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.
This portrait of a man by Jean-Baptiste Greuze fetched 620,000 Euro at auction this week - what an incredible price for a work by this French romantic painter of the 18th century. The auction house Rieunier & Associes in Paris put an estimate of 120,000 - 150,000 Euro.
While in Maastricht for TEFAF, we took a day trip to the historical Belgian town of Leuven and blown away by the architecture we saw there. The university library, which was destroyed in August 1914 and restored in Flemish Renaissance style by the Americans as a gift to the city, the town hall and the St.Peter's Church are all amazingly impressive.
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.
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!
If you remember, MoMA had a big expansion just back in 2002 which had the museum move to Queens temporarily until it was re-opened to the public in September 2004. There were critics of that expansion too and the Guardian's Michael Wolf tells you why he thinks "...it is really too late for MoMA. The damage is done. Glenn D Lowry is the villain of the piece" because "The intimate, jewel-like space has become a standard-issue institutional structure, more suited to a corporate headquarters in Los Angeles or Dallas." Read the rest of his article here.
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.
A recent show was "Symbols and geometry in Piero della Francesca: A reading of Chiara Dynys" which gave focus to Francesca's "St. Nicholas of Tolentino." This Renaissance work represents the saint in hieratic position that raises the index upwards in the direction of the stars and the sky which inspired the contemporary artist Chiara Dynys to create a dialogue between ancient and modern alchemy, particularly because Francesca was a mathematician as well as a painter. So next time in Milan, remember to make a stop at this little gem.
We are all getting used to the Peckham art kids appearing everywhere we go these days! Hannah Barry and her team created the wonderful Palazzo Peckham in Venice this year and now this evening Peckham force is taking over the Victoria & Albert Museum for the second part of a four-part series of Friday Lates at the museum (first one was Dalston Takeover in June). For these special free admission nights, the museum invites London's creative communities to take over the museum for an evening, presenting a range of music, art, design, architecture and more. Here is what you can expect from this evening, but be warned the list is long!
MUSIC & PERFORMANCE
Al Dobson Jr
Grand Entrance 18.30 – 22.00 Join Al Dobson Jr as he spins a selection of soul, African, highlife, jazz, funk, and reggae, as well as performing a percussion ensemble in between sets. Listen out for Al’s own productions as well as music from his extended family in Peckham.
John Madejski Garden 19.15 – 21.30 Rhythm Section is a twice monthly Peckham-based community; a friendly place to dance your troubles away, all night long. It advocates simplicity at its heart; vinyl only, no set times, no photos and no nonsense. Founder, DJ, host and programmer Bradley Zero brings his records to the Museum, capturing the Rhythm Section ethos and spirit.
Fashion, Room 40 18.30 – 21.30 Tune in to a live set by Peckham’s hot young under 25s DJs. Reprezent 107.3FM broadcasts across the capital to young Londoners and across the world online. Featuring DJ Neptizzle amongst others, join them as they bring their unique line up of house and afrobeat to the Museum.
Lucy and Jim are alone. To the world they seem to be OK: They have jobs, friends, and ambitions (well sort of). However, their chance meeting on the number 12 night bus in Peckham spirals them into a world of love, pain and (mis)communication. To celebrate their forthcoming production of City Love by Simon Vinnicombe at the Bussey Building, Peckham-based theatre company The Orange Line Collective presents an extract from the play in pop up locations around the Museum.
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50a 18.30 – 21.30 Peckham-based illustration collective Day Job take over an area of the Museum, inspired by their home turf of Rye Lane. Experience the buzz of a bustling and multicultural high street through a playful installation, juxtaposed with the elegance of V&A sculptures. Alternatively, exchange a drawing or object for some Bank of Day Job Peckham Pounds (Pecks) at a value negotiated by a pawnbroker. Watch them displayed over the course of the evening in Day Job’s Pawnshop window.
Hannah Barry Gallery
John Madejski Garden 18.30 – 21.30 A staple of Peckham’s burgeoning reputation as a hub for contemporary art, Hannah Barry Gallery brings the work of three South London-based artists to the Museum. Collectively, these three demonstrate the variety of approaches to art-making embraced by the Peckham movement.
- Tom Barnett performs as Colden Drystone: uniformed in a future-age suit created by Lee Roach, his performance incorporates the recital of poetry and found texts, Dada-esque sound pieces of the artist’s own composition and patterns of repetition and feedback.
- James Capper designs and builds functional sculptures that mark the environments in which they are deployed. Incorporating the strategies and techniques of mechanical engineering, Capper’s work describes a physical relationship to the place in which it is stationed.
- James Balmforth presents a beautiful short film exploring his preoccupation with the fragility of objects and symbols, a concern he also pursues in his sculptural practice.
The Bussey Quarter
Sackler Centre Reception 18.30 – 21.30 Get involved in The Bussey Quarter, a cross-disciplinary collaboration presented by Lou-Atessa Marcellin gathering a selection of creative practices together from the Bussey Building in Peckham. Engage and interpret the notion of portraiture, through literature, set design, photography and locally crafted music by DJ Tristram Bolletti.
- Doost Studio run by Lou-Atessa Marcellin, will present a pop-up photo-booth with a cardboard throne designed by Sarah Medvedowsky, emphasizing the visual and spatial identity framing the sitter.
- Lucie Beauvert and Paol Kemp (LBPK) create a unique atmosphere interlacing the context of the V&A and the practices within the Bussey Building.
- Library of Independent Exchange (L.I.E.) run by Christopher Green and Mark James, will display individual collections of books that reflect readings by local artists throughout the evening.
Sackler Centre (1st Floor) 18.30 – 21.30 Peckham Springs is an art gallery and bar situated in two railway arches beneath Peckham Rye Station. The gallery programme features a range of exhibitions, film screenings and live art events by exciting new artists, alongside a bar which serves a range of carefully crafted cocktails. Peckham Springs invite you to experience a typical evening at their space with a selection of work from past and future shows at the gallery and a Peckham Spring Water cocktail in hand.
Grand Entrance 18.30 – 22.00 Take in photographer David Spero’s quiet and contemplative photos of unassuming churches in often surprising locations – revealing the lesser known and invisible structures, lifestyles and architecture of Peckham.
Rye Lane Khanga, Gele and Aso Oke
Fashion, Room 40 18.30 – 21.30 A collaboration between South-London design label Chichia and Rye Lane Market dress shop, Pachito: Chichia London College of Fashion graduate and Chichia designer Christine Mhando showcases pieces from her upcoming collection, fusing East African Tanzanian Khanga with contemporary stylings. Pachito Self taught African dress maker Patricia demonstrates a range of African head wraps, including the iconic Nigerian Gele, Aso Oke and Ghanaian styles, using bespoke Chichia fabrics.
Peckham Rising Revisited
Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre 18.30 – 21.30 This installation revisits the exhibition Peckham Rising, curated by urbanist and curator Paul Goodwin at the Sassoon Gallery in Peckham in 2007. Experience a temporary space of contemplation exploring black urbanism and the other side of Peckham through a critical assemblage of street photography, sound and text. Featuring the works of Daniele Tamagni and Thabo Jayesimi and Janine Lai.
John Madejski Garden 18.30 – 21.30 Join Peckham-based creative collective Garudio Studiage in a duo of workshops:
The Lucky Skip: A Very Peckham Lucky Dip
Rummage through the delights of a very Peckham lucky dip, through a handmade skip, with a chance to win a dizzying selection of prizes. All prizes are handmade or hand selected by Garudio Studiage, wrapped in hand screen-printed wrapping paper.
Nation of Shopkeepers
Create your own fantasy shop for Peckham’s Rye Lane. Using pens, pencils and crayons, customise blank line drawings of every shop on the street, which took over 500 man-hours to draw. Watch the street grow as the evening goes on, and take part in re-imagining this diverse and changing London neighbourhood.
Peckham Space – Peace Blanket!
Sackler Centre Reception 18.30 – 21.30 Peckham Space presents the interactive artwork Peace Blanket, created by Camberwell College of Arts graduate Mhairi Macaulay and over 700 participating residents from Peckham and beyond. In August 2012, Peckham Space invited visitors to stitch a square for peace to celebrate the wall of post-it note messages for Peckham which grew on Rye Lane in response to the riots of 2011. Take a look at the original sayings on the Peace Blanket and contribute your own through the course of the evening.
Peckham Print Studio
Sackler Centre Art Studio 18.30 – 21.30 Installing a series of custom built screen printing units, Peckham Print Studio will transform the V&A Art Studio into their own working studio. Pull your own print and engage with the process from start to finish. The studio will also be joined by a selection of artists and illustrators who will produce a series of custom works to be printed at the event.
Lunchroom 1, Sackler Centre 18.30 – 21.30 Firmly rooted in the border between Peckham and Camberwell, Camberwell College of Art has built up a formidable reputation within the area. Enroll as a fresher, learn how to illustrate with current Camberwell BA Illustration students, hang your final work in your degree show and see what grade you get. Don’t forget to top off your newly acquired degree with a photo in your graduation robes.
TALKS & FILM
Prints & Drawings Study Room (Accessed via the Sackler Centre) 19.30 – 20.15 Inspired by Tom Phillips’ Map Walks Nos. 1 and 2 which focus on the artist’s relationship with the Peckham and Camberwell area, V&A Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings Gill Saunders walks us through the enthralling world of the artist map. Take an intimate look at specially selected maps in the Museum’s collection.
Peckham Past and Present
Seminar Room 1 19.30 – 20.30 Listen to local resident, architect and Peckham Vision conservation specialist Benny O’Looney in conversation with Ben Eastham (Hannah Barry Gallery/The White Review) and Biz K, editor of The Peckham Complex: A Cultural and Social Snapshot of Inner London, as they discuss the area’s cultural scene, architecture and social history.
Seminar Room 2, Sackler Centre 20.40 – 21.25 Join local resident and co-ordinator of community group Peckham Vision Eileen Conn as she chairs a Peckham Vision community meeting, starting with a visual tour of Peckham’s diverse parallel communities and economies. Get involved in a lively discussion about wider issues of connections, integration and realising the potential of our town centres.
Aesthetica Magazine Presents
Hochhauser Auditorium 19.00 & 20.00 (50 minutes) Aesthetica presents a screening of films from Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) 2012, providing a wider context to Peckham as an area. Paper Mountains shows a young girl’s love of ballet in the midst of a hard and difficult life but also presents her aspirations for the future. Notes from the Underground is a portrait of life on the tube, whilst the remaining films question morality and depict the hardships of addiction. The reel aims to capture vignettes of everyday life, offering a glimpse into the lives of others.
Hendzel and Hunt’s Peckham Yacht Club
National Art Library 20.30 – 21.15 Join Peckham-based design studio Hendzel and Hunt as they present their latest project, L’Abeille Noir des Porquerolles. Specialising in working with reclaimed wood, they joined forces with landscape architects Elinor Scarth and Etienne Haller. The group embarked on a three week adventure in the south of France where they built and sailed a seven meter long boat entirely made from scavenged materials.
Peckham Social Archives
Sculpture, Room 21a 18.30 – 21.45 Explore the local entrepreneurs of Peckham’s diverse community, first screened at Peckhamplex as part of Chelsea College of Art and Design’s Consume Peckham event. Chaz Hairdressers by Tom Brushwood, Didi Blackhurst and Shraddha Depala, follows George the owner as he reflects on the history of his shop in Peckham. Born and Bread by Jack Haslehurst, Isabel Gibson and Joe Myers, is a day in the life of a wholesale bakery in Peckham.