Frieze London 2017

10 October 2017 § Leave a comment

October is the very best time of year to see art in the capital. The city is abuzz with the latest blockbuster shows – 2017 brings Jasper Johns as well as Dali/Duchamp to the Royal Academy, Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Barbican and Rachel Whiteread is showing at the Tate. The commercial galleries have pulled out their biggest names – there are Jean Dubuffet at Pace, Jake & Dinos Chapman at Blain Southern and Anselm Kiefer & Robert Longo at Thaddeus Ropac. Meanwhile all the big names auction houses stage their autumn contemporary sales.

Olafur Eliasson Frieze Art Fair London 2017

Olafur Eliasson

Frieze of course also comes to London, not only with the contemporary focused Frieze Art Fair, but the thriving Frieze Masters event just up the Regents Park footpath. The great and the good of the art world come together with a smattering of celebrity names to see the latest that the art world has to offer.

Matthew Ronay Frieze Art Fair London 2017

Matthew Ronay

Our annual visit to Frieze is always highly anticipated. Not only to admire some great art but to also to discern new trends, see what the big names have on offer admire the most spectacular works – after all this is the biggest fair in the greatest city in the contemporary art world.

Cecily Brown Frieze Art Fair London 2017

Cecily Brown

Yet still, and perhaps because of the anticipation, there is again a tinge of anti-climax. Are we expecting too much or could Frieze do better? Their gallery selection process doesn’t help – preferencing worldwide galleries means we seem to get mediocre work from perhaps Peru or Burkino Fasso at the expense of many excellent local galleries (is this not a London art fair after all?).

Ryan Mosley Frieze Art Fair London

Ryan Mosley

Gone are the bigger artists names and the spectacular and expensive works that graced earlier shows and we now seem to get more mid level and affordable (?) pieces – even from the big name galleries. One is left with the niggling impression that much of the best work is hidden away and that most of the deals are done back at their base.

Cristina Iglesias Frieze Art Fair London

Cristina Iglesias

The curated ‘Sex Work’ exhibition spread through the show failed to stir us and was rather tame. Still, this is the very best contemporary art fair in Britain, there is plenty of good art to be found and new names to be discovered. There is always something to surprise, people to meet and in the end, where else could you for example pick up a free Passport to Antartica?

Billy Childish Frieze Art Fair London

Billy Childish

Amongst our selection of what we noticed at this years fair were: Olafur Eliasson whose colour-shifting balls drew a large crowd whilst Eddie Peake was eye-catching as usual. We loved Ryan Mosley’s newest works, rather more colourful than usual and Mathew Ronay’s curious pastel-coloured and tactile sculptures. On the other hand Jeff Koon’s Glitterball Jesus and Hauser & Wirth’s Bronze Age pseudo museum display failed to inspire.

Eddie Peake Frieze Art Fair London

Eddie Peake

Ai Weiwei Frieze Art Fair London

Ai Weiwei

Kiluandi Kia Henji Frieze Art Fair London

Kiluandi Kia Henji

Anne Hardy Frieze Art Fair London

Anne Hardy

Hauser Wirth Frieze Art Fair London

Hauser & Wirth Bronze Age

Jonathan Gardner Frieze Art Fair London

Jonathan Gardner

Jeff Koons Frieze Art Fair London

Jeff Koons

So, will we go back next year? Of course we will – and we’re looking forward to it already!

akickupthearts were guests of Frieze London

For more information visit www.frieze.com

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, London

2 July 2016 § Leave a comment

This review is also posted in arts & culture magazine CELLOPHANELAND here

There is probably little point in making any sort of critical analysis of the latest Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It is what it is, which to be honest is rather a mess. Pretty much every gallery is hung by a different curator and whilst it is interesting to see what they have done it is ultimately beside the point.

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

The whole show should rather be taken more at face value – an annual opportunity for the talented, enthusiastic, amateurish and hopeful to apply to have their work on the walls of the academy. Here they can rub shoulders with the latest pieces from the Royal Academicians in a gloriously anarchic jumble.

David Mach Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

David Mach

Marina Abramovic Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Marina Abramovic – Carrying the Skeleton

This years ‘co-ordinator’ is the sculptor Richard Wilson best known for 20:50 – the oil filled installation at the Saatchi. He has invited twenty artistic duos to present their work within this years exhibition. We therefore have Gilbert & George with Beard Aware and Jane & Louise Wilson in the lobby stairwell with Chernobyl. 

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Jane & Louise Wilson

Boyle Family Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Boyle Family – Elemental Study

There are other obvious duos like Jake & Dinos Chapman, Eva & Adele, Allora & Calzadilla, Bernd & Hilla Becher and Tim Noble & Sue Webster. Their presence however serves no real curatorial purpose and they are lost within the show – at best it is simply of interest to see some of their work.

Gilbert & George Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Gilbert & George – Beard Aware

Almost all of the pieces are of course for sale and it is quite a good opportunity to pick some work for your own walls. Prices of course vary considerably from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand, and for the uninitiated it is not always easy to spot the difference!

Anselm Kiefer Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Anselm Kiefer – Bose Blumen

For the first time the works are available to browse and buy online and we would highly recommend taking a look online before the show and before purchasing (link here).

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

George Shaw – Black Magic

For our part we loved a little George Shaw edition (we highly recommend his National Gallery exhibition reviewed here) , Marguerite Horner’s enigmatic painted landscapes and Tom Hunter’s Rose prize-winning photograph Winterville. Harry Hill had one of his witty celebrity-oriented works – a tattooed David Beckham (sold but we hear High House Gallery has work available).

Tom Hunter Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Tom Hunter – Winterville

Marguerite Horner Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed by www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Marguerite Horner – On the Edge

Harry Hill - David Beckham Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed by www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Harry Hill – David Beckham

With rather more to spend Gert & Uwe Tobias’ had two spectacular works and there was a bright Gillian Ayres, which all seemed reasonable value despite the big ticket prices as did Rose Wylie’s Spider, Frog & Bird.

Gert & Uwe Tobias Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed by www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Gert & Uwe Tobias – Untitled

The floor to ceiling ‘salon’ hang – which is the norm at the Summer Exhibition – makes for difficult viewing, but it is not often that so much (varied) talent is on view at the same time. Take it slowly and concentrate on works that catch your eye – we have posted a selection of those that caught ours – and you may just have a very enjoyable visit.

Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed by www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

David Mach

Gary Lawrence Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Gary Lawrence – Cinque Terre with Runner Beans

The RA Summer Exhibition runs until 16 August 2016

Rose Wylie Summer Exhibition Royal Academy reviewed at www.CELLOPHANELAND.com

Rose Wylie – Spider Frog & Bird

For more information visit www.royalacademy.org.uk

new order at white cube

18 April 2011 § Leave a comment

No, sadly not the Manchester band reforming for a new concert, but a group show at Masons Yard! White Cube’s curators have worked rather harder than Carl Freedman (last week) to create a conceptual theme. Building from a quote by trendy French philosopher Jacques Rancière – ‘The dream of a suitable political work of art is in fact the dream of disrupting the relationship between the visible, the sayable, and the thinkable without having to use the terms of a message as a vehicle’ – they have produced a coherent and interesting show from a powerful array of White Cube talent.

The big space here demands big works that do not get ‘lost’ in the airy cellar that serves as the main gallery. For this exhibition Miroslaw Balka‘s Kategorie (2005) is plonked in the centre and  nicely fits within its surroundings. A solid, dark and forboding concrete tunnel six metres long and two metres high suitably reflects Balka’s references to wartime oppression and links neatly with Ranciere. The coloured strands that spin along its ceiling and which represent the uniform colours of categories of prisoner in the concentration camps are perhaps, for me, an allusion one stage too far. How much of an artists statement (if any?) should you have to read before you are able to understand at a work? Answers on a postcard please….

Elsewhere there are two excellent works by Julie Mehretu, who coincidentally appears a couple of days after I featured the ‘theft’ of her art in TV advertising (see blog). Black Ground (2008) features her trademark swirling vortex of shapes and marks – it is easy to stop and stare and get lost in her wonderful futurist / supremacist / abstract expressionist ‘multifaceted layers of space, place and time’.

The best of the rest for me is Mark Bradford. His densely-layered, collaged paintings incorporate salvaged materials like torn posters or newsprint. His abstract compositions reference alternative cartographies that burgeon within cities, such as the spread of economic underclasses or the movement of immigrant communities.

Also showing are photographs by Anselm Kiefer featuring his provocative Nazi salutes, David Hammons‘ with his black urban commentaries and Doris Salcedo‘s concrete entombed furniture. A neat exhibition well worth a visit. Continues until the 14 May 2011.

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