Category Archives: EXHIBITIONS

Men Without Masks

There’s an extraordinary exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London (until 28 July 2018) dedicated to the German photographer August Sander. Titled Men Without Masks, the display features an extensive selection of portraits made between 1910 and 1931 representing the socio-economic landscape in the years leading up to and through the Weimar Republic.

These photographs are mesmerizing, but beyond the masterful portraiture are the subjects themselves. Who are these people? Several individuals caught my eye, such as these two in a photograph titled Bohemians:

This is a portrait of Will Bongard and Gottfried Brockmann who were associated with the Cologne Dada movement and the group of artists known as the Cologne Progressives. There are also portraits of the artists Franz Wilhelm Seiwert and Heinrich Hoerle who were also part of this group:


Intrigued by Sander’s photographic portraits of these four charismatic-looking men, I set about tracking down some examples of their artworks such as this painting by Hoerle:

‘Denkmal der unbekannten Prothesen’ (1930) by Heinrich Hoerle, Von der Heydt-Museum

Or this by Seiwert:

‘Selbstbildnis’ (Self-portrait) by Franz Wilhelm Seiwert (1928), Von der Heydt-Museum

Finally, here’s a work by Brockmann:

Junge mit Roller (1923)

The Cologne Progressives, founded by Gerd Arntz along with Hoerle and Seiwert, related their attitude to art to their political activism and their involvement in the the Radical Workers’ Movement. As the German sculptor Wieland Schmied has explained, they ‘sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement’. They are credited as being the originators of Figurative Constructivism.

Gerd Arntz’s work provides a contrast to that of his colleagues. Here’s his Between Bridges for example:

I’d like to look more closely at these artists and their works. In the meantime, here’s a selection:

‘Worker’ (Self-Portrait in Front of Trees and Chimneys) (1931) by Heinrich Hoerle, Harvard Art Museums
‘Four Men in front of Factories’ (1926) BY Franz William Seiwert, Hamburger Kunsthalle
‘Kolyma’ (1952) by Gerd Arntz

Exhibitions, Museums & Galleries Visited in 2015

Kent-ish Town

William Kent (1685-1748) was the leading architect and designer of early Georgian Britain.  A polymath, he turned his hand to everything from painting to designing sculpture, architecture, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, book illustration and landscape gardens.  Kent’s life coincided with a major turning point in British history – the accession of the new Hanoverian Royal Family in 1714.  This exhibition at the V&A, London, reveals how William Kent came to play a leading role in establishing a new design aesthetic for this crucial period when Britain defined itself as a nation.

An assembly at Wanstead House, William Hogarth, 1728-31

In this painting, Hogarth exaggerates Kent’s interior décor at Wanstead House.  The exhibition contains the actual sofa alongside Hogarth’s painting (from the Philadelphia Museum of Art) so you can make your own comparison.

The Bad Taste of the Town, William Hogarth, 1724

In an earlier work, The Bad Taste of the Town, Hogarth has already taken a swipe at the cult of Italian and classical art and architecture being fostered by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, and his protégé, William Kent, whose stone figure towers above the ludicrously downgraded figures of Michelangelo and Raphael.  A closer inspection will reveal his name below the statue written ‘KNT’ – try saying that out loud!

I’ll be discussing William Kent and his enormous influence on John Stanford’s The Serendipitous Compendium on Radio Crackle this Sunday 1 June 2014.

The Eastenders that time forgot

The East London Group of ArtistsLast year David Buckman published his extensive research on the East London Group of Artists in his fascinating book From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group.  Now here’s the exhibition to accompany the book – and it’s a corker.

The East London Group of Artists were a very successful gang of painters which existed for over 10 years from the late 1920s.  In their day they were both an innovative and popular artistic movement – but they have subsequently (and very sadly) been passed over by art history.  In their heyday there were about 35 members of the group, mostly working class, realist painters who progressed to phenomenal critical acclaim by chronicling life in east London between the World Wars.

Harold Steggles, Old Ford Rd, c.1932
Harold Steggles, Old Ford Rd, c.1932

The majority of them came from humble beginnings, but their artistic talent was to flourish under the mentorship of Slade School of Fine Arts trained artist John Cooper, and the Camden Town Group member, Walter Sickert.  Their success led to artists from the group representing Britain, alongside such luminaries as Barbara Hepworth and Gilbert Spencer, at the 1936 Venice Biennale.  This is the first time their pictures have been displayed publicly for over a generation.

Sunday Morning Farringdon Rd (c.1929) by Cecil Osborne
Sunday Morning Farringdon Rd (c.1929) by Cecil Osborne

Maybe it’s because I’m familiar with this part of London, but I found these paintings of eerily empty streets both haunting and poignant.  The paintings convey a tender affection for the area and recognise beauty in the urban milieu.  Reminding me of Edward Hopper’s American townscapes – although these artists are unlikely to have been aware of their US contemporary – this exhibition of coolly atmospheric paintings is well worth a visit.

‘The East End Group of Artists: From Bow to Biennale c. 1928-1936’ is currently showing at the Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ, until 13 July, open Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm.  It’s totally free and there’s an excellent independent café attached.

I’ll be talking about the East London Group of Artists and discussing this exhibition on the Serendipitous Compendium hosted by John Stanford broadcast on Radio Crackle on Sunday 25 May.

Exhibitions, Galleries & Museums Visited in 2014

  • Whistler and the Thames, Dulwich Picture Gallery
  • Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, V&A
  • Pearls, V&A
  • Turner and the Sea, National Maritime Museum
  • Yinka Shonibare MBE at Greenwich, National Maritime Museum
  • Painting Now: Five contemporary artists, Tate Britain
  • Art Under Attack, Tate Britain
  • Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr, Science Museum
  • Daumier: 1808-1879 Visions of Paris, Royal Academy
  • Picasso Linocuts, British Museum
  • Paul Klee: Making Visible, Tate Modern
  • Mira Schendel, Tate Modern
  • Derek Boshier: Imaginary Portraits, National Portrait Gallery
  • Starring Vivien Leigh: A Centenary Celebration, National Portrait Gallery
  • Bill Woodrow, Royal Academy
  • Alan Sorrell, Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Somerset House
  • Behind the Mask: Andy Gotts Portraits for BAFTA, Somerset House
  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013, National Portrait Gallery
  • Janey Morris: Pre-Raphaelite Muse, National Portrait Gallery
  • Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney, National Portrait Gallery
  • Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, V&A
  • Pop Art Design, Barbican
  • Jake and Dinos Chapman: Come and See, Serpentine Gallery
  • Wael Shawky, Serpentine Gallery
  • Fischli/Weiss: Rock on Top of Another Rock, Serpentine Gallery
  • John Carter RA: Between Dimensions, Royal Academy
  • Transformer: Aspects of Travesty, Richard Saltoun
  • Bailey’s Stardust, National Portrait Gallery
  • Isaac Julien: Playtime, Victoria Miro (Mayfair)
  • Hans Arp: Chance – Form – Language (and a FRANZWESTigation), Hauser & Wirth, North Gallery
  • Synthesis, Trinity Buoy Wharf
  • Martin Creed: What’s the Point of It?, Hayward Gallery
  • Sun Xun: Yesterday Is Sorrow, Hayward Gallery
  • James Turrell: Recent Works, Pace London
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013, Natural History Museum
  • Churchill War Rooms, Imperial War Museum
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013, Royal Observatory
  • Richard Deacon, Tate Britain
  • Hannah Höch, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Kader Attia: Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Elizabeth Price: AT THE HOUSE OF MR X, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Contemporary Art Society: Damn braces: Bless relaxes, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain, British Library
  • Georg Baselitz: Farewell Bill, Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street
  • Landscapes of Space: Paintings and Prints by Tess Jaray, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside
  • Behold the Man: Fay Mummery, Wallner Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside
  • Chekhoviana: Marketing a Foreign Classic to British Audiences, Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside
  • The Aura of Boxing: The Black and White Series, Max Kandhola, New Art Exchange, Nottingham
  • The Manipulated Image, New Art Exchange, Nottingham
  • Jeremy Deller: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Nottingham Castle
  • Premiums: Interim Projects, Royal Academy
  • Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, Royal Academy
  • Renaissance Impressions: Chiaroscuro Woodcuts from the Collections of Georg Baselitz and the Albertina, Vienna, Royal Academy
  • Andy Warhol, David Lynch, William S. Burroughs, The Photographers’ Gallery
  • George Condo: Headspace, Simon Lee
  • La Fine di Dio: Maurizio Cattelan, Lucio Fontana, Gagosian – Davies St
  • George Condo: Ink Drawings, Skarstedt Gallery
  • Ruin Lust, Tate Britain
  • Richard Hamilton, Tate Modern
  • Germany Divided: Baselitz and His Generation, British Museum
  • Darren Almond: To Leave a Light Impression, White Cube, Bermondsey
  • He Xiangyu: Inside the White Cube, White Cube, Bermondsey
  • Franz Ackerman: 9x9x9, White Cube, Bermondsey
  • Eleanor Moreton: Tales of Love and Darkness, Ceri Hand
  • Ellen Gallagher: New Work, Hauser & Wirth, North Gallery
  • Tales of Paradise: Gauguin, Ordovas
  • Peter Doig: Early Works, Michael Werner Gallery
  • Alex Katz: 70s / 80s / 90s, Timothy Taylor Gallery
  • Dieter Roth, Arnulf Rainer: Collaborations, Hauser & Wirth, South Gallery
  • Daphne Wright: A Small Thing To Ask, Frith Street Gallery
  • Rosson Crow, Francesca Dimattio, Mickalene Thomas: Domestic Unrest, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
  • Michael Craig-Martin: Objects Of Our Time, Alan Cristea Gallery
  • Master Prints: Curated by Michael Craig-Martin, Alan Cristea Gallery
  • Marius Bercea: Hypernova, Blain Southern
  • The Humans, Sprüth Magers
  • The Great War in Portraits, National Portrait Gallery
  • Frozen Thames: Frost Fair 1814, Museum of London – Docklands
  • Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice, National Gallery
  • Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern
  • A Dialogue with Nature: Romantic Landscapes from Britain and Germany, Courtauld
  • Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq, Courtauld
  • Boro: Threads of Life, Somerset House
  • Burnt Generation, Somerset House
  • Giorgio de Chirico: Myth and Mystery, Estorick Collection
  • Mondrian and Cubism: Paris 1912-14, Gemeentemuseum den Haag
  • Highlights Mauritshuis, Gemeentemuseum den Haag
  • Panorama Mesdag, The Hague
  • Patrick Hughes: Moving Space, Panorama Mesdag
  • Escher in het Paleis, The Hague
  • Vermeer Centrum, Delft
  • Nieuwe Kerk, Delft
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  • The East London Group of Artists: From Bow to Biennale, The Nunnery
  • William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, V&A
  • Under the Influence: John Deakin and the Lure of Soho, The Photographers’ Gallery
  • Deutsche Börse Prize 2014, The Photographers’ Gallery
  • Tate Britain Commission 2014: Phyllida Barlow – Dock, Tate Britain
  • Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation, Tate Britain
  • The Glamour of Italian Fashion: 1945-2014, V&A
  • M. F. Husain: Master of Modern Indian Painting, V&A
  • Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy
  • 4 Painters 10 Works, Josh Lilley
  • The False Memory Archive, Carroll/Fletcher
  • The False Memory Archive, Freud Museum
  • Elizabeth Neel: The People, The Park, The Ornament, Pilar Corrias
  • British Folk Art, Tate Britain
  • Lynn Chadwick: Retrospectives, Blain Southern
  • David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Annely Juda
  • Ian Davenport: Colourfall, Waddington Custot
  • Kazimir Malevich, Tate Modern
  • Mauritshuis, The Hague
  • Mauritshuis – The Building, Mauritshuis, The Hague
  • Marina Abramović: 512 Hours, Serpentine Gallery
  • Ed Atkins, Serpentine Sackler Gallery
  • Masterpieces from the Great Gallery, Wallace Collection
  • The Wallace Collection, Wallace Collection
  • Winding of the Clocks, Wallace Collection
  • Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago, ICA
  • Journal, ICA
  • Making Colour, National Gallery
  • BP Portrait Award, NPG
  • Portraying the Past, Society of Antiquaries of London
  • Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album, RA
  • Artistic Exchanges: Corot, Costa, Leighton, National Gallery
  • Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, NPG
  • Forgotten Faces, Tate Britain
  • Bodies of Nature, Tate Britain
  • Chris Killip, Tate Britain
  • Silent Exchange: the Landscape Photography of Charlie Waite, National Theatre
  • The Human Factor, Hayward
  • Richard Wilson, National Museum of Wales
  • Jacques Limousin: River Works, The Crystal
  • Progress, Foundling Museum
  • Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings from the Lucien Freud Estate, Tate Britain
  • Late Turner: Painting Set Free, Tate Britain
  • Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America, RA
  • The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, NPG
  • The World of Rupert Potter: Photographs of Beatrix, Millais and Friends – NPG
  • Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days – White Cube Bermondsey
  • Gilbert & George: Scapegoating Pictures for London, White Cube, Bermondsey
  • The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles St
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House
  • Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter, Towner, Eastbourne
  • Land and Sea, Towner
  • Ravilious Room, Towner
  • East Sussex Open 2014, Towner
  • Constable: The Making of a Master, V&A
  • Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude, NMM
  • The Wolsey Angels, V&A
  • John Fontcuberta: Stranger than Fiction, Science Museum
  • Make Life Worth Living: Nick Hedges’ Photographs for Shelter 1968-72, Science Museum
  • The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy 1714-1760, Queen’s Gallery
  • Frieze Art Fair, Regent’s Park
  • Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, Design Museum
  • Alibis: Sigmar Polke, Tate Modern
  • Anselm Kiefer, RA
  • Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and his Legacy, NPG
  • Grayson Perry: Who Are You?, NPG
  • Designing the 20th Century: Life and Works of Abram Games, Jewish Museum
  • Jeremy Deller: English Magic, Turner Contemporary
  • Krijn de Koning: Dwelling, Turner Contemporary
  • Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere, Turner Contemporary
  • Rembrandt: Late Works, National Gallery
  • Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, Barbican
  • Walead Beshty, Barbican
  • Chiswick House
  • Turner Prize 2014, Tate Britain
  • Poor Man’s Picture Gallery: Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography, Tate Britain
  • William Hazlitt: Through the Eyes of a Critic, Tate Britain
  • William Hogarth 1697-1754, Tate Britain
  • Truth and Memory: British Artists of the First World War, IWM
  • A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón Collection, Leighton House
  • Jasper Johns: Regrets, Courtauld
  • Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude, Courtauld
  • The Book of Kells, Trinity College Library, Dublin
  • Dublin’s City Hall: The Story of the Capital, Dublin
  • Duncan Campbell, Irish Museum of Modern Art
  • Primal Architecture, Irish Museum of Modern Art
  • Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats, National Library of Ireland
  • Lines of Vision: Irish Writers at the National Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland
  • Hennessy Portrait Prize ’14, National Gallery of Ireland
  • Jean Bardon: Recent Works & Louise Leonard: Town and Country, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin
  • Efforts and Ideals: Prints of the First World War, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
  • Phoenix Rising: Art and the Civic Imagination, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
  • Francis Bacon Studio, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
  • Richard Tuttle: I Don’t Know, Or The Weave of Textile Language, TM
  • Giovanni Battista Moroni, RA
  • Allen Jones RA, RA
  • Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, British Library
  • Post Pop: East Meets West, Saatchi Gallery
  • Hiroshi Sugimoto: Still Life, Pace London
  • Horst: Photographer of Style, V&A
  • Disobedient Objects, V&A
  • Conflict Time Photography, TM
  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, NPG
  • Maggie Hambling: Walls of Water, NG
  • Peder Balke, NG
  • Twixt Two Worlds, Towner
  • Frames of Mind, Towner
  • Mirrorcity: London Artists on Fiction and Reality, Hayward