Pick of the Week: by Katherine Waters

A roll call of transgression, repression and crime at theartsdesk this week. 

In Visual Arts, we’ve a review of the National Gallery’s new and very small exhibition, Sin: The Art of Transgression, which looks at this rich subject in all its guises – religious, secular and somewhere in-between. Around half of the paintings are from the National Gallery’s own collection, and there are loans of works by Ron Muck, Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol. Highlights are two exquisite paintings, one by Jan Brueghel and the other by Pieter Bruegel, (both Elder). 

In books we cover acclaimed Mexican poet Daniel Saldaña Paris’s second novel, Ramifications, which is translated by Christina MacSweeney and hones in on the chilling effects of a traumatic childhood. Equally disturbing for some will be Richard J Evans's The Hitler Conspiracies, in which the eminent historian traces how false beliefs about Hitler’s survival gained mainstream traction and draws unsettling conclusions about the lure of misinformation.   

On BBC2, Samuel L. Jackson (whose own ancestors were trafficked from west Africa) presents Enslaved, a history of the Atlantic slave trade. And for one night only, the Royal Ballet’s entire company returns live to the stage alongside the Royal Opera House Orchestra for a programme of repertory highlights. Finally, Miranda July’s latest film, Kajillionaire, offers welcome escapism with a comedy drama about a family of small-time crooks. True to style it’s a quirky watch, but despite its kitsch, darkness isn’t far from the surface.

Masterclasses make up a mighty hour of theatre

Aaron Sorkin’s powerhouse film takes us back in time for a political drama that speaks to today’s politically turbulent world

A glorious celebration of one of the great baroque painters

From Janáček to Beethoven, the pianist-as-thinker keeps nightmares at bay

The post-rave Gong are back but the song remains much the same

Hermione Lee: Tom Stoppard, A Life review - the last word on a theatrical wordsmith

Capacious biography pins down an elusive subject


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