Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Art Shows 2013

End of year lists, don't you hate them? So this is not a top ten, it's more a list of Sinners and Winners, to quote that mad man who used to preach outside Oxford Circus.


Paper at Saatchi gallery - Very inventive, interesting and exciting show. This photo doesn't do justice to Han Feng's floating cities (plus I was pleased to see it was also made with fishing line, cough cough). There I said something positive about Saatchi, so sue me.

Floating City
Han Feng Floating City at the Saatchi Gallery
Elmgreen & Dragset - Tomorrow at the V&A.   This was very cool. An installation tucked away in a V&A, it felt like walking into some forgotten, secret part of the gallery where someone had set up residence. You were greeted by a butler as you walked in. It was slightly odd, in a good way, like gatecrashing someone's private apartment. They'd been given the V&A collection to raid to set up it up, which must have been fun. Books, furniture, statues, pictures... The story behind the installation was a washed up architect being kicked out of his luxury family home by his upstart protege - slightly All About Eve. They also gave away a little film script to give you some backstory.

Memory Palace - another corker at the V&A, the idea was the exhibition as a 3D graphic novel. Hari Kunzru wrote a sci-fi story about a futuristic London where "Recording, writing, collecting and art are outlawed". Different artists were given different parts of the story to illustrate. I wish I could have taken photos.  Here is a link to my favourite bit, Le Gun collective's ambulance (Le Gun are our neighbours at East London Printmakers, I'm very in awe of them.)

George Bellows at the RA 
George Bellows
Beautiful painting and print exhibition of this artist I hadn't heard of, he died at 42 but left behind these vivid pictures of early 20th Century New York, street scenes, boxing matches and children swimming in the Hudson.

Daumier at the RA - I remember Daumier from studying Art History, even 20 years ago he had reputation as a funny cartoonist but I think people are coming around to seeing what a real artist he was. He had that leftwing, firebrand streak, which I like. And apparently he never drew from life, just from memory, which makes me want to cry.

I loved this picture so much, it reminded me of the Fine Art course when we all walk around and look at each other's work in the studio. The sense of camaraderie but slight competition too. The etiquette of looking at someone else's work...

A travers les ateliers - Fichtre!.... Epatant!..... Sapristi!.... Superbe!.... ├ža parle!...

Hmm, I realise the sinners may have to wait until the next post. Just reading this back makes me exhausted - maybe my new year's resolution will be to cut down on the art a bit.

And the rest... 

 Jules de Balincourt "Itinerant Ones" at Victoria Miro
We went to see this as a group with college, I was prepared to hate this fantastically hip and successful French painter based in New York who is my age, but take my hat off to him, he really really can paint and we spent hours looking at them. 

Pop Art at Christies
Like opening a time capsule. Great stuff. Film stars, optimism, cereal boxes, space race, glamour, girls in bikinis.

Isabella Blow, Somerset House
For anyone who doesn't know that clothes can be art. A bit heartbreaking, considering Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow are both no longer with us. Thankfully Philip Treacy is still alive and well.

White Cube Mark Bradford Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank
Another college trip, because he's our tutor's favourite artist. For anyone who thinks that modern art is rubbish, these would blow your mind. Mark Bradford picks up billboard posters and recycles them into these huge pictures which are sort of road maps which he carves into. Would very happily have one of these on my wall. If I lived in an enormous warehouse with the wall space.

The Show is Over Gagosian - the end of painting - painting made with neon, plastic, carpet, steel - what makes a painting?

Becoming Picasso at the Courtauld

Australia at the Royal Academy - it was big, but nothing really registered. It is cavalier to dismiss an entire country's art, I could hear Robert Hughes growling at me in my head. We liked the Aboriginal work better than the Western art - the first settlers who went out and painted managed to make the bush look like a nice English garden in Surrey.

Original Print Fair at the RA This is a selling show but it's lovely to see printmaking heroes' work live and direct

A rare out of London trip - Curiosity at the Turner Contemporary in Margate

Klee at the Hayward "Art does not reproduce the visible - rather, it makes visible."

Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London - a literal time capsule of Elizabethan London.

Guildhall Victoriana - The Art of Revival- modern artists being inspired by the crazy Victorians.

Hauser & Wirth Onnasch Collection - fabulous collection of fabulously wealthy German art collector "Pop Art, Fluxus, Colorfield, Assemblage, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism from the New York School of Art, many of which have never been presented before in London."

He wouldn't miss just one little Rauschenberg, would he?

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