Frieze Flashback: How To Do An Art Party at Home
by Philippa Snow
Posted by Philippa Snow
| tags: modern pop conceptual
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 afterparty, and popped your flat, middle-class buttocks outwards-then-inwards-then-outwards-again in a tragic, arrhythmic imitation of a dance-move (it's so much funnier if you're wearing Acne and Isabel Marant, and talking about "contemporaneity," and also, like, not really into that stuff)?
Ken Beom, Yellow Scream, 2012, Courtesy Walker Arts Center
I didn't. Because I spent a long flight in a tin-can blasting back from Hungary last week, leaving me with the kind of flu which would encourage a lesser individual to yelp "I have ebola! I definitely have ebola!" on social media; the kind of running nose which would, if I were a curator of note, be a side-effect from cocaine. I saw Frieze happen only on the internet this year, and as a result, I felt the same way that I did when I watched the better-off kids from my class go on a skiing trip to the Swiss Alps: unsophisticated, démodé, disconnected, and out of touch.
(Which is an undesirable feeling, yes?)
Let's look, then, at how you might have done Frieze without actually going there:
1. Immediately buy some kind of sparkling wine which might pass as champagne. Luckily enough, I found myself with a bottle of Cristal in the fridge which a homosexual housemate had taken from a heterosexual strip-club—I won't ask how it happened, and I didn't drink it, either (the fug of flu-medicine does that to you—even to me, who sees champagne as a life-blood), but I was, at least, well-equipped.
2. Invite a wealthy couple into your home who have just bought an artwork they don't really care for. This, you will learn, is a special kind of rejuvenation for people who have more money than sense: watch the auctions and see who sells for the most, and you will see which artworks inject a dead-in-the-water money-marriage with another six months of erotic charge.
3. Paint your walls white, and I do mean all of them. If nobody else is going to see them, take comfort in the idea that your bedroom—just that one room, by itself—is a microcosm of the gallery industry. Hang up a favourite t-shirt (“Female Body Inspector” even—so postmodern!), and imagine it as a niche exhibition. What might it mean to the outside world? In my case, it sent a very strong message—“this woman is, somehow, high on Lemsip. Should we call a doctor?”
Jenny Holzer, Money Creates Taste, Installation 2010
4. Cordon off a V.I.P. area. This is the part of your house or bedroom which you're only allowed to enter if you are a) press, b) signed to a mega-gallery, or c) an artist of some note. For some of ArtSlant's readers, I admit, this means an awkward weekend of avoiding the space between the bed and the desk, for example, if that's where you've chosen. To circumvent the inconvenience, write yourself an Editor's letter. You can list your position as anything you like (e.g., The Creative Director of Drinking Lemsip and Crying a Bit Over Nothing, Really).
5. Obey Vogue's suggestions as to what you should wear to Frieze, if only because in recent years they seem invested in it. If you lack the designer credentials, try to imagine how what you wear as a layman might fit into Vogue-style copy. For myself, for example: “Cramps t-shirt with holes, vintage. Black knickers, Agent Provocateur. Feeling of slight nausea and running nose, Wizz Air Airlines, Hungary.”
6. Realize that missing a weekend of anything doesn't really hinder your ability to appreciate art. Really—you have this inherently, if you care about it, and it's still there. You don't need a weekend pass; you don't need accreditation. For all that Frieze's weekend might seem trendy and fun—and, from what I remember, through the mist of illness, it is—you are your own best art critic. Look forward to next year. And if nothing else, there's always Art Basel.
Art fairs are ephemeral, but (however much I might be tongue-in-cheek about the industry) art is forever, and it's wonderful.
Man, this Lemsip is some strong shit. Does anyone else need to lie down?
– Philippa Snow
(Image on top: Birch & Conran Gallery, Soho)
11 South Grove, Highgate, London, UK N6 6BS, United Kingdom
October 11, 2014 - November 9, 2014
George Grosz' Grotesque Humanity
by Thogdin Ripley
Posted by Thogdin Ripley
| tags: drawing painting war drawings modern
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 jig, and I can see that there is further entertainment provided from the three television screens mounted on the walls, each showing a different channel with the sound almost muted.
I walk up the hill, and a joke told to me years ago surfaces in my mind: if you’re shoeless at the bottom of Highgate Hill you’re a junkie; if you’re shoeless at the top you’re an artist. It strikes me as awful both in its class mockery and its complete failure at being funny.
An incredibly old woman passes me very slowly, fear of the wet leaves on the pavement forcing her to hold onto the wall for support as she descends with shuffling steps. I don’t notice her footwear. It’s the 10th of October. It’s starting to get cold again. Earlier today Ukip had their first MP elected, who told journalists “change is coming,” and I’m on my way to see the Hayward touring exhibition of George Grosz.
George Grosz, The War Was As Good As Cure For Me; Courtesy the estate of George Grosz and the Hayward Gallery
The Big No brings together two portfolios of work produced in the interregnum between the wars, taking its title from his autobiography—the wonderfully refusenik A Small Yes and A Big No—which I’ve been reading recently to get an idea of the man behind the work. It has a peculiarly humanist, though fundamentally cynical flavor that reminds me of Curzio Malaparte’s brilliant Kaputt, and I have been surprised by Grosz’s writing skill; his eagerness to entertain and his lightness of touch make reading it a joy.
In the exhibition hall the work is presented in tight lines, double-framed at a little less than my head height. I’m familiar with the pictures from a book that my father had when I was a child. Ecce Homo, Grosz called the first of the sets, showing for a cover the impassive face of a man with a bruised eye and a hat, a cigar chomped between lips as fat as slugs: a miserable creature wincing into an unseen wind. Here is man. And with Grosz it’s always the human—always the human in pain, wretchedness, or the strange hollow ecstasy of the delight in knowing that whilst they may not suffer personally, there are others close by who do. Humanity is presented as unerringly grotesque, and although much of the work uses the overlaid lines and flat perspectives of expressionism, it’s hard to know whether to treat them as a perhaps personalized form of war correspondence; as perhaps in some instances satire so direct as to be libelous; as perhaps incisive—and caustically realistic—social commentary disguised as the Sunday funnies; or as perhaps direct propaganda against the excesses of the day. Grosz suggests in his writing that he himself is unable to reconcile these roles.
George Grosz, The End; Courtesy the estate of George Grosz and the Hayward Gallery
The work continues with Hintergrund: designs for a stage performance of Hašek’s vehemently anti-war satire The Good Soldier Švejk, deemed so sacrilegious that Grosz faced charges of blasphemy at their publication. The depiction of the suffering and casual violence is hideous, beholden to the ridiculous humor of desperation, and although I joke with a fellow exhibtion-goer that these would make superb repeated prints for clothing or wallpaper, we both agree that the pictures do really retain the power to shock.
Above the various depictions of the wretchedness are mounted a line of busts; worthies of the hall that the gallery calls its home. The finely-wrought noses of Locke, Newton, and Palladio point forever upwards, slightly away from the tumult, as if in disgust. The irony hasn’t been lost on the gallery owners, who have left the spotlights pointed on them. I say my goodbye and make for the descent down the hill, passing the wine bars and restaurants. From one drifts the refrain of a blues song, old, desperate, cracked. I treat myself to a cheap takeaway burger. As I board the bus I take a first bite. The meat is underdone. The pellets of fat clag in my mouth like rubber shot.
(Image on top: George Grosz, Courtesy the estate of George Grosz and the Hayward Gallery)
Regent's Park, London, United Kingdom
October 15, 2014 - October 18, 2014
Frieze Previews: Jérôme Bel's Inflammatory Disabled Theatre Makes Its London Debut
by Keren Goldberg
Posted by Keren Goldberg
| tags: modern conceptual performance disabled theatre Frieze London Frieze projects 2014 art fair previews dance
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 nuclear disaster (Does This Soup Taste Ambivalent?, 2014).
Frieze Projects, the commercial fair’s not-for-profit programme curated by Nicola Lees, which this year wishes to bring in live disciplines such as dance, theatre, film and music, will include several performances, among them the American dance artist Isabel Lewis’ series of party-like "Occasions" taking place throughout London, and Nick Mauss' "living stage" at the fair, on which a new ballet will be performed each day.
But the main show this year is no doubt Jérôme Bel's Disabled Theatre, which aroused inflamed moral debates after being showed at Performa 13 last year in New York. The famous French choreographer worked with Theatre HORA, a Zurich-based group of professional actors with various cognitive disabilities. On an almost empty stage, the actors follow, one by one, Bel’s series of instructions, delivered by a translator: standing still in front of the audience for one minute, introducing themselves and their disabilities, each one dancing a self-choreographed solo, and finally stating what they thought of the show.
Arousing the connotations of "freak show" and charity act, socially engaged art or a group therapy session, performances have had previous spectators admit to experiencing a continuous moral inner struggle while watching the provocative show. Decide for yourself: Whether theorized through identity politics or victim-art, with only three performances (on 14 and 15 October) in its UK premiere, this event is definitely not to be missed.
next Frieze preview >>>
(Image at top: Jérôme Bel, Disabled Theatre; Photo: Ursula Kaufmann)
Frieze Previews: Frieze Projects Heads to the London Zoo
by Keren Goldberg
Posted by Keren Goldberg
| tags: Frieze projects 2014 performance art fair previews Frieze London zoological London Zoo conceptual
Also part of Frieze Projects 2014 is Cerith Wyn Evans' offsite project that will take place at the London Zoo at Regent’s Park. Wyn Evans, known for his neon works, will create an installation at the impressive Snowdon Aviary, designed in the 1960s by Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, Frank Newby, and Cedric Price. The work will be viewed together with the rare birds from the see-through structure, and on Thursday the 16th, at 5:30 PM, a special performance will take place, with guest performer American rock musician Susan Stenger.
Wyn Evans' work has always been interested in the place of animals within art; in one of his previous exhibitions in Berlin he worked with a local circus—one of their camels even visited the gallery. In this project he wishes to stage “a correspondence between inside and outside, both variously captive,” from which both animal and human spectators could benefit.
It's debatable as to whether this project will manage to offer new insights regarding the comparison between museums and zoos and the design of zoo architecture, but, seen for free from the canal side, this will surely be a worthwhile outdoorsy-audio-visual-animal experience. You can also catch Wyn Evans in a different park, at his solo exhibition currently on view at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.
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(Image at top: Snowdon Aviary as seen from Regent's Canal)
64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ, United Kingdom
September 19, 2014 - November 9, 2014
Ed Fornieles: Post-Internet Art and the Modern Family
by Phoebe Stubbs
Posted by Phoebe Stubbs
| tags: digital conceptual performance video-art installation mixed-media sculpture post internet art
In the run up to Ed Fornieles’ solo show, Chisenhale Gallery's Instagram feed was peppered with quick-moving pictures of wholesome family activities—brightly colored breakfast cereals, food porn and sleeping infants, angelic kids growing up to uplifting muzak, hand-holding—some of which descend into destruction, fire, or violence. Other images remained open-ended, such as the repeated phrase "Be Yourself." Fornieles, a British artist now working in LA, who was part of Sarah McCrory's Frieze Frame project in 2012, took over Chisenhale Gallery's feed making it both a primer for his show and an online work exploring the most hallowed societal institution in its visual form (culled from stock imagery and images on Pinterest and Facebook): the family.
His exhibition, Modern Family, up until November 9, takes its name from an American sitcom. Visually, it’s mucky—and deliberately so. There are limbs cast in grubby looking resin, a giant banana and apple made from hay, stale cholla, goo, stuffed toys and Tic Tacs. A big plywood gazebo topped with a lightening bolt provides a place to sit and watch. There’s a bed, a BBQ, giant chinos, fake plants, and a trellis caked in Cheerios. It’s a bit gross. Music—from cheesy house to the tinny sounds of a Disneyland family ride—is played at exactly that volume that takes over your body, coaching your experience. Lights rise and fall. Screens flicker. It’s hard to leave. You want to look at stuff but find yourself torn between the icky remnants of the parties that Fornieles threw when installing the show and the many monitors that surround the space that play sequences of images culled from the web.
Ed Fornieles, Modern Family, 2014, installation view. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of Carlos/ Ishikawa, London. Photo: Andy Keate.
A lot of post-internet artwork lands itself in weird territory trying to make tangible what goes on online. What works for Fornieles is that he doesn't seem to try to make physical work that "looks like" the Internet. It’s all material: images and stuff. Online/offline are not separate realities here; they are concurrently present and vital. He achieves this balance in part by sidestepping the role of artist as lone "maker" and instead is instigator, collector, aggregator, set-builder, enabling him to create spaces where behaviors can be explored in all formats. Modern Family is therefore a set for a party, a stage for actors he employs to enact archetypal responses to family life. I was alarmed to see a young girl silently weeping—her back turned to explicit homemade booty fetish porn, while stirring music soared and the lights mimicked a sunset—until I realized she was staged.
The development of an individual aesthetic isn’t therefore a straightforward process for Fornieles, though he definitely has one. He likes things a bit grubby and off-key. The exhibition works as a way to consider this aesthetic interest, which here is shared with all who partake in the show, with a term like "the family" and all its clean connotations. Thinking about the Internet’s presence in our lives is the perfect way to do this. Fornieles’ website constantly juxtaposes two algorithmically selected images, meting out search-term popularity for chance visual compatibilities. There are selections that seem themed: the best mums, the best dads, nail-art gifs, food, pregnancy. He is collecting popular web imagery and making a repository, a massive visual evidence of culture as it is reposted, bragged about. Everyone’s access to imagery on the Internet is so edited by their choices that we don’t actually often visually experience the collectivity we assume it to be. It is therefore a bit jarring to come face to face with a slew of "popular" web images like these. Together they express all of those anxieties split between the narcissistic perfections of lacquered nails, sculpted bodies, and perfectly risen cakes tacked to Pinterest with the seedy unmade beds of homemade porn, bombed cities, distraught children, guns, and money worries—ideals, desires, realities.
Ed Fornieles, Modern Family, 2014, installation view. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of Carlos/ Ishikawa, London. Photo: Andy Keate
Interestingly, despite its derivation from web imagery, much of the sculptural work in the show has a visual aesthetic that is immediately recognizable from visual art: tombs on chairs with potpourri and cherry pie glued on look like peppier Anselm Keifers. There’s a remixed look of Robert Gober, Paul McCarthy, and Cindy Sherman, all artists whose work stacks up to look like a history of identity anxiety in visual art, which is apt for a show about the modern family in our networked culture.
The exhibition's multiple elements allow these identity paradoxes to coexist. They're examined psychologically, experientially, visually. "Be Yourself" is set against "We Are One." The two phrases Fornieles uses seem both genuine and ingenuous. The individual is a product of and role in the modern family, itself a model of a wider society; it’s hard trying to "be yourself" when so much visual evidence from the web suggests you’re just like everyone else. It’s enough to reduce anyone to silent weeping—except that it is also immensely enjoyable!
(Image at top: Courtesy Ed Fornieles and Chisenhale Gallery)
Frieze Previews: Korakrit Arunanondchai's "Midnight Hip Hop Party" Comes to London
by Keren Goldberg
Posted by Keren Goldberg
| tags: pop video-art performance installation painting Korakrit Arunanondchai ica london hip hop Frieze London art fair previews Frieze projects 2014
The ICA London will feature its Off-Site series of performances and talks throughout Frieze days, at the special location of The Old Selfridges Hotel.
On one of the most intriguing nights, Thursday the 16th, Korakrit Arunanondchai will present four videos combined with performances: 2012-2555 (2012), 2556 (2013), Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 2 (2557) (Part 1) (2013), and his recent on-going work, The Future (2014). The Thai artist, known for his body painting on denim canvases and his semi autobiographical video works, will collaborate with performance artist Boychild, while the environment and lighting will be designed by AJGvojic.
His previous performance including videos at MoMA PS1 in New York was described as more like “a midnight hip hop show than an afternoon of performance art.” It is well worth attending, but not only for its entertainment value; Arunanondchai’s combination of video and painting and his attention to the performative aspect of body painting and its documentation offer food for thought as well. A sample of Arunanondchai’s denim paintings can currently be seen at the ICA group show Beware Wet Paint, and at East End gallery Carlos/Ishikawa, paintings and a mannequin installation by the emerging artist are on display alongside part two of the video Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 2 (2557).
Check out the event trailer:
The Last 3 Years and the Future (trailer) from Korakrit Arunanondchai on Vimeo.
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(Image at top: Courtesy Korakrit Arunanondchai)
WTF? Art-Fash Fail: The Gap's Latest Collection at Frieze
by Philippa Snow , Charlotte Jansen
Posted by Philippa Snow , Charlotte Jansen
| tags: frieze art fairs visionaire fashion art fashion collaboration Gap
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 told Opening Ceremony "It’s like, 'Oh my god, that’s possible?' And then you realize there [are] all these other things that are possible. You just never thought about it." Well, Cecilia, some things we never think about should just never be thought about.
I promptly shared the images with our resident fashion expert and cynic Philippa Snow. Here is our evaluation of the first of the new releases, which can be seen alongside a further 30 previous editions in an interactive display at Frieze London's Gap Lounge (it's just past the door on the left, halfway to Hades).
Marco Brambilla x GAP ART x Visionaire
Philippa Snow: I'm going to need a little background on this. Is Kanye West involved somehow?
Steven Klein x GAP ART x Visionaire
Charlotte Jansen: If you wore this and then stood in a forest in front of a tree it would look really trippy. I can't think of any other appropriate uses for this jumper.
PS: If a Deptford video artist falls in the woods and no curator is around to hear it, do they make a sound? Does that sound qualify as a conceptual sound piece if they do? These are the troubling questions that this collection is posing.
Christopher Bucklow x GAP ART x Visionaire
PS: Whatever happened to "dress normal," Gap?
CJ: The Daily Mail describes the Gap's last editions with Visionaire as "hi-tech."
PS: Does The Mail seem distrustful of a "hi-tech" sweatshirt?
CJ: The Mail seems to love them!
PS: All new technology is technology which might one day be used to keep out foreigners, I guess.
Massimo Vitali x GAP ART x Visionaire
PS: This one is particuarly heinous.
CJ: I am beginning to appreciate normcore.
PS: If you swim over that horizon, you find nothing but an empty gallery space with three crushed-up beer cans in it.
CJ: Jerry Seinfeld would never wear this sweatshirt.
Catherine Chalmers x GAP ART x Visionaire
CJ: Perfect to wear the first time you meet your new partner's parents.
PS: I would wear it to a halloween party as Kanye West, or a HYPEBEAST reader.
Pierre & Gilles x GAP ART x Visionaire
PS: There's a weird kind of confidence in making an ugly-looking item of clothing with a picture of Medusa on it. I think I like how it looks a bit like a Labisse painting though. Is this how Stockholm Syndrome feels?
CJ: I am hungover. This shirt is making me feel physically unwell.
PS: I just Googled this collaboration and I would like to add here the New York Observer's headline about it, which is: "Frieze Art Fair Partners With Gap Inc. Because This Is the Art World We Deserve."
Regent's Park, London, United Kingdom
October 15, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Frieze Camden: Sarah Lucas' Fried Eggs
by Philippa Snow
Posted by Philippa Snow
| tags: performance sarah lucas performance preview Frieze London draf fried eggs
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 of good-times-rawk-and-roll at the cost of personal dignity has some kitsch appeal, of course, and I do have a soft-spot reserved for it. It's just that in 2014, I seldom find myself in the neighborhood. I cut my hair and got a job, I guess, man—turned off, tuned out, dropped in again.
But there is life in Camden after adulthood, it seems, as demonstrated by the presence of Sarah Lucas there during this year's Frieze Art Fair, executing her performance piece Fried Eggs, for what I believe is the first time. I've a soft-spot for Lucas, too—like a fake fontanelle on a plastic skull—and have always had one (in 2005, BBC News actually described her as "the drinking man's Rachel Whiteread," for fuck's sake. How great is that? Honestly, I can't decide whether I'm riled because I'd have like to have thought of the phrase "the drinking man's" myself, or whether it's because I've never had it said about me). As a boozer-filled quasi-dump, it's a wonderful place for an artist of Lucas' renown to find herself not long before representing us in the Venice Biennale—from the ridiculous, perfectly, to the sublime. It's grit and glamour in extremis. Details about the performance are vague, but I know that it's set to involve the artist—hold on to your lager cans, reader—making fried eggs, as a pomo nod to her old work. I'd say if you're able, it's worth the trip to DRAF yourself to watch it unfold in the flesh, or in the yolk and the white, or simply in the pan: though the thing is most list-only, a few open spaces are available at seven on the dot if you're willing to turn up early—not an ideal prospect for those who keep vampire hours, but fine for the layman.
Sarah Lucas; Copyright the artist / Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London; Photo: Julian Simmons
(If you're looking for any tips in egg construction from a personal perspective, meanwhile, Lucas has this to say in a book which, I must confess in the interests of full disclosure, was made in my own place of work: "I aim to get a thick crusty bit on the bottom, especially if I'm going to hang them up—I use pipe cleaners for this as ordinary wire cuts right through them. And sunny side up, naturally." Naturally!)
Fried Eggs will be bookended by other works by Quinn Latimer, Megan Rooney, Joe Moran, and Eloise Hawser. There will also, incidentally, be a performance by planningtorock, a name which I recognise from the Spotify playlists of those who are more in touch with contemporary music than I am. And there's the rub, ain't it? Perhaps I'm a better match for the old-timer headbang beat of the Camden strip than I thought. But so be it! I accept my terminally unhip fate. You can look out for me in a bar that's playing Stooges repeats on the jukebox after the DRF shindig, looking defeated, and lighting my cigarette using the flame from a plastic skull. Yeah! Rawk and roll! And for those who are planningtorock like it's the Brit-Art peak—I salute you.
(Image at top: Sarah Lucas, Self Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996; © Sarah Lucas)
#FriezeMania: The London Instagrammies
by ArtSlant Team
Posted by ArtSlant Team
| tags: instagram instagrammies Frieze London art fair scene vip preview parties
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 are ArtSlant's Frieze London Instagrammies: proof that the art world is a hallucination.
BEST DANIEL CRAIG LOOKALIKE
BEST SAD DICK NOSE
BEST PLACE TO STORE YOUR COFFEE
BEST DYSTOPIC VISION OF THE FUTURE
BEST HOMOEROTIC MOMENT
I'm off to @friezeartfair today. So looking forward to it. #friezelondon #FriezeLive #FriezeProjects #RegentsPark #ArtWatch #PeolpeWatch #LoveMyJob
View on Instagram
BEST METROSEXUAL LOOK
BEST SERIAL KILLER SMILE
BEST FAIR ENTRANCE
BEST SEX DOLL DRESSED AS A WOMAN
#friezeweek the lovely #pandemonia @pandemonia99 #operagallery #nightsouts#plasticfantastic #chic #style own it
View on Instagram
BEST INTERACTION WITH A MOVING MUSHROOM
Touchy feely musical magic mushroom at #PrivateView at #FriezeLondon @hannahweall
BEST SHOT OF A DISPLACED CULT WHO ARE DISGUISED AS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS CAMPAIGNERS
BEST DISINGENUOUS PRADA HASHTAG
Frieze, in the name of art! #friezeselfie #badpunnight #friezelondon #art #ootd #wiwt #hotd #prada #saffiano #elietahari #valentino
View on Instagram
Regent's Park, London, United Kingdom
October 14, 2014 - October 18, 2014
Frieze London: Overheard at the VIP Preview
by Himali Singh Soin
Posted by Himali Singh Soin
| tags: vip preview overheard Frieze London art fairs art fair scene London art scene
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 were to map Regent's Park just by everything people said in there, we'd draw routes across every topic under the sun and below the ocean. In the rare moments of total silence, the work of art has transcended even that map, become a moment that extends beyond itself and into awe.
At the BMW car park for VIPs
"People just don’t want to walk that whole nine yards. Literally."
At the Frieze London VIP preview
"It’s the sort of show that keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger!"
"He’s always off to some foreign country or the other. I’ve heard that about a lot of curators."
"It’s a bit like it’s quarter a museum, quarter a gallery, and half a storage space."
"I always have two reactions to every work of art, you see."
"This work is about seasons. It’s bridging the tradition of anti-art and the sublime. It’s intentionally poetic."
"I’ll just follow you around."
"We have to hang it horizontally."
"Honey, this would look much better in a public space…"
"We can come down to 850,000 pounds…"
"I like it when it doesn’t look like art."
"It is 1:1 to reality."
"Is the art the photograph or the scale?"
"Would you say there’s an added value of buying female artists since there's not that many in the country yet?"
"No… I don’t like it, but I would buy it."
"It’s so perfectly curved."
"He would call himself an artist without distinction."
"This photograph is infused with an art historical memory."
"It’s a conversation between red and green."
"It’s 45,000 pounds plus tax."
"How many editions?" "6." "Unique?" "Uh. No. 6 editions."
"How old is the artist?" "She’s about 30. She looks great."
"I can’t wait to see you tomorrow in your sequins!" [Laughter]
"Ahhh! This is the White Cube gallery. I find them VERY interesting and really despicable."
"I’ve heard there’s free lager there."
"His narrative is very much diaspora."
"I know this great hair salon near Hyde Park. You must go there. "
"She is a performance artist." "What’s a performance artist?"
"Emphasis on the vision."
"This is a bit unnerving."
"If the artist is still alive, the tax is lower. Italy wants to control these things. It was originally made for ancient roman things, but really, just dead fifty years and they make it so hard for us?"
"It’s good, your mapping of life through art."
"You should sell that ten times."
"I was with all of them in 1969. There were poor then."
"I live on Kensington Palace Gardens."
"You have all this rain. There’s plenty of time to feel inspired."
"There’s only one direct flight to Scotland."
"Do you remember me?" "No."
"I don’t want to work with that gallery anymore. They sold my work for a price I didn’t agree to."
"She lived in the eighteenth century and made decoupage."
"I think it’s either from Mexico or somewhere in Africa."
"It references that moment in British history when there were riots in Tottenham and Brixton."
"No matter where you look, it’s as if someone else has gone through your thoughts…"
"Time is money!"
"I’m not drinking till December. I got into my car this morning and realized I was still drunk."
At Frieze Masters
"Now this has soul."
"Do you feel this paint is thin?" [Italian accent]
"What condition is it really in?"
"Which family owns this?"
"They want the mother to sell the painting but the older son is convincing her, no. He wants to push the market."
"It’s always like this." [Italian accent]
"Whose house is the original in? Anyone we know?"
"Allora! 150,000 euros? Thank you." [Quick exit]
"It’s amazing how some people say that is important and all of a sudden, they’re important."
"He said something about the collection being robbed from his house?" [Hushed whisper]
"Strange work, isn’t it?"
"He asked me if it was vintage. I didn’t know what to tell him, since he’s a collector and I wasn’t sure if he wanted vintage or not."
—Himali Singh Soin
(All images courtesy of the author)
Keren Cytter, Cally Spooner, Hannah Weinberger
Regent's Park, London, United Kingdom
October 15, 2014 - October 18, 2014
Frieze on the cheap: Frieze Sounds
by Phoebe Stubbs
Posted by Phoebe Stubbs
| tags: sound art frieze sounds Frieze London art fairs
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 options for a free "Frieze experience" however. Frieze Sounds is part of the larger umbrella of Frieze Projects, curated by Nicola Lees. Following its New York debut, Frieze Sounds is showcasing three artists whose audio works can be downloaded online, and hence re-experienced to your heart’s content—without having to approach the ticket booth. But if you do make it inside, discreet listening stations are also situated on a few of the walls.
Frieze Projects features artists whose works span genres; Sounds is a great example of the attempt to broaden what happens at the fair. Cally Spooner’s The Ballad of Work is an unaccompanied choral piece, the theme song from her film And You Were Wonderful, On Stage (2013), commercial excerpts of which are also being screened in the auditorium. As such it feels like only a small part of a larger project, at times like listening to a rehearsal for a Philip Glass opera or a part of a rather serious musical, but this makes sense as it acknowledges that Spooner’s practice is expansive and multifaceted. The song repeats phrases like “learn to work” and “finalize.” The effect of a mass of voices listened to through the privacy of headphones in a giant space is unexpectedly exciting.
Hannah Weinberger’s Hey is composed around her baby’s heartbeat, overlaid with a didgeridoo, jazz instruments, and electronic boomerang-type sounds. If you want a trippy experience download it and then wander around the fair.
Because some of the sounds aren’t really obvious—and because aurally as well as visually we always try to identify them, I found myself searching for visual clues about their making. Keren Cytter’s work Constant State of Grace is the most unsettling of the three. Phrases are repeated above an intensely repetitive sound, dislocating you totally. She’s interested in the hypnotizing power of minimalist composition and deconstructed dialogue. I found I shifted between anxiousness and irritation to intense focus, but without my being able to control it. Phrases like “I am taking over,” “concentrate,” “let it fill with fading colors” are disorienting when allowed to be background and freaky when foregrounded.
If you get the combined ticket to Frieze and Frieze Masters at £50 you could just about see every piece of work, watch a couple of performances and catch two talks. Then again, if you chose not to go to Frieze you can still download these three tracks, and the audio from all the talks, and feel like you’ve cheated the system just a tiny bit. I highly recommend Cally Spooner’s piece through earphones on the way to work.
(Image on top: Photograph by Linda Nylind; Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.)
Why Should London Get More Culture Money?
by Char Jansen
Posted by Char Jansen
| tags: arts funding London arts council england
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 arts professionals who have worked in the industry for 45 years, released the third report from their comprehensive research earlier this month. Entitled "Hard Facts to Swallow," it unmasks the culture funding bias of the Arts Council England's plans for the next 3 years. In a Robin Hood-esque display, the trio were motivated by the feeling that something wasn't right in the arts funding system: "In 2013 we decided that we needed to look at the evidence for the balance between large and small companies, between more and less affluent and 'arts engaged' communities, and between London and the rest of England."
It finds arts funding to be at a startling 1:4 ratio in favor of the capital—43.4 percent of the investment in the arts for England will go to London. Their previous reports had revealed similar imbalances in funding between the capital and the rest of the country.
But Stark, Gordon, and Powell's report is endemic of a much wider, more troubling picture of increasing inequality within our "glocal" world. It's a bitter indictment of the growing cultural chasm between major cities and "outside." A funding bias will only widen the gap.
So why does London deserve more?
It's a hot potato. According to the ACE's official response to the "Hard Facts to Swallow" report, they at first cite the government squeeze on national budgets as a reason for the bias. But as Powell puts it: "We want a national policy for the arts in England which does not just reinforce the status quo whilst pleading that no change is possible without substantial new funding."
But ACE does raise a fair point: London is a natural cultural center for the whole of the UK. Inhabited by a 23 percent chunk of the population, it attracts more visitors, both national and international, and houses more gallery spaces, artists, and artistic projects. They also point out that many of their funding plans include "companies that are administered in London but whose outreach is national."
This privilege is precisley the issue. London is a complex brew, churning with the world's commerce, pumped by the ideology of capitalism and the machine of the metropolis. Many creatives and young people are being choked off. ACE projects might be long term, and their progress might only be charted over years not months—but that in itself is a fundamental problem, because culture moves much quicker.
Just where does all the money go? If the funding bias continues, London is at risk of a defanged, homogenized arts scene with the poorer being forced out. The corollary is that the majority of those recipients of ACE funding, being based in one of the world's wealthiest cities, are already privileged, either by access to larger (and richer) audiences, to prominent media, or to broader networks, private wealth, etc. As Powell points out, "there is no strategic support of participation in the arts at local level."
What are the wider implications of this? I ask Powell, via email. "The impacts of this bias will be felt across the whole arts ecology. 85 percent of England’s population lives outside London and should have an equal call on arts and culture to those of us who live in London. Taking part in arts and culture locally—where you live—is an essential part of every child and family’s upbringing; emerging talent is developed in small companies. At a time when local funding across England is under so much pressure, the continuation of the London imbalance will have serious consequences for the arts and culture in communities throughout the country."
(Image at top: Illustration by Joel Kuennen)
5 Zine Producers You Need to Know
by Kimberly B. Johnson
Posted by Kimberly B. Johnson
| tags: graffiti/street-art photography modern pop mixed-media drawing art magazines zines
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 small booklets, transforming the way information and knowledge was dispersed throughout the culture.
This aesthetic of the punk rock zine has since been adopted by other subcultures such as the skateboard and graffiti communities. Now, the notion of what a zine can encompass is for all intents and purposes, endless.
Luckily for a millennial like myself, zines are as powerful and relevant as ever. In celebration, here are 5 zine publishers who have produced titles that make me jealous I had nothing to do with them:
1. We Got Power!
Cover of We Got Power! By David Markey and Jordan Schwartz
When hardcore punk hit LA—overflowing out of hubs like the iconic Roxy and Whiskey a Go Go—there were two (barely post-pubescent) high-schoolers ready to stay out way too late on school nights and concoct fake press presses to photograph and interview the up and coming bands. David Markey and Jordan Schwartz, the two main players in this venture, managed to produce six zines between 1981 and 1983 consisting of some of the earliest coverage of iconic hardcore punk bands such as Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat and so much more. They're the only zine makers on my list not publishing today, but their influence and interest in the work is as potent as ever. That is way, way more than I accomplished by the age of 18.
From Hazardous Conditions and Unmasked Obstacles by Peter Sutherland; Co-Published by Nieves and Innen.
Cover art for Ed Templeton's The Debasing of Juanita; Published by Nieves
From Devils and Babies by Harmony Korine; Published by Nieves
Nieves, based out of Switzerland, is a publishing house to pay attention to for a few reasons—particularly because they tackle the craft of zine publishing by utilizing the crème de la crème of contemporary art. Not every zine publishing company simply has titles laying around from a chunk of my favorite modern day muses including Harmony Korine, Chris Johanson, and Ed Templeton. Because of this, they earn themselves a 100% guaranteed fresh seal of approval.
From Cash Only by AIGHTY; Published by NIGHTED
From The Sorrows of Young by Matthew Eloy; Published by NIGHTED
Ever since I was exposed to NIGHTED, my perception of the execution of the photozine has been altered. Gritty imagery aligning with photojournalistic undertones make this Bay Area-based collective one of my favorites. What also earns notable brownie points is the relentless grind of the camp. Only on its third year (est. 2012) NIGHTED has dropped dozens of titles and extended its reach to represent the brand at fests far and near. The camp will soon be releasing its 6th installment of NIGHTED Life—the collective’s signature group zine—with a release party/photo show to be held on October 30. More info here.
4. Hambuger Eyes
From Hamburger Eyes No. 3
From Hamburger Eyes No. 16(2)
Cover of Romance Warrior; Published by Hamburger Eyes
To talk photozines, one must never forget the contributions of Hamburger Eyes to the game. With 13 years of producing zines under its belt, HE has honed its look by continuously dropping that signature monochromatic, collage-filled style. Volume after volume, the series continues with images that entice the reader, invoke curiosity, and paint a much appreciated awkward and honest portrayal of the human experience.
5. Broken Fingaz
Page from Broken Fingaz, Sex Picnic Vol.1
I still don’t really understand how exactly Broken Fingaz Crew do what they do. Their release “Sex Picnic, Vol 1” has earned them status in my mind as a collective that could literally draw anything, and I’m sure I will be dazzled beyond belief just as much as I’m appalled. Based out of Israel the crew is known for its risqué imagery, but more importantly, its strenuous attention to detail. If you’re ever in Berlin or Tokyo—or basically anywhere ever—sniff around for a BF mural and witness the craft firsthand. They have also released a series of zines titled "Suck on Titties."
In subcultural fashion—with major headlines foreshadowing the eventual demise of tangible printed literature and art—the underground responds tenfold. Hundreds of annual zine fests are held throughout the nation yearly—I went to three in Los Angeles this year alone—so it is evident that these small scale books hold major value to those who indulge in them.
(Image on top: Issue #5 of We Got Power! released in 1983 featuring Los Crudos [cover])
Emerging Russian Artists You Need to Know
by Phoebe Stubbs
Posted by Phoebe Stubbs
| tags: photography modern video-art installation sculpture painting russian artists contemporary Russian art calvert 22
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 artists who are working with ideas born in seminal movements from 20th century Russia—the emergence of non-objective art and the founding of the Soviet space program—alongside pioneering artists from that era, Pavel Klushantsev and Mikhail Matyushin.
The Calvert Journal's 20 Under 40 presents a younger generation of artists whose work could fit right in with the themes of Beyond Zero—and you'd be wise to familiarize yourself with some of the names on the list. Although all the artists work across a wide range of genres and subject matters, collectively they embody an interest in culture and traditions of knowledge. For example, Daniil Zinchenko’s video work explores Russian cosmism’s significance; Alex Buldakov’s and Yelena Popova’s videos and paintings (although very different) demonstrate a fascination with how Constructivism is interpreted; and Antonina Baever’s video/performance Getting there together (2013), in which she travels across a desert with a camel in tow, is an allegory of how the role of the artist is to carry the accumulated weight of knowledge.
Alex Buldakov, XXX Malevich
Many of the artists, such as Arseniy Zhilyaev, Sergey Ogurtsov, and Dimitri Venkov, have outputs that span writing, academia, and art-making, and their specific research interests tie their practices together. The Calvert Journal list shows a shift in the dominant exports from contemporary Russian art of the 2000s. Russian artists’ work that is often presented in the UK from the 1990s seems preoccupied with defining itself and operated in underground movements. From the 2000s to 2010s an interest in ideology and protest emerged, which tends to be what gets remembered—think Pussy Riot or the St Petersburg art-sect KOLKHUI’s punk roots. This current list shows a distinctly research-based turn, demonstrating an interest in the nature of knowledge in general and its specific forms in art and culture.
Although the list is heavy on artists with practices that reference historical cultural forms and academic knowledge, their work also carries with it the spirit of irreverence, humor, and wit that characterizes so much Russian work of the recent past. With many of them exhibiting internationally and winning awards such as the Kandinsky Prize, these artists’ combination of ironic interpretation with a sincere interest in culture is obviously in demand.
(Image at top: Sergey Ogurtsov, Gaston Bachelard burns Freud's letter at castle Marcasseles, Bar-sur-Aube, From the series Empty Homes of Being, 2008-2010; Courtesy of the artist)
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, 150 Strand, Charing Cross, London WC2R 0RN, United Kingdom
October 23, 2014 - January 18, 2015
Searching for Christ's Penis
by Thogdin Ripley
Posted by Thogdin Ripley
| tags: figurative drawing painting courtauld nudes
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 being shown at the Highgate Gallery, replete with ass-forward demimondes; Dix is included as part of Manchester Art Gallery’s The Sensory War; and a selection of Schiele’s drawings have been brought together for the first time at the Courtauld. Dubbed Radical Nudes, the show aims to present Schiele as a figure who went beyond the nude as a representation of the human body, or even as a traditional subject for honing the artist’s skill, and presented the viewer with his own truly naked reality.
Schiele is revered for his honesty, his skill in elucidating his own self-alienation (and by extension the wider schism in modes of artistic realism in the early years of the 20th century), and, perhaps most famously, the extreme sexuality of his studies. The banner overhanging The Strand shows one of the titular women, prominently rouged nipple and all; the display halfway explains why the show is so well attended, as well as our continuing fascination with his work. Time hasn’t dampened one bit Schiele’s harnessing of pornography—or to use the kinder term, eroticism—as a valid output for fine art: sex still sells. In fact, as a contemporary viewer it’s relatively easy to connect the drawings—with their libidinously obsessive stretching and distorting of the forms both male and female; their antagonistic or seductive stares to the viewer; their deliberately-posed juttings and bendings; and the posed, slack, ecstasy/agony mouth of the martyred saint—with much modern day commercialized sexual iconography.
Egon Schiele, Woman in Boots with Raised Skirt, 1918, Black crayon, 43.5 x 28 cm; Private collection c/o Richard Nagy
Somewhat disappointingly we are spared—whether through curatorial machinations, or a final snip of the censor’s blade (this is the Courtauld, after all)—the confrontational excesses of Schiele’s more onanistic portraiture (dispelling my original thought that there are people masturbating in the galleries!). But the multiple feminine glans of his nudes still glow brightly as carmine gashes, both figuratively and very literally, upon the exhibition-room walls. Though the write-ups for the pictures are (perhaps too) quick to politely point the slavering viewer toward the fineness of line and the interesting use of space and color, Schiele’s original, undoubted pruriency has a tendency to snarl more loudly.
In fact, the floors of the gallery as a whole are rife with the shock of the nude. Journeying through the other rooms after viewing the show, it’s hard not to judge each example of bared flesh by the same weird pomo/porno scoreboard: Hundreds of sybaritic coquettes in your area, just waiting to be sketched!
Egon Schiele, Woman with Black Stockings, 1913, Gouache; Photo courtesy Richard Nagy
Still on the top floor, the vanilla symmetry of Modigliani’s Female Nude (1915) tips me a wink—the explanation on the adjacent wall telling me how curvy Iris is fascinated by feminism, but only if it means she gets her own way—but post-Schiele her frankly too-pink body just doesn’t cut it, and I travel on. One floor down, several Christs hang limply, loin-cloths naughtily skimming ultra-toned hips. But this is pure softcore, in stark contrast to Schiele’s marked penchant for the mirror and the study of self—where self refers almost exclusively to tufty legs and membrum virile. I spend a while looking at the various crucifixions throughout the gallery, noting the near-nakedness of each, and comparing the faraway eyes and His undressing form to the Viennese flesh-show upstairs, before the slow dawning that I’ve spent considerable time—really—searching for (whisper it) Christ’s penis.
Joshua Reynolds, Cupid and Psyche, 1789
In another room, Joshua Reynolds' restored Cupid and Psyche (1789) captures the post-coital couple at a very interesting stage in their relationship, picturing The Most Beautiful Woman in the World about to spill some really hot oil. Reynolds’ interpretation is sexually underwhelming, though, with not a Golden Ass to be seen. Elsewhere, Gaugin’s Tahitian wife reclines ambiguously exposed in Nevermore (1897), spiritually bored or at prey to the two figures who stalk the background—the nude as encapsulation of an ennui as keen as any page 3 stunner’s strictly professional smile-to-camera. On the opposite wall, Manet’s plump bather sits skyclad on the meadow—fully frontal in her gaze, at least. In mute communion with the viewer, she is a challenge to—and reflection of—Parisian 19th century fears about the rise of prostitution, and more generally the influx of immigrants into the capital. At the time, it was sensationalist and considered sordid in the extreme—so much so that Émile Zola fictionalized the controversy in a novel. As I pass there are a gaggle of students diligently sketching her in charcoals, but then, to paraphrase a sympathetic Zola: no one goes to the gallery to be scandalized.
(Image at top: Egon Schiele, Male Lower Torso (detail), 1910, Black chalk and gouache, 44.8 x 28.1 cm; Courtesy the Leopold Museum, Vienna)