Friday, January 27, 2012

Turner and the Elements at Margate's Turner Contemporary space



JMW Turner, The New Moon or I've lost My Boat, You shan't have Your Hoop, exhibited 1840, Oil on mahogany
Courtesy of Tate Image © Tate, London 2010



As Oscar Wilde would say: "There was no fog in London, before Turner".  This funny quote encapsulates the importance of Turner's mark on history of art. Turner’s innovative painting technique and the influence of scientific and technological developments during his lifetime were to revolutionise landscape painting.

In Turner and the Elements, the first major show of the painter’s work at Turner Contemporary, exhibition space situated on Margate's seafront, is explored the important role that the depiction of the elements played in the master's landscape watercolours and paintings.

The exhibition brings together 88 works many from the Tate collection. Works on display include Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842 and The New Moon; or ‘I’ve lost My Boat, You shan’t have Your Hoop’ exhibited 1840. Turner’s frequent visits to Margate and the Kent coast are vividly portrayed, with particular works chosen especially for the exhibition.

Curated by Inés Richter-Musso and Ortrud Westheider, the exhibition is the only opportunity to see this selection of works by Turner together in the UK. Don't miss it !

Rothko & The Abstractionists: First major canvas by Rothko at a London auction in a decade

Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Untitled, signed and dated 'MARK ROTHKO 1955' (on the reverse), oil on canvas, 69¼ x 61¾in. (175.8 x 157cm.). Painted in 1955. Christie's Images Ltd 2012.


This is very exciting. Christie's London announced that "Untitled", the painting executed in 1955 is the first major canvas by Mark Rothko to be presented in a London auction in a decade. Realised at the height of the artist’s celebrated classic period, it forms part of a series of abstract works exhibited and owned by a number of major international museums. Rendered in a palette of brilliant red vermillion, burnt ochre and white, "Untitled" comprises two rectangular forms floating within the canvas. Faced with this large-scale and vivid piece, ‘abstract sublime’ and ‘spiritual awe’ are amongst the terms used to describe this work which inevitably provokes a wealth of emotions for the transcended viewer said the official press release.

Let's wait for the actual auction and who buys it...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quote of the week: Kate Moss on Lucian Freud

"He taught me discipline, which I hadn't been taught properly before. If I was, like, two seconds, late, he would kick off. Once I was three minutes late and he went absolutely berserk. I was crying and I was pregnant and I went 'I'm pregnant!' and he went 'Oh, I'm so sorry', and I was forgiven. But he was so strict. But he made a massive impression on me." Kate Moss to the Times.

Givenchy Haute Couture Spring 2012


Beautiful as always...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Karl for Net-à-Porter



"Karl"

Large printed canvas tote

Net-à-Porter collection - launched today.

Francesco Vezzoli - Prada - AMO: 24h museum


Yesterday night, in the middle of the Haute-Couture Paris Fashion Week, artist Francesco Vezzoli, Prada and AMO/OMA, Rem Koolhaas's think tank took over Palais d'Iena to launch a temporary museum called the 24h Museum with Kate Moss DJ-ing all night. How cooler can you get?

“Think of it as a parody of a retrospective” explained Vezzoli to Peter Aspden at the Financial Times in a recent interview. Prada and Vezzoli have been friends for a long-time and collaborated on several occasions. Vezzoli photographed Miuccia for the April 2009 cover of i-D and Prada has exhibited Vezzoli’s pieces at her Fondazione Prada located in Milan. The glorious fashion designer, who will have a proper retrospective show at New York's MET next May believes that "art has become too serious" so basically asked Vezzoli to entertain us a little. How can we not feel a sense of irony?



With the new “24 h Museum“, Francesco Vezzoli is continuing his exploration of reciprocal influences in the visual arts, cinema and theatre that he has already investigated in the performance in which Veruschka did petit-point embroidery at the Venice Biennale in 2001, the Democrazy video in which Sharon Stone and Bernard-Henri Lévy represented themselves as characters of a fictitious political campaign for an hypothetical presidential election (Venice Biennale, 2007), and in Lady Gaga / Damien Hirst / Frank Gerhy's performance at the MOCA in Los Angeles in 2009 when she played a live tribute to Diaghilev among many other art/PR-coup stunts.

Classical-style statues with faces of celebrities with whom Vezzoli has worked with, such as Courtney Love and Cate Blanchett were what you could see in a room full of hipsters and celebrities. “I am personally tired of pursuing and courting them, and I have exhausted my fascination with that universe.” Vezzoli added when speaking with Peter Aspden... When I told you, irony prevailed in this show...

Still, it's a must-see but hurry-up...


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Exclusive interview with Spanish artist Nicolás Santos


Nicolás Santos is a young Spanish artist who developed an imagery thanks to collages. He smartly mixes fashion, 30's American-cinema-glamour and boy-related influences, creating beautiful visuals that can disorient viewers. I had the chance to interview with him on his influences and his upcoming Madrid exhibition at La Fresh Gallery.

Enjoy !

How would you describe yourself and how would you describe your art?
 
I'm curious and my art is fulfilling.

Currently, do you have an exhibition and where does it take place?

No I don't, but I will have one before summer in Madrid, at La Fresh Gallery, with the work I'm currently working on.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

Mostly from 20th-century subcultures.

Are you represented by a gallery?

By La Fresh Gallery in Madrid.

Who are your favourite "models"? Who would you like to work with?

My favourite model is the one I created matching my own objectives.  I'd rather keep my wishes for me, wishes are all we have left with. 



Do you have any preferred artworks you've made?
The ones to come.

If you were not an artist, what would you be doing?

I would be studying. Not pretty sure what for, but who does?

What is your next project about?

About fashion and desire.

Do you consider that Art is Alive?

Well I would say it's pretty much dead, but we all have to try and keep it alive.

How have you developed your technique?

Through perseverance and determination.

What do you think about this blog and what would you wish it?

Spreading the word is necessary, keep up the good work.

More info on: http://720213.tumblr.com/

Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Lyon Biennial : video assessment

Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings at LACMA


Colors on a Grid (1976), collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer, © Ellsworth Kelly and Tyler Graphics, Ltd.


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings, the first retrospective of the artist’s prolific print practice since the late 1980s. This exhibition coincides with the forthcoming revised and updated catalogue raisonné of Kelly’s prints, and features more than 100 works on paper, in addition to a selection of paintings from local collections.

Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings is organized thematically by key motifs, demonstrating the artist’s long-standing engagement with elemental form and pure color.

“This exhibition allows us to see the consistency of Kelly’s print practice, and how the formal hallmarks of his paintings and drawings have an important place in his graphic work,”
notes Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art and exhibition co-curator. 

Britt Salvesen, curator of prints and drawings and exhibition co-curator adds,
“Whether created in series or individually, these prints offer an opportunity to explore Kelly’s ongoing interest in pure form and color.” 

Kelly produced his first editioned prints in 1964-65, with Maeght Éditeur in Paris. Although he has explored intaglio and screenprinting methods, his primary affinity is for lithography. His growing interest in the medium coincided with the founding of Gemini G.E.L., the now-legendary print workshop located on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Gemini’s founders — Ken Tyler, Sidney Felsen, and Stanley Grinstein — first approached Kelly in 1968. Based on strong recommendations by artist Frank Stella and critic Barbara Rose, Kelly accepted their invitation and first visited the workshop in 1970, initiating a collaboration that has lasted more than forty years. In total, the artist has created 336 editions. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy birthday Jeff Koons

Luigi Costantini/Associated Press

Impostor or genius? You decide... Smart boy, it's undeniable.

Francis Bacon's raunchy portrait of Henrietta Moraes at auction next month



The auction will take place on 14th February. Francis Outred, Christie's Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Europe said:
‘Searing with raw colour and texture, Portrait of Henrietta Moraes is one of the most seductive and sexually charged paintings I have ever encountered by Francis Bacon. The carefully constructed mood through colour is forcefully invaded by the extraordinary swipes of the loaded brush, which create the woman’s voluptuous figure. This juxtaposition of the sheer beauty of colour with the brutal physicality of paint is what makes Bacon’s art so remarkable.

Executed in 1963, this painting was undertaken in a landmark year, which saw the artist perfect his technique. It followed a period of intense experimentation in which Bacon investigated the properties of paint and the architecture of the human form. This turning point is widely acknowledged; 3 out of the 7 large-scale paintings created in 1963 now form parts of major international museum collections including The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Humlebæk, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and the Tate Gallery, London. In the same year, Bacon also created a small-scale triptych Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (1963) currently held in the Museum of Modern Art.


In a similar manner to the MoMA painting, Portrait of Henrietta Moraes is built up from a ground of papal red, which acts as a silhouette both in image and metaphor. The work has only had two owners since the day it was made, one of which was the important collector and post-War industrialist Willy Schniewind and the other being the present owner, a distinguished New Yorker who acquired the work in 1983. Portrait of Henrietta Moraes has not been seen in the public eye for fifteen years and I am very excited to be presenting this important piece of British art in London’. 

Generous donation to Florence's Galleria del Costume




Florence's Galleria del Costume in the Palazzo Pitti has generously been donated a Haute-Couture collection of French designers' gowns - the likes of Dior, Chanel and Nina Ricci - by Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini, a couture-collector and philanthropist who regularly buys at auctions in New York, London and Paris.

Louise Bourgeois and Pedro Almodóvar







"La piel que habito" is one of my favourite movies of 2011. The character played by the beautiful Elena Anaya, "Vera Cruz" / talented Jan Cornet, "Vicente" (you'll understand this once you've watched the movie) dives into art to relieve her pain and instead of starting from scratch, genius film director Pedro Almodóvar borrowed some pieces by Louise Bourgeois. Perfect match and best choice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

No this is not Trader Joe's of West Hollywood


Grassi Museum for Applied Arts in Leipzig shows the record covers created by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol had just completed his study of Applied Art when he came to New York in 1949 and designed his first Album Cover for Columbia Records. 


This grew into a life-long working cooperation of cover album-design. Until his death in 1987, Warhol designed about 50 more album covers for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Blondie and The Velvet Underground among many others. They all attained cult status! 


The almost complete series of all Album Covers designed by Warhol are now presented at the Grassi Museum of Leipzig and give the unique opportunity to retrace in a compact manner, his complete artistic development from his early days until he became a star himself.


Interestingly
 The Velvet Underground has recently filed a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation, after the deceased artist's company agreed to a licensing deal with a case- and sleeve-maker for Apple products. The pop group, fronted by Lou Reed, has accused the foundation [1] of infringing the trademark for the famous banana design adorning the cover of The Velvet Underground's debut album from 1967.
To be continued...






Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paul Smith Porcelain Moustache Cufflinks


Chanel's Behind-the-scene Spring Campaign Video

Postmodernism at the V&A: one of the best exhibitions of 2011



Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990
was certainly one of the most interesting and original exhibitions of 2011. 

This major show was the first in-depth survey of art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s, examining one of the most UFO / kitsh / cultural phenomena of recent history: Postmodernism. It showed how it evolved from a provocative architectural movement in the early 1970s and rapidly went on to influence all areas of popular culture including art, film, music, graphics and fashion.

The most fascinating part of the show was certainly the one dedicated to performers such as David Bowie, Klaus Nomi (they have worked together), Eurythmics and of course Grace Jones [who is also highly featured in the exhibition entitled "Goudemalion" at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Paris. Coincidence?]   

From a curatorial point of view, it was risky but also worth it since it's been a huge success both in terms of audience figures and critical acclaim. Well done V&A !



Chanel jacket trouser suit 1991



Nettie Horn presents Ivan Argote and Pauline Bastard


This is a two fold project by Colombian and French artists Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard consisting of the exhibition "Rising Action" - featuring the video programme "Home Cinema" alongside an ensemble of installation and sculptural pieces - and followed by a performance entitled "Born to Curate" at the initiative of both artists which will take place on the 26th January 2012.

Meeting in 2007 in Paris, Iván and Pauline form an artist couple whose individual practices develop in parallel to joint projects based on concepts of presentations, curatorial events, residencies and other performative games for which the artists rewrite the rules. The exhibition "Rising Action" unites for the first time in the UK their common vision of the city as a theatrical playground - putting in place playful environments where tricks, hijackings and other narrative displacement and interventions initiate pictures of consumerism, humanism, poetry and action.

Iván Argote's practice deals with social, political and art historical fields through mediums as varied as video, photography, sculpture and painting. Being simultaneously the director and main actor in his work, Iván interrogates with humour the views and perspectives imposed by our social positions but also the status of an artwork and the notion of interactivity, which he addresses through a fictionalisation of the everyday.

Pauline Bastard invites us into a world where fiction and reality are entangled and at the heart of which misleading fictions reign. Through mediums such as video and sculpture, she plays with and defies narrative processes through the phenomenon of detachment, re-appropriation or semantic displacement. Popular objects and everyday materials are omnipresent in her practice, creating a complicit game with the spectator where the veracity of their fictional and dramatic potential is questioned.

"Born to Curate" is a one-night performance-based event; a sort of "curatorial battle" presented as a live game show where a panel of international curators are invited to confront each other in a friendly, fun and challenging atmosphere in front of a live audience. The event will be presented by a host from the international art scene and will be composed of five teams of two people. The game will develop around a number of themes chosen randomly by the participants who will then imagine and present an exhibition concept in a short period of time. The public is the Grand Jury of this battle and will "vote" through an applause meter which will select the teams that will go on to the final to win the "Born to Curate" trophy!

20 January - 19 February 2012
Preview: Thursday 19 January, 6-9pm
Nettie Horn, 25B Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giorgio Armani inspired by Tilda Swinton?






Giorgio Armani Spring 2012 Ad Campaign featuring Milou van Groesen, photographed by Mert & Marcus - a little too inspired by Tilda Swinton? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aldo Chaparro at Galería Casado SantaPau in Madrid



Industrial design, music, architecture and advertising inspire Aldo Chaparro, young Peruvian artist who presents his first solo show at the SantaPau Gallery of Madrid.

References to Robert Indiana, Richard Prince and the Velvet Underground, are dismantled and reassembled in an incredible installation aimed at shaking your usual perception of arts !







The Royal Academy and Annely Juda Fine Art celebrate David Hockney


Opening on 21 January, the Royal Academy of Arts in London will showcase the first major exhibition of new landscape works by David Hockney RA. Featuring vivid paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, these large-scale works have been created especially for the galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts.
   
'David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture' will span a 50 year period to demonstrate Hockney's long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape.

The exhibition will include a display of his iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras, which will be displayed on multiple screens and which will provide a spellbinding visual journey through the eyes of David Hockney.

To coincide with this major exhibition, the Annely Juda Fine Art gallery based in London will show a selection of Hockney's works. 



Arrival of Spring No. 1 2011
oil on 8 canvases, overall: 182.9 x 487.7 cm

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That Madonna's dress and the quote of the week...


ABC News is about air an interview with Madonna by Cynthia McFadden and I am totally fascinated by the dress the Queen of Pop is wearing. Do you know which designer it is? I would say it is Balenciaga but I am not quite sure. Any help will be welcome !

Quote of the week: 
"I thought, this is a wonderful way to redo my song (‘Express Yourself’)." Madonna.

Senior reporter Jacob Bernstein hung out with Madonna for an upcoming piece in the January 30th issue of Newsweek, and got her thoughts on Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.’

Thanks.


So updating this post, I actually got the answer to the question: she's wearing a Madeleine Vionnet's dress.


Nico.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Queen by Chris Levine


Danziger Gallery : CHRIS LEVINE / NEW PHOTOGRAPHERS

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last week to enjoy the fantastic exhibition dedicated to Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Barcelona



Serge Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872- 1929) was a man whose unique character and driving ambition caused a ferment in European culture. His greatest achievement was his dance company – the Ballets Russes. Created a century ago, the productions of the Ballets Russes revolutionised early 20th-century arts and continue to influence cultural activity today, having worked with Picasso, Miro, Chanel, Poiret among other top-creative minds of the early 20th century.

Diaghilev shared his family's love of music and as his early career involved creating Russia's first fine art periodical he was introduced to many practising artists. When opportunity led him to Paris he recognised the potential to revitalise the dance scene by commissioning productions from the finest artists, choreographers and composers, so that art would dance with music in the theatre.


This is the last week to enjoy this exhibition held at the Caixa Forum centre in Barcelona.

Art Against Knives is calling all creative minds


AAK was born from the tragic and unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. The vicious attack, which has left Oliver in a wheelchair, took place in Shoreditch, East London, in August 2008. It is the impact of this that drives Art Against Knives to create something positive from such a life-changing experience.


An exhibition on the topic of "new beginnings, fresh start and renewal" will be launched at the recently opened-gallery in Shoreditch, London on 26th January 2012 and will feature 50 works. The good news is that if you're a creative mind, you can submit your artwork. Just make sure you check the brief here: 
http://www.artagainstknives.com/new-year-new-beginnings-new-brief/  

Good luck !

Happy 65th birthday David Bowie !



"I am going to be huge and it's quite frightening in a way..." David Bowie 1972.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy new year !





Dear supporters,

I wanted to wish you a fantastic 2012, hoping that you are recovering well from the festive season.

I also wanted to thank you very much for all the love and support I've received from all of you in 2011.  My eternal gratitude also goes to the artists who have granted me their time to answer my interviews, brands  that have approached me for partnerships, the online and print publications that published something about Art is Alive and everyone who sent me their picture for the "I love Art is Alive gallery".

Without an audience or followers, I would have stopped this blog a long time ago but guess what? in 2012, Art is Alive will celebrate its 5th anniversary with more art, fashion, architecture and design features ! This is an exciting time and I look forward to the challenges of the new year.

Please stay connected with me on Twitter, Facebook, here, and do get in touch with me to suggest anything you feel suitable: nicolas.smirnoff@gmail.com

Thank you again and happy new year !
- Nicolas Smirnoff -


(Yes this is me with Helena Christensen, one of the highlights of 2011 for Art is Alive)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Martin Creed's show in Madrid



The "Sala Alcalá 31" exhibition space in Madrid welcomes an ambitious Martin Creed solo show which spans twenty years of his career. Creed who has been awarded the Turner Prize in 2001 investigates the basic nature of things, forming a world of classifications and categories through objects, words and sounds of everyday life. His use of simple materials to create bizarre scenarios make the viewers change their perception of objects and materials surrounding him as expressed in "Work No.701", a row of nails from highest to lowest and pictured above.

This exhibition is not to be missed.


Until 26 February in 
Sala Alcalá 31, c/ Alacalá, 31. Madrid



Quote of the week: David Hockney on Damien Hirst

"[Employing assistants to make his artworks] is a little insulting to craftsmen, skillful craftsmen." David Hockney told the Radio Times about Damien Hirst.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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