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Festival Kick-Off

Festival Kick-Off

And the comedy prize for most grossly inaccurate description of the festival’s founding goes to Juan Vesuvius. “Seventy years ago it was a lot of angry Scottish people who hated opera,” he declared, introducing the New Zealand slate of shows.    Vesuvius is billed in the Fringe programme as the Venezuelan calypso comedy legend,  and has an accent and […]

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Nineth Fringe First?

Nineth Fringe First?

Edinburgh veteran,  actor and director, David Calvitto has eight Fringe  first productions under his belt.   He won two of them – officially, in the role of producer –  for Americana Absurdum and The Event, in which he also appeared. He is back here this year as director of Enterprise, an absurdist comedy by writer Brian Parks, […]

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Black Burns

Black Burns

It is the premise of conceptual art, presumably, that artists conceive of a project they can then get others to do. Looking across the Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery at John Flaxman’s white marbled statue of Scotland’s bard, glorifying Robert Burns as something heroic and pure, one feels Douglas Gordon’s vision of […]

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London Art Fair

London Art Fair

IF ART sales need confident buyers it was not the most auspicious week for the London Art Fair.    Theresa May’s Brexit speech was reverberating during the VIP opening while Friday brings the strange new world of President Donald Trump. Soaring  rents and rates in central London have seen two important  venues for Scottish art close their doors in the past year, amid […]

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The Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India

The Latvian artist Andris Eglitis stood at the door of a structure that in shape resembled an over-sized house-tent you might find at a drive-in camp site.   It was constructed with poles and wires to hold up the roofs but large enough to walk inside, with a couple of interlocking rooms.   Except that it was made of […]

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Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

There is no longer an art college in Scotland that teaches a dedicated ceramics degree.   Which  makes the ceramics on show at this year’s Visual Art Scotland winter exhibition more emphatically interesting. Susan O’Byrne graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in design and applied art in 1999.   Her wall of fantastical animal heads in the […]

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Coburg House Christmas Open Studios

Coburg House Christmas Open Studios

So there’s a simple joy,  and the hope of a  certain Scottish parsimony,  in buying Christmas gifts direct from the maker. Nowhere better to start this weekend than at Coburg House studios in Leith, whose denizens have a refreshingly engaged attitude to the whole enterprise and where artists’ egos, and sensibilities, are disarmingly lacking. “I work in wood […]

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Brexiting Colourists

Brexiting Colourists

Two major works by the Scottish Colourist painter SJ Peploe go under the hammer this  week in a new test of foreign buyers’ post-Brexit appetite for classic British and Scottish works. Peploe’s  still-life Red and pink roses, oranges and fan, with a price estimated at up to £1,000,000 – no Colourist work has yet broken the million […]

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Ya Bass!

Ya Bass!

The Bass Rock, at the mouth of the Firth of Forth,  lurks at every corner in North Berwick, and steals the eye even from Arthur’s Seat.   Ya Bass! at Fidra Fine Art takes on the rock and plays with this “timeless muse”. Fidra Fine Art was founded by novice gallerist Alan Rae four years ago; it’s developing in […]

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Protected: The Bench Project

Protected: The Bench Project

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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The First Edinburgh Festival

The First Edinburgh Festival

“For some time previous to the Festival, the concourse of strangers towards Edinburgh was unexampled.”   The year was 1815. “From England, and the remotest parts of Scotland, individuals and whole families poured into the city.   Every house and every room that could be obtained was occupied by persons of all ranks and ages…” […]

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Broken Palmyra

Broken Palmyra

Syria’s director general of antiquities sent me these photographs of broken statues at Palmyra, taken on his mobile phone after the site’s recapture from ISIS. Here is the link to my story on our interview at the Art Newspaper.  It leads off on anti-smuggling seizures but includes an update on the situation at Palmyra.   […]

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First Week on the Festival

First Week on the Festival

Written in haste, a quick run-down of what I’ve seen and liked in the 2016 Edinburgh festival thus far. With some shades of the film Source Code, Stop the Train is a grown-ups’ musical,  sexy and sophisticated in issues and attitudes.   Its sharp, singable and selling out.  The action starts when an old and eccentrically white male threatens lives on an […]

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Shocked – 2016 Fringe

Shocked – 2016 Fringe

In the front row of an intimate Fringe venue on Saturday night audience a young woman kept turning around to look at me,  and others  behind her,  with her eyes open wide, her expression clearly asking – what is going on here?  How am I meant to react?  What am I watching? In show I witnessed in my […]

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