19 Jan 2011

Modernist film and Talk: 'Franco Albini and Museums design in Genoa in the 1950's'


'New Museum: Franco Albini and Museum Design in Genoa in the 1950s'
Tuesday 8 March 2011 at 18.45 (doors open at 18.00) at Estorick Museum, London

'New Museum' is the latest 16mm film by artists Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone.
Focussing on the radical, Modernist exhibition designs of Franco Albini and his collaboration with museum director Caterina Marcenaro in the early 1950s, the film features material shot in the galleries of the Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso in Genoa. The screening will be accompanied by a discussion between the artists and Professor Robert Lumley of University College London. Tickets £8 or £5 for full-time students and Estorick members.

Stills from New Museum

10 Jan 2011

Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was a truly visionary artist. He took Marshall McLuhan literally with regard to the 'Medium is the Message'. An early pioneer of video art  and influenced heavily by John Cage as a performance artist and composer. Paik was one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century and Tate Liverpool, in collaboration with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) are presenting the first major retrospective of his work since the artist’s death and the first exhibition of Paik’s work in the UK since 1988.

Nam June Paik at Tate Liverpool showcases around ninety works from all phases of his career, many shown in the UK for the first time, which we should realize is an important  aspect of this exhibition, introducing Paik to a young technology savvy generation for the first time, may have long lasting creative consequences...

The exhibition celebrates Paik as the inventor of 'media art', mixing together through abstraction, diverse media from paint to technology, from low tech to satellite works.  At a time when television was still a novelty, Paik foresaw the future popularity of this new and exciting medium.  Thought provoking works like 'TV Buddha' (1989), explore the clashing cultures of East and West, old and new, while 'Video Fish' (1979-992) considers nature versus the man made, featuring both television sets and live fish in aquariums.

With artworks ranging from scores of early music performances and Paik’s involvement in the Fluxus movement to TV works, impressive robot sculptures and large-scale video installations; Tate Liverpool’s exhibition looks likely to be a memorable show.

The exhibition continues at FACT. Focusing on Paik's innovative use of creative technology, FACT will showcase the major laser installation 'Laser Cone '(1998) for the first time in the UK, along with sixteen single channel video works, including 'Global Groove' 1973 and groundbreaking satellite videos 'Good Morning Mr Orwell' 1984 and 'Bye Bye Kipling' 1986. The 21st Century is here at last....

See the Tate/FACT Nam June Paik trailor here

A similar post on Nam June Paik also appears on Abstraktion.org

8 Jan 2011

Modern British Art in 'Restless Times: Art in Britain 1914-1945'

This is an excellent exhibition of British art on show at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield until 30th January. It explores the social impact of WWI on the wider society but also how modern art was attempting to break out of the the very conventional visual culture that existed between the wars. This exhibitions shows us through the sculptures and drawings of Henry Moore, the geometric abstract paintings of David Bomberg in his painting 'In The Hold', the famous 'Bird Swallowing a Fish' sculpture by Henri Gaudier Brzeska, and many others, how powerful these works remain nearly a century later.

David Bomberg, 'In the Hold' (c) Tate, London

We must remember how British modern art is a complicated response to our wider connection with the world. On one hand Europe and the other America. We have never totally embraced 'Modernism' as warmly as our European friends did in these intervening decades, we had to somehow 'translate' modernism into our own identity. Hence we have a fusion of styles and processes, from landscapes, figuration and social commentary, through semi-abstraction, a Surreal form of Realism (see below Evelyn Dunbar's, 'A Land Girl and the Bail Bull' 1945) and a strange form of 'British' Cubism that became our form of Abstraction. All these styles never seem to coalesce as a body of work, in the way our French or German counterparts do and yet through exhibitions like this one, we come to understand that this is the beauty of modern twentieth century British art, it is eccentric and eclectic, yet it's honest and innovative.

Evelyn Dunbar, A Land Girl and the Bail Bull, 1945 © Tate, London 2010

From the devastating impact of war and a retreat from the harsh realities of life, to the celebration of the pastoral idyll and the embracing of new ideas and technologies, the exhibition examines how artists engaged with both the uncertainties and possibilities of the time. 
We are, some hundred years later, beginning to appreciate our approach to modernity through our modern art, and for that reason this type of exhibition would have travelled well around the country. The Tate and its Great British Art Debate and the Millenium Gallery as well as other regional collections that have lent work, have done well in curating such an interesting and educational exhibition.

Clive Branson, 'Bombed Women and Searchlights' 1940 © The Estate of Clive Branson / Tate, London 2010

'Restless Times' brings together over 150 significant works drawn from national and regional collections including Tate, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Museums Sheffield. other works on display are: Cyril Power, 'The Tube Station' (1932), CRW Nevinson, 'Twentieth Century', John Nash, 'The Cornfield' (1918), William Roberts, 'The Cinema' (1920), Clive Branson, 'Selling the 'Daily Worker' outside Projectile Engineering Works' (1937), Barbara Hepworth, 'Mother and Child' (1934), Henry Moore, 'Shadowy Shelter' (1940) and Ceri Richards, 'Blossoms' (1940). The exhibition will also include a number of contemporary works including a new commission by Hew Locke.

Again, it is a shame this exhibition is not touring across the country...