review

Iain Baxter& & the Ampers&

  “Don’t look at this unless you’re ready for anything. Ok. Sit down and with a pair of scissors cut 4 inches off your tie and please mail it immediately to Iain Baxter Pres. N.E.Thing Co (address supplied)… Now you are ready for anything.” (N.E.Thing Co. 1967 Xerox.) Disclosure; I did cut 4 inches off my tie and sent it …

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Day of the Tentacle: Yayoi Kusama at Martin Gropius Bau

Christian Hain The retrospective of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at Gropius Bau starts in the employees’ parking lot (they do still have one, despite an outspoken political agenda that doesn’t exactly approve of private transport), where we find some trees transformed into a smurf-like village, or fly agaric-styled art objects. “Hard wood, wearing a (white and red-dotted) dress, wrapped up, …

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Displaced

Eleonora Schianchi Entering MAST, one has the impression of being teleported into another dimension, a feeling which might well be shared by anyone seeing this space for the first time. The modern and shiny building, designed by STUDIO LABICS (Rome) in 2005, is the last thing you would expect in an historical and very much lived-in city like Bologna. Inside …

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Pierre Alechinsky: Carta Canta

Sam Vangheluwe To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. Samuel Beckett Belgium is a beautiful city, in the words of the previous POTUS, Brussels, alas, is a hellhole. In these times of division, polarisation and discord, nationally and internationally, we Belgians shrug our schizophrenic shoulders and sigh. Belgium having so often …

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The History You Save May Be Your Own

Aleksander Hudzik What do you know about socialist realism? Perhaps that it was a weird aberration in art during the Cold War era, when nebbish Soviet artists were trying to depict life in a heavy handed manner like the sculptures of Kim Jong-il that adorn every square in Pyongyang. There were paintings of workers and tractors and factories and fields, …

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Contemporary Art in Galleries in Milan

Graziella Colombo Museums and exhibitions are open again in Milan. That’s why I’ve recently visited two different shows in two different galleries, trying to understand something more about contemporary art, which is often difficult for me to approach and appreciate to its full value and in its fullest expressive power. Mimmo Paladino is a very well known artist in Italy. …

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A New Look at Italy

Anna Maria Benedetti Painting in late 19th and early 20th-century Europe isn’t only about the avant-garde! In the second half of the 19th century, the impressionists mastered a revolution by eliminating non-naturalist subjects from painting with their ‘retinal painting’ (Duchamp). They eliminated past and future in time, reducing the present to the moment. Reality was what you saw. The inventio, …

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Laura Knight – A Celebration

Mary Fletcher This exhibition covers Laura Knight’s art from her early studies at Nottingham Art College to her work as a war artist. What a remarkable career she had and what a wide range of work. The book published to accompany the show has further pictures and essays and is edited by Elizabeth Knowles. We can see her colours brighten …

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Artists’ Union of England

Mary Fletcher   The AUE Union was started in 2014. It now has over 500 members and is aiming to be affiliated to the TUC – Trades Union Congress, whose headquarters are in London. It’s therefore a very new and so far a very small trade union. I recently attended the online AGM (Annual General Meeting), participating in a discussion …

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Future Lovers: the Terrifying Union of Science and Art

Minwen Wang Scientific progress can be controversial, especially when it comes to our bodies. The genetic modification of organisms, including our future selves, is a particularly sensitive issue that tends to grab headlines. Bio-scientific development can cause public alarm because for many people it strikes at our fundamental assumptions of personhood, religion and ethics. And while we benefit from such …

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UMFA’s “Black Refractions”: A More Accurate Account of Our Shared American History

Scotti Hill On July 3, 2020, The New York Times reported that the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the May 25th death of George Floyd likely constituted the largest in United States history, garnering a half-million participants in over 500 locations at their peak. The magnitude of these events collided with an America encountering a once-in a century …

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How to Raise the Water Level in a Fish Pond

Aleksander Hudzik It was a warm night in June, 1518, in the modest town called Strasburg, which nowadays sits on the border of Germany and France. There was music and there were people dancing. A woman named Frau Troffea started to dance around sunset, other people joined her and by around midnight there was a group of 50. By the …

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The Facsimile Diary of Frida Kahlo

Mary Fletcher This is as close as I can get to holding Kahlo’s actual diary. Most of it is written in Spanish in a very legible rounded script, helpfully translated at the back of the book with black and white reproductions of the pages so that you don’t get confused, despite the lack of page numbers. The diary has drawings …

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Michael Joo: Sensory Meridian

Phillip Barcio Michael Joo’s latest solo exhibition at Chicago’s Kavi Gupta gallery is perfectly tailored to our time: exclusive and a little alienating, just like pandemic viewing restrictions. Climbing the dimly lit stairway to the second-floor exhibition space by myself, my feelings of strange solitude were amplified by the sounds of soft, incomprehensible whisperings emanating from an unseen audio installation. …

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Banksy: The Last Romantic

Susana Gómez Laín They seek him here, they seek him there Those Frenchies seek him everywhere Is he in heaven or is he in hell? That damned elusive Pimpernel Baroness Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel With him/her/them (we don’t know yet), in a context of pandemia, scandal arrived at the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Circle) in Madrid out …

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