Current Affairs 23.10

Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys

Until 21st January 2018, the Courtauld Gallery, revered for its post-impressionist collection, will be displaying “an outstanding group of portraits by Chaïm Soutine”. This cohesive exhibition explores the artist’s fascination with the often lesser acknowledged hotel cooks and waiting staff of the grand Paris hotels. The immensely emotive portraits are said to have been pivotal in Soutine’s career, transforming him from struggling painter to respected Parisian artist.

Somerset House, Strand, London


Light in Motion: Balla, Dorazio, Zappettini

‘Light in Motion: Balla, Dorazio, Zappettini’ is the Mazzoleni Gallery’s autumn exhibition. The show, curated by Elena Gigli, aims to “bring together key works by each artist to demonstrate their shared mastery of light, colour and perception during three pivotal moments in Post-War Italian art, Futurism, Lyrical Abstraction and Pittura Analitica.” Mazzoleni is a commercial founded in Turin in 1986, but only made the move to London three years ago in October 2014. In recent years, the gallery has made a move to internationalise, participating in art fairs in London, Hong Kong, New York and Miami, yet they still maintain a focus on Italian Post-war art.

27 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London


Shows of Force: Personal Perspectives on Exhibitions of Medieval Art

Monday’s Research Forum, titled Shows of Force: Personal Perspectives on Exhibitions of Medieval Art is led by Barbara Drake Boehm. As Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boehm has presented notable exhibitions in collaboration with colleagues from Toronto and Prague.

Somerset House, Strand, London


A Gesture Towards Transformation

Tender Pixel is a contemporary art gallery with a focus on emerging artists and exhibitions that comment on wider society, the economy and politics. Until 25th November, the gallery will be presenting A Gesture Towards Transformation, a group exhibition including the work of Spanish artists Pedro G. Romero and Aimar Arriola, as well as works by Swiss-born Nicole Bachmann, Omer Fast (Israeli), Paul Maheke (French) and Argentinian Amalia Pica. The show is designed to transform the gallery space into “a territory encoding a multiplicity of identities and geographies, constantly shifting and moving”, examining our contemporary society’s forms of interaction as increasingly we find verbal communication being “emptied of meaning through politics and mass media”.

8 Cecil Court, London


Harry Potter: A History of Magic

The British Library present a magical exhibition on “the traditions of folklore and magic”, giving some context to J.K. Rowling’s legendary Harry Potter books, a series that has resonated with people across the world. “Have you ever wanted to delve into Divination, ponder the peculiarities of Potions and discover enchanting creatures? Now you can” boasts the exhibition’s website, which promises the opportunity to see “original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling” as well as the “16thcentury Ripley Scroll that explains how to create a Philosopher’s Stone”!

96 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London


James Cohan Gallery controversy

“I’m not surprised there have been critical reactions. I completely understand people’s need to push back” claims Omer Fast, the Berlin-based artist being accused of racism regarding his current show at the James Cohan Gallery. Israeli-born Fast’s show, entitled August, was intended to center around his 3D video of the same name, yet the work has been massively upstaged by the surrounding installation “that transforms Cohan’s white-box space into a funky Chinatown shop or bus-company waiting room with metal chairs, broken A.T.M.s and a shabby facade.” Many have reacted strongly to Fast’s installation, including the Chinatown Art Brigade who stood at the gallery whilst displaying signs that read “Chinatown lives are not poverty porn” and “Racist art has no business here”. Betty Yu, one of the protest organisers commented “Chinatown is a 150-year-old thriving community that people built on their own. When an artist equates our culture as garbage, it’s really insulting to the community.” Contrastingly, the James Cohan gallery have said that this work would generate such a variety of strong reactions—positive and negative, reinforces the paradox it is trying to capture. We not only take these expressions seriously, we’ve tried to honor them. People are free to draw their own conclusions about art, but they should also be given the opportunity to do so—without censorship, barriers or intimidation.”