Rachel Whiteread – Tate Britain

14 October 2017 § Leave a comment

Now that Frieze, Frieze Masters and the PAD art & design fair are packed up we can move our attention to what else is going on in London this month. October is always chock a block with inviting exhibitions it is hard to know what to recommend first.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

The Tate Gallery seems a pretty good place to start where Tate Britain are currently presenting the most substantial retrospective survey to date of work by Rachel Whiteread.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

The exhibition reveals the extraordinary breadth of her career over three decades, from the four early sculptures shown in her first solo show in 1988 to works made this year especially for Tate Britain including Chicken Shed, a new concrete sculpture installed outside the gallery.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

It is particularly interesting to see the remarkable consistency of vision right from her work as a student at The Slade and up to the present day. The curator, Ann Gallagher has herself also noted “through consistency of process there is an incredible variation”.

Early works from her fist solo exhibition at the Carlile Gallery in 1988, just one year after her graduation include domestic objects like a wardrobe interior and underside of a bed.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

From this point onwards we see the interests that define Whiteread’s ongoing practice – the process of casting forgotten space, with an experimental use of materials.

With ordinary, everyday objects she manages somehow to draw an unexpected emotional power. Each work managing to resonate with the history of human presence. A series of multi-coloured hot water bottle interiors cant help but bring to mind strange limbless and sculptural torsos.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

Known for her signature casting technique, Whiteread’s work ranges in scale from the modest to the monumental in a variety of materials such as plaster, resin, rubber, concrete, metal and paper. Toilet roll tubes, furniture, windows, doors, rooms, stairwells and even libraries, all are prey to Whiteread’s attention.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

The large spaces that Tate Britain have devoted to the exhibition allow us to gain some distance from the larger objects, whilst partitions allow places where there are more intimate groupings.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

The centre of the room is dominated by a cast of ‘Room 101’ – a room in the old BBC Broadcasting House that may have inspired George Orwell. We not only see the large bulk and presence of the room but, moving closer, see the the fine details of the cracks, textures and marks on its internal wall.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

Another monumental sculpture is of a large stairwell. From any angle it has an eerie familiarity as a stairwell such as one in an industrial spaces or concrete car park. However, of course it is the empty space that has been made solid – reminding us that it is our mental equivocation that brings a particular resonance to Whiteread’s work

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

Out in the expansive Duveen Gallery another highlight of the exhibition is Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) 1995 – a colourful installation of 100 resin casts of the underside of chairs.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

Less impressive to us – but interesting to see nevertheless – were the special sections are also devoted to archive material and to the artist’s drawings. Working with pencil, varnish, correction fluid, watercolour and collage, these works on paper constitute a distinct area of Whiteread’s practice  but do not have anything like the impact of her sculptural work.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain

On the way out be sure to see the internal cast of a chicken shed located in the gardens, an arresting sample of the remarkable visual power of Whiteread’s work as well as a reminder of the breathtaking cultural short-sightedness vandalism committed by Tower Hamlets council when they demolished ‘House’ in 1994.

Rachel Whiteread Tate Britain House

The exhibition is co-organised with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, where it will be shown in autumn 2018, and will also tour to the 21er Haus Vienna and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of the Tate Gallery

For more information visit www.tate.org.uk

30,000 Years of Art – Phaidon

9 January 2016 § Leave a comment

This post is also published at CELLOPHANELAND* (link here)

Our historic – and largely still current – curatorial approach to archaeological and artistic objects has been to divide and classify, to separate and categorise. This has its advantages, but those institutions like the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford where form is privileged over origin, and Tate Modern where there is  a thematic approach, show that alternative strategies can be worthwhile.

By listing artworks without prejudice to civilisations, geographical location, art movements or other artificial categories it takes away the inherent divisiveness of categorisation to allow some remarkable comparisons and invites us to consider links where we had not seen them previously.

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30,000 Years of Art does note a basic classification, e.g. Post-impressionism or Nasca Culture plus a geographical location, but these play second fiddle to a straightforward chronological listing. We therefore find that sharing double page spreads may be Arabic scripts and Chinese brush paintings, the Venus de Milo and a Mayan mural or  a Mexican mask and an Ethiopian stele.

It is in this removal of all art historical classifications and hierarchies that to us is 30,000 Years of Art main achievement. By presenting a thousand masterworks in chronological order it shows what was being created all over the globe at approximately the same time.

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The result is a remarkable insight into the interrelationships between seemingly unrelated cultures and civilisations as well as celebrating the diversity between those that may be considered similar. The resulting timeline of works leads to compelling browsing with the juxtapositions offering intellectual pleasure and a sense of wonder and discovery.

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This is a book that can be a real coffee table book to be dipped in to and enjoyed at leisure, the entries simply and clearly written and easily understood. It can be usefully read chronologically or utilised as a vital reference book taking the reader on a global and historical journey, as a Chinese Shang urn stands next to a Mycenaean vase, and Michelangelo’s Slave is followed by a contemporaneous male sculpture from Nigeria.

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As a research or reference book it would also be useful alongside more comprehensive texts with the arrangement responding to such questions as what were artists creating in China or Africa while Rembrandt was painting self-portraits in Leyden? How were similar subjects – the female form, landscapes, religious scenes – manipulated by artists in Han China or Medieval Europe?

Although the sequence is chronological, the selection of entries for an individual culture comprises an abbreviated history of the art of that people. Thus, while artworks from ancient Greece or the European Renaissance or pre-Columbian Americas are interspersed with contemporaneous works created in Africa, India or Japan, an extraction of the Greek or Renaissance or American works could stand alone as an essential summary of the finest art of that period or culture.

30000 Years of Art, Phaedon

 

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This is a volume that will deserve repeated use and surely is a compelling addition to any collection – or coffee table. Highly recommended.

For more information visit www.phaidon.com

  • 30,0000 Years of Art
  • Phaidon
  • Hardback
  • 297 x 297 mm, 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in
  • 1064 pp
  • 1,000 colour illustrations
  • ISBN-13: 9780714847894

The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern London

15 November 2015 § Leave a comment

This is pop Jim, but not as we know it. There are no Warhol Brillo Boxes, Roy Lichtenstein Whaams or Peter Blake collages to be seen. The key word here is World and here the Tate is attempting to present this movement, usually and primarily seen as a British/American phenomenon, in a wider context by not only gathering works from lesser known European and America artists, but also farther afield.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

How many people know that there is Icelandic pop art for example from the excellent Erro where, for example Chinese and Vietnamese troops invade the idealised American home (below) or Cuban ‘folk-pop’ from Raul Martinez?

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

It is an ambitious show presenting works by over sixty artists from Latin America to the Middle and Far East whilst also presenting a broader narrative for the creation of works considered to be included within the canon of pop art.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

In the west pop has traditionally been seen as derived from, and as critiquing  consumer and capitalist culture it is here presented as a much broader movement. Public protest, politics, the body, domestic revolution, consumption and folk art are all considered worthy of categorisation and given separate exhibition space in an examination of the broader worldwide movement.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

The show, curated by the Tate‘s Jessica Morgan, also goes further in providing a platform for many of women artists who were also involved, and who have perhaps been under-represented in the history of pop art.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

The best works here though are American with fetish painted car bonnets from Judy Chicago and Martha Rosler’s clever photo-montages.  Nicola L created her iconic ‘Red Coat’ for eleven people to bond come rain or shine, but I’m not sure that Jana Zelibska’s silhouettes were really deserving of their own section and others are hit and miss.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

Around the world pop was not just a celebration of western consumerism but was often a subversive international language of protest. Polish artist Jurry Zielinski’s protester for example has their red fabric tongue firmly nailed to the gallery floor, John F Kennedy and Nikita Kruschev face off in a work by Italian artist Sergio Lombardo whilst for the Frenchman Henri Cueco, The Red Men (below), alludes to the government provoked anti communist ‘Red Scare’.

It is an exhibition that only partially succeeds. It succeeds where it expands the narrative of Pop Art but there are occasional substandard works whilst others with dubious pop pedigree are shoe-horned in to make a point. It is also strange that whilst big name British/US artists are excluded others like Colin Self and Joe Tilson or Rosler and Chicago seem to qualify as ‘world’ artists.

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

Despite these failings it is still a fascinating show that brings a new and more international perspective to the well-worn mantras of pop art theory and is worth a view.

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern runs until 24 January 2016

For further information visit www.tate.org.uk

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum

16 December 2013 § Leave a comment

I always enjoy a trip to the Design Museum. Located on the riverside alleyways and old wharves of Bermondsey it’s a great place to visit whilst taking advantage of a Thames path stroll past (or via) the Tate, Globe Theatre and even Fashion Museum. The Museum itself is also quiet and pleasant with a nice little cafe with river views. Stop off at the shop for some gifts (another gift idea here) or cards – Christmas or otherwise and it is a perfect half day out.

Paul Smith Design Museum

This exhibition takes you into the world of fashion designer Paul Smith, celebrating his career to date and charting the rise of a true British name that has become one of the world’s leading brands.

Paul Smith Design Museum

The show takes up the first floor of the Museum and begins with a recreation of Smith’s notoriously crowded office space, packed to the gills with an eclectic collection of nick-nacks, photographs, models, CDs, boxes, books (piled perilously high) and even a bicycle.

Paul Smith Design Museum

The wide central aisle is lined floor to ceiling with wildly varied artworks from his own collection whilst other rooms recreate his first shop space (minuscule!), the first collection promotion (in a hotel room), a room of mirrors (not sure why that was there?), a selection of his design influences and products, a film and a long space with a selection of his fashion creations.

Paul Smith Design Museum

With Smith’s varied output his primary focus in men’s fashion is lost in this exhibition which looks rather more broadly at his life and influences. It is nevertheless an enjoyable, charming and interesting, if lightweight, exhibition.

Paul Smith Design Museum

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith runs until 9 March 2014. Details at www.designmuseum.org

Opens daily 10am – 5.45pm. Open on all bank and national holidays, except 25 and 26 December.

Paul Smith Design Museum

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.

Re-View: Onnasch Collection at Hauser & Wirth

18 November 2013 § 2 Comments

The must-see museum show of the winter season is a surprise. Not Klee at the Tate or another at a major institution but instead it is a show at a commercial gallery Hauser & Wirth – Re-View: Onnasch Collection.

Jerry Bell

Jerry Bell

Hauser & Wirth of course is not any old commercial gallery but an international powerhouse that represents many of the world’s leading artists. It has taken the unusual move to put aside all three of its London spaces to a non-profit show curated by their highly paid new partner Paul Schimmel, previously of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The exhibition is that of the collection of former dealer Reinhard Onnasch, who owned galleries in Berlin, Cologne and New York. Seemingly a gallerist who preferred to keep rather than sell he gathered together an unmatched collection that has become a guide to major artists and movements of post-war art, particularly from America.

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 The Piccadilly gallery features early assemblages and combines, most noticeably by Ed Kienholz – a master of the creepy assemblage and unsettling juxtaposition.

Ed Kienholz

Ed Kienholz

Over at Savile Row the galleries are dedicated initially to pop art, with a group of Claes Oldenburg’s faamous soft sculptures, as well as Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg. Other minimalist and conceptualist art includes Richard Serra and Dan Flavin.

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Next door is another gallery featuring American abstraction, including works by Frank Stella, Ad Reinhardt, Cy TwomblyMorris Louis and Clyfford Still.

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg

It would take a book to do justice to all the works and their interlocking influences. This is a museum quality display, beautifully curated and comprising works that even the Tate would die for.

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Naturally Hauser & Wirth are not exhibiting for the general benefit of the public at large but to boost their own standing. It oozes power, influence and money. It aims to place the gallery in an art historical context and looks to drag their own stable of artists along with it.

Paul Schimmel

Paul Schimmel

Take full advantage of the gallery’s attempt to inflate its standing and drop in whilst you are Christmas shopping in Bond Street (!) to see this wonderful show before it ends.

‘Re-View: Onnasch Collection’, Hauser & Wirth London until 14 December 2013

 Related articles

computer geeks and the artists statement

17 March 2011 § 1 Comment

My apologies for the absence of recent posts – ok, so you hadn’t even noticed. Anyway I am now back from a brief holiday in Wales and a trip to a dark netherworld of unintelligible language and strange people.

I should quickly explain that these are two different places. The first – South Wales – is a delightful, bright land of friendly and normal people who were, for the most part, wholly intelligible. The ‘other’ place is the world of the computer geek. I was forced to visit this hell-hole of eternal damnation following the meltdown of my computer – due to a nasty viral infection, or so I am told. I have been bombarded with words/concepts/objects (I dont know quite which)  like workgroups, re-formatting, encryption keys, default gateways, protocol properties and, god help me, subnet masks.

Fortunately I survived nearly drowning in the Styx and getting lost in meadows of asphodel and came out the other side intact with a working computer. However it did strike me that my bewilderment in this other ‘world’ would probably relate quite closely to that experienced by an IT engineer forced to read a copy of Artforum or attend a contemporary art gallery opening.

Despite the various re-incarnations of  ‘Art for All’ as preached by many from Gilbert & George to … well – whoever, the art world has largely failed to adapt its ‘geek-like’ language to those to whom it professes to appeal. The Tate may attract visitors by the thousand, but the public interaction with the art world probably tends to be rather shallow and their perception of private galleries probably is that they remain quite intimidating places run by, well, art-geeks.

The ‘artists statement’ symbolises this mis-match. Peter Schjeeldahl writing in the March 2011 edition of Frieze brilliantly hit at least one nail on the head in ‘Of Ourselves and of Our Origins: Subjects of Art’. He writes:

‘We live in the age of an educational abomination from hell: the artists statement…. a batch of required thinking which purports to be about the inspired doing of something, but which replaces it. The art-schooled art world is mad for intellectual hooks. These leapfrog from an idea, sail clear over the sweat and bother of actual creation and land in forensic analysis, which some dismal pictures or objects have been served to illustrate.’

I recommend reading the whole article on page 104 (and online) of Frieze. I have nothing to add m’lud.

london public art galleries – top ten

13 September 2010 § 2 Comments

It is a cliché I know. Nowadays one can hardly open a newspaper or switch on the TV without being assaulted with yet another ‘best/worst of’ listing. As soon as something enters the public realm it is instantly categorised, tabulated and graded – from Rooney’s indiscretions to ways of cooking artichoke,  nothing is allowed to escape the ratings police. 

My excuse is a visiting friend from San Francisco, interested in modern & contemporary art, has asked me to send him a list of those galleries that he should definitely take time out to visit. Any guilt in populist list-making thereby assuaged by the potential education of an American philistine. Here then are my very personal top ten public galleries (private galleries listed tomorrow) – starting at ten and working up to the (overly long and unnecessary pause to build up an unconvincing and unjustified tension that was previously totally lacking) ‘winner’; 

10. Zabludowicz Collection. A messy collection of future ’emerging’ artists, most of whom never quite fully ’emerged’. Put together by a curator employed by a multi-millionaires wife. Anita Zabludowicz seems to have no knowledge of art (is she more interested in social status?) but she has found a handful of good works, put them in a converted church and created a very interesting place to visit. 

9. Dulwich Picture Gallery. A lovely gallery with a fine permanant collection (pre-twentieth century). Temporary exhibitions hit and miss. Recent Paul Nash was a cracker. Current Wyeth so-so. After the long hike out to Dulwich you will be glad to find an exceptionally nice restaurant and terrace. 

8. National Portrait Gallery. It is always a pleasure to wander around their peaceful galleries finding a new gem. Some interesting temporary exhibitions (currently there is the annual BP Portrait Award and Camille Silvy, 19th century documentary photographer) and a local secret – a wonderful top-floor bar with views of Trafalgar Square. 

7. Saatchi Collection. The exhibitions here always seem to be frustrating and fascinating in equal measure. The work is of uneven quality, but is nevertheless always worth visiting and is shown in an excellent space. Enjoy a break at the cafe/restaurant on the pretty square afterwards or stroll down Kings Road. 

6. Tate Modern. Of course it has to be there. Sometimes frustrates with messy curation, has some big chunks missing from its collection and thinks that teaching children about art involves playing facile games that fill galleries with noisy groups. Membership benefits include a cramped lounge busier and less pleasant than the public facilities. Visit weekdays outside school holidays. 

5. Camden Arts Centre. Has a knack of putting on exhibitions of artists that have been overlooked, misunderstood or simply long overdue. A must-visit gallery if you want to keep one step ahead. This autumn Rene Daniels on the 23 September is followed by Simon Starling on the 16 December 2010. 

Richard Hamilton

4. Whitechapel Gallery. This is a gallery that is always worth a visit. The home of always excellent, often ground-breaking, exhibitions. This is Tomorrow in 1956 was so iconic and memorable that a current small show looks at some plans, letters and posters -quite interestsing. It has the best gallery restaurant in London – alternatively pop around the corner for a Brick Lane curry. 

Nouvel Pavilion

3. Serpentine Gallery. Take a relaxing stroll through Hyde Park (ie: don’t take a taxi!) to reach one of my favourites. The exhibitions, usually monographic, are invariably interesting and well-curated. An excellent Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition is on until the 19th September 2010. And then there is the pavilion to enjoy – this year Jean Nouvel’s red construction makes an uneasy contrast to the green of the park! 

2. Courtauld Gallery. Step a few yards off the hustle and bustle of the Strand in to an oasis of calm. A must-visit gallery that is often overlooked. Go to see the amazing Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works as well as their Fauvist, Bloomsbury and German Expressionist collections – and much much more. And dont forget the cafe. 

Boccioni - Modern Idol

1.Estorick Collection. A delight. A north london townhouse in a peaceful back street holds a fine collection of Italian 2oth century art. The futurist works are especially good and there is always an interesting temporary exhibition. Coming up is Against Mussolini on the 22 September 2010. I hardly need to add that they do a great cappuccino. 

inflatable new york animals & airy art

6 September 2010 § 1 Comment

Bin bags and subway air. How often does one find that  the very best ideas are the simplest ones – whether it be art, design, film, literature – perhaps anything for that matter! Joshua Allen Harris in New York has created animals using just tape and plastic bags, fitting them over subway air vents. As the trains pass they inflate and come to temporary ‘life’. 

Marcel Duchamp

I was accordingly inspired to determine where else I have seen ‘air’ used in art. Although the impressionists looked to capture the fleeting effects of light in the open air they hardly painted the ‘air’ itself – although Albert Moore said of James Whistler in the infamous Ruskin vs Whistler libel trial of 1878 that he ‘has painted the air, which few others have attempted’. In reality Duchamp probably got there first (again) with the 50cc ampoule of Paris Air that he sent to NY dealer Walter Arensberg. It was broken but a copy was made in 1949.

Jeff Koons - Rabbit

Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, despite being rather annoying, is another that ‘jumps’ to mind. Appearing inflatable it visually challenges the viewer on several levels is and raises questions about the nature of art. Its mirrored surface seduces like jewellery,Koons stating that “polished objects have often been displayed by the church and by wealthy people to set a stage of both material security and enlightenment of spiritual nature; the stainless steel is a fake reflection of that stage.” The reflective surface also reflects the environment of the art – it changes with its surroundings. 

Dan Flavin

Scraping the barrel for ideas I guess you could say that Dan Flavin uses tubes of ‘air’. Using the light from fluorescent tubes he literally paints the surrounding spaces – but not the air of course – with light  (on reflection a bit too tenuous that one!) Meanwhile many artists have also used absence, empty spaces and for example closed galleries (famously Yves Klein’s empty Clert Gallery in NY 1958 entitled Le Vide)  to challenge meaning in art – but here the air itself is actually an irrelevance as the debate is more about the space. 

My last straws clutched are with examples of what you might call  ‘air made visible’  with Francis Alys, recently at the Tate, and Olafur Eliasson. Alys repeatedly and determinedly rushes headlong into raging dust storms. See the video here. This is what Will Gompertz says:   

For Alys, the dust storm suggests the imminent collapse of a system of government or of political order. The act of running into the storm, which we see repeated over and over again, also invites interpretation: is the artist no longer able to combat the chaos he encounters? Is he recognising the vanity of poetic gestures at a time of calamity? Or is it only within the chaos that he can challenge the turmoil around him? Reaching the centre of the storm, the artist is breathless and almost blinded, yet he encounters a furtive moment of peace that could hint at a new moment of possibility. 

Eliasson in his excellent Berlin exhibition Innen Stadt Aussen concerns itself closely with the relationship between museum and city, architecture and landscape, as well as between space, body and time. It is with the latter relationships in mind that he fills the closing room of the exhibition with a thick mist which he illuminates with changing light. The air becomes opaque – all that is air melts into solid Marx might say? – and all your senses are challenged (youtube video below). Any more airy art suggestions anyone? Have I missed a whole train of thought?! 

london galleries autumn preview

17 August 2010 § Leave a comment

The mid-summer lull in the London gallery schedules allows a moment for contemplation on what looks like a very mixed bag of Autumn shows. I just cannot quite work myself up in to a frenzy of excitment about this motley assortment of old hands and uninspiring newcomers.

Starting with public galleries the blockbuster Gaugin will undoubtedly be the major event of 2010 and amazingly his first major UK exhibition for 5o years.  The Tate Modern promises that the exhibition will explore ‘the role of the myths around the man.’ Starts 30 September – stick it in the diary! Arrive after the 12 October and see what Ai Weiwei has installed as the 11th Turbine Hall commission. Recently involved in the Beijing Olympic stadium and then almost beaten to death for his political views he has said: ‘Everything is art, everything is politics. You can call it art or you can call it politics, I don’t give a damn.’ Should be interesting. 

Over at Tate Britain the schedule, starting 8 September, is totally underwhelming. Eadweard Muybridge (yes, correctly spelt) was a the 19th century photographer who ‘proved that a horse can fly’ with multiple images and anticipated the coming of cinema with the zoopraxiscope. He also travelled and documented America of the time. Just about worth dropping in. 

Rachel Whiteread Drawings is the other choice – but why? Her casts of varied spaces, apart from being a direct steal from Bruce Nauman are getting tedious. Now she says this:  ‘A lot of the works that I’ve been making over the years have been part of a cyclical process. I often feel a cycle is incomplete and need to tread the same path again.’ So now having run out of (someone else’s) ideas all she can do is more of the same again, but this time in drawings. Keep well away! The Gagosian, Daniels Street, is taking advantage with their own Rachel Whiteread exhibition on the 7 September – and I don’t see any reason to bother with this one either.  

The Turner Prize 2010 exhibition is of course at Tate Britain too – from 5 October. Calming down in its old age but an interesting selection. Dexter Dalwood and Angela de la Cruz painting, sound artist Susan Philipsz and the multi-disciplinary Otolith Group. I like Dalwood but the inventive Otolith Group have to be my favourite.

The second part of Newspeak: British Art Now opens at the Satchi on 27 October. Despite the overwhelming mediocrity of the show it is strangely compulsive viewing, and there is a particularly nice cafe. Apart from that I can not wait to update my critics Saatchi league table from my previous posts

Egon Schiele

The Royal Academy’s Treasures of Budapest starts on 25 September. Although there will be the opportunity to save the air fare to Budapest it doesn’t seem to be a show-stopper, but worth a visit. It promises Raphael, El Greco, Manet, Monet, Schiele and Picasso amongst others. 

And now for something completely different? How about the Barbican with Future Fashion: 30 years of Japanese Fashion. Not ‘art’ but could be spectacular. 

Of the smaller Galleries the Camden Arts Centre always seems to have something interesting. On 23 September Rene Daniels’ opens. His interesting work is ‘permeated through and through with writing, word games, literary references, visual puns, and allusions to art movements, institutions, and mass media.’ 

Of the private galleries Hauser & Wirth’s opens its expansive new Savile Row space on the 15 October with a Fabric Works of Louise Bourgeois – hardly inspirational, but I look forward to seeing the gallery. Of their other exhibitions the Piccadilly branch has the first posthumous show of Jason Rhoades’ opening 24 September. The exhibition features ’1:12 Perfect World’, Rhoades’ scale model of his groundbreaking 1999 exhibition, ‘Perfect World’ in Hamburg. Ho-hum. 

At Haunch of Venison there is the strange choice of Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper, starting 24 September, which nevertheless looks like it may be quite interesting. Meanwhile do not miss the excellent Joana Vasconcelos and quirky animal-stuffer Polly Morgan whose exhibitions are currently on until the 25 September! 

At the White Cube, Masons yard Christian Marclay opens on the 15 October: ‘Over the past 30 years, Christian Marclay has explored the fusion of fine art and audio cultures, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video.’ Meanwhile over at WC Hoxton on 13 October Mark Bradford’s ‘multi-layered collaged paintings incorporating materials found in the urban environment’. Both may be worth a look but hardly captivating.  

 

Jacco Olivier

The pick of the rest are Jacco Olivier at Victoria Miro from 7 September – Olivier fuses colourful paintings with video – his works are delightful and fascinating. Finally Marina Abramovic is at the Lisson – god knows what we will see from the ‘grandmother of performance art’ but it is well worth a detour! 

There we go – the best of the autumn? Not great and, in respect of painting very lop-sided. The public galleries mostly with retrospective painting, the private with, well all sorts from taxidermy to performance but pretty much steering away from anything on canvas . No demand? No talent? Are the private galleries out of sync with what the public wants – or is it the Public galleries? I will leave you to ponder the mystery…. 
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