Don McCullin @ Tate Britain

This is an enormous exhibition of over 250 photos by famous war photographer Don McCullin. A working class lad who left school at 15 and got interested in cameras during his national service, the show opens with the first photograph he sold (in 1958 a policeman was stabbed by members of a gang in Finsbury […]

Don McCullin

This is a beautifully produced book, a huge coffee-table format feast of Don McCullin’s very best photographs, along with a generous helping of many less well-known ones. War photos McCullin is well known as one of the great war photographers of the second half of the twentieth century, having been close up to conflict across […]

Shaped by War by Don McCullin (2010)

I felt I was in the right place at the right time. I had an almost magnetic emotional sense of direction pulling me to extraordinary places. (p.37) In 2010 the Imperial War Museum held an exhibition of the war-related photos of Don McCullin. This is the large-format, coffee table book of the exhibition. It features […]

Unreasonable Behaviour by Don McCullin (2015)

‘I needed to be at home. I needed the peace of my own country, England. Yet when I go home and sleep in my own bed, I soon become restless. I am not shaped for a house. I grew up in harsh surroundings. I have slept under tables in battles for days on end. There […]

People Power: Fighting for Peace @ Imperial War Museum London

O silly and unlucky are the brave, Who tilt against the world’s enormous wrong. Their serious little efforts will not save Themselves or us. The enemy is strong. O silly and unlucky are the brave. (W.H. Auden, 1937) It’s the centenary of the Imperial War Museum, set up in the same year as the Battle […]

Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945 to 1965 @ the Barbican

Layout The Barbican gallery is a big exhibition space, spread over two floors. On the ground floor, as you come in, there’s the ticket desk and shop, then you walk through a doorway on your right into the ground floor display space. This is divided into three successively larger ‘rooms’, the third and final one […]

The Warrior’s Honour: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience by Michael Ignatieff (1998) – 1

The family of nations is run largely by men with blood on their hands. (p.82) The main title and the picture on the cover are a bit misleading. They give the impression the entire book is going to be an investigation of the honour or value system of the many groups of soldiers, militias, paramilitaries […]

Aubrey Beardsley @ Tate Britain

Aubrey Beardsley must be the most distinctive British artist. If you see any of his mature works, they are immediately recognisable and almost always deeply satisfying, their elegance of line and composition emphasised by the stylish use of huge areas of unmediated black or white, and the sophistication of his sensually charged portrayal of the […]

Content warnings at Tate

Warning: This blog post contains strong and sometimes challenging imagery, including depictions of slavery, violence and suffering. Baroque Britain When I visited the Baroque Britain exhibition at Tate Britain I was surprised that there was a Content Warning at the entrance to the second room. This warned us that some of the images were disturbing […]

British Baroque: Power and Illusion @ Tate Britain

British Baroque: Power and Illusion covers art and architecture (and gardens and sculpture and oddities and gimmicks) from the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714. The big word in the title is Baroque but it’s a problematic term and by the end of the exhibition I was […]