1. New Post: Something You Should See… 2 + 2 at Signal Gallery


    Something You Should See… 2 + 2 at Signal Gallery

    The small but perfectly formed Signal Gallery in the heart of Shoreditch is at again. Having just been down there for an exhibition by Brooklyn street artist RAE, I have to say I was itching to get back. Happily, the clever folks at the gallery have come up with yet another tasty morsel for your artistic delectation.
    Two Plus Two is an exhibition that features two painters from the States and two street artists from dear old Blighty, and it promises to be very special. At first glance it might seem like some sort of aesthetic face-off but in fact the four have been chosen for their complimentary styles. Bael, from England’s northeast, is a painter whose dramatic pieces combine sexuality with menace, and exemplary linework. Michael Jankowski, a Chicago-based artist, also demonstrates this skill, while his work has an ethereal, almost distant quality to it.


    Net by SPQR

    Joe Iurato, from New Jersey, has gained recognition for his striking street art and installations. The subtle menace seen in Bael’s work is very much evident here – a faceless hooded man is a constant – alongside dabbling in a kind of a portraiture – his Tom Waites is remarkable. And for the final helping in this finely balanced Michelin-star meal is SPQR, a Bristolian stencil artist who has exhibited at the gallery before. Unsurprisingly perhaps, his work combines humour with darkness, his menace more joyous, and the perfect addition to the spectrum of work on offer.


    Michal Janowski

    All in all, this is a well crafted exhibition, and a real opportunity to see four young artists plying their trade in different but complimentary ways, and all under the same tiny roof. (Words: Ed Spencer) 

    Two Plus Two is on until March 15th.  For more info visit www.signalgallery.com


  2. New Post: Something you should see… Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern


    Something you should see… Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern

    Up there with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein is one of the most recognisable American modern artists going – and similarly the creator of some of the most bastardised work around. Most people are more likely to have seen his work emblazoned on a gift mug, a novelty T-shirt or a placemat, rather than an art gallery wall. So, the new Lichtenstein retrospective at the Tate Modern, the first of its kind for 20s years, comes as a pleasant surprise – and a pretty good opportunity for his fans.


    Masterpiece, 1962 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

    Every good pop artist had a fascination with consumer culture and the visual language of the mass media; Lichtenstein was no different. Famed for his use of the old-fashioned comic strip to convey puns and innuendos, his work is both accessible and instantly recognisable. Most of his work carried his trademark humour, mimicking, with just a hint of irony, the two dimensional characters of popular culture.

    This opportunity to get up-close and personal with the work will also reveal his attention to detail, as we coloured his images with the same Ben-Day spots used in the printing process. This pain-staking process became a signature style for Lichtenstein for most of his career, even taking the dots into his large sculptures. Luckily, the entire artist’s oeuvre are explored in the show, which includes 125 works of his paintings and sculptures, giving a full dissection of the range of surfaces and materials he used to achieve his visions.


    © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

    His prolific career, which ran into the 1990s, is often overlooked or reduced to a graphic composition, by the means of mass production he himself chose to highlight. Hopefully, this exhibition should serve to readdress this balance. A must-see. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is on until May 27th. For more info visit: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/lichtenstein


  3. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Friday night at Sketch


    What we’ve been up to… Friday night at Sketch

    Nothing says goodbye to the working week than a visit to Sketch, the playful Mayfair bar and restaurant which always has us feeling so grown and bougie whenever we pop in.   From the arty decor and menu to those toilet pods, we love how it does quirky so well – and sure,  you can easily blow a week’s wages on a tiny dinner-for-two, but we reckon a couple of desserts and a few cocktails never hurt anyone.  Treat a friend and head to the Gallery to try the popular Sketch Chocolat (£10) or the scrumptious Raspberry Shortbread (£8.50).



    Pan-fried supreme chicken – tiny, but delicious! £22


    Swiss chard ravioli, £16


    Raspberry shortbread – with tapioca balls!


    Sketch Chocolat


    Sketch toilets – to boldly “go” in no way you’ve gone before!


  4. New Post: Something you should see….Robert Rauschenberg: Jammers, Gagosian Gallery


    Something you should see….Robert Rauschenberg: Jammers, Gagosian Gallery

    The Gagosian has been dealt some real blows in the past year, with Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and most recently Yayoi Kusama upping sticks and leaving the gallery for pastures new. But whilst their brigade of contemporary Super Artists may have temporarily depleted in numbers, Gagosian continue to represent the estates of some of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists, including that of Robert Rauschenberg.


    Mirage (Jammer) (detail), 1975

    Rauschenberg is best known for his textured painting/sculpture hybrids composed of found materials. They have featured cardboard boxes, newspapers, and even bedclothes (borrowed from an unsuspecting neighbour) which he splattered suggestively with paint and mounted on the wall to create the now-iconic Bed. His work is familiar to us as both powerfully rebellious and carefully planned, humble in materials but big in impact. Now showing at Gagosian’s Britannia Street gallery are works of quite a different tone: Rauschenberg’s Jammers, created in 1975 following the artist’s short trip to India.

    The Jammers are made of gauzy fabrics which seem to skim the walls, hanging weightlessly from pins or lightly strung from large, propped-up rattan poles. Broad quadrangular panels each dyed in a single, vivid colour are carefully stitched together: in Gull, deep blue is married with muted taupe, in Mirage, canary yellow with scarlet. The colours sing out into the stark white space from behind intervening layers of translucent muslin. Some of the pieces incorporate tin cans, scrubbed and shining, providing little punctuation marks to the big statements of colour. Although their aesthetic is certainly simpler and more elegant than Rauschenberg’s other work, the Jammers do not represent a total departure from previous projects. As their own breed of wall-based sculptural textiles they too refuse to be confined to one artistic category.


    Untitled (Jammer) (detail), 1975

    Robert Rauchenberg: the artist who combined the media of sculpture and painting, the guy who erased the de Kooning, the lover of Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly. But also the artist who was sensible of the expressive power of raw materials and has a keen eye for colour. You might have thought that you knew Rauschenberg’s work relatively well. Jammers at Gagosian Gallery proves otherwise. (Words: Florence Ritter)

    Robert Rauchenberg: Jammers is on until March 28th. For more info, visit http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/robert-rauschenberg–february-16-2013


  5. New Post: Something you should see… Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs at the London Transport Museum


    Something you should see… Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs at the London Transport Museum

    Whether you love or loathe the tube, it’s impossible to deny that the London Underground has commissioned some memorable artwork that has featured on its tunnel walls. So, as part of LU’s 150th anniversary celebrations, a new exhibition showcasing the best poster designs from the late 19th century ’til today is  on view at the London Transport Museum. The 150 posters (naturally) were selected from the Museum’s archive of over 3,000 designs by an independent panel and chosen to reflect the range of work created to advertise the Underground. However, like most things, I suspect there are some rather contentious inclusions! Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to vote for the best poster on display, with the most popular one being revealed this Autumn.


    © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

    The show is arranged around themes that include famous London landmarks and events, to days out in the city and the countryside. Navigation of the Underground and “encouraging good behaviour on the network” are also exhibition topics. As for the posters themselves, well-known designs such as Man Ray’s Keeps London Going (1938) will feature alongside lesser-known works. Artwork from one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the 20th century, Edward McKnight Kauffer, is also being included. The American-born artist, whose designs referenced Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism, produced 140 posters in total for London Transport during the 20s and 30s. The last major London Underground poster retrospective was in 1963, so this is a rare chance to see the very best (arguably) of poster art produced for the world’s oldest subterranean railway. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Poster Art 150 is on at the London Transport Museum until October 1st. For more info, visit www.ltmuseum.co.uk


    © TfL from the London Transport Museum collection


  6. New Post: What we’ve been up to… MEATMission


    What we’ve been up to… MEATMission

    First, there was the truck (MeatWagon), followed by the pop-up (MeatEasy), then came the boozy diner (MEATLiquor),  the trendy outlet in Covent Garden (MEATMarket) and now a mission to convert anyone else who’s yet to experience the indulgent joy of a dirty MEAT burger. Kudos to food proprietor Yianni Papoutsis for his ability to re-conceptualise the humble American burger restaurant  over the last few years, and attempting to go one better with each creative iteration. With MEATMission, it’d seem the team are keen to push the boundaries on the cultural dining experience, presenting his acclaimed burgers in an East End venue for foodies and coolhunters who are as much about the trendiness of the locale as they are about the hype over the grub – so TCé were invited to find out what burger-lovers can expect from this new kid on the block.


    Sticking up a middle finger to its former tenants ( a Christian mission), the venue’s subversive  theme goes in hard from the jump; the lighting’s incredibly low,  the “inbread” part of the menu is pitched at “sinners”, skeletons are depicted in the stained-glass ceiling breaking bread Last-Supper style – and of course, there’s an all-seeing eye thrown in. It’s a bold statement as even the menu offers a few gags (Bingo Wings, badoom-ching! And you may not want to know the colloquial meaning of “Monkey Fingers“), but it was hard to laugh off the bright red cocktail called, er, Time Of The Month (!?). Still, the Donkey Punch cocktail (ahem) made with  lime juice, ginger beer and absinthe and the fruity Tipping The Velvet (double-ahem), were thankfully, quality Plan Bs, even if their names leave much to be desired.


    First impressions aside, the food itself had some impressive highlights. For starters, those monkey fingers and chilli cheese fries are an absolute-must – and while we were less wooed by the fried pickles (tempura-style, nothing remarkable), the currywurst served over fries was also a great choice.  As for mains, the red chilli burger and cheeseburger  were cool and just what you’d expect  (although a friend was slightly overwhelmed by the spiciness of the green chilli burger), but my hat goes off to the delicious brilliance that is the roast beef sundae.  It looks deceptively sweet, but this creation is simply garlic mash and gravy with roast beef, horseradish cream, topped with a cherry tomato.









    Considering there are other burger outlets that are more notorious for their food (Patty & Bun, Lucky Chip and Honest Burgers),  time will tell if MEATMission‘s restaurant credentials can match the hipness of their brand. But it seems like the sort of venue that’ll make a killing on the weekends as it’s near the heart of most of the Shoreditch action, it’s not too pricey, the music’s good, there’s yummy cocktails and it  has the right kind of starters for grazing – what more could a food-loving coolhunter ask for?

    For more info, visit: www.meatmission.com


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  7. New Post: Something you should see… Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 at The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House


    Something you should see… Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 at The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House

    Most successful artists have a breakthrough moment in their career, when they make that leap from relative anonymity to being well-known. Pablo Picasso was no different. Becoming Picasso at the Courtauld Gallery focuses on the story of the young Spanish upstart’s breakthrough year in Paris in 1901, in which he took the French capital by storm. This exhibition brings together major paintings from his debut summer show at a gallery on rue Lafitte and explores his development as an artist during that seminal year.

    In the work produced for his Paris show, Picasso reconceived the styles and subjects of other modern painters, including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh, to wide acclaim. This synthesis of styles can be appreciated in works such as Dwarf-Dancer and At the Moulin Rouge, both on display. Despite the success of his first solo show, in the latter part of 1901, Picasso’s artistic development took a new turn.

    3. Picasso Child with a Dove

    The iconic Child with a Dove appears as a transitional work at the Courtauld show, signaling the radical change in Picasso’s style. The painting, which expresses the fragility of childhood innocence, heralded the beginning of Picasso’s Blue period. Previous works of bright café scenes painted in brilliant colours gave way to works characterised by a monochromatic use of blue and blue-green tones. The themes during Picasso’s Blue period also became much darker and were partly influenced by the suicide of his best friend, Carlos Casagemas. Visitors to the Courtauld can view a death portrait of Casagemas and the funeral scene Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas) – in which the artist depicts the ascension of his friend’s soul. Much has been said about the barely dressed women in this painting, so I’ll leave you to your own interpretations. It’s worth pointing out that Child with a Dove could be lost to the UK, if attempts to keep it in the country fail. The painting was sold to a foreign buyer last year, so another good reason to get over to Somerset House to see it!

    Becoming Picasso is an opportunity to experience artworks that are now considered to be the earliest masterpieces from a giant of the 20th century. With capacity limited at the Courtauld, queuing may well be the order of the day – but this is a show worth standing in line for. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 is on at The Courtauld Gallery until May 26. For more info, visit www.courtauld.ac.uk


  8. New Post: Something you should see… Paper Cinema at BAC


    Something you should see… Paper Cinema at BAC

    The magical Paper Cinema arrives at Battersea Arts Centre this month to play out the epic ancient Greek poem ‘Odyssey’ by Homer – as you do – in their fascinating and heart-melting style. If you know The Odyssey, then you will know its fantastical quality, set across many islands and with Odysseus (Ulysess if you prefer the Roman name) as the hero; the poem tells of Odysseus’ attempts to return home after the Trojan war. You may also be familiar with its epic proportions, its difficult to follow storyline and the fact it’s the second oldest poem known to exist in the West. Never fear though, the Paper Cinema breathes simplicity and joy into everything it produces, making this silent take on this 8th Century BC epic a wondrous sight.


    The ‘Paper cinema’ concept is taken from the company’s unique combination of live animation and film projection, played alongside a live musical accompaniment. The team are an impressive meeting of puppeteers, designers and musicians. Each scene for the production is brought to life from a simple black line drawing on plain white paper, held in front of a camera. This is then projected for the audience to follow. The simplicity but effectiveness of the art is astonishing. Despite the static drawings, the puppeteers bring life to the projection by moving the sketches around the camera frame. It may not sound like much but their skills create a surprising amount of feeling and movement. And, accompanied by the musical skills of Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie and Quinta (the foley artists) – their enchanted world sings.

    Whilst all eyes are directed to the screen, the performers will also be in view as they produce the piece. An amazing opportunity to witness a truly fascinating art, live. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    On until February

    For more info, visit  https://www.bac.org.uk/content/16166/see_whats_on/current_shows/cook_up/the_paper_cinemas_odyssey


  9. New Post: Something you should see… Man Ray Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery


    Something you should see… Man Ray Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery

    The great, the good and the beautiful are all on display at the National Portrait Gallery as part of a major exhibition on the photographer Man Ray. Best known for his avant-garde images, the American artist also took portraits throughout his career and it’s these photographs that are the subject of the show. The images, which were taken between 1916 and 1968 journey through Ray’s early days in New York, his spell in Paris during the twenties and thirties, the decade spent in Hollywood and his late years in Paris until his death.


    Artists and writers captured by the photographer include Picasso, Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Duchamp. Also featured in the exhibition are fashion icon Coco Chanel and film siren Catherine Deneuve. With more than 150 vintage prints on view, these photographs really are a list of who’s who. However, there is more to this exhibition than just famous faces. Alongside these pictures of Man Ray’s contemporaries and cultural figures are the more personal portraits of friends and lovers. Included in the exhibition is one of his most famous images of lover Kiki de Montparnasse. In Le Violon d’Ingres (1924), the French cabaret performer and actress sits with her naked decorated back to the camera. The US model-turned photographer Lee Miller also makes an appearance in several prints. Miller was not only in a relationship with him, she also collaborated with him professionally.

    For an artist for whom photography was never his principal artistic medium, Man Ray certainly made innovate strides with this form. He was instrumental in developing a type of photogram or what he called ‘Rayographs’ which were made by putting the image directly onto the photographic paper and is also credited along with muse Miller for inventing the process of solarisation. The use of solarisation can be seen in the portraits of Miller and of the French singer and actress Suzy Solidor. Rare examples of Man Ray’s early experiments with colour photography are also on show,

    There are probably very few people who haven’t heard of the name Man Ray or seen any of his images, but as a comprehensive survey of his photographic career this exhibition is definitely worth a visit. (Words: Eri Otite)

    Man Ray Portraits is on at the National Portrait Gallery until May 27th. For more info, visit www.npg.org.uk


  10. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods


    What we’ve been up to… Elk in the Woods

    London is awesome for its nightlife but sometimes a long, lazy Sunday lunch with friends is the best thing in the world which was how I was introduced to the Elk in the Woods.

    Angel already boasts so many great restaurants, but I was excited at the prospect of somewhere new and delicious – and Elk offers both a quirky menu with the Scandinavian-style decor to match. When we sat down to see we had the table facing out onto the street, providing the perfect people watching view as we munched.


    My friends and I split three of the small plates between us - crispy pheasant with spring onion, parsnip and pancakes with homemade plum sauce, halloumi with homemade preserved lemons and salt and pepper calamari. It was my first time trying pheasant  so I was pleasantly surprised by the rich taste and the different take serving it in Chinese style. The calamari was  good with a nice freshness to it and the halloumi, hard to go wrong with my favourite cheese, was simple but delicious.

    My main course of char-grilled lamb cutlets with seasalt savoy cabbage mash, crispy kale and a rosemary and wild berry gravy was wonderful hearty food. This is definitely a place for meat eaters with few vegetarian options on the menu but with the meat they cook it well.  Just remember to save room for dessert –  luckily I was joined by a friend as indecisive as me so we ordered the chocolate fondant with mint ice-cream and the popcorn ice cream sandwich with salted caramel to split between us.

    But food aside, the service was a bit slow – so I’m grateful we got a table with a view as it  gave us something to do. Granted, it was busy and the weekend but three hours in there was too long. Still, the sheer delicious joy of the puddings could warrant a return. (Words: Lucy Palmer)

    For more info about Elk In The Woods visit: www.the-elk-in-the-woods.co.uk