Category Archives: Art

The Nazi Art

The discovery of almost 1500 artworks including examples by Picasso, Munch, Matisse, Kirchner and Klee in the properties of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012 stunned the art world. The ‘Munich Art Hoard’, as it became known, was immediately suspected of being looted during the Nazi era, not least because Cornelius’s father was the celebrated art historian and dealer, Hildebrand Gurlitt – a man who it transpires was prepared to exploit every aspect of Nazi policy to personally enrich himself, despite his Jewish heritage.

Wohnung
In 2012, nearly 1500 artworks were found in the properties of Cornelius Gurlitt, in Munich, Germany (Credit: Bundeskunsthalle Bonn)
Perhaps the publicity pricked Cornelius’s conscience, for on his death in 2014 he controversially left the hoard to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, stipulating that the provenance of the works be examined and any looted art returned to the heirs of the original owners.

The rise of the National Socialists meant that anyone seen to promote ‘degenerate art’ came under pressure

The first exhibitions to analyse the collection, jointly organised between the Kunstmuseum in Bern and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, are not art historical in any conventional sense. Instead they focus on the circumstances which allowed Hildebrand Gurlitt to build his collection; the persecution of ‘degenerate artists’ and Jewish collectors and dealers under the Nazi regime.

Hildebrand
Cornelius’s father was the celebrated art historian and dealer Hildebrand (Credit: Alamy)
Hildebrand Gurlitt’s taste in art ran counter to the men who would become his masters and twice cost him his job, first at the Zwickau museum where his exhibitions of Die Brücke artists such as Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Emil Nolde fell foul of the Militant League for German Culture, and then at the Kunstverein in Hamburg where the rise of the National Socialists meant that anyone seen to promote ‘degenerate art’ came under pressure, and he was forced to resign in 1933.

Classified as a quarter Jew under the Reich Citizenship Laws because of his Jewish grandmother, Gurlitt was no longer able to work for the state. Relying on the excellent contacts he had made as a museum director he set himself up as a dealer, taking the precaution of registering the business under the name of his Aryan wife Helene.

Here he was, cautiously, still able to exhibit artists he favoured such as those of Die Brücke and the later Expressionists including Otto Dix, George Grosz and Max Beckmann.
Taking advantage

He soon became very successful – but it is clear that his success relied largely on the exploitation of other Jewish dealers and collectors. Membership of The Reich Chamber of Fine Arts became compulsory for dealers and from 1935 Jews were systematically excluded, forcing them to liquidate their collections and allowing dealers like Gurlitt to benefit from lower-than-market prices as well as the increasing lack of competition.

Exhibitor List for Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2018

Next month, Art Los Angeles Contemporary will once again take over the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California, and present a bounty of galleries from around the world, some of them no doubt pleased to be escaping wintry climates for some Golden State sunshine. This year, 67 galleries will be participating, including longtime local stalwarts such as David Kordansky Gallery, Ibid and Ghebaly Gallery. Other return clients include Jack Hanley from New York, Peres Projects from Berlin and Shane Campbell Gallery from Chicago.

But there are also some newcomers from various parts of the globe: Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran in Montréal, Instituto de Visión in Bogotá, LAZY Mike in Moscow, Revolver in Lima, and Vigo Gallery in London. And the Freeway sector, which focuses on young galleries, returns for the third year, and will feature exhibitors such as Marinaro from New York, Galerie Derouillon from Paris, and the North Little Rock outfit Good Weather.

“As the international art community looks towards Los Angeles as a new global epicenter, it is essential to have an event that draws upon a comprehensive notion of the city,” Tim Fleming, the fair’s founder and director, said in a release. “ALAC is a product of Los Angeles’ unique cultural community composed of an incredibly diverse array of artists, galleries, curators, institutions, collectors and enthusiasts.”

ALAC will hold an opening reception January 25, 2018, and opens to the public the following day.

The full list is below.

ALAC 2018 Exhibitor List:

10 Chancery Lane Gallery (Hong Kong)

313 Art Project (Seoul)

1301PE (Los Angeles)

AA|LA Gallery (Los Angeles)*

Louise Alexander Gallery (Porto Cervo)

Altman Siegel Gallery (San Francisco)

Peter Blake Gallery (Laguna Beach)

Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago)

Edward Cella Art & Architecture (Los Angeles)

Ceysson & Bénétière (Geneva / Luxembourg / New York / Paris / Saint-Étienne)
China Art Objects Galleries (Los Angeles)

Club Pro (Los Angeles)*

Galerie Derouillon (Paris)*

DOCUMENT (Chicago)

Anat Ebgi (Los Angeles)

Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran (Montréal)

Gallery EXIT (Hong Kong)

Henrique Faria (Buenos Aires / New York)

Five Car Garage (Santa Monica)

Honor Fraser (Los Angeles)

Galerie Christophe Gaillard (Paris)

Asya Geisberg Gallery (New York)

Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles)

Good Weather (North Little Rock)*

Halsey McKay Gallery (East Hampton)*

Jack Hanley Gallery (New York)

The Hole (New York)

Ibid Gallery (Los Angeles)

Instituto de Visión (Bogotá)

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles (Los Angeles)

Kayne Griffin Corcoran (Los Angeles)

Lisa Kehler Art + Projects (Winnipeg)

Marie Kirkegaard Gallery (Copenhagen)

KLOWDEN MANN (Los Angeles)

David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles)

LAZY Mike (Moscow)

Josh Lilley (London)

M. LeBlanc (Chicago)*

M+B (Los Angeles)

Marinaro (New York)*

Miles McEnery Gallery (New York)

Meliksetian | Briggs (Los Angeles)

Nino Mier Gallery (Los Angeles)

Mixografia (Los Angeles)

Shulamit Nazarian (Los Angeles)

Nicodim Gallery (Los Angeles / Bucharest)

Night Gallery (Los Angeles)

Ochi Projects (Los Angeles)*

ODD ARK•LA (Los Angeles)

ONE AND J. Gallery (Seoul)

Parisian Laundry (Montréal)

Parker Gallery (Los Angeles)*

Peres Projects (Berlin)

The Pit (Los Angeles)

The Pit II feat. FriendsWithYou (Los Angeles)

Praz-Delavallade (Paris / Los Angeles)

Printed Matter (New York)

REGARDS (Chicago)

Rental Gallery (East Hampton)

Revolver Galería (Lima)

Reyes Projects (Metro Detroit)

Marc Selwyn Fine Art (Los Angeles)

SEPTEMBER (Hudson)

STARKWHITE (Auckland)

Vermelho (São Paulo)

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (Los Angeles)

Vigo Gallery (London)

Odysseus Edition

World War II

The New York Times reports that “the mayor of Düsseldorf has backtracked on his last-minute cancellation of an exhibition at the city’s Stadtmuseum about Max Stern, a Jewish art gallery owner who fled Nazi Germany in 1938.” Ronald Lauder, and many others, had called for the show to go forward, which the mayor had previously scuttled because of “current demands for information and restitution in German museums in connection with the Galerie Max Stern.” [The New York Times]

Some 500 academics have condemned Poland’s right-wing government for changes it has orchestrated at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk, the Art Newspaper reports. “Poland is losing one of the few truly cultural and scientific institutions of international importance,” they said in an open letter. [The Art Newspaper]

Market Action

The record-breaking Leonardo sold at Christie’s for $450.3 million last month was widely touted as the last picture by the artist in private hands, but Bloomberg‘s Katya Kazakina spoke with experts on the Renaissance master, and they point to two—and, perhaps, three—works by the artist that are not in museums and could, conceivably, one day be sold. [Bloomberg]

The absolutely indefatigable painter Mark Bradford, fresh off shows at the Hirshhorn and the Venice Biennale, will have the first show at Hauser & Wirth’s Hong Kong gallery, which opens in March. The gallery’s president, Iwan Wirth, told the Art Newspaper, that there is “enormous appetite” for the artist’s work. [The Art Newspaper]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired from Sotheby’s a Hebrew Bible created in the first half of the 1300s in Spain, Al Día reports. Once owned by collector Jaqui E. Safra, the piece had been estimated to fetch $3.5 million and $5 million on the block, but it was purchased in a private deal. [Al Día]

The Talent

After 16 years at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, Rebecca Nagy is retiring from her position as its director. Nagy told the Gainesville Sun that she’s looking forward to having some time to draw. [The Gainesville Sun]

An anonymous donor has given Indiana University in Bloomington $1.5 million to endow a chair for the study of African art in the art history department of the College of Arts and Sciences. [Press Release]

Artists

A public tile mural by Larry Rivers for a Philadelphia mall, which “legions of conservators and public art mavens said could not be moved, has been moved,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. And it has been restored and moved to a public-transit station. “It was a painstaking project for us,” the conservator on the project said, “probably the most difficult we’ve ever done.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Artist Paul Chan has penned a stemwinder of an essay that is too complex to summarize here, but very loosely speaking, takes up the topic of Odysseus as an artist. Chan writes, “Being exposed to art means among other things seeing all the resourceful and ingenious ways in which someone has tried to make—using what is readily available—something more than what is there.” Head to the Los Angeles Review of Books to read the piece.
LARB

John Russell on Works by David Hockney for a Production of ‘Ubu Roi,’ in 1966

With a David Hockney retrospective having recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we’re turning back this week to the September 1966 issue of ARTnews, in which John Russell, in a column about the London art world, addressed the British artist’s work for a production of Ubu Roi and a publication of Constantine Cavafy’s poetry. (Ubu Roi, it should be noted, has a history with artists; Rainer Ganahl recently became the latest to make work related to the famed Alfred Jarry play.) Russell’s thoughts on Hockney’s then-new work follow below. —Alex Greenberger

In a sense, the most rewarding one-man show of the late summer in London was not in an art gallery at all but on the stage of the Royal Court Theater, where David Hockney had designed the sets and costumes for Ubu Roi. As a production, this was no masterpiece: the play had been re-written, rather than translated or adapted, and very little remained of its demonic energy, radical social criticism and weird flights of linguistic parody. Hockney at least had enough respect for Jarry to keep his costumes within the gamut indicated by the author and his decors within the limits laid down in Jarry’s first-night speech on December 10, 1896. Nothing is easier, in fact, for Hockney to suggest a world in which “palm-trees flower at the foot of the bed, for baby elephants to munch the leaves as they bend down from the étragères.” Hockney is, also, a gifted observer of vestimentary indiscretions and has bagged some top-class examples in the course of travels that have taken him from East Berlin to Los Angeles by way of Cairo and Alexandria.

Hockney on Ubu and Cavafy

So he was one jump ahead even of Jarry’s nimble imagination as the burlesqued historical drama swayed to and from Poland (“that is to say, Nowhere”) to the Ukraine and back to the Baltic. Hockney’s gift is for characterization within an absolute minimum of physical means, and this was ideally suited to the mockery-within-mockery which is the basis of the picaresque parts of Ubu. Where he did not succeed (and, in terms of this production, would never have been allowed to) was in conveying the violence and overriding the ill-nature of Ubu. The pear-shaped toy-figure prescribed by the producer and ratified by the principal actor, could never have inspired terror: for this reason the spectacle remained thin.

Hockney in life is a gifted comedian, and much of his work is very funny indeed in an unemphatic way. But the funniness often masks a genuine poetic sensibility, and Hockney has a rare gift for reading and re-reading some text that has caught his fancy until the author in question becomes, almost, his second self. The Greek poet Constantine Cavafy is a case in point: one of Hockney’s finest etchings, Kaisarion in All His Beauty, was based on a poem by Cavafy. The London firm of Editions Alecto commissioned him to make a series of etchings after Cavafy to accompany a new translation on which Stephen Spender has been working, and these etchings, combined with the preliminary sketches for Ubu, were recently shown at Kasmin.

Archives: The Most Notable Art

With 2017 coming to a close, many have to taken the opportunity to reflect on noteworthy exhibitions from the past year. But why not have a look back and see what past years had to offer as well? We’ve collected writings from the ARTnews archives about some of the best and most noteworthy art from 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago. (In most cases, the editors didn’t name best shows, so we’ve picked the exhibitions at our own discretion.) Below, excerpts from our archives about some of the best art from years past, from the inaugural Society of Independent Artists exhibition to the first “Young British Artists” show at the Saatchi Collection in London. —Alex Greenberger

100 Years Ago

“Exhibitions on Now: America’s First Art Salon”
By James B. Townsend
April 14, 1917

The much heralded and long anticipated first annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in its planning and scope modeled upon the comparatively old and famous Salon des Artistes Independents (Salon of the Independents) of Paris is now on to May 6 on the first floor of the Grand Central Palace at Lexington Ave and 46-47 Sts.

It is difficult indeed to give any adequate idea of the huge display which contains some 2,500 pictures and a few sculptures—the pictures placed according to alphabetical order without any reference to harmony of tone or color or subject—and the sculptures as it were “thrown in”—but the exhibition—the “biggest thing of its kind,” “ever pulled off” in this country is necessarily one of quantity—not quality. It is an “olla podrida,” a “salmagundi,” a “bouillabaisse” or to ape “Billy Sunday” with whose coming show seems to accord—a “Church Fair Oyster Stew”—a “Plum Duff” pudding, in which one may find here and there an art oyster or raisin of merit. . . .

Cheek by jowl with the work of the Academicians and Associates hangs that of Matisse, Picabia, Picasso, Duchamp-Villon, Signac, and other advanced foreigners and such of their followers and fellows as Stella, Max Weber, Samuel Halpert, Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Alfred Maurer, Walter Pach, Morton L. Schamberg, John Sloan, Carlo Springhorn, Alfred Stieglitz, Clara Tice, Villon, Walkowitz, and the Zorachs—representative of the various movements and divisions of the “Modernists,” the “New Art,” the “Cubists,” “Futurists,” “Neo-Impressionists,” etc., etc. But while there is enough and to spare of these latter day manifestations there are few sensational productions, few freakish arrangements, no panels built up with wire and glass, no “Nudes Descending Staircases,” in short no array as that of the never-to-be-forgotten “Armory Show.”

Leonardo Copies Edition

Photographer Nan Goldin writes, in the pages of Artforum, that she became addicted to OxyContin after a surgery in Berlin several years ago, but is now clean. She has started a group called P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) that aims to pressure the Sackler family, and their company, Purdue Pharma, which has sold the drug, “to use their fortune to fund addiction treatment and education.” Goldin adds, “To get their ear we will target their philanthropy. They have washed their blood money through the halls of museums and universities around the world.” [Artforum]

Athletics

In case you missed it in the rush to the holidays: the latest episode of Call Your Ball Friends, a video series in which “women artists shoot hoops and discuss art,” features Wendy White, who notes that “there’s a lack of images of women in painting, in art, and there’s also a lack of documentation of female athletes.” White talks about her art and tennis great Billie Jean King, and nets some balls. [Call Your Ball Friends/YouTube]

A clarification: last week we told you that the Hammer Museum is looking to audition dancers to perform a Tino Sehgal piece. That is a paying gig, not a volunteer one as previously stated. The auditions are Friday. [Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi‏/Twitter]

Public Art

A neon sculpture of a uterus, created by Zoe Buckman and commissioned by the Art Production Fund, will go on view outside the Standard in Hollywood, on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Sweetzer Avenue, next month. “I find Sunset Strip to be objectification overload, with all these advertising images and movie billboards of young women not only promoting the same standards of beauty but also images that can be quite sexually violent,” Buckman told the New York Times. [The New York Times]

Money

Now that his two-year ban from managing outside capital is over, art collector and hedge-funder Steve Cohen is back in the game. Cohen, whose previous firm pleaded guilty to securities fraud and paid a $1.8 billion fine, is managing around $3 billion to $4 billion worth of client money with his new firm, Bloomberg reports, as well as his own fortune, which is estimated to be more than $10 billion. [Bloomberg]

The Art Newspaper reports that, ever since that Leonardo sold for $450.3 million at Christie’s in New York, three Russian brothers, Semjon, Eugen and Michael Posin, who make copies of Old Masters for paying customers have received a spike in requests for works by the artist. “An authentic copy of the Salvator Mundi in the original size, framed, on a wooden panel with cracks and patina, would cost around €10,000,” Eugen tells the paper. That’s only about $12,000. [The Art Newspaper]

Hands-on Art

Participatory art seemed to be everywhere in 2017, with artists asking viewers to become chess pieces, stick stickers on walls, and rip hunks of clay out of sculpture. Why the omnipresence of the form? Perhaps it is that, in this screen-filled world, artists and institutions are aiming to return to tactile, physical experiences to put us back in our bodies. A less generous read might be that they are engineering encounters that beg to be documented and shared on social media, filtering out onto all those screens. Whatever the reason, there was a lot to do in 2017. Below, a list of ten memorable moments from the year in participatory art.

1. Urs Fischer x Katy Perry, Bliss, at 39 Spring Street in New York
All who entered had a chance to take a chunk out of Katy Perry’s head as embodied by an Urs Fischer sculpture that, in its conception, recalls his Rodin replica, The Kiss, seen at Art Basel this past summer. The difference here? Once whittled away, the first layer of white oil-based modeling clay that covered Bliss revealed a rainbow of colors. It seemed that people were just as excited about defacing Perry’s face as they were ready to decorate the walls. Names, abstract shapes, animals, and no small amount of phallic imagery was flung upon any surface within reach. The most blissful part of Bliss, however, was not the giant clay sculpture of the pop star—it was the soft light that emanated from the ceiling, casting a serene glow on the artists who took up residence for just a few moments.

2. Yayoi Kusama, The Obliteration Room, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
You may have seen this polka-dotted room as a part of the artist’s 2015 Give Me Love show at David Zwirner in New York. Upon entry to the Hirshhorn iteration, guests were given a sheet of colorful circle-shaped stickers to affix to anything in the space, including themselves. “The Obliteration Room” was both the opportunity to fantasize about a whimsically chaotic apartment—a scattered interior designer’s dream—and a way to bring visitors into conversation with one another as they dotted surfaces together. Characteristic of many of Kusama’s polka-dotted pieces, the room demonstrated the power of dots as a connecting force where collective participation yielded a frenzied, multicolored abyss.

3. Barbara Kruger, Untitled (The Drop) at the Performa Biennial
Here is what happened when I attended Barbara Kruger’s Performa 17 piece Untitled (The Drop). First, I purchased a $5 ticket to wait in a line that led to a showroom with hoodies, hats, T-shirts, and skateboards. Each item had a Kruger statement styled in her recognizable red/white Futura Bold text. Several SoHo hypebeasts passed by the line and asked what everyone was waiting to buy. Some who lined up seemed to think that Barbara Kruger was Supreme. Countless participants exited the shop carrying skateboard decks. How many, one wondered, knew how to skate? Once I reached the front of the line, I was informed that I would have five minutes to shop. The grand finale: experiencing the joys of capitalism while buying a $45 beanie with the text “Want it Buy it Forget it.” The experience was too perfectly full-circle to complain. I like to imagine Kruger was in disguise across the street, smirking at the whole thing.

Museum Groups Slam La Salle University’s

La Salle University in Philadelphia sent out word on Tuesday that it plans to sell more than 40 works from its art museum, including pieces by Ingres, Thomas Eakins, Matisse, and Alex Katz. The sell-off through Christie’s—which is estimated to raise between $4.8 million and $7.3 million for use in educational programs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which first reported the news—marks a break with professional guidelines that typically allow museums to deaccession work only to benefit its collection.

Not surprisingly, the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors today released a joint statement saying that they “are strongly opposed” to the plan by the school, which has faced financial hardship in recent years.

“College and university art museums have a long and rich history of collecting, curating, and educating in a financially and ethically responsible manner on par with the world’s most prestigious institutions,” the statement says. “A different governance structure does not exempt a university museum from acting ethically, nor permit them to ignore issues of public trust and use collections as disposable financial assets.”

The move comes as a messy legal battle continues in Massachusetts over whether the Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, is allowed sell off 40 works, including two prime Norman Rockwell paintings, in the hopes of raising upwards of $50 million to bolster its finances, renovate its home, and refocus its mission. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, which has voiced concerns about that initiative, has said that it will complete its investigation of the matter by the end of the month.

La Salle’s proposal recalls Brandeis University’s attempt in 2009 to sell off works from its Rose Art Museum in an effort to raise money for the school’s operations and endowment in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. That plan faced stiff opposition from the arts community and accompanying legal challenges, and was later scrapped.
Today’s statement from the AAM and the AAMD comes a day after the Association of Art Museum Curators voiced its opposition to the move, writing, “This decision goes against fundamental best practices of museums, the very standards that have built and shaped the country’s tradition of establishing and preserving art collections for the public trust.”

“We are in conversation with La Salle University about their plans,” the statement continues, “and we remain hopeful that the university leadership will reconsider their decision.”
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The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017; Into the Woods

The Arborealists are a loose collective of artists who like to paint trees. They came together in 2013, though at whose behest, exactly, I’m unable to say: not only is the catalogue that accompanies their first London show one of the most confusing such documents ever written, but on the afternoon of my visit there is no information on its walls either – not even the names of the artists (though I’m told this will soon be rectified). What I can say is that they take some of their inspiration from the Brotherhood of Ruralists, the 70s anti-modernist group of which Peter Blake and David Inshaw were probably the most famous members: their instincts are, in other words, broadly Romantic, though this doesn’t preclude the possibility of abstraction in their work.

Challenging as an exhibition like this is to review effectively (it includes the disparate work of some 22 Arborealists), as a tonic for calm it works like a dream, the artistic equivalent of the Japanese practice of forest bathing. Yes, it has its sinister corners, not least Joanna Greenhill’s 2015 film Grey Cranham, in which a pair of headlights appear in the darkness at the edge of a forest (it plays on a loop in the basement); and a couple of the canvases, all twirling roots and amber halos, do bring to mind, rather unfortunately, the covers of old prog rock albums. But for the most part, the room is inspiritingly lush, a verdant realm in a more than usually urban patch of London.

Even more cheering, some of these artists can really paint. I can’t remember the last time I found so much skill in so modish a private gallery. Hannah Brown’s Victoria Park 7 (oil on marine plywood and oak, 2015) is masterly in its balance of light and shade, the merest hint of autumn – and perhaps something nastier and more melancholy, too – in the afternoon shadow that creeps over a pond and towards a group of sun-dappled limes. So, too, is Golden Birch (oil on gesso board, 2016) by Ffiona Lewis, a painting so gorgeously illuminated – the canopy it depicts is not green, but a dazzling sunflower yellow – I found myself closing my eyes for a second as if to bask in its radiance.

Maxwell Stein, 2013 by Jemma Appleby.
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Maxwell Stein, 2013 by Jemma Appleby. Photograph: Courtesy Jemma Appleby / Hayloft Gallery
For the artist, trees are an infinite subject, one that embraces not only light and colour, but heady symbolism, too (the tree of life, the tree of knowledge). From a distance they may resemble cathedrals; close up, they’re cities teeming with activity. Blaze Cyan’s monochrome etching Wellington Woods II has a feeling of distant rafters, the tops of the trunks of his Scots pines aimed vertiginously at a blurry sky, while Michael Porter’s mulchy Forest Floor (oil and acrylic on canvas, 2011) zooms in microscopically on bark and fungus: think Richard Dadd’s Fairy Feller minus the satyrs and centaurs. To stare at this painting for an extended period is to lose yourself, to be both giant and elf simultaneously. A few of the Arborealists bring man explicitly into the equation, sometimes to brilliant effect. Jemma Appleby’s charcoal drawing Maxwell Stein (2013), for instance, depicts a famous bungalow by Frank Lloyd Wright in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. But while the architect intended the building and its grounds, designed for two teachers, to be an affordable utopia, in Appleby’s telling, the looming trees, now fully mature, suggest encroachment, the loss of certain cherished ideals.

The hottest art shows of 2018

Revolt and Revolution
Get the new year off to an angry start with this exhibition about art, popular culture and protest. Peter Kennard’s classic CND photomontages of the 1980s and a raw, intimate recording of The Internationale by Susan Philipsz are among the political artworks in a survey of how art is inspired by dissent, resistance and rebellion. Yet can protest art really change anything? The most pungent political art of modern times includes Picasso’s Guernica and John Heartfield’s anti-Nazi photomontages, but neither stopped Hitler.
• 6 January-15 April, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

William Blake
Britain’s most political and most mystical artist saw himself as a radical prophet crying out against war, poverty and enslavement. Blake’s passion for liberty and human fulfilment blazes in his illuminated books. He spent some of his most introspective years at a cottage in Felpham, Sussex, and this exhibition explores how that part of England infuses his vision of Albion, in which the whole of history plays itself out amid stone circles and village greens.
• 13 January-25 March, Petworth House, West Sussex.

Detail from The Sea of Time and Space (Vision of the Circle of the Life of Man).
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Detail from The Sea of Time and Space (Vision of the Circle of the Life of Man). Photograph: National Trust Images/John Hammond/John Hammond
The Enchanted Room
Italy at the start of the 20th century was an old country desperately seeking a future. This made it one of the most fascinating laboratories of modernist art, and this exhibition lent from the Emilio and Maria Jesi collection at Milan’s Brera Art Gallery is packed with works by such giants as Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà and Giorgio de Chirico. The energy and aggression of futurism collides with the melancholy of De Chirico’s empty piazzas.
• 24 January-8 April, Estorick Collection, London.

Owned by Charles I … Leonardo da Vinci’s St John the Baptist.
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Owned by Charles I … Leonardo da Vinci’s St John the Baptist. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Charles I: King and Collector
The only British king to provoke a revolution and get his head chopped off was also our only truly imaginative royal art collector. This exhibition sets out to reunite art treasures that were sold by the Commonwealth after the execution of Charles I in 1649. If it works, it should be stupendous, for Charles owned Leonardo da Vinci’s John the Baptist and Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin among other drop-dead masterpieces that are today spread through Europe’s museums.
• 27 January-15 April, Royal Academy, London.