Organised every 5 years, the British Art Show is one of England’s most influential and ambitious survey exhibitions on the national contemporary art scene. Oddly enough it didn’t tour to the capital in the past 21 years so, when it was announced that the Hayward Gallery would host this new edition – already being hailed as the most splendid and successful one so far–, Londoners were pleasantly surprised.
After its debut at Nottingham Contemporary, the BAS7 arrived to London last week and off we went to assess with our very own eyes and ears if all the big words were deserved. And, truth be told, it is an extraordinary show. The 39-artist roster offers several known names like Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans or Christian Marclay (who shows again his wonderful 24-hour video opus ‘The Clock’ after its huge success at White Cube gallery last autumn). Younger artist that have been harvesting shows in important institutions and galleries in the past couple of years are also featured here with outstanding works. The ones we were particularly interested in were Nathaniel Mellors, Duncan Campbell, Luke Fowler, Emily Wardill and Elizabeth Price. All of them work within the expanded field of moving image but their practices differ notably and thus become a clear token of the varied artistic landscape England currently offers: from the critical satire of Mellors to the understated exploration of image, sound and space of Luke Fowler or the intriguing subjective documentaries of Campbell.
The two main surprises for this humble writer came from two female painters: Milena Dragicevic and Phoebe Unwin, very different in pictorial approaches and techniques but both very moving with an extraordinary use of colour. These artists and Michel Fullerton are the living proofs that painting is not just the easiest medium to sell in a gallery but still an incredibly exciting and poignant endeavour both as an artist and a viewer.
Artists like the fantastic David Noonan, Haroon Mirza or Roger Hiorns (who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009) are also present and displaying the talents that have got them where they are today. But name dropping doesn’t do justice to this unpretentious and ambitious show that achieves all it is meant to do without any boring or sensationalistic stuff. And that is saying a lot.
Until the 17th the of April at the Hayward Gallery.
On the Saturday 22nd of January at 8pm all eyes were set on a very particular website: the very first online art fair. Baptised VIP (which stands for Viewing In Private) it offers –or so it claims– all the perks of visiting high profile brick-and-mortars fairs such as Frieze or Art Basel – namely, accessing first class works by first class artists represented by first class galleries– without any of the pressure or inquisitive looks of fellow collectors or intimidating super sleek dealers. Are we witnessing the birth of the new model of art fair, soon to efface its ‘earthy’ competitors?
With a less than impressive beginning (the site was down or with severe technical problems during most of the two first days) the fair managed to overcome such faux pas and by last Monday it was up and running more or less properly. The integrated chat systems had to be disabled, though, due to the stress it was producing on the unprepared server of the site.
The chat was, quite worryingly, the key interactive feature of this experimental venture, the only direct way to access the people behind the virtual interface: the dealers. Telephone and skype calls and emails were subsequently encouraged to prospective buyers to contact galleries and proceed with questions and purchases. With regular Facebook and Twitter updates, half the time in apologetical tone, the VIP team has braved the storm with the best attitude possible and, truth be told, the fair has created quite a stir in both the online and art communities. After all, if they site crashed during the launch it was due to the huge volume of visits, and everyone in the art world seems to be talking about it, whether to praise or criticise it.
But tech failures and controversies aside,what are the strongest and weakest points of VIP Art Fair?
- The selection of 135 galleries is definitely first class. With heavy weight galleries like Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, White Cube, Barbara Gladstone or Emmanuel Perrotin on the Premier Large section (to name but few) and exciting younger galleries like Pilar Corrias, Johann König, Herald St. o Labor in the Emerging section, the public is sure to find a brilliant selection of works, covering every essential artist in the contemporary art market.
-The virtual booths in the fair are priced from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the amount of works in display (from 8 works up to 20), the cost of participating is substantially smaller that a regular, brick and mortar fair (roughly a fifth of the price). To that one has to add that for this venture the galleries do not incur on shipping costs, and shipping the works from one country to another or to one one continent to another is usually where the galleries spend more money.
- Showing the works just virtually, via pictures and/or videos, allows galleries to show huge and complex installations and pieces that can’t usually be transported and installed at a real fair due to logistics.
- The video works are streamed, so the viewer can see them whenever is more convenient for him/her without any rush. And most galleries have added background information about the works and artists so, with a total of 2250 works on display the fair also becomes an exciting database for research for both collectors and art lovers alike.
- You can buy art in your pyjamas and devote all the time you would have to spend deciding what to wear and air kissing to find great works and learning more about them.
-No virtual experience can compare with actually experiencing the art in the flesh. It applies to every medium, but specially to painting, sculpture and immersive installations. How can a viewer grasp all the nuances on a laptop screen? Having said that, serious art collectors and buyers are nowadays very used to buy works they have only seen on the internet or by images sent by galleries by phone, and online rooms for auctions are by now a permanent fixture within the art market.
- At the end of the day, the adrenalin of a real art fair, all the gazing around, gossiping and air kissing is what makes seeing and buying art exciting and fun. And a good dealer will always make a better sale in person, also showing directly other available works or artists. Or maybe not? We are curious to see the results and reports after the fair finishes.
The VIP Art Fair is live online until Sunday the 30th of January.
This week we visited the 23rd edition of the London Art Fair, UK’s largest Modern British and contemporary art fair. The 2011 edition opened last Wednesday and it finishes on Sunday, so any Londoner that might be interested still has a couple of days left to go to the Islington Business Design Centre and enjoy the selection of 124 galleries gathered under its roof.
Even though its highlights are mostly related to British Modern Art –rather than the cutting edge and more risqué works that populate Frieze– the London Art Fair does offer quite a few pleasant surprises for the followers and budding collectors of contemporary art and multiples.
From the main section, we were particularly pleased with Danielle Arnaud‘s stand. Danielle, who happens to be one the curators on the Rise Art board of experts, presented a selection of works by five of her artists: Katie Deith, Karin Kilhberg & Reuben Henry and Tessa Farmer, whose delicate and gothic miniature sculptures of insects transported us to fantastic and slightly macabre fairy tale lands.
We were really intrigued by the oil paintings of the artist David Price, that we saw in the stand of Art First gallery. Price completed his MA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 2009 and then was seleted to take part in that year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries. To tackle his drawings and paintings he draws inspiration from classical subjects and other motives borrowed from the history of art, but he reworks this material in such a humorous and yet poignant manner he left us wanting to see more.
Art Projects, the ‘edgier’ section, brings together 30 international projects, curated by the art journalist and curator Pryle Behrman. Here we found a mix of young commercial galleries like NETTIE HORN or Monika Bobinska and essential not-for-profit spaces like Chisenhale gallery, Studio Voltaire or even Whitechapel Gallery, whose stands were devoted to the sale of their limited edition programmes.
It was very refreshing to see the stand of the Florence Trust, where Rise Art artist Andy Wicks is currently doing a residence and expanding his studio practice. And, also part of the Art Projects section, we were delighted to see the work of another of our artists, Chris Shaw Hughes, who has series of original drawings on display at the stand of ROOM London . Chris’ extraordinarily precise architectural drawings revolve around the idea of ‘places of trauma’ and it has been a pleasure to see both his work and reputation grow exponetially over the last year. Actually, also until this Sunday you can see his works at the ICA, in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2010 exhibition. A highly recommended show.
Since the beginning of photography, women have made significant contributions to the medium of photography; below, Rise Art introduces five of these remarkable women, whose work has had an impact on today’s artists.
Lucy Schwob, who later took on the name Claude Cahun as hommage to her great-uncle, was a French artist, encompassing theater, writing and photography. Although she considered herself mainly a quick-change artist, she was an outstanding photographer. With her androgynous name, look and joy in re-inventing herself, she captured gender issues and played with both, gender and sexuality. Her self-portrayed and self-exposing work strongly influenced later generations of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle or Nan Goldin.
Aged 16, Italian-born model, actress and later photographer Assunta Modotti joined her father in San Francisco. Moving to Los Angeles, she met Edward Weston, who – it is said – taught her photography as a means of documentation and fine art. Together with Weston, Modotti moved to Mexico in 1922, where they quickly integrated into the bohemian circles; among their friends were Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Five years later, she joined the Communist Party, marking the date in which her work turns more politically motivated and Tina turning into a political activist.
A pupil of Man Ray’s, Berenice Abbott’s work as portrait-photographer quickly became as sought after as her instructors. Peggy Guggenheim became a client and supporter. After spending a few years in Paris, the American went back to New York, where she created the body of work she is best known for – black and white photography of the city, illustrating the development of technology and society. In addition to these works, she made important contributions to scientific photography, as well as inventing aides for photography, such as the ‘autopole‘.
Elizabeth ‘Lee’ Miller, later Lady Penrose was an American born fashion model in New York City before going to Paris to become a successful photographer. Man Ray was her mentor and lover. It is said she helped Man Ray discover the process of ‘solarisation‘ in photography (look at the portrait of Lee Miller above), thereby contributing its further development. Not only was she an acclaimed fashion and portrait photographer, but also one of the few women who documented events such as the liberation of Paris and the London Blitz as well as concentration camps.
Austrian-born Inge Morath was among the first female members of Magnum Photos, which to this date remains male dominated. Morath married the playwright Arthur Miller and relocated permanently to the States. Among her most important achievements in photography are her portraits, as she created the idea of taking people in intimate settings. Philip Roth, a writer and one of her subjects, describer Morath as ‘the most engaging, sprightly, seemingly harmless voyeur I know.’
With 201o coming to a close, the Rise Art team is looking ahead to 2011, and planning our schedules around some of next years more intriguing art events. Rise Art will be attending the London staples including the London Art Fair, and Frieze, but our team is particularly excited about these 10 events in London and beyond.
Now in its thirteenth year, Future Map has built a reputation for showcasing a wide variety of great artwork. Featuring works from graduating artists and designers from University of the Arts London this will become an intriguing interactive show, featuring performance, participation, sculpture and installation. Future Map 10 is hosted by the Zabludowicz Collection.
The Florence Trust provides a group of carefully selected artists with the opportunity to work at their studios for one year, encouraging them to push boundaries of their work and to explore new ideas. Housed in an inspiring Grade 1 listed Victorian church the trust opens its doors twice a year for visitors to see the works in progress by the artists-in-residence, most of whom are very promising. Additionally, it will provide us with the opportunity to see new work by Rise Art Artist Andy Wicks. Our tip: Bring a coat – it gets cold in there this time of year.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011, ARCO Madrid is going to focus on Russian Contemporary Art this year – something the Rise Art Team is looking forward to discovering!
Visiting the Armory Show in New York is a highlight every year, as it is one of the most established and most exiting art fairs out there, showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art. In addition, as with every fair, there will be plenty of exiting events surrounding the fair. Definitely one of the highlights!
Select Art Fair is going to take place for the first time this year; it promises carefully vetted galleries, artist collectives as well as a curated display of artwork by recent graduates. The Vetting Committee will consist of Andrew Renton, Lisa Le Feuvre, Charlotte Appleyard and Justin Hammond. Another distinguished feature of this fair will be their limit on pricing: no work is allowed to sell for more than £ 5.000,- .
Hong Kong being a established hub for global commerce and art, it seems only natural that a large contemporary art fair would spring up here sooner or later. Now in its 3rd year as a global event, Art HK has attracted the attention of the art world, with many major galleries on hand. With an emphasis on Asian art and collections, this fair may balance well against the other global fairs.
In its 54th edition, the Venice Biennale will be directed by Bice Curiger – currently curator at Zuerich Kunsthaus and editor-in-chief at Parkett Magazine. The Biennale is entitled ‘Illuminations’. This biennale is well worth the visit for any collector or art enthusiast.
Similar to Frieze and the Armory, Art Basel is one of the global art events that serious collectors are sure to attend. We have included Art Basel on the list because this show is really where modern collecting and the boom of art events began. Perhaps the most established and renowned art fair in the world, Art Basel features over 300 galleries from across the world.
Held simultaneously with Frieze Art Fair, Multiplied is a new fair hosted by the auction house Christie’s focusing on original artworks in limited edition. In many ways, we found 2010′s first edition to be more interesting than Frieze, with a host of UK and international exhibitors showcasing original prints from leading artists. For the budding collector, this event offers a unique entrance into collecting.
After having enjoyed Paris Photo so much this year, we cannot wait to go back in 2011. Paris Photo in our opinion is becoming the must see photo event of the year.
In addition to all these events, the Rise Art Team is also always looking forward to the Degree Shows taking place in Summer; dates have not yet been released, but lets hope we will find them on here. Some of our favourite degree shows last year were Slade School of Art, Royal College of Art,Goldsmith and Freerange – which boosts a variety of shows from graduating artists around the UK.
Which art events are you looking forward to in 2011?
The Rise Art Team enjoyed compiling a top 5 museum exhibition list so much (see here) that we have opted to extend our shortlist bring your our top 5 gallery exhibition highlights of 2010. This time, however, given the breadth of gallery shows globally, and our limited time and travel budgets, we have kept the shortlist focused on London based galleries. In no particular order, here are our picks:
San-Francisco based Vincent Fecteau might turn into one of the most influential contemporary artists working with formal languages of sculpture. His reference-abounding work was put onto the gallery walls like trophies. Fantastic!
This group show curated by Rise Art artist Andy Wicks and David Northedge consisted of twelve artists. Their work addressed a future full of dreams, illusions and fantasies, celebrating the neglected virtues of the glossy, lurid and bizarre. It was a great pleasure seeing so much young talent! Artists included: Michael Ashcroft, MAtthew Atkinson, Gordon Cheung, Sayshun Jay, Graham McNamara, David Northedge, Ed Payne, James Roper, Rob Sherwood, David Small, Andy Wicks and Rosalie Wiesner. We could be a bit biased on this one, but we really enjoyed it.
Parisian-born Noemie Goudal is an outstanding newcomer in photography; her show at Hotshoe Gallery displayed her series ‘Les Amants’ – her best so far! Since then she has been shown as part of the Anticipation event at Selfridges and her work is starting to get noticed by collectors outside of the M25. She is on our list of artist to expect big things of in 2011.
Haunch of Venison showed works by the late Louise Bourgeois, who passed away earlier this year – aged 98. The show focused on her works with fabric and we thought it was great. The show is on until December 18th – go see it if you have time!
This american artist became renown for playing with the concept of originality and her copies of other artists’ works; this time, it is a film in three acts: ‘Elastic Tango’ – a cosmic dance, perhaps?
I am sure we missed many more great exhibitions in London. What were your favorites?
As the end of the year nears, the Rise Art Team has picked our top 5 exhibition across the global museum landscape in 2010. Some of them run into 2011 and we highly recommend to go see them, if you are around. Here they are:
100 Years (version 2) at Moma PS1, New York City
November 1, 2009 – May 3, 2010
In collaboration with Performa, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center created 100 Years (version #2, ps1, nov 2009), an exhibition presenting influential moments in the past century of performance art history.With over 200 works including film, photography, documents, and audio, the exhibition presented a wealth of information that is largely unknown and is intended as an archive for students, scholars, and enthusiasts of the history of performance art. It provided an excellent overview and insight.
September 28, 2010 – March 13, 2011
This exhibition organised by Serpentine Gallery and The Royal Parks showcases major recent works by London-based artist Anish Kapoor, The sculptures are sited to contrast and reflect the changing colours, foliage and weather in Kensington Gardens – creating stunning effects. The distortions in the works’ mirror-like surfaces call into question the viewers’ relationship to both the work itself and the surrounding environment. We found it a beautiful and unexpected way to enjoy the park.
October 9, 2009 – February 7, 2010
In 1989, the opening of the Iron Curtain marked the end of the Cold War and created an entirely novel geopolitical and mass-psychological situation. 20 years later, this exhibition investigated the metaphors connected with the collapse of the bipolar division of the world into East and West and the political upheaval, metaphors that are more than ever of relevance for a wide variety of different spheres of life.
André Kertész at Jeu de Paume, Paris
September 28, 2010 – February 6, 2011
During our stay in Paris to visit Paris Photo, we visited the exhibition of the photographer André Kertész. This comprehensive retrospective is the most extensive so far on show in Europe and definitely worth a visit, as his work is outstanding and plays an important part in the development of photography as an art form.
Neo Rauch – Companion at both,Museum of Fine Arts, Leibzig and Pinakothek, Munich
April 18 – August 15, 2010
For the painter’s 50th birthday, both museums organised his first major retrospective. Rauch, from the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts is one of Germany’s most popular contemporary artists. Both shows, which offered a comprehensive look at his works since 1993 featured many works from private collection and unknown to the public until then.
The Institute of Contemporary Art in London features annually the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, a highly regarded exhibition showcasing a snapshot of today’s emerging art landscape. Originally established in 1949 – it’s 2010 edition features 49 artists from across the UK working across all media. It offers recent graduates and art students essential support and recognition at a crucial stage in their development.
One of the artists selected for the 2010 exhibition is Chris Hughes, who also features on the Rise Art website. We are very exited for Chris to have such extraordinary opportunity and would like to congratulate him! Chris’ work deals with ‘places of trauma’; his drawings, which are currently displayed at the ICA and on the Rise Art homepage, are of extraordinary detail. Rise Art was at the opening of the show, and captured his work displayed at the ICA.
Over the past months Rise Art has been teaming up with galleries and events, supporting artists and curators alike. Currently Rise Art is working in collaboration with Gallery Primo Alonso to host “God is in the Details” an exhibit which celebrates 13 artists across a variety of media who demonstrate a thorough and meticulous approach to their practice. Co-curators Medeia Cohen-Petrolino and Justin Hammond carefully selected the artists, aiming create a show ‘not just about the beauty that hard work produces, but also about a certain recognition for the technique and the skill involved.’
Among the artists represented are past Catlin Art Prize winner Alex Ball, and Rise Art artist Martin Krolzig. Krolzig was discovered by curator Medeia Cohen-Petrolino while reviewing artist portfolio’s on Rise Art. Said Cohen- Petrolino “Rise Art has been a great place for us to discover artists we wouldn’t normally have exposure to. We are excited to have Martin’s work as part of the exibit”
In celebration of the event, on Thursday, December 2nd at 7pm, Rise Art is hosting a evening reception at London’s Gallery Primo Alonso during which co-curator Justin Hammond and artists will introduce the show and works. The event is open to all by following the below RSVP link.
The 14th annual photography fair Paris Photo, took place last week in the Caroussel du Louvre in Central Paris. Showcasing about 100 international galleries and publishers, it gave people an insight into todays most vibrant photographers with a focus on Europe. Most of the artists shown are already fairly established, and we loved the diversity of talent across the fair. Listed below is our take on 5 artists who’s work we believe deserve your attention.
Eric Poitevin born in 1961 in France. Lives and works in France.
We like Eric’s work because the subjects are diverse, but most of his images share a deprivation of sentimentalism, and somehow acquire a timeless universal value. More about this artist here.
Denise Grünstein, born 1956 in Finland. Lives and works in Sweden.
She is one of the more established Swedish photographers, mainly portraying people. Her images are highly recognizable for her unique ability to imprint her own feelings and temperament on film paired. See more of her work here.
Simon Roberts born in 1974 in England. Lives and works in England.
Moore, trained in architecture as well as photography has a particular eye for seeing cities and buildings. His internationally acclaimed large format colour photography is simply breathtakingly. See his work here.
Joern Vanhoefen. Born 1961 in Germany. Lives and works in Berlin and Maputo.
Vanhoefen has a talent in capturing places from a new perspective – See for yourself, here.
Have you been to Paris Photo or discovered a photographer recently whose work you really enjoyed? Let us know who’s your favorite photographer at the moment.