Richard Morrison celebrates the new sense of initiative that’s overhauled the Barbican arts centre in London

“Should we be surprised that the best-run and most critically acclaimed arts centre in Britain receives not a penny from the Arts Council? Should we be astounded that, without the benefit of a single directive from the Government’s culture quango about the importance of multiculturalism, access, diversity, outreach — or any of the other new Labour buzzwords rammed down the throats of people in the arts for the past nine years — this arts centre should nevertheless be pulling in 770,000 socially-diverse punters a year? … The Barbican is a shining example of the good things that can happen when politicians keep their clumsy fingers out of the pie.”

Their reward? The Corporation of London, which does fund the Barbican to an extent, is to cut its annual grant.

Meanwhile, Michael Henderson casts an eye over the art riches in the forthcoming London exhibition season, but urges us not to forget the less-visited London gems such as the Wallace Collection, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Courtauld Institute, or even Birmingham’s Barber Institute.