The Avant-Garde in Georgia. Review by Barbara Lewis. Every two years, Belgium and neighbouring countries host Europalia, a four-month international arts festival to celebrate one country’s cultural heritage. Until early next year, the latest biennale focuses on Georgia, a resonant choice given the conflict nearby instigated by Russia.
Frans Hals Exhibition. Review by Barbara Lewis. Frans Hals (1582-1666) painted portraits, “nothing, nothing, nothing but that,” wrote van Gogh to fellow painter Emile Bernard, but that they were “worth Dante’s Paradise and the Michelangelos and Raphaels and even the Greeks”.
Claudette Johnson’s exhibition Presence. Review by Jenny Vuglar. Johnson first came to attention in 1982 while a student at The Polytechnic Wolverhampton. Britain’s ‘black cultural renaissance’ began, not in the famous institutions of London but in the Polytechs of the north: Wolverhampton, Trent, Sunderland.
Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas. Review by Graham Buchan. It is clear from this retrospective of Sarah Lucas’s thirty-five year career that an obsession with tits, toilets, cigarettes, shoes and chairs informs much of her work.
Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris. Review by Barbara Lewis. As curators and art historians work to redistribute glory that men historically monopolised, Pallant House Gallery’s latest major exhibition devotes itself to extracting Welsh-born artist Gwen John from beneath the shadow of her more worldly brother Augustus John.
Paula Rego: Crivelli’s Garden. Review by Graham Buchan. Two years ago Tate Britain mounted a major retrospective of Paula Rego’s work and it was a great exhibition. Now the National Gallery shows a single piece of Rego’s work, albeit a big one: Crivelli’s Garden is nearly ten metres wide and two metres high.
Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life. Review by Graham Buchan. I recommend this show because any exhibition which redresses the balance in favour of a neglected artist is to be commended even if, as I think, af Klint’s work is not altogether good.
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and Palace of Knossos. By Barbara Lewis. Regarded as the first advanced civilisation in Europe, Minoan Crete dated from around 3000 BC until around 1100 BC, preceding ancient Greece.
Peter Doig, The Courtauld Gallery. Review by Barbara Lewis. Peter Doig never tries to create real spaces, only painted spaces, we learn at the beginning of the Courtauld’s exhibition of some of his most recent work, including paintings created since his move from Trinidad to London in 2021.
Spain and the Hispanic World. Review by Carla Scarano. We are lucky that the Hispanic Society Museum and Library in Upper Manhattan is closed for refurbishing so that the collection that the philanthropist Archer M. Huntington accumulated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries can travel the world on loan.