After the devastation caused by World War II Britain was in desperate need of hope, optimism and re-development. During the course of the war Britain suffered the tragic loss of 383,800 soldiers’ lives. The desire to raise Britain from rubble and ash and restore its former greatness found voice through the Festival of Britain organised by the labour government of Clement Atlee in the summer of 1951, exactly one hundred years after the Great Exhibition of Britain in 1851. The exhibition Art and Optimism in 1950s Britain temporarily on display at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art aims to do the same for contemporary Britain. Britain’s post-war period is reminded to visitors through a vast array of works of art, furniture, crockery and memorabilia.
This weekend offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the best of contemporary art. The Biennale of Sydney and Art Paris Art Fair bring together fascinating and varied selections, while exhibitions at the Camden Arts Centre, Timothy Taylor Gallery and Ffotogallery showcase the impressive work of individual artists. The photography of Paul Reas and paintings of Alex Katz use bold colour to create striking images of their societies, while the delicate beauty of SIlke Otto-Knapp’s art creates a dreamy state inspired by dance and performance. Here is our selection of this weekend’s best exhibitions.
Scream in London will be opening an exhibition by Chinese artist Liu Bolin on the 3 April. The exhibition, titled The Heroic Apparition, is the latest in Bolin’s unseen works of camouflage trickery. Based in Beijing, Bolin’s work highlights the socio-political tensions within China.
Art Paris Art Fair opens today at the Grand Palais in a celebration of contemporary and modern art. Running 27 – 30 March, the fair gathers 144 galleries from around 20 countries, offering guests the chance to revel in art that spans sculpture, photography, painting, design and art books. This year, China is the the guest of honour and the fair aims to uncover new art scenes and talents from the area. Young galleries are also highlighted in the Promises section, looking at the emerging art industry across the globe. A variety of strands join together to make a unique art fair, one that seeks to discover new visions of art.
Joyce Pensato: Joyceland at the Lisson Gallery, London until 10 May has brought some of the world’s best known icons of popular culture and transformed the space into an impression of her Brooklyn studio (which she refers to as ‘Joyceland’) in London.
Other Primary Structures is an exhibition of important sculptural work at The Jewish Museum, New York. The works are drawn from around the world and were produced between 1960 and 1970. Building upon the seminal 1966 exhibition Primary Structures, which set up Minimalism as an art class, the exhibition revisits the theme of 20th-century geometric abstraction from a global, rather than strictly Western or Northern, perspective. The first component, Others 1, runs 14 March until 18 May and presents work from 1960 to 1967. Others 2, on view 25 May until 3 August, displays work from 1967 through 1970 and includes pieces directly influenced by the 1966 Primary Structures exhibition. Aesthetica speaks to Deputy Director, Jens Hoffmann, about Minimalism and the construction of an exhibition.
Running from March 28 – May 10 the exhibition, Frontcountry: Lucas Foglia will address the the wild and sparsely populated American West, with all its romantic and historical connotations. This is a landscape currently facing a massive social and economic upheaval as a new mining boom transforms the lives of those living there.
The blurred lines between the real and the virtual are explored in FACT’s new exhibition Science Fiction: New Death, opening 27 March. Society’s relationship with technology is examined through the work of James Bridle, Jon Rafman, Mark Leckey, Larissa Sansour and Ryan Trecartin, plus award-winning science fiction author China Miéville. Aesthetica speaks to curator Omar Kholeif about science fiction and the highlights of the exhibition.
You Imagine What You Desire is a fitting title for Sydney’s 19th Biennale running until 9 June. Spread across five venues – which span the width of the city and includes an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour – the programme forces audiences to slowly absorb the ideas, beauty and creative energy of each venue’s work. This year’s Biennale doesn’t have a didactic theme but simply aims to activate audiences’ desires.
Tom Price, who was born in London in 1981, studied at Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College of Art Sculpture School. In 2009 he was featured on BBC Four television documentary, Where is Modern Art Now? He was awarded the Arts Council England Helen Chadwick Fellowship. In 2010 he featured on BBC Four’s, How to Get A Head in Sculpture. He was also included in 10 Magazine’s Ten Sculptors You Should Meet. His statues, which are currently on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, trace the evolution of Price’s approach to the male figure.
Described by John Lennon as the world’s most famous unknown artist, Yoko Ono has spent a lifetime living in the shadow of her famous marriage and her revered late husband. Half-A-Wind Show, an epic retrospective visiting the Guggenheim Bilbao, is the chance to allow her the recognition she deserves…
With so much exciting contemporary art on show, make sure to factor a gallery visit into your weekend plans. Explore the delicate beauty of Jim Hodges’ work in Minneapolis, David Hepher’s striking landscapes in London, juxtaposing urban and country life, or the fascinating conceptual career of the iconic Yoko Ono in Bilbao. Here are our pick of the top five exhibitions to see this weekend.