SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Miguel Cullen

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March 16, 2017
Grant Wood’s American Gothic is among the most acerbic of the paintings at the America After the Fall exhibition (at the Royal Academy until June 4). The Wall Street Crash was making fools of those who believed in the American Dream, while the farmers of the Midwest were being driven into the dust by falling
March 09, 2017
The Maltese ship that decorated the Nativity scene in St Peter’s Square this past Christmas memorialised the plight of the refugee, a haunting echo of the wars in Africa and the Middle East. Now Richard Mosse, too, is recalling to our minds a conflict that has been made banal by the ugly atonality of the
March 01, 2017
Big firms are restoring the nation’s glories in return for publicity
February 16, 2017
Why does Sheikh Mansour own Manchester City? Because it is a good business. It’s a prestige purchase that gives him exposure. You could say that the Roman Colosseum is a living, breathing thing, more than just a millennia-old monument. But in its own time, it was the Etihad Stadium par excellence. Diego della Valle, a
February 16, 2017
David Hockney, or David Mockney, for the purposes of this article, is having a show at the Tate Britain. He’s got all he asked for – fame, artistic pre-eminence, glamour – how does someone live with all that? It must be a weight on the soul, as well as a blessing. To quickly catalogue his
February 10, 2017
His masterpieces remind us what we have still yet to surpass
February 09, 2017
To stay ahead of the pack, you’ve got to keep moving. Taste doesn’t matter to you, because taste is what people who watch care about. All you can say with certainty about Robert Rauschenberg is that he was avant-garde – he has had too many different ideas to be able to skewer him – and
February 02, 2017
The textile artist, literary art director, muralist and fashion designer Cressida Bell – Vanessa Bell’s granddaughter and Virginia Woolf’s great-niece – invites me into her studio in Hackney Central. I am greeted by a wash of colour: geometric dots, kimono-hued patterns, a ménagerie of lampshades, assistants, an Indian bust by her ceramicist and art historian
December 22, 2016
When writing a round-up of exhibitions in London in 2016, certain conflicts emerge. It’s easier to bring together than my esteemed colleague Will Gore’s film round-up, as seeing an exhibition can take minutes, while a film takes up a minimum of an hour. If you’re going to look at it like that, and a glance
November 17, 2016
Anselm Kiefer can be seen to resemble David Bowie, in the way that he in some way uses the deeds of the hard Right (in Kiefer’s case Nazism) to create shimmering, juddering images of great depth and vision. His greatest beauties are the tender pinks and dawn colours that he dabs his industrial white-grey pictures
October 13, 2016
Picasso Portraits National Portrait Gallery, until February 5 The last portrait Picasso made was of himself, about to die. He had previously been the secret agent of art – with enough identities in his briefcase to roam all territories available to him. He would hide behind a moustache and sketch himself as Stalin for the
September 01, 2016
There is an exhibit in Punk 1976-78 which made me break out in (nostalgic) smiles. It is a T-shirt called You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know Which Side of the Bed You’ve Been Lying On, made by Malcolm McLaren. On one side it lists names of enemies of the punk state: Peregrine Worsthorne,
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