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Will Gompertz, Arts editor

Will Gompertz Arts editor

A view from the wings - from the Strokes and the soaps to Bauhaus and Bach

UK visitor numbers drop at top London art galleries

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition at Tate Modern
Henri Matisse's Cut-Outs were among the big attractions at Tate Modern last year

Two of London's most prestigious fine art galleries have seen UK visitor numbers fall significantly over the last five years, official figures show.

A few days ago, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) sent out a press release stating: "Latest statistics for Government-sponsored museums show two million more visits were made than previous year."

Its statistics reveal that 49 million visits were made in 2013/14 to the 16 national galleries and museums the DCMS directly funds, which represents a 4% increase on the previous year, and a record high since the data was first published in 2002/03.

On the face of it, the figures appear to confirm a continuation of the upward trajectory in visitor numbers that its sponsored institutions have enjoyed for over a decade.

But look beneath the surface and a slightly different picture emerges. Much of the boom in attendance is actually being driven by overseas tourists, with domestic visitors generally growing at a much slower rate.

Read full article UK visitor numbers drop at top London art galleries

Does Harper Lee prove most artists are one-hit wonders?

Author Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, is to publish only her second novel in over 50 years.

Does that go to show just how difficult it is to have one great idea let alone two?

Read full article Does Harper Lee prove most artists are one-hit wonders?

Is it ok to tamper with other people's work?

From cover versions to fan fiction, we live in age of appropriation.

You can make big money from tampering with other people's work.

Read full article Is it ok to tamper with other people's work?

Are true stories all the rage?

Does art imitate life, or life imitate art? And are true stories all the rage at the movies?

If you take the Oscars as your benchmark, you could argue it used to be the former but now it is the latter. Four of the last five winners of the best picture Oscar have been based on true stories. So why are British actors trading so well in this area? Find out what I think in my latest vlog.

Read full article Are true stories all the rage?

Clint Eastwood goes to Iraq

I was apprehensive about interviewing Clint Eastwood. Not because of his iconic status, or his reputation for being taciturn, but because I did not go a bundle on his latest film, American Sniper, a biographical film set in the Iraq war.

Based on the autobiography of US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the story follows the military marksman played by Bradley Cooper.

Read full article Clint Eastwood goes to Iraq

Can Luther King take on North Korea?

The FBI says North Korea was behind a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, over a film about its leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony withdrew The Interview following threats from hackers against US cinemagoers. North Korea denies any involvement.

Read full article Can Luther King take on North Korea?

Ennio Morricone on his film career

Ennio Morricone has written more than 500 scores for films like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Cinema Paradiso.

But he says his biggest regret is turning down the opportunity to compose for Clint Eastwood's directorial work, out of loyalty to Sergio Leone.

Read full article Ennio Morricone on his film career

Can ex-drug users ever make good art?

The controversial Danish film director Lars von Trier said recently that he fears that he will not make any more films now he is no longer taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

While taking drugs can have a very negative impact on brain function, some argue that artists can be at their most creative under the influence of drugs. So is Von Trier right that this enhanced creativity is lost if the artist returns to sobriety?

Read full article Can ex-drug users ever make good art?

Can art and artist be separated?

A US cable TV station has decided to pull repeats of the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show from its schedule, following allegations of sexual assault against actor Bill Cosby.

More than a dozen women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them.

Read full article Can art and artist be separated?

Kim Kardashian's bottom: Art or artefact?

Last week, reality TV star Kim Kardashian attempted to "break the internet" with a nude photoshoot for Paper magazine.

The pictures, by photographer Jean-Paule Goude, focused on her famous derriere, and stoked the ongoing debate over how black women are represented in the mainstream media.

Read full article Kim Kardashian's bottom: Art or artefact?

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About Will

Will has been BBC arts editor since 2009.

Before that, he was a director at the Tate Gallery for seven years, where he was responsible for the award-winning Tate Online, the UK's most popular art website, and Tate Etc, the UK's highest circulation art magazine.

He was voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by the New York-based Creativity Magazine.

In 2009 Will wrote and performed Double Art History, a sell-out one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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