Arts & Culture

Referee reviewing VAR

On VAR

Ben Walker

22 February 2024

Despite the mistakes, video assistant refereeing works. A 2020 study showed that overall decision accuracy improved with the use of VAR from an already high 92.1 per cent to 98.3 per cent. So what’s all the fuss about? Part of the problem is that although the right decisions are being reached more often, it doesn’t feel like they are.

Read more about On VAR

Fans and Un-Fans

Ferdinand Mount

22 February 2024

Carefree:​ that must be the essence of the sporting idea, whether you are doing it with Amaryllis in the shade, or on the village green with your grandchild Wilhelmine. You are disported, carried off . . .

‘The Zone of Interest’

Michael Wood

22 February 2024

Jonathan Glazer’s​ Zone of Interest seems stately at first, even stolid, and a bit too restrained to raise real questions. Once it’s over we realise that its discretion is part of a careful, risky . . .

In Surrey Quays

Owen Hatherley

8 February 2024

Scandinavia​ was the exemplar for 20th-century British architecture, the place that designers most wanted to recreate. Britain shared with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland a superficially similar . . .

Watching the Snooker

Jon Day

8 February 2024

It​ wasn’t immediately obvious, arriving at Alexandra Palace, that there was a sporting event taking place. The men (they were nearly all men) queuing up outside looked as if they might be there for . . .

Picasso and Tragedy

T.J. Clark, 17 August 2017

Perhaps, then – though the thought is a grim one – we turn to Guernica with a kind of nostalgia. Suffering and horror were once this large. They were dreadful, but they had a tragic dimension.

Read more about Picasso and Tragedy

Swoonatra

Ian Penman, 2 July 2015

Sinatra’s sexual charge was like his song: underplayed, tinged with unflappable cool picked up second-hand in the shady cloisters of jazz.

Read more about Swoonatra

Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

Wagner’s work is everywhere preoccupied with boundaries set and overstepped, limits reached and exceeded.

Read more about Is Wagner bad for us?

At the End of My Pencil

Bridget Riley, 8 October 2009

As I drew, things began to change. Quite suddenly something was happening down there on the paper that I had not anticipated. I continued, I went on drawing; I pushed ahead, both intuitively and consciously. The squares began to lose their original form.

Read more about At the End of My Pencil

It’s a playground: Kiarostami et Compagnie

Gilberto Perez, 27 June 2002

A photograph of Abbas Kiarostami in Hamid Dabashi’s book shows him crouching over a frying pan that has two eggs in it. Beside him, and like him focused on the eggs, is the original movie camera invented by Lumière.

Read more about It’s a playground: Kiarostami et Compagnie

That Wooden Leg: Conversations with Don Luis

Michael Wood, 7 September 2000

‘Studio Vingt-Huit – high up a winding street of Montmartre, in the full blasphemy of a freezing Sunday; taxis arriving, friends greeting each other, an excitable afternoon...

Read more about That Wooden Leg: Conversations with Don Luis

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

‘Be modern – worship food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this...

Read more about Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

The Raphael Question

Lawrence Gowing, 15 March 1984

When I used to give a survey course for first-year students, I dreaded December. That was when I reached the High Renaissance and my audience fell away. It was not only the alternative seasonable...

Read more about The Raphael Question

Dressing and Undressing

Anita Brookner, 15 April 1982

Fashion,​ according to Baudelaire, is a moral affair. It is, more specifically, the obligation laid upon a woman to transform herself, outwardly and visibly, into a work of art, or, at the very...

Read more about Dressing and Undressing

At the Kunsthalle: On Caspar David Friedrich

Michael Hofmann, 8 February 2024

You can’t own what he shows. Clouds are common property. Phenomena such as sunsets and moonrises suspend distinctions anyway. So much in him is planetary as much as local. There are no frontiers, no...

Read more about At the Kunsthalle: On Caspar David Friedrich

At the Barnes: On Marie Laurencin

Bridget Alsdorf, 25 January 2024

Marie Laurencin’s independence and her refusal to pander to her patrons only makes her more compelling as a ‘femme peintre’. Like Helena Rubinstein and Coco Chanel, she was ambitious and not always...

Read more about At the Barnes: On Marie Laurencin

At the Movies: ‘Poor Things’

Michael Wood, 25 January 2024

Is Bella Baxter an unruly kind of feminist? Yes, in a way, but before we make this claim we need to understand what else she is – principally an uninformed child in an adult body. 

Read more about At the Movies: ‘Poor Things’

As always in Guston, there is a sense of what cannot be shown, or has been erased, and can only be gestured towards: ropes instead of lynchings, clubs and sticks instead of beatings. But the props look...

Read more about I smell mink coats: Philip Guston goes rogue

Rock crystal’s status stemmed from its rarity and its extraordinary beauty, made even more glorious through carving and polishing. But above all it was the stone’s unparalleled clarity that provoked...

Read more about At the Cluny: ‘Voyage dans le cristal’

Netflix has reversed the classical publishing strategy of throwing content at the wall of public indifference in the hope something will stick. It sees a scattered public whose attention can be pinned...

Read more about Do Anything, Say Anything: On the New TV

I don’t know what it looks like: Brutalist Paris

Madeleine Schwartz, 14 December 2023

Although they were designed to elevate the periphery by decentring the city, the villes nouvelles achieved the opposite effect: alienating a rapidly impoverished ring from the core. The suburban monorail...

Read more about I don’t know what it looks like: Brutalist Paris

At the Movies: ‘Napoleon’

Michael Wood, 14 December 2023

In spite of various attempts to make Napoleon work as a biopic, the film doesn’t have a bio. It has a general of genius, something like a sports figure who is alive only in games or tournaments. 

Read more about At the Movies: ‘Napoleon’

On Yevonde

Susannah Clapp, 14 December 2023

When​ Yevonde made the new case for colour in photography, she also made the case for women behind the camera, controlling the views. Who better to advance the art and push colour into a black and white...

Read more about On Yevonde

At Piano Nobile: On R.B. Kitaj

John-Paul Stonard, 14 December 2023

R.B. Kitaj’s bookishness wasn’t only a matter of literary references, which recur in his work; he also drew on the photographic reproductions that transformed art books during his lifetime, particularly...

Read more about At Piano Nobile: On R.B. Kitaj

Diary: Aboriginal Voices

Rosemary Hill, 14 December 2023

The defeat of The Voice leaves Aboriginal culture stuck in the same queasy relationship to the white nation and its essentially European notion of history that it has been in since the early 20th century,...

Read more about Diary: Aboriginal Voices

One​ of the abiding mysteries in presenting music from the past is what the singers sounded like. There is no evidence for it, apart from written descriptions, all of which fall far short of telling...

Read more about Hickup over the Littany: What did it sound like?

Monet was always more than just an eye. He was a painter of heart and brain, feeling and memory. Late in life, when working on his Water Lilies, he told his friend Gustave Geffroy: ‘They’re beyond...

Read more about Painting is terribly difficult: Myths about Monet

Go for it, losers: Werner Herzog’s Visions

David Trotter, 30 November 2023

Documentary has customarily been regarded as a genre duty-bound to deal in facts. But the only duty Herzog has ever felt as a filmmaker is, as he puts it, to ‘follow a grand vision’.

Read more about Go for it, losers: Werner Herzog’s Visions

At the National Gallery: On Frans Hals

Julian Bell, 30 November 2023

So often Hals’s portrait subjects seem all too up for this charade, insufferably brash and loud. But it’s like any party: individuals are various, you hunt for those you get on with.

Read more about At the National Gallery: On Frans Hals

It’s too late in the day, and too late in the genre, for a gangster movie to be anything other than ironic in relation to morality. But then Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is not only a gangster...

Read more about At the Movies: ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Neither modern nor ‘postmodern’ quite describes Madelon Vriesendorp’s odd, outlier objects. No manifesto here, they quietly do their own thing, and are all the better for that. 

Read more about At Cosmic House: On Madelon Vriesendorp

Among the Rouge-Pots: ‘Yellow Book’ Lives

Freya Johnston, 16 November 2023

At a time when there was no female equivalent of the gentleman’s club, the Yellow Book offered a congenial literary space in which men and women could joke, flirt and briefly imagine themselves free...

Read more about Among the Rouge-Pots: ‘Yellow Book’ Lives

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences