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Phoebe Stubbs

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London poses specific and difficult problems for artists’ accommodation. It’s the capital of culture in the UK with more galleries, museums, theatres, and events spaces than any other city. It’s also by far the most unaffordable place for creative people to live. As a result, many artists choose to move away, and only come in for exhibitions or events and find accommodation prices so exorbitant that they end up crashing on friends’ sofas. Opening in spring 2016, Green Rooms, the latest venture... [more]
New York City and San Francisco too.    In the London art world, Frieze is a bit like Christmas. As soon as the summer starts to fade it rears its head: the phrase "Frieze week," like "Christmas time," becomes a synonym for heady consumerism, specially commissioned exhibitions, and drunken parties. This is probably the best time, therefore, to shed light on another part of the art world: the influential and varied not-for-profit spaces in London—especially those with socially engaged... [more]
The vast number “51200000” begins a small quote in Peter Kennard’s retrospective at the Imperial War Museum, London. The newest work in the show,  has a handrail separating the viewer from reprints of his famous photomontages, printed with statements of fact—the horrendous quantifications of human conflict. “51.2 million,” we are informed, is “the total number of forcibly displaced people across the world in 2013 (the highest since the Second World War).” To aid our comprehension of this the... [more]
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London Turns Tropical: Radamés "Juni" Figueroa at Edel Assanti   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Radamés “Juni” Figueroa at Edel Assanti June 12th, 2015 - July 31st, 2015
Posted 7/5/15
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 everyday... [more]
If you’re on the dating circuit and don’t know this by now, you should: art bookshops—for lovers of art and writing—are pick-up joints.  This fact is verified by a broader selection of friends having met potential dates in bookshops than I can keep track of. If you don’t believe me, try browsing by yourself in a bookshop on a Friday evening. Even the shyest people seem to pluck up the courage to start a conversation about a book. And I guess this is hardly surprising. Books are conversations... [more]
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... [more]
Peckham's Arcadia Missa, founded by Rozsa Farkas with Tom Clark as assistant director and head of publishing, and Tenderpixel, founded by Etan Ilfeld with Borbála Soós as director and curator, are two broad and interesting London gallery projects worth getting to know. Both have evolved over the past few years beyond the typical gallery's scope, by pushing strong research collaborations and rigorous publishing programs. As such they both represent unconventional and expansive gallery models... [more]
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Plastic Words: Events in the Contested Space Between Literature and Art   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Eleanor Antin, Isidore Isou, John Murphy, Philippe Thomas at Raven Row December 13th, 2014 - January 30th, 2015
Posted 12/11/14
Opening this weekend at Raven Row London is a series of events about the intersection of literature and art called , which will run throughout December and January. There has been a resurgent interest in the overlap of contemporary literature and art recently. The development of the independent Art Writing MFA at Goldsmiths and its swift subsumption back into the MFA in Fine Art neatly demonstrates the sometimes contested, sometimes happily shared, ground these modes of working occupy. Whatever... [more]
The job of artist’s assistant has a confusing reputation in the press. Articles about the ongoing saga of Jasper Johns' civil suit against his longtime assistant James Meyer for the theft and sale of $3.4 million of his drawings is a prime example of the way the media talks about the relationship between artist and assistant. The horrifyingly giant and blatant theft aside, this recent Vulture article about the incident presents the power difference between an artist and his assistant as... [more]
I recently came across Matthew Collings’ mid-nineties book, a no-holds-barred, bystander-style, verbal diarrhea of a monologue about the London Art World and its eccentricities. It’s so delightfully outdated not even two decades on that it makes you both inwardly cringe and want to read on in a “why isn’t art like this anymore?” kind of way. I was momentarily left mourning an irreverent art attitude I was too young to experience. For a while I was genuinely sad about this. What’s fascinating... [more]
In his essay “Why I Hate Post-Internet Art” Brian Droitcour complains that “the post-internet art object looks good online in the way that laundry detergent looks good in a commercial.” He bemoans the art object that looks like it has leapt off the screen into the gallery to pose for its photo before being disseminated online. His criticism is that such objects are too aware of the gallery system, playing to the capitalist brand mentality of the art world—the image/object as a linkable, thumbs... [more]
North Korea is often prefixed with the words "the most secretive country in the world." It was therefore a surprise to discover not only that the country has a rather unusual embassy in London—a suburban home in Gunnersbury quite far from the center—but also that it recently opened its doors to visitors for an art exhibition. The North Korean Embassy, London; Photo: Mark Hillary   The exhibition was short-lived—lasting only three days—but after being mobbed by press on day one, its... [more]
Around 80 percent of the art encounters I have these days begin on my phone, tablet, or computer screen. In most cases I am attempting to find out what's going on and where, so I can then see it in person. But the "where to see it" question is a digital art minefield. Pretty quickly we’re into the daft question of whether it is more real to see a digital work on a large format screen in a gallery than on a phone. Does a show need to have an opening with warm beer and too many people to have... [more]
Last week the Calvert Journal, an online journal produced by the Calvert 22 Foundation, released a 20 Under 40 list of Russian artists to look out for. The Foundation's exhibition space, Calvert 22, is the only not-for-profit gallery in London dedicated to contemporary art from Russia and Eastern Europe. Its program often contextualizes contemporary Russian artists’ output with the country’s rich historical and cultural past. The gallery's current exhibition,  (installed through November 30),... [more]
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Frieze on the cheap: Frieze Sounds   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Keren Cytter, Cally Spooner, Hannah Weinberger at Frieze London October 15th, 2014 - October 18th, 2014
Posted 10/16/14
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... [more]
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Ed Fornieles: Post-Internet Art and the Modern Family   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Ed Fornieles at Chisenhale Gallery September 19th, 2014 - November 9th, 2014
Posted 10/12/14
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... [more]
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Art Project at East London Train Station Tweets Speculative Headlines to Affect Stock Market Algorithms. No, Really.   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Ami Clarke, Richard Cochrane at Banner Repeater September 20th, 2014 - November 30th, 2014
Posted 9/30/14
In April 2013 the Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked, and announced the false report to the world that President Obama had been injured. The offending tweet was immediately removed, but with today’s nanosecond-accurate high-frequency trading algorithms, ‘immediately’ now comprises enough time for a 143 point downturn on the Dow Jones, a ‘flash crash’ that only lasted minutes. Although the stock market recovered quickly, the event spurned concern about the worrying algorithmic link... [more]
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Three Exhibitions That Are Shaking Up Colour This Summer   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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at The National Gallery June 18th, 2014 - September 7th, 2014
Posted 8/18/14
The National Gallery’s summer exhibition guides the audience through the spectrum of materials used throughout history to create artists’ pigment—from blues, through reds and oranges, to purples. Each room focuses on a specific colour and the multiple materials used to make it over time, from early earth pigments, through lakes (dyes made into pigment) to the new artificial coal tar derived pigments created around the time of the Impressionists. The function of the works on show seems to be to... [more]
Public art has to strike a difficult balance in a city like London that is constantly evolving. It carries with it associations of permanence but its presence isn’t always welcome and, perhaps worse than being openly disliked, works over long periods of time can turn into street furniture, invisible to those that pass by day in day out—the ‘public’ for whom the work exists. Tilted Arc (1981), Richard Serra’s public commission for the Foley Federal Plaza in New York is a great example of how... [more]
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Offsite and away from the gallery: contemporary art in a cathedral, a National Trust home and a university   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Bill Viola at St Paul's Cathedral June 1st, 2014 - June 1st, 2015
Posted 6/16/14
White box art galleries are strange places for the uninitiated. Work is denied any visual context other than other artworks. People tend to talk quietly, if at all. Their interiors bear no relation to the world outside their doors. Brian O’Doherty discussed this problem in the 1970s in his book : “In this context a standing ashtray becomes an almost sacred object”. Galleries have in the past few years introduced more "offsite" exhibitions to tackle this, but the number of other institutions... [more]
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Welcome to Iraq: Come in, sit down, drink tea   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Bassim Al-Shaker, Hareth Alhomaam, Cheeman Ismaeel, Furat al Jamil, Akeel Khreef, Kadhim Nwir, Jamal Penjweny, Ali Samiaa, Hashim Taeeh, Yaseen Wami, Abdul Raheem Yassir at South London Gallery March 15th, 2014 - June 1st, 2014
Posted 3/24/14
at the South London Gallery is a restaging of the Iraqi Pavilion from the 2013 Venice Biennale. The original exhibition was an exercise in contrast—a casually furnished home in palatial surroundings, an Iraqi apartment in Venice. Comfortable sofas were covered in beautifully embroidered, colourful fabrics, and books about Iraq were scattered over tables alongside the artwork. In the South London Gallery the exhibition has to work harder to make the vast gallery space welcoming and ripe for... [more]
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