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Web Exclusive: A Conversation with Charles Pickstone

By Charles Pickstone Essay

British artist Chris Ofili has long been a source of controversy. His detractors have included the mayor of New York as well as a man who threw white paint on one of his pieces at the Brooklyn Museum (the famous Virgin Mary piece with elephant dung). But despite the bombast and apparent sacrilege, Ofili’s work…

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Paradox of Flesh: The Art of Chris Ofili

By Charles Pickstone Essay

THE WORK OF British-born artist Chris Ofili, Turner Prize–winner in 1996 and 2003 British representative at the Venice Biennale, poses a particular challenge. Almost every review of his major 2010 retrospective at London’s Tate Britain alluded to the “spirituality” of the work of this former altar boy; the artist himself often gives religious titles to…

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Marc Quinn: The Matter of Life and Death

By James Romaine Essay

IN  2009, BRITAIN’S NATIONAL Portrait Gallery acquired Self by Marc Quinn. The museum’s press release described the work as “unconventional, innovative, and challenging.” That is an understatement. Self is made of eight pints of Quinn’s own blood, approximately the amount in an adult male body. It was extracted over a period of a year, then…

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