The Easel

20th September 2022

Storms, sharks and rippling bodies – but was Winslow Homer lost at sea?

Homer, a household name in the US, is little known in Britain. Does a “magnificent” survey in London bring the usual acclaim? Not really. Homer’s naturalist scenes were often unresolved. Will the sailor survive the shipwreck? Are soldiers at war always heroic? But, what to American eyes adds tension fails to impress this writer. “Its difficult, today, to get excited about this overly-explanatory visual quality. In general, there’s too much boyish, adventuresome melodrama, and insufficient mystery.

13th September 2022

Vagina scrolls and tongue-kissing with cats: Carolee Schneemann is one of art’s great rebels

Irate at the unfair treatment of female artists, Schneemann decided to provoke. When her abstract paintings didn’t have much impact, she tried performance art, working in the nude. Some of her performances may now look silly, like writhing around among chickens and fish. One critic hints at exhibitionism by an artist who was “flawlessly beautiful”. Still, Schneemann emphatically made her point with works that are “highlights of the performance art canon”.