In January 2010, the Royal Academy of Arts will stage a landmark exhibition of the work of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890). The focus of the exhibition will be the artist’s remarkable correspondence. Over 35 original letters, rarely exhibited to the public due to their fragility, will be on display in the main galleries of Burlington House, together with around 65 paintings and 30 drawings that express the principal themes to be found within the correspondence. Thus the exhibition will offer a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the complex mind of Vincent van Gogh. This will be the first major Van Gogh exhibition in London for over forty years.
In addition to lending almost all the letters in the exhibition, the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, has made available twelve important paintings. Other major lenders include the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, together with other museums and private collections worldwide.
Born in Zundert in the southern Netherlands in 1853, Van Gogh was the second of six children of a Protestant pastor. In his early adult life, he worked for a firm of art-dealers in The Hague and London, before becoming a missionary worker. His career as an artist began only in 1880, when he was 27. During his ten-year artistic career, which his suicide cut tragically short in 1890, Van Gogh’s output was prodigious: largely self-taught, he produced over 800 paintings and 1,200 drawings.
Van Gogh was a compulsive and eloquent correspondent. The majority of his letters were written to his brother Theo, an art-dealer who supported Vincent throughout his difficult artistic career. Vincent also wrote to other family members, including his sister Wilhelmina. Other artists, notably Anton van Rappard, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, were also, at different phases of Vincent’s life, recipients of his letters. The originality of his ideas about art, nature and literature, combined with his deep understanding of these subjects, make Van Gogh’s letters much more than a personal expression of feelings: they attain the status of great literature. In reading the letters one encounters not only a sensitive, determined and exceptionally hardworking man, but also someone possessed of a powerful intellect; this exhibition will challenge the view that Van Gogh was an erratic genius by allowing the viewer a rare insight into his artistic process through the intimate medium of his correspondence. Together the letters create a ‘self portrait’, and reveal the ways in which Van Gogh defined himself as an artist and as a human being.
Taking the letters as its starting point, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters will view the paintings and drawings from the perspective of the correspondence. The letter sketches that Van Gogh frequently used to show a work in progress or a completed work are a fascinating part of the correspondence, and many will be shown alongside the paintings or drawings on which they are based.
Highlights of the exhibition will include Self-portrait as an Artist (1888) and The Yellow House (1888) from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Still-life: Drawing Board with Onions (1889) from the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; Vincent’s Chair with His Pipe (1888) from the National Gallery, London; and Entrance to the Public Park in Arles (1888) from the Phillips Collection, Washington DC.
Examining such themes as the role of colour in painting, the cycles of nature, friendship, religion and literature, the exhibition will celebrate the new edition of the artist’s correspondence Vincent van Gogh – The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition, that will be published by Thames & Hudson in October 2009. The result of fifteen years of scholarship by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum, the complete correspondence of Vincent van Gogh will be published as a printed edition in three languages and as an integral web-edition, thereby providing the worldwide public with a wealth of new information. The exhibition is based on many insights that the new and extensive research into the letters has produced.
The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. The Academy was founded by George III in 1768. The 34 founding Members were a group of prominent artists and architects including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir William Chambers who were determined to achieve professional standing for British art and architecture. They also wanted to provide a venue for exhibitions that would be open to the public; and to establish a school of art through which their skills and knowledge could be passed to future generations of practitioners. Visit : http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/
As the international tour of the last Gilbert & George retrospective (2007–2009) did not include Berlin, Arndt & Partner are now presenting a solo exhibition of the celebrity artist duo in its gallery rooms behind the Hamburger Bahnhof. It is the first Gilbert & George solo show in Berlin for 14 years. The exhibition features a selection of 20 large-scale pieces from the Jack Freak Pictures, the largest Gilbert & George group of pictures to date. The thrust of the content is given by the colors and shapes of the Union Jack flag that dominate the bulk of the pictures as well as the recurring motive of medals, emblems and trees. In the Jack Freak Pictures the artist duo explores aspects of nationhood and of the sentient individual in the nets of society. In his essay published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition the British writer Michael Bracewell describes these pictures as “the most iconic, philosophically astute and visually violent works that Gilbert & George have ever created…” On view 16 June through 18 September, 2009.
Gilbert & George, who met as students of sculpture at St. Martin’s School of Art in London 42 years ago, embarked on a joint artistic career that was to encompass a wide range of media from drawing to video and their trademark pictures. Further, the pair revolutionized the concept of sculpture by presenting themselves as “living sculptures” dressed in the quintessentially British tailored suit, shirt and tie. But it was their monumental trademark pictures composed of a gridlike array of smaller images which they began to create in the early 70s that first brought them international fame. Figures, cityscapes, symbols, plants, bodily fluids, excrements and text interlock in pictorial messages as visually powerful as their content is provocative. The pictures, which started out in black and white and later assumed increasingly luminous, bold colors, generally also depict portraits of the artists themselves and seize on taboo subjects like sexuality, race, religion and national identity with a brash and fearless candor.
The Jack Freak Pictures again feature the bodies and/or faces of the artists. In these compositions, their bodies function as stylized representatives of the individual in society, whose relationship to social norms and categories, to national, religious and sexual identification processes is relentlessly explored and commented upon. Departing from their earlier oeuvre, some of their new pictures split the raw images into much smaller fragments before merging them into new forms. The result is a fascinating kaleidoscopic mix of the monstrously grotesque with an intricate ornamental structure reminiscent of sacred art. In ever new variations, Gilbert & George order the signs and fragments of social life they find in their neighborhood – the multicultural East End of London –, where solidarity and friendship are as visible as intolerance and marginalization.
Gilbert & George
Gilbert, born in 1943 in the Ladin Dolomites, Italy, studied at the Wolkenstein School of Art in South Tyrol, the Hallein School of Art in Austria and the Munich Academy of Fine Arts before coming to London and enrolling at St Martin’s School of Art. George, born in 1942 in Devon, England, studied at the Dartington Hall College of Art, the Oxford Art School and St. Martin’s School of Art, where he met Gilbert in Anthony Caro’s sculpture class in 1967. They have lived and worked together in London ever since.
The duo has accumulated a long list of international distinctions and exhibitions at major institutions. They were awarded the Turner Prize in 1986, a prize they had already been nominated for two years earlier, and represented the UK at the 51st Venice Biennial in 2005. Solo exhibitions of their art have been held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1971 and 1996), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1985), Wiener Secession, Vienna (1992), the National Art Gallery, Beijing (1993), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris (1997), the Kunstmuseum Bonn (1999), the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), and the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2006). Their second retrospective, which toured museums including the Tate Modern, London (2007), and the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2007), was on show at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, until the beginning of the year.
Visit Arndt & Partner at : http://www.arndt-partner.de/
Street-artist Banksy has a new show in his home town of Bristol, England. Although some of the pieces were seen in New York last year, the Bristol Museum is also showing over 70 new pieces of work offering political satire and social mockery. Core77 says that Kate Brindley, Director of the museum, managed to keep the exhibition under wraps from upper management, the local council and most of the museum staff by pretending the build-out was part of a movie shoot. Here’s a trailer Banksy has posted on his site:
The museum website says about ‘Banksy vs Bristol Museum’:
Throughout the summer, visitors will find some unusual specimens amongst the museum’s permanent collection – a stonehenge made from portable toilets greets visitors on arrival, a burnt out ice cream van now replaces the enquiries desk and the life size historic biplane suspended from the ceiling now provides refuge for a Guantanamo bay escapee. Banksy has filled the museum with his own wry take on classical art.
Check out the collection of images by MG/BS4 taken from the show on Flickr.
This exhibition should not be missed!
Canal Zone, a new series of collages by artist Richard Prince, opened November 8, 2008 at the Gagosian Gallery. Prince inspired by his birthplace, The Panama Canal, draws a narrative that carries contentious topics of race, colonialism, and separatism. In the artwork, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Renee Vivian and Roman Brooks take over the Guahnahani, nude women stretch and bend into erotic poses. Many of the names of the paintings feature hotels in the island of St. Barth which the artist relates to the work in the following quote:
“The story was basically about a guy who lands in St Barth, gets off the plane, is immediately told that there’s been a nuclear holocaust in the rest of the world, and he looks at his family and says ‘We can’t go back.’”
Their figures cut from magazines, then pasted against a jungle backdrop are missing eyes, mouths, and noses that dehumanize and objectify the sensuous subjects. Using stereotypical images consisting of nude women, Rastafarian men, guitars, cars, and jungle landscapes Prince’s new works lay heavy within a perpetual bed of interpretation. Pending on size, these large-scale collage pieces range from $1 to $3 million dollars and will exhibit through December 20, 2008.
Check also this past interview with Richard Prince.
The work of Brooklyn-based artist KAWS, who began his career as a graffiti artist and is now known for channeling modern pop and street culture into his art, is on display at Gering Lopez Gallery, on Manhattan’s East 57th Street. The exhibit features KAWS’ latest sculptures and paintings, including a collection of 33 candy-colored bronze sculptures of the artist’s head. ‘Chum,’ a sculpture, is a characteristically KAWS interpretation of the Michelin Man carved in red fiberglass–the sculpture is also rendered in five other unique colors. Other works on display include large acrylic paintings with bold colors and cartoon-esque forms, including several likenesses of SpongeBob Squarepants, a favorite subject of KAWS and a theme the artist explored earlier this year in an exhibition at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.
Through December 23rd, 2008
Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm
Gering Lopez Gallery
730 East 57th Street, New York, NY
Andreas Gursky’s sixth exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery is currently on display. The exhibit features five photographs, all taken within the last two years including two pictures of Cocoon, a massive nightclub in Frankfurt designed by Gursky’s friend Sven Vath, a well known electronic musician and DJ. The club’s name inspires its architecture, as it mimics a hive or the imagined insides of a cocoon, and the photographs depict swarms of people dancing, extending the metaphor. The Cocoon pieces follow Gursky’s interest in electronic music, and previous photographs of large raves and electronic music concerts. ‘Hamm Bergswerk OST’ was shot in a coal mine close to Dusseldorf, Gursky’s home town, depicting the ceiling of one of the mine’s locker rooms, where the miners store their clothes in an unconventional way. While the exhibition is small, the scale of the photographs is very large, typically towering over the viewer, with broad panoramas full of absorbing detail that immerses the spectator.
Making its stop in Central Park, Chanel’s mobile art pavilion continues its tour with an opening today in Central Park. The structure designed by architect Zaha Hadid was engineered to reflect a traditional quilted Chanel bag. Featuring works from 20 artists around the globe, the show is definitely something to check out, especially with free admission. For further information regarding admission check out the official website. Moreover, check out the brief video clip from New York Magazine that gives a tour of what is going on exactly inside of Zaha Hadid’s structure.
See the video here.
Legendary musician David Byrne of Talking Heads fame helped to judge a contest in which 9 bike racks were selected to be placed throughout Manhattan (8 racks) and Brooklyn (1 rack). Byrne was asked to judge the Cityracks Design Competition – he even submitted his own designs — that was conceived with the intention of promoting bicycling in New York. Bicycling has certainly seen a spike in popularity due to inflated fuel costs, so seeing something that allows for a creative outlet for the activity is refreshing for something that has transcended being a mode of transportation. The act of cycling is seeing all-time heights in popularity in cities all over the US with organized rides and videos showcasing the skills of riders all over the world. The bike racks all feature designs that are embodiements of city’s spirit and most well-known landmarks.
The listing below has been taken from the Cityroom Blog at the New York Times.
The names and locations of the nine racks follow:
- The Jersey: Northwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 39th Street, near the Lincoln Tunnel
- The MoMA: South side of West 54th Street, east of the Avenue of the Americas
- The Ladies’ Mile: West side of Fifth Avenue, north of 57th Street (in front of Bergdorf’s)
- The Chelsea: In front of 530 West 25th Street, east of 11th Avenue (in front of PaceWildenstein Gallery)
- The Hipster: West side of Bedford Avenue, near North Sixth Street, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- The Olde Times Square: South side of West 44th Street, west of Seventh Avenue
- The Villager: In front of 536 La Guardia Place, between West Third and Bleecker Streets
- The Wall Street: North side of 82 Wall Street, west of Water Street
- The Coffee Cup: West side of Amsterdam Avenue, between West 110th and 111th Streets
NikeTown in New York was transformed to celebrate the launch of the NSW Collection. The 5th floor has been filled with the creme-de-la-creme of the Nike Sportswear collection along with a gargantuan windrunner installation that makes use of over 200 hundred of the Nike jackets. Amongst the Windrunners, is the one being worn by US athletes during the opening and closing ceremonies. The installation will be taken down at the end of the month.
The Gagosian in New York has been hosting an amazing group show of contemporary artists titled, Retrospective. The show features the works of 13 artists such as: Andy Warhol, Chris Burden, Douglas Gordon, Ed Ruscha, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp, Martin Kippenberger, Piero Golia, Piotr Uklanski, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Takashi Murakami, and Tom Friedman. The show runs through August 22nd.
Click here for images of the works showing at this show.