Travel Water feature: a canal view

A hotel to inspire Wanders lust

American Modernism is at the Crane Kalman Gallery

VISUAL ARTS With Richard Ingleby

Classical / Gurrelieder Usher Hall

There was a gigantic calm about Claudio Abbado's performance of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, which was at odds with the hysterical and surrealistic content of the work. Only here and there was composure ruffled; Marjana Lipovsek's singing of the Wood-Dove, for example, was darkly coloured, grimly elegiac, the voice full of pain and horror. And there was a kind of slow panic in Hans Hotter's Speaker, the voice edged with surprise and fear that shifted occasionally out of Sprechgesang into true song, the great artist's voice still compelling in spite of the amplification.

Second skin

'Abstract pictures with the body' is how photographer Francis Giacobetti describes the contours of his models - two French contortionists whom he bent and shaped to his will 'like the curve of the planet'. The costumes, inspired by sunbursts, Dalmatian spots and Mondrian geometry, are for swimming and dancing - but that's almost incidental

Made in Germany

From soccer to beef, a tide of anti-German sentiment is sweeping the country. David Walker reminds us of our shared heritage and how much we owe to Teutonic creativity

BOOK REVIEW / Pleasuring Painting: Matisse's Feminine Representations by John Elderfield

2 Pleasuring Painting: Matisse's Feminine Representations by John Elderfield (Thames & Hudson pounds 8.95), the 1995 Walter Neurath lecture, treads boldly through the minefield of gender-laden interpretations of those seductive and mysterious images, Matisse's odalisques. Elderfield tries to forge a path between the formalist and the feminist views - both of which, he concedes, have their strengths; neither of which, he claims, tell the whole story. In Matisse's portrayal of his models and of his daughter Marguerite, Elderfield notes how the "stroboscopic dazzle" of his backgrounds "will not allow us to look on the female body" - a curious disavowal of sexuality just when he, and we, might most revel in it. JD

The strong, silent type

The John Moores Prize has been quietly encouraging British painting for 38 years. By Iain Gale

Visual arts: Degenerate and proud

Emil Nolde put instinct before intellect in his search for spiritual truths and artistic excellence. By Andrew Graham Dixon

Modern art sale offers Gauguin's Tahiti magic


LETTER: The CIA made a killing on modern art

I FIND it strange that your article, "Modern art was CIA 'weapon' " (22 October), did not suggest that the "Cold War" justification for the CIA's support for American "abstract expressionist" art could easily have served as a convenient cover for the aim of increasing the financial value of the paintings.

THEATRE : Oh, the pity of it all

The Silver Tassie Almeida, London

The good, the bad and the avant-garde


ARTS : EXHIBITIONS : A splendid and crazy ambition

Willem de Kooning is one of the century's major painters. But his influence has not been as great as is often claimed

Bowery dies

Leigh Bowery, the muse and model of the artist Lucian Freud, died suddenly aged 33 on New Year's Eve.

BOOK REVIEW / The beautiful and damned: 'The Thief and Other Stories' - Georg Heym trs Susan Bennett: Libris, pounds 20 / pounds 5.95

GEORG HEYM's first volume of poetry, Der ewige Tag (Eternal Day), was published in 1911, and like others of his generation he was obsessed by the dream of a Destructor God, of a Giant War that would scour out the infected clutter of imperial Germany. Unlike others, he did not live to die in it. He was skating near Berlin in 1912, went through a hole cut by someone out fishing, and drowned under the ice. He was 25.

BOOKS / Lithuanian Modernist

The Lithuanian-born Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), a vivid portraitist and master of the still life, is one of the least-known of Modernists, in part because he destroyed or refused to exhibit much of his work. Soutine, by Maurice Tuchman (Taschen pounds 39.99, 2 volumes), a lavish but inexpensive catalogue raisonnee, should put that right. Above: 'Still Life with Turkey'
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