Christopher Kulendran Thomas is an artist/art strategist whose approach I have long admired. When I invited him to realize a project at my London gallery the Agency, he brought me The Air Inn Venice (TAIV) and its creator, LA artist Kristin Luke. Christopher met Kristin when she originally curated him at TAIV, along with her own practice and contributions by Ed Fornieles and Renzo Martens, in her California pad. Now Christopher is curating TAIV for the Agency. A three-way dialogue ensues as the exh... [more]
Just over a week ago, legendary East London gay pub The Joiners Arms announced it will be closing its doors (not the first announcement of this sort we've covered lately). At the heart of Hackney's LGBT club scene since 1997, the pub has been an institution that helped combat homophobia in the area, and remains an important venue for the growing gay and transvestite culture that has since become a community.
As if on cue, a new series of photographs documenting and celebrating the East London tran... [more]
The terrorist group ISIS, the proclaimed Islamic State, has done an overwhelming amount of work to inject images—and fears—into the minds of the West. Their professional use of modern language, entertainment industry tropes, and technology blends with medieval horrors to generate what could be considered the most successful PR campaign of the year. Its success reflects an age of instant shared information and the extremes of visual branding. That a reactionary organization with anti-mod... [more]
In an Italian restaurant on Broadway Market in East London a poster hangs in a nice, clean frame above the heads of diners. Centered squarely, slam in the middle of flag colors, mock-up parts of vintage Fiats, and a certain nostalgic tint of the chrome Rome of fashion and Fellini, this poster advertises the 2004 Mark Wahlberg American remake of The Italian Job, itself a remake of the extravagantly xenophobic anti-Italian original.
Further deepening the fascinating role of cultural misappropriation in the restaurant trade: a favo... [more]
The marking of the centenary of the First World War seems to have provided a good excuse for many galleries to revisit some of the greats of Expressionism. Namely, the unholy, and unholily popular trinity of Dix, Grosz, and Schiele, three men who, in recording their everyday lives and tumultuous surroundings in lividly-colored, pinched perspectives, also let the burgeoning sexuality of youth pound priapically against the quivering doors of the traditional nude. Ahem. Grosz’s early portfolios are... [more]
Last week the Calvert Journal, an online journal produced by the Calvert 22 Foundation, released a 20 Under 40 list of Russian artists to look out for. The Foundation's exhibition space, Calvert 22, is the only not-for-profit gallery in London dedicated to contemporary art from Russia and Eastern Europe. Its program often contextualizes contemporary Russian artists’ output with the country’s rich historical and cultural past. The gallery's current exhibition, Beyond Zero (installed throu... [more]
Zines—short run and independently produced miniature magazines—have been a staple tool in various underground communities for decades. While traces of the zine aesthetic can be followed back throughout history, the true imagery of the contemporary zine was fathered back in the 1980s with punk rock culture being the topic of choice. Early punks would take their Xeroxed sketches, photos, literary musings—and whatever else their bleeding hearts desired—and compile them into sma... [more]
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]
Good evening, art-appreciators! Please pull up a Beuysian chair, with a heap of fat on it, because I have something to ask you:
Had a good Frieze, did you, reader? Drank some complimentary champagne? Saw at least one instance of 'is this art'? Hung out at Selfridges Hotel, in a dress with spaghetti straps? Wore a black smock instead—normcore style? Said the words "art market," and didn't even flinch at how serious you were about it? Listened, once, "ironically," to "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj a... [more]
Every bit as run-down as I remember it, the escalator at the tube station ejects me onto the dull evening streets of Archway. In the queue for the cash machine, a flower-seller smiles and asks me to move aside so he can manoeuvre his heavy but empty trolley closer to the curb. As I insert my card, in the light coming from the doors of the bar on the corner, three men with the yellow-grey skin of a longtime drinker bicker and spit. They give me looks as I pass. From within comes the lilting sound of a... [more]
Frieze Art Fair is very much not free. A day ticket will cost you £33 this year. If you want to pop in after work, a 5–7 PM entry is £15. Heaven forbid you want to bring a child. Doing so will set you back £21, even if they sleep through it. Jake Chapman recently caused controversy by stating in public that children shouldn’t be taken to see contemporary art because they don't get it. In the case of Frieze, I’d have to agree with him—it's unlikely to be worth spe... [more]
Given that I am now older (although no wiser, perhaps) than I was when I was 21, there are very few things which can coax me over to the Camden area these days. To make your first trip back there after you've reached something sort-of-approximating adulthood is like having the lights flicked on, abruptly, in a low rent simu-dive-bar: Soylent Green may be people, but the human skulls on the bar here are made of B-grade plastic, and the candles shoved into them are melting their crania. Its patina... [more]
If only real life were more like Frieze: a psychotropic world full where adults jump without fear through giant dice and emoji come to life. Look closer, and you'll see the colorful people, bobbles jangling copiously from every seam; the artwork might even pass you by as another vermillion suit-clad publisher slides by; this is the time the chrysalis is shed, and the beautiful butterflies inside, emerging to live and flourish for only a few days, flee towards their nectar: the front-facing camera.
Here is a series of eavesdroppings from the first day of the Frieze Art Fair. A pleasure and a parody of itself, the fair is a collection of arms and legs and moans and groans tumbling and trellising over each other. The atmosphere is absurd from the upstart: people want to buy a line, a point, an idea, an experience. This carnival is both carnivorous and celebratory. The reactions to the work and random parley make up a tantalizing network of conversation, collaboration, and cacophony. If we we... [more]
It's the perfect desk fodder for all the art world haters: fresh in our inboxes this morning were images of the latest limited edition releases as part of a collaboration between smock sweatshop "long history of supporting the arts" corporation Gap Inc. and "even the name sounds like a Kanye invention" Visionaire. They have teamed up and made a "super exciting" collection, printing artworks featured in their previous issues onto sweatshirts and t-shirts.
As Visionaire's co-founder Cecilia Dean... [more]
It seems like this year, perhaps influenced by the performance series 14 Rooms that took place at Art Basel a few months ago, Frieze has taken a performative turn. Many of its special projects incorporate live shows, and a new section called Frieze Live will introduce performance-based works and reenactments of historical performances at the fair itself. For example, the Japanese duo United Brothers will offer the visitors a soup made of vegetables grown in the region of Fukushima’s 2011 nuc... [more]