When the internet first became popular, people sometimes referred to it as the ‘world wide web’. The ‘www’ bit emphasised how this technology linked together companies and communication across the globe, creating a lacy doily of virtual threads. For her latest exhibition, ‘Me Somewhere Else’, artist Chiharu Shiota has created the human, non-digitised version of that early utopian world wide web, a complex and beautiful series of artworks based on our connections to each other and to all the pre-internet parts of this planet.
The Scottish independence referendum of 2014 was a nexus point where all of our bizarre inter-national consternation came to the fore. Its fraught lead-up was also the inspiration for Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s 2012 film, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn' and the series of images on display here. The whole show is a beautifully costumed, perfectly surreal and ultra-sardonic takedown of the Anglo-Scottish relationship.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was a man of a million ideas. He managed to be at the forefront of pop, conceptualism, performance art, and any other important twentieth century movement you can think of – and he became one of the most important artists of the past hundred years in the process. Sure makes you think about how proud you were of yourself for filling in that budget spreadsheet on time this month, huh?
Some paintings become bigger than themselves. Not many, admittedly. But a tiny minority slip out of the frame, drip off the canvas and enter public consciousness. Most paintings are things you see on a wall somewhere, and that’s all they are. But paintings like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, the ‘Mona Lisa’ or Warhol’s ‘Soup Cans’ end up on tea towels and pencil cases, they get used in films, referenced in poetry, worn on T-shirts and they becoming cultural commodities way beyond works of art.
Blood is thicker than water; paint is thicker than both. The point being, however deep your family relationships, the real artist will probe away at them for what lies underneath. This is something which we’re used to in contemporary art, but it was not the norm in the eighteenth century. Ho no.
It’s hard to say if art can make a difference in a divided society. Are LaBeouf, Rönkkö and Turner going any way towards stopping Trump with their flag work? Did Jeremy Deller’s T-shirt campaign have any impact on Brexit? Well, you can be a cynic about it, or you can be an optimist. German painter Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007) was more the latter, and seemed to think that art and artists could genuinely shape political discourse.
For anyone who’s spent time watching the news recently, the idea of an earthly utopia probably seems pretty attractive (and entirely out of reach). A land of bucolic plenty, balmy weather, harmonious relationships and no Jacob Rees-Mogg. And if you need a few pointers for what exactly a twenty-first-century urban Arcadia would look like, artist Fiona Tan has come up with her own version.
Every cloud might have a silver lining, but every clean, gleaming surface in Flo Brooks’s work has a thick sheen of filth and grime. Across a handful of twisted, oddly shaped paintings, Brooks creates a universe full of double meanings, scum, hygiene issues and gender that’s so fluid it’s flowing through sewage pipes.
When Flemish artist Ilse D’Hollander committed suicide in 1997, at 28 years old, there had only been one solo show of her works. As with any significant biographical detail of an artist, it’s tempting to view D’Hollander’s output through the lens of that tragedy. But the canvas- and cardboard-based paintings on display at Victoria Miro’s Mayfair space are far from melancholic or suggestive of distress.
Gunshots scream and scatter through the gallery, politicians bellow and protesters chant as you stand in the shadow of a steel transmission tower. There’s war in Dara Birnbaum’s show at the Marian Goodman Gallery, but it’s not a physical one: this is a war of information.
There’s an episode in Matthew Weiner’s series, ‘The Romanoffs’, where descendants of Russia’s last royal family get together on a cruise ship and re-enact the glory days of grand balls and staged entertainment. Those with Romanov DNA lap it up, while two married-in relations find the entire event slightly perplexing. Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs, a new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, has the potential to inspire a similar division of response.
In 1855, Roger Fenton arrived in the Crimea on a commission from publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to photograph scenes and figures from the ongoing Crimean War. After he returned to London, the images were exhibited at four venues in the capital and… that was it. There hasn’t been a London show of Fenton’s creations since 1856.
Everything was good once. Not like today. Back in the 1950s, America was booming. Money was flowing, business was good, the war had been won and the sun was always shining. It was the halcyon days of modern capitalism. Nonagenarian übermensch of achingly cool pop art Alex Katz is feeling nostalgic for those days.
Athi-Patra Ruga’s exhibition at Somerset House certainly justifies the reference in its title to rainbows. Each of the gallery’s Terrace Rooms is a kaleidoscopic mass of saturated colour. Ruby, fuchsia, turquoise, periwinkle, sunshine-happy yellow, this show of tapestries is the perfect inoculation against the growing greyness of London’s November sky.
The history of art is just the history of men with paintbrushes and erections, and no one had more boners than Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. There must have been something in the air in turn-of-the-century Vienna, because think of these two and you think of non-stop, boobs-out, full-frontal erotic action. And this show of rarely seen and truly stunning drawings that have been dug out from the attic of Vienna’s Albertina Museum isn’t going to prove any of that wrong.
Anxiety, despair, dread, depression, fear, misery, alienation: a pretty standard Friday night, but an unusual recipe for a kids’ comic strip. ‘Peanuts’ is special, though. Over his tens of thousands of strips – syndicated the world over and read by millions of adoring fans – Charles M Schulz combined simple line drawings and emotional non-sequiturs into little bundles of pure, heart-wrenching modern truth.
There’s a part of you that wonders if the British Library has designed an entire exhibition as an ‘up yours’ to Brexit. Because the first thing you see, as you walk around this heady exploration of Anglo-Saxon treasures and literature, is an explanation of a worryingly continental fact: we’re all bloody German. Or Danish.
Usually when you say an art show is ‘challenging’, you mean it’s got a stuff in it you don’t want to look at. And, yeah, ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ contains scenes of torture, execution, religious fanaticism, totalitarian regimes, disturbing hybrid animals and child nudity. That’s the Bible for you. But this survey of the work and relationship of two giants of the Italian Renaissance is challenging in another way.
It’s staggering that after all these years the Turner Prize can still induce such apoplectic, tumescent, viscous rage in the general public and red-top media. It’s a contemporary art prize you absolute weenies, why is it shocking to you that it’s not just a room full of copies of ‘The Hay Wain’?
Short of Banksy reinterpreting ‘Guernica’ accompanied by bottomless prosecco, it’s hard to think of a more solid banker of a show than this. The Courtauld Gallery is being refurbed for two years, but the decorators have hardly had time to stick the radio on, than its greatest impressionist hits are back on display, with support from iconic works from the National Gallery.
What you see is what you get with Renzo Piano. Literally. His buildings are all about guts-on-the-outside, glass-for-days clarity. And the Italian architect is a behemoth of his art form. From the eviscerated shock and awe of the Centre Pompidou to the shimmering, looming blade of The Shard, Piano’s buildings have a habit of defining a city.
American artist Jenny Holzer’s work is decades’ worth of statements, aphorisms, quotes and poetry. She takes words and sentences and plasters them over the streets, prints them on cups and condoms, engraves them into marble, and sends them stuttering at lightspeed along LED columns.
‘The Oscar Wilde Temple’ by McDermott & McGough is one of those artworks that’s difficult to ‘review’. Not because it isn’t beautiful, wonderfully detailed, clever in its use of art history or politically poignant. It is all of those things. But because this entirely immersive installation isn’t really intended to just be art.
Despite its name, modernism sure had some old school failings. When Anni Albers got through her first year at experimental German art school the Bauhaus in 1923, she was kept away from disciplines like painting and sculpture and was shoved roughly towards something more suitable for a woman: weaving. But Albers took her shitty stick and ran with it.
Flayed skin and dislocated shoulders are two recurring themes of Jusepe de Ribera’s art. The first, normally inflicted on Christian saints as part of their martyrdoms, and the second, the result of a foul seventeenth-century torture device known as the ‘strappado’.
If I had a penny for every time I heard about the importance of light in art I’d have a shitload of pennies. From Caravaggio’s dramatic chiaroscuro to Turner’s swirling dusky seascapes and Monet’s shimmering waterlilies, light has been a necessary obsession in art for centuries. This show of art that teases and toys with light and space is an eye-bending journey into the brightest recesses of minimalism.
A glowing rock garden throbs and pulsates with green light, shooting lasers across the room. Surrounding the rockery, three screens show images of a retirement home, those Thai boys rescued from that cave and a bunch of wackos engaging in some kind of laser rave séance as an androgynous nude cyborg shoots light out of its mouth. It’s a little nuts, a little ridiculous, but very, very good.
Defrosting the freezer is topped as an undesirable household chore only by ‘unblocking the plughole’ and ‘eliminating black mould’. But with Bojan Šarčević’s installations, the eventual removal of huge chunks of ice from a set of freezers will probably be worth it. Using farmed ice crystals, the Belgrade-born artist has filled the industrial units with a mass of solid white frost that, thanks to the humidity of the gallery, with continue to grow throughout the exhibition’s run.
For centuries, the Roma people of central Europe were hunted. Not in a metaphorical sense, but actually, physically hunted; chased down in groups organised by the armies and police of Germany and Holland. It was done out of bigotry and hatred, and in the name of public entertainment. Krzysztof Gil is a polish Roma artist, and the history of his people is a dark cloud that will not lift.
At this point, no one really needs another Yayoi Kusama review. Her art is so distinctive, so clearly defined, so ubiquitous and so over-written about that no one really has anything to add that’s going to change your mind. She’s the world’s biggest art superstar. If you like her pumpkins and mirrors shtick, you’re going to like this show. If you don’t, you won’t. Easy.
The Whitechapel Gallery is being turned into a luxury hotel. Sorry about that. Its galleries will be turned into suites for the moneyed hipster elite to huff designer drugs in, and its pool will become an opulent spa. You probably didn’t know the Whitechapel had a pool, but it does.
Mud, glorious mud. The dank, sodden environment of the trenches is so instilled into public memories of WWI you’d be forgiven for imagining the only colour a 1914-18 war artist needed in their paintbox was brown. But Alfred Munnings’s oil paintings from the final year of the war make use of the entire rainbow and then some.
I like the Pre-Raphaelites the same way I like pumpkin spice lattes despite 85% of people telling me they’re repulsive. Because these medieval-loving Victorians are the pumpkin spice lattes of British art. They’re syrupy sweet gloop often tinted a strange orange colour and always topped with unnecessary frothy swirls.
The Serpentine Gallery stinks. There’s something in the air, some intensely chemical stench, half way between bleach and rotting meat. Flies buzz around or lie dead on the ground, the paint on the walls has been sanded back, the floor is caked in dust. Dotted throughout the space, screens spin through ceaselessly strobing and mutating images that your eyes just can’t grasp.
Barnebys Ecomm Widget
Snap up exclusive discounts in London
Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...