Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist

Archibald Motley Jr. was not your average African-American male in 1914. The man who became a world-renowned artist and contributor to the Harlem Renaissance was the son of a Pullman porter and the daughter of a former slave. But in  ...

What Is Luxury? London

A thought-provoking new exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum poses the question “What Is Luxury?” and challenges our traditional notions and definitions of luxury. If you are expecting Louis Vuitton handbags, de Beers diamonds or Patek Philippe watches, you  ...

All of This Belongs to You

In our beloved V&A museum, there’s a glowing neon sign overseeing the balcony of the entrance lobby that spells out the words "All of This Belongs to You." Its artist Ugo Rondinone uses bold, white lights to attract our attention  ...

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, London

Among the highlights of Henry VIII's library was a book called "Ruralia Commonia," which is generally considered the world's first "how to" gardening manual. Written in Latin around 1304 by a Bolognese lawyer, Petrus de Crescentiis, it contains practical advice  ...

Richard Diebenkorn, London

Before last week, I knew the work of Californian artist Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) only secondhand and had never actually stood in front of one of his paintings. Compared to the giants of the New York school, the San Francisco Bay  ...

Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint, London

In Britain Sir Joshua Reynolds is regarded as something of a national treasure. The first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, his statue greets you on arriving at the art school and gallery he founded. In his day, he  ...

Savage Beauty

Before Alexander McQueen became the iconic, illustrious fashion designer of the twenty-first century he worked for a costume design company Berman’s and Nathan’s cutting clothes for major West End theatre shows. At the time he was only 19 but this  ...

Inventing Impressionism, London

It's a curious fact that the decisive moment in the history of Impressionism took place not in Paris but in London. In September 1870, just after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) moved a  ...

Japan’s Floating World, SF

Two new excellent exhibitions about 17th- to 19th-century Japanese art and culture grace San Francisco’s well-respected Asian Art Museum, the largest museum in the United States devoted exclusively to the arts of Asia. From 1615–1868, in Edo (now Tokyo),  ...

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, London

Renowned for his portraits of the great and the good of late-Victorian society and dismissed by critics as a painter of “crowd-pleasers” after his death, a more personal side of the artist John Singer Sargent is revealed in a major  ...