The Ugly American: Saber @ The Outsiders Gallery, London

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The opening of Saber’s The Ugly American had a record attendance level this past Thursday at The Outsiders Gallery in LONDONTOWN. This exhibition includes a large number of ABSTRACT GRAFFITI styles on canvas and wood. It is the gallery’s FIRST show of the NEW YEAR and WELL WORTH THE VISIT!

photo-2Saber’s works were divided between two floors. A total of seven trademark Stars’n’Stripes flags (Old Math Series) on stained wood, depicting the American Flag and the Union Jack, were BEAUTIFULLY displayed on the entrance level of the gallery (images above). Eight more works were displayed in the basement (so don’t forget to go downstairs)! Each work varied in size but stayed within a reasonable measurement for a gallery setting, in contrast to his works that can be seen in an outdoor environment. Yet, the use of spray paint, oils and charcoal to create these different graffiti pieces not only expanded the dimensional constraints but the overall depth of each piece. To some extent these small-scale works are even more beautiful than some of his pieces seen outdoors, as the artist now had the opportunity to use a variety of mediums.

The wood series has a more muted tonality with a more dominant use of the natural wood coloration, while the abstract graffiti canvases have VIVID splashes of colour amongst toned down tones (see images below). It gives the otherwise gray walls of the gallery a more lively conversation.

photo copy 2For Saber, these paintings are meant to give those spectators who know nothing about graffiti an opportunity to look at his work and say, “This is a beautiful painting.”

The title of the show refers to the popularized phrase in William Lederer’s and Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel, The Ugly American, which revolves around  international perceptions of Americans. Saber states in his Press Release for the show, “It’s a reference to the excesses, and foul nature, that some believe Americans possess. Obviously this has similarities to modern Britain too, but… I come from this culture that’s so self centered, and self-preserved, and I want to expose the cracks in it.” He has been known to go AGAINST many of the OFFICIAL POLICIES in the US, particularly those surrounding the health care system, misuse of public funding, and cuts in the art sector. These themes are some of the key factors dominating his works. It is no wonder this well-received exhibition was brought to London by POPULAR DEMAND.

Do yourself a favour and go check it out!

à plus! MCC (Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

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Richard Avedon: Fusing Fashion and Art

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Richard Avedon, FASHION photographer turned ARTIST shows the DIVERSITY and COMPLEXITY of photography in his newest solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery (Davies Street, London) which is currently on display until October 26th.  Avedon exhibits a collective of fashion photographs from his work between the 1960’s and 1970’s in “Avedon: Women”. These fashion photographs not only depict the BEAUTY of the clothes, but do something greater, or so I think. I think what makes this exhibit so INTERESTING and INNOVATING is his questioning of the role of photography and how it is used. He attempts to differentiate his photographs by breaking all the rules by portraying his models in motion -confident, vivacious, with a joie de vivre. The COUTURE clothing only accentuates these eccentric poses. Although these photographs can seem superficial and more fashion photography-like, Avedon cleverly and slyly evokes deeper meaning. Take Jean Shrimpton, evening dress by Cardin, Paris 1970’s (below).

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Sure it is a beautiful silk gown in motion, but is Avedon bringing more to the table? Is he referencing some sort of art historical reference say…Unique Forms Of Continuity in Space (below) by Umberto Boccioni.

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What Boccioni did for Italian Futurist art sculptur e- attempting to bring the MOVEMENT to the medium of sculpture is what Avedon does for photography. He brings a certain DYNAMISM, which rethinks the medium of photography from being still and motionless to active and forceful. The cloths only highlight this movement as well as create a certain tension to the pieces. In a way he is self -contradictory in his works, intensifying the action through the draping of the clothing but capturing it in the stillness of the camera – makes you think right?

How fittingly appropriate for FASHION WEEK – eh?

PEACE OUT, K

Paper @ Saatchi Gallery

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Paper. Something we take for granted. Something we don’t realise has such value and importance. Something that gives meaning, purpose, and life, to something such as art.

Saatchi’s most current exhibition, “Paper,” examines different techniques in which artists have used paper as the main medium of their work. From statuesque figures (above), to creating water colour portraits of dictators from around the world (sorry I did not photograph it – it is kind of creepy to look at baby Hitler and baby Kim Sung II, along with Mussolini), the exhibition explores various ways artists have incorporated paper into their oeuvre.

Included as well in the show is something I never thought I would ever come across – an artist has taken paper bags, from McDonalds to Louis Vuitton (below), and has carefully cut out trees from the bag, which stand tall inside. I don’t know how to put it into words. But it is incredible. Such intricate detail in such a small space.

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Two other works in the exhibition caught my eye as well: what appears to be a room with an infinite number of kites attached to one another (below) created in brilliant colours is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but the way in which it is created, through varying heights, widths, and such, is absolutely fabulous.

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And last but not least is this incredible maquette city (below). When I first walked by the work, I was like, “WOW. These buildings are so small, yet create such an impression. It is like a paper jungle.” And then, when you look up close, you cannot help but look at the incredible detail… but to do so you must bend down and get super close – or else you basically will have an aerial view of a town or city like you do from an airplane.

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If you are in London this show is a definite MUST. It will be opened till the 29th of September so you have plenty of time if you are in the area. No EXCUSES. The show has something to offer to all kinds of art lovers.

We He(ART) it (especially after seeing that disaster of a show at the RA)!

XX, DP

David Shillinglaw’s “My Idea of Fun”

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Currently on show at Stolen Space Gallery in London is David Shillinglaw‘s solo show entitled “My Idea of Fun.” While I have yet to see the show I have only heard AMAAAAZING reviews about it. BUT – THE SHOW ENDS SUNDAY. SO, enjoy this beautiful weather and GET OUT THERE! On top of seeing a fabulous show with incredible works, the artist himself will be present in the gallery doing some drawings! How cool is that?!

Enjoy the weather, Enjoy the art. Have a FANTASTIC weekend kids!!

XX, DP (@dpayt)

P.S. follow David on Instagram @davidshillinglaw or check out his website !

Please Do Not Enter: “A Contemporary Piece of Art”

This man may be spot on in the Contemporary Art world when we come across installations of art where we are just baffled by what we are seeing. Contemporary Art can be anything. But this man, Ken Tanaka really draws a crowd and makes a point to validate a garbage can and cardboard being an art installation in the Smithsonian – which in actuality what we are seeing is the process of the exhibition that was there prior being taken down. See for yourself. If anything, it is a very good laugh.

Is it Art? He He(ART)s it! Do you?

XX, DP

Fondazione Giuliani: per l’arte contemporanea

So we have come across this AMAZING non-for-profit foundation in the dear city of Roma, Fondazione Giuliani (Via Gustavo Bianchi 1, Rome, Italy 00153). The foundation is dedicated to the research, advocacy, and exhibition of contemporary art. Their newest show is from the artist Guido van der Werve entitled “Nummer Veertien, Home.” The show began yesterday and runs until the 23rd of March. Below we have inserted a description of the film. We encourage all art enthusiasts to go and check it out! Screenings are held Tuesday – Saturday at 3:30 P.M., 5:00 P.M., and 6:30 P.M.

“For twenty days and a distance of over 1700 km, Guido van der Werve embarked on an extreme pilgrimage from Poland to France, swimming, cycling and running from Warsaw to the tomb of Frédéric Chopin in Paris. The Polish composer’s dying wish, who was to be buried in the Parisian cemetery of Père Lachaise, was that his heart be returned to Poland to the church of Santa Croce in Warsaw, where the film Nummer veertien, home begins. A requiem composed by van der Werve accompanies three intersecting narratives: his own nostalgic journey at the pace of a triathlon, a surreal return to his native Holland, and a documentary on Alexander the Great who, like Chopin, died far from home. A key element of the film and characteristic of van der Werve’s practice, is the calibrated use of subtle deadpan humour that loosens the gloomy and melancholic atmosphere of his works and make his arduous performances almost surreal. The search for a balance between contradicting states of mind and emotions acts as metaphor of an intimate interior conflict that through the various films is extrapolated, played down, made more sustainable.”

So if you’re in Rome, don’t only go to the Pantheon and the Coliseum (typical tourist traps, fascinating though and we do find them intriguing), but check out Fondazione Giuliani, a true Italian masterpiece.

XX, DP

Choose Your Chair – Eduard Burgeat

A leisurely stroll in West London, led us to this new exciting exhibition that caught our eyes and our he(ARTS). “Primae Noctis” (which ran from 15 January until 20 January ), held at Gallery 8 was Eduard Burgeat’s first solo exhibition. The show encapsulated his artistic intentions and ethos of what art can be. This extremely personal show depicted his relationship to art and the past.

The premise surrounding this exhibition, begun with the notion of the medieval lawless Primaes Noctis. This law permitted feudal lords the right to sleep with a serf bride on her wedding night. Twisting this old concept into contemporary times, Burgeat looks at the relationship between emerging artists in the commercial art world and its “feudal lords”- or in more blatant terms, the big shots who control this artistic arena.

Running with this idea, this daring exhibition fused a number of mediums such as collage, installation, drawings, lights and furniture. He cohesively connected these magnificent, personal art pieces by extracting the “delicacy of execution which often mellows the brutality of the context that inspired the work. Burgeat draws out the comparison between life and art in post war times and in credit crunch times.”

What may you ask was our favourite piece? Well, there were two striking pieces that immediately caught our attention. The first being Cross War Memorial and the second his Chair Series.

Cross War Memorial, a light fixture piece in the shape of the holy cross, (situated in the darkness of the lower space of the gallery), left us with an overwhelming feeling of remembrance. This piece illuminates the events of the First and Second World War, with photographs of the artist’s grandfather. The atmosphere surrounding the piece only furthered its conveying message, which was intended as a memorial- “a tribute to the concept of memory.” It not only illuminated the room but our he(ARTS) were captivated.

Chair Series (located on the first floor) for us, really drove home the idea that contemporary times have led us to believe that what is broken CAN be beautiful. By repurposing old chairs found in the streets of London, Burgeat highlights that “our contemporary reality is dominated by consumerism and mass production is meaningless.” It is the now the emerging artists that have taken mass production and reconstituted it into something new, unique and beautiful.

What I will call these works are “intimate art pieces.” Due to the artist’s family content embedded within the works, this allowed the viewer to relate easily to these pieces. This in turn, created not only beautiful pieces but has done something that not may artists cannot do- which is to create an intimate experience between art piece and viewer. We applaud Eduard Borugeat for allowing us to whole he(ART)edly experience these pieces on such an intimate level.

One more thing we must recognize and celebrate within this art show, is the curation. Eduard Bourgeat’s show was curated by London based curator Victoria Genzini. I must applaud her on taking the premise of the exhibit and fusing it into its curation. Every placement of the an art piece, emphasized its ethos- the light fixtures placed in the dark floor of the downstairs only illuminated the notion of memory, which would later lead us to the glass plate negatives highlighting the consequences of his grandfather’s actions and impact they had on country’s conditions during the war. The works and curation were blended together so perfectly to create a space of consistency and allowed the viewer to think through the ideas evoked by Burgeat.

We invite you to check out more of Eduard Borgeat work, because he will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Feudal lords make way for a new, unique artist with a fresh take on art. Upcoming shows by Victoria Genzini and Eduard Burgeat will be exhibited in March. We will be sure to keep you posted!

Peace Out, K.