Arts interviews

Painting by numbers, with a dash of Mr Bean

By Julia Weiner, May 23, 2008

Tal R paints using only seven colours — and sees the Rowan Atkinson character as a good analogy for art.

Tal R certainly set himself strict parameters when preparing work for his current London exhibition in London. Sixteen paintings are on show, all of them the same size (250 x 250cm), and all painted in the same fixed palette of seven colours. 

Tal R was born in Israel in 1967 but has lived most of his life in Denmark. “I was born during the Six-Day War in Tel Aviv,” he says.

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What Caro can't carve

By Julia Weiner, May 16, 2008

Sir Anthony Caro is regarded as the world’s greatest living sculptor. He talks about why he designed a church chapel but not a Holocaust memorial, and how he put his wife’s face into his latest exhibition

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‘I’m the ultimate Jew... Well, bigger than Bibi’

By Paul Lester, May 2, 2008

Jackie Mason, the former rabbi and diminutive, stocky motormouth with the thick New York Jewish accent, is one of the world’s greatest stand-up comedians. His routines, heavy on the differences between Jews and gentiles, have been making people laugh for over 45 years. As notorious as he is famous, he once made an obscene gesture at America’s leading TV host, Ed Sullivan, live on air. He was also allegedly threatened — with bullets — by Frank Sinatra after poking fun at his then-wife, Mia Farrow.

Playing with destiny

By Rodney Greenberg, May 2, 2008

Raphael Wallfisch only found out he will star in the ‘most significant’ concert of his life when he saw the posters. Luckily, he’s available, he tells Rodney Greenberg

A friend told me: ‘Did you know you are playing Schelomo at the Konzerthaus in Berlin on May 8?’ She showed me a leaflet. I said: ‘I hope I’m free.’”


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He scores emotions

By Mark Glanville, April 18, 2008

The world-renowned composer Osvaldo Golijov was slammed by UK critics for ‘sentimentality’. He tells Mark Glanville why feelings are key to his music

He can certainly pull them in,” remarks a well-known figure on the international opera stage surveying the packed Barbican Hall in London. Ninety minutes later, many of the audience are on their feet, paying tribute to the music of Osvaldo Golijov, the Argentinian-Jewish composer whose opera Ainadamar was given its first UK performance in a concert version this month.

Ran Tal: Orphaned by idealism

By Nathan Jeffay, April 11, 2008

Director Ran Tal focuses on the kibbutz children who were separated from their parents and raised according to the principles of collective living. It seemed a huge price to pay for utopia


An elderly Israeli man is explaining how he got his name. "There was a vote... Nachum won by eight votes." Another man recalls how he never called his parents "mummy" or "daddy", only by their names. Anything else was "too bourgeois".

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Simon Garfield: A collector confesses

By Alex Kasriel, April 10, 2008

Simon Garfield has written a book about his passion for philately.


Simon Garfield has a confession to make. He's been having an affair. But not with another woman (although that is true as well). His clandestine passion is less about midnight tristes and steamy sex, and more about visits to the Post Office, because the London-based author has an obsession with stamps.

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Lalo Schifrin: Playing Mission: Impossible

By David Lasserson, April 4, 2008

Lalo Schifrin writes hit TV and movie themes, and plays everything from jazz to symphonies.

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No more Mr Grumpy

By Stephen Applebaum, April 3, 2008

Mike Leigh, the acclaimed director of bleak movies, tells Stephen Applebaum that his gloomy days are over


For more than 30 years, Mike Leigh has mapped the tragicomedy of everyday life, in the process uncovering universal truths about the human condition. His film work in particular, as in Naked and the Oscar-nominated abortion drama Vera Drake, can be disturbing, bleak and emotionally gruelling. If there is hope, it is usually of the faint variety.

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Libeskind’s £40m new angle

By Gita Conn, March 20, 2008

Leading architect Daniel Libeskind has now designed a Jewish museum in San Francisco

Daniel Libeskind has done it again. The architect promised that his design for the new £40 million Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco would result in “a metal-clad jewel, like a beacon glowing into the future”. He was not exaggerating.

Due to open on June 8, the museum — all 63,000 square feet of it — is, as yet, devoid of artworks. But, like Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, which attracted hordes of visitors while still empty, the building itself is the exhibit.

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