Published in BBC Culture January 17, 2022
Look up the term “collage”, and the Tate’s website will inform you that this cut-and-paste method for making new work was “first used as an artists’ technique in the early 20th Century.” Generally, Picasso and Braque get credited with inventing collage, with Picasso’s decision to paste oilcloth into his painting Still Life with Chair Caning in 1912 considered a firing shot for an explosion of avant-garde art.
Continue reading “The surprising ways that Victorians flirted”
Published in BBC Culture May 12, 2021
For books that are all about surprising transformations, it should perhaps be no real surprise that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are among the most frequently adapted and reinterpreted stories ever written.
Continue reading “Why Alice is the ultimate icon of children’s books”
Published in The Independent February 2, 2019
If you’re a British woman, you’ve probably got Mary Quant in your wardrobe. OK, maybe not literally – but if there’s a sleeveless shift or a tunic dress, a Peter Pan collar or a skinny-rib sweater, a pair of brightly coloured tights or even a PVC raincoat, you’re wearing Quant. And that’s before mentioning her most famous creation: the miniskirt.
Continue reading “More than just a miniskirt: Two exhibitions reveal how Mary Quant shaped our world”
Could there be a better time for a show about Frida Kahlo? The vision presented at the V&A is a female icon who documented her self, and her suffering. A third of her paintings were self-portraits; she posed for her father’s camera from a young age. An art star for the selfie age. Continue reading “Frida Kahlo at the V&A: Forget the £245 flower crowns and lipsticks and look at the work”
Can a subject be too interesting for drama? That was playwright James Phillips’s fear when he began to think about the life of the late great, fashion iconoclast Alexander McQueen. For though McQueen’s life as the East End lad who became the “bad boy of British fashion” was eventful, he worried about writing a show which delivered salaciousness, but missed the creative spark. Continue reading “McQueen: how to bring the fashion designer’s genius to the West End”