Barcelona April Art Guide

Barcelona April Art Guide

This spring Barcelona has to offer a number of outstanding art exhibits among which we would like to highlight two that are already on view during the month of April 2017 - highly recommended!

Picasso Portraits, Picasso Museum, Barcelona
On view, until 25 of June 2017

The Museu Picasso in Barcelona presents the exhibition Picasso Portraits. This exhibition, co organised by the Museu Picasso, Barcelona and the National Portrait Gallery, London, accents the importance of the portrait in Picasso’s work. 

The exhibition brings together more than 80 pieces from public and private collections, revealing the technical media and variety of styles used by Picasso in working in portraiture, which was to always have an important place in his art. As well as acknowledged masterpieces, the exhibition also includes lesser-known paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints. 

We can find portraits of Dora Maar, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, Nusch Éluard, Françoise Gilot, Max Jacob, Lee Miller, Fernande Olivier, Jacqueline Roque, Olga Khokhlova, Jaume Sabartés, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Miguel Utrillo and Marie-Thérèse Walter, amongst others.

Frederic Amat, Zoòtrop, Fundació LaPedrera
On view, until 16 July, 2017

Frederic Amat (Barcelona, 1952) is one of the leading figures in the contemporary Catalan art scene. His open concept of art has led him to incorporate numerous languages into his artistic practice, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation art, performance, book illustration, videos, theatre set design and interventions in architectural spaces. 

The exhibition Frederic Amat "Zoòtrop" presents a selection of projects for interventions in natural and urban spaces, often associated with architecture, with the aim of drawing a map, a topography of the artist’s work, while seeking the poetic component present in it.

The title of the exhibition at La Pedrera, Zoetrope, is a reference to the stroboscopic device consisting of a rotating drum with slits cut in the sides through which the spectator can see a series of drawings which, as they spin, give the illusion of moving. Like a zoetrope, the exhibition intends to show the various facets of Frederic Amat’s work related to the space, architecture, the city and the landscape.

- by Angel Granero 

LONDON APRIL ART GUIDE

LONDON APRIL ART GUIDE

April is my favourite month in London: a ray of sunshine, fresh ideas and a hopeful heart. This month, you could find me rambling about art and artists in these locations: 

- Banksy on Tooley Street, SE1
Just where Tooley Street meets the underpass beneath London Bridge you can find this quirky rat by Banksy - one of many that the artist has left around London. Banksy is such a key character for our city - the graffiti artist come political activist combines dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencil technique. 

BANKSY, TOOLEY STREET

- A cloud of fog by Fujiko Nakaya, Tate Modern
Quick, rush to see Fujiko Nakaya's swirling sculpture made of midst, which will be enveloping the Tate until the 2nd April. Her clouds of fog have adorned bridges in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and Philip Johnson's Glass House. Of them, the artist says: 'Nature controls herself. I try and let nature speak'. It cannot get any more surrealist: pure magic!

FUJIKO NAKAYA

- Child's Play, Foundling Museum, Bloomsbury
Documentary artist Mark Neville has taken photographs of children playing around the world: Ukraine, Kenya, the Highlands, North London etc.. At a time when up to 13 million children have been internally displaced as a result of armed conflict and traditional public space is being privatised, this show reinforces our responsibility to ensure that children have full opportunity for play. 

MARK NEVILLE

- The studio of artist Leni Dothan and the National Gallery
More recently, I have enjoyed exploring the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, which is mostly dedicated to altarpieces and religious works pre High Renaissance. The one work I rediscovered was Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael., The intimacy between child and mother reminds me very much of the work of our artist Leni Dothan and her relationship with her son, Yali. It prompted my back and forth between the two locations, comparing this new reference with one of my favourite artists from our crew. 

Leni Dothan

Leni Dothan

- by Marina Tanguy

Cover pic credit: Zabludowicz collection

Five Artists We Loved Seeing At Fresh Paint Art Fair #9, TLV

Five Artists We Loved Seeing At Fresh Paint Art Fair #9, TLV

The Fresh Paint Art Fair is the only fair for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. For its 9th edition and like every year, the curators present their unique format of the "Artists' Greenhouse", where independent artists show and sell (often for the first time since graduating) their work. It's sometimes difficult and overwhelming to find your way between the 50 booths at the greenhouse, so I'm happy to share a really small taste with five artists I loved seeing this year. 

The fair takes place between March 28th - April 1st at the Steinhardt Museum for Natural History which will open its doors this Summer at the Tel Aviv University. 

Also not to miss at this event are Tal Engelstein's Installation at the fair's entrance, the video projects, curated by the CCA and the galleries section. 

ADVA GOLDSTONE

Adva Goldstone graduated from the Bezalel BFA Program last Summer, and at the greenhouse you'll be able to see pieces from her final exhibition - large scale paintings of minimalistic figures and smaller collages, based on vogue magazines. I loved seeing the contrast between these two media and subject matters. Using a very colorful palette of acrylic paint and markers, Goldstone taps into contemporary issues of representation and illusion- abstracting all figures, wether the women in the magazines or the enigmatic persons and forms in the paintings. 

Untitled, acrylic and marker on a Vogue magazine

KARAM NATOUR

I first saw this series of drawings at the projects room of Rosenfeld Gallery and the presentation at the fair is truly beautiful. At only 25, Karam Natour who is enrolled at the MFA degree at Bezalel Academy, has developed a unique style in his digital drawings, realized on his computer. These delicate yet powerful pieces, are like fragments from a personal diary, where the artist's unconscious and conscious worlds meet and where he questions and criticizes the art world, religion, culture and our society, with a lot of humor and wittiness.  I highly recommend watching this video for more about this promising artist. 

Digital Drawing, 50x50 cm

DANIEL OKSENBERG

Daniel Oksenberg is presenting a series of seven large scale, rectangular paintings. I have a soft spot for artists using social media as the starting point of their creation and this is the case of Daniel Oksenberg, whose paintings are inspired by photographs he takes with his smartphone and posts on his favorite social media channel, Instagram. That's only the start of the painting, the result is surprising, totally unique, in its composition and colors, and makes the viewers and the artist rethink familiar narratives and situation from a new perspective. 


"Car inspection stickers", 2017, Oil, industrial paint, oil pastels, spray paint, markers and pencils on canvas, 186X86 cm
Photograph: Kobi Bachar

Naama Roth

I've been following this artist since her ambitious and successful final project at the Shenkar School in 2015. Naama Roth works between the medium of painting, sculpture and installation, Her pieces offer a contemporary take on modernist processes. One of my favorite works at the booth is "Tribute to Some, 2015', what looks like a revisited version of an air conditioning filter and is a playful wink to modernist masters and to the renowned Israeli artist, Yaacov Agam. 

Tribute to Some, 2015, mixed media, 57.5x57.5 cm

Tribute to Some, 2015, mixed media, 57.5x57.5 cm

LIGAL SOFER

It's refreshing to see an artist honoring materiality, using different materials such as cement, wool, metal and fiberglass fabric. Through them Soffer explores the tension between the two and three dimensional image, preconceived ideas surrounding the "feminine" and the "masculine" in history of art and how one one can document personal and universal memory. 

20 square meters, 2017, 80x90 cm, Iron net, concrete and synthetic wool

Dede - Behind The Scenes

Dede - Behind The Scenes

If you know Tel Aviv street art, you know Dede. Famous for his eponymous band aids and his deformed urban animals that adorn walls all over the city, Dede has established his place in the art world. His art often deals with social issues of the urban sphere. It acts as a remark or an observation meant to point attention to things that are overlooked. It has a unique balance of wits, humor and simplicity and always displays elaborate technique and ambition. 

Dede prefers to keep his identity unknown. Luckily for me, our paths crossed, and I have the privilege of working with him since. So when I realized a piece commissioned by the Tel Aviv municipality was going to be made, I took the opportunity to join, help and report back.

So where to begin? This piece evokes several points of interest. The location of the piece is as central as it gets, hardly the neglected outskirts of the city where one usually finds street art. The fact it was commissioned by the municipality challenges the consideration of the piece as “true street art”. The subject matter of the piece demands interpretation. And lastly – how was this ambitious piece physically made? 

For me, the last question was the most exciting one to answer. Seeing street art being made is very cool. It brings you face to face with creativity, determination and excellent improvisation skills. This piece required carfeul geometric planning. Dede even made custom calipers to execute it properly. Nonetheless, accidents do happen. All the stencils that were created for the piece were splashed with water when a tenant washed his apartment. Luckily a hairdryer saved the day. The tenant’s wife felt so bad she made us tea all night! Turns out art does bring out a good side of people. Aside from a very angry juicer who was worried about the sprays smell scaring customers away, people crossing were curious and excited to see the finished piece. 

The finished piece depicts a typical emergency stop button, closed in a glass box, with a key to its left. It’s an invitation to the busy people passing on this busy Tel Aviv street to stop, slow down, and take a break from the hectic city life. The wall in question belongs to a local power station. I believe that adds a subversive and critical aspect to the piece. Anyway, street art, like any art, is at its finest when numerous interpretations can be made. 
If you want to hear more about the piece and the issues it raises visit the Alternative Tel Aviv Blog for the full coverage.

by Cobi Krieger

Five Highlights in Jerusalem’s Art Scene

Five Highlights in Jerusalem’s Art Scene

As April approaches, we are looking forward to some wonderful new exhibitions in Jerusalem.  
 

Aliza Auerbach From Stone to Sea, Photographs 1970-2015. Curated by Gay Raz.

From Stone to Sea highlights the career of Israeli photographer Aliza Auerbach (1940–2016), whose photographs have followed the trajectory of Israeli culture and art for approximately fifty years. From Stone to Sea exhibits photographs from various series, revealing different aspects of the artist’s career through her intimate connection with land, people and especially her connection to Israeli culture. On view at The Jerusalem Artists’ House until April 22.

Aliza Auerbach, Louise Bourgeois

Benji Boyadgian The Discord . Curated by Basak Senova and Jack Persekian.

The roots of The Discord starts with its geological definition, and Boyadgian’s complex exhibition looks at eroded ornamental tiles for inspiration. After six years of research and working on this project, the artist projects ideas of history, conflict, memory, authenticity and autonomy onto these patterns known from ‘classical’ Middle Eastern architecture and culture, and sets off on a painting process that encompasses the mutation of the patterns. Using watercolor, Boyadgian dismantles the physical and metaphorical layers and temporalities that have until now created the story of these tiles.
 
On view at the Al Ma’mal Center for Contemporary Art until April 22.

Benji Bdjoyan, Discord

No Place Like Home.
Curated by Dr.Adina Kamien Kazhdan. 


No Place Like Home highlights the artistic appropriation of domestic objects, celebrating a movement that was prominent in the early 20th century with artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition consists of 120 artworks, organized as a series of “rooms”, where corresponding galleries are labelled  as “bedroom”, “living room”, “bathroom” and other common home spaces. The works on display prompt new perspectives on concepts that are negotiated in the domestic sphere; such as gender roles, definitions of family and questions of place and displacement.

On view at the Israel Museum until July 29, 2017.

Exhibition view no place like home courtesy of the Israel Museum Photo by Elie Posner

Trickle, Sara Benninga and Noam Bar. Curated by Tamar Gispan-Greenberg  

The exhibition Trickle at the New Gallery, Teddy Stadium, emerged as a result of the New Gallery’s active studio artist Sara Benninga inviting artist Noam Bar to present her work in a joint exhibition. Trickle illuminates themes of identity using the contrasting works of Sara Benninga’s paintings and Noam Bar’s sculptures.
The exhibition raises questions regarding a conceptual “trickle” of material by focusing on subjects like fragmentation and the connection of different worlds, blending background, space, interior and exterior. Digital images and flickering screens preoccupy the artists’ work as they blend background, space, interior and exterior.

On view New Gallery, until 21.4.17.

New Gallery Trickle Exhibition View Photo by Dor Kedmi

Mindy Weasel,  Meditations on Love

Meditations on Love is the first solo show of Jerusalem based artist Mindy Weisel, whose expressive paintings are identified as a language of process, emotion and layers. The twelve action paintings exhibited in this show are created spontaneously and emerge from Weisel’s observations of her city of residence, Jerusalem, her own personal history, and her meditations at the moment in which she paints. The results activate the viewer, questioning the subconscious— as the paintings answer with their deep colors, hidden words and markings on the canvas.  
On at Rosenbach Contemporary until May 2, 2017.

Mindy Weisel at Rosenbach Untitled

Contemporary March in Madrid

Contemporary March in Madrid

This month we recommend two exhibitions in art galleries in Madrid: 

At Gallery Silvestre (39 Calle Doctor Fourquet), the Israeli artist Ella Littwitz is showing her project called "Everybody knows that the boat is leaking" and it's your last chance to visit it (until March 22nd).
"The raising of Lod's mosaic revealed a trace: that of someone who was there in the third century, taking care of setting the tiles that adorned the floor of that patrician house. The bed of the mosaic, found by chance, showed the negative of a foot. There literally appeared a trace of the process, which was revealed as an open book. Here a scroll shows in this room the letter of a lay: in situ, ex situ, non situ ... Both figures are prepared to transport of a possible reading to another, from the roots to the tips of a story a thousand times told, and started again. A story we all know and seems to have no beginning or end."

Also to be highlighted, the exhibition at Gallery Combustion Espontánea (20 calle Amaniel). It is called "The Fourth Wall", related to the fictional reality of Din Matamoro & Alan Sastre and it runs until April 1st. 

pic @combustionespontanea

Museums:

In Caixa Forum, we recommend the retrospective of the works by the American photographer Philippe Halsman. He is known for the portraits he made of celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe during the 20th century. 

London March Art Guide

London March Art Guide

Marine Tanguy gives us three recommendations for an arty month of March in London!

- Royal Academy of Arts: Not just for the Royal Academy of Arts members' garden (the nicest hideaway) but for its two current exhibitions. In a time when society is divided, the Royal Academy of Arts is showing 'America After The Fall' - an exhibition discussing America in the wake of the Wall Street Crash bearing anxiety, nostalgia and pessimism - next to its second exhibition 'Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932', which completely in contrast, depicts artists and people in hope of a better society. In both exhibitions, artists capture and record the mood of the times and these moods evolve: while the USA will soon recover with jazz and a world of colours, the Soviet Union artists will lose their freedom of expression and idealistic visions. 

- Jennifer Abessira, Camden Collective: My team and I have spent quite a few days in overalls painting a room entirely pitch black (from floor to pipes to ceiling!) to feature the next project of our artist Jennifer Abessira. Jennifer loves movies and refers to her favourite screened moments in her art. We wanted to recreate this full vision in a room of its own. It hopefully carries a little Tel Aviv back to grey London. Drop me a line if you wish to visit it! 

- Get out of London! Jump on a train and head to Fareham to see the studio of artist Alexandra Lethbridge. You will encounter an endless archive of found photographs, archival imagery and constructed images of her own making. You will be inspired by her playful and experimental approach and you lose track of fiction and reality. Heaven. 

Giuseppe Penone Show At The Fendi White Space

Giuseppe Penone Show At The Fendi White Space

The exhibition “Matrice” by Giuseppe Penone is presented by Fendi in its headquarter at the Palazzo della Civiltà and is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the well known italian director of the New Museum in New York. The famous luxury brand Fendi is now beginning a new art commitment, opening its white marble large space to art shows and events. The “Palazzo della Civiltà” is a 1930-40s spectacular building that has been recently rented by the fashion company as a great symbol of its roman origin. The result is amazingly powerful, impressive and meaningful.


First of all Penone is, without any doubt, one of the purest artists we ever had in Italy: his research on the vulnerability of nature and on natural shapes was persued since the beginning of his career in the 1960s (when he took part to the avant-guarde movement of Arte Povera) to the present. 
The most spectacular artwork of the exhibition called “Matrice” is a 30 meter-long sculpture in which the trunk of a tree has been carved out following one of its growth rings, bringing to surface the past of the tree as well as its evolution and crystallized by a bronze mold which freezes nature’s flow of life. The romanticism of Penone’s art is even more evident in the delicate “Acacia Thorns-Contact”: a canvas where the image-shape of a person’s face is drawn with hundreds of thorns, sticked on the canvas surface. It represents traces of men absence, like footprints, but way more evocative. That’s why the union between Penone’s evocative works and the large white and bright square-space of the building is a great description of an allegory, of absence. 


What I mostly loved about the exhibition is the contrast between the smoothness of the white marble all over the space and the organic ruggedness of Penone’s materials like wood trunks. The same contrast between the bright glow of the space and the opacity of the sculptures or between the geometrical perfection of the walls, windows and rooms and the curvy fluidity of the branches coming out from Penone’s tree-shaped sculpture. That is metaphorically the same contrast between time and nature or between human history and natural transience. 

London February Art Guide

London February Art Guide

February is cold, rainy and a little melancholic over here in London. An artistic escape is definitely needed to make it through this month! 
 
Put your trainers on and follow this list of four across my favourite city:  
 
David Hockney at The Tate Britain- #davidhockney almost crashed my Instagram feed last week but how nice to see so many vivid colours, bold compositions and familiar people on his huge canvases! Hockney is a strong inspiration for us at MTArt as he proudly supported the thinking of art engaging everyone, not just the few who form part of the art world. Sometimes mocked for this statement, and what was perceived as naive simplicity, he deserves this ambitious retrospective. 

Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq at Hannah Barry - you will face an enormous five metre orbital drawing, black, in graphite and made by the artist's hand. The black graphite challenges your experience of the space and absorbs all surrounding. This is exactly what I love in contemporary artists from our generation - they understand and react to the wider context of the work, that is, its architecture. I feel it's about time for architects and artists, or someone curious in both fields, to show how important this dialogue is to the creative field. 

Rob Branigan’s Studio - I cannot spend a week in London without visiting a studio. This is where I source most of my inspiration and where I have my most insightful conversations. The studio I would currently recommend is that of artist Rob Branigan - a 'geek', as he describes himself, who understand both the pure technical side of his works (the execution is near perfection) but also the playful search for a meaning in everyday materials. His art holds what I most love about surrealism, a valuable escape from our serious and gloomy world. 

National Gallery, Room 41 - Bathers at Asnières by artist Georges Seurat.
I spend every Saturday morning at The National Gallery, always going for different works, times and rooms. This month, and from the need of sun in this time of change, I recommend looking at George Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières. This painting is very meaningful to me personally as I see both an artist trying to innovate technically (this painting marks the very birth of pointillism) but also challenging the status quo: portraying the working class over the bourgeoisie and giving them a say via his art -  voicing the voiceless. 

What to wear in the street? Art, of course!

What to wear in the street? Art, of course!

During Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, Louis Vuitton presented its Ready-to-Wear collection which included the anticipated collaboration with NYC-based street-wear brand SUPREME. 

Vuitton, a veteran of the luxury industry, has paved the way for collaborations between art and fashion. This modus operandi has become integrated in the brands DNA, and has led to collaborations with artists such as Takashi Murakami and Cindy Sherman, and to the opening of the “Fondation Louis Vuitton” in Paris. Vuitton supporting contemporary art so avidly creates a win-win situation – the artists gain fame and recognition and Vuitton appear fresh and relevant. 
Vuitton’s recent collaboration with SUPREME, is unprecedented in character and may mark a pinnacle in the growing influence street culture has on the established institutionalized world of fashion. Art and fashion are two worlds ever close to one another. This change in fashion could be due to the same influence being made in the art world.

While Vuitton has collaborated with iconic fashion designers in the past, they were mostly luxury designers. This is the first collaboration with an existing fashion brand, and a street-wear icon nonetheless. And while the connection between street art and street culture to the fashion world has many representations, this is a whole other level. 
Many street artist dabble in fashion. Not only street art tycoon Shepherd Fairy has fashion merchandise, here in Tel Aviv, you can find sunglasses and socks by Pilpeled, T-shirts by the BFC crew and iPhone covers by Dede. And yet, however popular a pair of vans sneakers are on the streets they remain foreign to the runways of Paris. That is until now. The fashion world, like the art world, is surrendering to the real-life action in the urban space. 

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

PILPELED

PILPELED

BFC

BFC

The fact is that the art establishment has been, and still is, gradually accepting street artists as valid members of the art sphere, exhibiting, selling and re-selling their work. This allows them to expand from the urban space to the studio. This expansion pushes them to achieve status and influence new audiences, etching their art into our time and our culture, so much that the great Louis Vuitton has splashed a big red SUPREME logo on a luxurious leather bag to make it, what we now consider, cooler than ever. 

Want to know everything about Tel Aviv's urban art and culture scene? Join our Florentin graffiti tour on Friday, Feb 24th at 3:30 PM. Please click here for details and registration.

- by Yael Shapira and Cobi Krieger

Contemporary February In Madrid

Contemporary February In Madrid

February is definitely  the month of contemporary art in Madrid. There are so many art events and exhibitions that you may have a problem to choose and the feeling that you need more time! 

Since you are more interested in contemporary art don’t miss the most relevant event in Spain of the year and one of the most relevant art fairs in Europe: ARCOmadrid. In February 22-27 2017 Arco will bring together a total of 200 galleries, of which 160 form part of the General Program, as well as the curated sections: ´Argentina at ARCO´, with a selection of 12 galleries; ´Dialogues´, with 11 galleries and ´Opening´, with 17 galleries.

ARCOmadrid

Art galleries: We recommend a walk in the Salesas neighbourhood to visit three examples of the Madrid contemporary art: (i) Juana de Aizpuru gallery with the exhibition of the Spanish artist Cristina Lucas (born in 1973) until March 18th, (ii) the gallery of Max Estrella with the exhibition of the international Daniel Canogar until March 25th or (iii) the amazing exhibition of Miriam Bäckström at the gallery of Elba Benitez (you will love the beautiful patio) until February 11th. 

Miriam Bäckström at Elba Benitez

Museums and art centers: The museum Queen Sofia exhibition called Fictions and Territories to take place until 13 March presents a series of recent acquisitions for its permanent collection. The group of works are related to each other through language and artistic practices from the late 90's to 2007 and are of multiple origins around the world.


Exhibition view. Territories and Fictions. Thinking a New Way of the World, 2016

A short gallery hop in Zurich!

A short gallery hop in Zurich!

I’m pleased to introduce a few exhibitions worth seeing in Zürich currently, to highlight the diversity and scope of art in just a few galleries; from emerging to established, modern to contemporary; design, sculpture, photography, painting, video, installation, and sometimes all these interwoven into a single artist’s practice!

Mai 36
Koenraad Dedobbeleer (until 4 March)

Mai 36 is one of Zürich’s most established galleries, founded in 1987 by Victor Gisler. The gallery represents many great Contemporary artists such as John Baldessari, Franz Akermann and Thomas Ruff, as well as significant Artist Estates such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Luigi Ghirri and Peter Hujar, which reveals the gallery’s leanings towards the photographic medium. 

The gallery recently opened “Koenraad Dedobbeleer: Images Entertain Thought” that incorporates sculptures, installations and photographs full of associations, witty commentaries with art historical references. Dedobbeleer focuses on everyday objects, which he modifies and re-contextualises. These transformations prompt the viewer to question the essential quality of things and their existence within newly created frames of reference, allowing for a variety of interpretations. The exhibition comprises 40 analogue photographs, which are often the result of a reproduction of a reproduction. When observing the prints closely, occasionally one sees lines across an image where the quality has been compromised or other imperfections. Here, the artist may have photographed an image from a magazine or from his iPhone. Dedobbeleer enjoys this element of guile, also the layering, the subtle shifts in seemingly identical images and the dialogue between different objects. Most of all, as in the title “Images Entertain Thought”, he hopes these images will be the starting point for the viewer to make unexpected associations and discoveries. 

Koenraad Dedobbeleer, installation view of “Considered Unrepresentative”, 2016
Courtesy of Mai 36, © Koenraad Debdobbeleer

Koenraad Dedobbeleer, “Serve” 2016 triptych
Courtesy of Mai 36, © Koenraad Debdobbeleer

Galerie Edwynn Houk
Lillian Basssman (extended until 18 February)

The Edwynn Houk gallery was founded in 1980. Since then, the gallery has specialised in vintage photographs by leading figures from the Modernist movement. The gallery has represented the Estate of Brassaï, Bill Brandt, Dorothea Lange, André Kertész, Ilse Bing and the Robert Frank Archive. Houk also runs a strong Contemporary programme representing artists such as Lalla Essaydi, Abelardo Morell and Sally Mann. Their main space is in New York, and in 2010, they opened this second gallery in Zürich. 

Edwynn Houk’s current exhibition presents Lillian Bassman’s elegant and dream-like fashion photographs. Bassman’s images appeared on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar from the late 1940s to 1960s. She trained and worked under famed art director Alexey Brodovitch. Having abandoned photography for two decades, in the 1990s Bassman returned to her old negatives and re-interpreted them. She changed the original framing, accentuated contrast and softness and retouched areas. They became far more abstract and daring, leading to a renewed interest in her photography among editors, curators and collectors. She told the New York Times in a 1997 interview that she wanted to “take the hardness out of photography” in order to make it less literal, which she accomplished using darkroom techniques such as bleaching, dodging and burning with selective focus. She can be credited for introducing a new aesthetic in fashion photography. 

Lillian Bassman exhibition installation view
© Lillian Bassman Estate / Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

Lillian Bassman, “Black with one white glove, Barbara Mullen, dress by Christian Dior, New York, Harper's Bazaar”, 1950
© Lillian Bassman Estate / Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

BolteLang
Anyway Part Of It (until 4 March)

Bolte Lang was founded in 2008 by Anna Bolte and Chaja Lang. The gallery shows a variety of emerging artists working with all media from sculpture and installation to painting, drawing, collage, photography and film, often with a focus on material and studio practice. 

The gallery’s newly opened exhibition “Anyway Part Of It” was curated by Jeanette Apitz, a collector of design objects, who invited internationally recognised designers Kueng Caputo and Clémence Seilles, as well as fine artist Patrick Hari to collaborate on this project. 

When entering the gallery - dimly lit by Kueng Caputo sculptural light bulb pieces (“A piece of Wall”, 2014) - one encounters an array of colourful objects, textures and sound. In the front room, a selection of the designers’ latest works are arranged to create a platform for the music performance. Speakers, acoustic panels, lighting, room dividers, stage props and a lonely microphone are carefully arranged, creating a stage without performers. The music playing is by singers that were censored in different countries, making a statement for the freedom of musical expression. Venturing further into the gallery is a pure delight for the senses. Typeface letters are scattered on the floor and travertine bowls are placed above, elegant rock stools along the wall with the introduction of movement via a circular hanging mobile that gently turns. The third room hosts a large sculptural work by artist Patrick Hari entitled “Muppet Villa – Dreaming Alone is a Boring Land”. A large wooden structure, it hints at function but simultaneously denies any use. His use of different materials and the sculpture’s suggestion of a domestic microcosmos creates a playful dialogue with the design pieces. A common thread running through all their practices is the focus on material with a high level of craftsmanship.  

Anyway Part Of It exhibition installation view
Courtesy of BolteLang, © Kueng Caputo & Clémence Seilles

Patrick Hari, “Muppet Villa - Dreaming Alone Is A Boring Land”, 2017
Courtesy of BolteLang, © Patrick Hari

HAUSER + WIRTH
RODNEY GRAHAM (until 11 March) 
HENRY MOORE (until 11 March) 

Hauser & Wirth need little introduction, an international gallery devoted to Contemporary and Modern art, founded in Zürich by Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Ursula Huser in 1992. It is a global enterprise with spaces in Zürich, London, New York, Los Angeles and Somerset, UK. The gallery represents over sixty established and emerging artists, and several reputable Artist Estates such as the Louise Bourgois Studio, the Estate of Philip Guston and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. 

Hauser & Wirth in Zürich currently presents two very different exhibitions, Vancouver-based contemporary artist Rodney Graham on the ground floor and early works on paper by the late British artist Henry Moore on the second floor. On entering the formidable ground floor space, within the Löwenbrau complex, we encounter Rodney Graham’s large-scale photographic lightboxes comprising highly detailed, allegorical and witty compositions. Each image is a fictional self-portrait with the artist in costume portraying a variety of characters. From the elaborate props to the intricate costumes and stage sets, each scene is executed with great precision and technical skill. In “Antiquarian Sleeping in His Shop” (2017), where Graham plays a collector sleeping amongst his many precious objects, it feels as though one could reach into the frame and pick an item from a shelf, peer a little closer even and read the titles on the book spines. Since the 1980s, Graham has developed his diverse practice to encompass photography, painting, sculpture, film, video and music. 

Then walking up to the gallery’s second floor space one discovers what feels like a small-scale museum exhibition, “Henry Moore: Myths and Poetry”, curated by his daughter Mary Moore. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s early works on paper (1940s – early 1950s) and includes poetry magazine covers, illustrations for poems by Herbert Read and sketches, exploring the graphic side of Moore’s practice. In addition to etchings, lithographs and drawings, several sculptures are also on view including a large-scale work carved from Elmwood that has not been exhibited since the 1950s. One of the highlights of this exhibition is the supporting archival material on show including Moore’s tools, personal possessions such as books and chairs, photographs of the artist in his studio and correspondence with friends such as W.H. Auden and Herbert Read. This offers an intimate view of a great artist with a unique glimpse into his private space and early working practices. 

Installation view of Rodney Graham, “Media Studies 77”, 2016
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, © Rodney Graham

Henry Moore, “Cover Design for Contemporary Poetry and Prose”, 1937
Reproduced with permission of the Henry Moore Foundation. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

- by Diana Poole

* Cover pic: Rodney Graham, “Antiquarian Sleeping in his Shop”, 2017
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, © Rodney Graham

Get A life Vivienne Westwood exhibition at K11 Museum

Get A life Vivienne Westwood exhibition at K11 Museum

 I grew up in a small, provincial town in Israel, and when I turned 10, the first shopping mall was opened in the city center. Though I was young, I already understood that it was the first step towards what I like to refer to as the “beginning of the end”. Ever since, this small town’s urban developments have started to move in the same direction as that of the notorious shopping center. Naturally, the same thing happened to all mega cities, medium sized towns and urban hubs globally.  Everyone and everything started to mobilize itself around one thing: consumption.
 
In my last 5 years living in Shanghai, I unfortunately got used to the concept of shopping malls. I even visited some of them out of my own free will a couple of times—mostly due to extreme weather conditions—and I must admit, I started to become slightly fond of them.  Soft music,  smooth escalators, temperature control; they all became a break away from Shanghai’s hectic streets. As my boyfriend would say “the transformation is complete, you are a true Asian”. So on a rainy cold winter day, I went to check out Vivienne Westwood’s exhibition Get a Life in K11 Art Mall Museum.  

When consumption became a part of culture, it was almost inevitable that culture would mirror consumption. The second step in the “beginning of the end” is manifested through the soft power of real estate developers implementing “creative concepts” in luxury shopping malls and commercial centers. Hence, creating “cultural experiences” within a maze of endless shopping arcades designed only to make you forget that there is an actual world out there so that you can spend all of your monthly salary on unnecessary, but oh-so-beautiful designer shit you don't need. K11’s concept is all about that.
 
The high-end art mall concept facilitates a blend of shopping and art—which actually means that they got tax reduction, and we get crappy art in return.
 
The K in K11 stands for Kingdom, “a shopping mall kingdom” which derives from the group’s chairman and his childhood dream of having his own kingdom—and indeed, in mega-capitalist-non-democratic-Asia, shopping malls have had more influence than the state. In this political climate, when as a citizen you cannot vote or elect a ruling candidate or party, the only way one can practice his opinions, decision making and rights is through his credit card.
 
Promising the blend of art and fashion, K11 mall is able to do so by dedicating designated spaces in the mall for decorative art works like benches, sculptures and some interactive corners; while at the same time running a foundation that sponsors art initiatives, workshops and exhibitions. The large exhibition space, K11 Museum is located, on the lowest floor of the building (where else?) and can be easily used as a bunker in case North Korea decides to fight capitalism. Most art shows and activities take place there and change every 3 months.

Get a Life, by Vivienne Westwood is “a fusion of art and fashion, through the lens of activism” and that is exactly its main problem. Westwood’s moral, socio-political “topics worth fighting for” change according to the seasons. 2014 was the year of climate change, now, the hot topic is refugees. Leave African women  aside—their saggy handmade bags and micro financing is so 2012.

The show unveils themed collection campaigns from climate change to over-consumption: Saving The Rainforests, Mirroring The World or Intellectuals Unite. You’ve got to give credit to the marketing department of Vivienne Westwood and without a doubt, the designer herself (who actually looks like a pretty cool, opinionated woman). It is a great opportunity to see vibrant, bad-ass immigrant inspired images taken by Jurgen Teller for her latest campaign, as well as a few other samples from past collections. Especially the one dedicated to the House of Worth, the Englishman who invented the concept of Haute couture back in 19th century France.

The room next to Westwood’s show presents a group exhibition, Monument of the Peach Blossom Valley, which tries to underpin the activist spirit of Get a Life from a Chinese perspective.

Here again, in a slightly more humble or submissive manner, artists express their concern for humanity and its relationship with nature. The only concern I had was, what the hell is the connection between those two shows? There were a few interesting, emerging young Chinese artists like Yu Honglei and Zhang Rui whose works are typically visually and intellectually stimulating, however, in this almost random curatorial context it was impossible to be impressed or intrigued. 

Wu Junyong, Flying Ark

These two exhibitions somehow mirror each other, in my opinion. They got me thinking that maybe I am traditionalist or old fashioned; but perhaps there are things that don’t blend—art and shopping, fashion and activism, capitalist-consumerism and moral-political campaigns.
To quote Guy Debord from The Society of The Spectacle: “In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”
 
I came down to the K11 mall again to write this post and sat down in a high-end cafeteria concept cafe (like everything in the high-end era we live in), situated in the ground floor of the shopping mall. During my stay, a homeless man came to sit at a table next to me.

At first, I didn't notice from his appearance that he was homeless, but the strong scent coming from him disclosed it immediately. He was wearing a heavy wool jacket suit and a vintage Christmas sweater underneath. He used a rope to tie up his pants closer to his waist. He sat down holding an old chewy piece of meat and started talking to himself. I couldn't stop thinking he could have been such a great art performance to Mrs. Westwood’s exhibition, if only it was the season of "raising awareness to the crisis of homelessness in future cities", oh but wait, that was so 2015.

- by Hadas Zucker

Background to the Chelsea Art Scene

Background to the Chelsea Art Scene

For the past 20 years, Chelsea has remained a designated area for true art lovers. 
It is in this particular moment that Chelsea has become the center for contemporary art in New York City, while the neighborhood is going through a massive face lift and things are always changing.

The famous wild art scene of the 60’s and 70’s in NYC was based in Soho—at that time it was considered the industrial area for businesses like import/export houses, textile houses and “rag trade” clothing stores.

Artists began to move to Soho mainly because of it’s big loft spaces and cheap rent. 
Artists like Philip Glass, Twyla Tharp, Nam June Paik, Meredith Monk, Chuck Close and Frank Stella were of the few that helped create and shape the ideal situation which made Soho a nexus for creative activity at a very magical time in the 1960's. SoHo became the focal point which represented the hip, avant garde scene of the time.

Not long after, artists concentrated the area and marked it as a hip neighborhood in NYC, Soho was announced to be the “art district of new york” and what started as an organic process of art imigration, continued to be a real estate target for “art oriented” commercial businesses.
The rise of rent and change of atmosphere in the  Soho of the early 1990’s meant that galleries needed to find themselves a new home. 

This  leads us to the Chelsea art scene... 

Today, the art galleries of Chelsea are located in a small zone near the Hudson River where shipping containers used to get stored. It still feels like a secret location—an isolated art bubble that is somehow being protected from the neighborhood’s gentrification process.  With more residential spaces and tourist destinations surrounding it (like Chelsea Market, The High Line, etc.), Chelsea still maintains a good balance of the native New York scene and a tourist-friendly environment.

Considered to be the most updated center for main discourses in the international art world, expressing a wide range of innovative ideas and outstanding techniques, Chelsea is currently home to more than 350 galleries, institutions and independent art projects. It has some of the most important art galleries today, representing the most acclaimed artists from around the world.

When looking at Chelsea, one will see how it has evolved and still remains a hip and fun location. Most importantly, Chelsea is definitely the place to be to engage with the contemporary world of art!

- by Maya Yadid

The Roman Contemporary Art scene

The Roman Contemporary Art scene

With its priceless ancient attractions, Rome boasts the best sightseeing in the world. Despite its worldwide fame as the ‘Eternal City’, Rome surprisingly hides a vivid contemporary art scene. 

Institutional art finds place in two of the most important contemporary art museums in Italy: the MAXXI (Museum of XXIst Century Art) and the MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome). Since the beginning, with it’s futuristic architecture designed by Zaha Hadid, the Maxxi stunned Rome’s citizens—and it still does—with consistently new and controversial exhibitions, giving space to international artists in dialogue with the permanent collection of Italian artists. 

The MAXXI by Zaha Hadid

The MAXXI by Zaha Hadid

The MACRO is currently reinstating itself, after a recent inexplicable crisis. It’s new 2017 season just opened with a great Anish Kapoor exhibition that will surely be an inspiration for the young artists in residence who have won the Macro’s annual residency prize.

Anish Kapoor at MACRO

Anish Kapoor at MACRO

Meanwhile, contemporary art galleries in Rome are doing a pretty interesting job, bringing famous international names to town in addition to displaying the work of young Italian artists. Apart from the glamorous Gagosian gallery, which is a brand itself, Lorcan O’Neill is the next great guarantee in the Rome art scene.

Adriana Varejao at Gagosian Gallery Rome

Adriana Varejao at Gagosian Gallery Rome

A brand new underground culture is finally offering an alternative scene that seems to be more and more appraised in the city. New galleries run by young directors fit very well into this, spreading throughout Rome’s industrial districts. Roman street art also has a good reputation because it’s gradually changing the landscape of Rome’s grey suburbs into a colorful and diverse art scene. 

Rome doesn’t have an art district, but it does have a district of artists’ studios. The so-called Pastificio Cerere in the San Lorenzo neighborhood is a dynamic place where art lovers can easily meet artists while they are working in their studios—a fascinating experience which is not easy to get anywhere!

- by Valentina Di Pietro

Haifa City- the Florence of Israeli Street Art

Haifa City- the Florence of Israeli Street Art

Haifa is a multi-cultural city of social involvement with strong community ties that are reflected in the street art community as well. In the early 2000's, groups like "Pyramida" and "Block – Art in the Street", emerged in Haifa and created art in the streets that dealt with the urban features of the city.

Block Group started some very important processes that are present in Haifa until today—those of high quality and very developed urban art projects, involving artists in the community and emphasising  bi-nationality. For example, different signs in Haifa's urban landscape are usually written in Arabic as well as Hebrew and English. That is true also regarding texts that make up the vibrant, diversified and complex urban art scene in Haifa, where whole graffiti pieces, tags, street poems and other types of texts in street art pieces can often be found in Arabic.

Broken Fingaz Crew

Haifa can be thought of as the “Florence of Israeli Street Art" in a way. It populates several artistic geniuses, such as the very recognized Broken Fingaz crew, individual artists like Keos, Crash, Tipa Graphic and many others that are living and working in the same place at the same time, making enormous artistic and cultural contributions—much like the Renaissance artists of 16th century Florence in Italy. During the past few years, Haifa also became an important center for original Israeli hip-hop and rap music.

Kartel 

An ideal way to get to know Haifa's cultural and artistic DNA, is through an Alternative Tel Aviv graffiti and street art tour in downtown Haifa which focuses on the leading artists, graffiti writers and crews that make up the unique urban art scene in the city. Tours deal with independent and free art in the streets of Haifa and are finished with a visit to the Kartel compound—Israel's no. 1 urban art attraction, a huge abandoned building covered with amazing graffiti and street art by leading Israeli and International street artists.

- by Yael Shapira

Introducing the Avant-Garde Institute, Warsaw

Introducing the Avant-Garde Institute, Warsaw

The Institute of Avant-Garde is an extraordinary gallery at the site of the studio of late Polish artist Edward Krasiński. It is preserved exactly in the same state as it was left in 2004, after the artist’s death. Edward Krasiński was one of the most important protagonists of the Polish neo-avant-garde from the 1960s and '70s. 

The main feature of his studio is blue Scotch tape, which he stuck horizontally at the height of 130 centimetres, “everywhere and on everything”.

 “I don’t know whether this is art”, he commented, “but it’s certainly scotch blue, width 19 mm, length unknown”. Krasinski’s works are currently showing at the Tate Liverpool until March 2017, where his blue Scotch is juxtaposed with the Yves Klein exhibition.

Edward Krasiński in his studio

Edward Krasiński in his studio

The studio is placed on the eleventh floor amongst a block of flats in Warsaw’s city center. From 1970 Krasiński shared the atelier with Henryk Stażewski, another well-known avant-garde and constructivist artist.The studio is open to the public but because of the unusual conservation restrictions, groups have to be small and must be booked in advance.

The terrace pavilion which was newly attached to the studio houses all kinds of exhibitions, lectures, workshops and academic sessions—forming a broad context for the tradition created by Stażewski and Krasiński. The confrontation of Krasiński’s ephemeral works with new exhibitions and critical reflection makes the Avant-Garde Institute a unique experiment in contemporary museum practice.

- by Zuzanna Zasacka

Taryn Simon "Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Tel Aviv Museum

Taryn Simon "Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Tel Aviv Museum

When entering “Paperwork and the Will of Capital”, Taryn Simon’s first solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, visitors might become seduced by the 16 large colorful prints representing floral centerpieces. It therefore might be surprising that one of the starting points for the show was a picture of Mussolini and Hitler from 1938 signing the Munich agreement and separated by a floral centerpiece. The second inspiration was 17th century Dutch still life painting and the notion of the “impossible bouquet”, where artists were aiming to represent flowers together that could not grow naturally in the same geographical place.

The flowers represented in the show were present at different international conferences, where world leaders signed treaties, decrees and accords—many of which revealed themselves not long after as false promises. The prints, framed with heavy mahogany wood reminiscent of boardroom furniture, are accompanied by an explanatory text about the agreement which was signed in their presence. 

Simon imported 4000 specimens from Holland’s biggest flower auction and worked with a botanist to identify the types of flowers.  In the center of the space, Simon placed five sculptural elements, pedestals that contain the same flowers used for the prints, which Simon had dried and sewn on archival herbarium paper.  

Visitors to the show might wonder why Simon chose these floral arrangements as the center of her exhibition. The flowers act like silent witnesses to lost promises. Like many of her previous research-based projects, here, Simon tackles questions surrounding international politics, economics, the notion of the archive, memory and time.

Until January 28th, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

- by Sarah Peguine

Interview: in conversation with London-based artist Scarlett Bowman

Interview: in conversation with London-based artist Scarlett Bowman

Scarlett Bowman’s work addresses material culture and modern craft. Her approach is directed through craft and industry where she takes mundane, everyday materials and re- contextualises them to remove their intended use, instead creating a new, tactile and aesthetic appeal. London Art Insider, Marine Tanguy sat down with the artist to discuss her practice. 

Marine Tanguy: Your works rethink our consumer's habits and very much what materials we use on a daily basis, why such an obsession? 
Scarlett Bowman: Medium has always been at the core of what I do. The readymade has always carried so much in terms of weight and meaning – hence why much of the materials I use can be purchased from my local supermarket as opposed to my local art shop.
I feel like I can only express my concerns and anxieties through materials. Their once utilitarian value gives way to a more symbolic value, inviting us to think about the complex process involved in taking a raw material to its final form. To think about abundance, banality, process, labour, dependency, industrialisation, consumption, fetishism.


 
MT: How do you choose the materials you use to create new body of works? 
SB: I always try to create a dialogue within a new work. I incorporate old and new materials, recycling them into works and thus incorporating the notion of prolific production that underlies modern life. Much of what I acquire I find or come across unintentionally. I prefer this as it provides less of a choice - I feel that, in the face of unlimited choice, certain boundaries are important to implement, else you can drive yourself mad. It’s sort of like an unconscious scavenging… I’m a serial hoarder so I am constantly collecting materials, and then I start the editing process when I feel I have enough.

MT: Do your works take inspiration from specific writings? 
SB: Very much so - they change all the time. Currently; ‘Plasticity: An Art History of the Mutable’ by Dieter Rubel, ‘Reading Things: The Alibi of Use’ by Niel Cummings, ‘Materials against Materiality’ by Tim Ingold, ‘Thinking Through Craft’ by Glenn Adamson, and always ‘I, Pencil’ by Leonard Read.

MT: How far will your experimentation take you?
SB: In so much as taking my practice further, experimenting is vital. More so in terms of expanding my material use down directed trajectories, ones specific to particular industries, cultures and countries. I have an upcoming residency in Senegal that will involve a very different approach to acquiring materials, and consequently a very different aesthetic. It will be interesting to take the same concerns and approaches to a drastically different community, where resources and materials are extremely limited and harder to obtain. 

Weirdest artistic hub ever

Weirdest artistic hub ever

The Central bus station TLV, a place where I give art tours and also just hang out and explore, is probably one of the strangest places in the city. You won’t believe what’s going on in this weird place. Amongst the various shops, marginal hangouts and underground activity, this amazing and strange bus station became a hub for contemporary art. Artists studios, art theaters, performance school and even institutionalized street art are all to find in this special venue. 

The Central bus station’s story begins in 1963 with the initiative of construction contractor Arie Piltz. Piltz imagined a new modern building that will not only replace the exciting old bus station of TLV but will also be a huge mall. His vision was that 1 million people will pass in the station each day! That was outrageous since at that time Israel had only 3 million citizens living in it. But he managed to recruit not only the money but also Ram Karmi which was the most important Israeli architect at the time. Together they planned a modern labyrinth made to make people wonder in the six floors of the station/ shopping mall.

Pic: Alon Arshov

The construction began in 1967 but soon after it went through budgetary problems, making the owners sell 750 out of 1,500 stores built in the center. That brought up even more problems trying to make common decisions with all of them. Besides that citizens of the south TLV neighborhood started to protest against the enormous building being raised in their back yard. Construction stopped for six years and eventually it took almost 30 years for the bus station to be open for the public. It was a major disaster from day one. Nobody needed such a big shopping mall and so many buses. Many of the stores never opened and two of the six floors are deserted until this very day. 

Such a strange place this is, mysterious and leading to disorientation, hosting various little shops and oriental restaurants. But it’s also full of color and a great inspiration for the art growing amidst it. Such inspiration took the “Mystorin Theater group”, specializing in site specific performance. They created “Seven” – a show running in all the floors of the station (even the deserted ones). It is a non-verbal show inspired by the seven deadly sins as portrayed in Dante's poem The Divine Comedy. The audience is led by the actors as they dance and sing with the central bus station as their décor.

"Seven"- pic: Oz Madar

Today at the station you can also find about two dozens of artists studios and a main gallery for contemporary art. There is also a Yiddish museum and library in which shows and lectures take place. A school for performance art and a second, more traditional theater portraying even Shakespeare’s writings.  On the 7th floor (yes there are seven floors today… it’s a long story), you will find the biggest indoors exhibition of street art in Israel. It began in 2013 with about a hundred street artists that were invited to decorate the walls. But since then it grew and today the whole floor is filled with beautiful murals with different and exciting styles. 

Street art on the station's 7th floor- pic: Mati Ale

There is much more to say about the central bus station and the art within it, but it is better to go and explore for yourselves. Or join my tour  Each visit is mysterious and full of surprises.

- by Shani Werner