We are living in interesting times. The past five years have seen a dramatic shift in our attitudes and behaviour, however I have recently noticed an undercurrent of optimism. I am excited by this, and it can be seen in new works by a range of artists. I pose a question: is the age of doom and gloom over? I think so.
The enchanting nature of books is a childhood gift experienced long before we are able to understand the words on a page. This experience is something artist Oat Montien successfully evokes through his first solo show in London. The Book Club, based in London’s east end, plays host to the innovative Ex-Libris collection and sees the natural collaboration of books in The Book Club. Each work reflects the comforting retreat books offered in our early years.
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.
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.
Aesthetica Issue 52 is now out in the shops. Inside this issue, we start with Amalia Pica’s latest exhibition, which opens in April at MCA Chicago and is the artist’s first major solo museum show in the USA, including 15 of her most significant works. We also look at the Julio Le Parc retrospective on now at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, presenting a vast survey of the artist’s work from the 1950s to the present day. European Chronicles opens this May as part of Diffusion in Cardiff, which is Wales’ first international photography festival. NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star is the latest exhibition to open at the New Museum in New York City, capturing a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture and politics.
With four days off and weather that doesn’t compliment outdoor activities or picnics, art exhibitions are an obvious solution for Bank Holiday boredom. However, wherever you are in the world, the weekend is always a great time to leisurely explore local art exhibitions. From Amsterdam to New York we uncover the best in contemporary art in both Public and Private galleries across a variety of practices. Whether it be fandom at David Bowie Is… or destruction in Sara Cwynar’s Everything In the Studio (Destroyed) these shows provoke a range of responses.
Photographer Marco Sanges shoots a cinematic world of dreams and drama. Exhibited worldwide, Sange’s clients include Agent Provocateur, Vogue, Sunday Telegraph, Photo, Katalog, Dolce&Gabbana and Eyemazing. He has published three books, Circumstances, Venus, Wild, and Erotic Photography, besides winning several awards for his art films, The Best Experimental Art Film at the Open Cinema Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia 2009 and Best Art Film at the Portobello Film Festival London, UK, 2008 for the short Circumstances. Currently exhibiting at Eduard Planting Fine Art Photographs at the Rotterdam Art Warehouse, Aesthetica speaks to Sanges about his unique approach to photography.
Inside this issue, we start with Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, a major exhibition opening at the Walker Art Center that features 35 individual sculptures and installations, along with his recent experiments in video, film and performance. We also look at the latest show to open at the Hayward Gallery, London, Light Show, which is a comprehensive survey of artists who use light as a material. David Bowie is opens at the V&A and is the first major retrospective of Bowie’s significant impact upon the world of visual art and design. Thomas Zanon-Larcher’s Falling: A Part blurs the lines between fashion and fine art photography, using cinema as its reference point. In photography, Garry Winogrand is widely recognised as one of America’s finest photographers, and his retrospective opens at SFMOMA, highlighting 25 years of the artist’s career. Cuba is the subject for the latest exhibition to open at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, which showcases four decades of Michael Eastman’s work. We also introduce the works of Marquis Montes, a Montreal-based photographic duo, as well as Kevin Cooley, whose use of light creates intense drama.
Joy Division’s bass guitarist Peter Hook is in artist conversation at the MCA on Tuesday 5 February. Reflecting on the band he helped co-found and his new book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. Covering the band’s friendships and fallouts, their rehearsals and recording sessions, Hook gives a truly fascinating insight, as only an insider can, into the larger-than-life characters that formed a vital part of the Joy Division legend. The conversation is led by Joe Shanahan who booked Peter Hook (with New Order) for their first Chicago appearance at The Metro 30 years ago.
Thames & Hudson has launched a quest to find the best of the next generation of painters. 100 Painters of Tomorrow opens for submissions on 15 January 2013. This ambitious new project, initiated by Kurt Beers, will culminate in a major publication that will introduce and present each winning artist and their work. Internationally advertised, the final book will create a snapshot of the best new talent in painting across the globe.
The Michael Hoppen Gallery will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in fabulous style by opening a treasure trove of private photography in the gallery’s largest public exhibition to date. Finders Keepers A Survey of Collecting will open on 12 December and run until 30 January, exhibiting 130 photographic gems over three floors. The gallery has handpicked these stunning photographs for their fascinating narrative, masterful technique and historical relevance, ranging from anonymous 19th century pictures to iconic post-war snapshots.
It’s the festive season again, and amidst all the partying, tinsel, mince pies and fairy lights there’s still all the Christmas shopping to be done. To make the process easier, Aesthetica have chosen some of the best art related gifts currently on the market. Picking imaginative products from independent and established companies (and institutions) we count down the top ten presents we want on our Christmas list.