Speaker: Barry Venning
5 April 2016

Barry Venning

Ever since the mid nineteenth century, modern art has been (and remains) a popular subject for satire.

Constantly changing and often seemingly bizarre, modern art made an irresistible target for a host of cartoonists, humorous writers and wise-guys. Some artists, such as Gustave Courbet, welcomed their attention in the belief that there was no such thing as bad publicity; others, like Jackson Pollock, were hurt by what they took to be an attack on their integrity.

The cartoonists themselves could be funny, cruel and at times extremely perceptive. From the French humourist, Cham, through the work of the gifted staff on the New Yorker, to the Daily Telegraph’s brilliant cartoonist Matt, they provide an absorbing, illuminating and, above all, a funny, revealing and sidelong view of 150 years of modern art.

Barry Venning is a British art historian with a particular interest in the work of J.M.W. Turner on whom he has published widely, including the volume on Turner in Phaidon’s Art & Ideas series, and several catalogue essays for exhibitions in the UK, Germany, Italy and Poland.

He was the BBC’s script consultant on Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and has recently taken part in a BBC documentary called ‘The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution’.

Barry has also published a study of John Constable’s paintings.

His interests and his teaching extend from medieval architecture to contemporary British art. He is currently an Associate Lecturer with the Open University and lectures on a freelance basis for NADFAS, Christie’s Education and other organisations.