iTunes-7-Icon-big rss

Home » review » Currently Reading:

Migrations – review

February 1, 2012 review No Comments

20120201 080540 Migrations – review

Lubaina Himid Between the Two My Heart is Balanced 1991 Tate © Lubaina Himid

poweredbyguardianBLACK Migrations – reviewThis article titled “Migrations – review” was written by Jonathan Jones, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st January 2012 16.09 UTC

 Migrations – review

Rarely have so many good artists been combined to so little effect as in Tate Britain’s lackadaisical survey of what should be a fascinating subject. Many of Britain’s greatest artists came to these chilly islands from other places. Others are the children of migrants, or identify themselves as part of a post-colonial diaspora. But what do they all have in common? It’s the question this exhibition forgot to ask itself.

It would be revelatory to see a hidden connection between Anthony van Dyck, the gifted baroque painter who became Charles I’s portraitist, and Keith Piper, whose 1987 work Go West Young Man powerfully digs into the history of slavery, seeing that past as something that shapes his own life as a young black Briton in the 1980s.

But Van Dyck’s ancestors were not sent across the Atlantic on slave ships. Nor are his portraits of Charles I and his queen, the only works by him here, enough to show us how his coming from Flanders shaped his view of Britain. It was no surprise, and no hardship, for a successful European artist to work at the English court.

For Van Dyck and the many Dutch 17th-century artists who get a work apiece here, moving to Britain meant something very different from the experiences of modern Jewish artists such as Mark Gertler, who was born in London to parents who had migrated from Poland. Gertler’s portraits of family and friends are potent documents of east London’s Jewish community a century ago.

Those differences could be overcome by intense narratives that focused on particular people and their experiences: the life and art of six migrant artists across six centuries, say. But instead this show goes for quantity, stacking up lists of artists, each of whom is represented by too few works, many of them having little connection with the theme. An exception, in terms of relevance and emotion, is Sir William Rothenstein’s 1906 painting Jews Mourning in a Synagogue, which seems to mourn an entire cultural tradition, at a time when pogroms shook eastern Europe and uprooted many people westward.

The exhibition takes a sudden turn into a survey of migratory themes in film and video art, because, we are told, the moving image is the natural art of a mobile world. If you say so. But it feels a bit easy to fill several rooms with projected images: looking from the dark screening galleries to the Stuart paintings, it is impossible to feel a thread of coherent argument. Tate Britain needed to think harder here, and it also needed to feel more. There’s something heartless about this catalogue of British art filed under M for Migration.

<a href="http://oas.theguardian.com/RealMedia/ads/click_nx.ads/guardianapis.com/artanddesign/oas.html/@Bottom" rel="nofollow"> <img src="http://oas.theguardian.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_nx.ads/guardianapis.com/artanddesign/oas.html/@Bottom" alt="Ads by The Guardian" /> </a>

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

FAD NEWS

VIDEO: Ai Weiwei stars in secret crowdfunded sci-fi flick

April 17, 2014

VIDEO: Ai Weiwei stars in secret crowdfunded sci-fi flick

Sand Storm by filmmaker Jason Wishnow, imagines a not-so distant apocalyptic future, with Ai WeiWei starring as a water smuggler in a world where water is scarce. The short film was made in China over the course of the year, all while trying to keep the production under wraps and away from the attention of government officials.

NY Art News: Christie’s to offer a previously unseen masterwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat

April 16, 2014

NY Art News: Christie’s to offer a previously unseen masterwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat

On May 13th, Christie’s Evening Auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art will present a major painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

ART NEWS: Jeremy Deller and eight high profile artists join together for new show to highlight plight of species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM

April 16, 2014

ART NEWS: Jeremy Deller and eight high profile artists join together for new show to highlight plight of species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM

Synchronicity Earth – a London-based charity that funds and seeks investment in the most important conservation initiatives globally – is hosting a programme of events throughout the year to mark the IUCN’s Red List’s 50th anniversary.

ARTNEWS: Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

April 16, 2014

ARTNEWS: Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 50: ‘Volcano in the Garden’

April 16, 2014

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 50: ‘Volcano in the Garden’

One door closes another door opens… Although a number of meritorious small galleries have closed recently, there’s a new trend towards auction houses putting on curated exhibitions of selling art as if, in effect, they’re commercial galleries who don’t represent artists.

ART/TECH: Shapeshifting Furniture from MIT

April 15, 2014

ART/TECH:  Shapeshifting Furniture from MIT

Cool Furniture that transforms based on its reaction to Nature …

ARTIST OPPORTUNITY: The WW SOLO Award 2014

April 14, 2014

ARTIST OPPORTUNITY: The WW SOLO Award 2014

The WW SOLO Award is an annual structured opportunity, created to provide support, development and exposure for a contemporary artist of any age, working in any medium.

FAD DAILY

FAD DAILY

To receive daily news on Art Openings, Art Opportunities, Competitions and much more just give us your email below - Its that EASY

ADVERTISING