Collecting as Collaboration: Launch Pad Brings Artists Directly into Collector Sarah Elson's Home
by Bea De Sousa
Posted by Bea De Sousa
| tags: art patronage sculpture Art collecting Launch Pad art collectors art commissions
Launch Pad was founded in London in early 2014. It is described as a commissioning program intended to serve as a platform for emerging artists who have not previously exhibited in the UK. Three artists per year are invited to create a new work that responds to the domestic space, history, or environment of the founder’s home. The founder is Sarah Elson, an art historian and seasoned art collector as well as an active philanthropist.
The project sounds simple enough: publicly accessible art displays in the private home, lead by artists, curators or independent gallerists have become commonplace. Recently, fueled by the investment boom in art, private collectors started opening their homes for public visits or even building museums to house their vast collections of, on average, 2,000 works or more. Collector’s exhibition spaces, coined ego-seums, are increasingly competing in scale and visible presence, but not always in quality with public institutions.
Rachel Foullon, Choker, 2014, Painted steel and fabric bow, Site-specific commission for the home of Launch Pad founder, Sarah Elson. Courtesy of Launch Pad
However, despite the large numbers of works in relatively few collections worldwide, the production of new art has become precarious since 2008, due to a lack of sales for younger, less established contemporary art and a focus on “safe bets” rather than speculative investments in experimental or new tendencies. The overheated art market increasingly eschews younger artists' works as well as new media pieces. At the same time, the closure of alarming numbers of independent and smaller gallery spaces dedicated to younger contemporary art and the ongoing depletion of government and charitable funds for public institutions indicates the decline of support platforms for new art. Much deplored as the situation has been by artists and curators, so far collectors seemed to be on the other side of that debate.
So I was curious that a well-networked and highly regarded collector of contemporary art and art patron would choose to conceptualize the way she collects by creating a modest scale project based on an open cooperation with relatively unknown contemporary artists. Rather the opposite to an “ego-seum,” it strikes me as a considered reaction by a collector to an accelerated and directionless art market today. Sarah Elson has been collecting internationally established and new contemporary art for over a decade. She is also and continues to be an active patron and trustee of many public art institutions and charitable organizations dedicated to contemporary art. So I was astounded that she decided to change the way she was collecting to a more narrowly defined format, limited to just three projects and emerging art—and, more importantly, open to public scrutiny.
Josh Faught, The Mauve Decade, 2014, Site-specific commission for the home of Launch Pad founder, Sarah Elson. Courtesy of Launch Pad
I went to visit Launch Pad to talk to Elson, its founder and driving force, in her Holland Park home, which houses the commissioned projects as well as parts of her own collection. I asked what motivated her to define collecting for herself in a structured way.
Her very honest reply was that she felt she had been collecting arbitrarily over the years, without advocating a specific direction or style. She expressed the view that this form of collecting lacked purpose, as the choices were merely circumstantial, and that she is now looking for more substance in her interaction with art. When I asked her whether the current overheated art market had been influencing her decision, she speculated that she found the breadth of offers at art fairs internationally overwhelming, "scary" and too "testosterone fueled."
I find Elson’s frankness refreshing. It comes from an educated woman who has been able to make her mark with an enviable network in the international art scene in London and New York. She has been very consistent in supporting women in the arts without making this the sole message of her endeavors. It sends a strong message to the busy auction and fair businesses, that some collectors are becoming exasperated by the search for content in an increasingly surface and price obsessed market. Interestingly, Elson also points out a little discussed fact that the top end of the market is often male-dominated despite the strong numbers of women contributing to the arts.
Suse Weber, Formula: Marionette, 2014, A variable site-specific installation for the home of Launch Pad founder, Sarah Elson. Courtesy of Launch Pad
I asked how she would define her role within the art market now. Her emphatic response was that she was seeking a far more close connection to the artists directly. By becoming more involved looking for a human connection with art and artist rather than trading over the artist’s head for investment’s sake. She also conceptually fixes resources to maximize the effect in the commissioning process and allow the artist and herself more enjoyment. The artist is offered complete freedom to create, while Sarah Elson literally accepts any result as part of an open ongoing process. She admits with a smile that she is aware that open-ended processes may not end at all or the result may not be to her liking. It is a risk she is willing to take for a more personal involvement.
The commissioned artist is invited to stay in her home as a personal guest for a time, a commitment to dialogue and engagement, which goes well beyond a businesslike transaction and poses a personal challenge both to Elson and her family in their home as well as to the visiting artist. By being closely involved and following the artist’s process of creating the commission, she experiences the art process directly and occasionally becomes part of it. The completed works are integrated in the architecture of the Victorian conversion, occasionally responding directly to the site or the history of the house. Craftmanship in the making process is something that subconsciously comes into play with the artists Elson chooses, a response to a current trend as much as a reflection of her personal interest.
A final question was how Elson envisages her relationship with the artists she launches evolving in future. She admits she has not yet fully defined this, although she intends to remain actively connected with all her Launch Pad artists. She is also planning to inspire other collectors in her network to open further Launch Pads, as a kind of viral project. Currently a project in New York is in discussion.
Elson is not alone in this trend of collectors becoming direct patrons and seeking to actively define personally compatible ways to connect with art, artists, and art organizations. As a response to the era of the art supermarket and online proliferation, collectors alongside artists and cultural producers are seeking more intimate and personal interactions with contemporary art.
—Bea de Sousa
The next Launch Pad project is open from January 26–February 1, 2015.
Latest Commission: The Old Boys Club (aka Katya Bonnenfant) “L’esprit d’escalier et autres tracas”
Access: daily 12-6pm by appointment only
Contact: email@example.com to book viewings
(Image at top: Josh Faught (front), Suse Weber (rear), Installation View, 2014; Courtesy of Launch Pad)
A Graffiti Gallery Show That Might Actually Be Good
by Char Jansen
Posted by Char Jansen
| tags: graffiti/street-art Maps mapping the city London somerset house a(by)p
We've not been hugely supportive of institutional presentations of graffiti previously: too often they put out unresponsive, stale, or simply haphazard exhibitions that do not render context or format. They assign too much concept or none at all, and each is as bad as the other.
But this massive group show, Mapping the City, in association with A(by)P at the new wing of Somerset House, London (ironically, a former tax office) looks like a well-balanced approach to circumventing this problematic art form in the context of the Museum.
The exhibition will include work from over 50 artists on the shared theme of the city, identifying something that all dedicated graffiti artists have in common: a unique perspective of the urban architecture. By identifying this common knowledge, and by presenting new works, a more natural connection between the Institute and the artist seems to have been forged. Over 40 of the contributions have been specially commissioned by A(by)P. The interpretations will differ wildly as there's no real connection between the artists—other than their background in painting walls—but it will be interesting to see how artists as diametrically different as Lush and Horfe will react to the brief.
Mapping the City—which opens next week—commissioned a carefully selected list of artists from the graffiti and street art camps. Sure, there are some crowd-pullers among them that we're used to seeing, but there are also some respectably "underground" choices, if such a thing still exists, from members of Paris' PAL crew, to Scandavians like Egs, Nug, Erosie, and Etka. Brits among them are Daniel K. Sparkes, Russell Maurice, and Petro, who formed a D.I.Y movement, Comic Abstraction a few years ago.
In short, it would be great if this happened more. Here's a preview ahead of next week's opening.
Shepard Fairey, Berlin Tower, 2011
Chu, Buenos Aires, 2012
Swoon, Bangkok, 2009-2012
Jurne, Covalence, 2013
MOMO, Tag Manhattan, 2013 (Original project 2006)
Issac Tin Wei Lin, Abstract Rug Design for a Dwelling in the Plains, 2012
(Image on top: Mike Ballard, The Ultra Poet)
Justin Hammond Selects Top Recent Graduates at London Art Fair
by Justin Hammond
Posted by Justin Hammond
| tags: student artists catlin art prize london art fair 2015 recent graduate artists justin hammond catlin guide
The Catlin Prize and Guide is one of London's primary art prizes for recent graduate artists. The guide launches in January each year at the London Art Fair—with the prize winners announced at an exhibition in May. Founder and Director, and former ArtSlant Prize Juror, Justin Hammond, selects his favorite works from this year's edition, also on show at the London Art Fair 2015.
The Catlin Guide 2015
We're back in Art Projects at the London Art Fair to mark the publication of The Catlin Guide 2015, a limited edition book showcasing 40 outstanding recent graduate and postgraduate artists from UK art schools. As well as making a small number of copies free to visitors on each day of the fair, we're also presenting a selection of work by featured artists. Here, I've picked out four works showing at stand P25.
1. This is where the darkness lies (from the series Under the Influence), Dominic Hawgood
(Royal College of Art, London)
This is where the darkness lies, 2014, Vinyl Giclee, 204x152 cm, Edition 5
Under the Influence delves into the masked rituals of contemporary Christianity embraced by churches in London's African community. Inspired by the experience of witnessing an exorcism, Dominic attended a succession of church meetings and sermons, where his motives were routinely challenged. Pastors were invariably skeptical, an attitude at odds with the very public promotion of deliverance. These highly-stylized images accentuate that contradiction, hinting at the merchandizing of these rituals and engaging in issues of authenticity. Under The Influence won Dominic the BJP International Photography Award and bagged him an upcoming solo show at TJ Boulting.
2. Slattenpatten, Fanny Wickström (The Glasgow School of Art)
Slattenpatten, 2014, Chicken wire, papier mache, clay, acrylic, fake hair, 65x30x30 cm
The annual trek up to Glasgow for the MFA show is usually a fruitful one. This year, three artists from the Glue Factory show made the book, including Fanny Wickström, selected for her freakish trolls and sculptures like No One on the Corner Has Swagger Like Us (a scrotum dangling from a gigantic human ear). Fanny provided one of the more tangential interviews for the book. Here she is, talking about her approach to making art:
One of my friends had an undergraduate professor who once told her that if you are a woman you should never make small paintings. And if you do decide to make small paintings, god forbid, don't ever paint on board, it has to be canvas. Despite, or perhaps because of the silliness of this statement, I still sometimes think about it when I make sculptures. My work usually ends up being roughly the size that one person can produce and handle. It's probably due to a combination of lack of space, money and imagination. Perhaps being truly subversive would be making only miniatures, like detective Freamon from The Wire.
3. Doolaley, Nicholas Johnson (Royal College of Art, London)
Doolaley,2014, Acrylic and pumice on canvas, 120x170 cm
Look closely and you'll spot the text crawling across the canvas. It's the title of the painting—an alternative spelling of "doolally"—meaning to be off your head. This is landscape painting as a reflection of an intense psychological state. It's also a nod to traditional pictorial modes of landscape painting: in this case a flattening out of the picture plane to create multi-tiered horizons. Get a little closer and you'll see a play on the title, "dew lolly." An ice lolly made of morning dew? Nicholas typically uses text as a trigger for surreal ideas, rather than a device for literal readings. If you get your skates on you can catch more of his densely-layered work in A Crazed Flowering at Frameless Gallery.
4. Let's Go Swimming, Oliver Hickmet (City & Guilds of London Art School)
Let's Go Swimming, 2015, Photograph acid dyed on silk, acrylic, wooden stretcher, 112x80 cm
This is part of a series conceived during a two-month residency in Piedmont, Italy, where Oliver came to recognize how the history and culture of his temporary home had been commoditized and repackaged for touristic gratification. Using signifiers of leisure and comfort, the individual identities of places are decimated by homogenized online content. Destination concepts are displayed and sold like pic'n'mix in a sweet shop: familiar, tempting, and instantly available. Oliver's new works address this rampant rebranding. Found postcard images of the Dolomites are mottled with dirt and scanned to recreate scuzzy Kodak memories. Each image is then printed onto silk and draped over a candy-colored frame to present a reconstructed landscape, it's behavior dictated by the supporting structure.
Justin Hammond is an independent curator, publisher and art dealer. In 2007 he devised the Catlin Art Prize, an annual showcase for outstanding new artists in the UK, described by The Independent as the Turner Prize for recent graduates. He later went on to compile The Catlin Guide, now recognized as an essential reference for collectors of contemporary art. In 2010 he published An Unspoken Arrangement to coincide with Alex Ball’s debut solo exhibition and co-curated Mike Ballard's controversial Whose Coat is that Jacket You’re Wearing?, held in a disused tailor’s shop during Frieze. He continues to promote emerging artists, both in the UK and internationally.
(Image at top: Catlin Guide 2015)
Inside the Neighborhood: What Is Islington?
by Paul Hanford
Posted by Paul Hanford
| tags: Islington London islington tips London Art Fair London Art Fair 2011 figurative
So, I put a message on Facebook: where is good to hang in Islington? The responses are many and immediate, with more than one of my friends highly rating the cocktails served in 69 Colebrooke Row. In addition, I find out Akari is as good for sushi as Le Mercury is cheap and chearful. Then it hits me: what exactly do I know of this most intermediary of London areas?
Regent's Canal, via Flickr user Nick Kenrick
Yeah, there have been blurry nights dancing to Motown and New Wave in the fantastic dive bar Slim Jim's—and, maybe earlier that same night I'd have sipped ale in the snug boat-like pub The Island Queen. Then there are the neon stripper graphics and stripped back plaster decor of the lively Wenlock And Essex, where I DJ from time to time. How about Regent's Canal? It does for social geography what Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility Of Death in the Mind of Someone Living does for sharks.
Slim Jims, By Ewan Munro from London, UK, via Wikimedia Commons
But, in essence, what is Islington? If Islington were an actual person, or rather a character in a play, would they be some kind of facilitator, maybe a host between disparate elements? I imagine the prequel, called Modern Islington: The Early Years, chronicling the borough's conception, when character A, representing the clean white geometry of the monied West and character B, a shape shifting artisanal amalgam a few cigarettes' walk in the opposite direction get together over a battleship of daiquiris and fuck. Their baby they name after the old borough Islington, and that mixture of wealth and culture would grow up to become an ideal host for an art fair. If being your first time visiting, the more enjoyable it is if you arrive with the same faux sophistication Carrie Bradshaw might once have had crossing the Williamsburg Bridge to Bedford Ave.
Screen on the Green, via Flickr user Duncan
In the sequel, set in the present, we rejoin the twenty-something Islington. She has a cousin in Berlin called Prenzlauer-Berg and she shops at the local Budgens. She's proud of her gorgeous Art Deco cinema Screen On The Green, letting it spill neon elegance along Upper Street, while in secret, hidden round the back of the mall, she grazes on popcorn to Night at the Museum in the grubby Vue multiplex. Much in the way an old newsagent might have offered to put a brown bag over a gentleman's magazine, she keeps these discretions hidden from her parents' visits. However, in embarrassment toward old Instagrams, full of backcombed hair reeking of cider and moshpit, she turns cruel and unforgiving, shutting down her devoted school friend The Buffalo Bar, that stood at Highbury & Islington Station since pre-memory.
Highbury & Islington Station via Flickr user Ewan Munro
In the future, talks of a reboot receive numerous financial backhanders from the celebrity resident Mayor, whose clown-like exterior masks the dead mechanics of a sociopath only able to estimate human value in financial net worth. Islington will grow gracefully into middle age, her younger sisters Dalston and Shoreditch will continue to hook up with Uncle Notting Hill and Aunty Hampstead from time to time yet visits will become fewer and farther between. Ultimately, Dame Islington won't care; the constant flow of people coming and going, the gift of her genetic placing within the city, will keep her scarfed and in pre-theatre dinners until something bigger and meaner wipes the entire city into a cloud of smoke.
(Image at top: via Flickr user Jordi Martorell)
Manufacturing Hopefulness: London's Best Emerging Galleries and Artist Projects
by Phoebe Stubbs
Posted by Phoebe Stubbs
| tags: London Galleries artist project spaces young galleries Edel Assanti Arcadia Missa chandelier projects piper keys south kiosk union pacific rod barton the sunday painter
I went to a lecture the other day at the Royal College of Art, which although about art as resistance, mostly addressed its opposite, a phrase I have heard more and more lately in relation to the art world and art education: "the manufacture of hopelessness." The phrase sounds like a joke, but it’s not. Expressed by many students at a school that now costs thousands of pounds a year, it’s the feeling that the capital A, capital W, Art World is an impenetrable whole, top fed by astronomic wealth, streamlining its output (and therefore input) to polite art whose sole purpose is to accumulate wealth for those who buy it. However, I can’t help wondering if such conversations only harden the feeling, perpetuating it rather than addressing it. In short, talking about manufacturing hopelessness is to manufacture that hopelessness.
Lately I have been thinking that what actually helps is to talk about what makes an art world: who makes it, how it’s made, the variations it encompasses. I therefore want to talk about galleries, and specifically new galleries and artist-run spaces—those started largely since the recession. It’s tempting to look at well established galleries and think of them as permanent entities, but they too were made—some with vast private investment, yes, but most years ago with a cheap project space, some resolve to be involved in art, and the kind of enthusiasm and foolhardiness that used to be a product of art education. Looking for this lately, I am pleased to say that it’s still around, and sits alongside projects more heavily funded. There is, and always will be, room for both. Galleries, project spaces, and artist led organizations spring up all the time, both for profit and not. And I want to take a minute to focus on a few of them, and encourage everyone to visit them this year to see some art.
The Sunday Painter, 1st Floor, 12-16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL
Samara Scott, Harvest, Installation view, 2014. Courtesy of The Sunday Painter 2014
The Sunday Painter was started by three artists and friends—Will Jarvis, Grace Schofield and Harry Beer—at the end of their studies at Camberwell. The model of providing studio space along with the gallery allowed them to start with a not-for-profit model, creating space to make work, to show the work of interesting, emerging artists, and to host artist talks and crit groups. The gallery has moved in Peckham and is now right behind Peckham Rye Station.
The Sunday Painter made a name for itself showing a lot of emerging artists who, in the time since it started in 2008, have become better known. Samara Scott’s show, which just ended, presented floor works, lit with sparkly colors, looking like dioramas of alien landscapes. Stuck on plastic sheets or baking trays, with wax or varnish inlaid into foam, the sticky or wet looking landscapes were peppered with beads, nails, spaghetti, and toilet roll. Upcoming in 2015 are solo exhibitions by Rob Chavasse, Hannah Lees and Piotr Lakomy.
Union Pacific, 17 Goulston Street, London, E1 7TP
Installation view of Union at Union Pacific
Union Pacific is in a slightly unusual east London location, in between Whitechapel and Shoreditch, given that it was started by two people better known for their Peckham projects: Grace Schofield (formerly of The Sunday Painter) and Nigel Dunkley, who founded it in late 2014. They opened with a group show called Union, featuring the work of many of the artists they had become friends with through their previous Peckham projects.
The upcoming exhibition, opening on January 22, is a solo from Caroline Mesquita called Camping. The gallery currently represent three artists: Jan Kiefer, Max Ruf, and Julie Born Schwartz. A group show from Kernal Operations opens in March followed by a solo show by David Douard in May. Kiefer will have a solo show there in June.
Edel Assanti, 74a Newman Street, London, W1T 3DB
Gordon Cheung, Rachel Ruysch II (New Order), 2014, Inkjet Print on hanamaulu paper. © Gordon Cheung, Courtesy Edel Assanti, London.
Edel Assanti, which moved into its new Fitzrovia space this month, was started by Charlie Fellowes and Jeremy Epstein in 2010. As a totally self-funded commercial venture, they made it work by taking on rent-free space with Westminster council, paying business rates and running costs, and for the first two and a half years both kept their jobs in commercial galleries. They currently represent eight artists formally, but have worked with many more on a less formal basis, and all have become friends. Gordon Cheung, for instance, had a studio in their Victoria space after his was torn down with little notice. Cheung will have his second solo show with the gallery in September 2015.
In their Victoria space, Fellowes told me, they had a full first cycle of exhibitions by the artists they represent, and now in their new location they'll host the second solo shows of many of those artists—Jodie Carey in March and Marcin Dudek in May. Over the past four years they have gradually built up the gallery’s output, and this year, on top of the busy gallery schedule, they will also take artists to four fairs including Art Rotterdam and the Armory Show in New York.
The new, much larger space enables them the flexibility to present two shows at once. Through the end of February, they have Jesse Hlebo’s solo, In Pieces—an examination of society in crisis, with burnt shutter-like boards, ripped, framed but ambiguous fragments, and a video of catastrophic scenes, the combination of which borders on the apocalyptic—and Christopher Hanlon’s semi-abstracted paintings, detailed studies of displaced and manipulated objects in dreamy and luxurious oil on linen.
Rod Barton, 41-45 Consort Road, London, SE15 3SS
Camilla Stenium, from forthcoming exhibit Dubious Desire for Cleanliness, Courtesy Rod Barton
Rod Barton started out in a small space in Paget Street, EC1, but has since moved to its current location in Peckham. The gallery started small, only opening a couple of days a week and in such a way that kept itself ticking over without having to make sales. Over time the output has grown and they now represent seven artists. Opening on January 23 is a solo show by Camilla Steinum, called Dubious Desire for Cleanliness, which will be followed by an exhibition of Lauren Elder’s work.
South Kiosk, Unit B, FlatIron Yard, 14 Ayres Street, London, SE1 1ES
Alicja Dobrucka, Experience the richness of life at every step, 2013, Digital C-type print on Fuji Crystal Archive, 109.2 × 134.6 cm
South Kiosk was founded in early 2013 as an editorially driven website and opened as a gallery space in early 2014. The gallery focuses on artists who recuperate dead or dying technological formats and those who build new technological platforms for the production and display of art. But they also work with artists whose work comments on the history or future of technology in a more abstract manner.
In their first year of programming South Kiosk had a number of group shows, a summer screening program, and a solo exhibition by James Bulley. They began 2015 with exhibition of the large photographic works by Alicja Dobrucka and Emma Charles, both of which deal with landscapes changing from economic and technological pressures—Mumbai and the Allegheny Mountain region respectively. This will be followed by booths at London Art Fair and at Art Rotterdam as well as a solo exhibition of BJP International Photo Award Winner Dominic Hawgood (featured in our Catlin Guide tips from London Art Fair here).
Piper Keys, 2a, 10 Greatorex Street, London E1 5NF
The entrance to the gallery, through a dark corridor in the Greatorex estate
Started by artists Lawrence Leaman and Jacques Rogers in a hard to find warehouse building in Whitechapel, Piper Keys has had consistently good shows since its inception in April 2013. Allison Katz’s multiple portraits of her friend Adele on leather scraps made the tall space feel intimate. Their current exhibition by Stuart Middleton, Sad Sketches, on till January 25, presents four sets of torso- and head-less, pissed-looking figures as bar tables, dancing or brawling in queasy pink light. The walls are transformed with a wash of Pepto-Bismol pink and coca-cola, the after effect of which is reminiscent of the morning after’s headache and nausea. Next month's exhibition features the German artists Andrea Büttner and Brit Meyer. The space is not-for-profit and is funded by the Arts Council.
Arcadia Missa, Unit 6 Bellenden Road Business Centre, SE15 4RF
Installation shot of Harry Sanderson's exhibition Unified Fabric, October 2013. Courtesy of Arcadia Missa 2014
I recently interviewed Rosza Farkas from Arcadia Missa, so won’t write again about them too much. However, as a project started from conversations born at art school, it’s important to mention them and applaud their success many years on. The gallery space in Peckham now shows work from international artists and has a publishing program that draws together critical dialogue around the work they show. The space opens again in February, and will be showing the work of some regulars and some new artists whom they have not worked with before.
Chandelier Projects, Studio 16, Victor House, 282a Richmond Road, Hackney, London E8 3QS
Jonathan Murphy, Studio Installation, Cyanotype on wall, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Chandelier projects
Chandelier Projects is run out of the artist Karen Knorr’s studio, and is supported by [space] studios. It enables artists to show a body of work, which is then presented with an essay that contextualizes or takes as a starting point the works in the show. Since September 2013, they have had eight exhibitions, including most recently the reflective works of Amy Petra Woodward, which almost obscure their printed imagery as they reflect light into your eyes. On February 6 the gallery opens Jonathan Murphy’s As you walked in the room.
The project is managed by writer and curator Daniel Blight, who has contributed two of the eight essays, all of which can be found on their website. The essays are broad—from Chris Fite-Wassilak’s “Mercurial Injections,” accompanying Woodward’s show, which describes the odd processes of dissection and all its gruesome eventualities, to Alice Hattrick’s “Untitled (rods and cones),” which takes its name from Tom Owen’s work, starting with observations and wandering off through other artists, writing on sound, blurring the experience of looking and listening as you read it.
What to Buy at the London Art Fair 2015
by Char Jansen
Posted by Char Jansen
| tags: photography sculpture painting art buyer's guide london art fair 2015
The London Art Fair, sitting comfortably in the middle ground between Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair, is geared towards the soild mid-range collector, a fact reenforced by its middle class location in Angel Islington. Whether you're new to the game, an emerging dealer, or a fastidious collector of the kind of Modern and Contemporary British Art the fair is dedicated to, the London Art Fair caters to your taste. For this 27th iteration of the fair, we've selected our recommended buys for a range of budgets from some of our favorite galleries among the 128 exhibitors. Penniless? We're with you: but art's all about aspiration, innit?
Nichola Theakston, Standing Silverback, 2014. Stoneware ceramic, 34 x 31 cm, limited edition of 24. Courtesy of Lena Boyle Fine Art
Of course there are many varied and complex factors that go into the pricing and purchasing of artworks, and it's probably not advisable to make an impulse investment BUT... a desktop-sized edition of a gorilla sculpture for only £750? Treat yourself, it's January.
Dominic Beattie, Untitled, 2014, 36 x 27 cm. Courtesy of Fold Gallery
£2,500 will get you this colorful graphic work (enamel, ink, spray paint and varnish on board) by Dominic Beattie at Fold Gallery's stand.
Pablo Griss, Rhombus (Gold 001), 2012, 24-Karat gold-leaf and acrylic on linen, 60 x 48 cm. Courtesy of Beers Contemporary
More pleasing symmetry, but who doesn't love it? This Pablo Griss number says decadence, but in the right measure. Find it at Beers Contemporary, price: £2,800.
Tim Ellis, Primogenitor, 2012. Courtesy of Fold Gallery
Also offered by Fold Gallery for £2,500 this fine piece of burnt wood hits on the ongoing lust for art-meets-craft, while being classic enough to endure beyond the craze.
Simon Shepherd, Spalding, 2013, Ceramic, 40 x 30 x 25 cm. Courtesy of Pertwee, Anderson & Gold
Pertwee, Anderson & Gold offer this portable Simon Shepherd ceramic delight for £ 3,500 (plus VAT).
Swoon, Cairo, 2012, Hand printed blockprint on mylar with coffee stain and hand painting, 104.5 x 63 in. Courtesy of Pertwee, Anderson & Gold
Pertwee, Anderson & Gold have Swoon signed editions like this one priced at £11,000. The premier female street painter—recently featured in the Guardian as one of the women who is redefining the movement, and who exhibited solo at the Brooklyn Museum last year—is a safe investment.
Simon Callery, Red Slip, 2014. Courtesy of Fold Gallery
For £10,500 you could turn your house into a surreal landscape of possibilities with a wall sculpture by Simon Callery. No, they do not look like painted toilet seats. That did not even cross my mind.
Nadav Kander, C-4 Graveyard at Kurchatov, Chromogenic colour print, 2011, Edition of 5, 123 x 149 cm. Courtesy of Flowers Gallery
You could also purchase a print of a graveyard in Khazakhstan for £6,500 (plus framing). London-based photographer Nadav Kander is on display at Flowers Gallery. This series—documenting the ruins of a former Soviet nuclear test site—is a heart-pulling vision of apocalypse now.
Peter Lanyon, Deep Blue Coast, 1961. Courtesy of Rowntree Clark
You're more than a bit lucky if you can afford this one from the lovely and legendary late Lanyon, a post-war innovator of Modern British painting. On offer at Rowntree Clark at £275,000.
First off, ask yourself some questions. There are people starving and dying around the world, and you're seriously considering dropping this kind of dollar on something that will probably hang on the wall of a house you barely inhabit. Aren't there more urgent philanthropic causes?
If you're still keen, ask yourself another serious question: you're probably quite wealthy—likely you're in that 1% that owns half of the world's money—but remember that this doesn't necessarily mean you have taste. Ask an expert for advice. Alternatively, take ours, and go for this, with a price tag of £500,000:
Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1942, courtesy of Gilden's Arts Gallery
(Image on top: Simon Shepherd, Spalding, 2013, Ceramic, 40 x 30 x 25 cm)
First Look: Borondo's Big London Solo Show
by Char Jansen
Posted by Char Jansen
| tags: graffiti/street-art borondo londonewcastle project space graffiti exhibitions
His delicate large-scale paintings have floated on canal boats and he's one of Complex mag's favorite muralists of 2014—part of a street art sub-genre we like to call "sensitive graf." Borondo, who lives and works in a former pub in Hackney, uses his art to express the melodrama of human living, the soaring peeks and plunging troughs of our mortal condition—one reason he was drawn to the character of Ophelia in his now well-known floating work.
From February 5th, the young Spanish artist will take over Londonewcastle Project Space with his first major solo gig, Animal. The show will divide the gigantic space into eight thematic areas, each containing multiple works including painting, animation, video, and sculptural installation—some made in collaboration with artists Carmen Main, Edoardo Tresoldi, and Despina Charitonidi—which together will discuss the beast in man.
ArtSlant got a few exclusive glimpses of the upcoming work inside the artist's studio—posted below together with a selection of our favorite Borondo murals around the world—ahead of the London opening, courtesy of curators Rom Levy and Charlotte Dutoit.
Paris Ophelia on a canal boat in London
New photos from the artist's studio:
(All images: Borondo; Courtesy of the artist and Charlotte Dutoit; Image at top: Madrid)