Being the Editor of Aesthetica Magazine, does, at times, have its advantages. Last week, I was given the opportunity to preview the new Nissan Cube. Over the years, I’ve had many things come my way – mostly books (I love the art ones), CDs, tickets and a flight or two, so I was delighted to take this opportunity on board. It was an unusual experience for a number a reasons: 1.) I’m not really that in to cars, so as far as I’m concerned if it’s nice and it goes then I’m in. 2.) Well, really that’s the same as number one.
The Scouting Book For Boys is in Cinemas now. Winning, Best British Newcomer at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival in 2009, and the Observer offering this plaudit: “Exhilarating…a twisted Romeo and Juliet for the Skins generation”, it seems that Tom Harper is on the road to success. The film was written by Jack Thorne (Skins, Shameless) and produced by Christian Colson and Ivana MacKinnon of Cloud Eight Films (Slumdog Millionaire).
Andrea Büttner (b. 1972, Germany) was announced as the winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women last night. Büttner lives and works in London and Frankfurt. Shortlisted artists Becky Beasley and Elizabeth Price were also in attendance. I first looked at the Max Mara Art Prize for Women when Margaret Salmon won in 2007. This Prize offers women the chance to not only disseminate their work to a larger audience, but to create through a 6-month residency. How I would love one of those!
Photography is Immersive: Two New Exhibitions
Last Christmas, I got a new camera, and since then I can’t keep away from photography. Even in the next issue, we’re running a feature on CONTACT, The World’s Largest Festival of Photography, but you’ll have to pick up the April issue for more information. I’ve just been reading, Photography: A Cultural History (Laurence King), and I feel so inspired.
In the Land Of The Free is out nationwide on March 26th and we have a pair of tickets available to the film’s premiere on March 24th, which includes a Q&A with special guest Robert King, and Director Vadim Jean. Read on to be in with a chance…
In The Land Of The Free… is a feature-length film documenting the story of the Angola 3. During the 1970s, the Angola 3 protested against continued segregation, corruption and abuse facing the largely African American prison population within the Louisiana penitentiary, Angola. The prison is so named as it stands on the former site of a slave plantation, the workers of which hailed from Angola, Africa. This gives you the first insight into the driving force of the feature. Shortly after speaking out about their conditions, and under suspicion of affiliation with the Black Panther Movement, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were subsequently convicted for the murder of a prison guard, Brent Miller.
With the Aesthetica Short Film Competition well underway (entries are coming in from as far as Australia, Israel, India, Canada, US, Brazil and even Argentina), I am increasingly seeing the vast diversity in film. From shorts that take more traditional format to more experimental cinema, I’m finding the entire genre of moving image enhancing the cultural landscape and exploring new possibilities for contemporary visual culture. Coming up in the April issue of Aesthetica, there’s a feature on the Artists’ Cinema Project (a collaboration of the Independent Cinema Office and LUX). It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to explore the endless possibilities of film and video.
Craft is undergoing a renaissance. I think that for some the word evokes sewing circles and Popsicle sticks, but really there is so much more to it, recently, I’ve even started reading Crafts magazine (published by the Crafts Council), and I find it incredibly inspiring. It makes me want to start creating! So I was delighted to learning about Junko Mori and Jacqueline Ryan’s new show opening in the Lake District at Blackwell Arts and Crafts House later this month.
Imagine being a recent art graduate? I mean the doom and gloom of recent times is like a nasty piece of gum stuck on your shoe, it’s annoying and hard to shake – frankly you can’t even fathom touching it. So, I feel it’s always worth a mention when galleries are doing something different with their programming to support the next generation. I’ve been a fan of the Timothy Taylor Gallery for a few years now, with shows that are not only exciting but also enriching in today’s cultural climate.
Marcus Coates’ new show Psychopomp, which open at Milton Keynes Gallery in January has been picked up several plaudits along the way with Richard Dorment of the Daily Telegraph saying that Coates is “one of the most intelligent and original artists in this country today.” Not bad, eh? I first became aware of Coates during the Altermodern exhibition last year. In fact, he graced the cover of Issue 27, so I’ve been a fan for a while now. There’s even a chance to meet Marcus this Thursday at the gallery during a “Meet the Artist” Session.
The must-see photographic event for London 2010, A Positive View, will showcase an extraordinary range of photography on a truly international scale from the 20th and 21st century, under the Royal Patronage of Prince William supporting Crisis, the homelessness charity. A Positive View was first held in 1994 sponsored by Vogue and exhibited at Saatchi Gallery, while the second show was held in 2000 at the Atlantis Gallery in the Old Truman Brewery (London) and sponsored by Getty. The third edition of this fully curated, museum-scale photographic exhibition, to be held at Somerset House, will bring together more than 100 rare and signed vintage works across almost a century of photography; classic and contemporary works will cross a variety of genres, from still-life, fashion, landscape, portraiture and reportage.
A major new exhibition of work by Jenny Holzer opens today in Gateshead at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. The exhibition, in one word, is stunning. The walk up to the BALTIC reveals the first insight into what is to come inside; the façade of the building emblazoned with “THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR WILL BE SECRET”.
In 2010 Mexico celebrates a double anniversary: the bicentenary of its independence and the centenary of its revolution. The occasion is being marked by festivities in Mexico and around the world, all year long. Belgium will play a prominent role in the celebrations. The bicentenary commemorates 200 years of Mexican independence or – to be more precise – the beginning of the country’s struggle for independence. It was on 16 September 1810 that the “¡Grito de Dolores!” rang out, the call to fight the Spanish invader issued by Miguel Hidalgo, also renowned for his summons, “¡Mexicanos, Viva México!” About 100 years later the Mexican Revolution was initiated by those who resisted the rule of President Porfirio Díaz. In Mexico the Centenario celebrates the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, one of the first great social uprising of the 20th century. In the context of this double commemoration, Mexico has also organised festivities outside its own frontiers.
The built environment is ubiquitous – we cannot escape the structures that define us. This milieu has altered greatly over the past 50 years. The concrete jungle is being replaced by smart, functional designs – there’s even a roof top garden in our building. So, I was delighted to find out about Stephen King’s first solo show – A Storey of Photography. The show reveals secrets and hidden iconic design of city store. It follows the announcement this week that the store is set to close in June for redevelopment. In a poignant turn of events, a contemporary fine art photography exhibition, Lewis’s Fifth Floor: A Department Storey opened 26 February and runs until 30 August 2010 documenting the current state of the store’s fifth floor of this Liverpool institution.
As Aesthetica is making international ties from Australia, New Zealand and Japan through to the USA and Canada, I wanted to bring you details about one of the most exciting performing arts festivals in Canada.