Since​ 1961 more people have gone into space than have raced in Formula 1 Grand Prix. This doesn’t mean that it’s harder to become an F1 driver than an astronaut. But motorsport is...

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At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant, 16 July 2020

McQueen’s work returns again and again to the question of how to mark a life, particularly one ended by violence. In Grenada in 2002, he filmed a young fisherman called Ashes riding the prow of his...

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Michael Tippett’s freewheeling creative spirit had started to rub the British classical music establishment up the wrong way. He was going rogue at a time when much British music sounded stiff, rule-bound...

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At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls, 2 July 2020

The casting machine is a clattering, chattering steampunk fantasy, but it’s also incredibly refined. It contains more than four thousand parts, creates four inches of text in less than a minute and...

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Charlot v. Hulot: Tativille

David Trotter, 2 July 2020

Charlot, a compound of abstractions, had always been the anvil on which Chaplin could beat out allegory whenever he needed to. Hulot, by contrast, became less and less distinct as Jacques Tati’s...

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At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood, 2 July 2020

Spike Lee’s​ Da 5 Bloods (on Netflix) is an extraordinary mixture: a swashbuckling pirate movie about buried gold and a shoot ’em up Western mysteriously transplanted to the East....

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At the National Gallery: Nicolaes Maes

Clare Bucknell, 18 June 2020

How​ would a child know that Jesus was a special kind of adult? In early modern depictions of Christ blessing little children, it’s conventional for even the smallest babies to be aware...

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On the Pitch

Ben Walker, 18 June 2020

‘The people’s game without the people,’ the football commentator Peter Drury said on 12 March, introducing BT Sport’s coverage of the Europa League fixture between...

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Diary: How to Draw an Albatross

Gaby Wood, 18 June 2020

When my plate was processed and printed – a chemical bite into metal; a slow rotating wipe of blackened scrim; a heavy roll of the printing press – the effect, at least to my eyes, was of an...

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When​ in 2010 a group of Old Testament paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán were offered for private sale it came as something of a surprise. The owner couldn’t be blamed for failing...

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At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood, 4 June 2020

Many​ new films have deferred release dates, and cinemas keep reminding us to watch at home the films they can’t show. ‘The olden days,’ Anthony Lane said in a recent, very...

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Edward James was filmed in the late 1970s, striding round Las Pozas in a sweater and a tattered dressing-gown, surmounted by parrots. When asked what motivated him, he replied: ‘Pure megalomania!’ 

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Sightbites: Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades, 21 May 2020

Archigram was an out-of-hours architectural band of six men – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene – whose day jobs were with big...

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On​ 5 November 1982, the post-punk group Ludus played a gig at the Haçienda, the Manchester club run by Factory Records and best known today for its association with New Order and the...

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Asmartly​ dressed man, wearing suit, tie and hat in the 1920s fashion, walks towards us along a New York street, accompanied by a stylish woman. Suddenly, he is flat on his back. He gets up,...

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Short Cuts: Internet Speak

Lauren Oyler, 7 May 2020

The tone of my correspondence veers from ebullient to combative to conspiratorial to semi-ironically frustrated, outraged, mournful. A message that follows spelling and grammar conventions is rare; it’s...

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The lush heaviness into which your eyes sink suggests that whatever breathes or glistens or crinkles – clouds, foliage, faces, cloaks, jewels, metalware and stone – has been stroked and befriended...

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At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard, 16 April 2020

Léon Spilliaert's ghostly works seem to have more in common with Chinese ink painting than with the art of fin-de-siècle Belgium. There is life in the ordinary objects Spilliaert paints –...

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