As summer approaches, the art world provides a plethora of inspiring and exciting experiences for us across various cities, made even more enjoyable and accessible by the warmer weather. Our 5 To See is a whirlwind tour around the globe, examining the political, the playful and the nostalgic. Sheffield Doc/Fest opens today, promising an exhilarating weekend ahead with evening premiers taking place in the balmy Botanical Gardens. Meanwhile, Frédéric Brenner decorates the walls of the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, inviting us to enter and understand the political climate of Israel, and in Switzerland at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, animal rights are being placed firmly on the agenda with the exhibition Beastly / Animal.
1. Sheffield Doc/Fest, Sheffield.
With 21 events in its back catalogue, Sheffield Doc/Fest is a must see this weekend, celebrating art and filmmaking over a fast paced six days. Hosting a range of acclaimed directors, the festival prides itself on supporting and developing new and emerging talent. On Saturday evening the European premiere of Mavis! takes place in the open air against the stunning background of the Botanical Gardens. The breath-taking homage to Mavis Staples’ extraordinary musical career is punctuated with interviews with many of her contemporaries, such as Bob Dylan and Bonnie Rait, immersing the viewer in six decades of freedom fighting and political revolution.
2. Chris Burden, Gagosian, Paris.
American artist Chris Burden’s 1970s work was based on the idea that art should not be about objects but should be ephemeral. His shocking performance pieces included being shot in the arm (Shoot, 1971) and crucified on top of a VW Beetle (Trans-fixed, 1974). In recent years, however, he has moved into monumental sculpture and installations which make observations about the interactions of culture and technology. Works on display include In Porsche with Meteorite (2013), which consists of a bright yellow sports car hanging in apparent balance with an extraterrestrial rock, and Pair of Namur Mortars (2013), a more subtle mimesis, which features the reproduction of a 17th century war machine.
3. Frédéric Brenner: An Archaeology of Fear and Desire, Howard Greenburg Gallery, New York.
Frédéric Brenner has headed up a group of 12 international photographers to venture to Israel and the West Bank on a documentation mission over the past six years. Shooting images of the residents and examining the complexity of the political climate, Brenner asks us to examine how Israel and West Bank are places and yet also form a collective metaphor. The project is engaged with merely observing and documenting, with neither praise nor condemnation being employed. The stark and uncompromising images that have been created will be on display until 3 July.
4. Beastly / Animal, Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Powerful, relevant and intensely provocative, Beastly / Animal is being presented at the Fotomuseum Winterthur until October. Grappling with ideas surrounding the popularisation of animal images within western culture, the exhibition questions the moral stance surrounding animals being implicated in human processes, as they are imprisoned, tortured and killed by the man-made animal industry. Alongside these themes, the use of animals playing an important critical function within art is examined, by the use of political allegories or by an aesthetic transformation.
5. Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London.
Tate Modern plays host to the first retrospective of Agnes Martins’ work since 1994, presenting an in-depth collection spanning the full breadth of the artists practice. Garnering her initial fame in New York, Martin left the city in search of solitude in which to conduct her practice for the next three decades. Although in later years Martin was well known for her trademark gridded and striped canvases, her early years saw her lengthy experimentation with various media, honing her artistic talent and shaping her work into the mesmerising panels she is remembered for today.
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1. Agnes Martin, Friendship 1963. Incised gold leaf and gesso on canvas. Museum of Modern Art, New York.