Our suggestions for things to do, see, learn, and avoid, and facts and figures about the year's biggest art week in London.
1:54 Is Our Top Fair for 2015
Mimi Cherono Ng'ok, Untitled, (No one but you, Dakar series), 2014, Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, edition of 6, 120 x 120 cm. Courtesy of Fondation Donwahi
In case you hadn't noticed, the popularity of African art is exploding, and 1:54 is the only fair of its kind dedicated to contemporary art from the continent and diaspora. 1:54... [more]
Despite the pre-eminence of moving image in contemporary practice, the field remains under-represented at art fairs such as Frieze. This year we are likely to see the usual sidelining of artists’ film and video inside the Great White Tent in Regent’s Park—though of course there are always the Frieze Film commissions, tucked away on Channel 4’s late night Random Acts programme. The imbalance is adjusted somewhat by the strong presence of moving image across high-profile comm... [more]
Like other industries, the art world should come under the scrutiny of fair and equitable business practices. With so much privatization in the gallery and museum world, it's as good a time as any for consumers of culture to question where funds come from—and where profits are going. We've been seeking out the best not-for-profit and community conscious art spaces in the most commercial cities on the global art circuit. As part of our mission to give art a social slant, the fifth stop in ou... [more]
Words like controversial and outspoken are the first ones you meet in conjunction with Brian Sewell. Dig a little deeper and you come across other words, words like scurrilous, bitchy, contemptuous, acerbic, disdainful, and just plain rude. For those who don’t know, he was also perhaps Britain’s most popular art critic, and he passed away last week, aged 84.
I disliked Sewell’s writing for a number of reasons, that represent everything I dislike about art critics in general: he was... [more]
The poetics of the multiverse are, appropriately, myriad. Some argue it is another capitalist machine of endless reproduction—an assembly line of universes—and a theory perpetuating need, consumed in abundance like goods. Others find it humbling, a relief from an anthropocentric view of consciousness on Earth.
The idea that there are several universes, the multiverse is inaccessible and possibly equally lifelike, has returned to contemporary discourse in the recent decade, post-Marx... [more]
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. The funds rai... [more]
“We both agree, sometimes archives can be fun!”
Just before everyone disappears to their holiday hideouts, I meet with ICA London curator Juliette Desorgues to explore her new exhibition about the Austrian architecture magazine Bau. We browse through the show together and compare personal favorites.
Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning, Issue 2, 1965
Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning (1947-71), similar to the RIBA Journal, existed as a trade magaz... [more]
As the chief founding director of Nottingham Contemporary—one of the U.K’s largest art centers—Alex Farquharson knows all about tackling artistic ventures on a large scale. A long time curator with more than 20 years' experience, Farquharson has worked with some of the foremost leading contemporary British artists, such as Pablo Bronstein, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller, Gary Hume, Richard Long and Gillian Wearing. When Farquharson launched Nottingham Contemporary in the fall o... [more]
They say that for an art collection to have impact it must have a strong focus, a direction. For London-based collector and patron Kamiar Maleki, son of mega collectors Fatima and Eskander Maleki, that direction is found in the works of emerging artists, primarily young abstract painters. He’s looking for works that, in some way, speak to our time. And since digital media and social networking primarily characterize our time, for Maleki’s inaugural exhibition as curator he has put together... [more]
Boys Against Girls by James Loks Lucy Beech, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Am Nuden Da, George Henry Longly, Beatriz Olabarrieta, Ben Schumacher, Richard Sides, Cally Spooner, Alice Theobald, Edward Thomasson, Jesper List Thomsen at Lisson Gallery
July 17th, 2015 - September 5th, 2015
If you look out the window these days you can’t help but see boys, girls, and the political all manifest on the pavement, floating large as a topic within our cultural exchange: girls walking as boys, boys becoming girls, girls still so horribly un-/mis-represented in Hollywood that Jennifer Lawrence comes across as a goddess for acting like a normal human being. Etc. Besides asking if Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation isn’t the final act of masculine hegemony—something along the li... [more]
In a recent lecture on the work of Harun Farocki, Thomas Elsaesser proposed that in a time pervaded by performative approaches to social life, “we are all now insurance companies, risk-assessing a world of catastrophe and danger.” This statement connects Farocki's notion of operational images with Ulrich Beck's concept of a risk society, while also alluding to current states of precariousness and self-regulation, and a resurgent popular fascination with narratives and images of disaste... [more]
Look, here's the thing: under certain circumstances (in a court of law, in matters of dress, in affairs of the heart) I believe in being totally up-front and honest, which is why I believe that I should tell you from the outset that I am absolutely crazy about John Waters. I mean to say: I actually once came very close to having the man's initials permanently tattooed onto my bicep after a meet 'n' greet. That was back, I think, in 2012, when my body was a slightly more worthy vessel to be etched o... [more]
“Like a fun fair, but without the fun” was the quote from one of my companions at the Carsten Höller exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. And it’s a fair enough point: the slide is a bit wobbly and not very fast. The upside down goggles didn’t fit me properly and so primarily showed a slice of uncharacteristically blue London sky, that no matter how many times I reminded myself to look up to look down, it still didn’t fully challenge normative expectations o... [more]
With record high temperatures in London at present, the city is suddenly awash with the tropical: denim hot pants, turquoise, fluorescent pink, bright yellow. Even the conservative dresser is using this rare heatwave as an occassion to adorn brightly colored prints. The aesthetic of the tropics seems to seep out of Topshop into virtually every café and bar with an outdoor suntrap. Yet little thought is given to where this trend originates from—the formal, social, communal, and ever... [more]
If you’re on the dating circuit and don’t know this by now, you should: art bookshops—for lovers of art and writing—are pick-up joints.
This fact is verified by a broader selection of friends having met potential dates in bookshops than I can keep track of. If you don’t believe me, try browsing by yourself in a bookshop on a Friday evening. Even the shyest people seem to pluck up the courage to start a conversation about a book.
And I guess this is hardly surpris... [more]
Earlier this week, I came across a somewhat striking quotation from a 2007 edition of Tracey Emin's now-defunct column for the Independent newspaper: "faced with the daily prospects of failure and self-loathing,” the artist suggests, “a numb chrysalis starts to develop around you, and if you are not careful you wake up one morning to find yourself not awake, but in a semi-comatose state, baked into a hardened shell, breathless and mind-numbing. You have to poke your finger through the hard... [more]