Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Royal Academy in the nearest future. 2012 Exhibitions, part 1.

In 2012 the Royal Academy is going to hold 5 big exhibitions, with 2-3 of them, in my estimate, promising to be highly exciting. 

The list is as follows.
1. David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture 
    21 January - 9 April 2012
by Jean-Perre Concalves de Lima for the New York Times
Already announced by the museum,  with a special 
highlight of 51 iPad drawings executed by David Hockney in the recent years (iPad being quite recent, especially as an artist's media). 

Monday, 14 November 2011


London is not free of talent. 
One way to discover this is to visit graduation shows of art schools, like the one I've seen this July -  Goldsmiths MA-ers have exhibited their last  works while still students before plunging into the cruel reality of London (and international) art world.
Hirofumi Isoya, Installation View 2011
In the manner of Louis XV, I always have my favori. This time my favouritism could not but fell on the head of  one artist - Hirofumi Isoya, whose work I immediately found truly captivating.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Newly discovered Velasquez to be sold by Bonhams!

Bonhams claims to discover previously unknown portrait by Diego Rodriguez de Sylva y Velazquez (1599-1660).  The painting will be on sale in December with an estimate of  £2,000,000 - 3,000,000.

Understandably, the auction house is  highly excited. The painting, if it is by Velasquez, will be 99th picture known to us today as executed by this great Spanish master (with only 4 in private hands and 94 in the museums).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Frieze as it is (FRIEZE 2011 VIP Opening Pictures)

Jake and Dinos Chapman at White Cube, Frieze 2011 

Pavillion of Art&Design London. Day 0

Few pictures from the Pavillion of Art&Design London (PAD),  modern design and art fair occupying for 5 days (12-16 October 2011) the whole of Berkeley Square, Mayfair.

The fair's website http://www.padlondon.net/ claims that  "Once again Moët Hennessy sponsors the donation of a major piece of Design or Decorative Arts to the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of the Moët Hennessy-PAD London Prize". However,  as it appears the prize has not been awarded this year, due to V&A's  sudden decision to file for a divorce with PAD. Instead of accepting a piece chosen by PAD's judging panel, the museum preferred to receive plain cash (£20, 000) from the Outset Design Fund to make its own choice and purchase a new object.

 Patrick Perrin, co-director of PAD, reported the judging committee  of the prize chaired by architect and designer Nigel Coates to be "very upset". 

(see the front page of  the Arts Newspaper, 12 October 2011)

See more pictures inside

Monday, 3 October 2011

Art in Movement (at the RA and the V&A)

Curious, how two exhibitions which seemingly have nothing to do with each other are  creating a beautiful mosaic in my spotless mind (spotless due to a month break from any exhibitions and museums). 

The first one - a modern wunderkammer "Power of Making"  in the V&A   (on until 2 January 2012),  the second  -  "Degas and the Ballet. Picturing movement" in the Royal Academy (on until 11 December 2011). 

Degas  exhibition is arguably the most gracious pas the RA has performed recently. It presents  an impressive load of stretching, resting, swirling,  'arabesque-ing'  figures drawn, painted and even photographed by the french artist  along  his  life.  Private and state Institutions from all over the world have contributed to the show - ranging from the Pushkin Museum  to the MOMA,  from Jasper  Johns's to University of Oklahoma's collections.   

Thursday, 8 September 2011

cries of children cries of women cries of birds in paint

Guernica, 1937
In April 1937, at the height of the Spanish Civil war, a terrible disaster befell the ancient city  of Guernica. As reported by George Steer, the London Times journalist, three quarters of the city was razed to the ground as a result of the bombing by allied German Luftwaffe "Condor Legion" and the Italian Fascist “Aviazione Legionaria”.

At that moment Picasso was working on a mural for the Paris International Exhibition to be held in the summer of 1937, commissioned by the Spanish Republican government. Or rather not working, since he could not find his creative inspiration, hardly overwhelmed by any patriotic feeling; however learning of Guernica massacre, on 1 May 1937 the artist  set off working fiercely. In 3 months he presented his Guernica to the world, a painting that would become iconic symbol of the war and its destructive power on innocent lives, as well as one of Picasso's most prominent works.  

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Some Material Art in Very Material World

Contemporary art is often blamed for being too easy on the eye and easy on the mind, in a sense that what if often does to the audience is that it SHOCKS. Shock being an instrument to reach the viewer  and transfer the artist's message to his astonished public.
Quite often contemporary art  entertains the public,  better than the Paris Disneyland does. In Disney it is the eery "Hollywood Tower Hotel"  that brings adrenaline all the way down to your toes;  nowadays an art gallery  can encourage the synthesis  of the  stress hormone  with an equal success. 
Jake or Dinos Chapman, White Cube, July 2011http://www.independent.co.uk
Surprise, amusement and even disgust  - these are  the kind of feelings quite often evoked by l'art contemporain.  Shock is a fast and effective way to penetrate the brain of a viewer - not always kind, and almost never elegant.

Jake or Dinos Chapman,
 White Cube, July2011
YBA, in general, and a new Chapman Brothers' show in the White Cube, in particular,  is clearly a vivid illustration  of a thought  above.In the latter Jay Jopling  reveals  unhesitantly why contemporary art exhibition is called a show: "Jake or Dinos Chapman"  is a SHOW  where the first thing I encountered on entering the gallery  was an indignant looking 35-year old woman who was dragging out her daughter and telling her with  outrage, nearly bursting into tears: "Honey, don't look, it is horrible!!!"
(see  Jake Chapman in  Hoxton if you are not that sensitive).

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Piano Art Performace

If one considers relative incomes of Steve Wynn and mine, i can claim that I acquired my first Picasso. Which is simply a ticket to Paris bought 12 hours before the flight + a ticket  to a concert which I saw the same day I arrived.  A 26.06 3PM concert was by  my new musical discovery, and the most precious discovery, a German experimental pianist Hauschka. 
Chiharu Shioto In Silence, 2009, at 3rd Moscow Biennale
It is highly intimate to write about art, because while describing your feeling about an art piece, you are simply giving your audience a chance for them to put you on the psychoanalyst's couch.  There is actually a double psychoanalytic séance: first when you react to art (while listening to music or standing in front of the painting), second time when  you share your reaction with the others. In the latter case the audience acts as a psychoanalyst, as I already wrote, but in the former case it's the artist himself standing as Doctor F. At Hauschka's concert I did feel pressed in the sofa of this not infamous doctor.  Feeling, smiling,  crying,  reflecting,  laughing, writing.

And while Hauschka was getting out new and new instruments that he uses  to alter the sound (tennis balls, vibrators and tape to list a few), it seemed that these were put not inside of the piano, but  inside of me  to alter my inner voice. 


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Useful connections

The connections  between the artists as revealed to me  during the last lecture:
Picasso's "Portrait of Olga" (Musée Picasso, Paris) inspired by Ingres "Portrait of Madame Moitissier" (National Gallery, London):

and, more excitingly, explored myself:

The one on the left - "Madonna" by Munch (lithograph that was sold or at least offered for sale by David Tunick on TEFAF, 2011). 
Let's suppose you have not not noticed the first painting being signed, who do you think it is by?
And now after you saw a signature... Isn't it amazing??

Monday, 25 April 2011

Stanley Spencer. Chapter 1. The failed free love advocate.

The last week i've been restless trying to answer a simple, yet,  rhetorical question: Is Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) a great artist? or rather: Does Stanley Spencer matter?   The questions of this sort appear very challenging whenever you are trying to find an answer yourself, rather than to google the rating 'of the most important British Artists of the 20th century'.
The need of the definite answer  is augmented by the fact that  on June 15-17   the Evill/Frost Collection is on sale at Sotheby's London - simply 'the Greatest Collection of 20th-Century British Art Ever to Come to the Market'.   Along with Spencer's paintings,  this private collection comprises works by Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, and al.
Workmen in the House, 1935

In the vacuum art market  the importance of the artist is positively correlated with the prices of his artworks. What implications can be derived from  the  £1.5-2.5 million estimate set by Sotheby's for  1935 "Workmen in the House"? Is Spencer undervalued?  With Francis Bacon, traditionally  referred to as a great British artist, reaching occasionally 44 million. So far, the highest price ever payed for Spencer was £1.3 million by  a London dealer Ivor Braka,  back in 1998. As Braka states himself,  no one has outbidded him since then.  So is Spencer unfairly cheap? Or do the  prices fetched reflect correctly the number of pages devoted to him in the 'history of art' volume?  Vicious circle, indeed. The connections between value and price have never been straightforward. 

Friday, 15 April 2011

Meeting Leonardo in the lift

''Take Leonardo da Vinci. If you met him, would you really want to talk about the Mona Lisa? It would be like meeting a tiger, but only caring about its kill. No, you want Da Vinci on witchcraft and sodomy. You want him bitching about the Medicis. You want him slagging off Dan Brown..."
(Hugo Rifkind in A hedonist's Guide to Art)

Monday, 11 April 2011

The first not to be the last

I know already what is the next post  going to be about.  I even have an idea of what i am going to write in this  very post, even though the result might has little in common with the initial intentions. I also know what were the previous posts about,  regardless that the world has never got a chance to read them, since the world can not read my thoughts.
Having said that, I am actually starting. In the next sentence. So!..