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Tabish Khan

Art critic for The Londonist

Tabish Khan is an art critic for renowned lifestyle blog The Londonist. With a degree in biomedical science and specialist in the industry of energy, how did Tabish Khan become an art critic? Artsper wanted to know more about his path. {Artsper} What motivated you to become an art critic, can you describe us your background and career path? {Tabish Khan}I only got into art in my mid-twenties and fell in love with it from then on. I graduated from university as a Biomedical Scientist specializing in human anatomy - I spent a lot of time dissecting dead bodies! Then I moved into a career in the energy industry and now I’m a regulatory specialist on the future of the energy industry, as well as being an art critic. Art started off as my weekend hobby, then it grew into my own blog and now it’s a full time second job that I’ve had for three years – it means I don’t have much spare time but I really enjoy both my lives. I like to think I bring both my scientific and corporate backgrounds into my writing so that it’s logical and concise. {A} You currently work for a successful lifestyle blog called The Londonist, could you tell us how your topics are selected? {T} At Londonist we aim to engage with our readers on both serious issues and some light hearted content. We like to cover all the things our readers may want to know, as well as unveiling some secrets of what we consider to be the greatest city in the world. As for art I try to ensure we cover all the major exhibitions that people will have seen advertised, but it’s also important to highlight some of the great smaller exhibitions that often get missed – and London has lots of these. {A}What is your favorite artistic movement and why? Do you have any favorite artists at the moment? {T} My tastes are quite varied but you can’t go wrong with Impressionism and how it revolutionized art. No matter how many times I’ve been to The Courtauld Gallery I can never resist popping into their great permanent collection. {A} What is the last exhibition that made an impression on you? {T} A great exhibition that just opened at Dulwich Picture Gallery is called Made in China. It involves replacing a masterpiece with a painted replica from China and challenging visitors to figure out which one isn’t the original. It’s a fantastic idea that gets people to re-engage with their permanent collection and really examine each painting thoroughly rather than just walk on after a quick glance or a quick photo. {A} You must know London like the back of your hand, any key locations or venues you would recommend our readers that they may not find in a London tour guide? {T} London is still able to surprise me, and I’m often stumbling across galleries that I didn’t know existed and areas that I’ve never been to. There’s nothing specific I’d recommend other than asking to people to venture further out than zone 1, there’s lots of brilliant areas of London that are worth exploring. And don’t just stick with the Underground, the best way to experience London is on foot. {A} London is known for its vibrant artistic and cultural life. How do you explain it? {T} London is filled with world class cultural venues and they are always filled with people, which show how much Londoners and tourists recognise what the city has to offer. We also have such a high level of multiculturalism, with people from all across the world calling London home and this helps ensure the arts scene remains diverse and fresh. {A} Do you notice an evolution and change in this scene? {T} I am concerned by the cuts to arts funding but I’m hopeful that once the economy rebounds that we can continue to grow our cultural scene and ensure it remains a world leader. On a positive note, there are still lots of opportunities for artists in London and, assuming they can still afford to live here with rising house prices, I’m sure London will remain one of the culture capitals of the world. It’s a shame to see galleries closing but there are always new openings and so London’s art scene continues to grow and diversify. {A} If you had to live anywhere else than London where would it be? {T} I don’t think I can imagine living anywhere else as I’ve lived my entire life here and all my friends and family are in London. But If I had to choose, I’d probably go with either Sydney or San Francisco – I don’t think I could ever live outside a city. {A} What do you think of Artsper and its concept of selling online? {T} It’s a great idea to sell art online. Many people are intimidated by the gallery experience and it makes it easier for a wider audience of people to engage with art. The fact that Artsper is French will hopefully introduce buyers and collectors in the UK to a whole host of new artists.
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