Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. They are among the most talented architects of their age. Yet the credit, praise and awards have gone to the men instead. Meet the women who are tired of being written out of history

    Denise Scott Brown was an associate professor when she married Robert Venturi in 1967. She had taught at the universities of Pennsylvania and Berkeley, and initiated the first programme in the new school of architecture at the University of California. She had a substantial publication record, enthusiastic students, and the respect of her colleagues.

    The first sign that marriage had changed things came when an architect whose work she had reviewed said: “We at the office think it was Bob writing, using your name.” It was an indication of what was to come for the rest of her career. Scott Brown was relegated to being the wife of the famous postmodern architect Bob Venturi – who died last month – rather than one half of an equal creative and intellectual partnership that changed the world of architecture as we know it.

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  2. British Museum, London
    Two new rooms present an alternative history of the world, beginning with works with a geometric sophistication and abstract calm that western art could not achieve for another 10 centuries

    The best way to get to the British Museum’s new gallery of Islamic art is via the Sutton Hoogallery. That way, you first take a trip through Anglo-Saxon England, past Celtic gold, Viking jewels and treasures from the burial of a seventh-century king. These artefacts, lurking in shadow, all date from a time that is often called the Dark Ages. Then you step out of that gallery and into a world of light.

    Streaming in through patterned screens and coloured glass, the light spills over lustreware, the glazed ceramics invented by medieval Islam that have an iridescent quality. Such luminous clarity seems to shine right through Islamic art: what you see here resembles the Enlightenment in 18th-century Europe – an age of reason that, in this case, started in the eighth century.

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  3. At an annual event staged by English Heritage, hundreds of people dressed as Saxons and Normans gather on Senlac Ridge in Sussex to mark the anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Participants tell the photojournalist Jonny Weeks why they enjoy ‘playing dress-up in a field’

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  4. Exclusive: Art lovers will be able to watch conservators restoring work in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and via web livestream

    The Night Watch by Rembrandt, one of the world’s most spectacular paintings, is to be restored under the world’s gaze at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, its general director has told the Guardian.

    Related:Time to revisit Rembrandt's The Night Watch, a glowing symbol of democracy | Jonathan Jones

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  5. In 1977, the National Portrait Gallery staged a landmark exhibition, featuring 90 portraits of eminent British women photographed by Mayotte Magnus. The gallery is now updating the project with Illuminating Women, which runs until 24 March

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  6. Goldblatt’s photographs capture the understated unease of living an ordinary life in a society that was anything but normal

    The photograph makes me squirm. Four young women, cling-wrapped in awkward swimsuits and perched on high heels, stand on display. One smirks, the other three look unsure. They clutch their competition numbers and present their naked white legs for consideration by the unseen judges.

    Behind the stage, a crowd of mostly women and children cluster around the elevated stage, their faces resigned or perplexed. Dotted among the crowd, a few white men stare blankly, appraising the women’s bodies, while the only black man frowns. Most people seem bemused by the uncomfortable spectacle taking place in their local supermarket. Outside the frame, shoppers push their trolleys through the aisles, taking toilet paper and bread rolls and washing powder off the shelves.

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  7. David Goldblatt considered himself a documentarian rather than an artist, and the central concern of his work was apartheid. But rather than the brutal, visceral horrors, his photographs captured the apparently mundane details of daily life in a country ruled by racism, and the result is an eerie, unsettling insight into everyday moral compromise. Now, Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art presents David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948-2018 – a retrospective already commissioned when the artist died in June – that takes in the full scope of Goldblatt’s seven decades of work, from his famous series On the Mines to never-before-seen pieces from his personal archive. Here is a preview of what’s on show.

    David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948-2018 is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, from 19 October 2018 to 3 March 2019
    David Goldblatt’s photographs: documenting the casual horror of apartheid South Africa

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  8. Barbican Art Gallery; Tate Modern, London
    A huge survey of artist couples gets neither to the heart of their relationships nor their work. And the medium is the message in the exquisite weft and warp of Bauhaus weaver Anni Albers

    Oskar Kokoschka fell in love with the composer Alma Mahler in 1912. When she left him after three years of jealousy, he had her recreated as a life-size mannequin. Kokoschka lived with this doll for years, stroking its fur-covered body, taking it to parties and eventually chopping off its head in a rage. But he couldn’t kill the real woman, her memory resurgent in many tortured drawings and paintings.

    Even one of which would have been a valuable, not to say vital, exhibit at the Barbican Art Gallery. But instead we are presented with a couple of fans clumsily painted for her as a present. Kokoschka, Mahler and their relationship are despatched in a summary wall text and some dubious souvenirs. And that, alas, is how the show goes.

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  9. Barbican Centre, London
    The avant garde didn’t limit their subversive antics to the gallery. As this fun and fascinating show proves, their sex lives were just as transgressive

    Modern love and modern art go hand in hand. Such, at least, is the premise of this surprisingly sexy exhibition that peers into the domestic arrangements of the avant garde.

    Redressing the received story of modern art, in which male artists eclipse their female partners, same-sex relationships are glossed over and collaborative unions forgotten, Modern Couples is about relationships between creative people. They like to draw, paint, photograph and wax lyrical – particularly during periods of amorous intoxication, when the other’s body is an erotically charged site. During the height of her relationship with Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel created tiny models of couples caught in intense embrace. Georges Platt Lynes photographed Monroe Wheeler naked and gorgeously dozing across the rumpled sheets of a disturbed bed. Salvador Dalíand Federico García Lorca exchanged petulant, passionate correspondence.

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  10. Victoria and Albert Museum, London
    The museum now has a worthy space for its spellbinding collection, which spans the medium’s history – from the Queen’s hippopotamus to Paul McCartney in his dressing gown

    The first thing you see as you enter the Victoria and Albert’s newly expanded Photography Centre is a huge plate camera on a wooden tripod. It belonged to Henry Fox Talbot, the founding father of British photography. In an adjacent glass case, an array of his other cameras are on show alongside his notebooks and an original copy of his photography book, The Pencil of Nature.The centre’s inaugural exhibition is Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital, but it is the process of photography that is the intriguing subtext.

    There are now two main galleries, rather than one, devoted to the V&A’s photography collection, which means there is now ample room to view the prints on display in an expanded context that illuminates their production. The most visible evidence of this is the vast glass display cases that house not just cameras, but early photography books, manuals, notebooks and periodicals as well as one given over to viewing early stereoscopic images. Most of the other changes made to these repurposed Victorian picture galleries are invisible to the eye, including the complex climate control technology that protects the prints.

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