Simeon Solomon and the Victorian view of same-sex desire

Published in BBC Culture on April 5, 2017

Starting in 1861, with the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy, and ending in 1967, when the act between consenting men was decriminalised in England and Wales, the new exhibition Queer British Art at Tate Britain in London offers just over a century of works exploring fluid gender identities and same-sex desire. Continue reading “Simeon Solomon and the Victorian view of same-sex desire”

Alexander Calder: the artist’s grandson explains why his mobiles are more than just toys

Published in The Independent on November 2, 2015

With their bright colours, delicate motion, and abstract playfulness, Alexander Calder’s mobiles ignite a childish delight in the viewer; many of the American sculptor’s other famous works – a performable model circus, wire sculptures of acrobats, dancers or animals – have also given rise to the perception of a particularly jolly artist. His studio, one imagines, would have been a treasure trove for a child. Continue reading “Alexander Calder: the artist’s grandson explains why his mobiles are more than just toys”

Giving female Pop artists their due

Published in The Independent on Sunday on September 4, 2015

Marilyn Monroe’s face, printed over and over again. Cartoon-strip women, embraced by lovers or crying on the phone. Some of the most famous works of Pop Art certainly make use of the female image – but they were made by the big poster boys of the mid-20th century movement, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. They formed a colourful contingent along with, er, other white, Western men – Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, David Hockney, Allen Jones. Because Pop Art had XY chromosomes, and only spawned in New York, LA and London, right? Continue reading “Giving female Pop artists their due”

Sonia Delaunay retrospective: Tate Modern’s new show gives the genre-busting artist her due

Published in The Independent on Sunday on April 5, 2015

There has long been an uncomfortable and gendered separation in art history between highbrow “fine art” and “decorative art” – those things deemed feminine and therefore merely pretty.

This prejudice shows clearly in the treatment of Sonia Delaunay. A crucial figure in modernist art, she has nevertheless been relegated over the years to the position of second-most-significant Delaunay – after her husband, abstract painter Robert Delaunay. Sonia also painted bright, bold abstract works, but her oeuvre, to her critical detriment, extended far wider, into fashion, furniture and illustration. Continue reading “Sonia Delaunay retrospective: Tate Modern’s new show gives the genre-busting artist her due”