Miliband and the art of opposition

Louisa Buck: The great and good ventured south of the river to the Battersea Arts Centre last night to hear a rousing speech by Labour leader Ed Miliband, hosted by the Creative Industries Federation, in which he pledged “to put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the next Labour government’s mission. MORE

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:32:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here: this week’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Rubens and his Legacy”, Royal Academy of Arts, until 10 April
Rubens’ penchant for the fuller figure is well known, and there is certainly no shortage here of subcutaneous layers executed by the great man and his myriad followers, including an extraordinary little trio of strapping sea nymphs painted in homage by Cézanne.

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 17:25:00 GMT

Love is in the air at Whitworth Gallery opening

Louisa Buck: “Fall in Love Again” was the PR slogan for the eagerly anticipated reopening of Manchester’s elegantly extended and refurbished Whitworth Gallery, and love was certainly in the air throughout the opening weekend. MORE

Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:15:00 GMT

CAS celebrates Mark Stephens

Louisa Buck: Hurrah for Mark Stephens! As well as being the London art world’s long-term leading lawyer, freely (often in all senses) dispensing advice and wisdom to artists and institutions alike, for nearly three decades Mark Stephens CBE has also been a major force within the Contemporary Art Society, most recently as their Chair of Trustees, between 2010-14. MORE

Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:30:00 GMT

Bouquets and rockets at the Hayward

Louisa Buck: There were bouquets all round–or at least for the four artist-curators who showed up in time for the speeches–at last night’s opening of the Hayward’s “History is Now” exhibition, which presents a succession of artists’ views of the past 70 years of British history. MORE

Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:30:00 GMT

Performance art cross dresses across London

Louisa Buck: You’d normally associate go-go gyrating and pole dancing with the seamy streets of Soho, and expect searingly autobiographical performances involving dead animals, cyber role playing and gender-bending genital manipulation to be taking place within the domain of a cutting-edge contemporary art foundation. MORE

Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:07:00 GMT

The strong sweet smell of incense at Pace

Louisa Buck: The late lamented gallerist and notorious hedonist Robert Fraser—AKA Groovy Bob—would certainly have appreciated last night’s lavish high octane bash to launch “A Strong Sweet Smell of Incense,” at the Pace Gallery. MORE

Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:00:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—this week’s must see shows

Louisa Buck: Christian Marclay, White Cube, until 12 April
Christian Marclay’s compelling and globally-acclaimed 24-hour film The Clock—featuring film clips of clocks and people telling the time, all synchronised to the real time in the real world—was always going to be a near impossible act to follow.

Wed, 04 Feb 2015 20:05:00 GMT

Joan Dannatt emerges at 90

Louisa Buck: The notion of ‘emerging artist’ is an elastic one these days, and has little to do with age. After all, Rose Wylie won the John Moores prize at 80 last year and only recently has had a room devoted to her output at Tate Britain as well as having her work collected by the likes of P. MORE

Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:47:00 GMT

Marclay’s pub crawl stops off at White Cube

Louisa Buck: Chinking glasses of a rather less glamorous kind than usual are currently resonating through the cavernous spaces of White Cube Bermondsey, thanks to Christian Marclay’s new video installation, Pub Crawl. MORE

Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:38:00 GMT

Cullinan returns but leaves guinea pig behind

Louisa Buck: The London art world may be thrilled to welcome Nicholas Cullinan back to our shores, but for the newly-appointed National Portrait Gallery director sacrifices have had to be made. His return to Blighty was accompanied by the painful decision to leave the lady in his life Stateside. MORE

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:26:00 GMT

Shock! Horror! Neo Naturists too naked for Page 3

Louisa Buck: The current to-ing and fro-ing around whether or not The Sun newspaper is dropping topless women from Page 3 (today the paper denies that it ever intended to) has stirred up some fond News International memories for the artists Christine Binnie and Wilma Johnson who, after stripping off for an impromptu Neo Naturist performance with the androgynous Pop star Marilyn at Henley Regatta in the early 1980s, were approached by The Sun to pose for Page 3. MORE

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:50:00 GMT

High-octane evening for Paul Simonon

Louisa Buck: London was calling in all directions for Paul Simonon last night: on Paul Stolper’s stand at the London Art Fair in Islington, there was a large silkscreen print portraying the Clash bassist by Shepard Fairey. MORE

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:00:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—this week’s must see shows

Louisa Buck: “Caragh Thurling”, Chisenhale Gallery, until 1 February
There’s a surprising start to this eagerly anticipated show by one of our most interesting young painters: one large canvas almost completely blocks the entrance door, requiring visitors to squeeze around its back to gain access.

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:40:00 GMT

Pj Harvey makes an exhibition of herself

Louisa Buck: Expectations were high at last night’s eagerly anticipated first view of Artangel’s latest project: PJ Harvey exposing herself to public scrutiny for an entire month while she records her ninth album in a specially constructed studio in a former gymnasium in the bowels of Somerset House. MORE

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:19:00 GMT

It takes two in Bond Street

Louisa Buck: It was couples night in the West End on Tuesday with two sets of artistic duos unveiling both their separate and collective creations on opposite sides of Bond Street in London’s Mayfair. At Sotheby’s designer extraordinaire Tord Boontje’s first full retrospective of his fantastical furniture, lighting, jewellery and textiles is accompanied by a parallel survey of starkly striking works in glass, bronze and a various mixed media by his sculptor wife, Emma Woffenden, whom he met when they were both students at London’s Royal College of Art. MORE

Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:59:00 GMT

Will there be life after death for new private museums?

Jori Finkel: From the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in October to the construction of The Broad in Los Angeles now set to open this autumn, the model of the single-donor museum is thriving. You’d have to dial back the clock more than a century to the American “robber barons” like Frick, Morgan and Huntington to find another moment in art history when so many great institutions were founded by powerful individuals instead of broader coalitions or private-public alliances. MORE

Thu, 08 Jan 2015 07:46:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—New Year’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Egon Schiele: the Radical Nude”, Courtauld Institute, until 18 January
Astonishingly the first UK museum exhibition devoted to Schiele for nearly a quarter of a century, this tightly-selected and highly charged survey of just 38 drawings and watercolours of the male and female nude—including some excruciatingly raw images of pregnant women and a particularly scary new-born baby—made between the artist’s breakthrough year of 1910 and his untimely death from Spanish flu in 1918 when he was only 28, confirms what a bold, audacious but ultimately humane artist he was.

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:30:00 GMT

Back with a fever

Louisa Buck: The new season kicked off to a high-octane start with last night’s launch of Fig-2, the constantly changing experimental art project which will present a whirlwind programme of 50 exhibitions over the next 50 weeks from within the ICA Studio, the Institute’s gritty former workshop which recently had a light-touch makeover courtesy of Universal Design Studio. MORE

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:42:00 GMT

Dreaming of a green Christmas

Louisa Buck: Seasonal celebrations took a slightly darker turn on 21 December when protestors set up outside the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing to voice their opposition to Shell’s sponsorship of “Rembrandt: The Late Works”. MORE

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:14:00 GMT

Farewell to the Glasshouse

Louisa Buck: One of the most Christmas-y places in the capital over the last few days has undoubtedly been Andrew Logan’s magical Glasshouse in Bermondsey, in the shadow of the Shard. Here, the artist and inventor of the now-legendary Alternative Miss World extravaganzas and his partner the architect Michael Davis (who 25 years ago designed their giant conservatory like space out of an asbestos ridden garage) were hosting their last-ever “Open Studio With Friends”, featuring not only Mr L’s magnificent distinctive shattered mirror sculpture and jewellery but also festive outfits from the designer Zandra Rhodes (whose Fashion and Textile Museum is just round the corner in Bermondsey Street) and a plethora of other goodies to be purchased from more creative pals such as the inimitable Christine Binnie (who introduced Grayson Perry to pots). MORE

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:55:00 GMT

Soft-shoe shuffle in Soho

Louisa Buck: When Rose Wylie last saw the cult 1980s alternative comedian and writer Alexei Sayle, it was back in September and she had just won the prestigious John Moores painting prize—at 80, the oldest artist to do so. MORE

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:15:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—reflective art alternatives to the festive overload

Louisa Buck: “Maggi Hambling: Walls Of Water”, National Gallery, until 15 February 2015 and “Walls of Water: the Monotypes”, Marlborough Fine Art, until 10 January 2015
Wonderful (and free) respite from the West End consumer cacophony in this exhibition/installation that fills a chapel-like space at the top of the National Gallery’s main stairs with nine paintings of giant waves, captured as they rear upwards on the cusp of crashing down onto the shore.

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:40:00 GMT

James Franco’s Fat Squirrel

Louisa Buck: As Art Basel’s head of VIP relations in the UK, it is to be expected that Andreas Siegfried certainly knows a big name or two. He gathered quite a cluster, including Muriel and Freddie Salem, Julia Peyton Jones and jewellery designer Harumi Klossowski, the daughter of Balthus, at his chic west London home/private-showing space last night to unveil the latest paintings by the multi-tasking movie star James Franco, who had flown in from Hong Kong especially to preside over the proceedings. MORE

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

Open house at Open School East

Louisa Buck: All hail Open School East! As art is evermore marginalised on the national curriculum and our mainstream art schools increasingly become finishing schools for the international rich, this mould-breaking art school—which charges no tuition fees and embeds creative practitioners directly into the local community—offers an inspiring and crucial alternative. MORE

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

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