âI took this a year after he resigned. Did I sense any regret about the situation heâd left behind? Not reallyâ
This picture has actually lost me a few jobs. Plus I think I might even have lost a flat because of it. I was looking at a property and was chatting to the estate agent and told them that Iâd recently shot David Cameron. We put an offer in â for the asking price â but it was turned down. So yes, I do suspect people donât like David Cameron.
But when you shoot someone like Cameron, though, you have to remain neutral. If you turn up thinking too many things then youâll inevitably forget something, or position the lighting wrong, and the subject will get irritated. You have to go in with clarity. Whether youâre a former prime minister or a bus driver, Iâll always have the same clarity of thought.Continue reading... [ + ]
Pentti Sammallahtiâs exhibition focuses on one of his most consistent and compelling subjects: birds. These residents of the land, sea and sky find their way into the Finnish photographerâs field of vision no matter what country he exploresContinue reading... [ + ]
From tossing paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico to rallies to Kanye, here are some of the images of the first half of Trumpâs term of officeContinue reading... [ + ]
In 1999, we had a student from Ghana on a summer school at Oxford who needed immediate hospitalisation. At A&E, he asked if they wanted to see his passport and medical insurance. The nurse said: âSir, all I need to know is that youâre sick.â Letâs keep that kind of NHS (âI thought they were killing meâ: NHS trust halted asylum seekerâs cancer treatment, theguardian.com, 21 January).
â¢ It is not possible to own too many books (Tom Gauld cartoon strip, Review, 19 January). It is, however, common not to have enough space for all your books, a problem that I and many others experience.Continue reading... [ + ]
Camden Arts Centre, London
From panic attacks and political chaos to a letter to the unborn, video artist Gibsonâs intense films present a kaleidoscope of our fears â while her six-year-old offers a live âafternoon of mayhemâ
Itâs rush hour, and Beatrice Gibson is having a panic attack in a packed carriage on the London underground. The train stops suddenly in the tunnel. âI canât breathe,â she says. Cascading images fill the screen, in a flickering montage of ecological doom, refugee boats overturning, Grenfell Tower burning, tumult on the streets, Brexit, Donald Trump â¦ the daily kaleidoscope of our fears. She can feel her body, but it is as if the skin has gone, she says. Racing thoughts of disaster erupt from within, interspersed with more homely thoughts. Family footage of kids playing on the beach and in the bath, domestic life; even the reassurance of the familiar feels under threat.
So begins I Hope Iâm Loud When Iâm Dead, one of two new films by Gibson at Camden Arts Centre, London. Both are dense, sometimes disorientating and disjunctive, packed with words, images, poetry and song. Titled after a poem by CAConrad, I Hope Iâm Loud repeatedly turns from the apocalyptic to the intimate. Like Gibson on the underground, Iâm hanging on in here, not knowing how much the details matter, or which matter, as we swerve from one scene to the next, from one voice to another. These are the worldâs mixed messages. A single viewing is not enough.Continue reading... [ + ]
With its grottos, stalactites and walls blasted from rock, the Muzeum Susch is like a Bond villainâs secret lair. Our writer steps inside this geological marvel
Pebbles from a nearby riverbed form a chunky cobbled floor in the entrance to the new Muzeum Susch in Switzerland, as if a tributary once flowed through the building. Maybe it still does. The sound of dripping water can be heard coming from the end of a corridor, where a shiny trickle snakes down a bare rock face. There are other strange things going on. Peer through one opening and you find a gnarled column of earth plunging down into the basement, as if itâs the remains of an archaeological dig. Another passage is encrusted with viscous white goo, forming stringy stalactites that lead to a curious cave downstairs.
In this beguiling new gallery in the Engadin valley, it is hard to tell where nature ends and artifice begins. It is located on the site of a 12th-century monastery, in a rambling complex of buildings that formerly housed a vicarage, hospice and brewery, and the young architects Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy have concocted a magical place where the historic fabric, contemporary art and the raw geology of the landscape collide.Continue reading... [ + ]
Redeveloped entrance will point towards Soho, despite wishes of a Victorian donor
The National Portrait Gallery is to get a new main entrance more than a century after a rich donor insisted it should not point north towards the filth of Soho and Covent Garden.
The entrance is part of a Â£35.5m redevelopment that is intended to make the gallery more welcoming and less crowded, and to better display contemporary crowd-pleasers such as Sam Taylor-Johnsonâs video of David Beckham sleeping.Continue reading... [ + ]
Royal Academy, London
Michelangeloâs vivid, vital drawings are well worth looking at, preferably unaccompanied by the empty spectacle of Violaâs video installations
Bill Viola/Michelangelo is subtitled Life Death Rebirth. The three words are the first thing you see in the Royal Academyâs pairing of the two artists. You enter fully alive. About half way through the dark, labyrinthine galleries, we meet an naked elderly couple, each projected on a slab of black granite, examining their own bodies with small torches. Apparently, he is searching for immortality, she for eternity. By now I wish it were over. At the end, we come across a woman silhouetted against a wall of flame. This is the last frontier.Continue reading... [ + ]
â â â â â /â â âââ
Kettleâs Yard, Cambridge
In these two contrasting solo shows, Julie Mehretuâs great and tragic introspections speak starker truths that Louise Bourgeoisâs trite and silly images
Now and then an artist comes along who turns every critical cliche on its head and proves the experts know nothing about where art is going. Julie Mehretu is one of those heroes. This Ethiopian-born, New York-based painter works in a style that has long been mocked and patronised by avant garde intellectuals as macho, pompous and even an instrument of US imperialism â a style that flourished in New York some 60 years ago. Mehretu is an abstract expressionist. And she is showing that the legacy of Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly can bite deep into the madness of our time.
Mehretu takes on those titans at their own game of colossal ambition. Her 2017 diptych Howl consists of two abstract paintings 27 feet high and 32 feet wide that make Pollockâs One look teeny. Meanwhile, she has a show at Kettleâs Yard, Cambridge that is smaller in size yet just as formidable and infectiously creative.Continue reading... [ + ]
Tate Modern, London
Awash with colour and full of fidgety brushwork, Bonnardâs paintings range from the terrific to the scrappy. Why do people love him so much?
Pierre Bonnard in the bathroom mirror holding up his hand like a boxer, though really he is clutching a wet sponge. Bonnard on film, in a snatch of home movie, blinking incessantly behind his little round glasses. Bonnard in the kitchen (Iâm sure the housekeeper would rather he went away) and out on the terrace. Bonnard hovering here and there; Bonnard beside the tub, as his wife takes yet another bath.
I am ambivalent about Bonnard. The things I admire and that interest me in his paintings are not perhaps the things he fully intended. Aspects of his work that others find charming or life-affirming I soon weary of. All that colour, all that fidgety brushwork. His figures are very hit-and-miss, sometimes crude and absurd; sometimes the distortions seem terrific, at other times horrible. I canât bear the way one naked female leg is always warm, the other always cool, and why Bonnard teases the viewer with one female nipple always being in stark profile. He can be monumental, he can be scrappy. Faces in the crowd are often monstrous or ill-formed. Bonnard did not have a facile talent: he had to work at things. There is a great deal of niggling about, and piling paint on. I think he found landscape easier, a relief from the tensions of the human subject.Continue reading... [ + ]
The awards aim to capture and celebrate the essence of life in Britain through illuminating, humorous and poignant imagery. Opening at Mall galleries in London on 18 February, the exhibition will then go on tour to Banbury, Leyburn and GlastonburyContinue reading... [ + ]
When British photographer Paul Trevor was travelling around the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico in the 1980s, he stayed at a hotel where guests had to bring their own hammocks. âYou went into the bedroom and there were just two hooks,â he recalls. âSo you needed to provide your own, otherwise you slept on the floor.â He headed out to buy one, but found the owner of the local shop asleep in front of his folded-up hammocks.
Careful not to disturb the slumbering shopkeeper, Paul Trevor quietly photographed the scene and left. (He returned to buy a hammock later.) This photo joined a growing collection heâd been putting together since he started out in photography a decade earlier. In an ongoing project, brought together in his new book Sleeper, he photographs people â and sometimes animals â napping. âItâs something Iâm drawn to: thereâs something very serene, very peaceful about it,â he says.Continue reading... [ + ]
Gunfire and explosions in Nairobi, fast food at the White House, a great white shark off the coast of Oahu and the Australian Open tennis â the week captured by the worldâs best photojournalistsContinue reading... [ + ]
A century after its birth, the great German art schoolâs influence is still being felt
â¢ An updated edition of 100 years of Bauhaus is available from TaschenContinue reading... [ + ]
Diller Scofidio + Renfroâs timber-and-glass vision for a new Centre for Music in London aims for great heights â but might not exactly reach them
Twisting pyramids seem to have become the accepted vernacular for Londonâs big cultural buildings, as plans for the new Â£288m Centre for Music were unveiled on Monday. Following in the footsteps of Tate Modernâs Switch House and the Aldwych student centre at the London School of Economics, the proposals for a new 2,000-seat concert hall take the form of a faceted ziggurat, rising from the roundabout site of the current Museum of London as an angular glass beacon.Continue reading... [ + ]