Tag Archives: art

Gallery: Regen Projects, Los Angeles

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“I knew about the gallery before I ever moved to the United States,” says Philippe Vergne, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art who first landed in the U.S. in 1990s. “If you look at the Los Angeles art scene, Regen Projects, together with a handful of galleries, was really the organization that promoted artists working here from my generation. They represent a group that has been extremely important: Liz Larner, Raymond Pettibon and Cathy Opie, who has been a very important to MOCA not only as an artist but as a member of the board.”

This is the gallery that gave the California-born Barney his first solo gallery show in 1991, when the artist was all of 24. And it was the first to represent L.A. artist Opie, whose elegant portraits of drag kings and S&M fetishists from the 1990s sent a gender-ambiguous lightning bolt through the world of contemporary photography. In 2004, the gallery served as the site of Glenn Ligon’s first solo gallery show in Los Angeles, an exhibition of his gritty text paintings, which borrow passages from a vast array of cultural figures, from Ralph Ellison to Richard Pryor.

The story began in the late 1980s, when Shaun Caley met Stuart Regen at an opening at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Regen was part of an art dynasty, the son of prominent New York dealer Barbara Gladstone. He had worked at the experimental PS1 art space in New York (now part of the Museum of Modern Art) and later served as the director of the Fred Hoffman Gallery in Santa Monica. Caley, an art critic, had just landed in L.A. after a stint in Milan, where she’d served as managing editor of the magazine Flash Art. The two met for lunch. Regen offered Caley a job directing his soon-to-be-opened gallery.

“Stuart had always wanted to have an art gallery,” says Caley Regen, and the ’80s provided just the right confluence of happenings in Los Angeles. “There had been the opening of MOCA and the Broad Foundation. And there was a cluster of interesting galleries: Margo Leavin, Fred Hoffman and Daniel Weinberg.”

“We came to the idea that it would be an exciting venture and it was that simple,” recalls Weiner, who says the couple’s seriousness persuaded him that it would be the right thing to do. “It will sound pretentious, but they talked about the work and how it set a tone for the people they were trying to attract. I’d been showing in Los Angeles since the ’60s. I have very dear friends who I made projects with, from DeWain Valentine to Ed Ruscha. They saw me as an integral part of Los Angeles culture.”

A string of important shows followed: a light exhibition by James Turrell, prints by the innovative German painter Gerhard Richter and participation in a three-gallery tribute to Nicholas Wilder, an L.A. dealer who had helped foster the careers of painter David Hockney and minimalist sculptor John McLaughlin.

The gallery’s biggest coup, however, came in May 1991, with the first solo gallery exhibition by Barney, who would become one of the definitive artists of the decade. The show was a fusion of performance, sculpture, installation and photography. There were objects related to sports (a football jersey) and sex (bondage belts), as well as a metal cooling chamber that harbored an exercise bench sculpted out of petroleum jelly. The exhibition was a surreal examination by the former athlete of the cult of the body in relation to athletics.

“Stuart had seen his work in New York and was blown away,” remembers Caley Regen. “It was indescribable, so protean. He was using materials people hadn’t used: medical things, sports things, the body. I thought it was amazing.”

The show received a glowing write-up in industry bible Artforum. Kristine McKenna, who reviewed the show for this paper, described it as “rivetingly weird,” an installation that drew vital attention “to the complex and fragile interplay between spirit and flesh.”

“You put these things out in the world,” she says. “If you show great art, people will come to you.”

http://www.regenprojects.com
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Seventeen Gallery, London

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Co-founder of Seventeen Gallery, Hoyland, came to London from Shropshire to study at Chelsea College of Art & Design. “I wanted to be a ground-breaking performance artist.” Instead, in the late 1990s he went to work at Coskun Fine Art in Knightsbridge, run by Gul Coskun: “High heels, short skirts and Warhols. The hardest-working woman I’ve ever met.” Inspired, he opened Seventeen in 2005 with Nick Letchford, who he’d met two years earlier in a Hoxton bar. Specialising in video, the gallery on Kingsland Road represents nine artists, including sculptor Susan Collis and Oliver Laric.

How do you find artists?
“I meet them in the pub. Finding artists is easy, finding people you like is harder.”

What kind of work catches your eye?
“Detailed work with lots of labour involved. I like artists to bleed for it and to see that problems have been overcome.”

What’s been the highlight so far?
“Being a gallerist is self-indulgent; it fulfils your art needs and is emotionally easier than being an artist. You get all the cream without any risk.”

http://www.seventeengallery.com/

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Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin

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Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, established in 2008, is dedicated to developing a cross-disciplinary, trans-generational gallery programme with off-site projects, in collaboration with artists, filmmakers, critics, art historians, and curators. Its international exhibition programme reflects a variety of opinions and practices as well as Leighton’s associations with American and British experimental cinema, artist’s film and video, performance, minimal and conceptual art.

Solo exhibitions by established and emerging artists intersperse with conceptually-motivated group exhibitions and projects. The gallery engages in the re-examination of historical frameworks and practices, in order to bring marginalized figures, objects, events and contexts back into focus. Gallery exhibitions and events have presented and restaged historical works by artists, filmmakers, and designers such as unsung hero of British avant-garde cinema John Smith, Chinese-American painter David Diao, British conceptual artist Bruce McLean, and Italian master designer Enzo Mari. Leighton also produces and exhibits new and recent work by artists from North America, Austria, Britain, China, Colombia, Czech-Republic, Germany, Palestine, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Uruguay – including Ayreen Anastas, Pavel Büchler, Alejandro Cesarco, Aleksandra Domanovic, Rene Gabri, Sharon Hayes, Sanya Kantarovsky, Oliver Laric, Dan Rees, Lucas Ospina, amongst others.

A series of events at the gallery and at off-site locations have included performances by Norwegian musicians Nils Bech and Bendik Giske, Bulgarian artist Voin de Voin, British artist Ian White, and American artist David Levine. A special Artists Edition Series offers exclusive artists editions coinciding with the exhibitions and events. The first of the series includes new editions by: Matthew Buckingham, Douglas Gordon, Sharon Hayes, Anthony McCall, Martha Rosler, and John Smith.

http://www.tanyaleighton.com/main.php#exhibitions

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T293 Gallery, Naples and Rome

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Established in 2002 in an historical building of the Neapolitan centre, in Via dei Tribunali 293, T293 has always been characterised by a keen awareness on artistic practices that are both experimental and conceptually relevant to the current discourse in the field. First conceived as artists’ space dedicated to the support of emerging artists, in 2006 T293 changes its organizational status and starts operating as a company managed by the founder Paola Guadagnino and the independent curator Marco Altavilla, who joined as co-Director.

With the new organization, new purposes have been added, expanding the gallery’s mission towards a more international approach and a more incisive curatorial attitude. With the firm intention to honour its roots while also mainting an international status, in 2010 T293 chooses to be headquartered in Rome and to become a benchmark in the contemporary art sector, both nationally and internationally. First located near to Piazza Navona, it then moves to via Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni, few minutes walking from the Colosseum, where is still located.

Addressing an audience that is simultaneously cosmopolitan and qualified, T293 cultivates a professional network characterised by the high professionality of its members. In order to achieve its primary goals, since the very beginning of its activity T293 has presented groundbreaking projects at international art fairs such as Frieze London, Frieze New York, MiArt in Milan, Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Basel-Art Statements, where in 2008 has been awarded the prestigious Bâloise Art Prize (with a solo show of Tris Vonna-Michell).

Its eagerness in finding what is new in the contemporary artistic scenario has allowed T293 to be the place where today’s most interesting artists have had their first solo shows. The artists T293 represents always achieve international recognition as testified by their activities in institutions such as Tate, Palais de Tokyo, Museum Fridericianum and La Biennale di Venezia among the others. More recently, T293 has inaugurated new, successful models of collaboration with other professionals, hosting within its walls a programme of artistic residencies as well as innovative curatorial projects conceived together with other galleries and institutions.

Willing to nurture the development of contemporary art and visual culture through different generations of artists, T293 showcases that which is the excellence in the contemporary art field not only through its far-reaching exhibitions programme, but also with the support of projects and publications that act as catalysts for the development of fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art.

http://www.t293.it/gallery/

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Wilkinson Gallery, London

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After cutting his curating teeth running a project space for three years based in the front room of his Paddington Flat, Anthony Wilkinson opened his first gallery behind an unshowy grey façade on Cambridge Heath Road in 1998, at a time when you could still count the number of commercial galleries in the area on the fingers of one hand.

Co-run with wife Amanda, over the past nine years Wilkinson has become an established presence on the East End art scene with a roster of respected British and international artists including George Shaw, Silke Schatz and Matthew Higgs. Wise enough to have bought their space – “I’ve seen a lot of people rent spaces when they were cheap, bring up the area and then get priced out when landlords realised they could triple the rent,” Anthony explains – the Wilkinsons have since sold up and invested in a new gallery up the road on Vyner Street. Rather than take over an existing space, as many of the more recent artworld residents of the street have done, the Wilkinsons have brought in architect Bobby Desai and knocked down, redesigned and rebuilt an impressive new 6,000 square-foot building housing two museum-sized galleries plus an additional project space. They open this week to coincide with September’s Time Out First Thursdays evening of events with a show by German painter Thoralf Knobloch, plus a film installation by late 1970s New York film collective ‘On the Collective for Living Cinema’ (a collaboration with New York’s Orchard Gallery) in the project room.

It may be a major upgrade in size and style from their original gallery but both Anthony and Amanda emphasise that it’s not about a change in artists or ethos. “We put a lot of thought into designing the spaces with our artists in mind,” Amanda explains. “The downstairs space is more raw, with no natural light, perfect for showing video work by artists like Joan Joanas, whereas the upstairs space is more beautiful with skylights, which will be much better for our painters. The project space will be a much more spontaneous and flexible gallery. It’s really about allowing our artists to push themselves. Sometimes when curators see artists in a smaller space they get nervous about how their work might translate if they were offered a show in a major public gallery, so we want to encourage our artists to use and experiment with the spaces.”

While many East End gallerists seek out a West End postcode when it’s time to expand, the Wilkinsons had no hesitation about remaining in the east. “Vyner Street has always had a great feel about it,” Anthony says. “We didn’t decide to move here because it had become a thing; we’ve been in the area for a long time and when we saw the original building we knew that it was right. Initially we hadn’t planned to knock it down and start again but in the end it became more cost-effective. It’s been quite a challenge to create a building from scratch – you keep having to remember to include the really obvious things – like a letterbox, but we’re really happy with how it’s turned out. It’s still Wilkinson; it’s just our gallery in a different and much more exciting space.”

http://www.wilkinsongallery.com

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Photograpy: Lauren Greenfield

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Lauren Greenfield, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, 1997, Girl Culture, 2002 and Thin, 2006

Acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is considered a preeminent chronicler of youth culture, gender, fashion, media, wealth, beauty, and consumer culture as a result of her groundbreaking photographic projects (Girl Culture, Fast Forward, and THIN) and her documentary films (THIN, kids + money, Beauty CULTure, and The Queen of Versailles).

Her photographs have been widely published and exhibited, and are in many museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Harvard University Archive, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Clinton Library, and the French Ministry of Culture.

In 2012, she received one of the highest honors in documentary film, the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary film, “The Queen of Versailles”. In 2003, American PHOTO Magazine named her one of the “The 25 Most Important Photographers Now.” In 2005, she shared the number three spot of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” (American Photo Magazine). She is the recipient of numerous photography awards and grants, including the ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographer (1996), the Art Directors Club Gold Cube for Photography (2011), a National Geographic Grant, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant, the People’s Choice Award at the Moscow Biennial, and the NPPA Community Awareness Award.

In 2009, Greenfield was one of eight photographers featured in the inaugural exhibit (L8S ANG3L3S) at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. In 2010, Greenfield’s work was also featured in a major historical exhibition at the Getty Museum entitled Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties (2010). Her THIN and Girl Culture traveling exhibitions, curated by Trudy Wilner Stack, have been seen by half a million people in over thirty venues around the world.

Greenfield’s first feature-length documentary film, THIN, aired on HBO, and is accompanied by a photography book of the same name (Chronicle Books, 2006). In this unflinching and incisive study, Greenfield embarks on an emotional journey through the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, a residential facility dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders. The feature-length documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Direction in 2007. It won the Grierson Award for best documentary at the London Film Festival, and Grand Jury Prizes at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Jackson Hole Film Festival. The project was featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN and was excerpted in People Magazine. Greenfield’s followed-up documentary short film, entitled kids + money, was selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2008, won the Audience Award at the AFI Film Festival, the Hugo Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Television Awards, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary, the Cinema Eye Honor for Nonfiction Filmmaking, and broadcast on HBO in 2008. The film is a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives. Her third documentary short, Beauty CULTure, was commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography in 2011, and became the central installation for a record-setting exhibition in Los Angeles (also entitled Beauty CULTure). Shot in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, this film is a critical examination of “…beauty in popular culture, the narrowing definition of beauty in contemporary society, and the influence of media messages on the female body image”. The short was selected to premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Shorts Program in 2012.

In January 2012, Lauren Greenfield received the Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary feature film, The Queen of Versailles, which was released theatrically in 2012 (Magnolia Pictures), and will broadcast on Bravo in 2013. The film went on to become on of the top-grossing documentary films in 2012, received numerous awards, nominations, and “Best of 2012” accolades, including the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFFDOCS), a Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, a Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival, and a prestigious nomination for Best Documentary Film, 2012 by the International Documentary Association (IDA). In 2013, Greenfield was one on only five directors nominated by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for the year 2012. According to PBS/POV, The Queen of Versailles was ranked #2 of the Top 10 Documentaries of 2012, based on awards, nominations, peer recommendations, and other ranking criteria.

Greenfield graduated from Harvard in 1987 and started her career as an intern for the National Geographic Magazine. She lectures on her photography, youth culture, popular culture, and body image at museums and universities around the world.

http://www.laurengreenfield.com

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Art: Arnar Asgeirsson

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Arnar Asgeirsson, Intersection #2, and Intersection, digital print, 50 x 65 cm, 2014

Arnar Ásgeirsson practice involves video works, animations, drawings, installations and sculptures with performative aspects deal with the queston of creative ownership, originality, the relation between high- and low art, reproduction and the differences between creating and copying.

Inserting objects as characters into new scenarios, creating the possibility of narratives to emerge. Believing that appropriated objects and re-produced items become works of art and shed light on their own history and their prior, current and future surroundings.

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Artist: Simon Denny

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Simon Denny, New Management, 2014, Screen Crush Comparison 1, 2013 and TEDxVaduz redux, 2014, Installation Views

In a clipping from a 1914 edition of The New York Times, it is reported that dancer Paul Swan collapsed in the middle of the stage during his vaudeville debut. Almost a century later, on the evening that Simon Denny’s most recent exhibition opened at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, a perfectly aligned row of freestanding double canvases imitating flat-screen television sets crumbled like dominoes after a visitor inadvertently knocked them over. Like the seven paintings on duty that night, the performer billed by the press as “the most beautiful man” soon returned to the stage, put back on his feet by assistants, and finished his number to ecstatic acclaim.

Appropriately opening with a physical collapse in the gallery, Denny’s first solo exhibition in New York drew its material from two market crashes. “Corporate Video Decisions” is the title of similar exhibitions he presented at Michael Lett gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and now at Friedrich Petzel in New York – but also that of a trade magazine from the late 1980s, circulated to corporations to help them boost consumer confidence using video after a market meltdown. In addition to a company website called Diligent Board Portals offering “paperless solutions” to corporate boardrooms, the defunct magazine provided images and text that Denny appropriated for works shown at Petzel – digital prints on canvas, videos, and found objects tracing an arc in time between the current recession and one that took place some 20 years ago.

In the video “Corporate Video Decisions Archive Interface Design” (2011), played onto a Samsung LN46C750 46-inch monitor at the entrance of the gallery, one recession is literally dragged and dropped into the other. Produced with the help of a corporate DVD designer, the video is based on Cover Flow, an animated, three-dimensional graphical user interface integrated within iTunes and other Apple Inc. products for visually flipping through content. Loaded with a digital archive of the magazine Corporate Video Decisions, Denny’s video endlessly cycles through issues of the publication as one would through a collection of mp3s. Like a rare album downloaded from an obscure blog, the colorful 1980s graphic design and zany creative photography of the cover pages were imported into a familiar interface – not just that of Cover Flow, but of Denny’s work, in which the creative subjectivity of the artist virtuosically hearkens back to the artist’s role as a consumer free from the needs of production.

When iTunes abstracts physical records into digital files, it merely reflects what Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction,” a moment in which a part of the economy falters to make room for growth and innovation elsewhere – Cover Flow is one such digital music venture that was born from the demise of physical records. Denny’s work often functions by latching onto such economic cycles of obsolescence to generate artworks.

If those who lose their jobs during a recession usually have to settle for lesser pay elsewhere (that is, if they can find work at all), outdated objects like records, books, and electronics can greatly appreciate on niche markets kept afloat by collectors and hipsters. Something like this is happening when a television set thrown onto the curb or a defunct trade magazine becomes a painting or a sculpture in a gallery. For a residency, Denny once transformed photographic reproductions of an art center’s complete inventory of audiovisual equipment (including many outdated CRT monitors and VHS players) into relief paintings – a set of two canvases printed with the same photographic image of the television and superimposed using metal fittings adjusted to the real object’s thickness.

Produced using still images of the Samsung monitor hung in the same room, seven such canvases were shown freestanding on a drop cloth of transparent plastic at the center of Petzel’s exhibition space. Organized by the rigid architecture of Cover Flow, each canvas was an austere and cold, yet jazzy collage in which images of Corporate Video Decisions’s (the magazine) cover pages hovered above smaller images of their own content, which formed a tapestry in the background. Their display in a row formation was reminiscent of the production chain, or perhaps a waiting queue at the Social Security office – after all, aren’t these paintings literally just televisions that don’t work?

As the multiplying signs of social unrest amidst depressed economies and high unemployment may be demonstrating for the nth time at the moment, what we call “work” today is also, if not mainly, a means to keep bodies from doing something else. Typically at home in front of the TV or staring at the wall, the unemployed body is a sort of toxic asset whose destructive potential must be managed for the existing order to prevail. For “Decommissioned Trading Table/Workstation” (2011), a desk obtained from a recently bankrupt German corporation was disassembled piece by piece and hung on the wall to resemble a depressed financial graph. Here, Denny performs a prank he has been known for in the past: storing garbage in the smart fridge – or in other words, the gallery.

Mobilizing creativity to repackage and sell the sad relic – his “Decommissioned Trading Table/Workstation” functions as a sort of artistic Rettungspaket (rescue package) that ingenuously cures what the failing economy has transformed into junk by putting it back to work in the orgone accumulator of an art gallery.
After their collapse on opening night, the painting reliefs were back to a marching regiment formation in the center of the room, just in front of the disassembled trading table. If these hot canvases – hot in both the McLuhan-esque and “market” senses of the word – could catch on fire, they would burn like ice. Astutely directed by Denny, their invisible ballet exuded a sense of optimism. When screens and markets freeze, art still works.

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Galleries: David Zwirner, New York, London

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David Zwirner Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in New York City and London owned by David Zwirner that is active in both the primary and secondary markets.

The gallery opened in 1993 on the ground floor of 43 Greene Street in SoHo. In 2002, the gallery moved to 525 West 19th Street in Chelsea. In 2006, it expanded from 10,000 square feet (930 m2) to 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2), adding spaces at 519 and 533 West 19th Street. This allows the gallery to mount three independent, full-scale exhibitions simultaneously. From 2000 to 2009, Zwirner was a partner with Iwan Wirth in Zwirner & Wirth.

In March 2012, the gallery announced its expansion to Europe (in London’s Mayfair neighborhood). It opened in October 2012 with a solo exhibition of new works by Luc Tuymans.

In February 2013, the gallery also opened an additional 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The five-story building was designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf and will become the first commercial art gallery to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

David Zwirner (born October 23, 1964) is an American art dealer and owner of the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City and London (which opened in October 2012 with an exhibition by Luc Tuymans). In 2013, Zwirner was listed at number two in the ArtReview annual “Power 100” list and in 2012, he was listed at number two in Forbes magazine’s “America’s Most Powerful Art Dealers.” 

http://www.davidzwirner.com

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Wojciech Kosma, “In the beginning was the word,” Rehearsal II

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Wojciech Kosma, In the beginning was the word, Rehearsal II, 2011 and The—family Part 1: Pieta, 2013

It’s not often that we get to spy on each other’s private relationships. Reading a Facebook wall is no substitute for watching a couple alone in bed. Is it even possible for intimacy to be glimpsed from the outside – or does it become something else just by virtue of being watched? If we could witness the inner workings of others’ relationships, how would it change the way we think about our own? Over the past two years, the artist Wojciech Kosma has established a framework for performance art that maximizes the act of self-exposure, asking whether it is precisely through the act of public performance that the most ‘authentic’ relationships can develop.

Kosma is a Polish artist based in Berlin. His artistic history is varied – he has a background in computer science and music composition – but since around 2011, he’s become devoted to an increasingly unified pursuit, dubbed The—family, in which he creates performances using live actors. To the naked eye, each performance looks like a pair of close friends or lovers have landed in a room without instructions and been left to their own devices. Kosma’s influence is remote, his role distilled to the creator of conditions within which action can develop – a kind of John Cassavetes without a camera.

The most recent iteration of The—family series of performances, Pieta, occurred in January 2013 at LEAP overlooking Alexanderplatz in Berlin. For two consecutive nights, viewers were given a window into the relationship between Brian Doose, a 24-year-old American and Ingrid Sattes, a 51-year-old German. Sattes and Doose circled each other on a mat in the middle of the room: joking, fighting, fondling, singing, arguing and kissing.

Seemingly without self-censorship, Sattes gave a tearful account of a recent meeting with her ex-Nazi father, confessed age anxiety and body issues and sought reassurance and comfort from her partner – who at varying moments either gave or withheld affection. As power dynamics emerge between various actors in Kosma’s pieces, they become archetypes for relationship typologies we’ve all experienced in some form or another. Perhaps one falls into preconditioned patterns when on stage. Or perhaps we are all performing received notions of intimacy even when alone together.

Kosma orchestrates The—family relationships within a prescribed space. The people he selects rehearse regularly and rigorously in a defined area where he is always present but which is generally open to visitors. During this process the performers’ relationships begin to leak out into non-performance time; they meet the rest of the group and go out together – re-situating their relationships into the ‘regular’ arena of social performance. The difference is that those of us who have seen them perform have seen them at their most vulnerable moments – we know them, obliquely, in the way we are only used to knowing a best friend or a lover.

Far beyond the range of ‘performance as performance’, Kosma’s work elucidates the permeable membranes of artistic production and social space. Over time he is establishing a form of community between both realms. The—family is not a direct product of the art world but an outlet from its sphere within the scope of its influence.

http://frieze-magazin.de/archiv/kritik/wojciech-kosma/?lang=en

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Artist: Pennacchio Argentato

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Pennacchio Argentato, Survival Upgrade, 2013 and Dude where is my career?,  2009

In May 2013, footage emerged in the media of a man waving a bloodied meat cleaver in the air whilst reciting the mantra to the camera: ‘You [people] will never be safe’. The phrase formed part of a political message delivered in the style of a home video to the British public by the man who, along with one other, had hacked a British soldier to death on the streets of Woolwich just moments before. The footage was threatening, macabre and darkly arresting; its rapid dissemination on the Internet pointed to a grim, voyeuristic fascination with the brutal crime and its motivations.

It is this interaction of human events with the complex machinations of technology that appears to fascinate collaborators Pasquale Pennacchio and Marisa Argentato. The two artists wrenched the phrase ‘you will never be safe’ from this context as part of their exhibition ‘Survival Upgrade’ and hung it in the centre of Van Horbourg, a non-profit curator’s collective operating within a temporary art space in Zurich run by founders and co-directors Sandra Oehy and Roger Meier. Far from the original setting of the crime, the sinister words were objectified by the artists, who frequently use the technologies of fabrication and projection to attempt to engage with the hypnotic and transformative powers of technology.

Pennacchio Argentato cut the words out of Perspex with a light-transmitting film on one face. Behind this, a projector was set up at a distance to transmit swirling fractal images through the Perspex and onto the front surface of the text. The overall effect was that of gaudy kitsch, visually arresting when you first enter the space and face the text, but less convincing as you move around and to the rear of it. This was largely due to the material itself, which is flat and flimsy, slightly undermining its own apparent status as the centrepiece of the exhibition. The flatness of the material did however have one curiously confounding effect, which was to negate the very depth of the images projected onto it. By turning the freestanding words into a screen upon which the abstract receding fractals were projected, the artists managed to debunk any conventional optical illusion of depth commonly associated with filmic projection, or indeed with any projection onto the solid wall of a gallery, because in this case the audience could walk behind the ‘screen’. The projection, in other words, was revealed for the ruse it really is, while at the same time the words lost their meaning in deference to the hypnotic optical effects they have become a latent surface for.

In past exhibitions, notably ‘Five o’clock shadows’ at T293 Gallery, Rome in 2010 and the group show ‘Where Language Stops’ at Wilkinson Gallery in London in 2011, Pennacchio Argentato have exhibited immense planar forms cast from concrete, wood and fibreglass that slide, fold, slither or droop lazily across the floors and walls of galleries. But in the second part of ‘Survival Upgrade’, the artists’ almost comically anthropomorphic sculptures were reinterpreted as prosthetic human limbs cast out of Carbon-Kevlar, a material favoured by the US army for the manufacture of soldiers’ combat helmets and other protective gear. This is a new material for the artists, who have previously worked with cast concrete and Perspex, yet the experiment seems successful. The Carbon-Kevlar appears both sleekly organic and awkwardly mechanistic, able to mould itself symbiotically with the human body whilst retaining the appearance of a hard, shiny shell, cast off like the plasticized robotic detritus of some future world in which the technological extension of the body has already outlived its usefulness. These apparatuses occupied the periphery of the space in which the text formed the centrepiece, yet they were by no means secondary to it. Flung to the edges of the white room by some centrifugal force, either adhering to the walls or scattered about the floor for the viewer to pick his or her path between, the prosthetic limbs were rendered as junk, as the bodies they were made for have evolved – or mutated.

http://www.frieze.com/shows/review/pennacchio-argentato/

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Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, The Manhattan Love Suicides: Thrust in Me, 1985

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Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, The Manhattan Love Suicides: Thrust in Me, 1985, 35 mm, black-and-white, 35 minutes.

The Manhattan Love Suicides are a series of short films by Richard Kern: Stray Dogs, Woman At The Wheel, Thrust In Me and I Hate You Now.

“Stray Dogs” concerns an artist being followed thru the streets by an obsessive young man (a terrific David Wojnarowicz) who tries to gain his attention. He follows the artist back to his apartment and begins literally tearing himself apart in frustration – at this point the artist laughs at him and begins to sketch his dying body.

“Woman At The Wheel” follows a woman who takes her boyfriends (1 at a time) for a drive – but they only spark arguments and insist on taking the wheel. She eventually beats one of them senseless, and wrecks the car.

“Thrust In Me”, stars Nick Zedd as both the suicidal girl and her thrusting boyfriend. Includes a great cameratrick orgasm of monumental proportions.

“I Hate You Now” features Tommy Turner as a facially deformed drug dealer and Amy Turner as his girlfriend. The film repeatedly taunts the notion of “deformity and ugliness” before ending in a serious iron-burn and a barbell suicide.

Richard Kern (born 1954 in North Carolina) is a New York underground filmmaker, writer and photographer. He first came to underground prominence as part of the underground cultural explosion in the East Village of New York City in the 1980s, with erotic and experimental films featuring underground personalities of the time such as Lydia Lunch, David Wojnarowicz, Sonic Youth, Kembra Pfahler, Karen Finley and Henry Rollins in movies like The Right Side of My Brain and Fingered. Like many of the musicians around him, Kern had a deep interest in the aesthetics of extreme sex, violence, and perversion and was one of the leading lights of the movement which Nick Zedd coined the Cinema of Transgression.

Kern’s first dabbling in the arts was a series of self-produced underground magazines featured art, poetry, photography, and fiction by Kern and several friends. These hand-stapled and photocopied zines expressed the bleakness of New York City’s East Village in the early 1980s. Kern’s first zine was the bi-monthly “The Heroin Addict,” which was later renamed to “The Valium Addict.” About 12 issues of these two zines were produced, along with the occasional special issue. This phase of Kern’s career lasted from late 1979 to around 1983.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0273777/

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Photography: Chris Steele-Perkins

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STC1999014Z00046-05AAFGHANISTAN. Combattenti talebani che si muovono contro le forze di Masood. 1996.

AFGHANISTAN. 1994. Kabul. Trying out artificial limbs at ICRC clinic in Kabul.

Chris Steele-Perkins, Virtual reality display by Subaru, Japan, 1999, Street Children in Luanda, Angola, 1999, Taliban fighters move against Masood’s forces, Afghanistan, 1996 and Trying out artificial limbs at ICRC clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1994

Christopher Horace Steele-Perkins (born 28 July 1947) is a British photographer and member of Magnum Photos, best known for his depiction of Africa, Afghanistan, England, and Japan.

Steele-Perkins photographed wars and disasters in the third world, leaving Viva in 1979 to join Magnum Photos as a nominee (on encouragement by Josef Koudelka), and becoming an associate member in 1981 and a full member in 1983. He continued to work in Britain, taking photographs published as The Pleasure Principle, an examination (in colour) of life in Britain but also a reflection of himself. With Philip Marlow, he successfully pushed for the opening of a London office for Magnum; the proposal was approved in 1986. Steele-Perkins served as the President of Magnum from 1995 to 1998.

Steele-Perkins made four trips to Afghanistan in the 1990s, sometimes staying with the Taliban, the majority of whom “were just ordinary guys” who treated him courteously. Together with James Nachtwey and others, he was also fired on, prompting him to reconsider his priorities: in addition to the danger of the front line:

“you never get good pictures out of it. I’ve yet to see a decent front-line war picture. All the strong stuff is a bit further back, where the emotions are.”

A book of his black and white images, Afghanistan, was published first in French, and later in English and in Japanese. The review by Philip Hensher in the Spectator read in part:

“These astonishingly beautiful photographs are more moving than can be described; they hardly ever dwell on physical brutalities, but on the bleak rubble and desert of the country, punctuated by inexplicable moments of formal beauty, even pastoral bliss… the grandeur of the images comes from Steele-Perkins never neglecting the human, the individual face in the great crowd of history.”

Work in South Korea included a contribution to a Hayward Gallery touring exhibition of photographs of contemporary slavery, “Documenting Disposable People”, in which Steele-Perkins interviewed and made black-and-white photographs of Korean “comfort women”. “Their eyes were really important to me: I wanted them to look at you, and for you to look at them”, he wrote. “They’re not going to be around that much longer, and it was important to give this show a history.” The photographs were published within Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery.

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Hauser & Wirth, Art Gallery

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Hauser & Wirth is a gallery of contemporary art and modern masters, with locations in Zurich, London, New York, Somerset and Los Angeles.

Hauser & Wirth was founded in Zurich in 1992 by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser. In 1996, the gallery’s first permanent location, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, opened in the former Löwenbräu brewery building, along with other contemporary art galleries, the Kunsthalle Zürich, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich.

Hauser & Wirth opened its first London gallery on Piccadilly in 2003 with an installation by Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy and, in 2010, the gallery opened a second permanent space on London’s Savile Row.

In 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened a new space at the historic premises of 15 Old Bond Street, shared with the UK’s leading old master dealer, Colnaghi. The gallery hosted two to three twentieth century and contemporary shows each year, including exhibitions of works by Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Subodh Gupta, Henry Moore and Francis Picabia, before the space closed in 2010. Hauser & Wirth also opened an enormous temporary project space in London’s East End in 2005. Hauser & Wirth Coppermill showed exhibitions by Martin Kippenberger and Dieter and Björn Roth, Christoph Büchel and Martin Creed before it closed in July 2007.

In September 2009, the gallery inaugurated its outdoor sculpture programme in Southwood Garden, St James’s Church, London, with an exhibition by Swiss artist Josephsohn. Also in September, Hauser & Wirth opened a New York gallery in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with ‘Allan Kaprow: Yard’, an Environment first made in 1961 by Allan Kaprow, the American artist known as the inventor of ‘Happenings.’

In October 2010, Hauser & Wirth London opened their new gallery, designed by Selldorf Architects, at 23 Savile Row with the exhibition, ‘Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works’. In December 2013, Hauser & Wirth closed their Piccadilly gallery permanently.

In 2013, Hauser & Wirth opened their second New York gallery at 511 West 18th Street, in what used to be the Roxy. Located on the second level of a Chelsea garage, the gallery draws visitors up a long, sweeping stairway before revealing the 10,000 square feet exhibition space. Several artists contributed to the project including Björn Roth, who designed the gallery’s Roth Bar as a tribute to his father Dieter Roth; and Martin Creed, who created a custom installation for the entrance stair hall.

In July 2014, Hauser & Wirth Somerset opened on the outskirts of Bruton in Somerset. Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a gallery and arts centre focused on a core belief in conservation, education and sustainability, and is designed around several renovated Grade II-listed historical buildings as well as two new purpose built galleries on the site of Durslade Farm. Accompanied by an extensive education programme and regular artists-in-residence, the gallery aims to share contemporary art with new audiences and to engage the public with art, the countryside and the local community. In September 2014, a landscaped garden designed for the gallery by internationally renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf was launched, including a perennial meadow that sits behind the gallery buildings.

http://www.hauserwirth.com

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The Dark Web: It Sounds Sinister and It Certainly Does Hide a Multitude of Very Dark Dealings

It’s a technological arms race, pure and simple.

That’s how Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net, sums up the constantly evolving battle in cyberspace between terrorists and the intelligence agencies trying to discover their hidden communications.

“The unbelievable growth in widely available (encryption) software will make their job much harder,” he said. “What it will mean is a shift away from large-scale traffic network analysis to almost old-fashioned intelligence work to infiltrate groups – more and people on the ground as opposed to someone on a computer in Cheltenham.”

In the Second World War there was Enigma, the German cipher machine eventually decoded by Britain. There was also steganography, the art of shrinking and concealing information inside objects such as microdots, usually only detectable by those who knew exactly where to look.

In Cold War days spies sat next to each other on park benches or left secret messages to be picked up later in “dead letter drops” behind objects such as flowerpots or in crevices in walls.

In the 1990s extremist groups used satellite phones and faxes to communicate, with paper messages from Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan churning out of a fax machine operated in North London by his UK representative. Already that sounds almost prehistoric.

For close to two decades now the internet has been the river through which most terrorist communications flow, hiding amongst the legitimate, the ordinary, the innocuous or the just conventionally criminal.

The dark web sounds sinister and it certainly does hide a multitude of very dark dealings. But the sheer volume of ordinary people now using it as a matter of course have inevitably pulled it closer into the mainstream of digital communications.

The more people who use it, the easier, in theory, it will be for terrorists to hide their own messages amongst its terabytes of data. But the dark web does have benign uses and while it presents a growing challenge to counter-terrorism authorities this is a phenomenon that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31948818

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Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee

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Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee, 3 February 2015 – 12 April 2015
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

The content of the exhibition focuses predominantly on a body of work that Sassen made in Pikin Slee, Suriname in 2013. Pikin Slee is the second-largest village on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the Surinamese rainforest. The exhibition consists of black and white and colour works shot on an analogue camera.

In her first visit to Pikin Slee in the summer of 2012, Sassen was intrigued by the village and its inhabitants. Her eye was caught by the overwhelming natural beauty and the Saramacca’s very traditional way of living, combined with the more mundane objects which seemed to seep through daily life. The Saramacca community are isolated from the outside world, living without running water, electricity, roads or the internet. The only way to access the village is by canoe, a journey of about three hours up-river. They grow their food on small agricultural plots, producing cassava bread, pressed maripa palm oil and dried coconut.

Shot mainly in black and white and of contained format, Sassen’s series of abstract compositions and elusive subjects are an exploration of the beauty of the everyday, an investigation of the sculptural qualities of the ordinary.

“My memories of Africa have always played a major role in my life and in my work. I guess that’s because they filled my very first consciousness. It’s in my spine, my blue-print so to speak… When I returned back from Kenya, all I knew was my life there, so Holland seemed very strange and new to me… Now that I’ve travelled so much in Africa over the past 12 years, my ideas about the continent and about myself in relation to it, have changed of course. But it’s a continuous journey, both in the inside world and the outside world. My work is a reflection of that journey.”

Sassen was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, where she now lives. She first studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Ateliers Arnhem. Her work was first published in avant-garde fashion magazines and is regularly commissioned by prominent designers. Sassen was included in the main exhibition of the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013. A retrospective of 17 years of her fashion work, In and Out of Fashion, opened at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, in 2012, accompanied by a book published by Prestel (Munich); the exhibition travelled to the Rencontres d’Arles festival and then the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. The book won the Kees Scherer prize for best Dutch photography book of 2011/2.

She was awarded the Dutch art prize, the Prix de Rome, in 2007, and in 2011 won the International Center of Photography in New York’s Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. She was one of six artists selected for the 2011 New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Solo exhibitions have taken place at FORMA in Milan (2009) and FOAM in Amsterdam (2008), among other venues.

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Porn vs. Eroticism

In 1969, Susan Sontag had referred in her article “The Pornographic Imagination” to three domains of pornography: in social history, as a psychological phenomenon, and within the arts. She claims that from the social and psychological standpoint all pornographic texts have the same status – they are documents. As a psychological phenomenon, for example, pornography is the representation of the fantasies of infantile sexual life for purchase by so-called adults, and social pornography becomes “the disease of a whole culture.”

From art’s point of view, some of these texts may become ‘something else’. When she argues for the recognition of artistic values in certain contemporary pornographic literature, she refrains from the feminist movement’s negative attitude towards all kinds of pornography since, in her view, while pornography is commonly treated as only a social or psychological phenomenon and a locus for moral concern, there can be no argument that some books that she terms as pornographic are interesting and important as works of art.

Georges Bataille takes a similar approach in his book The Accursed Share (1993), arguing that humanity forms various ‘worlds’ that exclude and ignore one another; two of these are eroticism and thought. It isn’t that man’s sexual activity is forbidden in principle, says Bataille; only eroticism that is “marked off by the violation of rules” is forbidden. Sontag suggests that “’the obscene’ is a primal notion of human consciousness, something much more profound than the backwash of a sick society’s aversion to the body.”

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Galleries: Gagosian Gallery

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Gagosian Gallery is a contemporary art gallery owned and directed by Larry Gagosian. There are eleven gallery spaces: three in New York; two in London; one in each of Beverly Hills, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong.

Gagosian Gallery began in 1979 in Los Angeles. In 1985, the business moved from Los Angeles to New York. In 1986, Gagosian opened a second space on West 23rd Street in Manhattan. The Gagosian Gallery program made exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as presenting works of Modern art.

In the 1980s, the Los Angeles gallery showed the work of young contemporary artists such as Eric Fischl, Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Salle, as the New York City space mounted exhibitions dedicated to the history of The New York School, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art by showing the earlier work of Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Willem de Kooning.

In 1989, a new and more spacious gallery opened in New York City at 980 Madison Avenue with the inaugural exhibition: “The Maps of Jasper Johns.” During its first two years, the Madison Avenue space, once used by Sotheby’s, presented work by Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Jackson Pollock. Shortly after, artists such as Walter de Maria, Philip Taaffe, Francesco Clemente, and Peter Halley joined the gallery.

In spring of 2000, Gagosian became an international gallery with the opening of a Caruso St John-designed space on Heddon Street in Picadilly, London, then the largest commercial art gallery in the city. The U.K. gallery inaugurated its exhibitions program with a performance by the Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft, followed by an exhibition of works by Chris Burden. In September 2000, in New York, Gagosian held the Hirst show, Damien Hirst: Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings.

A second London Gallery, also designed by Caruso St John, on Britannia Street, opened in May 2004 with a paintings and sculpture show by Cy Twombly. Comparable to the Chelsea exhibition space in size, this addition was then the largest commercial art gallery in London. It accommodated large sculpture, video pieces and installations such as Martin Kippenberger’s show, The Magical Misery Tour, Brazil. The Heddon Street location closed in July 2005, and a new storefront space on Davies Street opened simultaneously with an historic exhibition of Pablo Picasso prints.

In 2010, Gagosian opened its Paris gallery at 4, rue de Ponthieu, where it debuted with an exhibition of five new acrylic abstracts and five bronze sculptures by Cy Twombly. Priced between $4 million and $5 million each, all the paintings sold before the gallery officially opened. Located off Rue du Rhône in Geneva’s business district, a 140-square-metre Art Deco space was opened as the gallery’s Swiss outpost later that year.

In early 2011, the gallery, which has had a representative in Hong Kong since 2008, opened a 5,200-square-foot (480 m2) facility at the Pedder Building there. The outpost was inaugurated with an exhibition by Damien Hirst. That year, a survey of dealers in The Wall Street Journal estimated that Gagosian Gallery’s annual sales approached $1 billion. In May 2011 alone, roughly half the works for sale by the major auction houses in New York (evening sales only) were by artists on the gallery’s roster.

In October 2012, Gagosian Gallery opened a new gallery outside of Paris in Le Bourget. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the 17,760-square-foot (1,650 m2) space is the 12th Gagosian location worldwide.

http://www.gagosian.com

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Whitechapel Gallery, London

The Whitechapel Gallery is a public art gallery on the north side of Whitechapel High Street, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Designed by Charles Harrison Townsend, it was founded in 1901 as one of the first publicly funded galleries for temporary exhibitions in London, and it has a long track record for education and outreach projects, now focused on the Whitechapel area’s deprived populations. It exhibits the work of contemporary artists, as well as organising retrospective exhibitions and shows that are of interest to the local community.

The Whitechapel Gallery played an important part in the history of post-war British art, several important exhibitions were held at the Whitechapel Gallery including This is Tomorrow in 1956, the first UK exhibition by Mark Rothko in 1961, and in 1964 The New Generation show which featured John Hoyland, Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield among others.

The Whitechapel Gallery exhibited Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in 1938 as part of a touring exhibition organised by Roland Penrose to protest the Spanish Civil War.

Initiated by members of the Independent Group, the exhibition brought Pop Art to the general public as well as introducing some of the artists, concepts, designers and photographers that would define the Swinging Sixties.

Throughout its history, the Whitechapel Gallery had a series of open exhibitions that were a strong feature for the area’s artist community, but by the early 1990s these open shows became less relevant as emerging artists moved to other areas.

In the late 1970s, the critical importance of the Whitechapel Gallery was displaced by newer venues such as the Hayward Gallery, but in the 1980s the Gallery enjoyed a resurgence under the Directorship of Nicholas Serota. The Whitechapel Gallery had a major refurbishment in 1986 and completed, in April 2009, a two-year programme of work to incorporate the former Passmore Edwards Library building next door, vacated when Whitechapel Idea Store opened. This has doubled the physical size of the Gallery and nearly tripled the available exhibition space, and now allows the Whitechapel Gallery to remain open to the public all year round.

The Whitechapel has premiered international artists such as Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Nan Goldin, and provided a showcase for Britain’s most significant artists including Gilbert & George, John Hoyland, Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, Peter Doig, Ian McKeever and Mark Wallinger.

http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/about/

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Artist: Mark Leckey

Mark Leckey Artist
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Mark Leckey, From the Exhibition, See We Assemble, 2013

Mark Leckeyis a British artist, working with collage art, music and video. His found art and found footage pieces span several videos, most notably Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) and Industrial Lights and Magic (2008), for which he won the 2008 Turner Prize.

Through a multi-disciplinary practice that encompasses sculpture, sound, film, and performance, British artist Mark Leckey explores the potential of the human imagination to appropriate and to animate a concept, an object, or an environment. Drawing on his personal experiences as a London-based artist, who spent his formative years in the north of England, Leckey returns frequently to ideas of personal history, desire and transformation in his work.

Leckey was born in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 1964. In a 2008 interview in The Guardian, he described how he grew up in a working-class family and became a ‘casual’ in his youth. He left school at 16 with one O Level, in art, and at 19 became obsessed with learning about ancient civilizations. In the Guardian interview he described himself as an autodidact, “That’s why I use bigger words than I should. It’s a classic sign.” Following a conversation with his stepfather he took his A Levels and went to an art college in Newcastle, but didn’t enjoy it: “It was the early 1990s, when critical theory had swept the nation. The place was full of hippies from down south who were reading Mervyn Peake and Tolkien, and suddenly they were made to read Barthes and Derrida. It was like a Maoist year zero. I became very suspicious of the merits of critical theory…”

Mark Leckey’s video work has as its subject the “tawdry but somehow romantic elegance of certain aspects of British culture.”He likes the idea of letting “culture use you as an instrument.” but adds that the pretentiousness that artists sometimes fall into is destructive to the artistic process: “What gets in the way is being too clever, or worrying about how something is going to function, or where it’s going to be. When you start thinking of something as art, you’re fucked: you’re never going to advance.” Matthew Higgs has described his work as “possess[ing] a strange nonartlike quality, operating, as it does, on the knife’s edge where art and life meet”.

On Pleasure Bent is a body of work in which Leckey attempts to form a kaleidoscopic memoir, assembling his past from the imagery that he believes conditioned him. The exhibition will include all new works, several being exhibited publicly for the first time. Objects will include LED screens featuring looped animations, animated screens made up of highly-magnified computer screens silk screened with images, as well as cinema lobby style ’standees’ and a trailer for a new video.

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