As summer delights us with a spell of better weather, we select five top exhibitions to discover worldwide this weekend. The Contemporary Austin alters our perceptions of space and scale in a display of work by Robert Therrien, while the Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, offers a collaborative exploration of mankind’s impact on nature in The Disrupted Landscape. Closer to home, the work of one of today’s most established names in fashion, Yves Saint Laurent, is exhibited at Bowes Museum, County Durham, and a dedicated showcase of photography by Vivian Maier goes on display at Beetles & Huxley, London.
1. Yves Saint Laurent, Style is Eternal, Bowes Museum, County Durham.
For the first time in Britain, Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent is exhibiting a comprehensive overview of the French designer’s work. 50 pieces from the designer come together in this award winning space to show the extent of his work, from his early works of the early 1960s to his most iconic pieces, including the first women’s tuxedo (1966) and his homages to some of the greatest painters of the 20th century: Mondrian, Matisse, Cocteau, Braque, Van Gogh and Picasso. Taking inspiration from Laurent’s immortal quote, Bowes Museum attempts to reveal the timeless nature of the work of a designer who remains one of the greatest names in fashion.
2. The Disrupted Landscape, Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston.
The impact of man on the natural world is highlighted in many different ways by this new collaborative exhibition, surveying not just mining practices and industry, as shown in the works of David Maisel and Alex MacLean, but the disturbing force of man is also seen in something as innocent as a balloon or a baseball field. These works bring the viewer into the comfort of being a passive viewer of a landscape, and then shock us into recognition of the impact of ourselves. Through digital manipulation as well as documentation, this presentation seeks to redefine and subvert the very nature of the landscape genre.
3. Vivian Maier, Beetles & Huxley, London.
Life in 1960s Chicago is exposed in this newly discovered series of photographs from professional nanny Vivian Maier. Bought in a blind auction for $400, these works lay un-developed for four decades until rediscovered by author John Maloof. At first seeming obscure and parochial, Maier dramatises the ordinary lives of people living in 1960s America, from nuns to businessmen, and from the children in Maier’s care to the artist herself. Through her lens it is possible to understand the personalities of both a vibrant Cold War city and the nanny who never saw her negatives come to light.
4. Sebastião Salgado, Genesis, C/O Berlin.
This exhibition of truly Biblical proportions captures the extreme edges and true essence of the planet, with depictions ranging from geological formations and striking vistas of the poles, to peoples inhabiting the far margins of humanity. In Genesis Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado attempts to document the 46% of the earth left as it was since creation. The artist travelled the world over eight years, seeing the manner in which, since that day, the earth has been pushed to extremes, highlighting its manipulation and change by capturing those few corners which remain remote and unaltered.
5. Robert Therrien, The Contemporary Austin, Austin.
In his constructions of rooms taken through distorted lenses, Robert Therrien focuses contemplation of the every-day. His works involving oversized furniture and containers holding corridors of warped perspective force the viewer into a state of meditation in the face of works that make the banal somehow fantastical and mesmerising. Therien’s Duchampian works attempt to celebrate the solitary and quiet life so lost on the modern world, by exposing us to the wonder of that which is usually passed by, and allowing viewers to redefine and re-examine their own habitats.
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1. Thomas Jackson, Glow Sticks no. 1, 2012. From The Disrupted Landscape. Courtesy of Miller Yezerski Gallery.