BogeArt: Art picks

  1. Turner vs. Constable– the two most famous c.19th British landscape artists go head to head this autumn; the Tate Britain hosts a Turner exhibition and the V&A shows a Constable one. These will give us an opportunity to compare the artist’s two incredibly different styles as they capture the essence of British Landscapes. Not to forget the skies: In Turner’s eyes the sun is king, and in Constable’s view the Cloud is God. These two shows should also prove how photography affected landscape painting. Constable died before the first photo was ever taken, and therefore had no concept of photographic reality, whilst Turner lived through this invention. With this in mind Constables realistic and atmospheric paintings and Turners dramatic and emotive works take on a new meaning.

Late Turner: Painting Set Free at the Tate Britain, 20th Sep-25 Jan

Constable: The Making of a Master at the V&A, 20th Sep-11th JanAncient Rome; 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner, Courtesy of Tate Britain

 Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Ground, 1823, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  1. ‘Death is very likely the single best invention of life’ –Steve Jobs– artist Hynek Martinec is showing at a new gallery from the former directors of Haunch of Venison. His monochrome paintings of symbols and imagery associated with death harp to the Renaissance and Baroque in terms of style. Saying that the colour scheme adds a delicious liquidity to these wonderfully morbid canvases.

Hynek Martinec: Every Minute You are Closer to Death at Parafin

 Hynek Martinec, courtesy of Parafin

  1. Be Seduced by Schiele– a little later in the month at one of BogeArt’s favourite galleries, The Courtauld. The Courtauld is the perfect setting for Schiele’s first major solo museum show in this country; its intimate atmosphere will lend to Schieles expressive pen and provocative eye.

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude at The Courtauld Gallery, 23rd Oct-18th Jan

 Egon Schiele, courtesy of The Courtauld Gallery

  1. Remember Rembrandt– at one of autumn’s blockbuster shows. The national gallery provides us with an opportunity to view works from the more accomplished part of his career. No doubt the fabulously lit National Gallery will ensure Rembrandt’s textured canvases will be appreciated in all their glory.

Rembrandt: The Late Work at the National Gallery, 15th Oct-18th Jan

 Rembrandt, courtesy of the National Gallery

  1. Postcard Perfect– the V&A’s retrospective of the famed fashion photographer Horst P. Horst spans over his 60 year career. The exhibition is full of elegant and iconic images perfect for postcards; we wouldn’t expect anything less from Coco Chanel’s bestie who has over 90 Vogue covers to his name.

Horst: Photographer of Style at the V&A, 14th Sep- 4th Jan

 Horst, courtesy of the V&A

  1. Get Mind-Fucked at Malevich- Catch the Malevich exhibition before it closes. Get lost in the works by the original Suprematist. With it’s meaty context, including the well-known ‘Black Square’ and a unique approach to the geometric, the Tate Modern’s exhibition does not make for a relaxing afternoon at the gallery- and nor should it.

Malevich: Revolutionary of Russian Art at Tate Modern, 16th Jul- 26th Oct

 Malevich, courtesy of the Tate

  1. Filter Through Frieze- Frieze can often be a tedious affair, with a lot of uninspiring work and pretentious arty people running around. Regardless of this, and the over-priced tickets, the fair is so important and one cannot claim to follow British modern art without going to Frieze. One of the plus points of there being so much lack-lustre work is that when you do come across a gem, it sparkles a little more by comparison.

Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, 15th-18th Oct


  1. Stay out Late at ‘Late at the Tate’- this bi-monthly event is a favourite of ours here at BogeArt. This October the theme is ‘Made in Transition’. There will be a big emphasis on music this time, with many audio visual performances to match. Explore the ‘act of moving between’ with a drink in your hand- if all else fails there is always the permanent collection to roam almost undisturbed.

Late at the Tate at Tate Britain, 3rd Oct

 courtesy of the Tate Britain

  1. ‘A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men’ –Roald Dahl– everyone’s favourite illustrator is coming to the House of Illustration. Feel nostalgic and enjoy the charming illustrations by Quentin Blake. Rediscover Roald Dahl characters such as ‘The Twits’ and ‘The BFG’ and this lovely exhibition.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories at House of Illustration, Now- 2nd Nov

quentin blake, courtesy of House of Illustration


BogeArt Review: Kenneth Clark- Looking for Civilistation

Production shot of Kenneth Clark at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, for Civilisation 8 - The Light of Experience 1969

Production shot of Kenneth Clark at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, for Civilisation 8 – The Light of Experience 1969

Kenneth Clark broke the barriers of what an art historian could be. He tried to appeal to the masses in a way that no hArtstorian had done previously. He sought to spread an appreciation of art and aesthetics; and he succeeded in doing so throughout his career in a variety of ways.

The exhibition approaches his life and relationship with art in a chronological and compartmental way. It begins with a room dedicated to Kenneth Clark ‘the subject’, as his father was also an art lover and there are many portraits of the family. We trace his youth and when it was his love of art began to grow- his nanny took him to a Japanese print exhibition where ‘I was conscious for the first time in my life…that beauty is something timeless’. It was then he had a realisation of the ‘aesthetic experience’, of the ‘aesthetic sense that holds those other mental activities together’. Sometimes I feel that today the aesthetic and its importance can be neglected in art criticism.

The next room concerns Kenneth Clark ‘the collector’. Clark was head of the National Gallery at 30, and his goal was to modernise and democratise the gallery during his time there. He was responsible for the introduction of electric lighting and the photographic department- without which there would be no postcards. He made few noteworthy purchases for the galleries collection and did not identify as a collector personally either. Saying that there are a few gems in his personal collection which are displayed, namely some delicate drawings of gothic architecture by Ruskin. Kenneth Clark describes them perfectly: ‘they are some of the most beautiful records of architecture ever made, for Ruskin is able to combine knowledge and love, sensibility and precision in a way that is extremely rare’. I find myself admiring his eloquent and accurate commentary over the collection.

Have we started worshiping critical thinkers in the way we do artists? There are many articles on how art is a religion and we worship artists*, and here is the Tate Britain giving us the same platform to worship Clark that they normally give to artists: an exhibition. It’s not a small exhibition either. I had never been to an exhibition centred around an art historian, rather than an artist or theme, before this exhibition at the Tate Britain. If artists are the prophets of this religion then the art historians/critical thinkers are the saints.

The exhibition is big, perhaps a little too big, and my suggestion would be to dip in and out of the collections, there is too much material to spend time on every piece. It gets more exciting when the focus shifts to Kenneth Clark ‘the patron’. Clark took on a rather renaissance approach to the role of the patron; he financed art not just for the love it but also to support art and artists. Like the renaissance patrons he is playing a part in art history. There is a lot of Henry Moore and Stanley Spencer in this part of the show, as they are two acclaimed artists whose careers owe a lot to Clark. They have some wonderful Henry Moore prints and drawings. What looking at these works with Clark in mind does do is give the pieces some context. In the Tate Britain there are many famous Henry Moore sculptures, and in these early prints and drawings we can see the beginnings of a great artistic career. With this exhibition we can look at the works through Clark’s eyes, being by young exciting artists trying to carve their careers, not quite in the same stuffy museum context one normally sees Moore’s and Spencer’s works. Kenneth Clark became an important figure for the Neo-Romantics.

The exhibition also addresses Kenneth Clark’s role during WW2. He was head of the National Gallery when the collection had to be evacuated to caves in the depths of wales in order to protect them from bombings. He was the brains behind the gallery’s program to show one of its masterpieces every month to the public. Whilst the chosen masterpieces would be temporarily at risk, it was important for morale that the British public had the opportunity to be reminded of man-made beauty and achievements at a time when they were acutely aware of the destruction humans were capable of.

The exhibition concludes by addressing the project Kenneth Clark is perhaps most famed for; the 13 part television show ‘Civilisation’. Clark felt that one had to move with the times, especially when it came to making art available to the public, and found television a new and exciting way to appeal to the masses. He created and presented the first popular, large scale, art history based series. The response was mammoth. It was released in 1969, when western civilisation had recently felt threatened by the anti-establishment violent student protests of 1968, and fans of the program felt it had re-affirmed and reclaimed the positive achievements of ‘civilisation’. It was there to reassure the public at a time when ones cultural identity was being challenged. It was extremely well received by Kenneth Clark’s peers and the general public. At a private screening of ‘Civilistaion’ that Clark attended, he was so overwhelmed by the cheers and applause that he hid in the loo for 15 minutes and just wept.

A fascinating retrospective on a fascinating man. The one thing that really endeared me was the fact that above all Kenneth Clark comes across as an art lover. Like us wondering about the exhibition, he is a fan. He wanted to make art more approachable and this exhibition makes him more approachable.

Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt