Born out of Necessity | Architecture and Design Galleries | The Museum of Modern Art | New York

Among the most common and enduring definitions of design is “problem solving.” A problem arises, the designer analyses it and distils it into goals, and then she creates a roadmap to a solution, working with the means at her disposal. These include the budget, the materials and techniques she can afford and master (for an object like a chair, a lamp, or a bicycle, for instance), or the code and software she favours (for a digital product, such as an interface or an interactive map). She must also consider the requirements of distribution and marketing, if the product is meant for wide dissemination.

Selfridges Film Project | London | Film 1: Alexander McQueen

To celebrate the unveiling of the Womens Designer Galleries in its London store, Selfridges has commissioned The Film Project – a bespoke short film collection. Intended as an experience rather than a conventional exhibition, the free screenings continue until 26 March at the Old Selfridges in London. For those who can’t make it to London, the short films from available online and we will be screening a selection on the Aesthetica Blog every day this week.

Louise Bourgeois, UNTITLED, 2010. Fabric, thread, rubber, stainless steel, wood and glass, 199.4 x 221 x 110.5 cm. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Cheim & Read. Photo: Christopher Burke, © Louise Bourgeois Trust.

Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed | The Freud Museum | London

The Freud Museum was Sigmund Freud’s home in the last year of his life from 1938-39. The museum has attracted interest in the contemporary art world having previously worked with artists such as Susan Hiller and Mat Collishaw. The current exhibition, Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, presents the artist’s recently discovered psychoanalytic writings as well as other art objects that range from sculptures to textiles. This exhibition curated by Philip Larratt-Smith displays psychoanalysis – the connection between Freud and Bourgeois – through writings and artworks shown here for the first time. Asana Greenstreet speaks to Larratt-Smith about this exciting exhibition:

Copyright of the artist and Courtesy of Rose Issa Projects.

Raeda Saadeh: True Tales, Fairy Tales | Rose Issa Projects | London

Text by Deborah Schultz

The title of the current exhibition of photographs by Raeda Saadeh at Rose Issa Projects, London, is well-chosen as True Tales, Fairy Tales brings together and highlights key aspects of the artist’s work. While a number of the images refer to fairy tales, these are not happy ending fantasies, but are deeply rooted in unresolved contemporary issues. Although this exhibition features only photographs, Saadeh is also a performance and installation artist. As is often noted, her background plays a crucial role in her work.

Santiago Sierra, Dedicated to the Workers and Unemployed, installation view, Lisson Gallery, London,  2012.

Santiago Sierra: Dedicated to the Workers and Unemployed | Lisson Gallery | London

Text by Emma Cummins

Notorious for his controversial and ethically dubious video-works, Santiago Sierra is a contentious and well-known figure in the field of contemporary art. Both politically and aesthetically provocative, his work combines elements of social and institutional critique to confront the problems of labour and the politics of contemporary culture. Best known for works such as 160 CM LINE TATTOOED ON 4 PEOPLE (2000), or 68 PEOPLE PAID TO BLOCK A MUSEUM ENTRACE (2000); Sierra exploits the terrible inequalities of society to proffer perspicacious insights into the history of art and the realities of neoliberal capitalism.

Installation view from Alice Channer: Out of Body at the South London Gallery, 2012. Photo: Andy Keate. Image courtesy the artist and the South London Gallery.

The Figure in Space | Alice Channer: Body In Space and Edward Thomasson: Inside | South London Gallery | London

Text by Travis Riley

Having been given the opportunity to exhibit at South London Gallery, Alice Channer took the bold step of creating an entirely new set of works to fill the impressive gallery space. The resulting exhibition, Out of Body, consists only of works made this year, and in many respects, appears to be as much a single installation as ten smaller constituent works.

Photography: Paola Bernardelli.

Phil Hession: My heart is always trembling, afraid I might give in | The Context Gallery | Derry

Text by Angela Darby

Irish folk music has played an intrinsic part in the socio-political history of the Irish working-class. Through this medium an injured party could publicly express their frustrations at the hardship and ignominy of servitude placed on them by corrupt landlords or overseers. The folk song traditionally embodied a communal view; venting anger or giving a voice to hopes for a better future. Emotive ballads rallied the masses into believing that they could perhaps enact change.

Marcus Coates: Proxy | Kate Macgarry Gallery | London

Text by Travis Riley

Marcus Coates is best known for his shamanistic performance works in which he channels and consults animal spirits. This element of his practice has already found its way into Tate Britain’s Triennial 2009 (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud) and in 2010, earned him a retrospective at MK Gallery. In this show, at Kate MacGarry, there is much less overt shamanism, but Coates’ animal connection remains apparent.

Objects With Stories | Song Dong: Waste Not | Barbican Art Gallery | London

Text Claire Hazelton

Laid out in a sea of colour of gridded artefacts, ordered debris, dust, rust, and taped-up fragments of household objects, Song Dong’s current installation, Waste Not, at the Barbican Curve Gallery, stands as the culmination of the hoardings of the artist’s mother, Zhao Xiangyuan.

Adel Abdessemed: Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf | David Zwirner | New York

Text by Dan Tarnowski

War, violence, death – these aren’t pretty topics. Nevertheless they’re topics that are explored in Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, an exhibition of artwork by Adel Abdessemed. Despite the dark subject matter of the artwork, people were laughing and having a good time at the opening for the exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery.

Yayoi Kusama
 The Passing Winter 2005 (detail)
 © Tate. Presented by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2008. Photo: Tate Photography.

The Brilliance of Life | Yayoi Kusama | Tate Modern

Text by Matt Swain

Yayoi Kusama (b.1929) is Japan’s best-known living artist. Since the 1940s, she has produced a wealth of work encompassing painting, drawing, sculpture and collage as well as the immersive large-scale installations for which she is renowned. Kusama’s art reflects her unique view of the world and is a product of her life experience over a 60 year period, much of which is represented in the form of hallucinatory visions.

Thomas Zipp, Polymorphous Oratory, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Alison Jacques Gallery.

Thomas Zipp: 3 Contributions to the Theory of Mass-Aberrations in Modern Religions | Alison Jacques Gallery | London

Text by Emily Sack

Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, a staple in the art historical canon, is known for embodying the conflicted relationship of sex and religion. The penetration of the angel’s arrow is simultaneously so pleasurable and so painful to Saint Theresa, that her reaction resembles sexual gratification instead of religious experience.