If pressed, I maintain that the reason I keep up with news about popular culture is that, for me, it adds all-important context to the various forms of "legitimate" art that I take in as a job. Visiting Richard Saltoun’s show of Viennese feminist art (that, specifically speaking, of VALIE EXPORT and Friedl Kubelka) for instance, the phrase "proto-selfies" played continuously in my mind: not a phrase of my own design, but one coined for the exhibition by a writer at Blouin Artinfo. Women these days—famous women, typically, but also the occasional civilian (the much-discussed personal train... [more]
He is the Patron, and he is your King. He is the God of the artworld, even more than Jeff "vacuum-cleaner" Koons, or Richard Prince, with his visions of "Spiritual America": the nubile young female with the movie-star make-up in the U.S.A-grade bubble-bath. You overheard at Trisha's that he once paid a St Martins graduate to drink a bottle of Newport lighter fluid and vomit it up and set it on fire, like a real-life conceptual dragon, and wondered, idly if this was the same St Martins student who vomi... [more]
Welcome to Iraq: Come in, sit down, drink tea by Phoebe Stubbs Bassim Al-Shaker, Hareth Alhomaam, Cheeman Ismaeel, Furat al Jamil, Akeel Khreef, Kadhim Nwir, Jamal Penjweny, Ali Samiaa, Hashim Taeeh, Yaseen Wami, Abdul Raheem Yassir at South London Gallery
March 15th - June 1st
Welcome to Iraq at the South London Gallery is a restaging of the Iraqi Pavilion from the 2013 Venice Biennale. The original exhibition was an exercise in contrast—a casually furnished home in palatial surroundings, an Iraqi apartment in Venice. Comfortable sofas were covered in beautifully embroidered, colourful fabrics, and books about Iraq were scattered over tables alongside the artwork. In the South London Gallery the exhibition has to work harder to make the vast gallery space welcoming a... [more]
Walking into Camille Henrot’s first UK solo exhibition feels like walking into a storyboard of one of her haptic montage video works: a mishmash of images, advertisements, books, magazines, sculptures and anthropological artefacts are laid out in an entirely blue space.
The Pale Fox is indeed an 'installation version' of the acclaimed film Grosse Fatigue (2013), which was presented at the 55th Venice Biennale last year. The two works are the outcome of a long research process at the Smit... [more]
Let us imagine that we were to hold a costume party where the theme was “artists” – you would undoubtedly get a high volume of Dalis and Frida Kahlos and bald-cap Picassos, yes, but I’d say it was a fairly certain bet that you’d get at least three David Hockneys to boot. What I mean is that Hockney – with his distinctive appearance – is so much a part of the cultural furniture that we can expect to see Hockney-styled shoots in, say, Vogue Hommes Internationa... [more]
For his first retrospective, the Scottish artist and musician Martin Creed took over the entire Hayward Gallery: the elevator, staircases, and all three terraces—even the toilets. He would like his art works to function like music—being nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Maybe that is why you either love or hate Martin Creed—like music, his work arouses inflamed debates.
If the works are songs, than the whole show is a gig: welcoming the spectators is a menacing spinning overs... [more]
Art made for the immediate present can rarely stay present; this is the great curse of being a la mode, part of a zeitgeist or a representative of one's own era. Andy Warhol has been lucky enough to remain more-or-less constantly – well, if not relevant, certainly au courant in his fashionable style – and enduringly popular (in a recent Vanity Fair poll of the greatest living artists, with participants including Richter, Serra and Baldessari, several ballots suggested that Warhol be con... [more]
The 28th paragraph of Genesis, verses 10-13, reads:
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord […].
Lots of artists, during the course of... [more]
Warhol, Burroughs and Lynch were – for my teenaged self, at least – the Holy Trinity. I recall one early experiment in “literary fiction,” in particular (describing a maybe-LSD-trip, maybe-cryptozoological-arm-wrestling-match scenario, or some other such stream-of-consciousness rubbish) succeeding in horrifying my teachers, and ripping off Burroughs and Lynch in equal measure. As a matter of fact, I still describe Bill as my favourite writer; I am still entirely fascinated by W... [more]
In the world of television, there is a theory which is commonly referred to as the 'Seinfeld Is Unfunny' trope; put simply, it refers to the retroactive viewing of a thing which, though innovative in its day, seems expected in the modern world. Paradoxically, things fall prey to the Seinfeld Is Unfunny phenomenon precisely because they themselves were the first to carve out the particular style which now renders them passé or wholly predictable in the eyes of the viewer. (The pop-culture... [more]
Editor's Note: For our 2013 review, we tasked Philippa Snow, in London, and James Loks, in Paris, to discuss highs and lows, favourites and flops, and whether London or Paris had the best year. Their conversation, unedited, is presented below (with links added in to help you locate the reviews and events they talk about).
I've just been trying to think about what I'm going to say, in between writi... [more]
"I have never met anyone who was shocked by our work, or even talked to anyone who had met anyone who was shocked by it." – Jake Chapman, 2006.
In the Tate's Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm, there is a sculpture whose presence may yet provoke the most lapsed of Catholic art-appreciators to sweat from their closed-up stigmata: this life-sized Christ – a quadruple amputee, the stumps of whose limbs (in their raw, textured marble) suggest the interior of some s... [more]
The paintings of David Ostrowski present us with a world almost entirely drained of colour, figuration and matter – and yet they are utterly beguiling. There is something about the stark minimalism and ambiguity of these paintings which we would rather deny but simply cannot resist.
The press release for this exhibition takes the form of a question and answer session between Ostrowski and Harmony Korine. Although seeming to provide precious little information about the work, it sets the scene... [more]
The Bloomberg New Contemporaries Experience by Philippa Snow Rebecca Ackroyd, Thomas Aitchison, Lewis Betts, Jason Brown, Fatma Bucak, Agnes Calf, Lauren Cohen, Patrick Cole, Menna Cominetti, Calum Crawford, Mark Essen, Adham Faramawy, Ophelia Finke, Grant Foster, Archie Franks, Joe Frazer, Kate Hawkins, Adam Hogarth, Catherine Hughes, Aisha Abid Hussain, Roman Liška, Lana Locke, Antoine L’Heureux, Alexandra McNamee, Steven Morgana, Laura O’Neill, Hardeep Pandhal, Julia Parkinson, Joanna Piotrowska, Hannah Regel, Daniela Sarigu, Yves Scherer, Simon Senn, Ferdinand Saumarez Smith, Isabelle Southwood, Josephine Sowden, Marlene Steyn, Matthias Tharang, Shelley Theodore, Esme Toler, Dante Rendle Traynor, Sarah Tynan, Maarten van den Bos, Dominic Watson, Tom Worsfold, Tim Zercie at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
November 27th, 2013 - January 26th
As a person who "looks at art" for a living, there is always the occupational hazard that one or more of your loved ones will become caught in the crossfire; out of desperation to have a partner-in-crime to schlep to a West London gallery and look at the New and the Brave, there is always the chance that a friend, a significant other or an acquaintance will be coerced into looking at, say, a video-artwork of a troll-doll with a talking anus, or a "performance installation" which utilises a series... [more]
On Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Charlotte Jansen email@example.com wrote:
Want to talk about Japanese schlong?
On Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM,
Philippa Snow wrote:
Honestly, I'm shellshocked -- the shell in question, presumably, being some kind of hyper-vaginal conch, with a too-large and gnarled hermit crab attempting to squeeze his way in. I'll say it: the Shunga show made me long for the tender embrace of hardcore pornography. Never have I seen genitals... [more]
FRIEZE WEEK: QUALITY TIME AND WHERE TO FIND IT
Time-based media during Frieze week, by Marianne Templeton
Frieze Art Fair is one of those places—like supermarkets, or the Internet—where it's possible to feel that time is passing both too slowly and too quickly.
All those bright lights, long aisles and white surfaces certainly don't help. One does one's best to take everything in, but after a certain period the eyes and brain begin to protect themselves aga... [more]