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Char Jansen

20151127105358-soda3 Bedrooms, Karaoke, and Glitter: Molly Soda Makes Her Solo Show Debut   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Molly Soda at Annka Kultys Gallery November 25th - January 16th, 2016
Posted 11/25/15

It's not hard to understand why so many people write off art of the kind 26-year-old Molly Soda makes: to date, she's best known for works such as dating a giant teddy bear, and "leaking" her own nude selfies (Should I Send This?). In the artist's new London solo, the tropes of hypergirly net art are all here, unabashedly IRL: glitter, miniature unicorns, stickers, glitches, and iPhones with cracked screens. The walls are painted, of course, pink. But there's much more to Molly Soda's work than... [more]

20151124200020-video_still_conclusion Shame, Narcissism, and Online Empathy: Ann Hirsch's Multiple Selves  

I recently saw a rare screening in London of Chick Strands' 1979 film Soft Fictions, considered the seminal work of the experimental Californian filmaker. It's an incredible piece, prescient in its style and approach to female representation. It mixes documentary, poetry, truth, and reality, never presenting either victims or victors, but instead the stories told by these female subjects give the idea that "ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring." Though Ann Hirsch, who is... [more]

20151116145913-20151113170641-a_6565037 Paris Photo Emerging Gallery Spotlight: East Wing   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/13/15

Photography—as James Loks pointed out not so long ago—is going through a phase of confidence, with surreal, hyperreal Toiletpaper aesthetics trending strongly in the work of emerging artists. John Berger, in his 1968 essay "Understanding a Photograph," refers to "those absurd studio works in which the photographer arranges every detail of his subject before he takes the picture." Berger foresaw the great potential of photography as an artistic and humanist practice, but at the time... [more]

20151111153720-five-girls-2014-by-david-stewart-website David Stewart Wins the UK's Biggest Photographic Portrait Prize   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/11/15

David Stewart was awarded the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 last night at an awards ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery, where his portrait will be on display alongside a selection chosen from almost 5,000 entries, at an exhibition running until February 21, 2016. Stewart's winning entry is a restaged photograph of his 2008 entry of his daughter and friends after completing their university degrees. It's the 16th time Stewart's work has been selected for the annual exh... [more]

20151111112716-5-workland-the-fence-is-a-narrow-place-ed-fornieles Ed Fornieles: Postcapitalism, Networks, and Tenderness  

Since 2010, when I first met Ed Fornieles, I've watched the artist somewhat like a private eye sitting in a greasy spoon cafe with eye holes cut out of a newspaper—at a safe hermetic distance. I went to my first ever performance night in London that he had curated at Paradise Row, and watched a man pour cornflakes and milk all over the floor. I read all the online tabloid furore over his debauched Animal House project and his former relationship with a British film star. From afar, he often seems to be part of that br... [more]

20151105140129-01_enfantfemme_rmatar Portraits of Girlhood Today: Sameness and Difference in Rania Matar's New Project   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/5/15

Embody, disembody, co-embody, somebody, nobody: today, we are continually confronted with the complexities that result from attempts to prescribe and describe "the body." Race, age, politics, economy, sexuality, and gender all affect our physical form so individually that “there is no generic body, no such thing as 'the body'; bodies are raced, gendered, and assisted differently in the world”—as artist and writer Hannah Black says. How do we find a balance between expressing difference and individuality and finding something to relate t... [more]

20151104214506-robert-tharsing_s-studio Artists' Desks   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/4/15

What goes on behind the closed doors of the artists' studio has always fascinated the layperson. What do they do in there? Creative spaces appeal to our aesthetic imagination—they're often laden with eclectic objects, designed to benefit the artist's productivity. Psychologically, the interior architecture of the studio is perhaps assumed to be a reflection of the artist's thinking. But in the post-industrial economy, the spaces artists work in have had to change and adapt to a more migrator... [more]

20151024154107-img_0733a Feminists on Film: Documenting the 4th Wave   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 10/24/15

Feminism is "trending": but, as we've written before, that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's no doubt that we're experiencing a fervent new wave of visual feminism that has seen wider exposure than ever before thanks to online platforms. The “4th wavers,” a new generation of feminist practioners who are choosing to use visual activity as a core means for resolving their thinking, have forged an unprecedented symbiosis between experimental and formerly marginal forms of culture a... [more]

20151012151639-20151009160744-artslant_-_sarah_kudirka_for_artists_desks Artists' Desks   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 10/9/15

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?" —Albert Einstein The art voyeur has often fawned over the luxury artist's studio, and even seen the artist's bed—but the place the real working action happens must surely be the desk (or desktop). Desks for many mean 9 to 5 imprisonment and paperwork drudgery, a dumping ground of daily deitritus—but what does a desk mean to an artist, and what do they keep on it? From toxic... [more]

20150928161431-screen_shot_2015-09-23_at_16 We're Not Gonna Need Clones Cos We're Only Gonna Be Clones   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 9/28/15

Recently the Independent reported on new revelations concerning Duchamp's Fountain including the possibility that it was made by a feminist Dada practitioner. Why does this story interest us—and why does it change our understanding of that iconic work of art? Aside from the gender politics at play around the pissoir's origin, the article shows us something about the psychology of iconography in the western-centric capitalist mindset: we want our icons to be original. We expect icons, (sig... [more]

20150829174758-ntdxp5z0mpe83thrcq4pldkxostc3zr7eb-d5kaxt9o The Best Public Art Installations & Murals Around the World This Season   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/29/15

One of the best things I read about the status of art in the public space this year was written by Edo Dijksterhuis, covering Taturo Atzu's rooftop intervention on Amsterdam's oldest church: "It becomes like urban furniture, not something people notice. No one seems to care about monuments or how they’re perceived, whether they’re perceived at all. It takes a conscious effort to really see them again." This really made me think: public art is a huge commitment, but it's true—it rarely has the ab... [more]

20150827094446-20150805013858-katybinks_studio_2 Artists' Desks   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/27/15

In today's mode of techno-voyeurism, we're constantly peeking into the factory to see how the sausage is made. The artist's studio has always had an allure, the inchoate site of creativity, the setting for private practice—like an escort's boudoir, the biggest mystery is, what do they do when they're alone in there? We zoom in closer to see what artists keep on their most personal work space: their desk. What does it reveal about them, or about their art? We invite artists from very different... [more]

20150824103011-20150824013023-untitled-7 The Best B Movies About the Art World   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/23/15

When art and artists appear as a subject in cinema, it's typically in the form of a too lengthy/too sexy biopic (think: Mr. Turner or Frida) or a hyperbolic thriller that suffuses the cliché of scintillating glamor with filthy corruption (The Thomas Crown Affair, anyone?) The big screen is always attracted to prurience, but there are some movies in the straight-to-dvd crate that, whether they present artifice or archetype, deserve to be revived for the morsels of wisdom they impart about t... [more]

20150818170111-photo_9 Anonymous Art: Secret Sale Trend Plays on the Psychology of the Purchasing   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/18/15

The Secret Art Sale Exhibition has been popping up all over the place lately: we reported from Art Dubai on the RCA's Secret Dubai and the democratizing power of the anonymous auction. Now London's Fold Gallery in partnership with social art enterprise Artbox are hosting a summer inspired secret postcard sale. Starting August 20 and running for a week, Artbox London has taken the RCA format—exhibiting the work of 30 artists with learning disabilities alongside internationally acclaimed names.... [more]

20150716074402-20150714204805-anastudio Artists' Desks   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 7/14/15

In today's atmosphere of techno-voyeurism, we're constantly peeking through the keyhole to see how other people live. The artist's studio has always had a certain allure as a site of creative aspiration and the setting for private artistic practice, like the escort's boudoir it ignites our imagination. But what do artists keep on their most personal work space, their desks—and what does it reveal about their art? Exclusively for our Collector's Catalogue, we invite artists we know from ve... [more]

20150603181620-sturtevant_drawing_wesselmann_lichtenstein Penis Envy: Sturtevant in Los Angeles   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 6/3/15

"Oh God, it's coming up now, I recognize the sound... I mean, I don't need to see this when I'm at work!" We looked on fearfully as a large-scale penis enters stage left, in profile, and decants a trickle of urine onto an unsuspecting potted plant. This was Dark Threat of Absence (2002) a two channel projection at the center (physically and thematically) of the only comprehensive institutional presentation of Elaine Sturtevant's work in America since the '70s (the show has traveled to L.A. after... [more]

20150526112021-54c0a8a104a5726d1af104c95c1cc8fa The Awkwardness of Averageness: Raymond Pettibon’s American Sickness   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Raymond Pettibon at Regen Projects (Hollywood) April 23rd - May 30th
Posted 5/26/15

“I’m not walking down there, there’s a body on the floor,” my friend Shai said. We were coming out of a pizza place that had a gunshot mark in the TV. “Come on, it’s fine. She’s not dead.” As we walked past the disputed human being lying face down in the middle of the stenching sidewalk, she turned on her side and smiled vaguely into the distance with her elderly, meth-lined face. No Title (There are beds), 2015, Collage and ink on paper Sickness is something you encounter on a daily basis in Los Angeles. Sinking below the hot h... [more]

20150515002447-ruby-onyinyechi-amanze Top 10 Picks at 1:54 Fair   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
at Pioneer Works May 15th - May 17th
Posted 5/14/15

Opening Friday, May 15, 1:54 is the latest addition to New York's Frieze Week satellite circuit. Dedicated to contemporary African Art, 1:54 (the name references the number of countries that constitute the African continent) has already run two editions in London. By bringing together 16 galleries engaged in the field the fair takes a cultural stand within the art market, an important way to redress the balance of previously neglected and underrepresented regions. Of 16 galleries to present at... [more]

The Three Best Portrait Painters in the World?  

Three (white, middle-aged, male) artists have been announced for the final shortlist for this year's BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London—one of the world's most prestigious portraiture painting prizes, aimed at encouraging artists to develop the portrait in their work. The entries must all be painted in oil, tempera, or acrylic on canvas or board and must be painted from a real life sitting. Matan Ben-Cnaan, Michael Gaskell, and Borja Buces Renard are the final three... [more]

20150501030230-dg_at_alys_beach_006 Digital Graffiti Festival Announces 2015 Line-Up  

Northwest Florida's little know Digital Graffiti Festival at Alys Beach has just announced its 27 artist line-up for its 8th edition taking place in 2015. Digital Graffiti (creating graffiti using computer software and technology) is a relatively undeveloped field, surprising considering the surge of interest in both graffiti and digital arts practices respectively. The festival elicits participants come from the fields of film, art, and music who project their art on site at Alys Beach, a lu... [more]

20150423033911-thecylcleoffutility-static Branding a Genre: INSA's Gif-iti   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 4/23/15

Is it possible to trademark a whole genre of art? UK-based artist INSA has done just that, and gives an insight into the practicalities of defending your art in the digital era. In his most recent project, INSA’s Satellite Gif-iti (racking up more than 2.5 million views at the time of writing) the artist puts a behemoth brand stamp on the earth, endorsed in a 3 minute film—which sees the artist paint a carpark the size of two football pitches in Rio De Janeiro, and create a Gif from i... [more]

20150416081503-20150413072754-unnamed Artists' Desks   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 4/13/15

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?" —Albert Einstein The art voyeur has often fawned over the luxury artist's studio, and even seen the artist's bed—but the superior furniture item to any working person is surely their desk. Desks are a synechdoche for 9 to 5 imprisonment and paperwork drudgery, a statement of power and efficiency in the office regime, a dumping ground of daily deitritus—but what does a d... [more]

20150324162601-mr_art_critic_poster The Internet as a Platform for Art Criticism, and Dildos   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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  

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-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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, 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-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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  

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-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
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]

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