Review of PUNK: Chaos to Couture at the Costume Institute at the MetropolitanMuseum of Art, New York

Punk was an attitude and an aesthetic, a movement which provoked anti-establishment with exhibitionist flair. According to John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), “Punk was like nothing anybody had seen before, like nothing. Punk was fearless. Utterly fearless.” With this fearlessness came its unabashed fashions, its intended chaos of cut-offs and chains which has been captured and appropriated by high-end designers into relics of couture. PUNK: Chaos to Couture, at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, nods to the birthplaces of punk before progressing through a series of four Do-it-yourself themes of punk fashion.  


Interview with James Franco: Psycho Nacirema at Pace gallery, London

When thinking of James Franco, images of an intense acting talent spring to mind, his performance in 127 Hours was nothing short of incredible, as he captivated audiences with his near solo performance for over an hour and a half, a solid testament to any actor’s talent. The second is his undeniable outward beauty that has elevated him to movie star heartthrob status. It is this lethal combination that won him one of his breakout roles playing James Dean in a TV film on the icons life. Franco in true method mode, locked himself away, cut himself off from friends and family, and became Dean by watching Deans’ films. Just for good measure, Franco is also a published fiction writer, holds an MFA (Masters) in writing, and, is a PhD candidate to boot. And now, Franco has opened an exhibition at Pace, London, largely based on Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Aesthetica speaks to Franco about his relationship with Hitchcock and his approach to art.


Interview with Kate Nowakowski: Winner of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition

Winner of the Short Fiction category of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012, Kate Nowakowski speaks to Aesthetica about her success and her advice to writers. There is still chance to submit Short Fiction or Poetry to the Creative Writing Competition 2013. The final deadline for submissions is 31 August.


Review of Social Codes, Yannick Fournié and Cyril Le Van, Paris

The theme of contemporary dress codes was suggested by the Galerie Géraldine Banier who then proceeded to contact two French artists who would dovetail for a harmonious exhibition. The two artists chosen, both born in the 1970s, could hardly fit better together and still remain distinctive. Both have a strong interest in the gaudy surfaces of pop culture and a need to plough and harrow smooth exteriors. Yannick Fournié’s oil-painted figures have weathered skin, battered and mottled by age and embattled emotions. It comes as no surprise to learn that his painterly heroes are Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele.


Aesthetica Art Prize Open for Entries

The Aesthetica Art Prize 2013 is now open for entries, offering both budding and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider, international audience. Now in its sixth year the competition is a celebration of visual art, inviting all artists to submit imaginative and innovative work that pushes the boundaries of their chosen medium. Committed to nurturing new and existing talent, the Aesthetica Art Prize is a fantastic opportunity to develop your presence in the international art world. Prizes include up to £1000 in cash, a group exhibition, six months studio space, six mentoring sessions and editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine, which has a readership of 140,000 worldwide.

Interview with artist Sarah Van Sonsbeeck

There is an increasing noise building around the work of Dutch artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck. Though this should hardly be surprising since her work is fundamentally concerned with the texture of the sonic, the structures of the audible, and the mapping of sound itself. But while Sonsbeeck is sometimes described as a “sound artist”, there is a pertinent spatiality to her work that derives from her training as an architect at TUDelft. She later entered the Gerrit Rietveld Academy where teachers encouraged her to incorporate her architectural study into her work, something she was initially reticent of, but finding inspiration from other artists of the spatial, such as Rachel Whiteread and Gordon Matta Clark, she began to feel comfortable working in the idiom of both the spatial and the audible.


On Kawara: One Million Years, Brussels

From today Bozar Expo, Brussels, exhibits conceptual artist, On Kawara’s One Million Years. Until 14 July the ongoing work will appear at the Centre for Fine Arts and the ongoing work, which was conceived back in 1969, documents the passage of time. The 20-volume work is biblical in scale and is a typewritten record of one million years, past and future. Each volume contains 2,068 pages and the past is dedicated to “all those who have lived and died” and Future is “for the last one”.


Blondiefest: One Way or Another at ICA, London

Curated by Tom Wilcox, Associate Curator at ICA and Hanna Hanra, Editor in Chief of BEAT Magazine, Blondiefest: One Way or Another opens at ICA on 5 July and surveys and celebrates the cultural legacy of Blondie and their iconic frontwoman Debbie Harry. As one of the greatest bands to ever come out of New York, Debbie Harry and the band define their epoch – their records and image are synonymous with their time and place. Their beginnings were in New York’s mid-’70s punk and new-wave scenes, but by the late ’70s and early ’80s their eclectic musical style, compelling rhythms and seductive pop melodies had propelled them from the fringes to the mainstream.


A Cuckoo’s Broken Wing, Short Fiction Winner from Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012

Kate Nowakowski’s captivating short story A Cuckoo’s Broken Wing, is the winning entry for Short Fiction in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012. There is still chance to submit Short Fiction or Poetry to the Creative Writing Competition 2013. The final deadline for submissions is 31 August and the following is an extract from Nowakowski’s story.


Aesthetica Short Film Festival at V&A Friday Late

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is a celebration of independent film from across the world, and an outlet for championing and supporting short filmmaking. This Friday a special programme of films from the 2012 festival will be screened at the V&A, London, for the Friday Late event. Themed around Dalston, the event this Friday 28 June is the first in a series of Friday Lates that will invite London’s creative communities to take over the Museum for an evening, presenting a range of music, art, design, film, architecture and more.

5 Under 30: Young Photographers’ Competition at Daniel Blau, London

Daniel Blau Photography Gallery has announced the winners of its first annual 5 under 30 competition. Marianne Bjornmyr, Madoka Furuhashi, Andi Schmied, Tereza Cervenova and Lara Morrell will have their work displayed at a group exhibition opening on 5 July. It’s a varied selection that includes landscape, still life and portraits shot in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.


Stephen Walter: Anthropocene, London

The title of the newest exhibition at the Londonewcastle Project Space, Anthropocene, refers to the current geological age, a period of time during which human behaviour is the dominant impact on the environment and the climate. Running 3 – 26 July, Stephen Walter’s solo show is an exhibition of drawings, photographs and prints produced within the last four years (including his iconic London maps).  There will also be an interactive digital display of his London Subterranea, developed in collaboration with Cogapp.


Interview with Chelsea College of Art & Design Graduate Mimi Winsor

As part of the University of the Arts London, the Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate show runs for one more day. Featuring pieces from those graduating in Fine Art, Graphic Design Communication, Interior and Spatial Design and Textile Design, some of the graduates have already been identified by the arts world at large. Sculptor and inventor Mimi Winsor has been commissioned by the Discovery Channel to create an installation piece for its head quarters in Chiswick, London and Aesthetica speaks to her about the way she views her work and winning The Oval House Award.


Aesthetica Art Prize Open for Submissions

The Aesthetica Art Prize 2013 is now open for entries, offering both budding and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider, international audience. Now in its sixth year the competition is a celebration of visual art, inviting all artists to submit imaginative and innovative work that pushes the boundaries of their chosen medium.


Venice Report: The Encyclopedic Palace

Split between the old Giardini and the newer Arsenale site at the Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace is based on the concept of self-taught artist Marino Auriti, who dreamed of devising a museum with the potential to house all of mankind’s greatest achievements in one cohesive space.


Summertime Salon, Robin Rice, New York

For its summer exhibition, the Robin Rice Gallery, New York, opens Summertime Salon, an annual photography exhibit featuring both gallery artists and a selection of newcomers. Opening on 26 June, the showcase runs until 15 September and combines outstanding photography with the perfect image of summer. The thought of summer can evoke many different smells, sights, sounds and memories and the aim of Summertime Salon is to capture all of those senses in photography.

Review of Patrick Caulfield exhibition at Tate Britain

There are two pieces of information that every piece on Caulfield should include, and with that announcement comes the further one that this article will be no exception. One is that Caulfield hated being called a “Pop” artist, but whether we respect his wishes and refer to him instead as a “formal” artist or not is our choice. The second and more important piece of information is the statement that Caulfield is “a Romantic disarmed by his own irony”, a phrase coined by Christopher Finch that seems to have the last word on Caulfield despite the artist’s international underratedness.


Interview with Ruskin Graduate, Natasha Peel

Earlier in June, the 23 final year students at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art exhibited the produce of their years at university. Graduating from The Ruskin in 2012, Natasha Peel has since gone on to present works at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Peel speaks to Aesthetica about the benefits of studying art and her interest in malleable materials. 


Sculpture in the City, London

For the latest edition of Sculpture in the City, audiences can expect to see works by Robert Indiana, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Antony Gormley, Keith Coventry, Richard Wentworth, Shirazeh Houshiary, Jim Lambie and Ryan Gander across the city of London from 20 June. Located in the dramatic surroundings of the eastern high-rise cluster in the City of London, the free outdoor exhibition will extend from St. Botolph without Bishopsgate to the north, Lime Street to the south and from Bishopsgate to around the base of 30 St Mary Axe.


Tahnee Lonsdale: Waiting for Entry into that Holy Space, London

Upon entering the light-filled Shoreditch art gallery, Redchurch Street Gallery, in which painter Tahnee Lonsdale’s new body of works Waiting for Entry Into that Holy Place is installed, the visitor is welcomed by a vibrant display of canvases painted in bold colours, whose imaginary characters roam an array of whimsical landscapes rendered in a candy-coloured palette.


Fellini – The Exhibition, Amsterdam

Federico Fellini is renown for  being one of the most image-defining masters of post-war Italian cinema, creating hits such as  La strada, La dolce vita and . Fellini – The Exhibition expands the influential filmmakers universe and uncovers the sources of his fertile imagination. 20 years after his death, EYE, Amsterdam opens this exhibition on 30 June bringing Fellini’s powerful work under the spotlight. Featured within Fellini are large projected film fragments, photographs, archive documents and posters – from the EYE collection among others.


Venice Biennale Report: Russian Pavilion

Focusing on the Greek myth of Danaë in which Zeus impregnates the imprisoned daughter of King Acrisius by appearing to her as a shower of golden rain, Vadim Zakharov’s Danaë at the Venice Biennale represents the first time in the history of the Russian pavilion that the upper and lower storeys have been combined into a single installation.

Interview with the director of Secret Cinema, Fabien Riggall

Taking cinema out of the safe confines of the movie theatre has long been a catalyst of excitement and wonder. From the humble drive-in to the invention of the VHS, which catapulted film in to the domestic sphere, interpreting and living with film in the individual’s context of choice inspires, informs and challenges differently from a prescribed outing to the cinema. The sense of pride that is received from owning an experience of film is tangible, and it seems to mean just a bit more. Hauling this feeling one step further, and recreating the world of fiction and fantasy imprinted previously only on reel, has long been of interest. From the high-octane popularity of Universal Studios, where a mechanical Jaws oh-so nearly bites the screaming revellers, it was only a matter of time, and wherewithal, until a directorial Dr Frankenstein of cinema concocted a living, theatrical, experiential masterpiece elaborated from our favourite films.


Interview with Brian Griffiths, 3rd Year Tutor at the Royal Academy Schools, London

The RA Schools Show, the annual exhibition of works by final year students, opens tomorrow at the iconic Royal Academy Schools. Held in the historic studio spaces of the Schools, situated in Burlington Gardens the exhibition invites students to show works developed over a three-year period of study, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to view and buy exceptional pieces from an aspiring generation of international artists. The RA Schools support a broad range of contemporary art practice, and visitors can expect to see work that includes painting, sculpture, performance, video and digital media.

Aesthetica spoke to Brian Griffiths, 3rd year tutor at the RA Schools to discover more about the Schools unique course programme and the works on display at this year’s exhibition.


Review of Haroon Mirza, The Hepworth Wakefield

Renowned for his multi-media works, Haroon Mirza has taken over the adjacent Galleries 1 and 10 at The Hepworth Wakefield. He brings together and assembles works constructed of sound, image and objects. In 2010, he was winner of the Northern Art Prize and the Silver Lion Award at the 54th Venice Biennale for such assemblages. In the rooms the viewer finds a new body of previously unseen work. It addresses the conventional and cultural rules of gallery space. This is executed with no hint of irony in a way that is refreshing. Contextually, the work refers to the modern and ancient past. It refers to art employed as part of a religious ritual or ceremony where sound was also a fundamental component. However, it does so in general form only, with contemporary innovation in the content. The very body and contained space of The Hepworth, along with its immediate environment, is echoed, reflected and translated in and between the works exhibited.


Review of Sixto Rodriguez at the Hammersmith Apollo, London

The 66th British Academy Film Awards ceremony on February 10, 2013 announced Searching for Sugar Man as the Best Documentary of the Year. It is a touching and highly-emotional documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul about the search for the man famed for his song Sugar Man. Sixto Rodriguez, now 70, is the personification of a kind, hard-working, politically aware, brilliant song writer. He only produced two albums (Cold Fact (1970) and Coming from Reality (1971)) but his personality conquered the hearts of South Africans during the socially and politically difficult apartheid years, Cold Fact in particular. The album became a political and social testimony of the people; it vocalised their struggles and burdens in a way no other album of the time did.


Venice Biennale Report: Icelandic Pavillion

Situated away from the main exhibition space of the Giardini and Arsenale, the Icelandic pavilion sits in the tranquil gardens of Palazzo Zenobio along a quiet canal-front street at the Venice Biennale. The installation, entitled Foundation is placed in the Palazzo’s old Lavanderia, or laundry, a seemingly unusual space for a country that one would assume would be exhibiting in the Giardini with its Nordic neighbours. The rapid expansion of the biennale forced Iceland’s pavilion out into the heart of Venice in 2007, and this theme is touched upon in the work. The artist, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, has created a sculptural piece that plays with the idea of scale. The Baroque tile design reaches out past the confines of the Lavanderia building much like the biennale itself stretching past the limits of the Giardini.


René Burri, International Centre of Photography, Verona

Below the sleepy streets of Verona, amongst a network of archaeological ruins, sits the International Centre of Photography, Verona. It is here where a breath taking transcendental retrospective of René Burri is revealed. The lesser portrayed side of Burri’s work is harder to pin down in terms of theme or aesthetics. Yet one quality that is apparent is the depiction of a relationship either physically or through the framing of subjects in the picture.


Khaled Jarrar: Whole in the Wall, Ayyam Gallery, London

Whole in the Wall is the first UK solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar. Running from 20 June until 3 August at Ayyam Gallery London, the showcase of work includes a new site-specific participatory installation. Taking everyday events and experiences as his starting point, Jarrar’s practice incorporates performance, video, photography and sculpture to document his observations on life in an occupied Palestine. The restrictions imposed on him and his fellow citizens have become the catalyst and subject of his occasionally satirical artistic output.


Interview with Royal College of Art Graduate: Jonny Briggs

Jonny Briggs graduated from the Royal College of Art several years ago and has since gone on to feature in numerous solo and group exhibitions. An artist in search of his lost childhood, Briggs speaks to Aesthetica about the influence the RCA had on him and his perception of his artistic practice. This year the RCA graduate show runs 20 – 30 June across six different venues. 


Venice Biennale Report: Danish Pavilion

The Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale stands as a rather desolate figure among the well-tended buildings surrounding it. The apparent entrance is a door that stands permanently shut and unattended, while the moss-covered “classical” sculptures that flank the edifice suggest years of neglect. The true entrance is at the end of a concealed passageway and having faced such adversity merely to enter the building, the audience are left wondering what we will encounter inside.


Paper Weight Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now, Munich

Paper Weight Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now takes a refreshing look at independent publishing in the 21st century. Opening today and running until 27 October at Haus der Kunst, Munich, the exhibition is curated by Felix Burrichter, the editor and creative director of New York-based PIN-UP magazine. Consequently, the works on display expose an insider’s perspective on the independent publishing world, while also exploring the larger cultural significance of these niche magazines’ editorial and design perspectives.


Review of the Katie Paterson exhibition at Kettle’s Yard Gallery & St Peter’s Church, Cambridge

Once a contention, now a proverb, “…endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved”, Darwin’s epochal observation at the close of The Origin of Species (1859) might aptly describe Katie Paterson’s theme and agenda in her latest exhibition, at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. In appointing Man’s place on Earth as her subject, Paterson explores not simply our adaptation to the natural world, but also related issues of social space, our functioning therein, and how evolution conveys as much an aesthetic as a developmental narrative. The centrepiece, Fossil Necklace, charts the unfolding of life over 3.5 billion years.


Venice Report: Love Me Love Me Not,

The title of the exhibition Love Me Love Me Not instantly calls to mind the childhood game of the same name and, much like the stripping of the flower’s petals offers a glimpse at the structure underneath the works offer an insight into the rich and varied cultures of the countries represented. Running at the Venice Biennale until November, the showcase collates the work of 17 artists.


Review of Ute Lemper, London

Ute Lemper is a world-renowned and charismatic German chanteuse who never seems to age (physically or spiritually). As part of the London Literature Festival Ute Lemper Sings Pablo Neruda organised by the Southbank Centre was a fantastic concert not only dedicated to the memory of Pablo Neruda, one of the masters of Chilean poetry, but also to the memory of everything that music and poetry seems to have lost in the transition to the fast paced, ruthless, popular entertainment industry.


RA Schools Show 2013

The RA Schools Show, the annual exhibition of works by final year students, will open on 19 June at the iconic Royal Academy Schools. Held in the historic studio spaces of the Schools, situated in Burlington Gardens the exhibition invites students to show works developed over a three-year period of study, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to view and buy exceptional pieces from an aspiring generation of international artists. The RA Schools support a broad range of contemporary art practice, and visitors can expect to see work that includes painting, sculpture, performance, video and digital media.


Turning FACT Inside Out, Liverpool

This summer FACT, Liverpool, combines art and politics in Turning FACT inside Out. Running 13 June until 25 August the exhibition explores aspects of environment, architecture, capitalism and augmented reality. Showcasing a selection of provocative international artists, Turning FACT inside Out tackles some of the most pressing, controversial and literally ground-breaking political issues of today. The works take over the entire building  and beyond, including recreating an indoor fracking site complete with earth tremors and flames.


Review of The Mercy Seat, Part of York Theatre Royal’s TakeOver Festival

York Theatre Royal’s thrice-yearly TakeOver Festival is certainly to be admired. A performing arts festival programmed and run entirely by young people, it succeeds again and again in bringing compelling, often lesser known works to the fore, and could never be accused of shying away from the bold or, in the case of this year’s central production of Neil LaBute’s 9/11 drama The Mercy Seat, the brutal. Bravely selected by this year’s Takeover Artistic Director Ruby Clarke as the piece she wanted to direct, this vital, highly-charged play examines people’s capacity to utilise major tragedies as tools for personal gain, and – quite rightly – it’s a short, sharp shock of a theatre experience.

Interview with Katarzyna Klimkiewicz: Director of Flying Blind

Since her success at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for her first directional feature debut; Flying Blind, Polish director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s is creating a stir in the film world. Not a stranger to the many facets of filmmaking, Katarzyna graduated from the Polish Film School in Lodz and has collaborated with the Polish National Television on many projects, including her documentary Krystian Lupa’s Labyrinth. Her documentary Wasserschlacht – The Great Border Battle co-directed with Andrew Friedman was awarded a Berlin Today Award during Berlinale in 2007 and her short film Hanoi-Warszawa won many Polish and International awards and was voted the Best Short of 2010 by the European Film Academy.

Flying Blind, starring Helen McCrory and Najib Oudghiri, is a compelling and provocative thriller. McCrory plays Frankie, an accomplished aerospace engineer who designs drones for use in combat. One day, as she gives a guest lecture on the subject, student Kahil (Oudghiri) – a Muslim – strikes up a flirtation with her and, against her better judgement, an affair begins.

Aesthetica spoke to Katarzyna about her film career, Flying Blind and what we can expect to see from her in the future.


Tapa: Barkcloth paintings from the Pacific, Birmingham

The Ikon Gallery’s current exhibition, Tapa – Barkcloth paintings from the Pacific, proposes a curious offering for a contemporary art gallery. However once inside the space, a timeless partnership, which transgresses history and the furthest reaches of the globe, is erected with the second show by François Morellet, which richly demands further exploration.