Malevich: Beyond the Black Square

Robert Chandler

There has never been a better year to look at the work of Kazimir Malevich, a pioneer of abstract art often seen as the greatest Russian painter of the twentieth century. The exhibition now at London’s Tate Modern offers us the chance to not only Malevich’s Suprematist work but also his early work—in styles that include Fauvism, what he called Cubo-Futurism, and the Dada-like style he called Alogism—and the figurative paintings of his later years.

Chris Killip: Skinningrove

a film by Michael Almereyda

In this short film, photographer Chris Killip presents a group of largely unpublished photographs from the 1980s, taken in and around the village of Skinningrove, in North Yorkshire, and recalls his relationships with the subjects.

The Mellow Agility of Clifford Brown

Christopher Carroll

Clifford Brown was only twenty-five years old when he died, but even then was already known as one of the greatest trumpet players in jazz. An undisputed virtuoso, he played with seeming ease in every register of the instrument, spinning out long, intricate solos that often sounded less like improvisations than compositions. Dizzy Gillespie claimed that Brown changed the way that the trumpet was played. Even Philip Larkin, who found listening to bebop comparable to “drinking a quinine martini and having an enema simultaneously,” admired Brown’s “mellow agility.”

Bill Viola’s Martyrs: Sleek, Glamorous, Empty

Simon Willis

Martyrs, a new work by the American video artist Bill Viola, is difficult to take as seriously as it takes itself. It is being shown as a permanent exhibit in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, just a few feet from the high altar, and is designed as a kind of altarpiece. Four plasma screens are arranged in a row on a sleek metal stand by the architect Norman Foster. Each screen shows a silent video, a little over seven minutes long, of a person undergoing a highly aestheticized ordeal involving, respectively, earth, air, fire, and water—all captured with sumptuous visual effects and all withstood in serene and saintly forbearance.

Johnny Cash’s Lost Decade

Andrew Martin

When Johnny Cash died in September 2003, he was in the midst of a career renaissance that had begun nearly a decade earlier, when he recorded a series of albums with the producer Rick Rubin. The extraordinary popularity of those albums helps explain the release of Out Among The Stars, a new album consisting of songs from “lost” recording sessions that took place mostly in 1984. Yet these sessions, in tone and sound, are nearly the opposite of the pared-down records in the earlier series.