“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 - September 5th
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]
Karen Kilimnik's third exhibition at Sprüth Magers London is suspiciously restrained. There are no added period furnishings or colored walls—just two rooms of carefully sequenced paintings, with a pair of photographs (blue poppies and aging white roses) arranged either side of the doorway as a sort of parting flourish. A closer look reveals that the artist's trademark theatricality is still present, though subdued: the show is peppered with duplications, paintings masquerading as pla... [more]
Transgender identities are coming of age with a global platform and widening acceptance. Gender fluidity is not yet accepted in all countries and cultures and therein lies the latest challenge of the multi-faceted identity of being transgender, implying a journey from birth to re-assigned identity and a dual cultural heritage inherited as a consequence. Trans identities are becoming more culturally accepted in the West and new neuro-biological research is also contributing to the debate and suggestin... [more]
In Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino illustrates, with the aid of an Italian folktale, how love might be a force of attraction that holds the very craft of a story that brings seemingly disjunct events together. King Charlemagne, spellbound by a ring, falls in love with whoever possesses it: a young girl, an old man, and finally, a lake. “To hold this chain of events together, there is a verbal link, the word 'love' or 'passion,' which establishes a continuity between different... [more]
What Do Artists Collect? by Thogdin Ripley Arman, Peter Blake, Hanne Darboven, Edmund de Waal, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Dr Lakra, Sol LeWitt, Martin Parr, Jim Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Danh Vo, Andy Warhol, Pae White, Martin Wong at Barbican Art Gallery
February 12th - May 25th
Somewhere in this huge warehouse a noise starts up. Between the rows of crates that recede as far as the eye can see in all directions lies a carpet of dust, as thick and undisturbed as night-fallen snow. The shelves bow with the weight of their load, disappearing up, beyond the soft penumbra of the sodium glow that punctuates the darkness at regular intervals. Somewhere in this maze of gargantuan blocks, pine-smelling and at rest—somewhere in this vast repository of knowledge, this uncared-f... [more]
After looking at Berlin's best workspace cafes last month, I'm hit by the enormity of undertaking the same in London: to tackle such a gargantuan city as this, we ought to start with areas, and East London is the heartland of the freelancer. New places you can open up an Airbook over a gingham-laminated table and sip a Flat White pop up quicker than updates on a Twitter feed in this city. In fact we might already have more coffee shops per square mile than DJs.
In a world of crispy-fried drumsti... [more]
The most popular women’s sport in Afghanistan right now? It’s not soccer or cricket. It’s not track and field. Afghan girls aren’t picking up tennis rackets or hockey sticks.
They’re hopping on skateboards.
Girls are skateboarding in Afghanistan? They are. And the country’s young female skaters will be rolling into the spotlight next month when the Saatchi Gallery hosts an exhibition of UK photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson’s portraits from her series Skate Girls of... [more]