Art Goes Political, but Will That Fly on the London Market?

This will be remembered as a year when art got seriously political. The Whitney Biennial in New York and the inaugural Athens edition of Documenta are just two of the high-profile exhibitions trying to convey and confront the tumult of our times. Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket,” showing the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, the […]

Why Courbet’s The Origin of the World is so popular—and it’s not what you think

Our most-read story of 2016 was about Facebook’s legal battle over the French master’s work. Here’s why it still causes a stir, 100 years on. Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866) a painting of a woman’s “lower groin” (bas-ventre), as the writer Edmond de Goncourt coyly described it in June 1889, is as […]

Abusing the Marquis de Sade

PARIS — Georges Bataille, in The Accursed Share, said that if the Marquis de Sade had not existed, he would have had to been invented. But probably one of the biggest badasses of all time did exist. And, as if to prove it, on the bicentenary of the death of the “divine marquis” (Donatien Alphonse de […]