London has two great Old Master exhibitions closing this week, the Moroni exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Rembrandt late works at the National Gallery. With Moroni we have the great portraitist of the Renaissance anticipating the realistic style of Caravaggio and later Manet; and Rembrandt, the undisputed star of the 17th century Dutch art scene.
There has been a frenzy of cultural activities in London this past few weeks with Fashion Week, BAFTA and Brit Awards making the city a buzzing hot spot for creative industries. But my eyes stay focused on art and after being away for several weeks, I am ready to catch up with the exhibitions in London.
Launched last week on 8th of February, the team behind the new web sensation of art world, SellYouLater.com is already getting threats "from individuals who believe our quantitative forecasting is an unfair market force," as they admit in a recent interview.
The Polish artist Pawel Althamer’s celebrated work at last year’s Venice Biennale made its US debut at the New Museum this past week. Althamer’s cast of Venetian citizens; bankers, shopkeepers, immigrant workers, whom he met on the city’s streets, were turned into haunting zombie-like figures and 90 of them all!
We are used to seeing Jean-Michel Basquiat's name associated with auction records and top prices, but an exhibition that just opened in New York offers a great opportunity to see the artist in a more private intimate setting.
The Suzanne Geiss Company put on display a selection of rare black&white nude photographs taken of the artist by his then girlfriend Paige Powell in the 80s. Together with Pink Martini musician Thomas Lauderdale, Powell have began sorting through her extensive photography archive that chronicled her life in the midst of the 1980s art scene in New York as an inner member of Andy Warhol's Factory crowd. The result is this first exhibition focusing on Basquiat, and the 2-year relationship with Powell, where we see the artist in a series of nude portraits taken by Powell in her apartment. In these natural poses, Basquiat looks pretty relaxed, drawing, smoking, and watching cartoons. It is wonderful to witness Basquiat on a more personal level, who died when he was only 27 from a drug overdose in 1988. The exhibition is on view until 22nd of February 2014.
Tonight is the opening of the Turkish-born artist Canan Tolon's first major London show at Parasol Unit. Dividing her time between San Francisco and Istanbul, Tolon's work is based on and deals with space, time, gravity, and chance interactions between disparate materials. She had an early interest in the marks left by the processes of growth and transformation over time which led to her using unusual techniques such as applying coffee grounds, letting grass grow on a canvas, or allowing rust to occur naturally and mix with pigment in her paintings. This exhibition also coincides with the British Museum's recent acquisition of a set of Tolon's drawings, Futur imparfait, 1986–1999, a series of 33 ink-wash and crayon figurative drawings. Since 2009, the British Museum has an active acquisitions committee for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East since 1980s, CaMMEA. This patrons group has joined forces with the Turkish SAHA Association that provides funding to projects and museum acquisitions which contribute to the presence and visibility of contemporary art from Turkey. There is a good educational program alongside the show as well with talks, poetry and concerts. Spanning over Tolon's career from the 1980s until present day, this show promises to be an interesting one to visit. It is on view until 16th of March 2014.
http://vimeo.com/77221402 It is officially November and time for the special Mike Kelley screenings in London! Organized by Artangel and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, and coinciding with the major survey of Mike Kelley's work at MoMA PS1, the Mobile Homestead videos will be screened at independent cinemas across the city 2nd-18th November. Mobile Homestead was the final work made by the great American artist Mike Kelley before his untimely death in 2012. The project involved Kelley building an exact replica of his childhood home, a 1950s suburban house in the Detroit suburb of Westland, with a special detachable façade that could be mounted on a chassis and driven around like a conventional mobile home. Check out the full program and more information on Artangel website.
One of the best shows currently on in London, Hurvin Anderson at Thomas Dane presents only new works. The Jamaican descent British artist is known for his large interiors and landscapes that bear marks of his life: makeshift barbershops, public parks, gardens and swimming pools all evoke memories, adopting visual languages of both England and Jamaica. Some of the paintings on view at Thomas Dane reminds us of the same spacial construction of his Peter's Series (2007-9) depicting make shift barbershops set at home, a popular trend amongst newly arrived Caribbean immigrants in 1950s. Other works on view are landscapes, hinting at lonely journeys and solitary. Still, these are not dark, gloomy paintings but have vivid brushwork and dynamic palette. Our favorite show that opened during Frieze so far, but we still haven't made it to Gagosian for "The Show is Over" and to Sprueth Magers for Cyprien Gaillard/Morris Louis that we heard good news. And not to forget the Mark Bradford show at White Cube, which we are curious about. So many exhibitions are opening this week, it is overwhelming.