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Nam June Paik at Tate Liverpool and FACT

Review by Kenn Taylor

As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, it appears as if “media art” is finally being accepted as a high art form. It has been nearly 60 years since Nam June Paik’s first experiments with sound, television and video emerged into the international art consciousness, and so reaching a point of major institutional recognition highlights just how far ahead of his time he really was. Perhaps more profoundly, this first major retrospective since his death in 2006 signifies how so many of his ideas predicted our present day multimedia world, which is saturated with technology, information and interactivity.

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Consumerism & Desire at Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art, Sydney

Review by Isabella Andronos

Sherrie Knipe’s work in Bootiful, at Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art in Sydney explores the tensions between consumerism and desire. Knipe has created enigmatic sculptures using pine, plywood, and acrylic, with each work synthesising a type of consumer product. Focusing predominantly on shoes and handbags much of Knipe’s work in Bootiful can be seen as coded with a sense of the feminine.

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Camera-less Photography at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh

Review by Colin Herd

As processes go, few are more mysterious and fascinating than the seemingly paradoxical art of camera-less photography. With its roots in early photographic experiments, camera-less photography retains flashes of the exciting cusp before the advent of abundant, mass-reproduced images, a time when creating a photographic image involved a seemingly magical communion of light, artist, chemical and time.

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Simon Starling: Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) at The Modern Institute

Review by Alistair Quietsch

On 10 December, I read yet another apocalyptically tinged news report: that of Burma building silos with aid from North Korea. Now I know this is not a scare mongering news site, and realise people don’t come here to be dragged down by such reportage, but after seeing the recent Simon Starling show, Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima): The Mirror Room at The Modern Institute in Glasgow you will see why such news is relevant.

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Review: Joy Gregory – Lost Languages and Other Voices

Review by Ceri Restrick

Lost Languages and Other Voices is Joy Gregory’s first major retrospective. The exhibition charts the artist’s career over two decades and confirms her position as one of the most important artists to emerge from the Black British photography movement of the 1980s. The title of the exhibition refers to the works Gomera (2008) and Kalahari (2010) in which Gregory highlights the cultural importance of marginalised African indigenous languages.

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Review: Fresh Hell at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Review by Rosa Rankin-Gee

There is something life-affirming about the queues to see art in Paris. Perennially long, and slow, and full of people complaining in a buoyant way. I was having a great time, until I realised I had actually joined the queue out of fondness rather than necessity, and was about to see Larry Clark at the Musée d’Art Modern for the second time in a week.

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About A Minute – The Gopher Hole, London

Review by Carla MacKinnon

The Gopher Hole is a brand new venue and project space nestling beneath El Paso Restaurant at 350-354 Old Street in London. It’s a cosy basement venue but the gallery’s founders – aberrant architecture and Beatrice Galilee – have big plans for it. With an interest in “popular culture across borders”, The Gopher Hole looks to curate ideas and to facilitate critical debate on contemporary culture, the arts and society. The venue promises a diverse programme, from exhibitions and film screenings to interdisciplinary events and discussion.

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Review: From Back Home at the National Media Museum, Bradford

Review by Ceri Restrick

The National Media Museum sets the bar for exhibiting world class art and culture. Swedish photographers, Anders Petersen (b. 1944) and J.H. Engström (b. 1969) opened From Back Home in October at NMM in Bradford. Having already exhibited in Paris and Stockholm, Bradford may not seem like the obvious choice for a UK debut; however, since Bradford became the recipient of the UNESCO City of Film Award in 2009, the city’s international reputation has grown dramatically.

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Review: MK2Morrow: One Small Step for Milton Keynes

Review by Nicola Mann

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away urban designer and theorist Melvin M. Webber devised a radical plan for a “new town” located in the then deep space hinterland between London and Birmingham. Atop a grassy plateau previously occupied by cows, sheep and swirling fog emerged Milton Keynes, a vision far in advance of its 1960s origins.

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Review: Turner Prize 2010

Review by Joseph Ewens

Now in its 26th year, The Turner Prize has become an epicentre for contemporary art debate. Its mission to highlight the work of the country’s finest new creators places it firmly in the firing line for modern art’s detractors. Imagine the bubbling cauldron of fury unleashing itself onto internet message boards when it was announced that this year’s winner, Lowlands by Susan Phillipsz, doesn’t even feature anything you can see.

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Review: 10 Dialogues at the RSA, Edinburgh

Review by Colin Herd

Timed to coincide with Richard Demarco’s 80th birthday, the current show in the impressive and expansive galleries of the Royal Scottish Academy celebrates his unique contribution to the visual arts in Scotland. Demarco was one of the co-founders of Edinburgh’s legendary Traverse Theatre in 1963, and went on to establish The Richard Demarco Gallery in 1966.

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Aesthetica Creative Works Annual 2011

With over 90 artists included, the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual provides a overview of innovative artwork and creative writing. The publication makes a stunning addition to any collection and is a valuable resource, offering insight into the artistic trends of the moment and fostering creativity.

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Filmmaker Series – Part 2 Q&A with the Runners-up The Varava Brothers

Below is a Q&A with Jared Varava from the American filmmaking duo, the Varava Brothers. As one of the longer shorts on the Aesthetica Shorts DVD, it’s a brilliant narrative that highlights the modern-day dilemma. A man decides that his life needs to be changed. He takes an enlightening and competitively priced journey of self-discovery in today’s self-obsessed world.

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Review: Fade Away at Transition Gallery, London

Review by Charles Danby

Following hot on the heels of Transition’s inaugural ART BLITZ auction, a call to arms against impending arts cuts in the UK, the exhibition Fade Away retains a maxim of mass action and presentation, with the large group exhibition this time directed towards the hinterland between painted representation and painterly abstraction.

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Review: High Society at the Wellcome Collection

Review by Robert J. Wallis, a Professor of Visual Culture & Director MA in Art History at Richmond The American International University in London.

“Every society on Earth is a high society”: from the caffeine in our morning tea and coffee to over-the-counter pain-killers and a “drink” on the way home from work, to hallucinogenic snuffs used by shamans in Venezuela, drugs are a universal part of human existence. This is the overarching theme of the excellent High Society exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London (until 27 February 2011).

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Aesthetica Magazine Gift Guide 2010

It’s that time of year again and at Aesthetica we’re already excited about the festive season. The Christmas we’ll be avoiding the high-street chains (apart from WH Smith to pick up the Dec/Jan issue of course!) and buying our gifts from independent artists and makers.

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Filmmaker Series – Q&A with Finalists from the Aesthetica Short Film Competition

To celebrate the launch of the Aesthetica Shorts 2011 DVD, there is a feature on the nature of short films and a discussion of the current film industry in the Dec/Jan issue of Aesthetica.