Editor's Note

Cover of Tate Etc. issue 44: Spring 2019

The social and political upheaval in Europe has touched us all and, considering the ramifications of the Brexit process, it will continue to shape our lives over the coming decades.

Amid the passionate, and occasionally unsavoury, debate it is always worth remembering how fruitful migration has been in helping to create cultural diversity. And whatever direction we are headed towards, we should celebrate our wonderful mix of talented artistic voices from across the globe, a fusion that has enriched this country (and its art collections) for centuries.

As Monica Bohm-Duchen writes, over 300 visual artists came to these shores to flee the Nazi regime after 1933. Among them were influential names – Walter Gropius, Naum Gabo and László Moholy-Nagy – but their ranks also included lesser-known but talented figures, such as Eva Frankfurther and Albert Reuss. All of them touched the lives and minds of the people they met, as well as those who have since been inspired by their art. Their legacy is far-reaching.

We know that art, such as theirs, can change people’s lives. And now we know that our teenagers have a strong view on the role of creativity. A three-year survey initiated by Tate, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the University of Nottingham analysed the responses of 6,000 young people aged 14 to 18 about their practical engagement with the arts, and found that they viewed arts subjects as an essential element of their education. This survey matters.

I imagine that some of these teenagers will have experienced at close hand the value of Tania Bruguera’s Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern, where we see how subtle interventions in and around the Turbine Hall operate as a community-driven response to the global migration crisis. As the London-based, Somali-born journalist (and Tate Neighbour) Ismail Einashe writes, Tania’s piece reminds us that to have thriving communities, be they artistic or otherwise, we need to ‘build empathy and grow common bonds of neighbourliness and shared values’. Surely, all of us can be a part of this.


  • The Pilgrim Painter

    Iain Sinclair

    Van Gogh spent formative years between 1873 and 1876 living and working as an art dealer, and later a teacher, in London. There he was not only inspired by the large modern capital but also by writers such as George Eliot and Charles Dickens, and artists including John Constable and John Everett Millais. He also spent many hours discovering the city on foot. Here, a fellow walker follows in his footsteps

  • His Rhythm was Colour

    Barry Schwabsky

    The French painter Pierre Bonnard often worked from memory, capturing fleeting moods and moments in unconventional compositions. A bold and innovative colourist, his work ranged from intimate domestic scenes to vibrant landscapes filled with the movement and rhythm of life

  • The Shape-shifter

    Lauren Elkin

    Dorothea Tanning was an American painter, sculptor, writer and poet whose seven-decade career ranged from powerful early paintings that were heavily influenced by surrealism to extraordinary stuffed-textile sculptures. Here, we trace the trajectory of the artist's life and her compelling work

  • Don McCullin: The Interview

    Don McCullin and Simon Grant

    Don McCullin (b1935) is an internationally acclaimed photographer with over 60 years of experience documenting the world’s devastating wars and its harrowing humanitarian disasters, as well as photographing the lives of people from the industrial north of England and the homeless of east London. Undimmed by age, McCullin remains an energetic and compassionate chronicler of our world. Simon Grant, editor of Tate Etc., visited him at his home in the Somerset countryside to hear the story of his extraordinary life

  • Worldly Pleasures

    Kito Nedo

    The late Austrian artist Franz West (1947–2012) was one of the most influential artists of the past 50 years. His retrospective at Tate Modern explores his irreverent sensibility and irreverent approach to art and materials, bringing together almost 200 works including abstract sculptures, furniture, collages and large outdoor works

  • A Wanderer Through Time

    Hettie Judah

    Anna Boghiguian’s raw and expressionistic paintings, sculptures and site-specific installations are characterised by bold colours, chaotic compositions and the intertwining of history, myth, and politics. Here we discover the inspiration for this ever-transitory artist’s work

  • Paul Neagu

    Lisa Le Feuvre

    Introducing the Romanian-born artist who created performances and sculptures that shaped a generation of British artists

  • Hackney Flashers

    Sabrina Mahfouz

    Writer Sabrina Mahfouz uncovers several feminist photography projects from the 1970s by the Hackney Flashers and asks, will we ever catch up with collectives?

  • Émigré Artists

    Monica Bohm-Duchen

    Amid the continuing refugee crisis across Europe and rise of right-wing politics, Monica Bohm-Duchen looks back at a time of greater turmoil to reveal the rich and pervasive contribution that those fleeing Nazi Europe made to the British art world

  • Walter Gropius in Britain

    Fiona MacCarthy

    How did Walter Gropius, founder of the modernist Bauhaus school of art and design in Germany, make such a strong impression on London’s artistic and intellectual community during the brief time he lived there?

  • Time to Listen!

    Robert Hewison

    It’s official. The findings from a recently completed three-year survey reveal that teenagers view arts subjects as an essential element of their education

  • Language is not transparent

    Katharine Kilalea

    One writer takes a deeper look at Mel Bochner’s work on paper

  • The dazzling lies of art

    John-Paul Stonard

    John-Paul stonard argues that the most powerful art is often based on elaborate untruths

  • Ford Madox Brown’s Mauvais Sujet 1863

    Devorah Baum

    English professor Devorah Baum reflects on Ford Madox Brown’s watercolour

  • Kathleen Gerrard’s Still Life with Yellow Fungus c.1936–9

    Kathy Willis

    Biologist Kathy Willis studies Kathleen Gerrard’s painting in the Tate collection

  • José Clemente Orozco

    Walead Beshty

    Artist Walead Beshty considers the importance of the incendiary Mexican muralist

  • Whose truth is it anyway?

    Jochen Volz

    The results of recent political elections across the globe have gone hand in hand with increasingly polarised debate. Jochen Volz argues that the artist’s idea of art as a means of modelling realities can be a useful tool for looking at the ‘multiple truths’ that exist in our world