“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]
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, Ramallah-based artist Khaled Jarrar wittingly spurred a cultural debate in the West Bank when in open daylight hours on Monday he painted a rainbow on a section of the wall in the West Bank near the congested Qalandiya checkpoint. Almost instantly, the other pervasive wall in Jarrar’s life, his Facebook page, became a tangled bramble of death threats, pledges of solidarity, and heated discussion. The mural, which Jarrar... [more]
How do you like your Eggs? Controversial. This may be the answer the Milwaukee Art Museum would give after its recent acquisition of Eggs Benedict by Nicki Johnson. Although, rather than a lush scooping of hollandaise drizzled over ham hock, this dish consists entirely of a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made from 17,000 colored condoms.
Many Catholics, not being the biggest fans of responsible spunk containment, have thrown in that extra delicious garnish—controversy. Even possibly going for that ultima... [more]
It's been one of the most turbulent weeks in the modern history of Greece. The nation's position within the eurozone remains precarious following the results of Sunday's referendum when Greek voters chose to reject the austerity terms of an EU bailout. Their decision follows a week of last minute talks, banks closing their doors, the imposition of capital controls, and non-compliance on the country's IMF payment deadline last Tuesday. The so-called "Grexit,” equally feared and desired by d... [more]
Romantics looking to express their love with a padlock on Les Pont des Arts over the Canal Saint Martin in Paris are in need to find another place to do it: the famed "love locks" bridge was finally deemed a safety hazard, due to the weight of the huge quantity of locks left there by lovers. At the beginning of June local officials put an end to the tradition, removing some 45 metric tonnes of locks off the bridge. But the public reactions surrounding the municipal action have generated a wider c... [more]
The small Dutch city of Utrecht is receiving worldwide attention this weekend as its charming canals and cobbled corridors play host to Le Grand Départ: the launch of the Tour de France, which hits the road on Saturday.
As with any major sporting event, the rights to host Le Grand Départ are as much rights to major commercial and tourism opportunities as they are to the Majesty of Sport. Naturally, Tour merch abounds and nearly every shop in town has a decorated Peugeot racer, sleek... [more]
One issue that weighs on my psyche as an artist working in the realm of realism is that of understanding the attraction to and value of created nature in art. In my own work, I create and preserve moments from nature as a statement on the transience of life. But, during my wanderings through picturesque parks and other abundantly verdant spaces in Seattle, my current city of residence, I began to question why we seek to recreate imagery from the organic world when it already appears perfectly in na... [more]
Gentrification is the big bad wolf in the modern day urban party. Never formally invited, it heard of the gathering by word of mouth and will restlessly attempt to enter even if it has to blow the entire structure down. No one likes it—neither the apologetic gentrifier nor the displaced community who lack enough financial clout or power to resist or keep up with the shift. It barrels forward as if it has no memory of itself, all history lessons completely erased. After it passes, the area h... [more]
Three rooms into the modern art section of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya the film Tide Table is projected on the wall. It’s a typical William Kentridge piece: animated black and white drawings, frolicking bathers are observed by Ghadhafi-like generals, a cow is slaughtered in a cabana, lots of political innuendo. Even though the film is combined with a couple of drawings by the South African artist, it’s pretty much a stand-alone presentation. It lacks the kind of conte... [more]
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai’s industrial arts district, was originally a marble factory and is tucked away in the city’s least tourist friendly area, near labor camps, auto repair shops, cheap cafeterias, and makeshift mosques—a far cry from the five star hotel lobbies and glitzy skyscrapers the city is most often associated with abroad. In the wake of the first Christie’s auction of Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in 2006, and the launch of Art Dubai as an annual fair platfo... [more]
Two boys crouch on either side of the wall that separates the West Bank from Jerusalem. They are smuggling 1,000 loaves of Ka’ak Al Quds (“bread of Jerusalem”) through a hand-bored hole in the concrete. Ramallah-based artist Khaled Jarrar interviews them from behind an unsteady camera. “Pull! Pull!” urges the older boy. Dust from both the flour and the wall is seen as the younger child collects the bread on the other side in a makeshift production line. The zero-shap... [more]
One of art’s most powerful assets is that it can speak on behalf of the silenced; it can express what other media might not be allowed to state publicly; and above all, it can resonate beyond borders or limits.
In September 2014, the entire world became witness to the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, a small Mexican town not far from the Pacific Ocean. It was an atrocious act that was linked to the local government and law enforcers. Despite the fact that this event took over globa... [more]
Lying somewhere on the spectrum between an amusement park and seaside resort, Coney Island attracts tourists with its boardwalk, rides, and more. But the visiting spectator might not know so much about the residential community of nearly 60,000 people who live within this area.
Hoping to add a cultural currency to the historic tourist spot, this summer Coney Art Walls presents more than 20 temporary walls painted by artists like Miss Van, Lady Pink, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Futura, and artist-in-residence Marie R... [more]
Welcome to the fourth installation of the Artslant podcast series, Working (it) Out.
My name is Gillian Dykeman, and I'm a visual artist living in Toronto, Ontario. This summer, I am interviewing artists to ask about the role of audience in their practice. Each interview will begin with one question: "Does art require an audience?"
Working (it) Out with Gillian Dykeman
Episode Two | Duke & Battersby: Empathy Symphony
Careerism and playing to an audience (5:00)
Letter wri... [more]
In celebration of Pride week, Christie's ran a special Warhol auction this week, making some 100 photographs and drawings available to purchase. Beyond the price tags, the works, many in the public eye for the first time, draw a passionate portrait of the underground LGBT scene of the '70s and '80s that was so much a part of the artist's life. They are a historical archive, charting a defining era of sexuality and social politics in American cities like San Francisco and New York City. Though t... [more]