I’ve been picking a monthly round up of art for a few years now, first on Culture24 and now on criticismism. If it’s not my imagination, this is getting more difficult. Cuts coming home to roost?
It’s my unscientific impression galleries have got less likely to list forthcoming shows. It could be a sign they’re having trouble planning, or that they’re at least lacking web resource.
That’s to say nothing of the quality of what’s on offer. But fortunately, it remains a tricky operation to choose a shortlist from the wealth of UK exhibitions. Anyhow, FWIW, as ever, here goes:
Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, FACT, Liverpool, 5 Mar – 17 May. New group show connects the technology which structures our lives with the mental illness which sometimes blights them. 15 artists provide a chance to reflect on the new psychological landscape.
Leonora Carrington, Tate Liverpool, 6 Mar – 31 May. Too much to say about Carrington in this narrow window, but unfamiliar visitors may thrill to her surreal work, her remarkable life story, and her diversification into poetry, scultpure, tapestry and theatre design.
Gerald Scarfe: Milk Snatcher, The Thatcher Drawings, The Bowes Museum, Co. Durham, 14 Mar – 31 May. With a general election on May 7, this is a brave moment for a museum to remind us of the evils of Thatcherism. And, with recent events in Paris, the power of political cartoons.
Richard Diebenkorn, The Royal Academy, London, 14 Mar – 7 Jun 2015. Heralded by US papers as a painter of superlative gifts, the forthcoming show – Dieberkorn’s first in the UK for 20 years – is an opportunity to be seized. The RA promises a career long survey.
Matt Stokes: Cantata Profana, Dilston Grove, Southwark Park, London 27 Mar – 26 Apr. Grindcore metal meets choral composition in an offsite six-channel installation for Matt’s Gallery. Find yourself immersed as the volume goes up to (a no doubt cathartic) eleven.
Happy New Year to readers everywhere. Here’s the first of a monthly round up of shows in (usually) public sector spaces around the UK. So, if you’re in Britain in January 2015, you won’t want to miss…
Grace Schwindt: Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society, Site Gallery, Sheffield, 10 Jan – 28 Feb. If your experience of taxi drivers is all Magic FM and reactionary politics, you’ll be pleasantly surprised here. Schwindt interviews a German taxi driver, and former 60s/70s radical, for a filmic 90 minute trip.
Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, Nottingham Contemporary, 24 Jan to 15 Mar. Twenty pan-American artists bear witness to an environmental crisis with displays themed around the Amazon, the Andes, the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. If Bolivia and Ecuador can give legal rights to Mother Nature, can we hope a wave of the future is building across the Atlantic?
Isabelle Cornaro: Paysage Avec Poussin/Témoins Oculaires, South London Gallery and Spike Island, Bristol, 24 Jan – 05 Apr/29 Mar. With training in the academic study of mannerism, Cornaro promises to demonstrate the way that art affects our perception. Resonant objects abound in a major installation at SLG and new works in the West Country. It’s a double header.
Self: Image and Identity, Turner Contemporary, Margate, 24 Jan – 10 May. As the gallery is already hinting, this exhibition could put the selfie phenomena in art historical perspective. Visitors can expect over 100 self-centred works, many from the National Portrait Gallery, from Sir Anthony van Dyck to Louise Bourgeois.
Ruth Ewan: Back to the Fields, Camden Arts Centre, London, 30 Jan – 29 Mar. In post-revolutionary France they enjoyed post-revolutionary time. London-based artist Ewan returns to her interest in the decimal clock and calendar with a major installation which brings together 365 seasonal objects with republican leanings.
Agree? Disagree? Seen something which criticismism has missed. Please feel free, as ever, to leave a comment.
Tis (still, just) the season to be jolly and certainly the time of year for lazy reviews of the past 12 months. And should that review be in the form of a listicle, well all the merrier.
So here, in case you were wondering, are the most popular posts on criticismism in 2013:
- Number 5: this was a cross post with Culture24 so chances are it got more views than the 288 who hit this page on my blog: an interview with Martin Creed
- 4th place: 319 of you read, or gazed upon, my photodiary from Derry-Londonderry. I guess I should have pushed this some more during the Tuner Prize, but oh well.
- In 3: Having enjoyed his work in Brighton’s House Festival, it was a pleasure to visit the studio of David Wightman for an interview (373 hits)
- Second: was it a T-shirt? Was it a painting? Buff by Hannah Knox certainly pulled in some traffic. And so 463 visitors pondered similar questions
- Top, by a country mile: 1,160 art lovers and/or hip hop fans joined me for a critical appraisal of the lyrics of Picasso Baby by Jay Z.
Most strangely, there’s a wealth of content dating back to 2009 which is still performing well. My all time top post is something short I wrote about Remedios Varo in 2010.
What might I learn from this? How might I improve? Answers on the back of a used Xmas card please.
Is it the 24th already? In that case it’s time for some festive Found Objects. Many many thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever read this blog and season’s greetings/happy new year. I ramble.
- We kick off with a wintry art quiz by Jonathan Jones at the Guardian. I only got seven out of ten which, while not quite shameful, is enough to have already spoiled my Christmas.
- Also from the Guardian, ghost stories. Well, not the actually stories as such but a sociological account of their popularity. Meta xmas, everyone.
- This is the most festive link of all, even if it dates back three years. Tyler Green’s 2010 advent calendar is a cornucopia of delights.
- Many of you may well be in transit to friends and family in far flung places. But spare a thought for Pussy Riot, getting back from Siberia, and not a hint they’ve mellowed.
- Prosthetic Knowledge pick their technology of the year on Rhizome.org. It’s the Oculus Rift and it’s frankly a bit scary if compared with two dimensional blogs like this one.
- Christmas is a fine time for blazing rows, on the soaps at least. So those thoughtful folk at the Telegraph have put together a compilation of cultural spats from the last 12 months.
- A white Christmas is guaranteed in the Alps and to get the most of it you must try this Skywalk, preferably with the slippers which prevent you from plunging a kilometre to your death.
- FAD invite Kimberley Brown to bring her critical theory chops to selected works in the National Gallery. The results are tantalising if brief. Thanks to Ben Street for the link.
- Just when you thought the Cariou v. Prince trial was done and dusted along comes a friends of the court brief and 45,000 petitioners to reopen proceedings. Hyperallergic unpicks the story
- Finally, a bit late, but this was the highlight of the Mandela coverage for me. Comedian Mark Steel sends up the hypocrisy of some of those who, no doubt, are still deep in mourning.
Seven more days slip by with but a handful of stories to cling to. Click on:
- There’s now a Kafka angle to the Munich art hoard story (interivew with Cornelius Gurlitt)
- Here’s another good Nazi art theft yarn. What became of the Mona Lisa?
- Museum-show of the season is not in a museum at all. A Kick Up the Arts visits Hauser & Wirth
- When was the last time art changed your outlook on life (thanks @TheodoreArt)?
- If you can bear it, here’s how to talk up a $142m dollar sale
- Objects, and ignorance, are both on the rise according to J.J. Charlesworth: a good analysis
- And so the Al-Wakrah sports stadium, now under construction in Qatar, resembles a vagina
- Tyler Green takes you on a road trip with a compendium of highway-inspired art works
- If you suspect algorithms are out to get you, this Kyle Chayka piece is essential reading
- Martin Gayford mines his new book to give us an account of the rivalries which fuelled the renaissance.
Your usual mix of the good, the bad and the trivial (art stories from around the web):
- Look on the bright side of any imminent apocalypse. Colleen Fitzgibbon interviews filmmaker Ben Rivers for BOMB Magazine
- Found poetry of Google autocomplete demonstrates that the hivemind sure has an active muse. Read about it on Hyperallergic
- Here’s a radical public toilet deisgn for the Ichibara arts festival in Japan. For the call of nature look no further than Faith is Torment
- More rad architecture: a glittering pizza oven inspired by the golden age of Italian disco (from Colossal)
- John Lewis Christmas ad flagged up at Fast Company Create (and the bear looks a bit like football manager Harry Redknapp)
- In case you were in any doubt about what a strange place Russia has become, here’s a police choir singing Daft Punk (via Rowan Early)
- Pyotr Pavlensky has clearly not seen the above and as a result nailed a delicate part of his anatomy to Red Square, as the Guardian reports
- And where are the police when you need them; this animated dummy from David Lewandowski must be stopped (thanks @thebenstreet)
- An exhaustive site dedicated to knitting instructions for the scarf or scarves once worn by Tom Baker in Doctor Who. Beyond nerdy (ta @markscottwood)
- Here’s a form of rememberance we can all get behind: deets on Joe Sacco’s 24ft long panorama of the Western Front via @SebastianSmee.
- Interview of the week, possibly the month, the Guardian speak with ‘wrecker of civilisation’ Genesis P. Orridge
- Meanwhile the Telegraph keeps it light with the trailer to a new feature about the most famous cat on the webz
- These are a pure joy. Music videos chosen by Prosthetic Knowledge. Just why is the forefront of tech so uncanny and funny?
- PhD funding shocker. Now two post grads have put their heads together to beat Facebook addiction.
- Mostafa Heddaya (Hyperallergic) wonders what it meant to be alternative at the Alternative Guide to the Universe at the Hayward in London
- Here’s a journey I have made thousands of times but never with such an ace vantage point and satisfying sense of historical continuity. London to Brighton
- The Onion are first with the story behind the story. CNN explain why they went big on that Miley Cyrus performance
- Just possibly the best infographic ever, director Alfred Hitchcock’s myriad obsessions: falls, journeys, deaths, blondes, etc
- The Guardian carries a video of a day in the life of the world’s most expensive footballer. There is something a bit humdrum about the whole thing
- Finally, poet Paul Muldoon eulogises poet Seamus Heaney in the New Yorker. Saddening.
Found Objects are back. Sorry to regular readers for the break:
- Freelance journalist Francesa Borri is working for $70 a story. That’s $70 to cover the frontline of the war in Syria. (via Jude Sheerin)
- Bomb magazine links the work of Gordon Matta-Clark and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, all via the writing of Francis Ponge.
- Here’s a thing. Artist Marc Ngui is illustrating a barely readable work of philosophy. So here are Deleuze & Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus as a no less mystifying diagram.
- If you haven’t seen these gestures for critical discussion, check them out. If you have seen them, it’s worth refreshing your memory. Very funny.
- The term emerging artist is a slippery one. But now IdeasTap have tried to nail it down with 22 signs that you may be one.
- This could be the most instructional gif ever. Watch the world breathe as the seasons change from the vantage point of space.
- Marina Abramovic continues to hob nob with pop stars, but this piece of advice from the venerable performance artist is probably a good ‘un. Do one thing at a time.
- A Park Avenue tunnel in New York has been turned into an interactive light show party, courtesy of Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
- Damn, Bowie even looks good in his police mug shot. Memorabilia from a drugs bust in 1976 has just come to light in Rochester, NY. Nice piece.
- Last but not least, a sea fort near the Isle of Wight has been covered into a luxury hotel. If that doesn’t quite capture the imagination the pics should do.
Sheesh, it’s hot. Before the Internet melts you may want to check out these links:
- A new film documents the remarkable life and living/working arrangement of psychiatric patient Yayoi Kusama. The 8-minute trailer alone is well worth a watch
- The Paris review carries a long read piece about artists’ novels. Just the very suggestion of reading a book with a pair of white gloves is enough to sustain the interest here
- A former Google employee lifts the lid on the benevolent institution and finds it as hierarchical and paranoid as any other big corp (via @LuckyPDF)
- I’m not sure if this is a review, an arty press release or a piece of art in its own right. However a show called Weird Dude Energy gets an entertaining write up on Bad at Sports
- The state of art journalism according to one who knows. Tyler Green talks to Edward Winkleman about the whole sorry picture. (Scroll down the page for it.)
- A German artist has made a controversial protest against US web surveillance with a puntastic light show on the side of the American Embassy in Berlin (from Spiegel Online)
- This is just dreadful. Christies auction house are pricing up the collection at Detroit Institute of Arts, just as the city gets in the worst kind of financial trouble
- Love a bit of ‘gonzo’ art reporting. Stuart Jeffries from the Guardian tries his hand at passing off his own work for a masterpiece in the company of replica-painting pro Susie Ray
- This sounds like a premise for a novel. Two metal bands from Israel and Palestine share bus and stage to embark on an 18-date European tour together
- Finally, RIP comedian Mel Smith. This memorable sketch from Not the Nine O’Clock News is always worth another look: Gerald the Gorilla.
Busy times, but those Found Objects just keep coming:
- There’s a great profile of photographer Robert R McElroy in artcritical. How a former GI ended up as one of the very few people taking photos of the New York downtown scene of the 1960s
- Simon Reynolds recalls violence of music concerts in the early 1980s and wonders where it is gone. Check out his flyers from gigs in Aylesbury Friars. My ears are still ringing
- Who knew there was a foundation in Spain to protect the memory of Dictator Franco. Well, there is and they are not all that keen on the work of Eugenio Merino
- From one foundation to another. Hrag Vartanian reviews a lively looking show by Bruce High Quality Foundation at the Brooklyn Museum. Beware the gif
- These luscious photos belie their mathematical origins. Hugo Acier has been applying Boolean operations to three dimensional landscape scenes with sublime results
- “When you paint, you enter a different time stream,” so speaks Jonathan Jones who has a timely gripe with the marketing of a forthcoming show of painting at Tate Britain
- Some zany performance art can be found on the blog New Art, with a commentary by Vvoi. I don’t know what he or they are saying, but it’s infectious
- Dieter Roth diaries can overwhelm at Camden Arts Centre, but Rachel Guthrie has managed to pick through the detritus to deliver a tidy review on her eponymous art blog
- This sounds all kinds of good, Meschac Gaba brings a bit of Cotonou in Benin to Bankside and Tate Modern. The gallery blogs about his museum within a museum
- Finally, if you haven’t yet checked out Degenerate Art Stream, you need to. Nevermind the fact that I’m almost half way through guest posting every day for two weeks.