Frieze London

18 November 2015 § Leave a comment

The preview day of Frieze always provides plenty of visual stimulation – both on and off the exhibiting gallery walls. As we shimmied past the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hooper, Tommy Hilfiger and Valentino we made our way around the fair to see what was on offer this year.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com
 Most of of the big name international names were in attendance, amongst a grand total of 164 galleries that represented over 1000 artists from 27 countries. There actually seemed to be a lack of big name artist ‘blockbuster’ pieces at this years fair but there was still plenty to catch the eye in an event that is one of the annual highlights of the art world.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com
Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Glenn Brown was our undisputed favourite this year with a stand full of great pieces at Gagosian, including these examples of both oil and sculpture.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

The young sensation Eddie Peake had two stunning works on show.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.comThere were two superb Michael Fullerton portraits showing at the Carl Freedman Gallery.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

The underrated Billy Childish had a large scale work, also at Carl Freedman.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

A colourful large scale Allen Jones was a great example of his work.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Ai Weiwei has been dying his roots.

Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Self Portrait in bath by Tracey Emin underwhelmed us, but here are some others that drew our attention:

photo 2 copy 4IMG_6014photo 2 copy 6 photo 1 copy 7 photo 3 copy 3photo 3 copyphoto 5Frieze London by reviewed by www.cellophaneland.com

Frieze London runs until Saturday 17 October 2015. For more information visit www. friezelondon.com

For more information visit www. friezemasters.com

Images by CELLOPHANELAND* and courtesy of Frieze

Love Is Enough: William Morris & Andy Warhol – Jeremy Deller at Modern Art Oxford

30 October 2015 § Leave a comment

“Art isn’t about what you make but what you make happen.”

– Jeremy Deller

When artist, Jeremy Deller, was invited by Modern Art Oxford to examine two of his artistic heroes in an unconventional exhibition that draws surprising connections between these two iconic cultural figures, few could imagine the result. Upon viewing, it’s clear they have much more in common than we might suspect.

As a 20-year-old art history graduate, Deller had a chance encounter with Andy Warhol in London which led to an invitation to visit Warhol at the Factory in New York. Deller spent two weeks just hanging out watching Warhol work. “It felt like there were things happening all the time, but it was a relaxed environment with a purposefulness nonetheless. You never knew who was going to walk in. He surrounded himself with people – people with different skills who had ambition and creativity.” Deller describes William Morris as the “Warhol of his day” trying to revolutionise the alienating world of industrial work by the means of soft furnishings and floral wallpaper.

Warhol and Morris both established printmaking businesses, both envisaged art as not something done alone, but through collaboration. Both wanted art to be for the people, not a pampered few, and both men definitely made stuff happen.

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The exhibition looks at common interests that both artists shared across different periods of history. Themes covered are: mass population of contemporary art, design process and manufacturing techniques, shared mythologies and obsessions, along with politics and publications. In one room there are Andy Warhol’s famed portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor alongside Willam Morris’s Holy Grail tapestries.

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Warhol’s obsession with celebrity is apparent through the letters and autographs from famous actors that the artist collected as a child, including his most treasured possession: an autographed photograph from Shirley Temple. A range of vintage Interview magazines (the publication established by Warhol in 1969) is in perfect contrast to Morris’s interest in medieval legends and iconography shared with artists like Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. Both artists’ interest in the politics of their respective times is explored through screen prints by Warhol drawn from newspaper cuttings alongside Morris’s strident items, including his membership card for the socialist league as well as pamphlets and correspondence.

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Repetition is a key theme; decorative patterns of Morris’s textiles, fabric swatches and wallpapers are contrasted with Warhol’s Flowers paintings and works on paper depicting soup cans and dollar bills.

What becomes increasingly apparent, is that neither artist was satisfied with just one discipline. They both wrote, published and, in their embrace of commercial and fine art, had a massive influence reaching far beyond the art world.

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Love is Enough: William Morris & Andy Warhol run to 8 March 2015 at Modern Art Oxford.

Fur further info, please visit: www.modernartoxford.org.uk

Top Ten UK – The Best Art Blogs

25 November 2013 § 2 Comments

When is a blog not a blog? Perhaps when it is an ‘online magazine‘ or ‘digital review’? So where do you start with any sort of ‘Blog’ review list? Who do you exclude? Should ‘true’ blogs just be individual or non-profit making? Perhaps not linked to larger organisations like the TATE gallery for example, where they act as promotional tools. It’s all a bigger issue than I was willing to address here, so my sole limitation was that the blog/mag/review should feature contemporary art at least regularly.

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I try to take a look around and see what my ‘competitors’ are up to in the blogosphere but find it hard to track down many good art blogs. Google ‘Top Art Blogs’, limited to the UK and the last 12 months, and you will find no collective listings. Zero.

Take off the restrictions and you will get a few from 2009/10. At least half are no longer operating or haven’t posted for at least six months. When I checked one of these ‘Top Ten’ lists it included blogs like Amelia’s Magazine. God bless Amelia – and her blog is probably very good at what it does – but I decided that if that’s a top ‘Art (and Design) Blog’ then it was time for a new top ten. So here goes…

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1. CONTEMPORARY ART BLOGS

The contemporary art blog of all blogs. Neatly designed, an ever changing up to date compilation of the best from 100 other blogs!

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2. THE ART NEWSPAPER

Not so much a blog, more an online version of the newspaper. But high quality content as you would expect!

Baxter, Chodzko

Baxter, Chodzko

3. CONTEMPORARY ART DAILY

International (although US based) including plenty of UK shows. An impressive selection of reviews  of contemporary art exhibitions updated daily. I like the ‘random exhibition’ button – this time I got IAIN BAXTER&, Adam Chodzko at Raven Row.

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4. AESTHETICA 

Another blog with significant backing, being tied to the important art & design publication of the same name.

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5. UK STREET ART

The only place for street art info. Great design, layout and well written. Categories include for example Street Art, Graffitt & Banksy!

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6. FRIEZE

As you would expect of the leading UK art magazine publisher and top art fair organiser their blog is clear an interesting. Wouldn’t you think they could manage more than a couple of posts a week though with all their resources?

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7. ART IN LIVERPOOL

Not much use unless you’re in Liverpool perhaps, but well designed, informative, wide ranging and well written.

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8. CRITICISMISM

Written by Mark Sheerin, this is the one of the only two blogs in the list written by an individual (the other is CELLOPHANELAND). I tried hard to find more but few have any longevity and/or quality. Varied content but includes many of his own interviews with top, mostly UK, artists like Jeremy Deller, Gavin Turk and Martin Creed.

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9. 1000 Words Magazine

Is it a blog or is it a magazine? This is really an ‘online’ magazine. It also runs masterclasses with notable photographers, has developed a wide and international following. Includes essays, reviews and interviews.

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10= CELLOPHANELAND

Julie Eagleton’s wide ranging arts, lifestyle and culture blog always has something interesting – even if art is not one of the main topics. Expect anything from interviews  (section currently being updated) from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola to the latest exhibition at the V&A.

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10= THE FLANEUR

Tenth equal with C-LAND just because they both are broad-ranging sites covering art, culture and more. What’s more the Art section here doesn’t always feature contemporary art. Nice blog though!

Agree/disagree? Know any more worthy of inclusion at the top of the pile? Then please let me know.

The Venice Biennale 2013 – The Encyclopaedic Palace

11 November 2013 § 2 Comments

Most reviews of the Venice Biennale are posted soon after its opening in June/July. This is all very well for those writers who enjoy being in a sweaty summertime Venice thronged with tourists and queueing with the crowds to gain access to the most interesting pavilions. True, there are some exhibitions that only ‘pop-up’ for the first month or so of the biennale and naturally all the sleb-studded parties also only happen around opening time but on the whole it is a time I avoid like the plague.

Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller

I prefer to let the hubbub settle down and visit later in the year. With the end of the 2013 Biennale on the 24 November there is a big window of opportunity for take a trip during a quieter period when not only is the weather less hot and humid but there are fewer tourists, hotel prices are lower and tables are available at the best Osterias.

Last but not least of course you can take advantage of the prior reviews to plan visits to the best pavilions whilst avoiding the (too-frequent) time-wasting exhibitions in multitudinous back-alleys that you have just walked in circles for 30 minutes trying to find.

Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller

In the official Biennale there are, as usual, a plethora of dud pavilions. Surprisingly these include giants like Germany with an OK installation with a maze of interlocking stools by Ai Weiwei and little else, France with Anri Sala pointlessly punning on Ravel/Unravel – geddit? – and the USA where Sarah Sze has filled the pavilion with a student-like mess of bits and pieces.

Bill Culbert

Bill Culbert

Japan had chosen a very neat display of conceptual work from Koki Tanaka featuring collective tasks and collaborative acts in order to examine a new post-tsunami Japanese reality. For example groups of five musicians, writers or potters were asked to create a work together, the process being filmed whils other projects, reminiscent of sixties Ono & Fluxus were perhaps ‘Precarious Tasks #3 Walk from city to its suburbs’.

Koki Tanaka - A piano played by five pianists at once

Koki Tanaka – A piano played by five pianists at once

Vadim Zakharov’s brilliant Russian pavilion has a besuited businessman perched on a high rafter throwing peanut husks upon the public below whilst in the adjacent room gold coins are showered upon the ladies (only!) below who prolong the golden shower by collecting the coins in to a bucket which is raised – by another suited gent – and emptied on to a conveyor belt. A perpetual cycle of greed and exploitation is completed by the willing participants.Russian Pavilion

Jeremy Deller however has stolen the Giardini ‘show’ with ‘English Magic’. He cleverly weaves together truly diverse aspects of British society to create a witty and topical vision of one version of a national mythology. Amongst a number of threads Prince Harry’s appalling shooting of two rare hen harriers is revisited with a giant bird carrying off a passing Land Rover whilst Abramovich’s obscene yacht is cast in to the Venetian lagoon by Willaim Morris. There is of course a Deller trademark tea room – the ‘TEA’ spelt out in palaeolithic arrowheads – seeming much more relevant in an international location where it’s Britishness is self-evident.

Walter de a Maria

Walter de a Maria

The central Giardini pavilion and the Arsenale meanwhile I found to be rather a mess. The attempt to illustrate the thematic Encyclopaedic Palace  coming a cropper with a confusion of self-taught and outsider artists alongside more conventional names – big and small.

Iraqi Pavilion

Iraqi Pavilion

Elsewhere around town the exhibits from Iraq, Ireland & Cyprus, Wales, Lithuania and Angola stand out from the multitude. Rudolph Stingel is worth seeing at the Palazzo Grassi where he has carpeted almost every inch of the walls and floor with oriental rugs. Buy a twin ticket for the other Pinault exhibition at the Punta della Dogana. The wonderland of the Palazzo Fortuny is always worth a visit – this time with an Anton Tapies exhibition.

Rudolf Stingel

Rudolf Stingel

There is much more of course whilst watching over the whole event from its waterfront perch on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore is the giant pink inflatable sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant by Marc Quinn. Eye-catching and impressive.

Marc Quinn Alison Lapper Pregnant

Marc Quinn Alison Lapper Pregnant

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