From Emma Watson's recent "game-changing" UN speech, to Petra Collin's banned-from-Instagram bikini line debacle, gender equality is back on the mainstream social issue agenda—and of particular concern in our visual-centric culture is how to reinforce positive images of women.
The radical French feminist writers Helene Cixous and Anne LeClerc theorized about women's bodies as a currency in advertising, refering to the process of "tampaxification"—an example of the oppression of women... [more]
I recently came across Matthew Collings’ mid-nineties book Blimey! From Bohemia to Brit Pop, a no-holds-barred, bystander-style, verbal diarrhea of a monologue about the London Art World and its eccentricities. It’s so delightfully outdated not even two decades on that it makes you both inwardly cringe and want to read on in a “why isn’t art like this anymore?” kind of way. I was momentarily left mourning an irreverent art attitude I was too young to experience. For a... [more]
Jonathan Jones writes an art blog for the Guardian newspaper. I read his column with the same morbid fascination I used to reserve for those times when I’d come across a piece by Julie Burchill. Which is to say I begin with the nascent thrill of knowing my pique is going to be stimulated, followed by a good bit of private outrage, and finally a satisfying wallow in indignation. None of these are particularly attractive human characteristics; they are, however, pleasurable and best practic... [more]
It has been announced that fans of Damien Hirst describe themselves as moody, love TV's Ross Kemp, and eat vegetarian bangers and mash, according to a remarkable new web app launched this week by internet pollsters YouGov.
The app, which collates data from over 190,000 UK YouGov members has already kicked off a Twitter storm as people can find out for themselves what the most leftwing cheese is or the remarkable fact that if you like Tracey Emin, your third most likely favorite film is the Samuel L. Ja... [more]
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... [more]
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... [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... [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... [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 a... [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 through November 30), for example, shows contemporary artist... [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... [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... [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 at an... [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 soun... [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 spending the cash.
For the thrifty, there are some op... [more]