Art & Photographic Exhibitions

Bolshevism and the avant-garde artists (1993)—Part 1

By David Walsh, 13 February 2010

The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915–1932 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, in 1992-1993, was a major event. David Walsh wrote a series of articles in the Bulletin, a predecessor of the WSWS, which we begin republishing today.

Letter to the editor: Photography notes

By Virginia Smith, 12 February 2010

Exhibitions of American documentary photography are proliferating, a reader notes, suggesting this is one portion of the visual arts where a genuine engagement with society is taking place.

An interesting collection, but a distorted view of Stalinism

Mexican prints: revolution on paper

By Paul Mitchell, 29 January 2010

Mexican prints 1910-1960 will be shown at the British Museum in London through April 5, 2010.

Les Automatistes: Revolt and modern art in post-war Montreal

By Lee Parsons, 9 January 2010

The Varley Art Gallery in Unionville, Ontario, is hosting what has been called “the show of the year” in Canada, bringing together the work of 15 artists known as the “Automatistes,” which deserves attention for a variety of reasons.

Photographer Roy DeCarava, chronicler of African-American life (1919-2009)

By C. W. Rogers, 7 January 2010

Roy DeCarava, one of the world’s most renowned photographers, died in October six weeks shy of his 90th birthday. DeCarava is perhaps best known for his portraits of jazz musicians and everyday life in Harlem.

Grayson Perry’s “The Walthamstow Tapestry”: A sensitive depiction of the journey through life

By Paul Mitchell, 29 December 2009

The huge 3-by-15-metre “The Walthamstow Tapestry,” created by ceramic artist Grayson Perry, was the highlight of a brief exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London last month, which also saw the display of Perry’s hallmark ceramics.

Britain: The strengths and limitations of Banksy’s “guerrilla” art

By Paul Mitchell, 10 September 2009

Over 300,000 people saw the exhibition of works by “guerilla” graffiti artist Banksy at Bristol museum and art gallery this summer.

Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful”

By Paul Mitchell, 22 July 2009

The current Fitzwilliam Museum exhibition is a fascinating exploration of the impact of Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theories on art in the late 19th century.

Game Over, or, Where shall we look?

By Virginia Smith, 5 June 2009

A question provoking observers of contemporary visual art is this: What will come after Post Modernism?

“The Aftermath of the December Greek Riots”

By John Vassilipoulis and Paul Mitchell, 20 April 2009

Photographers George Kasolas and Spiros Christofi spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about the cancellation of their London exhibition “The aftermath of the December riots in Greece.”

Sculptor Louise Bourgeois: A year of events celebrating her life and work

By Paul Stuart, 14 January 2009

On 25 December the artist Louise Bourgeois celebrated her 97th birthday. Bourgeois has produced a significant body of work in a personal visual language, which, nonetheless, has been shaped by the tumultuous events of the 20th century.

American painter Robert Rauschenberg 1925-2008: Avant-garde to Pop

By Lee Parsons, 29 December 2008

Noted American artist Robert Rauschenberg died May 12 this year of heart failure at his home in Captiva, Florida at the age of 82. The passing of this influential artist obliges us to consider his work and the era during which he came to prominence.

Uncovering the truth about Trotsky and the Russian Revolution “continues to run my life”

A conversation with the remarkable David King

By David Walsh, 4 December 2008

David King--artist, designer, editor, photohistorian and archivist--is about to publish a new book, Red Star Over Russia, a visual history of the Soviet Union. WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently spoke to King in London.

Brighton Biennial exhibition focuses on war photography

By Paul Mitchell, 28 November 2008

This year’s Brighton Photo Biennial brought together a number of antiwar artists and photographers in an ambitious exhibition entitled Memory of Fire: the War of Images and Images of War.

UK photographic exhibition: Images of War

28 November 2008

The WSWS spoke to staff members at the nine galleries and museums presenting the exhibition Memory of Fire: the War of Images and Images of War. The exhibition raised many issues concerning the nature of war and its representation, the decline of photojournalism and the role of the embedded photographer.

UK photographic exhibition: Images of War

28 November 2008

The WSWS spoke to staff members at the nine galleries and museums presenting the exhibition Memory of Fire: the War of Images and Images of War. The exhibition raised many issues concerning the nature of war and its representation, the decline of photojournalism and the role of the embedded photographer.

The art of Gustave Courbet in his epoch and in ours

By Clare Hurley, 10 October 2008

While artists go in and out of fashion for various reasons, the renewed interest of late in French painter Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) corresponds to a turn in the contemporary art scene toward a model of the political artist and a rediscovered conception of realism that is encouraging.

Rodchenko: The impact of revolution and counterrevolution

By Paul Mitchell, 10 April 2008

“Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution in Photography” at the Hayward Gallery, London, until April 27

American painter Edward Hopper in Chicago

By J. Cooper, 22 March 2008

Edward Hopper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, May 6 through August 19, 2007; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September 16, 2007 through January 21, 2008; Art Institute of Chicago, February 16 through May 11, 2008

Art Treasures in Manchester: 150 years on—Part two

By Robert Stevens, 24 January 2008

Showing through January 27, 2008, at Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, England.

Art Treasures in Manchester: 150 years on—Part one

By Robert Stevens, 23 January 2008

Showing through January 27, 2008, at Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, England.

The artist Henry Moore: Power and humanity

Moore at Kew, London exhibition until March 30, 2008

By Paul Mitchell, 3 December 2007

If you are in London in the next few months and have a few pounds in your pocket, spend a day at Kew Botanical Gardens. Amongst the white painted greenhouses you will find 28 large sculptures surrounded by cone-laden pines or autumnal trees shedding their last red, gold and brown leaves. If you’re lucky you will see them wrapped in an early morning mist, their bronze surfaces glinting in a clear blue midday sky or absorbing a blood red evening sun.

Landmark study records visionary architecture from the early years of the Soviet Union

By Tim Tower, 20 October 2007

Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922-1932—Photographs by Richard Pare, July 18-October 29, 2007, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Enigma and perhaps evasion (or “hide and seek”): the realism of German painter Neo Rauch

By Clare Hurley, 8 October 2007

Neo Rauch at the Met: para—an exhibition of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 22-October 14, 2007, and at the Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, October 28, 2007-March 30, 2008

Damien Hirst’s main obsession is wealth, not mortality

By Paul Bond, 26 June 2007

Damien Hirst remains one of the highest-profile of those artists who came to prominence through the vacuous “Brit-Art” movement. Cynical and showy, his work tends to receive column inches in inverse proportion to its artistic merit. His latest show, “Beyond Belief,” has received major press coverage. One item in particular has attracted the journalists more than any other.

Emily Carr: Painter, writer ... symbol

By Lee Parsons, 14 May 2007

Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (until 20 May 2007), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (21 June-23 September 2007), the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta (25 October 2007-26 January 2008)

Edouard Manet and France’s ill-fated puppet

By Clare Hurley, 4 January 2007

Manet and the Execution of Maximilian, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, November 5, 2006-January 29, 2007

No nonsense about Dada

By Clare Hurley, 18 September 2006

Dada, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, June 18—September 11, 2006. MoMA is the exhibition’s final of three venues. Centre Pompidou in Paris (October 5, 2005—January 9, 2006) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (February 19—May 14, 2006) were the first two.

Hitler’s favourite sculptor: New exhibition displays the work of Arno Breker

By Stefan Steinberg, 6 September 2006

A new exhibition in the north German city of Schwerin, Up for discussion: The sculptor Arno Breker, is the first extensive public display of the works of Hitler’s favourite sculptor, Arno Breker (1900-91), to be held since the Second World War.

Interview with Zoe Strauss, photographer in the Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night

By Clare Hurley, 2 June 2006

Photographer Zoe Strauss was one of over a hundred artists selected to be in the Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, the major exhibition of American art work. Her straightforward photographs of the largely poor, working class area of South Philadelphia where she lives and works, were striking in the context.

A barometer of the American cultural zeitgeist: the Whitney Biennial 2006

By Clare Hurley, 11 May 2006

Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, March 2 through May 28

“A mixture of technical know-how, moral anger, and all-American barbaric yawp”

Kienholz, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

By Gabriela Zabala-Notaras and Ismet Redzovic, 19 April 2006

The recent Kienholz exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) spans more than forty years of artistic work by Ed Kienholz (1927-1994). On display are some of his earlier installations and sculpture from the 1960s, but from 1972 onwards all the work is in collaboration with his fifth wife, photographer Nancy Reddin Kienholz. She continued to work after her husband’s death and some of her pieces are also on show.

Winslow Homer (1836-1910): Poet of the Sea

By Paul Mitchell, 3 April 2006

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London: until May 21, 2006 Musée d’Art Américain Giverny, France: June 18 to September 24, 2006

Pioneering modernist exhibition: a cultural turning point for 1930s Australia

Degenerates and Perverts: The 1939 Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art, by Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller, Miegunyah Press

By John Christian and Richard Phillips, 16 March 2006

Degenerates and Perverts, a richly illustrated 306-page book by Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller, examines the 1939 Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art and its impact on Australian artistic and social life. Accurate information about the impact of this landmark event in local cultural history is long overdue.

Harlem art exhibition commemorates police shooting victim Amadou Diallo

By Clare Hurley, 10 March 2006

Casa Frela Gallery in Harlem has organized an exhibition to mark the seventh anniversary of the shooting of Amadou Diallo, the West African immigrant whose slaying in 1999 by four policemen in a hail of gunfire sparked explosive protests over police brutality and racial profiling in New York City’s poor, working class neighborhoods.

Back on “the main stage”: Russian art at the Guggenheim Museum—part 2

By Clare Hurley, 16 January 2006

Russia! An exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, and the Guggenheim Heritage Museum, Las Vegas, until January 11, 2006, presenting selections from the State Hermitage Museum, the State Russian Museum and the State Tretyakov Gallery

Back on “the main stage”: Russian art at the Guggenheim Museum—part 1

By Clare Hurley, 13 January 2006

Russia! An exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, and the Guggenheim Heritage Museum, Las Vegas, until January 11, 2006, presenting selections from the State Hermitage Museum, the State Russian Museum and the State Tretyakov Gallery

Soviet era posters at London’s Tate Modern

From Bolshevik internationalism to Stalinist nationalism

By Paul Mitchell, 14 November 2005

Soviet era posters on display at London’s Tate Modern museum are a powerful record of how the bureaucratic degeneration represented by the rise of Stalinism destroyed the young workers’ state founded on the basis of Bolshevik internationalism.

“I am in the world to change the world”: The art and life of Käthe Kollwitz

By Joanne Laurier, 26 July 2005

A lithography exhibition currently on display at the Worcester [Massachusetts] Art Museum features works by European masters (Goya, Delacroix and others) and nineteenth century lithographers (Daumier and Whistler)—as well as more modern artists. A piece in this last category is a 1909 print by German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), entitled Woman in a Blue Shawl.

Demythologising requires a political appraisal

By Paul Bond, 20 July 2005

Frida Kahlo at the Tate Modern, London, through 9 October 2005

Artists Fernando Botero and Steve Mumford depict the Iraq war: Part 2

New York art world’s apology for the Iraq war

By Clare Hurley, 13 June 2005

This is the second of a two-part article. The first part on Fernando Botero was posted on June 4, 2005.

Artists Fernando Botero and Steve Mumford depict the Iraq war

Pulling one’s head out of the sand

By Clare Hurley, 4 June 2005

This is the first of a two-part series.

A dark and complex beauty

Caravaggio: The Final Years at the National Gallery

By Paul Bond, 30 May 2005

Caravaggio: The Final Years at the National Gallery, London, February 23-May 22, 2005

An “uplifting” diversion in New York’s Central Park

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates”

By Peter Daniels, 22 February 2005

“The Gates,” the temporary installation of saffron-colored nylon fabric panels suspended between more than 7,500 sets of vinyl poles stretched along 23 miles of footpaths in New York’s Central Park, has been treated as a major national event and generally hailed in the media and official circles. The ballyhoo is out of place. The significance of this project is more political and sociological than it is artistic.

Modigliani—an artist between worlds

By Lee Parsons, 18 January 2005

Modigliani: Beyond the Myth, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October 23, 2004 to January 23, 2005

Pennsylvania steel works mural restored: rescuing history from the dustbin

By David Walsh, 18 December 2004

A remarkable mural of the US Steel Duquesne Works (circa 1920) by Harry M. Pettit, newly restored, is now on display at a gallery in Washington, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. The Duquesne Works, once one of the largest and most advanced steelmaking operations in the world, closed in 1984, during the general collapse of the steel industry in western Pennsylvania’s Mon Valley. The vast majority of the facility’s buildings have been demolished.

The social mosaic attempted: the photographs of August Sander

By Clare Hurley, 8 December 2004

“People of the Twentieth Century”: August Sander’s Photographic Portrait of Germany, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 25—September 19, 2004

Influence and the rise of modern art

Turner Whistler Monet: Impressionist Visions, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, June 12 to September 12

By Lee Parsons, 31 August 2004

This Toronto exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) brings together the work of three of the foremost artists of the nineteenth century, J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and Claude Monet (1840-1926). It presents 100 paintings, watercolors, pastels and prints—an expansive project involving the cooperation of some 34 museums and collectors across North America and Europe.

Resistance is not always the whole picture: Hong Sung Dam’s Dawn woodcuts and the Gwangju uprising

By Clare Hurley, 3 February 2004

East Wind, an exhibit co-organized by the Gwangju Art Museum (South Korea) and the Queens Museum of Art (New York), October 5-November 30, 2003

More of the big lie that “socialist realism” emerged from Soviet revolutionary art

Dream factory communism: the visual culture of the Stalin era—an exhibition at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt

By Marianne Arens and Sybille Fuchs, 17 January 2004

The art form officially sanctioned by the state under Stalin has long been ridiculed in the West; but now, 50 years after the death of the dictator, and in the absence of any serious attempt to tackle the development of the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, “socialist realism” has suddenly acquired a new respectability in a number of German museums in Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt.

The sculpture of Edgar Degas

Degas Sculptures, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October 11, 2003, to January 4, 2004

By Lee Parsons, 19 December 2003

The current exhibition of bronze sculpture at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto cast from the works of French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) is a welcome opportunity to study the often overlooked sculptural achievement of that great artist. Regarded as one of the most influential painters of the modern period, his sculpture, though less known, is an equally vital contribution to the impressionist movement of the late 19th century and in its bold expression forms a pivotal development in modern sculpture.

The texture of life in a few instances

The American Effect: Global Perspectives on the United States 1990-2003, Whitney Museum of American Art

By Clare Hurley, 14 October 2003

The American Effect: Global Perspectives on the United States 1990-2003, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, July 3-October 12, 2003

Tom Thomson: painter and “Canadian legend”

By Lee Parsons, 16 September 2003

Tom Thomson: A Canadian Legend, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Musée du Québec, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Winnipeg Art Gallery

The art of ancient Sumer

The Art of the First Cities at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City

By Sandy English, 30 July 2003

Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B. C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus; through August 17, 2003 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

German artist Käthe Kollwitz at the Art Gallery of Ontario

By David Adelaide, 19 July 2003

“I am an American who strongly disagrees with my country’s policy of War. As I write this, some of Kollwitz’s drawings are coming to life in Iraq. I am sickened by this. May the drums of war sound no more.”

The art of making protest art

By Clare Hurley, 5 July 2003

Art Against War: An exhibition of posters and multimedia, June 13-27, 2003. Macy Gallery, Columbia University/Teachers College, New York City, and NY Arts Space

Interview with photographer Jason Murphy, participant in Art Against War

By Clare Hurley, 5 July 2003

In preparing the review of the exhibit Art Against War, this reviewer interviewed (via email) photographer Jason Murphy, who lives and works in South Korea. The poster he contributed to the show was “Time to think outside the Box,” created online in collaboration with Daniel Scheffer. He also was responsible for one of the web versions of the show: &op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php

Andy Goldsworthy and the limits of working with nature

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, written and directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer

By Clare Hurley, 30 May 2003

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, written and directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer

Sale of Breton archives breaks up legacy of Surrealist movement

By Paul Mitchell, 6 May 2003

“Deux mille euros, cinq cent, trois mille, cinq cent, quatre mille, cinq cent ... Two thousand euros, five hundred, three thousand, five hundred, four thousand, five hundred...”

A worthless attack on Goya

The Rape of Creativity by Jake and Dinos Chapman

By Paul Bond, 1 May 2003

Exhibition at Modern Art Oxford through June 8, 2003

Leonardo da Vinci: the drawings and the public response

By Clare Hurley, 21 April 2003

“Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman,” an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, January 22—March 30, 2003. With an additional 30 drawings by artists relevant to his development, particularly Andrea del Verrochio

An insightful view into an artist’s world

Francis Bacon Studio at Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

By Jackson Ellis, 5 February 2003

The almost life-long art studio and residence of Francis Bacon (1909-92) was recently donated and transported from 7 Reece Mews, London and placed on permanent exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. John Edwards, Bacon’s sole heir, made the donation; the most significant since Hugh Lane was established in 1908. The relocation was carried out with all the care of a major archaeological dig, with each and every item—some several thousand in all—catalogued and exactly repositioned in the Dublin gallery.

Surrealist leader André Breton’s archives up for auction

By Antoine Lerougetel, 11 January 2003

On November 6 a small article in the French daily Libération announced that the contents of André Breton’s small flat at 42 rue Fontaine where he lived from 1922 until his death, near Pigalle in Paris, would be sold at auction between the 1 and 18 April 2003.

The passion of the visual artist for the performing artist

"Degas and the Dance" at the Detroit Institute of Arts

By J. Cooper, 14 December 2002

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, October 20, 2002-January 12, 2003; Philadelphia Museum of Art, February 12-May 11, 2003

From a safe distance?: Reflections on an exhibition of surrealist art

Surrealism 1919-1944: an exhibition in Düsseldorf

By Sybille Fuchs, 25 October 2002

Surrealism 1919-1944, an exhibition at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 20 July-24 November, 2002

Artistic dissent in imperial China

When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) at the Metropolitan Museum

By Sandy English, 2 August 2002

When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911): February 2, 2002—August 18, 2002 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Ground Zero exhibition in Detroit

Signs of a more critical mood among US artists

By David Walsh, 29 July 2002

An exhibition of art works created in response to the September 11 terrorist attack in New York City and to the events that followed it is currently on display at the Museum of New Art (MONA) in Detroit. Nearly sixty artists from a number of countries are represented by 300 paintings, photographs, digitally altered images and sculptures. The show, which opened July 13, was curated by New York artists Danny Scheffer, Frank Shifreen and Julius Vitali.

The painter Jacob Lawrence

By Clare Hurley, 31 May 2002

Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence , an exhibition at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, May 27-August 19, 2001; Whitney Museum of American Art, November 8, 2001-February 3, 2002; The Detroit Institute of Arts, February 23-May 19, 2002; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 16-September 8, 2002; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, October 6, 2002-January 5, 2003

Beautiful and fascinating—but not urgent?

Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures at the Asia Society in New York

By Sandy English, 25 January 2002

Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China, Gansu and Ningxia, 4th-7th Century at the Asia Society, New York City, November 17—January 6, 2002

Apologetics for National Socialist aesthetics and politics

Taking Positions: Figurative Sculpture and the Third Reich

By Stefan Steinberg and Barbara Slaughter, 11 January 2002

Taking Positions: Figurative Sculpture and the Third Reich is an exhibition of sculptures most of which were completed by German artists during the period of the Nazi regime (1933-45). The exhibition originally opened at the prestigious Henry Moore Institute in Leeds in Britain, has now been moved to Berlin and is scheduled to open 20 January in the German city of Bremen. It includes work by Nazi Germany’s most prominent sculptor Arno Breker and features the latter’s The Wounded on display in a public exhibition for the first time.

A major exhibition on the Spanish Civil War

"Dreams and Nightmares"—at the Imperial War Museum, London, until April 28, 2002

By Vicky Short, 3 January 2002

The Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936, inspired a generation of workers, artists and intellectuals. The struggle to defend republican Spain against the fascist phalange headed by General Francisco Franco drew to its banner the most self-sacrificing representatives of that generation. Their bloody defeat heralded the wider conflagration that was then to come in World War Two.

A desire for what?

"Surrealism: Desire Unbound"— An exhibition at Tate Modern, London until 1 January 2002

30 November 2001

Surrealism, as an artistic movement, was concerned with the nature of the unconscious and its connection with creation. The surrealists sought to break the deadlock of conventional thinking: their experiments tried to highlight the role of the unconscious in creativity in order to break new ground.

Pessimism and the historical painter: Leon Golub

By Anne Lafond and Sandy English, 2 October 2001

Leon Golub: Echoes of the Real: A Retrospective of the Artist’s Work from 1950-2000 recently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and While the Crime is Blazing: Paintings and Drawings of Leon Golub, 1994-1999 at the Cooper Union School of Art, closed September 11, 2001 .

The rehabilitation of British artist Stanley Spencer

By Paul Mitchell, 20 September 2001

The work of British artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) has undergone a resurgence of interest in the art world recently. Long viewed by some as a provincial joke, several artists and critics now claim Spencer was the greatest British artist of the twentieth century.

Papunya Tula--the birthplace of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art

By Susan Allan, 24 August 2001

The groundbreaking Papunya Tula, Genesis and Genius exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales was the first major retrospective by artists from Papunya in Australia’s Western Desert. Consisting of 150 works by over 50 artists, the exhibition provided an overview of the origins and stylistic development of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art during the last three decades.

The Last of the Angry Penguins

An exhibition in memory of Australian painter John Perceval

By John Christian, 16 June 2001

The Last of the Angry Penguins is the title of a small tribute exhibition of 23 paintings, pastels and drawings by John Perceval at the Wagner Gallery in Sydney. The show provided a rare chance to study and appreciate work by this significant Australian artist. Perceval, who died of a stroke last October at the age of 77, was the last surviving member of the Angry Penguins, a loose-knit group of Australian painters who radically changed the local art scene in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Inside Out—new Chinese art and the political conditions that produced it

By Maria Esposito, 14 May 2001

Inside Out: New Chinese Art is an extraordinary collection of ink paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations and performance art by contemporary Chinese artists from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, Hong Kong and in the West.

Goya's private albums: A unique exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London

By Paul Stuart, 2 May 2001

Pablo Picasso once described Francisco Goya (1746-1828) as the most successful artist in poetically combining art with politics. This exhibition, the first of its kind, confirms this assessment and the depiction of Goya as a "painter philosopher".

World Without End: Photography and the 20th Century

Some rare photographs but a flawed approach

By Richard Phillips, 26 March 2001

World Without End: Photography and the 20th Century, a recently concluded exhibition of 200 works by 42 photographers at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), was billed as the largest photography exhibition ever mounted by an Australian state-owned gallery. While the show contained some rare and unusual pictures from the vast archive of photographic work produced over the last 100 years, many seminal photographers were not represented.

Continuities and discontinuities in art

"Encounters, New Art From Old": A Millennium Exhibition at the National Gallery in London

By Paul Stuart, 24 January 2001

The recent Encounters exhibition at the National Gallery in London was a serious celebration of the new millennium. Two years ago, 24 renowned artists from around the world were asked to respond to works of past masters whose works hang in the National and have the results presented in a unique exhibition.

George Gittoes' World Diary reinforces media clichés

By John Christian and Richard Phillips, 10 January 2001

World Diary, now exhibiting at the Queensland University of Technology, is a collection of work produced over the last decade by Australian contemporary expressionist George Gittoes. Travelling in most cases with the Australian Army or United Nations forces, Gittoes has worked in Somalia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Morocco, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, The Philippines and East Timor sketching, photographing and painting victims of the conflicts in these countries.

Turner Prize award to Wolfgang Tillmans hailed as shift in focus

By Paul Mitchell, 28 December 2000

This year's £20,000 Turner Prize for Art was awarded for the first time to a photographer—the 34-year old, German-born artist Wolfgang Tillmans.

William Blake: A radical visionary

William Blake: Tate Gallery, London, 9 November - 11 February 2001

By Paul Mitchell, 1 December 2000

The biggest ever exhibition of the works of the British artist, poet and radical William Blake (1757-1827) is currently being held at the Tate Gallery in London. (

Political Art—what it mostly isn't, and what it could be

Protest & Survive at the Whitechapel Gallery, London until November 12

By Paul Bond, 10 November 2000

The relationship between art and politics is a subtle and complex one. The process of creation is an act of engagement, in some form or other, with the world around the artist. It need not be a direct statement on an immediate political event for it to have resonances far beyond its immediate intention. Nor is it necessarily the case that responses to immediate and specific moments need only be relevant to those events.

A response to Millet

Jean-François Millet: Drawn into the Light An exhibit at the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

By Eula Holmes, 13 September 2000

The following letter from a contributor to the WSWS comments on an exhibit of the works of nineteenth century French painter Jean-Francois Millet that was on display in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The exhibit is currently in Amsterdam.

Tate Modern: London's new gallery of twentieth century modern art

By Paul Bond, 4 July 2000

Long awaited, the opening of the Tate Modern at the converted Bankside power station on the south bank of the Thames has been hailed as a triumph. The new site houses the Tate's collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day, previously displayed in the much smaller premises at Millbank, which have become the Tate Britain. (The Tate Modern web site can be found at:

Relaunching London's Tate Gallery—RePresenting Britain 1500-2000

Mona Hatoum at the Tate Britain, Millbank, London

By Paul Bond, 12 May 2000

The closure for refurbishment of the Tate Gallery on Millbank temporarily deprived London of one of its major collections, as well as one of its better gallery spaces. The Tate (web site: has been one of the success stories of British galleries, expanding from its Millbank home to sites in Liverpool and St. Ives, Cornwall. Even with these additions the collection had still outgrown the spaces available. The decision was taken to seek out another location within London to run alongside the existing site in order to display more of the collection.

Exhibition in Bielefield, Germany—Kazimir Malevich: The Later Work

New insights into the work of Russian avant-garde artist

By Sybille Fuchs, 11 May 2000

Showing at the Kunsthalle art museum in Bielefeld, Germany (February 2 through May 21, 2000)

Honoré Daumier, Intimate Contemporary

By Tim Tower, 25 April 2000

A retrospective of 245 lithographs, sketches, sculptures and oil paintings by the nineteenth century Parisian Honoré Daumier is now on view at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Previously exhibited in Ottawa and Paris, this historic exhibition will close on May 14. The first of its kind ever seen in America and arguably the finest ever assembled, it is a show not to be missed.

Michelangelo to Matisse—Drawing the figure

A look at 500 years of figure drawing

By Maria Esposito and John Christian, 17 April 2000

A collection of 242 rarely seen figure drawings—from the Renaissance through to the 1940s—was on show earlier in the year at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Some of the 136 artists represented include Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea Boscoli, Raphael of Urbino, Hans Holbein, Peter Paul Rubens, Henry Fuseli, Jean-Auguste Ingres as well as Jean-Francoise Millet, Edouard Claude Manet, Pablo Picasso, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Jean Dubuffet and Lucian Freud.

Then and now

1900: Art at the Crossroads at the Royal Academy, London

By Paul Bond, 24 March 2000

At the turn of the last century, Paris was host to a giant exhibition designed to display all that was best about the modern world. One of the Exposition Universelle's main attractions was a stunning display of electric light—the first that many ordinary Parisians had seen. In this respect it owed much to major displays of the nineteenth century, like London's Great Exhibition, which had demonstrated an assurance in new production techniques and the opening of the world to colonial expansion. These were triumphal displays of the power and might of the imperialist countries—capitalism at its height, developing new products, exploiting hitherto untapped resources and forcing open new markets.

Science, art or carnival sideshow?

The "Human Body Worlds" exhibit in Cologne

By Dietmar Henning, 23 March 2000

The “Human Body Worlds” exhibit has been on display since February 12 at Cologne's Heumarkt market square, where it is scheduled to run until July 31. The exhibit was first presented in Japan, attracting more than two and half million visitors. Only after this success with the public—and the associated commercial success—was the exhibit then put on display in Germany. Two years ago, 800,000 people came to see “Human Body Worlds” in Mannheim. Later the exhibit was visited by 550,000 people in Vienna, and 600,000 in Basle, Switzerland. In terms of numbers of visitors, it is reportedly the largest exposition ever held in Austria.

A vital and challenging exhibition

Viva la Vida —Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand 29 January-30 April

By John Braddock, 20 March 2000

A significant exhibition of twentieth century Mexican art, focusing on the work of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo is currently showing at the City Art Gallery in Wellington, as part of the New Zealand Arts Festival 2000. This exhibition— Viva la Vida—Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism —which has already drawn considerable public interest, brings to a new audience important work by the movement of artists associated with the Mexican revolution and the social struggles of the 1920s to the 1940s.

Walker Evans and photography

By David Walsh, 3 March 2000

Walker Evans, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 1-May 14; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 2-September 12, 2000; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 17, 2000-March 11, 2001

Striking visions of the First World War

CRW Nevinson: The Twentieth Century

5 January 2000

An exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London until January 30, 2000, then at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, February 20 to May 7

The rehabilitation of Gustav Gründgens

Gustav Gründgens —A German Career: an exhibition at the Berlin Staatsbibliothek

By Stefan Steinberg, 29 December 1999

December 22 marked the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the German actor and theatre director Gustav Gründgens, a flamboyant radical in the 1920s and early 1930s, who became one of the Hitler regime's most pliable artistic servants. Following the Nazi takeover in 1933, and under the direct patronage of Prime Minister Hermann Goering, Gründgens became director of Berlin's principal theatre, the Staatstheater, and remained in the job until near the end of the war in 1944. He is emblematic of the intellectual who chooses ego and career, even in the service of monsters, over principle. Gründgens' renegacy and opportunism were fictionally immortalised in Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto.

A brave New World —not that you'd know it

Amazons of the avant-garde—an exhibition at the Royal Academy, London until February 6

By Paul Bond, 13 December 1999

In the early years of this century, the Russian art world raced through a rapid self-education in the latest developments in culture. Russian artists travelled abroad, particularly to centres like Paris and Munich.

The humanity of Van Dyck

By Paul Mitchell, 1 December 1999

“Van Dyck 1599-1641” , London Royal Academy of Arts, 11 September-10 December

A superb exhibit on militarism

Camouflage: An exhibition of paintings and etchings by Chandraguptha Thenuwara

By Darshana Medis, 19 November 1999

A series of paintings and etchings by a noted Sri Lankan artist, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, was exhibited recently at the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA Gallery), in Ethulkotte, a suburb of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city. Entitled Camouflage, the exhibit consisted of 27 works, including a number of remarkable pieces.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: From a higher reality to a respect for reality

By Stuart Nolan and Barbara Slaughter, 5 November 1999

Henri Cartier-Bresson is an outstanding representative of a generation of artists who transformed photography into a recognised art form.