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Julian Stair: The Matter of Life and Death, York St Mary’s

Showcasing the work of one of the UK’s most acclaimed potters, The Matter of Life and Death is a new installation by Julian Stair, opening at York St Mary’s 10 May. Exploring the rituals surrounding death, and their place in human history, the works have been created in response to ceramics from the collections of York Museums Trust, including pieces over a thousand years of age. The exhibition features more than 30 works, varying from Egyptian canopic jars to Roman head pots, which will provide inspiration for Stair’s own pieces.

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Nikolas Gambaroff: Quality Interiors, Gio Marconi Gallery, Milan

Milan’s Gio Marconi Gallery’s latest offering is Quality Interiors by Nikolas Gambaroff, which runs until 18 May, and sees the New York-based artist’s first solo show at gallery. The show is comprised of new works including a collaboration with designer and Nilufar Gallery owner Nina Yashar, as well as a staple marks from his Gambaroff’s career to date.

Benoît Maire: Le fruit est défendu at the Galerie Cortex Athletico, Paris

The title of the show should be understood as a pun: forbidden fruit, but also fruit that needs defending. It’s a nod towards the recent opening of the gallery itself, the fruit of some labour and enterprise. The publicity poster of the show displays a man absorbed in the art of picking dice off a tree into a basket. As the mysterious fruit of chance, the dice cube symbolises the opposite to the chess piece with its notions of control and calculation. Although it does not appear to the viewer immediately, luck and transgression permeate this exhibition from start to finish.

Rosanne Olson: Rapture, New York

Rosanne Olson opens Rapture at The Robin Rice Gallery, New York 8 May. For her third photography exhibition Olson creates a dream-based series where water becomes a metaphor for the sky. Olson’s use of colour is surreal and mysterious, in most of the images the light refracts off the water and the clouds blend together, developing a watercolour effect. Running until 16 June, Rapture records Olson’s photographic skill and unique artistic eye. 

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Review of Bowie Is, London

When an important, popular figure dies, fans seem to need more than their legacy – more than their work – to remember them by, to cling to them through. Physical mementoes, objects – things which that specific person touched, used, loved – are obsessed over; particles of skin and saliva on a napkin George Harrison used take on strange importance. Voyeurism and celebrity obsession have grown to a point now where people are paying up to $15,000 for a pair of stained underpants worn by Elvis Presley, a rumoured million for a pair of John Lennon’s glasses, and, perhaps most bizarrely, $45,000 for a set of three X-rays of Marilyn Monroe’s chest. However, this strange obsession we seem to have with the physical remnants left in the wake of our popular icons can be traced back a surprisingly long way. Darwin’s beard, for example, Abraham Lincoln’s hair and even Galileo’s finger have survived decomposition and remain, today, preserved behind glass for us all to gawk at.

Premiere of The Last Skeptik’s Be There Video

Exclusive to Aesthetica, The Last Skeptik releases his newest music video for Be There, which is a short horror film. Released on BBE, the song will be available from 6 May on the album Thanks for Trying. Following in a long line of BBE‘s hip-hop honed instrumental classics by the likes of Pete Rock, Madlib and J Dilla, DJ and producer The Last Skeptik takes instrumental hip-hop one hundred steps or so to the left. This video is directed by the upcoming short film director Cara Barry, who brings the image of a haunting fallen angel to life in this harrowing and beautifully shot music video. 

Trade Routes at Hauser & Wirth, London

Trade Routes have connected the major centres of civilisation in Europe and Asia since antiquity. These routes not only made the exchange of goods possible, but also fostered cultural exchanges between distant regions. The group exhibition, Trade Routes‘, on view at Hauser & Wirth in Piccadilly, presents a diverse picture of where these trade routes stand in today’s globalised society through the lens of 15 artists. The exhibition features video installations, sculptures and two-dimensional works by artists based in Africa, China, Europe, India, and the Middle East including Adel Abidin, Fatima Al Qadiri & Khalid al Gharaballi, Alighiero Boetti, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Subodh Gupta, Gülsün Karamustafa, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraïchi, Lee Xe, Maha Malluh, Bettina Pousttchi, Hassan Sharif, Wael Shawky and David Zink Yi.

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography is a city-wide event, featuring exhibitions, screenings, performances and events showcasing outstanding photographic work from around the world, and providing a major new platform for Welsh artists. Hosted by Ffotogallery, the month long celebration (1 – 31 May) of photography includes highlights such as the world premiere of award-winning filmmaker Gideon Koppel’s B O R T H and Lure, a major exhibition of new work by Helen Sear, another of Wales’ most important and insightful artists.

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This is England ’86 and ’88 Marathon Screening, BFI

It is the day before the death of Baroness Thatcher and about five-dozen people (give or take) are being transported, for a solid few hours, back in time to the height of Thatcher’s reign as prime minister. However, during the double back-to-back screening of This is England ’86 and This is England ’88 at the BFI on the 7 April (part of the BFI’s Warp season), her commanding voice only breaks through the audio momentarily, her poised image ordering war flickers between scenes only briefly; Thatcher, her policies, the England she created (or, to some, broke) are all there throughout This Is England ’86 and ’88, yet director Shane Meadows manages to push her overwhelming and all-consuming presence behind the scenes, turning Thatcherism into a mere backdrop: a contextual landscape in front of which a most emotionally-destructive, heart-wrenchingly tragic (yet, at times, invigoratingly comedic), brutal depiction of humanity plays out.

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Paul Pfeiffer: The Drives, London

The Drives is Paul Pfeiffer’s third exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery and he brings together a large sculpture, two video installations and a series of photographs. Running 26 April until 25 May, these works form an investigation into the emotional drives that prompt human behavior and lie behind our attempts at understanding and organizing the world around us. From the seemingly perfect and ritualistic architecture of mass spectacles, to the creation of animal communities, to the deceptive secrecy of the family cell, the tensions between these two categories arise throughout Pfeiffer’s works.

Every Man and Woman is a Star: Photographs by Martin Parr and Tom Wood at Walker Art Gallery

From young couples kissing on a dingy dance floor to the faded grandeur of a seaside town, an exhibition of work by acclaimed photographers Martin Parr and Tom Wood examines the early influences of both men and finds a compelling beauty in the ordinary. Every Man and Woman is a Star opens at the Walker Art Gallery on 11 May and features more than 20 prints from the gallery’s own collection, including one of the earliest known photographs by Parr in a public collection (New Brighton, 1976).

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Art Monaco this Weekend

Uniting international art under one roof, Art Monaco opens today. Offering more flexibility to their audiences they present a show in   Barranquilla, Columbia simultaneously and launch a digital event online. For their fourth edition, Art Monaco hosts a special four day event in The Grimaldi Forum, one of the most prestigious convention centres in Europe. Adding to the wonderful venue itself, the event exhibits some of the most sought out and distinctive pieces of art, undoubtedly complimented by the beauty and breathtaking scenes that the Principality of Monaco is so well known for.