The top 10 artworks of the 20th century

By Jonathan Jones

From Picasso’s formidable whores and Magritte’s provocative pipe to Pollock painting like an angel, the best 20th-century art reflects a world of flux, abstraction and imagination

The top 10 male nudes in art
The top 10 females nudes in art
The top 10 surrealist artworks
The top 10 drinkers in art

The 20th century began with a man painting a mountain. Cézanne’s ultimate masterpieces of the 1900s pick apart the process of looking and reveal the infinite complexity of experience. Each brushstroke contains a novel. The intellectual revolutions of the modern age, from Freud to Einstein, all find their mirror in the tough revolutionary eye of Cézanne.

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Source: The top 10 artworks of the 20th century


V&A's spring exhibition puts together 239 years of wedding fashion

By Rosie Swash

Wedding gowns worn by merchants’ daughters take their place beside those of flower sellers and Kate Moss’s John Galliano dress

The Duchess of Cambridge dressed in Alexander McQueen on her wedding day is projected onto the wall, amid swaying union flags, at the V&A’s spring exhibition, which opens next week.

But, the show, Wedding Dress 1775-2014, is a democratic affair.

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Source: V&A’s spring exhibition puts together 239 years of wedding fashion


Chen Wei's best photograph: a Chinese nightclub fantasy

By Interview by Karin Andreasson

‘People in China go out clubbing to chase their dreams, but they can’t escape what’s happening outside’

In China, nightclubs are the only places where large numbers of people are allowed to get together. Gatherings of people all doing the same thing would never be permitted anywhere else certainly not on the street. It would make the government nervous. This was taken in Beijing, where I live, last year. It’s about dreams and reality: people in China go out clubbing to chase their dreams, but they can’t escape from what’s happening outside. I didn’t take it in a real nightclub, though, as I wouldn’t have been able to convey the dream-like state clubbers are trying to achieve.

I needed a really big space, so I found a movie studio for hire. I spent about six weeks carefully planning the image since, when it finally came to the shoot, I would only have a few hours. Hiring a studio and helpers was very expensive; I had 13 people working on lighting alone. There was no music playing: I just asked my dancers to pose as if they were completely intoxicated, totally in the moment. Whenever I noticed someone actually enjoying themselves, I told them to stop and make it look like they were faking it. I asked them to exaggerate their poses, to draw attention to the fact that clubbers are just getting a temporary fix. They use drink and drugs to trick themselves into feeling free, but the next morning they still have to go out to work.

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Source: Chen Wei’s best photograph: a Chinese nightclub fantasy


Sex, Drugs & Magick: remixing teen ravers' druggy downtime in Ibiza

By Sean O’Hagan

Gareth McConnell’s decade-long photography series of ravers the morning after found a new lease of life when he started ‘degrading and attacking’ the prints

From 2002 to 2011, Gareth McConnell shot portraits of young ravers in Ibiza, creating a series called Nothing Is Ever the Same As They Said It Was. Though he immersed himself in the rave scene there, he approached the project as a detached observer, choosing to capture his subjects alone in their hotel rooms. The result is a strange and subdued document of a time and a place where excess was all.

In eschewing the usual cliched images of hands-in-the-air abandon, McConnell’s more measured documentary portraits caught that uneasy mix of vulnerability and toughness that teenagers even those in search of ecstasy-fuelled transcendence often exude. But as time went by, McConnell became dissatisfied with the results.

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Source: Sex, Drugs & Magick: remixing teen ravers’ druggy downtime in Ibiza


The road to the battlefields of Ypres in 1919 and now interactive

By Jim Powell

In the latest of our weekly series of interactive photographs to mark the centenary of the first world war, the destroyed Belgian city of Ypres is seen from the Menin Road. Hundreds of thousands of troops marched east from here to the battlefields of the Ypres Salient, scene of some of the war’s biggest battles. This was the spot chosen for the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, which was inaugurated in 1927

Photography then and now lets you move through time by tapping or clicking on a historic image to reveal the modern view. You can drag or swipe to control the speed of the transformation

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Source: The road to the battlefields of Ypres in 1919 and now interactive


Will Young: Why I love Magritte

By Interview by Craig McLean

‘Magritte was smart on the outside, rebellious on the inside and that’s kind of like me’

When I was 15, I walked into a bookshop in Oxford with my mum and there it was sitting in a basket an old catalogue for a Magritte exhibition. On the front cover was an outline of a dove in a dark, cloudy sky. This was his painting The Great Family, and it just spoke to me. I loved it so much that I stuck it up on my wall at boarding school, when all the other boys seemed to have FHM cover girls.

I prefer this smartly dressed Belgian’s quiet surrealism to Dalí’s. It’s very everyday, very normative, which suits this ordinary-looking man who lived and worked in a quiet suburb of Brussels. I already had a passion for bowler hats: I’d been collecting them since I was 12. They represented stiffness, structure, monotony and I liked the idea of subverting that, which is exactly what Magritte did when he painted faceless men wearing them. He was taking on the establishment.

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Source: Will Young: Why I love Magritte