Art / Exhibitions

Paris 1901: Becoming Picasso

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In 1901, a 19-year-old Picasso, his self-confidence so clearly displayed in the self-portrait Yo Picasso, broke into the Paris art scene. This was the capital of the art world in Western Europe and the place where any aspiring artist had to make it. It was the home of the avant garde, with whom Picasso identified at Els Quatre Gats cafe in Barcelona, and among whom he was already making a mark.

It was also the political reference point for many Catalans, who looked north to the more exciting, progressive and forward looking Paris rather than the artistically and politically conservative world in Madrid.

In an exhibition at the Galerie Vollard - from which several exhibits are on display here - Picasso showed works revising many of the themes of Post-Impressionism. He also echoed the styles of great painters before him, from Manet and Renoir through Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan

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Souzou presents works that are often of a very personal nature, not always intended for exhibition or the art market. This is a collection of drawings, paintings and sculptures produced by people using art therapy as part of their treatment for "a variety of different cognitive, behavioural and developmental disorders". But it is much more than that, and a hugely enjoyable show in its own right.

The exhibition is arranged into three groupings: "Language and Making", "Representation and Relationships" and "Culture and Possibility". The boundaries of these categories are fairly loose, and a lot of effort has gone into creating a continuity of themes throughout the exhibition.

FABRIC-ATION

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Combining sculpture, painting, collage and film, this is the first major exhibition of London-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare.

Presented in the indoor galleries and open air of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Shonibare's work here follows pieces on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth and at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. His work, at once vibrant and varied, fits well into these differing spaces.

As well as producing beautiful and dramatic pieces, Shonibare references themes from environmental destruction to the Arab Spring. Stand out works include the playful collage Climate Shit and intricate sculpture Alien Man on Flying Machine.

David Bowie Is

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Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The new "David Bowie Is" exhibition at the V&A Museum is a fascinating insight into one of one of the most contradictory figures in popular culture over the last 50 years.

For some on the left, the start and end point of David Bowie's story is his mid-1970s flirtation with far-right iconography and symbolism: his cocaine-addled statements about believing "strongly in fascism" or calling Hitler "one of the first rock stars". But Bowie's story - from Ziggy Stardust to elder statesman of eclectic pop - is one that parallels many social changes in post-war Britain.

Dancing with Duchamps

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Marcel Duchamp was one of the most influential artists of the last century. Associated with the Dadaist movement, Duchamps managed to playfully and provocatively affect the course of modernism by challenging received wisdom about what art should be.

At the Barbican, London, until 9 June

Producing works like Bicycle Wheel and Fountain (which was a signed urinal) he blurred the boundaries between art and life, embracing humour and experimenting with apparently random methods for producing art.

The Barbican in east London is currently running a major celebration of Duchamps's work, along with theatre, dance, music, film and lectures that encapsulates the various modernist trends upon which Duchamp had such an effect.

Schwitters in Britain

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At Tate Britain, until 12 May 2013

In 1930 Kurt Schwitters, one of the greatest revolutionary and innovative artists of the 20th century, observed that "everything was broken down into shards and needed to be put back together again". This was to prove something of an understatement.

Born in 1887, and having lived through the carnage of the First World War, the "lost" German Revolution and the traumas of the Weimar state, Schwitters lived to witness the barbarity of fascism. He endured exile, internment, poverty and the horrors of "total war" before dying in virtual obscurity in 1948.

Murder in the Library

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W.H. Auden once called crime fiction "an addiction like alcohol and tobacco" - a vice to be furtively consumed in secret. This is a commonly held view of the genre.

Isn't there something insufferably old hat about crime fiction, with its village greens and grizzled old detectives wearing fedoras? Apparently in answer to this, Murder in the Library, a small exhibition at the British Library, takes a look at this much maligned genre.

The problem is: how do you faithfully represent a genre that accounts for a third of books published today, with protagonists that range from 7th century Irish nuns to a 21st century boy with Asperger's Syndrome, and whose authors range from Jorge Luis Borges to Terry Venebles?

Banksy "Out of Context"

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Kezler Gallery, the Hamptons, US

Above is a picture of street artist Banksy's "Stop and Search", a mural in Bethlehem, Palestine. Except that it is no longer in Palestine - it's been removed to be exhibited and sold on at a gallery in the Hamptons, an upmarket area near New York in the US. The current asking price is $450,000.

It is not the only work by Banksy that has been stolen from Palestine.

Soane by candlelight

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John Soane was an architect who came to prominence in the late Georgian era. During a career that straddled one of the greatest periods of social unrest in British history, Soane was responsible for a number of iconic neoclassical designs - most notably the Bank of England.

Among them was his house at Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he not only lived and worked, but assembled an incredible collection of antiquities.
The house and its collection were bequeathed to the public in 1833 as Sir John Soane's Museum. On the first Tuesday evening of every month the curators illuminate the collection by candlelight.

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