LACMA and The Getty: LA – “If you don’t know, now you know.” -Biggie

1369545754094.cachedIn what was my first OFFICIAL visit to LA I can say that I was definitely IMPRESSED with both the LACMA and the Getty museums. Both institutions have been mentioned throughout my studies and to get to experience them in person was well worth the visits.

Being more partial to art of the contemporary persuasion I had an especially great time at the LACMA. The James Turrell Retrospective (see image above) in particular was a HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended), something that I strongly recommend to anyone living in the area or heading out that way – it runs through April 6th. The works span Turrell’s lengthy career, from early works all the way through plans for a yet-to-be-executed project at the Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona. The temporal and spatial affects of Turrell’s works can hardly be described in words, one really must be there in person to engage with them. In order to experience the energy and power emanating from these works, immersion is vital and the effects are unforgettable.

Aerial_Getty_Museum

The Getty Museum (see image above) is one of the most beautiful institutions I’ve visited to date. High up on a hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles, you definitely gain a sense of the extreme wealth of the museum (J.Paul Getty left no shortage of cash). Like the LACMA it’s split up into different buildings housing different styles of art throughout various periods in history. The highlight for me here was Hearsay of the Soul, a 5 channel video installation created by one of my favorite directors, Werner Herzog (see image below). The film is a compilation of etchings by Dutch artist Hercules Segers complimented by the music of composer/cellist Ernst Reijseger (also Dutch). I found this piece to be both unsettling and beautiful, capturing the sublime through the coupling of the etchings and the pure emotive power of Reijseger as he played. It’s as if he was translating the artworks through his music. This was for me, definitely a must see! 4.-Herzog

If you have the opportunity to get to LA and visit these institutions, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

In the words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now you know”…so go!

Cheers,

NYX

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Tightrope @ Sumarria Lunn Gallery

HEY LONDON! CHECK IT OUT!!!

TIGHTROPE: Takming Chuang, Echo Morgan, Emily Speed and Hanae Utamura

Opening: 5th September 6-9pm with performance by Echo Morgan

Exhibition runs: 6th September to 17th September 2013 / 11am – 6pm (Tuesday to Friday) / 12 – 5pm (Saturday)1003553_628715632369_1273852454_n

Curated by Kate Pantling, Tightrope brings together the work of four international emerging artists Takming Chuang, Echo Morgan, Emily Speed and Hanae Utamura.

The artists share a performative approach to their practice, where a sense of harmony, dissonance and a raw energy are connecting threads. Each artist takes their own body as a starting point, orchestrating narratives that explore the impact of encounters with materials, environments and cultures. Their work is personal, particular and often intimate but speaks to broader political and cultural concerns.

By approaching their work from the context of performance, the artists bring a strong sense of dramatic tension to their artworks. Each of them embraces the visual impact of their interventions to create work that encapsulates a moment imbued with anticipation. They create projects that play across multiple mediums eluding easy categorisation and bringing dynamism and depth to the expression of their ideas.

Takming Chuang documents physical, often uncomfortable encounters between his own body and traditional art materials. For Dead Hang the artist used his own perspiration to tarnish brass plates after performing repeated pull-ups. His Stand marks the result of hours spent motionless on top of a section of painted canvas until his body heat and weight caused it to harden into a mould of his feet. Through these repeated actions, leaving traces of his own body, Chuang explores themes of physicality, sexual identity and mortality.

Echo Morgan uses her own body as a canvas to reclaim and reassess the cultural expectations of her birthplace in China. Applying the feminist theories of Hélène Cixous who asks us to ‘write about our own story, our history, and ourselves’ she addresses issues of gender, and cultural politics through performance, film and photography. For I am the Four Gentlemen Morgan paints on her skin a depiction of the four plants known in China by the same name, chosen for their hardy attributes and depicted as a group: the orchid, the bamboo, the chrysanthemum and the plum blossom. Through doing so Morgan reclaims this Chinese trope as her own and challenges traditional cultural ideals.

Emily Speed explores the relationship between the body and architecture, considering how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and how a person occupies their own psychological space. Her Body / Building photographs mark the point of intersection between the body and the buildings built to house and protect it. Speed’s works make connections by building up shifting layers of disparate materials over time. Through exploring the built environment and drawing on historic architecture, she examines our attempts to create permanence and legacy through building.

Hanae Utamura’s works arise from the artist’s encounters with specific sites. Her Secret Performance Series documents a series of performances in which the artist, as an anonymous figure, makes subtle, insistent and sometimes dangerous interventions into the natural environment. Utamura’s photographic works refer to the traditional Japanese preference for landscape art and the desire to eliminate the self in order to be at one with nature. Her works hinge on an exploration of harmony and disjuncture between her body and the physical and cultural landscape it inhabits.

For more information check out their website! The gallery is located at: Sumarria Lunn Gallery
36 South Molton Lane
London W1K 5AB

ENJOY! Let us know what you think!

XX, DP

 

The Biggest Disappointment: RA Summer Exhibition 2013

Royal Academy summer exhibition

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While every year, apparently, people look forward to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition… I can without a doubt say that this show was the BIGGEST disappointment – possibly ever.

I have seen student shows in the states, I have seen student shows at other Uni’s in Europe… but for such an esteemed academy, the work was anything but.

But actually. It was a massive disappointment. The highlights were that of the architectural maquettes – which are for sale; opposed to the six tapestries by Grayson Perry (above) whose tapestries entitled The Vanity of Small Differences (based off of Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress) are aesthetically appealing and visually/mentally time consuming when trying to grasp what is going on, however they are NOT for sale, and take a place on the cover of the book with works sold. I find this quite odd.

Did the RA know that all the works chosen were not so splendid so the work they chose for their cover is a work that is not being sold? I call this FALSE ADVERTISING.

I am not saying all these artists are lacking talent, but their works are heavily derived from per say Manet, Monet, Ellsworth Kelly, Alex Katz, etc. Or they are just plain horrific, and embrace numerous qualities of kitsch (ugh).

If I have no dissuaded you from visiting the show, and I do encourage you to go and have your own opinion, please let me know what you think. I love some great feedback!

XX, DP

Tatlin’s Monument to the IIIrd International – Russian Constructivism

tatlin

Take yourself back to 1920 in Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution just ended in 1917. And a new era was beginning – the IIIrd International. So, obviously, a new monument had to be created, hypothetically, to spread these new ideals.

The IIIrd International was an organization founded by the Soviets to spread a world revolution. Tatlin, an architect and artist, had the idea to construct this monument in essence, as a propaganda machine in a Russian Constructivist manner, which allegedly would be functional.

The aim of Russian Constructivist Art was to reject art forms of the “old order.” These artists believed “Art in the past stood in the place of religion. It arose from the main spring of individualism.” To this new socialist society, art of this kind was not accepted.

Russian Constructivists had a preference for geometric forms. To these artists, basic geometry stood for modernity along with a renunciation of sins of the past. WHAT SINS?!

Unlike past revolutionary art, Tatlin wished to erect this monument without conventional Russian images like the red star, or hammer and sickle; better yet, he planned not to use any representational images at all. Kind of (keep reading). The monument was to be seen as a new symbol, and a new type of monument. It was symbolizing a celebration of the industry, technology, and the kind of futuristic world that was going to be created through industrial progress and the new order.

This monument was a GRAND vision – that we know never came to be – clearly. The inside of the tower was to house rooms and offices through three separate “internal” entities. The three inner parts – based on geometric forms – a glass cube, a glass pyramid, and a glass cylinder were to act in a sense as a functional part of the monument. However, it could also be suggested that this monument implies a certain type of order – a talked down one, where deliberate legislative members would be in the bottom cube, offices of more important people would be above in the pyramid, and on top, the cylinder would be used for executive functions. Oh and did I mentioned the inner forms of the structure were to rotate at different speeds?

This machine like monument (it was supposed to be 1300 feet tall) was utopian in the sense that everything was to work together, and exhibit a kind of perfection in Petrograd, now known as St. Petersburg.

What would make it more perfect than being able to have a radio transmitter on the top and floodlights that would send out propaganda messages into the sky? What a great way to wake people up at night and annoy them. What a great way to see the starry night sky – NOT.

XX, DP