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Cut + Paste: Romare Bearden @ Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, NY

American artist, Romare Bearden’s (b.1911) practice is complex and wide reaching. This exhibition at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is the first to focus exclusively on collage, the medium through which Bearden arrived at his later style. Created between 1964 and 1983, the 21 works in the exhibition exemplify Bearden’s exceptional talent for story-telling as well as his mastery of the medium’s fragmentation of form and space. Together, they reveal an innovative artist whose style is distinguishing by partial images, unexpected juxtapositions, harmonious collisions, and a dynamic modernist aesthetic that continues to inspire and challenge viewers today.

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Simon Starling, Recent History @ Tate St Ives

Review by Colin Herd

To accommodate Recent History, the Tate St Ives has reversed the sequence of galleries, so the show begins in Gallery 5 and finishes up in Gallery 2. It’s an appropriately counter-intuitive way to experience Simon Starling’s work, the process of backcombing through the galleries is an interesting analogue to the journeys, retreaded routes and return-voyages around which his practice so often centres. Presenting work produced in the last five years, Recent History is the largest exhibition of Starling’s work to be shown in Britain since he won the Turner Prize in 2005 for Shedboatshed.

Flexible Filmmaking: Ben Rivers’ Slow Action

Review by Ruaidhri Ryan

“I’m not a film purist, for me it is about my own enjoyment; I really don’t feel part of a debate between film and digital.”

Purists may argue that film should be displayed as film – the Lumière Brothers adapted the camera they shot with to become the projector they would display with. The debate between film, digital and display is regular discussion point around artists’ film and video, yet some artists’ work questions the relevance of this debate.

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Examining the Role of Performance: SHOW, Jerwood Visual Arts

Review by Charles Danby

The Jerwood Encounters series was launched in 2008 to investigate the margins of the primary fields of the Jerwood visual arts programme, of painting, sculpture, drawing and photography, and as such it has most readily orientated itself around performance, media and event. SHOW is the latest of this series, the fourth devised and curated by in-house curator Sarah Williams. In line with her previous outputs, Locate (2010), Laboratory (2009), An Experiment in Collaboration (2008), SHOW places new work, process, documentation, and durational activity, centrally to an investigation of what an exhibition and curatorial framework is and can be.

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Pop Up Art: Temporary Contemporary Art Space, Gateshead

A disused terraced house in Bensham, Tyneside, which is scheduled for demolition, is to briefly enjoy a radical new life – as a contemporary art gallery. The property – a converted fair of flats – is playing host to a unique project inspired by the changes being brought about in the local area and carried out by members of Behsham’s growing art community.

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Claude Cahun/Sue Tompkins at Inverleith House, Edinburgh

Review by Colin Herd

In a tiny photograph of a domestic interior, the doors of an ornate wooden cabinet gape open. In the lower half, a chest of drawers; the upper half, three deep shelves. On the top two shelves are books, papers and medicine vials; on the third shelf, something altogether more surreal: a slight-built young woman lithely scrunched into the cupboard. Dressed in shorts, white socks and a sleeveless polka-dot blouse with a bow in her hair, she looks both adolescent and feline, insouciantly stretched out, all gangly limbs and eyes tight shut, apparently asleep. In spite of the bow and the polka dots, there’s something provocatively boyish about the prominent arm and leg dangling from the edge of the shelf, limbs tanned the colour of bronze.

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SHADOWBOXING: Mariana Castillo Deball, Sean Dockray, Marysia Lewandowska and Wendelien van Oldenborgh @ RCA

Review by Emma Cummins

In November 2010, the graduating students of the MA Curating Contemporary Art course at the Royal College of Art, invited the artists Mariana Castillo Deball, Sean Dockray, Marysia Lewandowska and Wendelien van Oldenborgh to respond to Giorgio Agamben’s seminal essay What is an Apparatus? (2009). The dialogue prompted by this text was central to the development of SHADOWBOXING; a dynamic exhibition accompanied by an ongoing series of events, talks and publications.

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Pick Me Up: Contemporary Graphic Design Fair @ Somerset House

Review by Laura E. Barone, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London

The Embankment Galleries at Somerset House have been transformed into a vibrant, living and breathing art space for the second year of Pick Me Up: Contemporary Graphic Art Fair. Packed to the brim with established and new talent, the fair includes Pick Me Up Selects, a showcase of international design from new talent in graphic arts, an open studio with designer-in-residence Anthony Burrill, and spaces for several London graphic art collectives and galleries including Print Club London and Evening Tweed.

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Nancy Spero @ the Serpentine Gallery

Review by Paul Hardman

Right from the first moment of entering this exhibition at the Serpentine, Spero’s art makes an assertive and powerful impression. Immediately after passing through the gallery’s doors, a panorama manifests itself across the whole field of vision. Disembodied heads on the end of chains radiate out of a central point in the centre of the ceiling as if from a demented hellish maypole. Each face is composed of rough distressed marks, colours bleeding into each other, surfaces pitted, expressions of horror and torment, some screaming in rage or pain, others sticking out long tongues. That this will be a visceral and uncompromising exhibition is apparent immediately.

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A Partnership in Terror – Hitchcock and Herrmann Festival

The collaboration between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most famous, tempestuous and productive creative relationships in Hollywood to date. To coincide with Herrmann’s centenary in 2011, York St John University is bringing together practitioners and academics working on a range of theoretical, analytical and historical perspectives.

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The European Independent Film Festival: Bringing European Cinema to a Wider Audience

European cinema occupies a special place in the heart of the cinema-going public: a Danish film, In a Better World, picked up the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year and films from across the continent are proving popular worldwide. One of the major events celebrating independent European filmmaking and bringing it to worldwide attention is The European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU). Considered the European equivalent to Sundance, ÉCU has established itself as an arena for independent filmmakers to screen their films in front of large audiences of cinema-goers and industry professionals.

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Preview: Yerma at West Yorkshire Playhouse

Preview by Rym Kechacha

Born just outside Granada in the heart of Andalucía, the influential Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca was highly influenced by the rhythms and shapes of flamenco. In that cruel way that life often has of imitating art, his inner world was just as tortured as that of his characters- full of longing, isolation and ending in a brutal murder.

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Sharon Kivland’s Je suis malade de mes pensées @ Domo Baal

Review by Tiffany Jow

Comprised of items from Sharon Kivland’s personal archive of French magazines, postcards, advertising leaflets and objects from a variety of time periods, the artist copied, re-worked and embellished each, tying them together with a narrative that strives for seamlessness but is constantly cut short or interrupted altogether. The resulting works, titled Je suis malade de mes pensées (2010), dissect memorabilia from periods of enlightenment through a contemporary lens. Kivland’s execution is more amateur than professional, yet is consistently genuine, imbuing the collection with a kind of childlike candidness on the realities of modernism.

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What happens when we die? Stardust – Some Thoughts on Death at St Mungo’s Museum, Glasgow

Review by Alistair Quietsch

The latest show at the St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life, Stardust – Some Thoughts on Death by Gillian Steel, is a curious, almost scientific rumination on death. It took Steel a year to document all her findings, 100 interviews and over 50 recordings of conversations on the topic, pragmatically giving each person 10 questions to answer in regards to death and possible events thereafter.

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Yohji Yamamoto @ the V&A, London

Review by Tiffany Jow, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

These days, it’s trendy to pay respect to Japanese fashion within an exhibition context. Last autumn, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York’s Japanese Fashion Now highlighted the region’s radical contemporary tendencies, while the Barbican’s recently closed Future Beauty surveyed the country’s fashion history from the 1980s to present. The pantheon of designers is as expected: Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake, Takado Kenzo, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto are consistently embraced as group, effectively merging their individual talent into a single aesthetic intended to be representative of Asian avant-garde design.

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Experiential Filmmaking: Ed Atkins – Death Mask @ Cabinet Gallery, London

Review by Jareh Das

London artist Ed Atkins films exist in what can only be described as an experiential filmic environment. Atkins often displays; film, text, sound and paintings, allowing the viewer to enter into a dream-like environment for an existential experience. As an installation, Death Mask allows a more theoretical experience of film, as the viewer is able to read, watch and listen simultaneously, a trademark that is perhaps becoming signatory of the artist’s recent presentations. For his recent solo presentation at London’s Cabinet gallery, Atkins presented Death Mask, a multi dimensional filmic environment consisting of Death Mask I+II, a spiral bound screenplay, A Very Short Introduction to Death Mask I, MDF boards painted in Chroma key Green, Omnichron photocopies and videos of Death Mask II: The Scent and Death Mask III.

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Masterworks: Architecture at the Royal Academy

Review by Nathan Breeze

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 with the aim to promote the ‘Arts of Design’ element in Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

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Underwater Art: Wet Sounds @ Bethnal Green

Review by Paul Hardman

The fun of visiting Wet Sounds at York Hall Pool in Bethnal Green actually began long before arriving. Explaining to friends that the event was an ‘underwater disco’, or an ‘underwater concert’, was amusing (if deliberately misleading), but then, Wet Sounds does defy easy categorisation.

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Exploring Wimbledon’s Unique Artistic Community: Q&A with Emma Campbell, Artistic Coordinator

Interview by Bethany Rex

Wimbledon Art Studios is the largest, single site art studio complex in the UK; we caught up with their Artistic Coordinator, Emma Campbell.

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If Destroyed Still True @ Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol.

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

If Destroyed Still True is the culmination of two years work by performance company Sedated by a Brick. Performed in the intimate space of The Brewery Theatre in Bristol, the play presents its audience with a genuinely bizarre exploration of guilt, loss and denial.

Martin Creed: Thinking/Not Thinking @ Cafe OTO

Martin Creed: Thinking / Not Thinking (Work #1090) from Martin Creed on Vimeo.

Review by Kathryn Evans

Last week Martin Creed and his band showcased their new single Thinking/Not Thinking. One might view this sort of pursuit from an artist primarily known for creating visual works as an amusing side project, but the Turner Prize winner has always seen music as an integral part of his practice. To demonstrate this Thinking/Not Thinking is Work #1090, is numbered in the same manner as the rest of his visual works, although the single is also released in a conventional manner in line with standard music releases.

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Aidan McNeill’s World of Theatre @ PayneShurvell

Review by Laura E. Barone, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Aidan McNeill’s first solo show, Cast, is a stunning photographic and filmic induction into the world of the theatre. Her photographic works are powerful images not of thespians, but of the physicality of the most basic elements of the theatre – the lights and the stage. Add some smoke effects, high angles, color swatches, and a camera to McNeill’s hands and the theatre puts on an altogether different kind of production.

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Dustin Yellin @ 20 Hoxton Square

Review by Carla MacKinnon

New York based artist Dustin Yellin creates his unique work by layering 2D images between sheets of glass to create extraordinary 3D images, collages and illusions. In the first room of his current show at 20 Hoxton Square, visitors are greeted by a selection of small works mounted on plinths. Yellin’s technique makes each piece a satisfying physical object; smooth square transparent bricks capture an array of cut out images ranging from the political to the comical. The images in this first space are light-hearted, almost kitsch, referencing iconic images from popular culture and the media and weaving these into unlikely tableaux. The method is reminiscent of applique, pop-up books and Victorian theatre sets, giving the work a reference point in narrative and craft.

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Horizon Hypnotique @ French Rivieria 1988

Review by Emily Sack, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

“This is our romance,” state artist duo and new gallery owners/curators Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski in reference to the name of French Riviera 1988 that opened in February in East London. The inaugural show entitled Horizon Hypnotique features the work of Levack and Lewandowski as well as six other contemporary artists.

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Louise Bourgeois & Tracey Emin @ Hauser & Wirth, London

Review by Laura E. Barone, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin’s joint project, Do Not Abandon Me is a plea directed to the female body. All sixteen of the works in the show are of headless torsos, male and female, that put particular emphasis on sexuality: erect penises, swollen bellies, full breasts and rounded buttocks dominate. But these are not objectified bodies; they are lived in bodies, painted with regard for form but in an un-idealized palette of reds, pinks, black and blue gouaches on white cloth.