Links for the week

30th January 2012

In Sunday’s Observer Tim Adams wrote a fascinating article about the the Picasso show at the Tate Gallery in 1960. Suggesting that this was the world’s first ‘art block-buster’, he explored ‘the moment when Picasso, and modernism, finally arrived in Britain’. Well, up to a point… but you could argue that the Picasso and Matisse show at the V&A fifteen years earlier was equally influential – see Lauren Niland’s Guardian archive blog ‘Taking the Picasso’. One aspect of the 1960 Tate show that Adams doesn’t mention is the half-hour outside broadcast for ITV that Kenneth Clark (above, in Civilisation) hosted from the gallery. Much like the programmes that Tim Marlow does now for Sky Arts from major exhibitions, this is a tour-de-force performance by Clark and a fascinating tour of the show. I unearthed it when I was researching my 1993 profile K: Kenneth Clark 1903-1983 and it was subsequently shown on BBC2 (although it now seems to have disappeared again). All of which acts as a trail for Tate Britain’s forthcoming Picasso and Modern British Art which opens 15 February. Across the jump, more links to interesting stuff…

I am going to experiment a little with my regular links page over the coming weeks – it will not always appear on the same day in the week, and I intend to add it regularly as I come across stuff. each of the following is well worth your time:

Tinker, Tailor – a guide for the perplexed: a richly nuanced reading by David Bordwell of a richly nuanced film.

Pandora’s digital box: art house, smart house: … and while we’re with David Bordwell’s posts, this is the fifth in his essential series on the transition to digital projection – anyone with the slightest interest in making or watching movies should be reading these.

Girls on film – softening and sexualising Lisbeth Salander: a terrific piece by Monika Bartyzel on about the central role in the book and the film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (via @brainpicker).

Accessing the cinematic cloud: Chuck Tryon on the future of digital delivery of movies – and why comparisons with early ATMs are relevant to the debate.

How to search for the golden age of television: even if you argue with both his method and conclusion, this is an interesting quantitive analysis by Samuel Arbesman for Wired to identify when US television was at its best – which turns out to be the years 1950-1970.

A different kind of delirium: I’m reading The Angel Esmerelda: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo, and Charles Baxter’s response for The New York Review of Books is a good companion.

Be better at Twitter – the definitive, data-driven guide: Megan Garber for The Atlantic on a study of 43,000 responses to Tweets (thanks to @annehelen).

Fragmentary – writing in a digital age: Guy Patrick Cunningham for The Millions on ‘the defining feature of the contemporary reading [and writing] experience’.

The dilemma of being a cyborg: Carina Chocano in The New York Times on some of the  implications of being ‘collectively engaged in a mass conversion of what we used to call, variously, records, accounts, entries, archives, registers, collections, keepsakes, catalogs, testimonies and memories into, simply, data.’

The new French hacker-artist underground: a compelling essay by Jon Lackman for Wired about the UX group in Paris who undertake covert cultural restorations.

Peter de Francia obituary: Michael McNay for the Guardian on a dazzlingly good and under-appreciated painter who was also an influential figure at the Royal College of Art.

Francis Fukuyama on the financial crisis: one of The Browser‘s Five Books interviews – and a really good one too.

The story of a suicide: the extraordinary tale of the life and death of Tyler Clementi, and of technology and modern manners, written by Ian Parker (at length) for The New Yorker – this is a monumental piece of modern journalism, and you need to read it.


  1. Helene says:

    I haven’t seen “Tinker, Tailor …” yet, but it’s on my to-watch list for rentals.

    Sounds like I’ll need to research its Wikipedia entry and, perhaps, even watch it twice. Some films are like that; when you give them a second go-around, it’s amazing the dialogue you pick up that you missed on the first viewing, and how many light bulbs go off in your brain.

    Of course, anything with Colin Firth is worth watching twice. Do I really need an excuse.

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