A new arts festival is coming to east London this weekend as part of the Open House project. From September 22-23, artists will offer life drawing classes, students from London Film Festival will screen their work and dancers from English National Ballet will run workshops as parRead More »
Was there really much in common between that consummate, wax-moustachioed showman Salvador Dali and the cerebral, secretive Marcel Duchamp, founding father of conceptual art, and inventor of the idea of the ready-made? Things will be a little easier next year, when the Royal Academy finally expands into the space once occupied by the old Museum of Mankind on its 250th birthday.
This huge show is both a visual presentation and a densely worked, heavily documented argument. It is the story of the emergence of the black art of America during the fraught, politically contested era of 1963 and on. It takes in movements, key historical moments across the nation – the death of Martin Luther King (his soaring voice greets us as we walk into the first room), the Watts riots in Los Angeles, the emergence of the Black Panthers – and it shows us the art which emerged as a direct consequence of the struggle to create a black voice, a black identity.
London’s Victoria and Albert museum has played host to some of the greatest fashion exhibitions of the past decade; from 2013’s David Bowie (which sold 311,956 tickets), The Hollywood Costume show in 2012 (251,738 tickets) and, of course, Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty expo that raked in half a million visitors.
“Wow, that’s brilliant,” exclaims a tourist, cooing over my boyfriend’s easel, as we stand side-by-side painting the view outside’s Mayfair’s Connaught hotel. Who knew that a five-star art course would be the activity that pushed my previously happy relationship to the brink? In contrast, Terence, my beloved, spent his teens mooning moodily about an art room, and has been known to whip out a sketch pad while on hols.
Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) is terrifying. It’s a coup for English National Ballet to acquire this production, another sign of artistic director Tamara Rojo’s ambitions for the company. Created in 1975 for Bausch’s own dancers, this Sacre has been danced by only one other ballet company, the Paris Opéra.
“One must be constantly looking for opportunities to tell one’s story,” explains Hans Vollman, one of the restless spirits who’s responsible for much of the narration of Lincoln in the Bardo, a book that’s marked by an author who’s not only found an inventive way to tell his story, but has managed to weave something truly strange and enchanting in the process. Two days earlier, eleven-year-old Willie Lincoln, beloved son of the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, died from typhoid fever, and now he’s been interred in a marble crypt in Georgetown cemetery. As his wife Mary remains at the White House, insensible with sorrow, sedated by doctors, Lincoln, weighed down by grief, visits his son’s body in its final resting place.
On the night of the US Presidential Election, Shelly Bond had just returned from a comics convention in the UK to her home in Los Angeles. The news that Donald Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton to the White House gradually permeated her jet-lagged doze. The next night Bond was at LA’s El Rey Theatre to watch a solo performance by Moloko frontwoman Roisin Murphy.
An insightful, intriguing and comprehensive look at the extensive history of album artwork arrives in the form of Art Record Covers [Taschen]. In its introduction, author Francesco Spampinato – who is currently completing a PhD at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris – explains how records are an opportunity to remove some of the sacredness from contemporary art and can be viewed as the artist’s way of escaping the constraints that are imposed by the art world. It examines a staggering array of covers by famous artists – from Banksy's graffiti for Blur, Damien Hirst’s skull for The Hours, Warhol’s Velvet Underground banana and the Dali butterfly on Jacke Gleason’s Lonesome Echo.
Moving through an exhibition stuffed with 14 rooms of the photographs of Wolfgang Tillmans is a bit like eavesdropping on someone wondering about life as it passes by. The mood changes all the time, from the casual to the formal, as does the hang itself and the size of the image, from post-card tiny to full-screen cinematic. He pins to the wall, he tapes, he frames. There’s no chronology to speak of, merely thematic clusterings.