The Easel

15th October 2019

Gauguin Portraits review – a buttoned-up, nervous and nude-light cop-out of a show

Gauguin’s reputation rests heavily on his Tahiti portraits. Why then are so few included in this major show? This writer suspects a “nervous cop-out” to avoid controversy coming from their evident misogyny. That’s a disservice to Gauguin. To his credit, these works show his respect for Polynesian culture, in the face of prevailing European colonialism. “If we can’t see art, we can’t debate it”.

‘Art & Race Matters’: First Comprehensive Retrospective of Robert Colescott Opens at CAC Cincinnati This Week

Colescott didn’t mind tackling difficult topics like racism one little bit. Besides his use of saturated colours, he wielded another weapon – incisive wit. “The vibrancy of his works’ seduced from afar, eliciting an ‘Oh wow!’ from viewers who might then mutter ‘Oh shit!’ when [looking] up close.” He was, as one writer notes, “always playing for more than seems apparent.”

8th October 2019

Kara Walker debuts monumental fountain in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

Kara Walker is having a moment in London. There is a survey of her acclaimed films that deal with slavery in America’s Antebellum South. A newly commissioned sculpture looks, at first glance, like British Empire bombast. Closer inspection shows it to contain figures that speak to Britain’s colonial past – “playful and inviting, yet brutal in its core.  A video (4 min) is here.