RSS feed
Will Gompertz, Arts editor

Will Gompertz Arts editor

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

Money for nothing? Paying for Performance Art

For £40,000 you can buy Franz Erhard Walther's stretchy fabric and perform your own Winkel

It was at the beginning of this millennium that an ambitious, dark-haired young dancer called Adam Linder enrolled at the Royal Ballet School. Here - in suburban Richmond, South West London - this thoughtful, curious student cavorted and sweated a great deal.

His hard work paid off. Two years later- in 2002 - he graduated from the Downton Abbey-like White Lodge to become a member of the Royal Ballet, where once again he cavorted and sweated a great deal.

But after three years at Covent Garden, Linder decided to swap the rarefied glamour of classical ballet for the darker edgelands of avant-garde contemporary dance. He went to work for the Michael Clark Company.

If you don't know Michael Clark's work, it is fair to say he is to dance what Stanley Kubrick was to film, and Malcolm McLaren was to music. He is a visionary, a provocateur: an iconoclast. His shows of the 1980s and early 90s have become the stuff of legend: spectacular theatrical rave-like events in which dance dallied with indie-rock, couture fashion and hip-hop.

Alexander McQueen, The Fall and Leigh Bowery were all part of the Michael Clark scene, with Bowery being a regular performer - he once came on stage wearing 10in high heels while carving the air with a chainsaw. Not the sort of thing that goes down well at the Opera House.

Read full article Money for nothing? Paying for Performance Art

Time for the art world to thank Lottery ticket buyers?

Visitors to the Wedgwood Museum, in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent

After a generous donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund helps save the Wedgwood Collection for the nation, isn't it time for the punters who buy tickets week in, week out to get some thanks?

It has been all smiles at the Wedgwood Museum this week after its staff found out at the end of last week that they still have a collection to display. Incredibly, that was very nearly not the case.

Read full article Time for the art world to thank Lottery ticket buyers?

Turner at Tate

JMW Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exhibited 1839
JMW Turner's Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, exhibited in 1839

Rivals in life, two of Britain's greatest painters Turner and Constable, are the subjects of major exhibitions in London.

The general consensus was that Turner had lost his marbles. Old age had addled his brain, leaving him incapacitated as a painter: a past master who was now only capable of splashing paint on a canvas in the most indiscriminate fashion.

Read full article Turner at Tate

Carmen Dell'Orefice: model, muse and memorable handshake

Carmen Dell'Orefice next to portrait of her taken by Horst P Horst in 1947

As first impressions go, it was an odd one. I've experienced numerous handshakes over the years, from the 'damp rag' to the 'bone crusher', but I've never had the 'forearm grip' before. It was disconcerting.

Read full article Carmen Dell'Orefice: model, muse and memorable handshake

Roald Dahl: Charlie and the missing chapters

In the 50 years since Roald Dahl wrote the children's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the book's characters have become household names but it turns out they were only part of the original story.

The discovery of new unpublished chapters reveals Dahl had intended to include more children lucky enough to win the golden ticket and meet Willy Wonka.

Read full article Roald Dahl: Charlie and the missing chapters

Kate Bush still wows fans after 35 year live break

Fans have greeted singer Kate Bush with huge cheers at London's Hammersmith Apollo as she began her first concert in 35 years, kicking off a run of 22 shows which sold out in minutes.

The west London venue was the scene of her last live appearance in 1979.

Read full article Kate Bush still wows fans after 35 year live break

Funny Women

Sara Pascoe

The photocall of the shortlisted comedians for this year's Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards - Best Show and Best Newcomer - could be seen as evidence of the sort of political correctness at which most of the selected acts spend their professional lives poking fun.

There, for us all to see, is a wholesome picture of equality between the sexes with an exact 50/50 split between male and female performers. It is an equality that's reflected in the make up of the judging panel, which is also neatly split 50/50 (although the Chair is a man and has the casting vote in the shortlist stage).

Read full article Funny Women

Simon Callow's critical re-appraisal

Simon Callow

When Simon Callow first presented his one-man show Juvenalia nearly forty years ago at the Bush Theatre in London, the then 27-year old actor found he had a surprise hit on his hands. Critics and audiences loved it, he said yesterday at an event in the BBC's Potterrow tent in Edinburgh.

He has since become a specialist at the theatrical essay-cum-performance lecture, presenting around thirty different productions over the course of his career. Shakespeare, Dickens and Mozart have all been brought enthusiastically back to life by Callow's dramatic storytelling.

Read full article Simon Callow's critical re-appraisal

Mackenzie Crook unearths metal detector sitcom

Mackenzie Crook in The Detectorists
As well as writing and directing, Mackenzie Crook plays amateur treasure-hunter Andy

Mackenzie Crook is best known for his roles in The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. He has now written and directed a BBC Four sitcom about metal detector enthusiasts, which was screened in Edinburgh on Monday.

When Mackenzie Crook was filming Almost Human in Vancouver last year, he found he had too much time on his hands.

Read full article Mackenzie Crook unearths metal detector sitcom

Can Malevich's Black Square be considered art?

The divisive painting Black Square is to go on show at the Tate Modern as part of an exhibition on Russian modernist painter Kazimir Malevich.

The work, a square of black oil paint on a white canvas, was first exhibited in 1915.

Read full article Can Malevich's Black Square be considered art?

Latest Tweets

More Correspondents

  • Phil Coomes, Picture editor Phil Coomes Picture editor

    Exploring photojournalism and pictures in the news

  • Mark Easton, Home editor Mark Easton Home editor

    The way we live in the UK and the many ways it is changing

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.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.