Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, V&A

The information available for the V&A’s latest exhibition, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s instantly inspires thoughts of the 2003 film Party Monster. Those who have seen it will remember that this riddling film is the true story of Michael Alig, a deluded Club Kid party organiser who moved to New York and entered a dark yet glamorous world. The 1980s was an incredibly creative decade in which the fashion of the club was slowly but surely carried onto the catwalk in the major capitals of the world. The many sub-cultures that formed and which still exist today, in some form or another, were founded on the basis of the nightlife in clubs. Curated by Claire Wilcox, V&A’s Head of Fashion, the exhibition covers the sub-cultures and their distinctive fashions, as well as the interpretations of now renowned fashion designers on the fashions of the club scene.

Katie Scott, Illustrator and Artist

Katie Scott is the detailed hand behind Bombay Bicycle Club’s album cover for How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep. Based in London she explains in this video how she began producing art and the influences that follow her everywhere. Also producing work for Phaidon’s Fish recipe book, 1INA100′s t-shirts, New York Times Magazine and Dodd clothing,  Scott creates captivating drawings utilising colour and nature. 


Edinburgh Art Festival

The Edinburgh Art Festival returns to Scotland from 1 August, immersing the city in cultural explorations of art. Running until 1 September, the festival features no less than 50 exhibitions across 30 venues. Celebrating the location of Edinburgh and the many gallery spaces across the city, the event is the UK’s largest annual festival dedicated to visual art. Alongside the many exhibitions and events there is an ambitious commissioning programme that takes art out onto the streets. Looking at the theme Parley, the commissioned works explore communication either with the city or with audiences.

Lees Rooney: High Voltage Acts of Kindness, longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012

Longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012, Lees Rooney is a collaborative partnership between poet/ writer Janet Lees and photographer/ videographer Rooney. Having initially worked together as an advertising creative team, the pair is pursuing a range of art projects that combine words, images, sound and film, drawing on the nature of consumerism and the way we now live. Their art practice examines how 21st-century society is bombarded by a mash-up of loaded words, images and sounds and explores how consumerism lays down exacting and exhaustive rules on the way we should live our lives. Featuring in the Video, Installation & Performance category of the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012, High Voltage Acts of Kindness is one of a series of “snatches” – digital artworks that feature words and phrases that have been snatched from ads and other forms of mass communication – and speaks powerfully about the promise of the consumerist dream.


Bruce Nauman: ARTIST ROOMS On Tour at York St Mary’s, York

The diverse art of internationally renowned artist Bruce Nauman is on show in York St Mary’s until 10 November. Nauman rose to prominence in the 1960s working across a broad spectrum of different media including sculpture, film and video, neon, installation, photography and performance. His work has been exhibited all over the world, and he produced a sound installation piece entitled Raw Materials for the 2004 Unilever Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern.


Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist, London

Given that this year Ramadan is celebrated from 9 July to 7 August all throughout the world by Muslim communities, given the recent protests in Egypt and Turkey, given that in Muslim countries peace always seems to position itself on the back of a double-edged knife; the recent move by the Tate Modern to introduce well-established Muslim artists to British and European art enthusiasts is perfectly timed. Art is more about politics than it was ever before particularly in predominantly Muslim countries.

Thomas Scheibitz: ONE-Time Pad at BALTIC, Gateshead

An exhibition of new and recent work by Thomas Scheibitz, one of the leading German artists of his generation is currently on display at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. Scheibitz began developing a new form of conceptual painting during his studies at the School of Art in Dresden in the early 1990s. He became established internationally following initial exhibitions in Dresden, Berlin, London and New York.


Liam Gillick: For the doors that are welded shut, Kerlin Gallery

Gillick’s third appearance at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, sees two new works taking over the space – Complete Bin Development which consists of six structures made of aluminium and Plexiglass, is complemented by A Short Song, a two part, wall text in powder coated aluminium. Running until 14  September, the first work follows on from research into the possible permutations conceivable within the production of car bodies prior to the emergence of entirely automated production systems. Although the sequence of towered formations are subject to the laws of engineering, the pieces can be seen as inherently abstract and flexible in terms of location and structure.

Interview with Steve Lake, Production at ECM Records

Selected Signs is a collection of six disks featuring the music that was selected for the ECM exhibition, ECM – A Cultural Archaeology, at Haus der Kunst in Munich at the start of the year. The exhibition surveyed the record company’s significant creative work in the worlds of music, graphic art and photography over the past 44 years. Released 1 July, the recordings on Selected Signs formed part of the exhibition where visitors could listen to the tracks on headphones. Aesthetica speaks to Steve Lake, Production and Licensing at ECM Records, about the exhibition and his personal enjoyment of the album.

5 to See this Weekend

How do you intend to spend the last few days of July? Relishing in the heat outdoors or staying cool inside? If it’s the former, then why not languish in the sun whilst enjoying the work of Yanki Shonibare and Leandro Erlich. However if the mere thought of the outdoor climes is making you break out into a sweat then we suggest staying indoors and checking out the best photography on display right now.


Jeremy Deller: It’s a Kind of English Magic, London

Running until 21 September, a selection of Jeremy Deller’s works are on display at the London headquarters of the British Council. Currently representing England at the Venice Biennale, Deller’s presentation in Italy has already attracted over 12,000 visitors per week. For those who can’t get overseas, It’s a Kind of English Magic: Notes from the Venice Biennale will give UK audiences a taste of what’s on show in Venice.


Samuel Wright: Simple Present, Short Fiction Finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012

Shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012, Samuel Wright is an English teacher. His stories have appeared in a variety of collections and magazines, including the 2011 Bristol Short Story Prize anthologies, and have been performed on stage at Liar’s League events in London. He is currently working on a collaborative story and image project on Hackney Marshes. Themed around daily habitual life, Samuel Wright’s short story Simple Present is a captivating read seeking to address the routine and unchanging events occurring in a day. The introductory paragraphs are captured here in an extract; the full story was published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2013, along with other finalists and the winning entries. The deadline for this years competition is 31 August. 


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 (26 July) a special programme of films from the 2012 festival will be screened at the V&A, London, for the Friday Late event. Themed around Peckham, the event this evening is part of 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.


IWM Contemporary: Omer Fast, London

Omer Fast’s  5000 Feet is the Best will screen at IWM Contemporary, IWM London, this summer. As part of the dedicated summer programme, also featuring Mike Moore and Lee Craker, the London Premiere of Fast’s film offers a challenging investigation of the nature of modern day conflict. Running 29 July until 29 September, 5000 Feet is the Best is so named due to the optimum operational flight altitude of a US Air Force Predator drone. Focused upon a collection of interviews conducted in a Las Vegas hotel room, with a former drone operator, the artist constructs a 30 minute piece considering drone warfare.

Savings, Daan den Houter’s Performance Video from the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012

Fascinated by the influence of the subconscious mind, Daan den Houter explores the way we modify and perceive the world and art. In pursuing this aim, den Houter seeks to bring multiple contradictory subjects together in the same single work, which results in pieces that are in conflict with themselves. His work triggers discussion about their existence and the viewer’s opinion. Using humour and cynicism, den Houter creates another perspective on the matter of art and one’s own assumptions towards our daily life surroundings. Savings tackles the idea of finding money, questioning the role of an artist and the value of money.

Cleaning Up, a film by Simon and Thomas Guerrier

Simon and Thomas Guerrier’s award-winning thriller Cleaning Up staring Mark Gatiss and Louise Jameson is now available to buy from With all profits from the sale going to help fund a feature-length Cleaning Up movie, the film is available in two disks ROOKIE – the film, for £1.99 and HITMAN is the  film plus alternate “first cut” with writer/director commentary, a behind the scenes film, images gallery, soundtrack and scripts for £4.99.


Interview with Creative Writing Competition 2012 Finalist, Susan A. Katz

Susan A. Katz has been writing and loving poetry all her life. Her work has appeared in The American Scholar, The Kansas Quarterly, The Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry, besides dozens of other literary publications. As a finalist in last year’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition, her poem Born Twice was published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2013. Here, Susan talks in an interview about her creative inspiration, passion for interdisciplinary art practice, and how publication in the Aesthetica Annual sparked new creative ideas.


The Floating Cinema, London

The Floating Cinema returns to London with a new programme entitled Extra-Ordinary. Launching on 27 July, London’s canals will play host to film for 10 weeks as the Floating Cinema presents a variety of intimate on board screenings, large scale outdoor films for bank side audiences; plus floating tours of the waterways, talks, and an education project working with local communities. Curated and directed by Hackney based artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, the event seeks to shine a spotlight on the overlooked and ordinary in everyday life.


Edwina Ashton Midnight at the Watering Hole, Bristol

A garish pink sunset sky surrounds an arid nature spot. Curious creatures draw towards the watering hole, a central feature in the scene, for respite and perhaps a little socialising. A boulder here, a puddle of water there. Over yonder is the Midnight Snax bar, a simple wooden shack, where a shady character (a vacant pointy-nosed thing) is waiting to sell his wares to absent customers. A barely legible scrawl on a menu board adjacent indicates the rather unappealing and limited array of refreshments he has to offer. What will it be? Disappointing biscuits which bear a likeness to murky mud patties, or maybe a cup of some unspecified liquid to wash down the dry pretzels and popcorn. Perhaps you will just pick up your fishing permit and be on your way…


Interview with Founder of Art Collective, Pauline Richards

The Art Collective was originally launched to support and promote new and emerging artists. Working to help represent and showcase today’s top artists, the Art Collective has become a vital support system for those wanting to develop their artistic career. Partnering up with Aesthetica, the Art Collective is presenting a new prize for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2013 comprising six months’ studio space for the Main Prize winner, and six mentoring sessions for the Student Prize winner. The added prize for each category winner will provide a fantastic opportunity for both established and aspiring artists to get their work shown and help raise their profile as an artist with the support, advice and art-sector knowledge of the Art Collective. Other competition prizes include an eight-week group exhibition in York, UK, editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine, publication in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology and £1000 for the Main Prize winner and £500 for the Student Prize winner. We spoke to one of the founders of The Art Collective, Pauline Richards, about the prize offered and the launch of the Thomas and Paul Contemporary Art gallery in Maida Vale, London.

Flowers & Mushrooms, MdM Mönchsberg, Salzburg

A familiar motif in fine art over time, the flower and mushroom images of the past are having somewhat of a renaissance. From 27 July until 27 October MdM Mönchsberg’s  Flowers & Mushrooms examines the clichés and levels of meaning and symbolism behind the natural products. Within the exhbibition current social and aesthetic issues are discussed on the basis of a selection of works from the fields of photography, photo-based paintings, video, sculptures and installations.

Mary, Sara Brannan’s Art Film from the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012

Focusing on what usually goes unseen, Mary subverts the conventional run of a film in a powerful and revealing act. Sara Brannan’s work is based around the appropriation and manipulation of films in the public domain. Using them as a found object they are re-edited into short videos focusing on the female lead character. Only footage of the female alone in the frame is used; the rest of the film is removed and the images are edited together to run consecutively, following the chronological order of the original film. This re-editing interrupts the patriarchal narrative structure and makes visible the usually invisible editing that is demanded by realism. This restructuring provides the viewer with the opportunity to comprehend a new reality. By choosing to use pre‐existing film the authorial role of the director is supplanted with that of the editor.

Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art at Tate Modern, London

The Museum of Contemporary African Art seems to have a life of its own as it evolves one object, one room and one location at a time: although the work is infused with Gaba’s presence as the devoted collector and creator, the work nonetheless possesses the autonomy from authorship that any fine museum collection should.


This Weekend Get a Free Copy of Aesthetica Magazine at The Hepworth Wakefield

Visitors to The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire this weekend will have the opportunity to pick up a free copy of Aesthetica magazine with purchases of £10 or more, while stocks last. Current must-see exhibitions at the gallery include new works by the Northern Art Prize 2010 winner Haroon Mirza. Running until 29 September 2013, Mirza’s exhibition will feature an audio composition and physical light installation through which the artist will accentuate what usually goes unheard and unseen in the art gallery.


Tate launch new UK partnership with EY and major Paul Klee exhibition

On 15 July Tate announced a new partnership with EY (Ernst & Young) who will support the development of three, major autumn exhibitions. With Tate currently dealing with the biggest cuts to funding since the war, the partnership will help to sustain the gallery’s ambitious programme of exhibitions and events. EY, a global leader in transaction, tax and advisory services, welcomed the move, describing it is a “unique relationship” that will contribute to the growth of the UK economy.


The Instability of the Image, Paradise Row, London

The Instability of the Image takes up the task of analysing the idea of representation in contemporary art. Including works from eight practioners, the exhibition runs at Paradise Row from 19 July until 12 September. Curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini, the showcase features works from Sam Austen, Agnieszka Brzezanska, Ryan Foerster, Gabriel Hartley, Israel Lund, Marco Palmieri, Hannah Perry and Max Ruf, the showcase covers a variety of media.


Aquatopia, Nottingham Contemporary

Even in the modern age, 90 percent of the earth’s oceans still remain unexplored. Every time the ocean is further investigated many “new” species are uncovered. Due to the lack of facts surrounding the deep, imagination takes the reins and as such legends of monsters and mermaids have long been popular. The sea has often embodied subconscious fears and unnamed desires and Aquatopia examines how the ocean comes alive in human minds. Running at Nottingham Contemporary, the major exhibition continues from 22 July until 22 September.


Review of Khaled Jarrar, Ayyam Gallery London

Just one step in through the door of Ayyam Gallery, London, the viewer will find themselves face-to-face with an uneven, flaking, grey-brown surface. Looking along the vertical plane it becomes clear that its material is concrete and its form is familiar from numerous newspaper images; it is a model wall, built as a representation of the West Bank Barrier. The wall fills a considerable portion of the room, partitioning the already slim gallery space into two claustrophobic corridors of artworks.


Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition Prizes: Bloodaxe & Vintage Books

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2013 is open for entries. Now in its sixth year, the competition offers both existing and aspiring writers the chance to showcase their work to a wider, international audience. It celebrates and nurtures creative talent, and previous entrants have gone on to achieve success and recognition across the world. Prizes for the winners of the Poetry and Short Fiction categories include a selection of books by our competition partners Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books, who have inspired poets and writers for generations. The collection of prize books will provide a platform to gather inspiration and creative writing ideas, helping to propel your writing career onto new ground.


Aesthetica Art Prize Longlisted Artist, Twinkle Troughton

Originally from Coventry, Twinkle Troughton studied Fine Art at Kingston University and has lived and worked in London ever since. Twinkle’s work is inspired by current political issues, the human condition and the past – particularly modern British history. These influences unite to create work which questions cultural habits inherited through generations, evoking both political and emotional themes. Satire can be also found in many of her paintings which functions as a foil to far more serious undertones stemming from her chosen topics. Her main practice is painting, using acrylic on canvas to create both boldly direct and subtly thoughtful pieces alike.

Laura Pannack: Young British Naturists, Leeds

Beginning 17 July, award-winning photographer, Laura Pannack opens Young British Naturists at White Cloth Gallery. Exhibiting a series of photos from a project that spanned three years, she gained access to the world of young naturists in Britain today. The concluding images uncover this relatively unknown aspect of society and examine their everyday activities. 


Chloe Sells: Moth’s Breath at Michael Hoppen Contemporary, London

A new series of photographic works by Chloe Sells titled Moth’s Breath is currently on display at Michael Hoppen Contemporary until 31 August . This exhibition marks the first solo show of Sells’ work at Michael Hoppen Contemporary. Informed by extensive travel, residence and immersion in countries foreign to her, Sells explores the question of how places are defined, while speculating on the consequences of human experience of place. Is a place fixed, or continually shifting? Do people shape the particularities of space as they encounter it? From a distinct orientation, what is revealed about comfort or fear, revulsion or curiosity?


Paul McCarthy: WS, Park Avenue Armory, New York

Paul McCarthy’s megalithic installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York is the magnum opus of one of the most prolific artists this century. Using the fairy tale of Snow White and the personality of Walt Disney as his departure point, McCarthy weaves a tale that is far more obscene and disturbing. Co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist – the star curator – WS is McCarthy’s largest work yet, and is certainly a modern day gesamtkusntwerk. Encompassing the entire Armory (including the main hall, the unfinished side rooms, the balconies, and even the ornamental beaux arts offices up front), the piece coarsely rambles through an institution known for its architectural grace and mammoth size.


Giorgio Sadotti: THIS THIS MONSTER THIS THINGS at Ikon, Birmingham

Since 2010, British artist Giorgio Sadotti has been assembling THIS THIS MONSTER THIS THINGS, an exquisite corpse made from objects produced by fifty-one artist friends and acquaintances, most of whom have had an impact on Sadotti’s identity as an artist. This process of gradual accumulation has resulted in a meta-artwork or a curatorial monster that mockingly presents a complete entity; a Frankensteinian self-portrait, drawn from people who have become familiar with Sadotti and his work over a twenty-five year period.


Interview with Sylvia Adams: Winner of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012

Sylvia Adams is author of a novel, a poetry collection, an award-winning chapbook and a children’s book. She speaks to Aesthetica about  her career as a writer and also her experience  in taking part in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition last year. Her poem Water was the winning entry in the Poetry category, and was published along with the Short Fiction winner and finalists in the Creative Writing Annual 2013. The deadline for the 2013 competition is 31 August.


Carsten Recksik Presents Four Emerging Artists from Germany

German artist Carsten Recksik has curated an exhibition for BACKLIT Gallery in Nottingham, presenting four emerging artists from his country. The artists included are Boris Dornbusch, Marie von Heyl, Florian Meisenberg and Tim Wolff. As the only international curator in residence at the gallery, the theme of the exhibition  is the consumption of images in modern society and their significance in everyday life.


Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s

With the Aesthetica Art Prize open for entries, we take a closer look at one of the opportunities available for both shortlisted and longlisted artists. In a celebration of contemporary art, innovative and outstanding works entered into this year’s Prize will be displayed in the enchanting setting of York St Mary’s, York Art Gallery’s contemporary art space. The group exhibition forms part of the prize for eight shortlisted artists; the remaining longlisted works will also be projected within the space in a fantastic opportunity for 100 entrants to gain significant exposure and introduce their work to a wider audience.

Paper at Saatchi Gallery, London

The first room of the Saatchi’s summer exhibition, Paper, opens with a sprawling mural of interior scenes framed by lyrical passages of text. The work, Untitled  (Colour Kitchen) by Dawn Clements, appears to be slowly peeling away from the wall that supports it. With this piece, the exhibition introduces one of the key themes that characterises many of the works on display- the notion of transience associated with the medium of paper. Covering a range of categories, the works on display throughout the rest of the exhibition range from portraiture to installation, and sculpture.


Gunnar Smoliansky: One Picture at a Time, London

One Picture at a Time is a collection of Smoliansky’s striking photographs. Running at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, until 31 August, the exhibition demonstrates the Swedish artist’s interest in capturing the almost impossible. Born on the Swedish island of Gotsby, Smoliansky was obsessed with the camera from the age of eighteen when he bought his own Rolleiflex. Inspired by his homeland, his location was exclusively the subject of his work. Shooting images of everyday objects, gloves suspended from a window, a cloud passing over water, the silhouette of a tree like an ink spill on a white page; his works carry an aesthetic beauty and cinematic suspense.

‘Do it’, Manchester International Festival

My trip to see the contemporary art offerings of Manchester International Festival began Friday 5 July at Arndale Shopping Centre. This is Europe’s third largest mall, officially described as ‘the jewel in the city’s retail crown’. Wearing its consumerist status on its sleeve, and housing chain stores shouting prices from their windows, it goes without saying that Arndale is an unconventional setting for the work of art, which tends to keep its sales price hidden.