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5 To See This Weekend

The calendar flips over to the final month of the year this weekend, meaning there’s not long left to catch the best art exhibitions around the world before the festive season entirely takes over. The start of December brings with it, alongside jugfuls of mulled wine and piles of mince pies, a whole feast of exciting new shows, from James-Joyce inspired presentations to gigantic marble islands. So, to get your December off to the very best of starts, here’s our top selections for this Saturday and Sunday…

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With A Conscious Eye, Osborne Samuel, London, 4 – 21 December 2013

Osborne Samuel presents With A Conscious Eye: An Exhibition of Three Photographers from 4 to 21 December. The exhibition showcases three of the UK’s leading contemporary photographers, each of whom use their medium to provide unique and powerful insights into the lives and traditions of various communities and individuals around the world.

Review of Mark Bradford: Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank at White Cube, London

Mark Bradford’s second show to date with White Cube, London, Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank is on until January 2014 and is soaked in a richly violent dialogue examining the monotonous blood vessels that unite all the vital organs of America – the highways. The title comes from the former American president Dwight D Eisenhower as he relates his experience as a member of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy of 1919. This, along with observations he made in Germany during the Second World War, led to the adoption of a nationwide highway system in the US in the 1950s. In turn however, the highways ripped and desolated communities, irreparably scarring the vast varieties of America’s landscapes.

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Splinter, Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

For the second time, the Michael Hoppen Gallery opens Splinter, a one-day art fair on 30 November. As before, the event will offer a wide range of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography from well known practitioners including Joe Szabo, Araki (polaroids), Karl Blossfeldt, Colin Jones and Shoji Ueda to anonymous work.

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Nicola Hicks, Flowers Gallery, New York

The animalistic and savage creatures of MBE award-winning sculptor, Nicola Hicks  (b.1960), find their home at Flowers Gallery, New York, until 1 February. Full of a quiet expression, these towering straw and plaster figures set out to explore the nature of character, using the animal as a proxy for understanding human emotions.

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The Uneventful Day, Carroll / Fletcher, London

The Uneventful Day brings together the unique and  interconnected work of three young artists: Jim Woodall, Alexander Page and Luke Burton. Featuring installation, photography, videos and drawings, the show examines humanities’ relationship with landscape and architecture. Running 28 November to 21 December at Carroll / Fletcher, London, the three individuals unite to create a distinct presentation that celebrates both their solo projects and their combined ideas. 

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Interview with Jonathan Sutton on the male art collective, Phantoms in the Front Yard’s new exhibition: Shed.

Phantoms in the Front Yard, an all-male painting collective that exalts the romantic vision of old-world figurative realism in art, has just unveiled a pop-up exhibition at the HSBC headquarters in downtown Vancouver. In this showcase of what might be possible in the interpretation of Shed, we see glimpses of a tenderness that we wouldn’t expect from men, especially while exploring one of the most stereotyped symbols of masculinity, the ersatz tool shed. Among a tight edit of engaging pieces, we are treated to pencil and watercolour renderings of a wandering man among allegorically portrayed sheds intertwined with animals reminiscent of Grimm’s Fairytales. An installation of an actual shed, wallpapered in antique rose-covered paper and filled with paintings of the making of this shed, seems to spiritualise the everyday manual labourers as if they were today’s Goyas.

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The Dark Would, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Poet Philip Davenport curates the world premiere of The Dark Would, running from 7 December to 24 January as part of the Summerhall Winter Visual Arts Programme. Concerned with excavating notions of mortality to dig out old, dead categories of art, such as Concrete Poetry, Conceptual Art and Vispo, this exhibition seeks to re-position artists alongside poets and “outsiders” and free up space for a new wave of practitioners.

Interview with Paul Green, Director of the Halcyon Gallery, on Bob Dylan’s new sculpture exhibition, Mood Swings.

Bob Dylan, known more so for his poetry, music and writing, began introducing his artwork to the world with an exhibition of his Drawn Blank Series in 2007 at the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Germany. The exhibition included over 200 watercolours and gouache paintings made from original drawings. Within the last six years he has exhibited his drawings and paintings time and time again in some of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries such as the National Gallery of Denmark, the Gagosian Gallery in New York, Milan’s Palazzo Reale and last summer at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Now, Dylan exhibits his most recent sculptures at the Halcyon Gallery in London. The seven gates, glass-top tables and wall hangings made out of iron and vintage objects collected by Dylan resonates the death of industrial America. With this immaculate exhibition it is as if Dylan is returning back to his childhood town of Hibbing, Minnesota; the motto of which is “We’re Ore and More”. Since Dylan has decided not to give any interviews in relation to Mood Swings in order to let the work speak for itself, we had a interview with Paul Green, the Director of the Halcyon Gallery. 

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Alex Prager, Face in the Crowd, Corcoran Gallery of Art

Los Angeles artist Alex Prager has spent the last 10 years constructing imagined scenes for her photographic work. Full of colour, tension and narrative, Prager’s images continue to play with the figure of the woman and she draws inspiration from classic Hollywood films, fashion advertising and icons of documentary photography. For the first time her work appears in a solo museum show in the USA in Face in the Crowd at the Corcoran Gallery of Art until 9 March. 

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Florian Pumhösl, Lisson Gallery, London

Florian Pumhösl’s (b.1971) minimalist triptychs first debuted in London last year and are available to explore once more at Lisson Gallery until 11 January. Made up of a series of three plaster panels progressing in size, these works create an abstract visual language sequence, stamped with an implement called a cliché: an onomatopoeic French word that describes the “cliché” sound a metal press makes each time it strikes the printing process.

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Review of Ana Mendieta: Traces at the Hayward Gallery, London

Traces marks the UK’s first retrospective of work by Ana Mendieta through an extensive exhibition of films, sculptures, photographs, drawings, personal writings and notebooks, and a slide-room revealing the comprehensive nature of her oeuvre. Before her untimely death in 1985, Mendieta produced a multi-faceted body of work that not only challenged traditional conventions of exhibiting and collecting art, but also enabled her to be situated as a legendary artist in an art historical context as well as the scope of contemporary art today.

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Brancusi in New York 1913-2013, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

A whole century after first revealing his work to America at the New York Armory Show in 1913 to a great ruckus, the art of the unofficial torchbearer of modernism, Constantin Brancusi, is celebrated in a new exhibition at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, running until 11 January. Presenting five key works that helped solidify Brancusi’s reputation, the show aims to make a great celebration of the Romanian-born artist and his lasting influence on the art world and the city of New York.

Review of Nostalgic for the Future at Lisson Gallery, London

A group show that proposes a dialogue between historical and contemporary sculpture, attempting to draw a line between a lost past, a sensuous present and an imagined future has to work hard to justify its audacious blurb. This pre-emptive strike on the legendary Lisson Gallery’s 50th birthday delivers an enchanting prophecy and a celebration in an exhibition that easily tops the list of the year’s commercial gallery group shows.

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries, London

Bloomberg New Contemporaries returns this November to the ICA and will include works by 46 participants. Last year’s edition was immensely successful, attracting over 42,000 visitors and highlighting the exhibition as the place to discover the best emerging artists. With over 1,500 submissions, the selectors, Ryan Gander, Chantal Joffe and Nathaniel Mellors, had the tough job of picking an outstanding selection of art from the most promising artists coming out of UK art schools. 

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AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION, North East England, March 2014

AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION takes place 1-31 March 2014 at venues across the North East of England, including mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Tyneside Cinema, NGCA (Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art), Star and Shadow Cinema, Laing Art Gallery and other spaces to be announced. A biennial event, the Festival is thematically curated to engage audiences with current ideas across contemporary art, film, music and wider society. This year’s event features new commissions, UK premieres, solo exhibitions, group shows, concerts and film screenings by international and nationally renowned artists.

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Interview with Glasstress Artist Paul Fryer

Based in London, Paul Fryer utilises  electronic media and sculpture to create installation pieces in unexpected exhibition sites. He presented his first solo show in 2005, Carpe Noctum, at Trolley Gallery, London and has gone on to show work all over the world. Glasstress: White Light / White Heat is a Collateral Event of the 55th Venice Biennale and combines the work of 50 artists, including Fyer among others, such as, Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin, Cornelia Parker and many more. The exhibition will be on display at The Wallace Collection and Fashion Space Gallery in London from 27 November until the end of February. Aesthetica speaks to Fryer about his involvement in the project and his practice as a whole.

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5 To See This Weekend

First snow has fallen in some parts of the UK and the arrival of the winter freeze has sent the crowds scurrying in from the cold. This weekend is therefore a great time to make the most of the slightly quieter streets and go on an adventure exploring the very best art and culture on offer whilst others hibernate away at home. Whether it’s a hot blast of colour or a quiet space of reflection you need to blow the winter cobwebs away, here are our tips for how you might like to pass this chilly Saturday and Sunday.

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Review of 3 am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night, The Bluecoat, Liverpool

3 am can be an extraordinary hour when some fear ghosts and monsters are on the prowl, when animals feel able to move without human detection and the young feel able to express themselves freely. The Bluecoat’s latest exhibition, 3 am:  wonder, paranoia and the restless night brings together the work of 22 artists whose work explores this nocturnal hour, capturing and commenting on the activity of those who utilise its time. 

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An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Tangier-based artist and filmmaker, Yto Barrada (b.1971) probes into the material history and visual culture of her hometown in this multi-layered exhibition of films, artworks, posters and ephemera, on display at the Walker Art Center from 21 November until 18 May. Combining documentary strategies with a metaphoric approach to imagery in her photographic, film, and sculptural work, Barrada’s art is committed to exploring Tangier’s rich cultural history, which has been long been rooted in the collective imagination, eternally romanticised and immortalised in film and literature.

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Thomas Struth: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, 10 January – 22 February 2014

The Marian Goodman Gallery in New York presents a major solo show of Thomas Struth’s photographic art from 10 January to 22 February 2014. Struth studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf. His work was recently exhibited for a major travelling retrospective that included the Museu Sarralves, Portugal, the K20 Kunstsammlung Nordhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the Kunsthaus Zurich in Switzerland (2010 – 2012).

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Review of Calder and Melotti: Children of the Sky at Ronchini Gallery, London

The influence of Surrealism is as wide and varied as Surrealism itself. This was always likely – Surrealism was configured to swallow up anything anybody could deem as good by its designed combination of precision and vagueness in praising “the imagination”. It seems to have been so successful in this that “Surrealist” has basically become a synonym for “imaginative”; as though people weren’t imaginative before 1924. Either that, or people mean “looks a bit like Dalí”. It is possible it coined a word to draw together disparate things. So the wide influence of Surrealism on what art looks like, broad church that it was, takes an odd turn when we think of these artists: Calder and Melotti, currently showing at the Ronchini Gallery.

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Jackie Nickerson: Terrain, Brancolini Grimaldi, London

The agriculture of sub-Saharan Africa and the labour of everyday life on the land is brought into focus in this new body of work from Jackie Nickerson, on display at Brancolini Grimaldi from 22 November to 25 January. Creating photographs stamped with the realities of farming life, yet shot through with an element of the absurd as faces disappear and shrubbery replaces personalities, Terrain makes a point of emphasising the role of agriculture in defining African culture and society.

Review of Surrealism and the Object at Centre Pompidou, Paris

Although the show presents objects that span the 20th century and move onto contemporary works, there is nothing chronological about the display. The curators must have felt that linear chronology would somehow be anti-surrealist in its conception and not conducive to liberating the viewer from rationality.

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Sproxton Award for Photography, London College of Communication

Ruth Campbell became the tenth winner of the annual Sproxton Award for Photography, announced at the London College of Communication’s MA Photography Final Show on 14 November. The prize was set up in memory of Andrew Sproxton who, in 1972, together with Val Williams, created the Impressions Gallery of Photography in York, one of the first specialist photography galleries in the UK and Europe.

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Charlotte Colbert: A Day at Home, Gazelli Art House

Photographer and screenwriter Charlotte Colbert playfully examines the link between the imagined and the real in the context of the home in a new exhibition at  Gazelli Art House, London. A Day at Home draws the figure of the writer and the housewife together as two individuals struggling to avoid being drawn into their setting and their imaginings respectively. Running 29 November until 15 December, the black and white images are shot on medium format film and are displayed within the context of their original negative, alluding to surreal fragments of a dream. 

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Miles Aldridge at the launch of the House of Peroni, London

This November House of Peroni, London, opens its doors to celebrate  Italian style and creativity with Miles Aldridge.  Fashion photographer, Aldridge,  is inspired by Federico Fellini’s era-defining film, 8 1/2, forming one of the centrepieces of the launch. Bringing all the glamour and beauty of Italian contemporary film into this residency of culture and cuisine, the artist helps kick-off 30 days of sizzling style on Portland Place.

Review of Larry Bell: Mirage Collage and the Light Knots at White Cube, London

It is hard to put into words; an accurate representation of a journey through an exhibition that is so tangible and transitional, and to do it justice. At London’s legendary White Cube gallery prolific American sculptor Larry Bell presents a survey of new sculpture and paper based works: Mirage Collage and the Light Knots, which will continue until the 12 January 2014. Well-known for his glass cube sculptures, the act of perception is again being addressed, however this time two-dimensionality refracts fleeting glimpses of three-dimensionality, cloaked in illusionary forms with the slightest whispers of lyricism.

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Audemars Piguet and Galerie Perrotin: Curiosity, Art Basel Miami Beach

Audemars Piguet has teamed up with Galerie Perrotin to present an ambitious installation for Art Basel Miami Beach by French artist duo Kolkoz. Taking the form of a chalet floating in front the iconic modernist structure of the disused Miami Marine Stadium, the work, Curiosity, will be home to Audemars Piguet’s events throughout the week. The horology brand will also have a booth in the Collectors’ Lounge, featuring a retrospective of the iconic Royal Oak watch model.

Review of Push Your Art: Cécile B. Evans, Mathieu Mercier, David Ancelin, Philipp Engelhardt, Romain Sein at Palais de Tokyo, Paris

The group exhibition Push Your Art is a logical completion for the first edition of international contest for technologically innovative art creation. The 2013 theme is 3D relief. The committee received more than 100 applications and selected ten artists to attend a workshop with art experts, including the film director, Wim Wenders, and an artist Jeremy Deller. The jury, consisting of renowned contemporary art professionals, eventually awarded the young Belgian-American artist, Cécile  B. Evans, the first prize and picked three finalists: David Ancelin, Philipp Engelhardt and Roman Sein. As the jury explained, their choice was influenced by the dynamics of the artists’ development through the participation in master-classes which attempted to enrich their vision of the medium, one completely foreign to human consciousness.

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Anish Kapoor in Istanbul, Sakıp Sabancı Museum

At first it is hard to imagine an exhibition of large-scale, contemporary sculpture adorning the classical gardens and Italian façade of the waterfront 1920s villa that has been serving as the Sakip Sabanci Museum since 2002. Yet there is something irreverently and intriguingly appropriate about coming face-to-face with the sheer physicality of abstract form in something like Kapoor’s Double (2006) amongst the kitsch cherub garden fountains of a bygone era. Curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal and featuring a mixture of new and iconic works, Istanbul is hosting the acclaimed Indian-born British contemporary artist Anish Kapoor from until 5 January 2014 in his first major exhibition in Turkey.

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Interview with Rossi & Rossi Director Fabio Rossi

Fabio Rossi studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and joined his mother as co-director of Rossi & Rossi  in 1988. The original gallery was founded by Anna Maria Rossi in 1985 in London and has continued to promote Asian art in the UK. Together, mother and son have established a reputation as leading dealers in traditional Indian and Himalayan art, early Chinese and Central Asian textiles and works as well as contemporary Asian art, particularly Tibetan. Aesthetica speaks to Fabio about the connection between classical and contemporary art and the current exhibition in London, In-Between .

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5 To See This Weekend

Winter makes its presence felt this weekend as the first hoards of Christmas shoppers crowd the streets and rumours of oncoming snow storms begin. This Saturday and Sunday is therefore a great time to get prepared and get your fix of the best art from around the world before the roads freeze over and the white stuff hits. Here’s a run-through of our top exhibitions, from the bracing streets of Edinburgh to the busy boulevards of Paris, that are well worth dragging you away from the fire this weekend.

Review of William Tillyer: Against Nature at mima and The Tyranny of The Picture Plane and other pressure tools at Platform-A Gallery, Middlesbrough

The road to Middlesbrough is a long one unless you live in the vicinity, but it is the existence of a miracle of architecture, namely mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) designed by Erick van Egeraat Associated Architects, that truly makes the long trip worthwhile. As I arrive at mima to see William Tillyer: Against Nature, the highly anticipated retrospective, I look up and see the clouds dispersed in the shape of a tree; the trunk, the branches and the leaves all in cloud form. Clouds –appearing in Tillyer’s work time and time over again in different mediums (one of Tillyer’s most notable works regarding clouds is possibly the Flatford Chart II Nine Puddles of Paint Nine Clouds, 2010 as well as his Helmsley Sky Studies, 2010) – seem to salute the opening of this retrospective exhibition celebrating the 75th birthday of the Middlesbrough-born international artist, William Tillyer. Inside mima, all the formal gallery spaces of the museum have been organised to display the pioneering artist’s works: watercolours, installations, mixed media, oils, acrylics, ceramics, and glassworks adorn almost every square metre of the vast display spaces sensitively curated by James Beighton.

A New Tate Britain

On 19 November a new  Tate Britain will be unveiled. The oldest part of the Grade II* Millbank building has been transformed by leading architects Caruso St John. In May the 10 new galleries officially opened with a chronological presentation of the Tate’s outstanding collection of British art and next week the other new spaces will open to the public.

Divine Feminine: A quartet of inventive visual artists offer femme deux at CoRK Arts District, Florida

New works by Lucy Clark, Caroline Daley, Christina Foard, and Sharla Valeski are featured in the upcoming exhibit femme deux. The brainchild of multimedia artist Valeski, this second annual show celebrates womanhood, interdisciplinary creation, and empowerment. “I saw some significant all-female exhibitions in New York City in the 90s and loved them,” explains Valeski. “They were so often naughty and tough and reminded me of women saying: ‘look what I can do.’”

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Resounding Success: BAFTA, Warp and Film 4 at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2013

ASFF is one of the most exciting site-specific film festivals in the UK. While introducing festival-goers to memorable short film, its use of 15 distinct venues across York provides an opportunity to explore the historic and the contemporary as the festival’s backdrop. We present an overview of the event and pick out some highlights chosen by filmmakers, visitors and industry representatives who attended ASFF 2013.

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Wayne McGregor: Scavanger, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia

The Wayne McGregor and Random Dance project is part of the Aperto 2013 festival and brings together Fondazione I Teatri alongside Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara for the world première of the site-specific performance Scavenger. Appearing in the Collezione’s spaces on 16 and 17 November, McGregor will present four performances  together with the Italian première of Atomos at Teatro Valli on 15 November.

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Review of Alison Goldfrapp: Performer as Curator at The Lowry, Manchester

Alison Goldfrapp takes the lead in an annual exhibition series turning performer into curator. The initiative behind the Performer as Curator series binds the space between the performing and visual arts. The Lowry venue reflects this relationship of entertainment and the arts through its inclusion of both Theatre and Gallery spaces; fusing the work of artist and musician.

A Closer Look at Anton Smit’s Work

Anton Smit is an established South African sculptor, widely known for his overwhelming heads and monumental sculptures. His body of work comprises human figures, heads, masks, speed figures and abstracts, using mostly steel, metal, sand casting, fiberglass and also bronze. His graceful statues have been shown and sold overseas – in Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, California, Bonn, Hamburg, Greece, Dubai and Koln in Germany. Anton forms his own language through sculpture, the manifestation of his passion for expression and his profound faith. His work aims to discover miracles and thus focuses on the interruption of regularity, on those moments that are deeply irregular, the moments that stand out.