You should have seen the documentary on Miss Vivian Maier already, if not then do so and then you will be compelled to see the photography for yourself.
Vivian Maier was a curious character, very much a lady who pet herself to herself, a woman who looked after children as a job but according to different reports could be a rather cold character. Not a huge amount is known about Maier apart from the accounts of the families she worked for, her secret life as the most prolific street photographer perhaps of all time has only just come to light.
Maier died in 2009 and until then her huge body of work went unseen, until it was bought as a job lot by one fellow who spent hours sifting through the many boxes and realising he had hit upon gold. The exhibition has been around the world and now finds itself in Berlin for a small but perfectly formed retrospective at Will-Brandt-Haus, it is on until 12th April and is free, this is one exhibition to make sure you include in your schedule.
Maier was a curious character but also supremely adept at capturing people out of pose, in their natural environment and while they were not playing up to the camera. The subtly and lighting in her shots create a beautiful depth and story to each shot. The fact that she did not develop any of them, or name them means that these stories are somewhat lost but that adds to the beauty of the exhibition, sometimes you can have too much information.
Maier’s shots span NYC, SF, Chicago plus her travels to France and the Far East, the majority are black and white with some more recent colour versions. Maier was also the true originator of the now much maligned ‘selfie’, but in her technique it looks cool, stripped down and not showy at all. I worded how it would have sat with her to know she was the original selfie dropper…..
Lutz Bacher, loved the imagined chess board, it has a life size Elvis after all, very playful and something easy to relate to and interpret as you please. SF enjoys art that does not give a prescriptive or obvious meaning but merely sets some themes and ideas and lets the viewer wander and wonder of into them.
Design – John Cheim, iconic collection of books he has designed for a variety of names such as Warhol and Bruce Webber featuring Madge, Matt Dillon and a fellow draped in a wet dog.
Zhang Enil’s Space Painting, taking over the entire room by the café, long brush strokes create a very smooth effect. For SF the effect is not dramatic enough/. Personal taste and all that
Scream Gallery on Eastcastle Street is fast becoming a regular haunt for SF on lunchtimes, the variety of top modern art in recent months, available for commercial sales is a welcome tonic to a day in stuffy London Office.
Justify My Love – Chris Bracey
Unfortunately the cash-money supplies were at a low level so it was purely a voyeuristic visit with no souvenirs for home. Work from a variety of up and coming and slightly more known artists have been brought together for a recent exhibition under the rather unimaginative name of…….. Summer Exhibition 2013
The masters and the fizzy nectar
Picasso on Coca-Cola Crates – Pakpoom Silaphan
Dali on Pepsi Crates
Poker Skull – Jacky Tsai
Religion kills and starts all wars….. at least this is pretty
Ellen Gallagher at Tate Modern presenting AxME. A visual representation taking inspiration from both her Irish and African heritage.
Many faces of black advertising
The images she creates are otherwordly with black women styled with ornate do’s made of rubber, plasticine and plastic, bringing to life the aesthetic of an advertisement in a new and stunning fashion.
Getting hair did
Gallagher’s use of a variety of techniques and materials make for a vivid realisation of her subject matter. The sheer size of the repetitive imagery of black woman with yellow re-imagined hair is pretty awesome, very detailed but unfussy.
Possessed and blinged
AxME is Gallagher’s first major retrospective in the UK, with the title a play on both the ‘Acme Corporation’ and the BlackAmerican vernacular for ‘ask’ or ‘aks’ as it sounds.
Plus this amazingly conceptually f-ed up masterpiece is something between Dr Who, Cleopatra, Carry on Hospital and a bit of campery in the form of the furry space ship.
Musically, culturally, aesthetically, emotionally, etc etc. Many of today’s creative types quote a certain Brixton born music superstar as one of their biggest influences. There are too many to mention so I would suggest everyone creating within the last 50 years would have been touched by the Starman in some way shape or form
One such inspired type was a certain David Sims. His 2013 re-imagined Bowie imagery known as Bowievirus features images you think are Bowie but in fact not.
Imagery featuring a model, rock star Vince Taylor and what appeared to be Bowie featured. But you could not tell which was which. Head to ICA to see for yourself, and to pick up a free print
At the V&A museum at the moment there is a rather amazing exhibition all about the man behind the multi-coloured-faceted-sexual-talented Mr David Jones.
New Endings – March 7th Exposure Gallery London, the first solo show for Ben Slow, or Slow Ben, depends how well you know him. Slow showcased his latest works to a packed out crowd, prints and originals, yours for between £200 and £2000. The exhibition is live for 4 weeks total and the Gallery is open daily on week days.
Slow’s style has evolved from portraits to something hyper real, black and white portrait styles cut with shards and angles in colour, something of Tron about it. These pieces take one female subject as their focus and split the images almost in to pieces of puzzles.
‘It’s a step away from the safety of what I know and into something new and exciting. It’s important for me to experiment and to be uncomfortable, to question things and go seek answers. It’s been a challenge collating a body of work that I am proud of to showcase for the first time. There has been a lot of trial and error, plenty of mistakes made but that’s a good thing, it’s healthy to fuck a painting up every now and then.’
Head to Brick Lane and you will see numerous pieces by Slow, a bit of a break from the high colour style you usually see on London walls.
One of the most seminal artists of the modern era and one that even a heathen would recognise. Mr Roy Lichtenstein was born in 1923 in Manhattan New York, the exact place that he died some 73 years later, by this time he had influenced a generation with his take on art and his use of modern advertising and imagery found in comic books.
The exhibition currently running at the Tate Modern in London is a whistlestop tour through his stages in thirteen rooms, from his early discovery of his now iconic styles through experiments, sculpture, Chinese Song dynasty influences and up to the end of his life and his artistic career.
Along with Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist defined a movement and one of the most exciting ones ever, the influence of modern brands taking art away from more traditional areas and injecting some humour and irreverence.
It has been said that Lichtensten actually was fed up with being seen as purely a pop artist and his iconic use of dots to create depth and shade actually limited his scope of work. Unconfirmed but you would can forgive the man for feeling that way.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the Tate Modern London runs until May 27, plan to book your tickets to avoid queues and disappointment. One of the finest exhibitions around and worth a re-visit. SF will be heading there again soon
Jose Parla is a NY based photographer / artist who has his first London exhibition at the moment from 8th February to 28th March at the Haunch of Venison in Mayfair, he has a pretty damn amazing view on the streets of Londinium
So Jose heads to a city and take up residence, then he goes out on a wonder with his camera and shoots the landscapes that he sees, taking in the colours, textures, light, darkness and all the flaws of the city to inspire and create his pieces.
Once he has a catalogue of images then he uses these for his paintings and sculptures, some are included some are just inspiration. It is pulls together some amazing perspectives on the city he is in.
London is arguably the best city in the world (NYC, Berlin, Lisbon will argue this) and has variety in the people, the food, the architecture, the weather and wealth. This all makes for a case study to bring a vibrant and energetic collection to life, Jose describes it as a reaction to the area he is in, giving him broken languages of a global community. SF reckons this is just Street Art.
When SF visited Haunch of Venison the man himself was there to speak to visitors and he genuinely looked excited to be showing in London, well you would be wouldn’t you.
What does a company that practices law everything from banking to copyright to IT to real estate have to do with creative imagery? Well they put up the £££ to sponsor a photographic portrait prize that serves to exhibit your casual amateur snapper with the best and most lauded in the business. Therefore even the most anti brand luddites must admit that their cash money has a purpose.
Sponsorship is a good thing when done to bring otherwise lost arts and areas of interest back to the masses. For one it is only £2 to go and see Taylor Wessing at the National Portrait Gallery.
Anyway on to the entries.
Mo Farrah by Mate Peters
Sixty portraits have made the shortlist from over 5000 entries taken on everything from a mobile phone through to digi and on to old school film, a veritable aesthetic eye wank. There are award winning artists shooting Olympic champions, there are absolute novices snapping their family, there are the fringes of society pictured and a heroic photographer who lost multiple limbs shooting in an area of conflict.
Twelve brilliant photographers from across the globe in one place, the Barbican Centre London. Everything Was Moving covers thought provoking, amusing, dark, and difficult subjects in colour and black and white and using a variety of methods which were revolutionary back in the day. These days any Thomas, Richard or Harold can use an app to put an effect on a shot an make it look good, but not even close to these original shots using good old fashioned cameras with film.
The most powerful shots for me were of the South African Apartheid from David Goldblatt, showing the European’s rather short sighted view of the black people in Soweto and Joberg. It was quite astounding what went on in South Africa when you consider the Worldwide outrage at Nazi Germany, although not as extreme in the results, quite as wrong in the thinking and affect it had on the people, the perception of all involved and the effects to this day.
Goldblatt – Looking for a solution
All shots were accompanied with text to give added depth but the facial expressions told a thousand stories. From the deluded white settlers to the strong proud mine workers of Soweto.