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Will Gompertz, Arts editor

Will Gompertz Arts editor

A view from the wings - from the Strokes and the soaps to Bauhaus and Bach

Will added analysis to:

Maria Miller and the arts: The verdict

9 April 2014

To many, Maria Miller never seemed completely at one with the culture brief. She was often a nervous performer when speaking about the arts, and always appeared uncomfortable when I interviewed her on the subject. Several people I spoke to expressed surprise that as culture secretary she was unable to find the time to visit Londonderry/Derry during its year as UK City of Culture in 2013.

The MP for Basingstoke had a career as a 'suit' in advertising before entering politics. There she would have been required to attend to the business side of a client account, while the 'creatives' came up with the whizzy ideas. It struck me that it was at the business end of the arts she felt most at home, arguing effectively and with passion that culture can make a lasting and positive impact on the country's economy.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, credited her with helping to secure a slightly 'better than expected' reduction in the Government's arts budget on the most recent round of cuts. She also oversaw the implementation of new forms of tax relief to support parts of the UK's creative industries.

These successes were recognised and appreciated by an arts community that started, and remained, largely ambivalent to a culture secretary who it suspected wasn't particularly interested in culture.

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German collector does deal on art hoard

7 April 2014

Under current German law, Cornelius Gurlitt is not compelled to return any paintings to their owners as he is protected by a Statute of Limitations, which negates any claim for incidents that happened more than 30 years ago.

This means that, even if it was proved the works were looted by the Nazis, Mr Gurlitt could have kept them. He has now waived that right, and agreed to act in accordance with the Washington Principles, which state that: "If the pre-War owners of art confiscated by the Nazis can be identified - or their heirs - steps should be taken to achieve a just and fair solution."

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Film4 boss Tessa Ross to join National Theatre

26 March 2014

Tessa Ross is a very interesting appointment as the National's next CEO.

Under the stewardship of the Nicks (Hytner and Starr), the rather grand theatrical establishment on London's Southbank became an innovative, exciting and commercially ambitious company.

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Apollo Theatre to reopen doors after roof collapse

26 March 2014

The Apollo Theatre in the West End of London is ready to reopen, three months after its roof collapsed during a performance, injuring 76 people.

The ceiling collapse has been put down to the deterioration of weak and old materials, some more than 100 years old.

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Arts to be 'at very heart' of BBC, says director general

25 March 2014

There was innovation and ambition in Tony Hall's action plan for beefing up the BBC's arts coverage.

Bringing in the energetic and accomplished Alex Poots - artistic director of Manchester International Festival - to work on collaborations is a bold move. And a commitment to help amplify the work of the country's major arts institutions through partnership and programming should benefit all constituencies.

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Sarah Lucas to represent UK at 2015 Venice Biennale

21 March 2014

Sarah Lucas makes crude art from crude materials.

Old tables, rusty buckets, fried eggs and raw chickens become visual metaphors of human body parts. It's not subtle. But then, it's not meant to be. Her art is physical, not cerebral.

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Steve McQueen artworks acquired by Amsterdam museum

5 March 2014

The art world might present itself as a refined elite above the vulgarities of consumer society, but in fact it is just as intoxicated by the razzle-dazzle of celebrity culture as the readers of Grazia.

Fame in the art world has the same affect as fame in the rest of society: it raises the value of an individual's stock. Which, when it comes to an artist, is art.

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Banksy's Kissing Coppers sold at US auction

19 February 2014

If you happen to own a wall which Banksy has used as a canvas for one of his art works - I should imagine you are perfectly within your rights to hack it out and sell it.

The issue is more with the buyer who is complicit in owning a piece of work whose spirit and intentions were to be a site specific, social comment in the public domain and not designed for a private collection in a smart mansion or white walled modern art gallery.

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George Clooney on tackling stolen Nazi art in The Monuments Men

13 February 2014

During World War Two a small group of men managed to get behind enemy lines and retrieve artwork which had been stolen by the Nazis.

George Clooney was so inspired by the story that he decided to make a film about it.

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National Gallery acquires first US artwork

7 February 2014

Tate and the National Gallery have an agreement that is renewed every decade that sets the parameters of each institution's collection strategy to avoid overlap and competition. The line has hitherto been drawn around 1900, the point at which the National Gallery hands the story of Western art over to Tate Modern.

The acquisition of the Bellows blurs that line as it was produced in the second decade of the 20th Century, which has always been very much Tate territory. It raises the prospect of the two national galleries competing for certain paintings in the future, which either could argue fits within their historical art narrative.

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About Will

Will has been BBC arts editor since 2009.

Before that, he was a director at the Tate Gallery for seven years, where he was responsible for the award-winning Tate Online, the UK's most popular art website, and Tate Etc, the UK's highest circulation art magazine.

He was voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by the New York-based Creativity Magazine.

In 2009 Will wrote and performed Double Art History, a sell-out one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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