Exhibitions

Girls in the hood: traditional hairdresser in Nottingham, 1996

The captivating art, science and politics of hair: Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

One of the best things about Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries — yep, an exhibition about hairdressing — is the reaction…

Detail of ‘Riveters’ from the series ‘Shipbuilding on the Clyde’, 1941, by Stanley Spencer

Are cruise liners the solution to the housing crisis?

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Looking at the sketchbook of William Whitelock Lloyd, a soldier-artist who joined a P&O liner after surviving the Anglo-Zulu War,…

Domestic harmony: Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, ‘a work of art in itself’

Lemons and pebbles are as important to Kettle’s Yard as the art

10 February 2018 9:00 am

When I first visited Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, I was shown around by Jim Ede, its founder and creator. This wasn’t…

‘Amazon’, 2016, by Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s subject is humanity: prosaic, mundane, extremely messy His colossal, panoramic pictures are brilliant and lowering at the same time

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Walking around the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I struggled to recall what these huge photographs reminded me…

‘Anne Cresacre’, c.1527, by Hans Holbein the Younger

A sumptuous feast of an exhibition: Charles I at the Royal Academy reviewed

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Peter Paul Rubens thought highly of Charles I’s art collection. ‘When it comes to fine pictures by the hands of…

Draft of the first Ferrari car, 125 S, designed by Gioachino Colombo, 1945

Ferrari – heavy, expensive, wasteful, dangerous and addictive

20 January 2018 9:00 am

Has a more beautiful machine in all of mankind’s fretful material endeavours ever been made than a ’60 Ferrari 250…

‘Apollo and Daphne’, early 1620s, by Bernini

Turning marble into cushions and stone into flesh: the magic of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Seventeenth-century Roman art at its fullblown, operatic peak often proves too rich for puritanical northern tastes. And no artist was…

The head of Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832

What can we learn from Jeremy Bentham’s pickled head?

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Under the central dome of UCL — an indoor crossroads where hordes of students come and go on their way…

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar

The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Erté was destined for the imperial navy. Failing that, the army. His father and uncle had been navy men. There…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…

‘Regent’s Park Zoo’, 1930, by Arnrid Banniza Johnston

The forgotten history of the Tube’s ‘poster girls’

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Every weekday, I travel by Tube to The Spectator’s office, staring at the posters plastered all over the walls. I…

‘Soviet Union Art Exhibition’, Zurich 1931, by Valentina Kulagina

The art of persuasion

28 October 2017 9:00 am

It’s hard to admire communist art with an entirely clear conscience. The centenary of the October revolution, which falls this…

The old ways

28 October 2017 9:00 am

I’m sitting across a café table from a young man with a sheaf of drawings that have an archive look…

London calling

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Madame Monet was bored. Wouldn’t you have been? Exiled to London in the bad, cold winter of 1870–71. In rented…

‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí

It’s the thought that counts

21 October 2017 9:00 am

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

Raw materials

14 October 2017 9:00 am

‘Art by its very essence is of the new… There is only one healthy diet for artistic creation: permanent revolution.’…

‘Pastry Cook of Cagnes’, 1922, by Chaïm Soutine

Cabbages and kings

14 October 2017 9:00 am

The first pastry cook Chaïm Soutine painted came out like a collapsed soufflé. The sitter for ‘The Pastry Cook’ (c.1919)…

I spy

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Where was Degas standing as he sketched his ‘Laundresses’ (c.1882–4)? Did he watch the two women from behind sheets hanging…

War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC

The icemen cometh

23 September 2017 9:00 am

You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the…

‘The Angel of Mercy’, c.1746, by Joseph Highmore

Mothers’ ruin

23 September 2017 9:00 am

At the heart of Basic Instincts, the new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London, is an extraordinarily powerful painting…

‘Untitled (Clear Torso)’, 1993, by Rachel Whiteread

Space odyssey

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Rachel Whiteread is an indefatigable explorer of internal space. By turning humble items such as hot-water bottles and sinks inside…

Moving pictures: ‘Achaean’, 1981, by Bridget Riley

Snap, crackle and op

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Stand in front of ‘Fall’, a painting by Bridget Riley from 1963, and the world begins to quiver and dissolve.…

‘Mum On The Couch’, 2017, by Gary Hume

What lies beneath

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Last year, Gary Hume made a painting of himself paddling. At a casual glance, or even a longer look, it…

Matisse’s ‘Still Life with Shell’ (1940) with his beloved chocolate pot, top left

Object lesson

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Why did Henri Matisse not play chess? It’s a question, perhaps, that few have ever pondered. Yet the great artist…