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Current Affairs: 10.10

Basquiat: Boom for Real

The Barbican Art Gallery’s Basquiat exhibition, Boom for Real, showcases a number of the great works by the late 20th century icon Jean-Michel Basquiat. The exhibition, curated by Dr Dieter Buchhart and Eleanor Nairne, examines the young artist’s unique and all-too-short career, from his beginnings as Soho’s most exciting young graffiti artist to the height of his fame in the late 80s. For many, Basquiat is more than just an artist – he’s regarded as a ground-breaking cultural icon. Therefore, it was imperative that the curators of the exhibition acknowledged not only his artwork, but his position as a symbol of 80s New York. The exhibition is said to succeed in including enough context to place Basquiat within the wider cultural context of the 80s New York art scene without taking the audience’s attention away from the work!

Dates: 21st September – 28th January 2018

Location: Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London


Everything at Once

This seminal exhibition is presented by Lisson Gallery and The Vinyl Factory. Everything at Once celebrates 50 years of Lisson Gallery, perhaps one of the most influential contemporary art galleries in the world. The exhibition is designed to examine our dynamic and constantly communicating contemporary culture, partially predicted in 1966 by John cage, who pronounced: ““Nowadays everything happens at once and our souls are conveniently electronic (omniattentive).”

On visiting Store X (180 the Strand) one can see what has been described as “an interconnected journey incorporating 45 works exploring experience, effect and event, invoking immediacy and immutability.” The show includes works by the likes of Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, Richard Deacon, and Laure Prouvost to name but a few.

Dates: 5th October – 10th December 2017

Location: Store Studios, 180 The Strand, London


The Art of Losing: A Wishlist for Responsible Digitization

The very first Digital Art History Research Group seminar of this academic year will be delivered by Emma Stanford. As Digital Curator of the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Stanford is responsible for a multitude of digitization projects and manages the library’s digital collections portal. Therefore, there are few people more qualified to lead a lecture designed to explore “The weaknesses and strengths of digital reproduction, survey current efforts to create richer digitized resources, and discuss the difficulties these efforts face.”

Dates: 11th October 2017

Location: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London


Why Does Gender Parity in the Arts Matter?

Why does gender parity in the arts matter? Is the first in the Courtauld’s gender matters series, “a series exploring women and leadership in the visual arts”. At the first event, a panel whose speakers include Deborah Swalloh, Märit Rausing Director of The Courtauld Institute of Art, and Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, will discuss and challenge the reasons for which so many cultural leadership positions are held by men, despite 70% of the Courtauld’s own graduates and 70% of art museum curators being women!

Dates: 12th October 2017

Location: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London


Christie’s in London Installs Damien Hirst Work With Live Fish, Thanks to ‘Assistance from Aquatic Experts’

Currently on display at Christie’s, on King Street, is Damien Hirst’s ‘Love Lost’ (1999), a surrealist installation that, according to the artist, contains a “hugely sexual element”. The work, which measures 108 x 84 x 84 inches, comprises of a glass container within which is, amongst other things, a computer, a gynaecologist’s chair and … twenty live carp darting about!

The work, which is expected to sell for around £1.8 million, is yet to receive criticism for its use of live animals. This is, however, perhaps because Christie's have made their following of correct procedures explicitly clear. At the base of the work a statement reads: “Please note that the installation of this artwork has been undertaken with the assistance of aquatic experts to ensure the correct handling of the fish,”.

Location: 8 King Street, St. James’s, London


Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is a retrospective exhibition that looks back at almost 400 years of opera, from its Renaissance roots to its explosion into the mainstream in the 20th and 21st centuries. The show at the V&A, presented in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, has opened to mixed reviews. Whilst the exhibition has been said to provide a cohesive and thorough overview of the history of opera, others have noted that it consequently falls prey to the “book on the wall” issue of so many themed exhibitions.

Dates: Until 25th February

Location: V&A, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London


Bankside Gallery: Colour & Vision

The Bankside Gallery’s Colour & Vision exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Royal Watercolour Society. The exhibition focuses on the psychological and emotional impact of colour in our daily lives.

Dates: 6th October – 4th November

Location: Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, Thames Riverside, London


Henri Matisse at Howard Jacobsen

Henri Matisse, L'artiste et le modèle nu, 1921, Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cms (23 5/8 x 28 3/4 ins)

At the Jacobson’s exhibition showcases more than a dozen original works by one of the greatest masters of the 20th Century, including paintings, works on paper and sculptures, as well as a selection of prints. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the forthcoming Royal Academy exhibition, ‘Matisse in the studio’ which will open this August.

Dates: 2nd June – 28h October

Location: Bernard Jacobson gallery, 28 Duke Street st James’s, London


St Paul’s Exhibition Stations of Water

Safe Harbour was conceived in response to the perilous water crossings refugees have to make in the hope of finding sanctuary and refuge. Thousands have endured hazardous journeys in overcrowded conditions and un-seaworthy vessels, crossing oceans into the unknown, in the hope of finding a safer way of life for themselves and their families. Safe Harbour explores themes surrounding protection and security; what does it mean to leave our sense of place and way of life behind, all that locates us within the world? If the foothold that locates us was torn from underneath us, to what lengths would we be prepared to go to and refuge?

The work also acknowledges the similarity between the two columns at either side of the West Door, and the mosaic at the base of Lord Nelson’s sarcophagus. The mosaic instructs that ‘England expects everyman to do his duty’. In turning these two columns into the mooring posts shown in the mosaic, the work ultimately asks:

If we can and our own safe place, are we then able to do our duty and offer others safe harbour?

Dates: 25th September – 28th October

Location: St Paul’s Cathedral, London


Run To Me

The Charlie Smith gallery’s exhibition RUN TO ME presents the work of painter Sam Jackson and photographer Derek Ridgers. Jackson’s confrontational portraits explore the more intimate aspects of youth culture, and Ridgers’ explicit photographs depict the 80s and 90s club scenes in a similarly intimate yet explicit way. The exhibition, which was curated by Faye Dowling, will run at Charlie Smith London before going on to Galerie Heike Strelow in Frankfurt in 2018.

Dates: October 13th – November 11th

Location: Charlie Smith Gallery, 336 Old Street, 2nd Floor, London

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