The surface glitz of young Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s work hides a sinister underbelly. This show is full of whacked-out costumes, green-screen weirdness and technicolour hues. But look past the cutesiness: with her films and VR work, Maclean drives comedy over the cliff into horror, creating wild meditations on social media, surveillance and violence.
Do androids dream of electric sheep? Who cares? The real question is: do deep neural networks know what art is? At least, that’s what we think the question is at the heart of brilliant French artist Pierre Huyghe’s new show. The Serpentine is being turned into a giant incubator, filled with buzzing flies, LED screens and artificial intelligence. No clue what it’s about, but it sounds amazing.
The last time Japanese contemporary art megastar Yayoi Kusama came to east London’s Victoria Miro gallery, there were queues around the block. This time the gallery’s running a free but timed ticket system, so you can go and take 10,000 selfies in one of Kusama’s infinity mirror rooms and all 12 of your followers can comment with the ‘100’ emoji without you getting sore feet from queuing. It’s a dream come true!
When 888,246 ceramic poppies bloomed in the moat of the Tower of London in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of WWI, they became one of the most popular art installations of the year. Now, after a tour around the whole country, one big chunk of Paul Cummins’s floral tribute is coming back to London for one last big push. It might be your last chance to see it, though you know what they say: once you poppy, you can’t stoppy.
American performance art pioneer Chris Burden (1946-2015) is best known for his shocking early pieces that saw him getting shot in the arm and crucifying himself on a car bonnet in the name of art. Later in life he got a bit more health-and-safety-conscious and started making stunning, discomforting sculptures. This Porsche sports car counter-balanced with a massive boulder (above) is Burden at his most striking. And no one had to go to hospital, which is a bonus.
She’s kettled viewers with mounted police, she’s stood in an unwinnable Cuban election and she’s eaten a whole load of soil. Tania Bruguera is not afraid of confrontation. And this year, she’s taking over the Tate Modern Turbine Hall with a performance installation that’s totally shrouded in secrecy.
It opens today (Tuesday October 2), so we haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but what we do know is that it won’t make for easy viewing.
Not all art is for stroking your chin at in a gallery; some is meant to kick up a fuss out on the streets. Gran Fury (1988-1995) were better at it than most, and this archival show of the New York art collective’s Aids activism is full of wit and righteous anger. This is confrontational, bold art that made a difference – and it looks amazing. The most exciting archive show you’ll see all year.
The Barbican’s Curve gallery is being filled with handmade felt clothing, rubber figures and ghostly coloured sculptures. New Zealand-born, London-based artist Francis Upritchard’s work is chock-full of references to classical sculpture, folklore and sci-fi, all combined to create a dazzling aesthetic world for us to inhabit for a little while. Well, it’s better than being stuck in the office, isn’t it?
180 The Strand, a massive former office block in the middle of town, hosted one of the best exhibitions of the decade a couple of years back with its video art extravaganza ‘The Infinite Mix’. This year, the space has been taken over by New York’s ultra-edgy New Museum for ‘Strange Days: Memories of the Future’, featuring art by the likes of John Akomfrah and Kahlil Joseph. Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist’s installation (right) is set to be one of the show’s centrepieces. If the future involves beds and immersive art, we’re probably all going to be okay.
Shockingly violent and often nastily cruel, Spanish baroque old master Jusepe de Ribera really knew how to grab the viewer’s attention. Hundreds of years later, his work still has the power to slap you around a little bit, testament to just how good he was. And now you can see it all without having to fly to Spain. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you have to go to Dulwich Village instead.
There’s nothing hygge about Scandi art duo Elmgreen & Dragset’s work. Since 1995 they’ve used their installations and sculptures to mess with everyone’s tiny little minds. Now they’re transforming the Whitechapel Gallery into an abandoned civic space, an over-gentrified world that’s been left derelict, rotting back to nature. Sound familiar? That’s called social commentary, people. Pow!
Sure, ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ sounds like two cocktails you can barely afford, but don’t let that put you off. This exhibition explores the artistic relationship between two proper old masters, Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna. They weren’t just linked creatively, they were brothers-in-law, which made for a career-spanning rivalry and relationship that would change art (and cocktail-naming) for ever.
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