Thursday, 16 October 2014

London Art Fairs, October - Dec 2014


Frieze London: Big art in a big tent.



Art fairs are one of several great ways to see contemporary art and for buyers to take their first steps to invest in an artist. They can also be good places for artists to gauge current trends, network and meet galleries, depending on the type of fair.

The a-n 2014 degree show guide has this advice on buying work by new artists

At this point I was going to write a bit about Frieze week but I've been very busy recently and there are some good articles in the press:
The Guardian - Why the Frieze art fair works and The best of Frieze art fair 2014 – in pictures
The Independent - Frieze: Co-founder defends 'Ikea for millionaires'

Your big fat London art fair diary


Frieze London & Frieze Masters,  October 15-18
Regent's Park / +44 (0)20 3372 6111 / http://friezelondon.com/
Frieze London is the main event to see contemporary art by established artists. This large show is an expensive ticket but has so far been very popular with the public. The project spaces are worth seeking out to see smaller galleries and artist's groups sharing their wares.
Sadly the ticket prices have now reached eye-watering heights, which I find off-putting as an emerging artist. The fair organisers seem unfazed by this, stating in The Independent that "We sell out all our tickets in advance". In fact their Student/Child/evening and Combined tickets have sold out but the other three ticket types still seem to be available when I checked on Thursday evening.

Sadly the existence of any other art fairs is overshadowed by Frieze, though they also benefit from galleries and dealers descending on London en masse, as some people visit more than one event and the following list of events reflects that fair-hopping opportunity.

The Other Art Fair, October 16-19
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL / +44 (0)20 7886 3062 / http://www.theotherartfair.com/
Blurb: 'The Other Art Fair is a unique platform from which [undiscovered artists] can independently showcase their work: to gallerists, curators, critics and collectors.'
In 2014 The Other Art Fair contained rows of white-walled stands, with artists apparently roughly grouped according to the type of work on show. In general the work was sometimes engagingly fresh but also predominantly commercial, with the occasional homage to/copy of better known artists. The Other Art Fair shares a ticket and floor space with Moniker, which had a slightly more lively approach to stand design, borrowing Frieze stand typography for its spaces and using a open floor spaces for performances by the bar area..

Sunday Art Fair, October 15 - 18
Blurb: Sunday Art Fair specializes in contemporary art.
35-100 Marylebone Road, Ambika P3 / sunday-fair.com

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, October 16 - 19
Blurb: 1:54 is a leading platform for galleries, artists, curators, art centres and institutions promoting African and Africa related projects.
Somerset House, Strand  / +442081443694 / 1-54.com

Kinetica Art Fair, October 16 - 19
Blurb: 'Championing innovation, providing a global platform for galleries, curatorial groups & artists working with interdisciplinary new media art.'
"This exhibition showcases interactive, multi-media artwork." - The Independent
In 2014 the ticket price I overheard was £16, which seemed a bit high to me, but the fair seemed popular with families who could put their small children in front of shiny, twirly art objects.
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane  / +442073929674 / kinetica-artfair.com

Affordable Art Fair Battersea, October 23 - 26
Bills itself as "London’s friendliest art fair" The advertised ticket prices are more than The Other Art Fair but less than Kinetica, make of that what you will.
Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ / +44 (0)20 8246 4848 / http://affordableartfair.com/uk/

Sluice Art Fair - last event in October 2013
This fair will be back in October 2015, according to Karl at Sluice.
In the meantime they seem to be getting stuck into #ExchangeRates in Bushwick, Brooklyn / 23rd-26th Oct 2014
/ + 44 (0)1273 488996 / www.sluice.info/ / https://twitter.com/sluice__

Big Deal seems to have morphed into Big Deal! Marvellous MIx-UpsX1, which happened in July 2014, so we've missed it already!
[Big Deal No 5 (2013) was held in the Cavendish St underground car park] / contactus@deal-big.biz / http://www.deal-big.biz/
Big Deal! Marvellous MIx-UpsX1 http://www.deal-big.biz/big-deal-2-shows.html



You can see my blog entries about Big Deal No5 and Sluice Art Fair 2013 on my Facebook page.
These fairs were both free to attend and I'd recommend emerging artists make time for them when they surface again.

For more art fair listings also see ArtForum's listings.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Art Picks for September



Installation view of mounted digital prints. All prints © S. Raymond, 2013.
These prints are being exhibited with ConNEcTWORK in Sept/Oct. 2014.

UK Art picks and reviews - September 2014 (last chance to see)


BP Portrait Award
Another popular open submission prize and exhibition. Mostly representational art and I rarely agree with the first prize selection, tending to prefer the runners up but I still love to go and see what is thrown up each year. The travel prize is also always interesting.
Top tips: Admission Free, open late Thursdays and Fridays.
National Portrait Gallery,  St Martin’s Place,  London,  WC2H 0HE / 020 7306 0055 / Until 21 Sept.
http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/bp-portrait-award-2014/the-exhibition.php

Bristol - Jeremy Deller: English Magic
Jeremy Deller's English Magic tours to Bristol in April, for the second leg of its trip around England. This time the exhibition's local links will include include new installations and commissions made in direct response to the museum’s own collections; including paintings of the Bristol Riots of 1831 by William James Muller and a display of taxidermy, handpicked by Deller.
This was one exhibition I was very glad to visit at the William Morris Gallery, as I couldn't get to the Venice Biennale and I wanted to see English Magic in person. Jeremy Deller makes the kind of work I'd like to be making myself. I need to find my own way there, so I take work like his as an inspiration that the art world still supports artists making socially-inclusive artworks.
Top tip: See the the museum events list.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL. / Until 21 Sept.
http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/leisure-and-culture/jeremy-deller-english-magic-exhibition

Mondrian and Colour 
Blurb: 'See over 50 works spanning Mondrian’s journey, many from the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which holds the largest collection of Mondrian’s paintings, along with exhibits from museums and private collections in Europe and the USA.'
Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG / + 44 (0) 1843 233000 / Until 21 Sept.
http://www.turnercontemporary.org/exhibitions/mondrian-and-colour

Mondrian and his Studios
The partner exhibition to Mondrian at the Turner Contemporary (above)
Blurb: 'This brand new exhibition, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the artist’s death, provides fresh insights into Mondrian’s practice and explores his relationship with architecture and urbanism.'
Tate Liverpool, Liverpool / Until 5 October 2014
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/mondrian-and-his-studios

ConNEcTWORK
Last chance to see some of my work at a central Milton Keynes arts venue.
This open-call group show is around the theme of a 'Network', especially human networks and their cyclical nature.
Email info@artsgateway.org.uk to organise a time to come and view the work
Arts Central, 3rd Floor South Station House, 500 Elder Gate, MK9 1BB / 01908 241122
Extended until 3rd October.
http://www.connectworkexhibition.co.uk/
http://www.meetup.com/artscentral

Platform at MK Gallery
"A group exhibition of exceptional work by graduating students from around the region, selected by MK Gallery from University of Bedfordshire, Bucks New University and University of Northampton.
One Platform exhibitor will be nominated by MK Gallery for the South East regional Platform Graduate Award, for a chance of winning £2,500 and a twelve month mentoring scheme.
Now in its third year, the Platform Graduate Award 2014 profiles new talent emerging from universities and colleges in the South East region."
MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA / T +44 (0)1908 676 900
Until 28 September
http://www.mkgallery.org/education/projectspace/platform/
http://frameandreference.com/platform-graduate-showcase/


More useful links


The Guardian - Art and Design http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign
The Telegraph's art exhibitions and reviews. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10377204/best-art-exhibitions-London.html
Arts Gateway MK http://www.artsgatewaymk.org.uk

Thursday, 14 August 2014

On Being An Emerging Artist


On Being An Emerging Artist - Untitled (Triptych), 2012 by Suzanna Raymond
Untitled (Triptych), 2012.

What New Artists Need But Their Art College Rarely Explains


Whatever kind of 'emerging'* artist you are at the moment, you probably went through some long moments wondering how on earth you were going to make a living and still practise your art. If you were lucky enough to jump straight from graduation into the spotlight of a showcase that supports your development, then well done. There are a few showcases that talent-spot and help show your work to galleries interested in new contemporary artists, you may even be spotted by a speculating collector or gallery owner keen to snap up a bargain an early exhibition of your work.

For most new artists, having studied studied Fine Art or painting and drawing at an art college, life after academia encompasses a period where they came out of it realising that, even though their contemporary art sensibilities had been polished to a shine, they were nevertheless ill-equipped for forging a career in the arts. They may not have realised there were showcases graduating students could apply for and they may have subsequently found out too late to meet those deadlines. The new artist may even be told after graduating that their last three (or four) years of degree work have little value and that post-grad work was where it started. Or they may hear from more experienced folk that an artist needs to get an MA to be taken seriously.

If that's what you experienced, this situation probably came as a bit of a shock for those of you that hadn't noted the lessons of art history or missed the confusingly vague slideshow on arts jobs offered by your university careers' advice service. If you made an appointment with a careers service advisor you probably were given the suggestion to get a job in graphic design or the like, or your tutors said you could create your work in the evenings and weekends like they did. They are probably studying for their PhD and you may wonder what that has to do with your art practice, given that it may be a requirement of their teaching position.

If you took your career seriously then you may have already invested in studio space, or started exhibiting your work at local venues. Some of you may have created your own websites, social media, business cards ready for enquiries but, unless you had a rush of visitors from some timely press coverage, you're probably still waiting for enough custom to pay your studio rent.

You should probably learn to pace yourself, as your glory days may take a while in arriving. If you're feeling frustrated by the slow rate of perceivable progress then take heart from Jeremy Deller's assessment of his own progress towards becoming a contemporary art star:

.. becoming an artist took some time. “I had no idea what I was doing basically,” he says about his twenties, when he took an MA in art history at Sussex University
  - 
Lunch with the FT: Jeremy Deller

What Are Your Options?


So what are the realities for most artists? Art history shows that a lot of well-known artists  have had to start by grafting in jobs that weren't art-related in order to pay the bills. Maybe they went back to live with their parents for a while - Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller hosted his first exhibition at his parents' house. Perhaps they ran workshops or got their post-grad teaching diploma and went back into academia.

Taking a look at the emerging artists I know locally, many have arts-based roles work as technicians or become support staff at galleries and other local arts organizations. They may practise 'portfolio working' (a useful phrase I spotted in my university's careers slideshow), which basically means having several part-time jobs in freelance or permanent roles. You'll find that flexible part-time jobs are in demand amongst artists who want an income whilst still having a bit of time to work on their practice.

Beware the comfort of becoming someone's employee, especially in a full-time role. That's not to say you shouldn't do take a secure job, rather a warning that it can become a trap of sorts once you become dependent on the benefits of your role. One artist warned me off taking up a (temporary) council arts officer role I was applying for, saying that it would distract me from my art work. I put my tender application in anyway, hopeful of a living wage and a way of networking but, even though I felt fairly well-qualified with my prior work experience, it seems that I didn't meet their criteria.

There are lots of unpaid roles about, some disguised as volunteer roles (you're only truly a volunteer if you don't have to work fixed regular hours or aren't a substitute for a paid employee), some roles are boldly advertised as unpaid internships, some work is on offer for artists that (once you've paid the admin fees and for your own travel, etc.) may cost you more than the token fee offered. Prepare yourself by reading Alistair Gentry's 'Career Suicide' blog for advice on how to avoid getting ripped off by fake opportunities, check out the AIR - Paying Artists campaign and the handy a-n Signposts publication.

The Business of Being an Artist


Still you may wonder where your career as an artist fits into these options and rightly so. At some point you have to concede that you, as an artist, are self-employed. Regardless of which shows you do, who supports you, which groups you join, and what else you study, you are the only one driving your practise forward now.

You are a small business and you now need to learn some small business skills.

There are plenty of resources on offer, once you accept the situation. Groups like a-n  and ArtQuest can advise you on best practise, business tips and cheap insurance, HMRC offers free small business courses and so on. You'll need to register yourself as self-employed once you're ready (I felt that I'd wait until I had my first freelance paid role).

I'll admit that I've been slow to take these up as I was initially fighting against being self-employed but knowing the help is out there is reassuring. Bear in mind though that, as a small business, your job as an artist will probably mean up to 70% of your time could be taken up with the machinery of running a business and so only part of your time  will be left for developing your practice.

In Conclusion


The general drift of what I've seen so far is that you do need to have a 'day job' to pay the bills. Ideally you'll also avoid jobs that offer you lots of 'experience' but so little money, unless you really are learning something useful. However it seems that you must be prepared to be self-employed, or at least flexibly employed, embrace a certain amount of risk and possibly give up the day job at some point in order to have the art career you hoped for.


Notes

Of course there is the whole question of what is an 'emerging' artist anyway and when can it be determined that we have stopped emerging, but that topic probably warrants its own article.



-----


Some Famous Artists and The Jobs They Started In


On that note, here's a reminder that you're not on your own in your winding path for recognition:


  • Andy Warhol was a very successful illustrator before he moved into fine art. 1
  • Francis Bacon supplemented his early income with interior design.
  • Jeremy Deller, who used one of his jobs to design slogan-covered t-shirts as conceptual art, "worked at jobs including postman, driver and shop assistant at Sign of the Times, a Covent Garden clothing shop for which he designed T-shirts featuring lyrics by Philip Larkin" 2
  • Jeff Koons worked in sales and finally as a commodities trader in Wall Street before he hit his stride selling flashy art to wealthy patrons.
  • Richard Serra's first job was working in the steel mills, to support his studies at Yale. 3
  • At different points in his life, Duchamp was the following: professional chess player, self-publisher, painter, volunteer for military service, art dealer, gambler, inventor, librarian, secretary to a French war mission in the second world war. He also dabbled in cleaning and fabric-dying businesses, thought of becoming a professional cameraman and was eager to market self-designed chess sets, optical machines and scientific toys. 4


Many of these artists incorporated the skills they gained in their early jobs into their arts practice, which only seems to have aided them in developing their ideas.

Notes

1. Warhol:early work http://www.warhol.org/collection/art/earlywork/
2  Lunch with the FT: Jeremy Deller www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1e3fbcca-f9c4-11e2-b8ef-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Gmus5iM1
3. Man of Steel http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2008/oct/05/serra.art
4 Marcel Duhamp: A riotous A-Z of his secret life http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/apr/07/marcel-duchamp-artist-a-z-dictionary

Monday, 28 July 2014

Invisible Sketch for MK Festival Fringe

Project - 'Invisible Sketch' for MK Fringe: Pitch (events in tents)




This year I returned to the latest Milton Keynes Festival Fringe as an artist supplying a project for their Pitch three-day programme. Having been one of the support volunteers at the last event, I was keen to get stuck in as artist practitioner. Also the theme intrigued me, linking in with my interest in subjects that pertain to the collapse of social structures.

All of the participating groups and artists were given a second-hand tent each, to create an event around. As this was the first time I'd designed my own public event outside a gallery space, I decided to keep this one simple. As our events were to be around the theme of refuge, I decided that mine would be a space where visitors could share their own stories about places they felt safe and happy. To this end I created a sheet that gave visitors some suggestions about how to tell their story and I also offered to help anyone who wasn't comfortable drawing or writing a creative piece on their own.

To find a balance between options for expression and creativity the stories could be written or drawn, using the pens, pencils and crayons provided. The resulting works were as varied as my visitors, some only in text, one drawn in monochrome pencil, others in bright colours. I was particularly pleased about the wide age range of those that took part - from 4 to 60 years old. All the finished pieces were on display for all to see, in and around the tent for the whole three days.

The three day Pitch event ( 22nd - 24th July) sizzled in the baking hot sunshine, which presented some problems for staying cool but ensured we all got a tan. The MK Fringe's 8 day programme ran alongside the larger MK International Festival 10 day arts festival, with the Fringe focussing more on engaging local artists and performers, including small festival productions.

See my Facebook album of 'Invisible Sketch' artwork and pictures of the other tents here:



Monday, 16 June 2014

Art picks for June/July

Art picks and reviews for June/July 2014

Until the end of July is a great time to catch degree art shows and to discover emerging artists. If you're outside London, try go to an event near where you live to see work by new local artists before they are tempted to move away to the big smoke. Or look for exhibitions by emerging artists at local contemporary art venues over the summer.



A Stack of History, 2013.  Fine Art degree dissertation, art history books arranged vertically by size, paper slips.
A Stack of History, 2013.
Fine Art degree dissertation, art history books arranged vertically by size, paper slips.


Degree show guides and showcases.


a-n Degree Show Guide - Flick through this free magazine online or download it
Tips for art buyers  - A page of advice from a-n for buying work by emerging artists 
Free Range -  A guide to a season of FREE graduate Art + Design shows at the The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, East London  (29th May - 14th July)

Exhibitions June/July 2014


Vikings: life and legend
It's got Vikings, as you'd expect, and I love the British Museum but this is a popular exhibition and so it'll be very busy. However, if you don't like slow-moving crowds (see review below) you may not be in a hurry to visit ...
Blurb: 'Discover the Viking world in this major exhibition – the first at the British Museum for over 30 years.'
Review: 'Vikings at the British Museum is hell. Terrible viewing conditions; like the slowest moving buffet queue in THE WORLD. Disappointed :( ' Emily Speed (@speedina) April 25, 2014
British Museum, London. Until 22 June.
https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/vikings.aspx

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
One of the first pieces of modern art that I enjoyed as a child is The Snail (1953), which usually lives at Tate Britain. Look out for the mini-snail inching its way around one of the bold slabs of colour.
The blurb: 'Henri Matisse is a giant of modern art. This landmark show explores the final chapter in his career in which he began ‘carving into colour’ and his series of spectacular cut-outs was born.The exhibition represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many of the artist’s works in one place and discover Matisse’s final artistic triumph.'
Top tip: Sunday evenings will be set aside for a quieter exhibition viewing experience, with visitor numbers restricted from 20.00–22.30.
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888 / Until 7 Sept.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/henri-matisse-cut-outs

Marina Abramović: 512 Hours 
At the start of 2014, I'd said that the exhibition that most intrigued me was the prospect of seeing Abramović at the Serpentine Gallery and a possible takeover of Kensington Gardens. As the first performance approached we heard that Marina felt intimidated by her prospective British audience, saying "The British are sarcastic. They make fun of everything.", and that has been bourne out responses in various articles have ranged from the unexpectedly emotional through to rebellious irritation at being directed by the artist and her assistants. This hasn't scared off visitors though and the queue to take part apparently starts very early and stretches into Kensington Gardens, with some people bringing chairs for their wait.
Top tips: Entry is free of charge and on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. There is no advance booking. Due to the limited capacity, visitors may be expected to queue outside, so bring  water, sunscreen and an umbrella for the time you may be required to wait. Galleries open 10am - 6pm, Tuesday - Sunday, plus bank holidays
Serpentine Gallery,  London W2 /  44 (0)20 7402 6075 / Until 25th August.
http://www.serpentinegalleries.org / Look out for 'A.G.N.E.S' if you fancy an interactive experience on the website.

RA Summer Exhibition
A vast sprawling exhibition in the main galeries of the RA, the show annually shows a wide range of work, mostly for sale. The joys include seeing work by well-known contemporary artists, the lows include sore feet as you reach the end. Judging by the reviews on BBC Arts, this year's most interesting curated room will probably be that by Cornelia Parker, who has selected around a black and white theme.
Blurb:'The largest open submission exhibition in the world'; 'Held without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition displays works in a variety of mediums and genres by emerging and established contemporary artists.'
Top tip: If you want to buy something to take home you might also like Not the Royal Academy (below)
RA Main Galleries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD / 020 7300 8000 / Until 17 Aug.
www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/15

Twixt Two Worlds
'This display maps the pivotal moment in cinema history when still photography evolved into moving images' A Whitechapel Gallery collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Society, using magic lanterns, slides withr pioneering cinema imagery and contemporary artists to revisit the history and techniques of early film.
Whitechapel Gallery, Gallery 7, London E1 7QX / +44 (0)20 7522 7888  / Until 31 August
http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/contemporary-art-society-twixt-two-worlds

Not the Royal Academy
A Salon des Refusés for some of the artists who didn't make it into the RA Summer Exhibition but nevertheless have commerically viable work. Worth a look if you want to see more traditional work suited to a domestic setting.
LLEWELLYN ALEXANDER GALLERY, 124-126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE 1 8LN UK (Opposite the Old Vic Theatre) / Tel: 020 7620 1322/1324 / Until 16 Aug.
http://www.nottheroyalacademy.com/

BP Portrait Award
Another popular open submission prize and exhibition. Mostly representational art and I rarely agree with the first prize selection, tending to prefer the runners up, but I still love to go and see what is thrown up each year. The travel prize is also always interesting.
Top tips: Admission Free, open late Thursdays and Fridays.
National Portrait Gallery,  St Martin’s Place,  London,  WC2H 0HE / 020 7306 0055 / Until 21st Sept.
http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/bp-portrait-award-2014/the-exhibition.php


Outside London


Bristol - Jeremy Deller: English Magic
Jeremy Deller's English Magic tours to Bristol in April, for the second leg of its trip around England. This time the exhibition's local links will include include new installations and commissions made in direct response to the museum’s own collections; including paintings of the Bristol Riots of 1831 by William James Muller and a display of taxidermy, handpicked by Deller.
This was one exhibition I was very glad to visit at the William Morris Gallery, as I couldn't get to the Venice Biennale and I wanted to see English Magic in person. Jeremy Deller makes the kind of work I'd like to be making myself. I need to find my own way there, so I take work like his as an inspiration that the art world still supports artists making socially-inclusive artworks.
Top tip: See the events list.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL. Until 21 September
http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/leisure-and-culture/jeremy-deller-english-magic-exhibition

Mondrian and Colour
Blurb: 'See over 50 works spanning Mondrian’s journey, many from the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which holds the largest collection of Mondrian’s paintings, along with exhibits from museums and private collections in Europe and the USA.'
Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG / + 44 (0) 1843 233000 / Until 21 Sept.
http://www.turnercontemporary.org/exhibitions/mondrian-and-colour

Mondrian and his Studios
The partner exhibition to Mondrian at the Turner Contemporary (above)
Blurb: 'This brand new exhibition, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the artist’s death, provides fresh insights into Mondrian’s practice and explores his relationship with architecture and urbanism.'
Tate Liverpool, Liverpool / Until 5 October.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/mondrian-and-his-studios

More useful links


The Guardian - Art and Design
The Telegraph's art exhibitions and reviews.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Art Fairs, Jun - Dec 2014

London Art Fairs,  June - December 2014



Art fair signpost
Signs you're at an art fair.


Art fairs are one of several great ways to see contemporary art and for buyers to take their first steps to invest in an artist. They can also be good places for artists to gauge current trends, network and meet galleries, depending on the type of fair.

Artists Newsletter has this advice on buying work by new artists.

Fairs


Affordable Art Fair Hampstead Heath, 12 - 15 June
Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 1TH / +44 (0)20 8246 4848
http://affordableartfair.com/uk/
The Affordable Art Fair hosts emerging and contemporary galleries. Artworks priced from £400 - £4000. There's an emerging artist showcase too but this is limited to artists from University of the Arts London (UAL) art colleges.

Masterpiece Art Fair,  Jun 26 - Jul 2
South Grounds, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3  / +442074997470
http://www.masterpiecefair.com/
Art, antiques, design.

20/21 British Art Fair, Sep 10 - 14
Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore  / +442087421611
http://www.britishartfair.co.uk/
'British art with a focus on Modern and Post-War but also featuring contemporary work'

Frieze London & Frieze Masters,  October 16-19
Regent's Park (Frieze London is near Gt Portland Street, Frieze Masters is at the Camden end) / +44 (0)20 3372 6111
http://friezelondon.com/
Frieze London is the main event for contemporary art by established artists. This large show is an expensive ticket but has so far been very popular with the public. The project spaces are worth seeking out to see smaller galleries and artist's groups sharing their wares.

The Other Art Fair, October 16-19
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL / +44 (0)20 7886 3062
http://www.theotherartfair.com/
'The Other Art Fair is a unique platform from which [undiscovered artists] can independently showcase their work: to gallerists, curators, critics and collectors.'

Big Deal , TBC for 2014
http://www.deal-big.biz/
[Big Deal No 5 (2013) was held in the Cavendish St underground car park] / contactus@deal-big.biz

Sluice Art Fair - TBC for 2014
This fair appears to be taking a break in 2014 in order to fundraise? / + 44 (0)1273 488996
http://www.sluiceartfair.com/
A fair for artists and small arts organisations to network and showcase their work around Frieze week. In 2013 this event included a few small galleries from New York.

Affordable Art Fair Battersea, 23 - 26 October
Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ /  +44 (0)20 8246 4848
http://affordableartfair.com/uk/

You can see blog entries about Big Deal No5 and Sluice Art Fair 2013 on my Facebook page. These were both free to attend and I'd recommend going when they surface again. No dates as yet, as I'm still waiting to see info on their 2014/5 events.

This guide was partly compiled from entries on Artforum:
http://www.artforum.com/guide/calendar=special&filter=8

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Art picks for May/June

Art picks and reviews for May/June 2014


May - July is a great time to catch degree art shows and to discover emerging artists. If you're outside London, try go to an event near where you live to see work by new local artists before they are tempted to move away to the big smoke. Or look for exhibitions by emerging artists at local contemporary art venues over the summer.


Fine art degree exhibition by Suzanna Raymond, 2013
Fine Art degree exhibition by Suzanna Raymond, 2013.


Degree show guides and showcases.

a-n Degree Show Guide - Flick through this free magazine online or download it
Tips for art buyers  - A page of advice from a-n for buying work by emerging artists 
Free Range -  A guide to a season of FREE graduate Art + Design shows at the The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, East London  (29th May - 14th July)  

Exhibitions May/June 2014


Richard Hamilton at Tate Modern
Blockbuster retrospective of 'one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century'.
Blurb: 'Tate Modern presents the first retrospective to encompass the full scope of Hamilton’s work, from his early exhibition designs of the 1950s to his final paintings of 2011. This exhibition explores his relationship to design, painting, photography and television, as well as his engagement and collaborations with other artists.'
Review: I enjoyed trip to this show but I should have left a bit longer for the installations, which beg for some camera phone 'selfies' (unfortunately photos are not allowed in the exhibition). The work invites you to feel that you are participating in completing it, a quality that I love in contemporary art.
Top tip: Think of something witty to say or sing when you get to room 4 (This is Tomorrow)
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888 Until 26 May.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Bailey's Stardust
More than 250 portraits from his entire career, from around the world, and views of East London from 1961-2.
Blurb: 'Featuring over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, the exhibition offers an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest image-makers.'
National Portrait Gallery. (020 7312 2463) Until 1 June.

Women and The History of Art
A late addition on my part, as I've just seen this Guardian article. If you're fascinated by Amanda Vickery's BBC2 TV Series 'The Story of Women and Art' then you'll probably be interested in these contemporary portraits of female artists that have been airbrushed from conventional art history.
The Fine Art Society Contemporary, 148 New Bond Street, W1S 2JT. Until 6 June.
http://www.faslondon.com/fine_art_society_contemporary/exhibitions/current/annie_kevans.html

Vikings: life and legend
It's got Vikings - what more do we need to say and I love the British Museum but this is a popular exhibition and so it'll be very busy. However, if you don't like slow-moving crowds (see feedback from @speedina below) you may not be in a hurry to visit ...
Blurb: 'Discover the Viking world in this major exhibition – the first at the British Museum for over 30 years.'
Review: 'Vikings at the British Museum is hell. Terrible viewing conditions; like the slowest moving buffet queue in THE WORLD. Disappointed :( ' Emily Speed (@speedina) April 25, 2014
British Museum. Until 22 June 2014
https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/vikings.aspx


Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
One of the first pieces of modern art that I enjoyed as a child is The Snail (1953), which usually lives at Tate Britain. Look out for the mini-snail inching its way around one of the bold slabs of colour.
The blurb: 'Henri Matisse is a giant of modern art. This landmark show explores the final chapter in his career in which he began ‘carving into colour’ and his series of spectacular cut-outs was born.The exhibition represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many of the artist’s works in one place and discover Matisse’s final artistic triumph.'
Top tip: Sunday evenings will be set aside for a quieter exhibition viewing experience, with visitor numbers restricted from 20.00–22.30.
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888, 17 April  – 7 Sept.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/henri-matisse-cut-outs

RA Summer Exhibition
A vast sprawling exhibition in the main galeries of the RA, the show annually shows a wide range of work, mostly for sale. The joys include seeing work by well-known contemporary artists, the lows include sore feet as you reach the end. Judging by the clips on the BBC, this year's best curated room will probably be that by Cornelia Parker, who has selected around a black and white theme.
Blurb:'The largest open submission exhibition in the world'; 'Held without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition displays works in a variety of mediums and genres by emerging and established contemporary artists.'
Top tip: If you want to buy something to take home you might also like Not the Royal Academy (below)
RA Main Galleries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD / 020 7300 8000 / 9 June — 17 Aug.
www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/15

Not the Royal Academy
A Salon des Refusés for some of the artists who didn't make it into the RA Summer Exhibition but nevertheless have commerically viable work. Worth a look if you want to see more traditional work suited to a domestic setting.
LLEWELLYN ALEXANDER GALLERY, 124-126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE 1 8LN UK (Opposite the Old Vic Theatre) / Tel: 020 7620 1322/1324 / 10th June - 16th Aug.
http://www.nottheroyalacademy.com/

Outside London


Bristol - Jeremy Deller: English Magic
Jeremy Deller's English Magic tours to Bristol in April, for the second leg of its trip around England. This time the exhibition's local links will include include new installations and commissions made in direct response to the museum’s own collections; including paintings of the Bristol Riots of 1831 by William James Muller and a display of taxidermy, handpicked by Deller.
This was one exhibition I was very glad to visit at the William Morris Gallery, as I couldn't get to the Venice Biennale and I wanted to see English Magic in person. Jeremy Deller makes the kind of work I'd like to be making myself. I need to find my own way there, so I take work like his as an inspiration that the art world still supports artists making socially-inclusive artworks.
Top tip: See the events list.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queens Road, BristolBS8 1RL. 12 April - 21 September
http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/leisure-and-culture/jeremy-deller-english-magic-exhibition

More useful links

The Guardian - Art and Design
The Telegraph's art exhibitions and reviews.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Art picks for April/May

Reduce your chance of sunburn, smog inhalation and increase your culture power by slipping into any of the following exhibitions on in London from April onwards.


Visitors at the Tate Modern cafe, April 2013.
Wall image by Richard Hamilton,
Photograph for the cover of Living Arts Magazine 1963
Private collection
© The estate of Richard Hamilton




Martin Creed 
At the Hayward Gallery for his first UK retrospective. A very interesting artist whose work has started to grow on me in the last couple of years, as I've stumbled across more of his pieces that I enjoy. His work started to influence the way I think about my own artworks, so I'll try and make time for this one as well.
Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (020 7960 4200). Until Apr 27 Extended to 5th May.
http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/martin-creed-79080

Vincent van Gogh: The Sunflowers
Another London blockbuster exhibition of popular art but I prefer to see this artist's work in small doses. I do like the link up between two museums though and hope that trend continues.
National Gallery, London WC2. (020 7747 2885) Until Apr 27.

Richard Hamilton at Tate Modern
Blockbuster retrospective of 'one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century'. I enjoyed my recent visit but I should have left a bit longer for the installations, which beg for some cameraphone 'selfies' (unfortunately photos are not allowed in the exhibition).
Blurb: 'Tate Modern presents the first retrospective to encompass the full scope of Hamilton’s work, from his early exhibition designs of the 1950s to his final paintings of 2011. This exhibition explores his relationship to design, painting, photography and television, as well as his engagement and collaborations with other artists.'
Top tip: Think of something witty to say or sing when you get to room 4 (This is Tomorrow)
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888 Until 26 May.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Hockney, Printmaker
The Independant says 'A rewarding exhibition which firmly establishes, if it was needed, Hockney as one of the most innovative and imaginative print-makers of our time.'
Blurb: 'Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the artist’s first print this show celebrates David Hockney’s long and fruitful career as a printmaker.'
Dulwich Picture Gallery, SE21 (020 8693 5254) Until 11 May
http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/default.aspx

Bailey's Stardust
More than 250 portraits from his entire career, from around the world, and views of East London from 1961-2.
Blurb: 'Featuring over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, the exhibition offers an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest image-makers.'
National Portrait Gallery. (020 7312 2463) Until 1 Jun 2014

Vikings: life and legend
It's got Vikings - what more do we need to say and I love the British Museum.
Blurb: 'Discover the Viking world in this major exhibition – the first at the British Museum for over 30 years.'
British Museum. Until 22 June 2014
https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/vikings.aspx


Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
One of the first pieces of modern art that I enjoyed as a child is The Snail (1953), which usually lives at Tate Britain. Look out for the mini-snail inching its way around one of the bold slabs of colour.
The blurb: 'Henri Matisse is a giant of modern art. This landmark show explores the final chapter in his career in which he began ‘carving into colour’ and his series of spectacular cut-outs was born.The exhibition represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many of the artist’s works in one place and discover Matisse’s final artistic triumph.'
Top tip: Sunday evenings will be set aside for a quieter exhibition viewing experience, with visitor numbers restricted from 20.00–22.30.
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888, 17 April  – 7 Sept.
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/henri-matisse-cut-outs


Outside London


Bristol - Jeremy Deller: English Magic
Jeremy Deller's English Magic tours to Bristol in April, for the second leg of its trip around England. This time the exhibition's local links will include include new installations and commissions made in direct response to the museum’s own collections; including paintings of the Bristol Riots of 1831 by William James Muller and a display of taxidermy, handpicked by Deller.
This was one exhibition I was very glad to visit at the William Morris Gallery, as I couldn't get to the Venice Biennale and I wanted to see English Magic in person. Jeremy Deller makes the kind of work I'd like to be making myself. I need to find my own way there, so I take work like his as an inspiration that the art world still supports artists making socially-inclusive artworks.
Top tip: See the events list.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL. 12 April - 21 September
http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/leisure-and-culture/jeremy-deller-english-magic-exhibition


More useful links

The Guardian - Art and Design
The Telegraph's art exhibitions and reviews.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

News: Janus exhibition

JANUS at Arts Central

ARTS Central MK announces the opening of a new juried exhibition, based on the theme JANUS – Horizons, Reflection, Water, Mirror, Buildings. 

Detail from Lightbox 1 artwork for Janus exhibition.


My work for the Janus exhibition was a response to an open call for work, around the themes described above. Both of my artworks have been selected to form part of a juried group exhibition to promote artists connected to Milton Keynes and raise the profile of the arts centre.


In the two works submitted to Janus, presented as digital inkjet prints, I was interested in the way our viewpoint can affect what we make of a situation and how much an illusion can create a form. The two photographs offer the illusion of a solid form, apparently beautifully lit from within whereas the reality is that the illusion changes by altering the angle from which we see it. As in life, we change the subjects we thought we knew just by changing our viewpoint.

The reflective qualities of the surfaces and the light they capture might prompt us to think about how we reflect on the situations in our lives. We may jump to conclusions about truth and beauty that are unwarranted by the facts and just one small step in a new direction can enlighten us in our quest to understand the situation more deeply.


Lightbox 1 and Lightbox 2, digital inkjet art prints on paper.
Lightbox 1 and Lightbox 2, digital inkjet prints on paper.

The exhibition opens this week and runs until the end of May.

MKWeb article about the exhibition and how to visit: http://www.mkweb.co.uk/Art/New-Arts-Central-exhibition-reflects-Milton-Keynes-talent-20140330090000.htm#ixzz2xp6ODKTS

Arts Central on Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/artscentral/

Friday, 21 February 2014

Art picks for Feb/Mar 2014


Looking for somewhere to go to escape the rain? There's lots of art about to brighten your day.

Here's my selection of top picks of London art and photography exhibitions.


Art gallery entrance


Hannah Hoch
As a fan of the offbeat humour of Dadaism and the works it inspired, this exhibition is one I need to make time for.
Top tip: Combine this with a visit to Warhol, Burroughs and Lynch at the Photographers Gallery to see the impact of Dadaist experimentation on later creatives.
Whitechapel Gallery, (020-7522 7888), to 23 March.

Andy Warhol, William S Burroughs and David Lynch
Stiched photos, cut ups, and spooky industrial images. See my blog entry about Warhol's work
Top tip: One ticket gets you into all 3 exhibitions or get free entry all day Monday and Thursday evenings. 
Photographers Gallery London, to 30 Mar 2014 

Jeremy Deller: English Magic 
One I definitely want to see, as I couldn't get to the Venice Biennale and I want to see his work in person. Jeremy Deller makes the kind of work I'd like to be making myself. I need to find my own way there, so I take work like his as an inspiration that the art world still supports artists making socially-inclusive artworks.
Top tip: Only open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm. Free entry.
William Morris Gallery, London E17 (020 8496 4390),  to Mar 30 

Vincent van Gogh: The Sunflowers
Another London blockbuster exhibition of popular art but not a big pull for me as I prefer to see this artist's work in small doses. I like the link up between two museums though and hope that trend continues.
National Gallery, London WC2 (020 7747 2885),  to Apr 27 

Martin Creed 
At the Hayward Gallery for his first UK retrospective. A very interesting artist whose work has started to grow on me in the last couple of years, as I've stumbled accross more of his pieces that I enjoy. His work started to influence the way I think about my own artworks, so I'll try and make time for this one as well.
Hayward Gallery, London SE1 (020 7960 4200),  to Apr 27 

Richard Hamilton at the ICA
Recreates two installations created by Hamilton for the ICA’s previous premises, sixty years ago, to coincide with Tate Modern’s Hamilton retrospective. 
Top tip: Day membership is only £1, so it's cheaper than the Tate exhibition and see Hamilton prints for free at  Alan Cristea Gallery in Cork Street until 22 March.
ICA, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. (020 7930 3647) 12 Feb – 6 Apr 2014

Richard Hamilton 
Blockbuster retrospective of 'one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century'.
Blurb: 'Tate Modern presents the first retrospective to encompass the full scope of Hamilton’s work, from his early exhibition designs of the 1950s to his final paintings of 2011. This exhibition explores his relationship to design, painting, photography and television, as well as his engagement and collaborations with other artists.' 
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG.  (0)20 7887 8888, 13 Feb – 26 May 2014 

Hockney, Printmaker
The Independant says 'A rewarding exhibition which firmly establishes, if it was needed, Hockney as one of the most innovative and imaginative print-makers of our time.'
Blurb: 'Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the artist’s first print this show celebrates David Hockney’s long and fruitful career as a printmaker.'
Dulwich Picture Gallery, SE21 (020 8693 5254) to 11 May

Bailey's Stardust
More than 250 portraits from his entire career, from around the world, and views of East London from 1961-2.
Blurb: 'Featuring over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, the exhibition offers an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest image-makers.'
National Portrait Gallery. (020 7312 2463) to 1 Jun 2014

Vikings: life and legend
It's got Vikings - what more do we need to say and I love the British Museum.
Blurb: 'Discover the Viking world in this major exhibition – the first at the British Museum for over 30 years.'
British Museum 6 Mar – 22 June 2014


Links to Guardian Arts, The Telegraph, Artlyst and The Independant art listings












Thursday, 30 January 2014

London Art Fair 2014 - review

Doing #LAF2014 like a VIP


"For those seeking out the freshest work and emerging talent, Art Projects features large-scale installations, solo shows and curated group displays from across the globe"
- Sarah Monk in the London Art Fair programme book.


LAF2014 at The Business Design Centre
LAF2014 at the Business Design Centre, Islington.

Last year I started to broaden my attendance of art fairs, in a personal quest to understand the art world better. This is partly as an extension of my final year degree project and due to a practical need to understand better how to function now I've graduated. My initial explorations took me off to Big Deal No 5 and Sluice Art Fair, a couple of the many events running during Frieze week in London, though a derailed train prevented me from attempting to include The Other Art Fair as well. Having visited Frieze in previous years as an arts student, to see what were the big names on show, I was slightly uncomfortable with having to pay full price for a ticket especially now that the fair had spawned Frieze Masters. That cost and a curiosity about where graduates went after art school led me to shift my awareness to the venues that would host emerging artists, as opposed to established talent.

It was with this in mind that I gratefully accepted an offer of a free VIP ticket from Axisweb in order to explore The London Art Fair, at the Business Design Centre in London. Having just complied a list of art fairs to visit in 2014 I was keen to start sampling these events to see what opportunities exist for emerging artists like myself.

It was my first trip to this event and so I was surprised to find that it has been going for many years now, in fact the London Art Fair is now in its 26th year. Why it wasn't on my radar may be explained by the fact that the Frieze art fair has drawn more press attention in the last few years and has attracted the general public as well as the arts community. The London Art Fair 2014 is somewhat of a less sexy event, the buzz and vigour of Frieze that comes from having flashy art, big name galleries and two massive tents of art in a London park is absent here. There is a champagne element for VIPs and galleries, with sparkling wine making an appearance everywhere on preview day, leading to a relaxed atmosphere in the evening.

Like Frieze, art as a commodity was also a feature of the LAF2014, with one talk titled 'Is Art Really a Good Investment?', but more disturbing for artists was the booth that purported to offer bespoke art market research to help speculators to track artists' fortunes like stock market investments, with graphs based on 'research and market analysis'. As an established artist your career trajectory is being mapped out for you every 6 months, according to sales of your work. Fortunately the rest of the fair seemed to be more old-school and simply interested in just getting people to take an interest in the work.


Inside LAF2014
Inside LAF2014

The London Art Fair includes artist groups and less-established artists, in the Art Projects section. This is an addition made just nine years ago, which I suspect may have been inspired by the success of Frieze art fair, which also has a large projects area and threads some of its projects throughout the fair.


LAF2014 stairs
Up to LAF Art Projects and the cafes.


The LAF2014 layout had the more established and commercial galleries taking up the ground and mezzanine level. The Art Projects took a bit of seeking out, as they were up another flight of stairs (see picture) sharing the Gallery Level 1 floor with the main cafe. You needed to climb yet another flight of stairs to find Photo50 up on the top floor. In some ways the Art Projects, where I finally found Axisweb at P27 and The Catlin Guide on P25 were well-catered for, with their own stand guide and gallery listings but they didn't feel like they were central to the event with their remote location. There are pros and cons to this of course, the problem being that you'd have to feel energetic and motivated or visit over more than one day to have time for both the central galleries and the project spaces. The pros seem to be that the projects get good press coverage and having their own space gives it a community feel. Certainly, once the preview evening kicked off there was quite a party atmosphere in this section.

Axisweb team.
The Axisweb team at P27.

In the Art Projects my first port of call was Axisweb, whose stand was next to the Film Screening Room, where I found a chatty Lesley and Ruth and a retiring Mark. They helpfully explained their role in promoting their 2000+ selected members, including the four artists' work they were showcasing for this fair. An earlier search of the site's member's list had revealed some Axisweb artists I know in my area. They also explained their multi-tier membership plan - they recently introduced 'Early career' membership options for recent graduates, which I found helpful to know as it's cheaper than their standard membership. According to Lesley and Ruth, Axisweb publicise themselves to universities but it is hard to say if mine mentioned them. I think I discovered Axis via Facebook and Twitter initially, but obviously I'm happy to have heard of them now.


The Catlin Guide were two stops down, with book of 'New Artists in the UK' in a handsome blue slipcase. Their guide fits in with my position as an emerging artist who has just graduated. The guide showcases new work by 40 graduate and post-graduate artists that had their final show a year ago, to hold a window up to work made 'during the crucial first year after leaving art school'. [1] The guide is presented as a lovely, high quality book but the selection of artists does seem biased towards UCL and UAL graduates, though nine other universities do get a mention. Also I'm a bit skeptical as to which 'crucial first year' they mean seeing as many of the graduates are at MA/MFA level. Still, I'm sure they mean well and it is great publicity for some artists' names.

Axisweb tote bag
Axisweb tote bag.




Now I had promised to compare LAF2014 to the two other fairs I mentioned earlier. First impressions? Overall, as an emerging artist, I preferred Big Deal No5 and Sluice 2013. Yes, their locations were a challenge, BD5 being hidden in an underground car park behind Oxford Street, Sluice requiring a trip accross London to a hired space in South London. Yes, that meant that these fairs were probably less likely to attract big collectors and press attention. However they were free entry, they had the cool buzz of running in the same week as Frieze, at the stands I had the opportunity to see and talk to other artists as they set up or manned their stalls. The atmosphere drew you in with the frisson of participatory and performance art alongside traditional media and I felt that these were events I'd happily visit again.

How does the LAF compare with Frieze, BD5 and Sluice? Obviously this fair is on at a completely different time of year. It's an established London event but relatively low-key. As an emerging or mid-career artist you'll probably have to entice people upstairs to see your work. Groups like Axisweb can give you a place to meet other contemporary fine artists with a less commercial angle. I found it a fairly sedate event with some commercial stands showing depressingly derivative 'art' but then large art fairs aren't usually aimed at conceptual artists. As Sarah Thornton notes in Seven Days In the Art World, this kind of art fair may be less interested in art that can't become an easily retailed commodity such as invisible or ephemeral art. [2]



LAF2014 Art Projects entrance



Although the focus of LAF2014 seemed to be on British art, there was a also healthy international presence in the Art Projects. The talks, performances and film screenings give the projects area a live presence, even if they are hidden away upstairs. I missed the talks but the film room seemed very popular, even with its dodgy projector, and was packed to the hilt the time I popped in. I also found art I enjoyed at the Hanmi Gallery stand where there were clever videos, by South Korean artist Junebum Park, that I could relate to my own practise in terms of modern urban landscapes and their social impact.

A friend asked me about the LAF and I confirmed that yes there were 'weird artists' there but, no, the fair seemed mainly aimed at buyers, potential funders and maybe other dealers.. As Axisweb explained to me, the London Art Fair was mainly showing traditional media in 2D and 3D. This meant that there was nothing too strange, difficult or flashy in most of the spaces or on the walls, though there were art films in the corner screening room.

Overall, the London Art Fair looks like it'll retain its place as a fixture in the calendar for contemporary artists as it is a tried and trusted means of kicking off a new year of art events and it's in a central London location with good transport connections. As I was lucky enough to have a VIP ticket, I didn't have to face paying for entry myself. Its value to the emerging artist is probably mostly as a way of gearing up for the year ahead and as an opportunity to take part in a showcase, so put it in your diary for next year but get a discounted ticket from Axisweb or The Art Fund, or even better bag a free VIP ticket from a stand if you can.



LAF2014 art swag
LAF2014 VIP art swag



[1] Hammond, J. (2014) The Catlin Guide 2014, Caitlin Holdings Limited. 
[2] Thornton, S. (2009) Seven Days In the Art World. Granta Books, London, p. 104

More Axisweb LAF blogs at http://www.axisweb.org/features/news-and-views/in-focus/laf-bloggers/







Friday, 17 January 2014

Andy Warhol - Photographs 1976 - 1987



In 2007 the Stedelijk Museum organised an exhibition called Andy Warhol - Other voices, other rooms. The exhibition at the Stedelijk opened up more dimensions of Warhol's body of work by making space for 27 of his ventures into film-making, video and audio recordings. [1] The final section of the exhibition showed Warhol's interest in the cutting-edge technology of that era by showing the work he produced for television. Warhol's approach to film seemed ideally suited to his experiments in television, with its emphasis on non-acting and a generous approach to time, allowing us to take in our subjects as leisurely as we might gaze at a painting. In this format he was able to train the camera's voyeuristic gaze on everyone alike, feeding an appetite for trivia and detail.

Many people still think of Andy Warhol in terms of his best-known work which includes screenprints and paintings, such as Marylin Diptych (1962) at the Tate. In this sense we are well-versed in the artist's preoccupation with subjects like the commodification of celebrity versus the limited lifespan of its subjects. His prediction that everyone would have their brief window of fame was also something that we've heard a lot about,  a topic which seems to have reflected the public's rising interest in reality TV. However, until social media like Twitter started to drive news stories from 2007 onwards, it wasn't yet apparent how much the ordinary person would be able to have their own mayfly moment in the sun.

The current exhibition at The Photographer' Gallery promises to show us more of Warhol the photographer, noting that he received his first camera at the age of nine and started developing his pictures in his basement. It also reminds us that Warhol eagerly adopted new tools for his work in a way that suggests that he would be comfortable with our preoccupation with recording and sharing the minutiae of our lives with cameraphone snaps and videos. From his purchase of a Minox compact camera in 1976,  Warhol was rarely without a compact camera about him, excited by the possibilties afforded by the shrinking camera technology and the freedom it afforded him. Photographs 1976 - 1987 marks Warhol’s adoption of the compact camera, an important development in his career-long endeavour to turn image making into a production line.


Andy Warhol photograph : Gay Pride, 1976-87
Andy Warhol
Gay Pride, 1976-87
Silver gelatin print, 8 x 10"
© 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / 
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS,
London Courtesy FAIF Collection/Gallery focus21, Switzerland

 

ANDY WARHOL: PHOTOGRAPHS 1976 - 1987 is at The Photographer' Gallery from 17th January to 30th March 2014. The ticket price also includes admission to David Lynch: The Factory Photographs and Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs, which are open over the same period.


[1] For a flavour of Warhol's sound and film experiments:
- listen to The Andy Warhol Tapes (1994), Narrated by John Giorno, on Ubuweb here:
http://www.ubu.com/sound/warhol_tapes.html
or  watch Andy Warhol's film Sleep (1963) on Vimeo, length 40 minutes