As August begins, bringing with it Olympics-mania across our TV screens, our 5 To See lines up engaging alternatives for the summer season. On the continent, Berlinische Galerie’s DADA Africa: Dialogue with the Other examines the dialogue between DADA art and 20th century art outside Europe. This retrospective theme continues on the other side of the Atlantic, as Sprüth Magers revisits the iconic Eau de Cologne show, once again proving the gallery to be at the forefront of the discussion about gender in art. Closer to home, in London, The Photographers’ Gallery‘s survey of the work of Terence Donovan, reveals a heyday for photography, fashion and advertising.
1. Terence Donovan, Speed of Light, The Photographers’ Gallery, London.
The Photographers’ Gallery plays host to Speed of Light, a major retrospective that charts the work of renowned British photographer, Terence Donovan (1936-1996). With a career spanning 40 years, Donovan was one of the foremost photographers of his generation; his work ranging from fashion (in the early years of his career) to advertising and portrait photography (the later years). Born into a working class family in East London, he found himself at the heart of London’s ‘swinging sixties’ and his work reveals a unique perspective of the “post-war renaissance” that the arts, fashion, photography and design enjoyed. Showcased across two floors, Speed of Light offers visitors an exclusive insight into the breadth and variety of Donovan’s work, his process, and – with the help of partner, technology company Ricoh – the opportunity to experiment with photography themselves.
2. DADA Africa: Dialogue with the Other, Berlinische Galerie: Museum of Modern Art, Berlin.
First conceived in Zürich, DADA is an artistic and literary movement that grew as a reaction against World War One and the nationalism that was believed to have caused it. Influenced by and in response to other avant-garde movements such as Futurism, Expressionism, Cubism and Constructivism, DADA art spans medium and method. What links DADA art together is its cynical and critical perspective on nationalistic and materialistic idealism. In celebration of this year’s DADA centennial, the Berlinische Galerie, in partnership with the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, presents an insight into how Dadaists looked to the art beyond Europe for inspiration and, in turn, how Dadaism influenced 20th century art outside Europe. Approximately 120 works from international and German collections are on display, examining how Dadaism’s rebellions against traditional notions of art, nationalism and society set the foundations for how we have and continue to perceive ‘the Other’.
3. Detroit: Techno City, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.
As a UK first, the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ Detroit: Techno City is a must-see for music lovers. The exhibition offers an insight into the origins, evolution and subsequent dispersion of Detroit Techno music. First coined in the 1980s, the term Detroit Techno refers to the unique mix of synth-pop, disco and funk that was first introduced by Detroit DJs in the 1970s and then went on to inspire a generation. The exhibition follows the genre’s forebears and those seminal individuals that first established Detroit Techno, before turning to its success in Europe and the ‘second wave’ the genre entertained on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. The show concludes with a focus on the musical collective, Underground Resistance, and its attempts to re-establish the “authenticity” of Detroit Techno.
4. Cameron Robbins, Field Lines, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.
Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) welcomes Melbourne artist Cameron Robbins for his first international solo exhibition in a major museum, Field Lines. Robbins’s work unites man, machine and nature, attempting to harness and transcribe the chaos, beauty and danger of natural phenomena. His work includes self-created machines that transcribe wind patterns (which he calls ‘instruments’) and drawings, photography, sculpture, sound and video work, which attempts to interpret earthly marvels such as solar power and tidal movements. Field Lines is a major show, featuring pieces developed across three decades of his career including a remarkable collection of 16 drawings, examples of photography, sculpture, film and sound recordings, as well as seven installations created specifically for MONA (many of which are sympathetic to the museum’s coastal location).
5. Eau de Cologne, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles.
In 1985, long before fellow German and feminist gallerists Monika Sprüth and Philiomene Magers would become partners, Sprüth and Magers held a show featuring the five up and coming contemporary artists Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, Louise Lawler and Rosemarie Trockel. The exhibition, entitled Eau de Cologne, held in an attempt to counter a “Cologne over-run by male artists”, established a relationship between these gallerists and artists, and was soon followed by a second and third staging (in 1987 and 1993). Alongside the exhibitions Sprüth also ran a zine (also called Eau de Cologne) in 1985, 1987 and 1989 featuring German and American female artists and writers. In an exhibition that is part archival and part reflective on the past, Sprüth and Magers once again revisit Eau de Cologne; this time in their recently opened Los Angeles gallery. A follow up to last year’s Berlin showing, the exhibition features work from the original five artists (dating from the 1970s to the present day).
1. Terence Donovan, French Elle, 2 September 1965 © Archives Elle/HFA. Courtesy of TPG London.