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Review of the Year 2011: July

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Who’s your favourite Roman Emperor? Btw if you don’t have one, take a long, hard look at yourself and your priorities. Nero? Tiberius? Hadrian and his massive wall? Maybe like me you’re a fan of Elagabalus, because it sounds like something Vic Reeves might say. Only dullards ever say Julius Ceasar – a popular but unimaginative choice, he’s the Michael Bublé of the emperors. He did though get a month named after him, and this is our look at it…

In our current age of information overload, few stories genuinely stop you in your tracks but there were two deaths in July that gave us pause for thought. With Lucian Freud we mourned the passing of a true genius, a titan of the art world who bowed out after a career at the very top, when Amy Winehouse succumbed to her demons we reflected on the tragedy of an unfulfilled talent. July was also the month the phone hacking scandal in the UK really blew up, and rocked by revelation after revelation the British media could be changed forever before the next year is out.

At It’s Nice That we were very proud with Issue #6 featuring George Lois and Lawrence Weiner, and thrilled when people went as potty for the electro-pink cover as we did. We also held our Graduates 2011 show, with 12 super-talented up-and-coming stars of the future finally whittled down from a pool of ridiculously great applicants.

The clever chaps at FOAM scored one of the hits of the year with their 3D music posters (which will be discussed in detail in our graphic design review) while we were thrilled to report back on Bompas and Parr’s latest madcap venture, creating a lime-green lake on the roof of Selfridge’s complete with a waterfall and rowing boats. UVA’s High Arctic installation in Greenwich was another gloriously immersive experience (although for a much more serious cause) and Rebecca Wilson’s paper-ceramic remix was a head-melter we had a lot of time for. Oh, and I arrived as online editor, which was nice.

My 2011 – Mike Guppy

When we came to select our Graduates class of 2011, we were bowled over by the quality on offer and confident the tough choices we were forced to make produced our strongest annual summer showcase to date. But not content with merely making the cut, Camberwell grad Michael Guppy went on to have the single most viewed article on the site this year (10,936 and counting). Who better to give us his views on the past 12 months?

What was the best thing you saw in 2011?

Probably because it was most recent, but the Gerhard Richter exhibition at Tate Modern was awesome.

Who would you give a Best Person of 2011 award to?

My gran – she turned 90 this year.

What was the most memorable thing that happened to you?

Being picked for the Graduates 2011 feature (thanks).

Were you in any (metaphorical/not metaphorical) fights this year? Did you win?

A fox got into our house, and after four hours we managed to get it out using a variety of objects. It was more a battle of wits.

What would you take from 2011 and give to 2012?

More thought, less stuff.

What were you doing in July?

Finishing university and saying goodbye to student loans. Then subsequently freaking out.

(Top image from Mike Guppy: Selected)

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.