New Post: Something you should see… George Bellows: Modern American Life at the Royal Academy
Something you should see… George Bellows: Modern American Life at the Royal Academy
When George Bellows died at the age of 42 from a ruptured appendix, he was acclaimed as one of America’s greatest realist artists. Now British audiences have the chance to see what all the fuss was about this month at the Royal Academy. The exhibition, which is the first UK retrospective of his career, explores the principal themes in Bellows’ work and includes both drawings and paintings, as well as lithographs.
New York’s urban landscape – its people and places provided the setting for Bellows unflinching portrayal of early 20th century America. From the lawless violence of the boxing ring to gritty scenes of tenement life, to cityscapes and social scenes – he painted them all. Visitors to the Royal Academy can view life in New York and its diversity of inhabitants, as it emerged into the 20th century – from the 71 works on show. Bellows is best known for his boxing paintings and the exhibition includes his most famous work Stag at Sharkey’s (1909). The painting depicts a brutal underground bout at one of New York’s ‘private’ clubs on Broadway. The frenzied energy and raw aggression captured by Bellows in his early fight scenes helped to establish his reputation as a ‘formidable’ painter in New York art circles.
Thought of as the ‘all-American painter’, the variety of subject matter suggest Bellows was a more complex artist who was attuned to the social and political issues of the day. Lithographs Bellows produced for leftwing publications and paintings showing German atrocities during the First World War – both included in the show, attest to the social conscience for which he is known. Those looking for some light relief from the depressing studies of daily city life should seek out Bellows’ scenic paintings of Manhattan under snow and portraits of summer fetes in Central Park.
George Bellows left an extensive body of work for what was a short career, so here’s a great opportunity to see some of those works and find out why this American painter was so highly praised. (Words: Eri Otite)
George Bellows (1882-1925): Modern American Life is on at the Royal Academy from 16 March – 9 June. For more info, visit www.royalacademy.org.uk
11:00 am • 15 March 2013
New Post: Something you should see… Yinka Shonibare: POP! at the Stephen Friedman Gallery
Something you should see… Yinka Shonibare: POP! at the Stephen Friedman Gallery
Yinka Shonibare is having a bit of a moment. Fresh on the heels of a major retrospective at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Stephen Friedman Gallery is hosting a show of new works by the British-Nigerian artist. Inspired by the financial crisis, the exhibition explores the subjects of corruption, excess and debauchery. With his characteristic humour, Shonibare critiques society’s obsession with luxury goods and the behaviour of the banking industry.
Shonibare’s lavish re-working of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, described as his ‘largest and most complex sculptural tableaux’, is one of the main pieces of the exhibition. In Shonibare’s fantasy, Christ is replaced by Dionysus – the mythological God of fertility and wine – surrounded by twelve over-indulged disciples in various states of sexual abandonment. The celebration of mindless excess continues in Banker (2013), which depicts a sharply dressed mannequin simulating a lewd act with a champagne bottle.
Headless figures and the use of Dutch waxed fabric are common motifs in Shonibare’s work. Throughout the exhibition, the colorful Batik print is used in the tailored costumes of the figures and the cloth also appears in the installationToy Paintings. Manufactured by the Dutch, and initially for sale in Indonesia, it was only after the textile failed to take-off that it eventually made its way to West Africa. A signature of his practice for nearly two decades, Shonibare’s use of ‘African’ material - that is actually European in origin – plays on its rather complex colonial history. The beheaded figures are an attempt by Shonibare to discourage associations with race on the part of the viewer.
Large-scale self-portraits based on Andy Warhol’s Camouflage series of 1986, which represent new lines of enquiry for Shonibare, also deserve a mention amidst all the decadence and depravity on show. Yinka Shonibare is of course the man behind the widely acclaimed Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, commissioned for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square – and now on permanent display at the National Maritime Museum. Shonibare’s new work should resonate with audiences, losing none of its theatre, colour and style in its witty and damning take on contemporary life. (Words: Eri Otite)
Yinka Shonibare: POP! is on at the Stephen Friedman Gallery, from 16 March – 20 April. For more info, visit www.stephenfriedman.com
11:00 am • 14 March 2013
New Post: What we’ve been up to… Street Kitchen
What we’ve been up to… Street Kitchen
Food trucks have certainly stepped up their game in recent years – but we imagine only a few can match the style and sophistication of Street Kitchen, a striking silver outlet which has been serving takeaway gourmet food to suits in the city for the past two years.
For less than a tenner, you can get stuck into soft poached eggs with grilled mushrooms, hot-smoked salmon, crispy chicken or slow-braised lamb (which was our lunch choice of the day and tasted incredible!) – and with all ingredients being seasonal and organic, you know you’re only eating the good stuff. Plus, we discovered service is super-quick too, with customers waiting less than five minutes to get their order.
The truck currently offers a lunch service in Broadgate circle (11:30-2:30pm) Monday to Friday, but will be soon be serving burgers and cocktails in Shoreditch for lunches and dinner. For more info, visit www.streetkitchen.co.uk
11:00 am • 13 March 2013
New Post: Somewhere you should go… Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium
Somewhere you should go… Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium
If you could go back in time to any place in any era, where would you go? This age-old question will stir even the most wearisome, dragging conversations into motion: all of us seem to have strong opinions about our imagined historical hotspots. But for all of the times this question has been raised, I doubt any notable percentage of the responses was: ‘Oh, fourteenth century England … yes, without a doubt, fourteenth century England’. Rats, revolts and ravaging wars, and the Black Death sweeping the country with its horrible scythe? Not altogether appealing. But anyone who collected Horrible Histories scratch’n’sniff stickers in their childhood must surely harbour a secret desire to experience the deep dark Middle Ages. Now you can. Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium promises to transport participants back to the year 1381 as part of an immersive and interactive adventure. Reserve your tickets now to catch a trip thorough Bagshaw’s time portal which will open only briefly for two nights this month.
The evening’s exploits are to begin at Village Underground in Shoreditch, where Wilfred Bagshaw will welcome you with open arms and details of the evening’s quest to find a mystery artefact. The night will unravel into an adventure to which you decide the outcome, set in the whirlwind of social and political turmoil of fourteenth century England. Following completion of the assignment, Bagshaw will treat his crusaders to a warehouse party with bands and DJs (joining you through the portal from the 21st century) playing until the early hours of the morning. From 11pm, revellers from today’s era can join the medievalites for the party only.
What are you waiting for? Ladies, don your finest imported Italian silks and wrap up in cat and squirrel stoles; guys hike up your breeches and fasten your cloaks tight. Gather together your ha’pannies, farthings and groats for a ticket through time. (Words: Florence Ritter)
Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium runs 22nd – 23rd March. For more info, visit: www.time-emporium.com
11:00 am • 12 March 2013
New Post: Something you should see… Sanchita Islam: The Rebel Within at Rich Mix
Something you should see… Sanchita Islam: The Rebel Within at Rich Mix
Sanchita Islam‘s enviable artistic career spans 25 years and still continues to influence and inspire her audiences today. Working as a filmmaker, artist and writer in the Borough of Tower Hamlets since 1999, Rich Mix evidently felt it time to celebrate this much-deserved practitioner; cue this multi-disciplinary exhibition presented as part of their Bangladeshi independence festival.
Islam is all about engaging her audience and her start-up company Pigment explosion is living proof of this. The core motivation behind the organisation is to create projects that engage audiences that wouldn’t usually encounter the arts and this includes everyone from older people to women suffering from domestic violence and children who live in the slums of Bangladesh. The exhibition at the Rich Mix will feature projections of her films and artworks, poetry performances and an interactive doodle room – echoing the artist’s interest in encouraging audience engagement.
The doodle room will start off as a blank canvas, simple white walls which will slowly be filled with anything and everything that its audience comes up with in response to the theme: imaginary landscapes and notions of home. The walls are open to all and there will be a variety of workshops and artist interventions dedicated to the space too. The doodle room will also be broadcast live on the web, making it a live performance.
On opening night. Islam’s imposing 30-foot scrolls will be exhibited. Each scroll depicts whole landscape panoramas, with imaginary and real elements – quite an awesome sight. As part of this multi-disciplinary show, the artist will also take part in a debate discussing the lack of high profile British Asian artists. The diversity of elements to the exhibition exemplifies Sanchita Islam’s approach to her work – and for this reason, shouldn’t be missed. (Words: Laura Thornley)
Sanchita Islam: The Rebel Within is on until April 28th. For more info visit: http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/sanchita-islam-the-rebel-within-mar13/
11:00 am • 11 March 2013
New Post: Something You Should See… Nicholas Alvis Vega: Nymphae Nymphalidae at Rove Gallery
Something You Should See… Nicholas Alvis Vega: Nymphae Nymphalidae at Rove Gallery
Is there a more prescient subject matter at the moment than women’s rights and gender relations? Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day and it does not require a list of recent news stories to illustrate the need for such a global coming together. Though we can be buoyed by heart-soaring moment’s of heroism (Malala, for example, the 15-year-old Afghani girl prepared to stand up to the Taliban to get an education) there are endless grim examples of the subjugation of women. Nicholas Alvis Vega is an artist who has long been concerned with the representation and treatment of women; in Nymphae Nymphalidae he delivers a timely exhibition examining the somewhat simplistic and reductive attitudes that have categorised the portrayal of women in art over the centuries, and indeed. still inform vast swathes of male opinion to this day.
Here, Alvis Vega has created a series of oil paintings that copy iconic works of art right through to modern advertising, before defacing them. In doing this, he seeks to question the idea of the ‘male gaze’ theory whether male attitudes have departed very far from seeing women merely as madonnas or whores, according to Laura Mulvey. If we think of Hilary Mantel’s recent (oft-misquoted) analysis of the role of Royal Consort and elsewhere, the feverish debate about the impact of pornography, the timing of Vega’s questioning seems auspicious.
Alvis Vega has lived all over the world and this has given him a unique experience of the treatment of women and first hand insights into the attitudes that lead to such treatment. This exhibition is a culmination of those experiences and though it seeks to inspire serious debate, also has room for a bit of fun. The private view on March 8th promises whiskey sours, the creation of new art, a performance-based on the exhibition and some top women DJs – a worthwhile way to mark International Women’s Day. (Words: Ed Spencer)
Nymphae Nymphalidae runs until April 6th. For more info, visit: www.rovetv.net
11:00 am • 8 March 2013
New Post: Somewhere you should go… KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival
Somewhere you should go… KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival
There’s always a myriad of film festivals in the capital and you might be wondering why this particular festival deserves special attention. Well, there are many reasons why this particular festival deserves special attention. Not only does the programme revisit old film maestros within the Polish film industry (the retrospective of experimental artist Wojciech Bruszewski at the Tate looks particularly tasty) and showcase the latest cutting-edge films (Bejbi Blues from Katarzyna Rosłaniec looks at teenagers obsessed with video games and getting wasted – with the small matter of a baby to take care of), the programme also includes an array of workshops.
These vary from a cinematography masterclass with Roman Polanski collaborator Paweł Edelman (most lauded for his work on ‘The Pianist’) to learning the dark arts of pitching your era-defining idea and discovering the latest technological developments and trends within Hollywood at the moment. The festival also looks to the future, fostering the next generation of talent with animation workshops for young teenagers.
But back to the programme. There is one film guaranteed to appal or intrigue, and even if you are appalled, you’ll still be intrigued. ‘F*** for Forest’ may be a questionable title, but is in fact a charity that take a more salacious approach to environmental activism; they’re featured in a documentary that shows the amorous attempts of this group of hardy souls to protect an area of Amazon rainforest for its indigenous people.
In short, this is no ordinary film festival. (Words: Ed Spencer)
Kinoteka runs until March 17th at various venues. For more info, visit: For more info – www.kinoteka.org.uk
11:00 am • 7 March 2013
New Post: Somewhere you should go… RETZ presents: The Trial
Somewhere you should go… RETZ presents: The Trial
If you are sick of the kind of theatre that sticks with the well -rodden path, constantly employing the same old props to tell their story – like a venue for instance – you might be interested to hear about The Trial; a digital age revamp of Franz Kafka’s seminal novel. Throwing tradition out, immersive theatre company RETZ has developed a production that takes its audience on two separate visits out of the round and into a journey through the winding streets of Hoxton.
If the story of The Trial is a mystery, then imagine this; on his 30th birthday Joseph K is arrested for an unknown crime, by an unknown agency that leads like a nightmare into a twisted judicial process – and ultimately, well… that would be telling. It’s a tale that has been decrypted many times, partly because it evades specific details. So RETZ’s decision to digital-age it fits quite well. The audience are a vital part of the process, encountering one-on-ones with the 47 actors – but if that isn’t enough, anything you say may be used against you, as the audience also become implemented in the performance.
RETZ’s key concept is to use social media to share information about audience members between the actors, enabling them to use that information further into the performance. With this act they hope to draw in key concepts of privacy and the internet, pressing issues that occupy space today.
The performance takes place over a variety of locations including Shoreditch Town Hall and the Rose Lipman building and runs throughout March and April. RETZ have plenty of experience developing their fictional world – having already done something similar with Shakespeare’s Tempest – so this is set to be yet another boundary pusher, and you wouldn’t want to miss that. (Words: Laura Thornley)
RETZ presents: The Trial runs until April 27th. For more info visit: www.barbican.org.uk/eticketing/event-detail.asp?ID=14671
11:00 am • 6 March 2013
New Post: TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go - March 2013
TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go - March 2013
It feels like it’s been the longest winter ever, but these lighter mornings and warmer days are giving us plenty of reason to expect Spring any minute now – but until then, we’ve got an incredible collection of cultural highlights this March to also look forward to…
Art & Culture
Wild Card 2013: Ivan Blackstock at Sadler’s Wells, March 14-15th - The UK hip-hop dancer/choreographer from the BirdCage Dance Company will be presenting a dynamic evening of his works in the Sadler’s third Wild Card series.
Art & Culture
Art in Mind: Beauty Never Sleeps at The Brick Lane Gallery, March 13-24th – Art in Mind offers a platform for new and established artists to showcase their latest works – this month, it features the gothic illustrations of Belgian artist Bruno Vergauwen and works from Ian Treherne.
Reincarnated screening + Q&A with Vice magazine global editor and director Andy Capper at Curzon Soho, March 22nd – Here’s an opportunity to see how Snoop Dogg became Snoop Lion, in this doc which follows the rapper’s quest to embrace Jamaica’s rasta culture before producing his reggae album. Tickets for the screening available from midday on Wednesday, March 6th.
Wilfred Bagshaw’s Time Emporium, March 22-23rd– Described as an “immersive theatrical gaming adventure and warehouse party”, the guys behind the Winterwell Festival will be transporting revelers back to a bygone era (1381) where they’ll play the chronological adventurer and go on special assignments before partying their cares away.
Supa Dupa Fly’s Karaoke ‘N’ Quiz, last Thursday of every month – If you know your Big Daddy Kanes from your B.I.Gs, hot step to this new monthly quiz night for hip-hop heads at the Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch.
Best bits from last month
11:00 am • 5 March 2013
New Post: Something you should see…Alan Brooks: City, MOTInternational
Something you should see…Alan Brooks: City, MOTInternational
London-dwellers, you and I can count ourselves among more than 80% of the British population now living in urban areas. Our own beloved city is the most diverse of Britain’s urban centres, with over a third of its population born outside of the UK. With so many people on the move around an increasingly globalised world, cities and their cultural identities are changing at a faster rate than ever before. Does there remain any collective idea of the city itself? Alan Brooks’ third exhibition at MOT International’s London gallery space is an exploration of the concept of the city, our personal perceptions of it, and what it might mean to us to inhabit one today.
No less than one hundred drawings spread across a single black-painted wall of the small gallery. They vary in size and in content: images taken from gossip magazines and from newspapers are set beside floor plans and architectural drawings, and literary fragments sit with the toilet-wall scrawlings of an anonymous small-time vandal. Every one of them is carefully rendered in pencil crayon on paper – so we are told, but it’s hard to believe. Brooks deftly manipulates his simple materials to produce a startlingly broad range of effects to match the array of source materials on show.
Previous works by Brooks have exhibited the same eye-popping levels of labour. In his last show at MOTInternational, Brooks showed 48 pencilled portraits of an (all-male) selection of artists in front of their most famous artworks. Brooks was working from images of securely canonised, artist stars of the twentieth century and although his careful copies were technically impressive, they didn’t offer any new dimension to the sources. Brooks’ City, with its sprawling collection of cultural artefacts, is more open to interpretation.
Brooks was inspired by The City: A Vision in Woodcuts, a striking pictorial novel by Belgian engraver Frans Masereel. Masereel’s bold, chunky Expressionist prints are formally a world away from Brooks’ obsessive, tightly executed pencil drawings. However both artists are united in navigating a path through the infinite narratives and histories embedded in the urban environment, and attempting to capture what it is to live in a City. (Words: Florence Ritter)
Alan Brooks: City, MOT International is on until 30th March 2013. For more info, visit: http://www.motinternational.org/alan-brooks
11:00 am • 4 March 2013