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Char Jansen

20150324162601-mr_art_critic_poster The Internet as a Platform for Art Criticism, and Dildos   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 3/24/15

The much-loathed profession of art criticism is facing an odd future online: the myth of the click web has turned out to be apocryphal, and according to recent research conducted by and written about by Chartbeat, we're heading towards the era of the "attention web." But traffic-seeking clickbait has not been completely disbanded. We know that last year one of the most searched for words on our site was "dildo." How does this data-crunching on how readers navigate, and on what they enjoy on our s... [more]

20150304180459-bsf_london_pic_monoprixx Exhibition Preview: Bicicleta Sem Freio Debut Solo Show   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 3/4/15

Opening tonight in East London is the first-ever London exhibition by Brazilian duo, Bicicleta Sem Freio. The artist pair have crossed over from graphic design and illustration to muralism and back again. Entitled FERA (meaning "wild" in Portugese) Douglas de Castro and Renato Perreira will bring an eye-exploding dose of color to London through new works on canvas and paper. The guys are big '80s fans, drawing not only on the gaudy color clashes of the era but also on its iconography, full of capi... [more]

Boycott or Action? Bansky in Gaza  
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2/27/15

Shot simply and in his typical parodic style, Banksy's latest project to go viral is a short video that sees the anonymous street artist and activist enter the Gaza Strip. It is the first work the British artist has completed in the Palestinian territory, but in 2005 nine pieces of his art appeared on Israel's West Bank barrier. The two minute video is titled "Make this the year YOU discover a new destination"—a satirical reimagining of an aspirational travel ad. It ends with th... [more]

20150212115129-20150210174634-7k9a0250-1277x848 Our Favorite Pow! Wow! Hawaii Murals   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/10/15

Hawaii's annual Pow! Wow! jam officially kicked off on February 7, and artists will be busy painting into the weekend. The arts festival brings together curators, artists, photographers, and musicians for a week of painting, parties, and IG-friendly beaches. Curated by Japser Wong, Pow! Wow! is only in its fifth year, but with its sheen of street-styled glamor and exotic vibes it has managed to attract some of the best artists on the mural festival circuit. The predeliction is still for old... [more]

20150210100534-dana_boulos Yes, Selfies Can Be Feminist. But...   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/6/15

I was naively unprepared for the wave of vitriol I woke up to on Twitter from Caitlin Stasey, the 24-year-old former Neighbours actress and founder of herself.com, following my article last week which attempted to discuss several interesting new art exhibitions and platforms that deal with female self-image online: "Can Selfies Be Feminist?" @onaartist @ArtSlant this article declares tht self expressions of nudity r countr productive 2 feminist agenda w no real explanation as 2 y — caitlin stasey (@caitlinstasey) Februa... [more]

20150204115320-rebecca_storm Can Selfies Be Feminist?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/4/15

Selfie culture makes me a bit queasy: they've become an easy tool for anyone to use to get validation from an image-biased society. They exacerbate a myriad of social problems and can often come from a sad place, rather than one of empowerment, posing a real dilemma: should we exploit our looks to promote ourselves? As a consequence, selfies are surfacing in a new way in the work of young digital artists. Selfies are being wilfully dragged into feminist discourse. A lot of artists are readily a... [more]

New Research on Private Art Collectors Released  
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1/26/15

Who collects art? Where do they live, how old are they, how many of them are there, and what do they like to buy? These are questions that most people who gravitate towards art as an industry have asked themselves. Now, thanks to a new report compiled by Larry's List and published by Publishers for Modern Art, Vienna, the answers are revealed. The most wide-reaching report on collectors of contemporary art, the document is based on profiles and data from around 10,000 active private collectors from 71 countries: the... [more]

20150123111451-borondo_spain_madrid First Look: Borondo's Big London Solo Show   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 1/23/15

His delicate large-scale paintings have floated on canal boats and he's one of Complex mag's favorite muralists of 2014—part of a street art sub-genre we like to call "sensitive graf." Borondo, who lives and works in a former pub in Hackney, uses his art to express the melodrama of human living, the soaring peeks and plunging troughs of our mortal condition—one reason he was drawn to the character of Ophelia in his now well-known floating work. From February 5th, the young Spanish a... [more]

20150121104514-unnamed What to Buy at the London Art Fair 2015   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 1/20/15

The London Art Fair, sitting comfortably in the middle ground between Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair, is geared towards the soild mid-range collector, a fact reenforced by its middle class location in Angel Islington. Whether you're new to the game, an emerging dealer, or a fastidious collector of the kind of Modern and Contemporary British Art the fair is dedicated to, the London Art Fair caters to your taste. For this 27th iteration of the fair, we've selected our recommended buys for a rang... [more]

20150113165040-7 A Graffiti Gallery Show That Might Actually Be Good   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 1/13/15

We've not been hugely supportive of institutional presentations of graffiti previously: too often they put out unresponsive, stale, or simply haphazard exhibitions that do not render context or format. They assign too much concept or none at all, and each is as bad as the other. But this massive group show, Mapping the City, in association with A(by)P at the new wing of Somerset House, London (ironically, a former tax office) looks like a well-balanced approach to circumventing this problematic a... [more]

20141210145432-20141210114145-tom__friedman What Is It About Tom Friedman's Up in the Air?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Tom Friedman at Tel-Aviv Museum of Art November 17th, 2014 - March 17th
Posted 12/10/14

900 sculptures of everyday objects that together comprise the work Up in the Air by Tom Friedman have arrived at the Tel Aviv Museum. Suspended from the museum's ceiling, pieces of chewing gum, miniature planes, sporting equipment, and fragments of fencing float alongside other recognizable tropes in Friedman's iconography such as crumpled boxes of cereal, cigarettes, FedEx, and big burgers, exploded into space. The piece debuted four years ago at Switzerland's Magasin III gallery last year. Its orbit now continues in Israel where it has recently been installed, and... [more]

20141209161400-dough_original_large2 Texture Trip: Surreal Substances in Art   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/8/14

Paint, in its ancient origins, was made from available materials: egg yolks to bind, sand, soil, plants, and so on for pigment. The whole process of manufacturing materials to make art has been steadily removed from the artistic process over time, but some artists still introduce the physical messiness of making art, by remolding everyday materials to provoke uncanny, humorous—and often, revolting—reactions to substance in the viewer. They might arouse strong responses, but they als... [more]

20141202231116-charlotte_justkids__copy Curator Charlotte Dutoit on Work, Travel, and How She'll Be Spending Her Time in Miami   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/2/14

Parisian-born, Puerto Rico-based Charlotte Dutoit is a jet set curator working with some of the hottest tipped new names in the large outdoor painting game worldwide: Brazil's Bicicleta Sem Freio, Alexis Diaz, and Borondo to name a few. In fact, their eye-catching projects are often the result of Dutoit's organizing. Recent productions have taken her to London, Las Vegas, Hawaii (she is a part of the family of the annual Pow!Wow! graffiti jam), and now she's checking out the action in Miami, whi... [more]

20141125104436-10612651_1547802092122323_1333046429617771951_n Street Art Reality Show or How the US Killed Another Subculture   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/25/14

"That's not real. Tell me that's not real. Is it?" "This is the worst thing I've ever seen :(" "FUCK THAT." "Whack." "Die." These were just some of the comments I received when I started to share a trailer that landed in my inbox for the first season of Street Art Throwdown, which premiers on Oxygen network on February 3, 2015. Trying to swallow down the small bit of vomit that rose in my throat as I watched the anninhilation of a culture, I realized it was only a matter of time; in fact,... [more]

20141125155521-screen_shot_2014-10-14_at_11 New London Exhibition to Showcase Contemporary Middle Eastern Satire   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/25/14

A group exhibition opening this week at EOA Projects London—a 400 square metre commercial space in London dedicated to Middle Eastern contemporary art—sees six artists from the region tackle some of the vital social questions for modern Middle Eastern culture, from repression and economy to surveillance and ideology. Crucially, the art here introduces a component that is often missing from much contemporary political art: humor. Curated by Amal Khalaf, the show reminds us of the importanc... [more]

20141120115553-10550917143_155ef67feb_b Post-Capitalist Hip Hop Videos: Our Absurd, Dystopian World   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/20/14

Hip Hop and capitalism could be said to share the same ideals. American Hip Hop and the American Dream promote the same goal of self-made material success through carefree consumerism. Money—and spending it—saturates songs and artist monikers (Curren$y, Rich Gang, 50 Cent, All$tar, etc.). Hip Hop’s aesthetic identity has traditionally communicated just as much about consumerist society as its songs. But as confidence in capitalism is waning, with the mass disillusionment followi... [more]

20141119111743-badger Five Minutes with Daniel K. Sparkes   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/19/14

Daniel K. Sparkes (a.k.a Mudwig in a previous incarnation) is a British artist whose offbeat approach has seen his work pop up in the most unusual spots all over the world, including Wroclaw, The Hague and Sheffield—alongside weighty venues such as Jonathan LeVine NY and Somerset House London (as part of upcoming Mapping the City). Sparke’s take on everyday life mixes surreal playfulness with humorous textuality: a "fur" print t-shirt was a recent eye-catcher. Thematically, he sets about the a... [more]

20141118135433-uae-graffiti Dubai to Set New Guinness Record with World's Longest Mural Painting  
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11/18/14

Dubai is set to become the home of the world's longest collaborative mural painting. The event, officially announced yesterday by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, is planned to cover 2,180 meters along the Sheikh Zayed Road, close to Jumeirah Beach Park. The mural—refered to in the PR as a graffiti scroll—will be realized by 100 established artists, including 70 known names from outside the UAE who have... [more]

20141224114918-unnamed-3 In Pictures: Rio's Baile Funk Culture   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/9/14

Baile Funk and Rio De Janeiro are inseperable kin; the unmistakable bassline sounds thump over the hillside favelas of the city, most of which have been pacified as part of a governmental iniative that began in 2008. From Rocinha to Cantagalo each Baile has its own particular flavor, an intense mix of sex, rhythm and hedonism. It's not just the unmistakable "Um Cha Cha Um Cha" that is an intergral part of Rio, but its ambience and aesthetics, that epitomize in many ways the Brazilian spirit. French photographer Vincent Rosenbl... [more]

20141022181632-united-kingdom-303323_640 Why Should London Get More Culture Money?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/21/14

Last week, the Financial Times posted an article: "What Is Wrong With Inequality?" It highlighted the various effects of social unbalances in modern society through some recently published texts on this blazing hot topic. As urban citizens struggle against markets and unfair pay, and the 1 percent become wealthier, what happens to culture? "The equality of citizens is an ideal worth defending"—after all, as the FT concludes. Peter Stark, Christopher Gordon, and David Powell, three British a... [more]

20141008120656-g02348a01nf2008_trabajo Hardcore War Drawings by Goya Shown in the Middle East   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/8/14

Irena Gordon might be the most audacious curator in the Middle East—and it’s thanks to an exhibition of pro-peace artworks that are over a century old. In a daring and rare show of 70 etchings, aquatints and drypoints by the Spanish court painter Francisco Goya has opened at the Hermann Struk Museum, Israel. In the context of the modern day Middle East, Goya’s metaphors and allegories become not only relevant once again, but also subversive. Goya witnessed 19th century Spain during the Peninsular War, a... [more]

20141007154026-snake_and_dagger Ido Shemi: Instigator of the Israeli underground   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/7/14

Wherever Ido Shemi goes, underground culture seems to follow. When the artist was growing up in the serious shithole of Kibbutz Rosh Ha’Nikrah in the ‘70s, British volunteers would bring punk music on cassette tapes from the UK. These early encounters with subculture led Shemi to form his first band in 1980, The Dead Begins. After serving in the first Lebanon War, which ended in ’82, he felt—like many of his generation who lived through the war—that he had to get out o... [more]

20141007142911-10624774_284587495084991_6833694057363572954_n Hong Kong Protest Art: the Facebook group documenting activist artworks   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/7/14

Last week, as demonstrations in Hong Kong intensified with police and mafia clashes, Artnet reported on the ensuing panic at auction houses in the wake of the political situation. They questioned the possible impact on the art market given that the protests were strategically placed to paralyze some of HK’s most important business areas. This weekend, the Asia Contemporary Art Show took place as scheduled at the Conrad in Pacific Place, an area occupied by protestors. “We are please... [more]

20141006171218-prince_new_portraits_2014__976__install_14__1_ @richardprince4: Who are the other Richard Princes?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/2/14

Update October 6, 2014: In a further twist to the RP4 tale, Instagram has started to dump previous images posted by the artist (including the ones we had linked to here, now obsolete). The reasons behind these mysterious recent movements on the (at the time of writing) still active account are unclear: a warning from the Instagram authorities? Or a classic Prince joke? In his latest post, two women are captured mid-conversation on a sofa. Above them hangs the infamous Untitled (Cowboy), the artist's first... [more]

Life in Miniature: An Interview with Slinkachu  
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9/29/14

London, Sept. 2014: Slinkachu’s captivating miniature street interventions, made of remodeled figures from train sets, strike a contrast with most other art in the public space. While many street and graffiti artists are all about bigger, louder, and bolder, the UK artist’s tiny, almost unnoticeable scenes are a quiet statement about our environment, and about the solitary nature of fast-paced city life – his ‘Little People’ are literally overwhelmed by the urban space. In... [more]

20140923062233-pez_15_years_acrylics_and_markers_on_canvas_87_x_57_x_5_cm__1400 PEZ: 15 Years Smiling with Friends   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/23/14

Legendary Spanish artist PEZ has just opened a solo show in London, at the Westbank Gallery W11, up until the 24th of this month. Following on from a solo gig earlier in the month in Sweden, Pez returns to London for the first time since his 2012 exhibition at Tony’s Gallery. The propagator of the “Funny Happy Barcelona style” – which in its basic form, is a smiling fish – presents new works on canvas, plus collaborative works with “friends” – amon... [more]

20140915194014-img_1699 Graffiti in Galleries: Why Do They Still Not Get It?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/15/14

Last week the ASS editorial team was in Paris for our AGM, where we got a special tour of the LASCO project at the Palais De Tokyo. A very amiable and informative guide took us down the basement/security exit—normally closed to the public—that for the last two years has housed a new initiative to bring graffiti into the public gallery: two French artists, Lek and Sowat, have been inviting other artists from their scene to paint the walls of this cavernous underground maze. The proble... [more]

20140903155836-mirrorcity A London fall primer for everyone (but especially Internet lovers)   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/3/14

Autumn is high season for art and it’s an impossible task to keep up with the Smoke’s endless openings. Best to spread it out and try to see something of everything. The best exhibitions will kick off the season before Frieze takes over in October and demolishes everything artistic in its path. With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a little bit of this and a little bit of that—but basically, it’s all about the Internet. Best exhibition for British Art: MIRRORCITY, the Hayward Gallery ... [more]

20140902140614-pierre_huyghe_liegender_frauenakt__untilled_2011-2012___2012_installation_view__the_human_factor__hayward_gallery_2014__photo_linda_nylind Naked Ladies and More   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Pawel Althamer, Frank Benson, Huma Bhabha, Katharina Fritsch, Ryan Gander, Rachel Harrison, Georg Herold, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, John Miller, Cady Noland, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Schütte, Yinka Shonibare, Rebecca Warren, Paloma Varga Weisz, Andro Wekua, Cathy Wilkes at Hayward Gallery June 17th, 2014 - September 7th, 2014
Posted 9/2/14

With the world reeling from recent global events that have severely impacted on our collective conscience—the barrage of scenes of manmade destruction, death, and disaster a vivid testimony of the dark side of humanity—visiting The Human Factor at Hayward Gallery was oddly cathartic. Of course, the curators were not prophets, but in bringing together twenty-five years of sculpture through twenty-five artists they have created a perspicacious and timely exhibition that reflects on som... [more]

20140819040908-photo_4 Weird guys with severed heads: an interview with PANG   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 8/19/14

Your background is in Fine Art – how have you developed your style back in London and how has it changed? I studied classical oil painting in Italy for four years and I came back to London around seven years ago. I have always moved around in my work and gone through phases, and Italy in a way felt like another artistic experiment, but the technique we learnt in the studio was from the 19th century, and the sheer discipline of it was a big shock when I first arrived. I had never spent mo... [more]

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