Art That Will Lift Our Spirits in Midwinter; It's an Exciting, Crowded Start to the New Exhibition Year with, among Others, Caravaggio, Beuys, Turner, Whistler and the Queen's Dutch Masterpieces to Stimulate the Eye

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Art That Will Lift Our Spirits in Midwinter; It's an Exciting, Crowded Start to the New Exhibition Year with, among Others, Caravaggio, Beuys, Turner, Whistler and the Queen's Dutch Masterpieces to Stimulate the Eye


Byline: BRIAN SEWELL

IT MAY seem odd to begin an anticipatory survey of the first three months of 2005 with a reminder that one of last year's weakest exhibitions runs on until 17 April, but the Wallace Collection's Boucher is, between now and 6 March, given a significant boost by an injection of material that demonstrates his early dependence on 17th-century Dutch artists. For many reasons the WC is the wrong place for major exhibitions and, with the organising ability of a demented moth, its directrice should never attempt another, but the belated borrowing from French museums of five paintings and 25 drawings by Berchem, Bloemaert and others, and more paintings by Boucher himself, lends weight to the intellectual argument and makes admission to the uninspired rearrangement of the WC's own Bouchers seem, for [pounds sterling]6, marginally less fraudulent.

The year's first blockbuster, opening on 22 January, is Turks, a Journey of a Thousand Years, between AD 600 and 1600, at the Royal Academy. A " landmark exhibition," claims the RA, "a rich array of textiles, manuscripts, calligraphy, woodwork, metalwork and ceramics ...

that culminates in the splendours of the Ottoman Empire."

And so it may be, but as something of a Turcophile I am puzzled by the cut-off point at 1600, for the long, slow decline of Ottoman taste into the early 20th century and its surrender to European influences are at least as much part of the journey from East to West and quite as interesting as the pre-Islamic origins of Turkish nomadic tribes on the Silk Route across central Asia. As the exhibits are drawn primarily from Topkapi and the Istanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, many will be familiar to the myriad British visitors there; from preliminary information, however, it seems that the exhibition is intended to be less encyclopaedic than introductory - 350 exhibits in diverse media offer pretty thin cover for a thousand years.

At the Saatchi Gallery, from 26 January, The Triumph of Painting illustrates their statement that "painting continues to be the most relevant and vital way that artists choose to communicate". This is a challenging assertion not supported by the Tate and its Turner Prize; nor can the scrupulous critic concur when he sees about him the burden of photography, video, installation and whimsical frivolity that artists, curators and other critics now pretend is art. Painting is still being produced in prodigious quantities, but when the critic looks for quality he finds virtually nothing even in the derided area of skill, just more of the rough incompetence that, claiming the virtue of immediacy, has merely contributed to painting's degradation and decline.

Perhaps this Saatchi show will rouse us to debate but, melancholy, I feel that the argument has now been too long lost to be of interest to anyone.

Quantity alone will not reinvigorate this dead art of the past.

At Tate Britain, Anthony Caro is on 26 January presented "as one of the world's greatest living sculptors". Lawks a' mercy, greatness has suffered a mighty falling off. Scant ability (apart from muscle) and scanter inspiration, carried by vanity and diligent promotion, have been too much exalted. Every Caro exhibition - and there have been too many in the past halfcentury - has demonstrated the wilderness of mannerism and affectation into which he has strayed, his work neve r more monum e n t a l l y insignificant than in his "sculpitecture", never more puerile than in his abstract d e r iva t i on s from paintings by old masters.

In the absence of a master sorcerer to spell an end to it, Caro's tide of apprentice trivia has swept the world and we have been suborned to think it great.

On 4 February, Joseph Beuys: Vitrines, Actions, Environments opens at Tate Modern. I believe Beuys to be one of the four most influential artists of the 20th century, a mad but utterly honest man whose life became his art just as the materials of his experience became those with which he gave substance to his wayward genius. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Art That Will Lift Our Spirits in Midwinter; It's an Exciting, Crowded Start to the New Exhibition Year with, among Others, Caravaggio, Beuys, Turner, Whistler and the Queen's Dutch Masterpieces to Stimulate the Eye
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.