NEWS: Jonathan Yeo Portraits @ Laing Art Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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There’s been a few cultural coups recently in the North East – the Centre for Life was chosen as the opening venue for the most recent Body Worlds Exhibition and the BALTIC landed Daniel Buren, France’s greatest living artist. Now it’s the Laing’s turn to bask in the limelight, playing host to the latest exhibition by Jonathan Yeo, one of the world’s best contemporary portrait artists. Yeo has painted the great and the good, with many subjects of his work being top of their respective fields of politics, film and art. Last year saw a highly acclaimed exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery in London, featuring portraits of the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Grayson Perry, Kevin Spacey and recent Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (his work now forms part of the permanent collection).

He’s also no stranger to controversy. In 2007, he created a portrait of George W Bush from porno mag cuttings after a commission of the former President was cancelled (Hugh Hefner, Tiger Woods and Lucien Freud have since received the same treatment). His 2008 portrait of a weary, poppy-wearing Tony Blair also provoked heated debate.

Fans of his work will be treated to never before seen paintings of some of the world’s most famous people, as well as sketches and studies spanning the artist’s twenty year career. I for one am looking forward to seeing the Dennis Hopper and Erin O’Connor portraits, which are so photo-like it’s scary.

Jonathan Yeo Portraits opens at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle on Saturday 8th November and runs until Sunday 1st February.


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