O’Keeffe’s individual vision

If Georgia O’Keeffe for you is simply animal skulls on desert plains and sensual full-blown flowers, you are in for a surprise. Tate Modern presents a huge retrospective of the core six decades of her life (until 30 Oct), showing how the two strands of abstraction and modernism ran throughout her life. It is the…

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Hatoum – a new look at the familiar

Sinister life-sized cheese graters, a wooden cabinet filled with coloured glass perfume jars in the shape of hand grenades, a Fifties kitchen interior that hums with the electricity which lights up certain parts of it – these are some of the familiar objects that Mona Hatoum casts in a new light in her retrospective at…

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.…

Calder’s changing shapes at Tate

If I write the word sculpture, you probably think of something solid and heavy, the sort of thing you may find in an old park. Alexander Calder has changed that forever. His sculpture is light and ethereal, it floats and changes. The shadows you see will never quite be those that I have seen. It…

The politics of a global Pop

The world may seem in turmoil today, but that’s nothing on the late Sixties and early Seventies. Looking back at those days through the prism of Tate Modern’s The World Goes Pop (until 24 Jan 2016) is a harsh reminder of how close it all got to going up in smoke. Pop is generally associated…

Matisse’s magic scissors

Henri Matisse’s cut-outs are some of the most instantly recognisable of his works. They reduced his art to simple coloured shapes that lend themselves to easy reproduction. I knew what I was going to see at the Tate Modern’s exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, better than most. I have spent hours in art class tracing…

Hamilton’s post war Pop

Richard Hamilton is touted as Britain’s most important post war artist, but I have to admit that a year ago when the National Gallery showed his late works, I simply didn’t get them. Meeting the same paintings again in the last rooms of this huge Tate Modern retrospective (until 26 May), they made sense. There…

Klee’s harmony of line and colour

Paul Klee famously took ‘a line for a walk’ with his drawing, and opened up the world of art to every primary school pupil. His work is hugely popular, probably because it appeals to so many different tastes. There are the deceptively simple pure watercolour washes, with an incredible harmony of colour, and the bold…

Kentridge gets Tate’s Tanks working

South African artist William Kentridge is featured in a touring show from the Hayward Gallery, which travels across the UK but also in what seems to me the first really successful use of the circular walls of the Tate Modern’s Tanks: I am not Me, the Horse is not Mine (until 20 Jan). In Kentridge’s…

Bravura – and Boredom – at Hirst Show

Perhaps you are either for Damien Hirst or against him. I thought I fell into the latter category. Hirst seems to have singlehandedly turned art into a commodity on a production line scale, removed from any form of skill or craft. I wasn’t expecting much from his retrospective at the Tate Modern (until 9 Sept),…