Is anyone else really into chairs?

I’m pleased to say that at the grand old age of 24, I visited Brighton for the first time this weekend – I felt like I’d found my spiritual home, all sunny café terraces, vibrant market stalls, a fabulous clean (by British standards) beach, and those mesmerising north and south lanes with their clusters of dream shops.

After sunning it up for a while on the beach, I took myself to the Pavilion and the Brighton Museum where I discovered the city’s small but exceptional collection on 20th century art and design. I remember once reading (I’m a little foggy as to where) that the one object which every designer hopes to make his own is a chair. The distinction between one chair and another is sometimes negligible, mundane even, but living as I do with a real chair enthusiast (furnishing 1 small living room = 8 random mismatched chairs, and counting) I’m starting to understand the nature of this fascination, helped along by Brighton’s collections.

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Hopefulness through photography

With all the recent furore over the Iranian elections, I was pleased to discover an alternative, more positive aspect on the country through the artist Sara Shamsavari, who moved to the UK after spending her first two years in revolutionary Iran. Shamsavari’s images capture a hopefulness uncharacteristic of so much coverage today, and they reflect the artist’s mixed cultural heritage and increased awareness of art’s responsibilities as leaders in spiritual and social progress.

Stephen Deuchar appointed the new Director of The Art Fund

The Art Fund has just announced today the appointment of Dr Stephen Deuchar as the new Director. Currently the Director of Tate Britain and Chairman of the 2009 Turner Prize, Dr Deuchar will start at The Art Fund in January 2010.

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Artists’ run spaces reinvigorate the gallery

Opening on 4 July at Eastside Projects in Birmingham, a solo show by Glasgow based artists Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan. The collaborative duo have made a new work which through its very naming, Does your contemplation of the situation fuck with the flow of circulation, clearly, eloquently and aggressively, introduces the duo’s playful, provocative and interrogative art practice. Tatham and O’Sullivan have been creating work since 1995 that is concerned with the mythic potential of art, and how art can exist as an event in a particular space and time.

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Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro, London

Installation is one of my favourite art forms. Depending on the work it can embody the space, enhance it and inevitably change it in some way. Thinking about the natural world versus the built environment led me to follow up Victoria Miro’s press release on Yayoi Kusama’s three giant pumpkins that will be on view for about a month this summer. The new giant dotted pumpkins will be installed in Victoria Miro’s canal side garden to mark the 80th birthday of Japan’s most revered contemporary artist.

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The First City of Film: Congratulations Bradford!

Beating Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice on 12 June Bradford became the first ever UNESCO City of Film.

Revealing pride for his home-town, Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy said of the award: “This is superb news for Bradford and is testimony to the City’s dedication to the film and media industry. Not only has Bradford played a crucial role in the story of cinema and helped shape its history, it has inspirational plans to enhance its future relationship with film, which will benefit both the local community and the industry at large.”

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Marcus Coates Wins the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize

You might remember the cheeky image that was on the cover of the Feb/March issue this year? A man in super cool shades, a hare jumping out of his retro Adidas jacket and a badger on his head? Well, that was Marcus Coates who was one of the artists involved with Nicolas Bourriaud’s exhibition as part of the Tate Triennial“AlterModern” which finished on 26 April at Tate Britain.

Can't wait for summer festivals...

Finally, the sun is shining, and in these credit crunch times I’m looking forward to some fantastic free festivals over the coming months. In my mind, festivals are what make the British summer – plastic cups of warm cider, the intoxicating smell of frying onions, floppy burgers and the holy trinity of wellies, cagoule and sunburn. And rather than heading for the bright lights (and inevitable mudfest) of Glastonbury or Reading, there’s something wonderfully homespun about the assortment of local community festivals which spring up each year. As a Leeds University veteran, the city’s annual Hyde Park shindig, Unity Day, holds a special place in my heart.

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Art Basel 40 – strong results for 2009

The sentiment reflected throughout the art world has been that of the recession, cut backs and closures. It has been a tumultuous time for all; however, as Wayne Hemingway said to Aesthetica in the last issue a recession can create serendipity and variation.

Now then, how’s the art fair industry holding up? At Aesthetica we work with numerous fairs from Art Beijing, India Art Summit, Art Chicago, Glasgow Art Fair, Zoo Art Fair, Newcastle Gateshead. We know how these events work, and with Basel being 40 years old, it has already been through a recession or two, so how did it go this year?

Super Contemporary at the Design Museum, London

Finding myself with a couple of hours to spare at the weekend I went along London’s south bank to catch Super Contemporary at the Design Museum. Having interviewed guest curator Daniel Charny, for Aesthetica’s current issue I was interested to see the logistics of showcasing a timeline of the UK, and particularly London’s, political and cultural fluctuations over the past half century, alongside new innovations from 15 top design makers practicing in London today.

Aesthetica Magazine: New Issue Out Today

What’s inside the latest issue of Aesthetica Magazine:

Chen Ke, one of China’s young rising stars, discusses her work and looks at this era of abandonment, while grappling with its truths and consequences. Peter Saville examines the democratisation and changing aesthetic of design. Also, highlights and recommendations from this year’s Venice Biennale, and a new perspective on contemporary Polish art, as well as the 10 must see exhibitions.