Focus on the Sixties at both Tates

Tate Britain seems to offer rather pedantic treatises on art, in an attempt to showcase its collection. Conceptual Art in Britain 1964 -1979 (until 29 August) is exactly this – a dull and boring collection of works from a largely self-conscious era where British artists agonised over the nature of art, rather than just creating it.…

Hepworth’s abstracts still look modern

Art exhibitions in London this summer seem to have gone beyond the mere two dimensional plane and need to be experienced rather than simply seen. Standing in front of Barbara Hepworth’s monumental hardwood carvings, peering through the hollows of the inside painted white surfaces which catch the light, one understands why this much-loved sculptor so…

Late not always great for Turner

This isn’t any sort of anniversary year for JMW Turner, but one would be forgiven for thinking it was. The year opened with a superbly exciting show of his work in Greenwich, and comes to a close with the first museum exhibition to focus solely on his later work, as well as a new British…

Tate Britain’s new look

The Tate Britain has been hiding behind hoardings for some three years now, and it was with something akin to relief that they could now reopen with a fully functioning museum. Building works are always tedious, and never more so in a public space when suddenly the café has moved, the toilets don’t work or…

The Dead Christ Mercers Hall

Iconoclasm misses the passion

Iconoclasm is an interesting subject in the history of British art. We’ve all wandered through churchyards and seen a statue with its nose or limbs hacked off, and perhaps even wondered at who this person was who sought to disfigure a work of art in this way. There’s so much drama and passion in this…

Tate’s rehang shows off its gems

Tate Britain has had a radical rehang as part of its ongoing change, and recently unveiled a chronological display of its British art which now shows off many gems which were languishing in storage. Presented around the outer perimeter of the Millbank galleries, the new display, the BP Walk through British Art, has proved hugely popular…

Sumptuous but still syrupy – Pre-Raphaelites at Tate

Tate Britain promises a radical new interpretation of the Pre-Raphaelites with their exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (until 13 Jan), but judging by the throngs of viewers no such review is needed. The public obviously adores them anyway, but I have to admit to being one of the cynics who finds them often little more than…