Magazine article The Spectator

A Look Ahead

Magazine article The Spectator

A Look Ahead

Article excerpt

One of the great treats of the exhibiting year will undoubtedly be Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (17 April to 7 September) at Tate Modern. The last phase of Matisse's productive career was devoted to making extraordinarily vivid images from painted paper cut with scissors, as the physical effort of wielding a paintbrush became too much for him. Matisse's greatest strengths were as draughtsman and colourist, and the cut-outs combine these skills in abundant measure, releasing a new sense of joyous celebration almost unmatched in the history of art. The largest ever exhibition of the cut-outs, the Tate's show will feature 120 works, many seen together for the first time.


Of course the Tate, with its two London venues and branches in St Ives and Liverpool, has many other exhibitions and displays on offer in 2014, but I only have room to mention a few. I'm most looking forward to Tate Britain's survey of the life and work of Kenneth Clark, art historian, public servant, broadcaster, writer, patron and collector (20 May to 10 August). He has been terribly out of fashion in recent years, but played a crucial role in the artistic life of the nation, and in many individual artists' lives, especially such major 20th-century figures as Graham Sutherland and Victor Pasmore.

I've just bought the boxed set of his great TV series Civilisation and can't wait to see it again. Another trio of shows at Tate Britain to watch out for: Richard Deacon (5 February to 27 April), sculptor par excellence of the open organic form; Ruin Lust (4 March to 18 May) on the appetite for and use of ruins, from the 17th century to today; and the first major survey of British Folk Art (10 June to 7 September). At Tate Modern, less interesting things generally, though the Kasimir Malevich show (16 July to 26 October) could prove as uplifting as late Rembrandt.

The Royal Academy has just been awarded £12.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the joint site of Burlington House and Burlington Gardens (the old Museum of Mankind behind the RA's main building) into what is being called 'an arts campus' of just over two acres. At present if you visit an RA-run exhibition in Burlington Gardens you can't get through to the Academy's other galleries in Burlington House, or vice versa, and visitors have to revert to street level and walk round the outside. Not surprisingly, many don't bother. The new scheme, the Burlington Project, architectural brainchild of David Chipperfield, will finally unite the two buildings, a seemingly insuperable task until now. Building works don't begin until 2015, and before that various exhibitions will take place in Burlington Gardens, including Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album (26 June to 25 August) and Allen Jones RA (13 November 2014 to 25 January 2015). Hopper, film actor, director, artist and all-round wild man, also shot a lot of photographs, particularly between 1961-7, and this show brings together more than 400 of them. Allen Jones (born 1937) is another hero of the Sixties, who has gone on to build a remarkable reputation internationally, while being unfairly neglected in his own country. Best known for his inventive and witty paintings and sculptures, commenting on popular culture and the sometimes tormented relationship between the sexes, it is high time that a proper survey of his career was attempted in the UK.

In Burlington House, the RA pursues its policy of 'something old, something new and something borrowed' with exhibitions of 16th-century chiaroscuro woodcuts, a retrospective of Anselm Kiefer and a focus show of Giovanni Battista Moroni (c. …

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