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.


Vincent van Gogh: 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 ...

Pierre Bonnard: 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 ...

Dorothea Tanning: 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 ...

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 ...

Franz West: 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 ...

Anna Boghiguian: 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 ...

Lives of the Artists: Paul Neagu

Lisa Le Feuvre

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

In the Archive: Hackney Flashers

Sabrina Mahfouz

Writer Sabrina Mahfouz uncovers several feminist photography projects from the 1970s by the Hackney Flashers and asks, will we ever ...

In Focus: Artist Émigrés

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 ...

The Bauhaus and Britain: 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 ...

Art & Education: 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 ...

Opinion: The dazzling lies of art

John-Paul Stonard

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

Details, Details: Ford Madox Brown’s Mauvais Sujet 1863

Devorah Baum

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

Details, Details: 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

Unsung Heroes: José Clemente Orozco

Walead Beshty

Artist Walead Beshty considers the importance of the incendiary Mexican muralist

View from Brazil: 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 ...