The Easel

3rd December 2019

Anselm Kiefer, White Cube, review: not quite touching the void.

Kiefer’s art has long reflected his struggle with Germany’s Nazi past. His latest show refers to physics’ string theory. Perhaps he has moved on? Some critics discuss his new “frightening”, “genuinely exciting” works from this new perspective. This writer reasons otherwise. Were these paintings about physics “they would be energetic but confused. But they are too potent … These, I think, are still pictures of history, pictures of guilt.”

26th November 2019

Troy: Will Gompertz reviews the British Museum’s new blockbuster show

Why do stories about Troy have such enduring resonance? The ancient city of Troy probably existed. Fictional Paris abducted possibly fictional Helen (antiquity’s hottest babe), leading to the (unlikely) 10 year Trojan War. All this is recorded by the mysterious Homer in The Iliad. What gives the tale its enduring appeal are its powerful personalities, epic emotions and, above all, the futility of war.

Grave hopping with Gilbert & George

Gilbert and George revel in the confrontational. Dressed in immaculate tweed suits, they started as a living sculpture (“two people, one artist”) straight out of art school. Since then their art has become “more extreme” – difficult subjects, brash images, profanities. They feel unloved by the art world, perhaps happily so. “If we saw more art, more artists, we’d become normal. We don’t want to be normal like them”.