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,”.