A new exhibition in London showcases the connection between Pop Art and design. From a ‘fetish chair’ to a creation made out of mud, Chloë Ashby picks the wildest pieces.
Pop Art Design at London’s Barbican Art Gallery offers a sunny respite to London’s gloomy weather this week: the show introduces a bright panorama of the Pop era, with over 200 works by more than 70 artists and designers from the late 1950s to the early ’70s.
Pop Art exploded onto the scene as an unexpected post-war party—a daring distraction from the anxieties of an age of austerity. Fun and inventive, Pop challenged established traditions and hierarchies with an aesthetic that was both fresh and familiar; it shone the spotlight on the cult of celebrity, mass production, and popular culture.
The Pop party comes with a pinch of pragmatism in Pop Art Design, the first major show to explore the long-neglected love affair between art and design in that period. Pop Art, after all, satirized products of consumerism. Pop artists found quirky aesthetic value in the objects of daily life, and designers used new and unusual technologies and materials to make those objects appealing.
From a “fetish chair” to a chair made of mud, The Daily Beast picks the 15 wildest items from the show. (Pop Art Design will run at the Barbican Centre in London, from 22 October 2013 until 9 February 2014. It is an expansion of the exhibition of Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, in cooperation with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.)
Says ringleader of Romanian thieves.
This story has just one too many twists. Radu Dogaru, the Romanian who admitted to stealing seven works from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, now says the works may be fakes. Even crazier, he says he was set up and that he was used by those who wanted the $24.6 million in insurance money. The stolen art included works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin and was one of the most prominent thefts in decades.
The Daily Pic: Steve Mumford's genteel watercolors capture the hard truths of Gitmo.
This is one of a bunch of watercolors painted by Steve Mumford on a visit to the prison at Guantanamo Bay where alleged terrorists are being held by our government. Mumford’s solo show inaugurates the lovely new space that Postmasters gallery has reopened in, near Chinatown in New York. There’s something especially poignant about the plywood and concrete of Guantanamo being rendered in a medium usually linked to British fields and fens and harbors. Watercolor is also famous as a medium that cares as much about blank expanses of paper as about the pigment laid down on them – but in this case some of Mumford’s empty spaces are there because the authorities told him he wasn’t allowed to fill them in with visions of what he saw. Watercolor is also known for catching evanescent details in the passing scene, but at Guantanamo the problem is that everything seems to stay the same, year after year after year.
A new memoir exposes intimate details of the artist’s private life—from his burning temper, and excessive gambling to nude sittings with his 14-year-old daughter. By Erin Cunningham.
Lucian Freud led a guarded life.
The late, great British modernist painter—and grandson of Sigmund Freud—valued his privacy. He maintained close circles of friends (whom he ensured would rarely interact with each other), and entrusted only a certain few with his personal information. From 1940 until the early 2000s, Freud participated in no press interviews; he was known to physically attack photographers who attempted to take his picture, and he cancelled the publication of two authorized biographies about himself during his lifetime.
Yet despite the eccentricities in his personal life, Freud became internationally-known for his explicit figure paintings—most of which seemingly blurred the lines between art and eroticism. From Benefits Supervisor Sleeping to Bowery Back, Freud established a legacy of somewhat disturbing yet widely-recognizable pieces.
Geordie Greig, a journalist and close friend of Freud’s during the latter years of his life, provides an unobstructed view into the artist’s professional and private in his new memoir, Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain’s Great Modern Painter.
The fashion photographer captures Kate Moss, Amber Valletta, and Guinevere van Seenus, three of the most famous ‘90s models, for a new book. He talks to Isabel Wilkinson.
You’ve seen Craig McDean’s photographs everywhere, on countless magazine covers and editorial spreads.
But now he zooms in on three iconic models he has photographed throughout his three decade long career: Amber Valletta, Guinevere van Seenus, and Kate Moss. The photographs, taken from 1993 to 2005, make up a glossy new coffee table book, Amber, Guinevere & Kate Photographed by Craig McDean, released with Rizzoli this week.
“During my early days, when I first started shooting fashion, these are the girls I photographed more than anyone else,” McDean told The Daily Beast in an email. “Their looks, beauty, and gracefulness inspired me more than anyone else from that period.”
The Daily Pic: Around 1758, Jean-Claude Duplessis designed pink vases that made the masses see red.
Jean-Claude Duplessis designed elephant-themed porcelain vases at the royal Sèvres works near Paris in around 1758, and the Metropolitan Museum acquired this pair of them exactly two centuries later. At Saturday’s TEDx session at the Met, the most interesting talk was by Luke Syson, the Met’s new head of European sculpture and decorative arts, who described his love-hate relationship with Rococo pieces like this. (Most of the other talks and performances were at a painfully lower level of sophistication and complexity than the great Met objects they drew inspiration from. Nobel winner Eric Kandel, who has had so many original thoughts about brains, proved once again how his views on art can’t escape cliché.) Syson talked about how the “traditional” view of vases like these, among right-thinking lefties like him, is that they need to be despised as symbols of everything that was wrong with the Ancien Regime. And then he described how over time he’s learned to love them as delightful expressions of “fancy” – of a fantasy life that modernism has conspired to deny us. That risks sounding an awful lot like a full-bore capitulation to the escapist, Ancien Régime values that Duplessis’s work represents, and that are more than ever in force in our own society. I’m convinced, however, that there must be a way for Syson to read these vases politically, sociologically, while also arguing in their favor. I’m not sure quite how to do it – maybe you could imagine that, by so brilliantly expressing the values of the aristocracy, these vases set the stage for its overthrow. Someone like Alexander Nemorov might say that they are really portraits of bewigged heads about to roll.
The Daily Pic: Adad Hannah mirrrors the mirroring that happens in Velazquez.
This is a still from a 2008 video called "Repose (on the Plinthe)", by Vancouver artist Adad Hannah. I saw it in "Quotation", a group show at the Confederation Center of the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. (Disclosure: my wife, Lucy Hogg, is also in the exhibition.) The piece records two men holding a mirror as still as they can on a plinth in the Prado, in front of Velazquez's great "Las Meninas". (Click on my image to see a clip from the video.) The Velazquez is all about art as mirroring: the king and queen being painted by Velazquez are also the viewers of the scene, visible in the mirror in the center of his canvas – but that means they also stand in for us, as we stand gawking in the Prado. Hannah's piece likewise replaces us, as onlookers, with someone else's face, even as we realize that the green-jacketed young man isn't seeing himself, but a view of us looking at him as we try to take in the great painting beyond. The mise en abyme of "Las Meninas" is dug a bit deeper thanks to Hannah, as he gets in the way of Velazquez. Two fun factoids. First, the Hannah is 4'33" – the same length as John Cage's famous meditation on silence. (Hannah says that happened by accident). Second, the plinth the two men are on usually holds a statue of a sleeping hermaphrodite, commissioned by Velazquez himself for the same palace that once held his masterwork – a fact that injects a subtle note of gender instability into both the Hannah and the Velazquez.
Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD, an anonymous New York artist’s collective, and a community of graffiti writers make strange bedfellows. But the disparate groups have one thing in common: they’re calling out beloved street artist Banksy as he prowls New York City on a 30-day tagging quest.
Steve (not his real name) is the founder of TrustoCorp, an anonymous New York-based guerilla art group known for its subversive signs and other pieces meant to highlight “the hilarity and hypocrisy of human behavior.”
And that’s just what he set out to do on Monday, when he installed two street signs in New York City pointing out the irony of Banksy as a world-famous multimillionaire maintaining the persona of a rebellious street artist. Each sign cited a parody sponsor by “CitiBanksy” and “Banksy of America,” and featured twists on the elusive tagger's own work.
And if Banksy’s ex-girlfriend had paid closer attention when she dismounted her bike to talk to an old friend on Monday night in the East Village, she may have noticed that he and a cohort introduced as Steve were screwing in a sign that poked fun at her former flame. It read: “Laugh Now But One Day I’ll Be So Rich That I Can Do Graffiti Wherever I Want,” and plays off Banksy’s sign-holding monkey which declares “Laugh now but someday we’ll be in charge." In Williamsburg, the other, “Bad Artists Imitate, Great Artists Get Really Really Rich,” is a spoof on “The bad artists imitate, the good artists steal,” Banksy’s appropriation of a Picasso quote.
Nineteen artists provide insight into the concept of the Selfie in a new video installation at the Moving Image Art Fair in London. Erin Cunningham reports.
Self-absorption or self-expression? is the question Brooklyn-based curators Kyle Chayka and Marina Galperina seem to ask through their new video exhibit, The National #Selfie Portrait Gallery (NSPG), opening this week at the National Portrait in London.
In March, the duo collaborated for the first time, curating 22 six-second Vine videos for an exhibition entitled the Shortest Video Art Ever Sold, at the Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair in New York.
The exhibition features 30-second or less video installations by 19 artists from both the US and Europe, each providing a unique look at the highly-popularized concept of the "selfie.” Chayka and Galperina aimed to approach the long history of self-portraiture – as established by artists including Courbet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh – through a modernized lens – read: snapping photos on one’s phone.
The National #Selfie Portrait Gallery is on exhibit at the Moving Image Art Fair in London through October 20. Chayka and Galperina talk to The Daily Beast about the installation, whether a self is considered art, and why the world is so self-obsessed.
From a 48 portraits of young men and women to a Jeff Koons lobster, the must-see art at Frieze London, which opens on Thursday. By Chloë Ashby.
The 11th edition of Frieze London, the contemporary art fair, kicked off on Wednesday morning in (unsurprisingly) harsh wind and rain.
Perhaps it was less horrific than the downpour that drenched Frieze New York last May -- but it was damp enough to make the Regent’s Park marquee, the site of the fair, seem like shelter from the storm. Collectors, dealers, connoisseurs—and all the A-listers of the art world—forgot the wretched London weather the moment they stepped inside the clean, white space of the huge, brightly lit tent.
There’s been a lot of talk about improvements made to the format of this year’s fair, now housed in a bespoke structure designed by architects Cormody Groarke, which featured a more welcoming entrance and wider aisles. The extra space, combined with a reduction in numbers (this year Frieze is host to 152 galleries as opposed to last year’s 180), makes the event seem more exclusive and curated.
In no particular order, our 15 things to see at Frieze London this weekend.
A Brooklyn DJ may have brought us one step closer in revealing the artist’s identity.
Are we that much closer to revealing Banksy’s true identity? On Wednesday morning, a New York DJ named John Henry live-tweeted photos of the reclusive British street artist stating: “I found Banksy,” along with pictures of the artist’s “slaughter house” truck Sirens of the Lambs being worked on by a crew in Red Hook – the confirmed location of the elusive artist’s warehouse. Henry said that he approached the group of men, but was given the same treatment as everyone else that has tried to speak to the crew … a cold shoulder and a general blasé attitude. Luckily for Henry the guy giving orders from atop the Sirens of the Lambs truck spoke in a British accent. While we are skeptical that this is the true identity of Banksy, Gothamist’s in-house expert observed that one of the men standing next to the truck actually might be closer to the real Banksy. He bears a striking resemblance to another “alleged” Banksy photo from 2008. Whatever the case, we all know that the Banksy collective is very elaborate and very methodical. Let’s hope he’s not starting to get sloppy. [Gawker]
The Daily Pic: Neil Leonard captures the new street vendors of Cuba.
A video still from Neil Leonard's multimedia installation called "Pan Verdadero (True Bread)", now on view at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery in New York, where it comes paired with works by Leonard's wife, María Magdalena Campos-Pons. (Click on the still to watch a clip from Leonard's video.) Leonard's piece is built around a nice documentary premise: It records the newly-legal street hawkers of Havana, as they announce their goods to all and sundry. Artists' interest in hawkers' cries dates back at least 300 years, when the "Cries of London" became a standard theme for composers to riff on and for printmakers to depict. That means that Leonard's project situates Cuban society as at a point parallel to where England was at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The question is whether that means it has hundreds of years to go before it works through the perils of capitalist culture – if, that is, one can imagine that other countries have come close to doing so. Still, the hawkers do seem to present an entrepreneurial model that's more appealing than most, and way more palatable than the cakes they're selling.
The Daily Pic: In the 1740s, Giacomo Ceruti made the real look realer.
A servant girl with a dog, painted in the 1740s by Giacomo Ceruti, who was nicknamed "Pitocchetto" (the little beggar). The painting is now up in the rehung Old Master galleries at the Met. It has an amazing, proto-photographic quality – once reserved mostly for pictures of workers and animals, always somehow considered more "real" than the elites. Or maybe it looks photographic only because Ceruti chose to "real-up" his humble sitter, adding the gaps in her teeth and a slight double chin.
I spent five years of my life trying to figure out Old Master ideas about the real and its representation, and I still find the subject a hall of mirrors.