2013 - the year in review: The best visual arts of the year
The Independent’s former comment editor, Adrian Hamilton writes a weekly column largely on international affairs with particular focus on the Middle East, Iran and foreign policy issues. Before joining the paper he was deputy editor of the Observer newspaper.
Friday 27 December 2013
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life
Tate Britain finally made its peace with the artist it has so long ignored with a major retrospective of a painter the public has always loved and the art establishment has only slowly begun to appreciate. The world of back-to-back houses, hurrying crowds and smoking factories brought to life in a style at once idiosyncratic, primitive and profound.
Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900
Very rarely can you say of a show that it is “once in a lifetime”. This was it. A gathering of masterpieces at the V&A that not only revealed the course of art in one of its great centres but also brought you face to face with the artists who made it what it was. Incomparable.
Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
A model of an archaeological exhibition at the British Museum, recreating the domestic world and stylish goods of the wealthy inhabitants of the cities blotted out by Vesuvius’ eruption in 79AD. Back in Italy the ruins are in decay, here they were displayed in all their freshness of instant destruction.
Turner and the Sea
For Turner, the sea was elemental and magnificent in its surging power and still calm. The artist’s ceaseless experimentation and breathtaking boldness portrayed in the first ever proper show of Turner’s marine works. At National Maritime Museum, Greenwich – why has no public gallery ever done it before?
Houghton Revisited, Houghton Hall
Britain’s first and most venal Prime Minister amassed one of the great art collections in Europe only to have his descendants sell it off to Catherine the Great of Russia to pay off the debts incurred in building his Norfolk mansion. Brought back from the Hermitage and hung as they were, it made for a glorious and much extended show.
Discovery of the Year
Bruce Munro at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
The great houses of Britain are moving into art commissions and display. Munro as artist in residence at the National Trust’s Waddesdon shows just what can be done with light installations. His Winter Light is quite magical.
Turkey of the Year
Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm (Tate Britain, 2 October to 5 January 2014)
The latest in a line of anaemic thematic shows by the Tate. The title was strong, the contents too disconnected to work.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever