Arts features

After the Blitz: art from rubble

By Julia Weiner, October 22, 2009

Frank Auerbach is one of Britain’s most renowned painters. A refugee from Nazism, he arrived in this country alone aged seven from Berlin — his parents perished in the Holocaust. Now aged 78, he has been painting the same subjects for almost 50 years — the cityscape around his studio in Camden Town, north London, and a group of regular models.

A new exhibition of his early work has just opened at the Courtauld Gallery in London. It focuses on a group of 14 paintings of building sites in London between 1952 and 1962.


Nazi rallies and The Who - the art of destruction

By Julia Weiner, October 8, 2009

A plastic bag full of rubbish; piles and piles of newspaper; a vandalised car. No, not a street in a particularly blighted housing estate, but London’s Serpentine Gallery, which is currently hosting the work of influential Jewish artist, Gustav Metzger.

The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the date when Metzger decided to abandon painting to use everyday objects in his art as a critique of the terrible wastage of consumer society. Now aged 83, he continues to make new work that acts as a wake-up call to the public.


The UKJFF celebrates its barmitzvah

By Jessica Elgot, October 6, 2009

Instead of dwelling on the bad luck that a thirteenth anniversary year could bring, the UK Jewish Film Festival is, fittingly, celebrating its barmitzvah year.

It will be the biggest ever year for the festival, which started life as the Brighton Jewish Film Festival back in 1996 before relocating to London and rebranding itself as the UK Jewish Film Festival in 2004.

The Coen brothers new film A Serious Man tops the bill at the festival, along with the UK Premiere of Adam Ressurected director by Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader and starring Jeff Goldblem.


Your New Year culture guide

By Nicola Christie, September 17, 2009

Classical Music

Vladimir Ashkenazy and the London Philharmonic Orchestra:
The legendary Russian-born pianist comes to the UK to conduct the LPO in a concert of Shostakovich’s mighty 8th Symphony and Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto. An invigorating way to start off the New Year after the Rosh Hashanah hibernation.
Tuesday September 22, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1, 0871 663 2500,

The Bernstein Project:


We scoured the world for Dr Death

By Alex Kasriel, September 17, 2009

Dov Freedman is sitting in a car parked in a tree-lined suburban street when he is convinced he spots Dr Death.

From the safety of the vehicle, he sees a tall old man hobble into a large house. He is sure the man is Aribert Heim, one of the world’s most wanted Nazis war criminals, aka Dr Death.


The Wagners and Hitler: a family affair

By Nicola Christie, September 10, 2009

When South Bank Show host Melvyn Bragg sat down to watch the first film of the flagship arts programme’s final series, he turned to the director Tony Palmer and asked: “Are you expecting me to believe all this?”

It is a question viewers will also raise when Palmer’s documentary about Richard Wagner and his relatives airs on Sunday, revealing, as it does, the family’s entanglement with Hitler and the Nazis.


GP who had his stethoscope turned into Surrealist art

By Julia Weiner, September 9, 2009

Jewish collectors lead the field in Britain when it comes to contemporary art — Charles Saatchi, Anita Zabludowicz and Frank Cohen have all opened galleries featuring selections from their extensive collections. However, all three are multimillionaires. So is it possible to build up an important art collection on a more modest salary?


Laugh? They nearly did

September 9, 2009

Since I began my stand-up career on the opening night of the Comedy Store in May 1979, I have chalked up countless gigs both here and abroad.

However, my appearance at the recent English comedy night held at Berlin’s Kookaburra club ranked as the most unusual I have ever done. This was my first-ever visit to Germany, and I decided before the gig to go on successive days to the city’s Jewish Museum and Holocaust Memorial. My mind was filled afterwards with haunting images.


Why do Jewish women excel at documentary-making?

By Alex Kasriel, September 3, 2009

There is a new generation of British female film-makers making waves on UK TV — and many of them happen to be Jewish.

Over the past couple of years, these 30-something women have been busy making documentary films for Channel Four and the BBC on everything from fraudsters to Motown artists.


Close up on Paul Newman

By Melanie Abrams, September 3, 2009

For 30 years, a collection of iconic photos of Paul Newman lay forgotten. They may have remained so but for the son of Leo Fuchs, who discovered them eight years ago, stacked in unmarked boxes.

Alexandre Fuchs was stunned — the photographs reveal film stars of the ’50s and ’60s including Newman, Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn in unusually private moments; off-set, even sleeping. Also, Alexandre had no idea that his father was a photographer — he had only known him only as a film producer.