About

Arts Press is the website of the UK-based freelance arts journalist and writer Tim Cornwell.

My work has included reporting on art stories, festivals and fairs from Edinburgh, London and Maastricht to Adelaide, Istanbul, Singapore, Delhi, Venice, and Tehran.

I am currently reporting from the Edinburgh festivals 2017 on a freelance basis for The Scotsman, writing mostly features and a few reviews, and potentially other publications.

I write regular freelance articles on visual arts for the Art Newspaper and for Canvas magazine.  I reported on the Kochi Biennale in December 2016 and the Venice Biennale in May 2017 for these two publications.    In the past year my work has also appeared the Sunday Times Scotland edition, and Scottish Field magazine.

I use Arts Press as an outlet between paying gigs for writing on culture and particularly the visual arts in the UK and beyond.   I will be posting some reviews and other writing on the festivals.

I am currently on the judging panel of both the new  Behnam Bakhtiar Award for Iranian art, and in Edinburgh this August of the Filipa Braganza Award,  for a new solo piece of theatre acted by a young female performer.

Other recent work has included freelance book editing for the Scottish  publisher Luath Press, and commissioned art catalogue writing for artists from Scotland to Bahrain.

As a struggling freelance I am in the market for paid commissions or writing work of any kind; please feel free to contact me via this site.
If you feel an Arts Press article is inaccurate or unfair, or encounter broken links, typos, plain bad grammar or spelling, please get in touch. The site aims to operate under the National Union of Journalists professional guidelines for journalists and bloggers.

Alternatively if a piece catches your fancy please, please share it via social media and the like.

My writing on the arts came from learning on the job as the arts correspondent of The Scotsman newspaper rather than formal training.    In the last year I have  taken drawing and painting classes at Edinburgh University,  and the Royal Drawing School in London, learning more about art by practising it.   Since visiting and working in Turkey for several months in 2013 and 2014,  I have pursued a peripatetic personal and professional interest in the art and artists of the Middle East region and South Asia.

The following list of links badly needs cutting back but I am leaving it here for now…

In August 2016 I reported on the Edinburgh festivals, with articles in  The Scotsman, the Art Newspaper, the Sunday Times and  The Times’ Scottish editions.    The Scotsman kindly commissioned a series of reviews and features including on the dramatic “Deep Time”  opening show and  this round up of 12 Shakespeare shows of all shapes and sizes.

As a fan of the thoughtful, evocative and catchily tuneful Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart I was delighted to meet and interview  her on her sell-out show Faultlines.    For the Sunday Times I reported on the UNESCO deputy director speaking out on the Old Royal High School plan, and calls for a new commemoration of the festival founder Sir Rudolf Bing.    For the Art Newspaper I interviewed the Syrian director-general of antiquities who was speaking at the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit, with his update on Palmyra and his claim that 70 percent of artefacts confiscated within Syria and beyond were actually fakes, a story  picked up by the Australian and other publications.   For The Scotsman I filed the summit curtain raiser including comments from Dr Abdulkarim and the director Jonathan Mills,  and others.    The Times carried a short piece on Scottish backing for female peacemakers in the Middle East, from an appearance by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the remarkable Beyond Borders festival near Peebles.

For this site a couple of blogs including on the very first Edinburgh festival of 1815 notched up a small but rewarding number of Facebook likes.

In 2016,   I branched briefly into the Brexit debate with an article for the Art Newspaper before the referendum in which a leading German collector warned of  the consequences for the art trade.    Alongside articles on the forthcoming Cannakale and Kochi art biennales, a visit to Iran produced stories including one on the photography collections of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.  For Cornucopia I blogged on a stand-out show of Persian and Turkish pop art in Newcastle inspired by psychedelic album covers.

In January 2016 the Scotsman ran this short account of the Jaipur Liteary Festival  while I extended my first trip to India to report from the India Art Fair in Delhi for the Art Newspaper, and later on the Partition Museum planned for Amritsar.   The same month saw my piece published on a path-breaking show of Afghan work at the Freer-Sackler galleries in Washington, to be followed in a historic first for a US gallery, by  an extraordinary show of Korans  later this year.

In late 2015 , the Art Newspaper, the monthly publication dubbed ‘the bible of the art trade’, ran my front page lead story on Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s path-breaking show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.  I was subsequently lucky enough to visit Tehran and the oasis city of Kashan to see Delvoye’s plans for a museum there.  The Times, in its Scottish edition, ran my exclusive stories on the apparent discovery of a unique oil sketch by the portrait artist Sir Henry Raeburn and my report from the French city of Montbéliard on the first survey of Scottish art in a public gallery in France (see also my blogs on this site).

I have spent less time recently in Istanbul than I would like, but Cornucopia magazine carried other  blogs on the mad Richard Dadd, a personal favourite, and also on the Liotard exhibitions in the UK.     Cornucopia, an English-language publication, has beautifully and authoritatively chronicled art and culture in Turkey and the region for close to three decades, and I was privileged to contribute to the magazine’s  three-part Istanbul guide.

In 2015 I filed my first art review for the Scottish Review of Books, centred on David Eustace’s photography show at the Scottish Gallery. I interviewed Eustace twice for the piece, to try and grasp an understanding of his work.   Scottish photography is a fertile field, and still under-served in private galleries and publications.

The Art Newspaper that March used  my feature on the modern and contemporary artists of Syria, with a lead front page news story to go with it. It covered Syrian artists’ responses to civil war and exile, and the challenges of building new lives and new work, including struggling to get visas for travel to the West and other countries.  The Art Newspaper has recently overhauled its website, but other recent articles ranged from how ISIS’ advance was the latest blow for archeologists in the Middle East, to the plight of Yemeni artists, to  the highly technical world of art conservation, such as the from no-fly rule for pastels in anexhibition of Jean-Etienne Liotard’s work, and Scottish art administration issues around the independence referendum.

In February 2015 the Guardian carried my review of the excellent new Cordis prize for tapestry. Previously The Scotsman carried my article on Middle East writers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, while The Times picked up this exclusive on the Royal Scottish Academy’s sale of an Edinburgh Audubon painting to a US Walmart heiress.

September 2014 saw a cover article with some 20 pages of photographs and comment for the luxury Raffles hotel chain’s magazine on the art and culture of Istanbul.

Arts Press has had a WordPress design make-over with the help of  the excellent Alison Neathey of www.stuffandcontent.co.uk.  Please be patient, and if you are an interested reader, any feedback or thoughts are welcome.

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