Kurt’s barn

The Merz Barn and plaza

The jazz singer and art lover George Melly was fond of telling a story about when he was confronted by some thugs with broken bottles outside a Manchester club. Running not being much of an option for the rotund Melly, and fighting or negotiating still less so, he chose instead to give a recitation ofRead More

15 favourite paintings

Samuel Palmer, 'The Gleaning Field', c.1833, Tate

On we go with the lists, and now we have fifteen favourite paintings of mine. They’re not all great works, but each has struck me in a particular way and lingered in the mind. Often they represent a particular time and place (London, Dublin, Canterbury, Manchester) that help make them specifically memorable for me. I’veRead More

It’s a square world


This weekend I went to the Whitechapel Gallery in London for its new exhibition, Adventures of the Black Square. This marks the 100th anniversary of Kazimir Malevich’s epoch-making painting ‘Black Square’, which was exhibited in Petrograd at the Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10. The Whitechapel show celebrates a century of abstract art and itsRead More



I was wandering past some of the unlovely new homes being built on the Rochester riverfront with their regimented, office-like brick walls, and the idea of a post on bricks came to mind. I thought of the many kinds of beautiful bricks walls, from Jacobean to modern times, that can be found in this town.Read More