Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present

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National Gallery

Until Sun Jan 20 2013

Past Present

Richard Billingham, 'Hedgerow (New Forest)', 2003 © the artist, courtesy of the Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

1.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:3
1 person listening

The exhibition takes place in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, the “new bit”, which does feel to lend itself well to the subject matter. Much like Ossian Ward suggests, the dark setting and intimate atmosphere of the location draws you in immediately. Whilst the art and the photography is no doubt striking and controversial, the first few rooms, feel somewhat “bitty” and unconnected – time spent reading the helpful explanations on the wall make sense but fail to clearly relate to the following set. Maybe an audio guide is in order for this exhibit. Again, an echo of the words above, the exhibition really came into its own, fluid and meaningful in the last 2 rooms, Still Life and Landscapes; some beautiful photography and a clear sense of how photographers may have been influenced by works of the early masters. Personal favourite of the show “Storm At Sea” by Richard Billingham. Verdict: a nice refuge from the cold and venue for a Sunday night and worth a look if you are nearby but if you are looking for an exhibition which conveys strong opinions and a clear theme without too much effort, maybe not a number one choice.


Very poor exhibition with a couple of exceptions and incredibly poor value for money. If the National Gallery insist on charging for special exhibitions (which I don't have a problem with) they need to make them worthwhile, this wasn't and we were in and out within 40 minutes.

Mr D

Exhibition is formulaic and one-dimensional in its approach and methods.