The Easel

3rd March 2020

David Hockney: Drawing from Life review – stripping subjects down to their gym socks

A few critics’ quibbles (too many Hockney shows, “the polished sweetness of Ingres”) don’t reflect the majority view. “Postwar art’s greatest draughtsman” says one. This writer agrees. “Hockney is a graphic master … the most dazzling display of his art I have ever seen. The intensity of Hockney’s self-inspection, fag in mouth, bears comparison with Rembrandt.”

25th February 2020

Steve McQueen tells us about the lesser-known details behind his films

Having won both the Turner Prize and an Oscar (12 Years a Slave), McQueen is a maestro of film. His retrospective in London has been acclaimed – “a brass-knuckled punch of reality in the face of everyday complacency”. Better than most reviews, which seem not to have the knack of discussing the moving image, is McQueen’s own commentary. “I don’t know what the truth is. I just want to be naked and things to be raw.”

EU Brings Greek Demand for Elgin Marbles Into Brexit Talks

The EU wants its trade negotiations with Britain to be contingent on repatriation of “unlawfully removed cultural objects”. That’s code for Greece wanting Britain to return marble carvings that had, for 2000 years, adorned the Acropolis. British officials are dismissive of this move, perhaps confident that possession is 9/10th of the law. An interesting podcast is here.