It is quite something to be able to celebrate five decades of work by a living artist, but that is exactly what the Lisson Gallery will be doing at Frieze Masters with a solo booth showcasing brightly colored, minimalist paintings of Carmen Herrera who is 100 years old this year.
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.
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.
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.
We live in a time of excess, there seems to be too much of anything that becomes remotely popular and in fashion. Just like with art spaces. From established big leagues such as the Tate or Gagosian, to the ones taking first steps, London art scene is buzzing with energy and talent. Here we recommend 5 art spaces that you may have overlooked unknowingly:
Jonathan Viner Jonathan Viner is a contemporary art gallery project based in London, with no fixed abode and with an extremely busy schedule of international shows. Tasked to create a visual identity that would apply to print, site specific and digital collateral, they aim to create a rigorous, manageable and elegant system for each show, explicitly connecting the name of the proprietor, his current activity and the location.
Laura Bartlett Gallery Based in Bethnall Green in London’s east, Laura Bartlett’s contemporary space was among the first to champion the rising art star Cyprien Gaillard. The gallery is now getting ready for their upcoming show with the Canadian artist Allison Katz, due to open on 28th of September.
Cell Project Space This gallery operates outside the international, commercial world of art fairs. It is non-commercial and has been designing and creating artists’ workspace in East London for over ten years. As such, it’s a creative hub for the surrounding area and the community, promoting, championing and creating opportunities for collaboration and creative cross-fertilization at every turn. Art is available to buy, but all sales go towards commissioning and exhibition costs. Their new exhibition, Rachel Reupke, ‘Wine & Spirits’ opens tomorrow evening.
Carl Kostyál An exhibition space with twin locations in both Stockholm and London, Carl Kostyál is located on the famous Savile Row of London. Carl is also an avid art collector, and his interest in different media and discovering young talent is reflected in his exhibition programme. In addition to his interest in Scandinavian artists, such as Matias Faldbakken, he also supports young names like Helen Marten and Oscar Murillo, who has just been picked up by David Zwirner.
Project Native Informant Ensconced away in Mayfair’s Brooks Mews, walk past it and you could miss it. However, Project Native Informant is one of the foremost exhibition spaces in London. The current exhibition is of Loretta Fahrenholz, with her video “Ditch Plains” that was shot in Brooklyn around the time of Hurricane Sandy, and free-styles an abstract narrative about the fatal coupling of subjects and systems in a time of permanent crisis.
Tired of seeing all similar art works, themes and names? If you are looking for a different flavor in the arts, why not stop by London’s Riflemaker for a very interesting show straight from Haiti!
There has been much focus on Haitian art recently, with Nottingham Contemporary staging the first comprehensive survey of Haitian art in the UK, and with Haitian vodou flags included in the group show curated by the celebrated American artist Cindy Sherman as part of the Venice Biennale this year. In the previous edition of the Venice Biennale, the Republic of Haiti made their first presentation with works from three artists who are part of Atis-Rezistans, the artistic collective from the Grand Rue neighborhood.
Haiti is especially known for the art of its urban and rural poor and the show at Riflemaker brings together sculptors from Haiti’s Grand Rue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince: Celeur Jean Herard and Andre Eugene, presented with Haitian Vodou flags by Silva Joseph and Edgard Jean Louis who are both Vodou priests. These flags are in fact ritual ‘drapos’ originally made for ceremonial use but now part of Haitian contemporary art. Their bright colors make a great contrast with the haunting works of the Grand Rue sculptors, which are made out of ready-made and recycled materials with references to Vadou that evoke a cyberpunk sci-fi vision.
“Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou” at Nottingham Contemporary that just closed in January of this year, was a big show including works from different media -- 200 works of 40 artists from the 1940s to the present day. It was able to display these artists’ vivid creativity, especially powerful in works inspired by Vodou - the religion which has been a central part of people's lives since Haiti became the world's first black republic in 1804. Speaking of the exhibition Alex Farquharson, director of Nottingham Contemporary says:
“Haitian art is often shown in a folk art context, which is unfair. If I didn't feel that this work stood up to a lot of work that I think is most interesting in contemporary art then I really wouldn't be showing it here.”
There is still time to go and see the show at Riflemaker, which closes end of the month, and make your own mind if you think Haitian art is as interesting!
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