements of the future, it could be difficult to find cause for hope. But that … Continue reading My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…

Of films and photos: more from Romania’s remarkable Cristi Puiu

A few months back, I received an invitation to participate as a member of the jury for the main competition of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) which takes place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest city after Bucharest, in early June. Honoured to be asked, and keen to visit a country which has been giving … Continue reading Of films and photos: more from Romania’s remarkable Cristi Puiu

Stranger than expected: the Paul Nash exhibition at Tate Britain

I must confess that until now, I’d never really found the paintings of Paul Nash (1889-1946) particularly striking. Perhaps that’s not so surprising. Apart from the fact that I’d only ever seen two or three examples of his work at any one time, I wasn’t aware of any especially great claims having been for him … Continue reading Stranger than expected: the Paul Nash exhibition at Tate Britain

An Eye on Mali: the Photography of Malick Sidibé

Should you find yourself in central London with half an hour or more to spend, there is currently a terrific exhibition - admission free - at Somerset House. It's devoted to the photography of the late Malick Sidibé, who died earlier this year aged 80 or thereabouts. Sidibé, who as a boy in the late 1930s … Continue reading An Eye on Mali: the Photography of Malick Sidibé