Exhibition Archive

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    Spanish restaurant elBulli helped change the way the world thinks about food through its ceaseless innovation and experimentation. A new show at London’s Somerset House charts its remarkable story but it does much more than that – presenting one of the most insightful and inspirational studies of the creative process I have ever come across.

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    This week there was great excitement after London’s Kemistry Gallery announced details of a raft of upcoming shows. Much attention was (rightly) lavished on the celebration of Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser’s collaborations as Pushpin Studio scheduled for September, but before that there’s another exhibition which really caught our eye.

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    London’s V&A has long been curating exhibitions which showcase otherwise overlooked elements of British history, and their latest offering is no exception, placing the huge outburst of creative energy which took place in London’s club scene in the 1980s at the very centre of the museum’s focus. Showing 85 outfits, from Katharine Hamnett’s slogan tees to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s era-defining Pirate collection, the show looks at the way 1980s club culture, from New Romantic to High Camp and Goth styles all moved out of underground culture to infiltrate mainstream fashion, with London at its core.

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    The celebration of the new vibrancy in independent publishing has taken many forms, but a new show at Munich’s Haus der Kunst is one of the most interesting. Paper Weight – Genre-defining magazines 2000 to Now is curated by PIN-UP editor Felix Burrichter and focuses on 15 titles produced since the turn of the millennium including Apartamento, 032c, BUTT, Picnic, Girls Like Us, Sang Bleu, Bidoun and White Zinfandel (which at just two years old is the most recent tome on show).

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    Thought up one day by Timba Smits and Gordon “Flash” Shaw on the bus to a hospital appointment, the brilliantly named Not For Rental currently on show at London’s 71A Gallery exhibits work by hundreds of the most exciting emerging talent in art, illustration, photography and graphic design. This isn’t just any exhibition, however; as the title infers, each piece of work looks to condense the plot of the artist’s favourite film into one image, and it’s then exhibited as the sleeve art in a VHS case. It’s like all of your nineties teenage dreams merged in one Blockbuster basement!

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    Despite being one of the most sought-after fashion and portrait photographers of the mid 20th Century, the story of Berlin-born Erwin Blumenfeld is not widely known. A new show at London’s Somerset House aims to rectify that, focusing in particular on his studio at 222 Central Park South and the work he made while based there for the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Teo Connor Studio was tasked with creating the visual identity and printed collateral for the exhibition and, unsurprisingly, they have done a really excellent job. It’s an elegant, restrained look and feel, resonant of a stylised world of yesteryear, where poise reined supreme (at least until cocktail hour fell). The identity works perfectly with both Erwin’s work with the airy spaces of Somerset House, and proves once again that Teo’s is a studio of the very highest calibre.

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    Young’uns might well think the Radio Times is but another mere listings magazine that sits on their Gran’s coffee table – one to read with your feet up on the pouf while dunking your custard cream for an irresponsible third time. But over the years this well-read and highly-esteemed publication has become something of a British institution, so, to celebrate its 90th birthday, the Museum of London will be exhibiting magazines, clips, broadcast artefacts and original photography and artwork from their archive.

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    It’s almost been a full calendar year since we last checked in with Polish, German-based illustrator Roman Klonek but his new show in Hamburg gives us the perfect excuse to revisit this master of the woodcut. There’s a dreamlike quality running throughout his new series, with odd animalistic figures, strange unidentifiable objects and totemistic patterns combining to form scenes (or in the case of Fat of the Land above, entire worlds) which have unsettling echoes of the creations of our subconscious. Occasionally little snippets of what looks like Cyrillic text add to the otherworldly experience, but on the whole Roman is happy to let his magisterial image-making speak for itself.

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    Why Not Associates is one of London’s foremost graphic design studios whose brilliance across branding, print, motion and environmental design has been proved time and time again. Celebrating a quarter of a century since its foundation, a show at the ggg gallery in Tokyo brings together their greatest hits, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the studio’s many successes, in particular those which push the possibilities of typography in innovative and exciting ways.

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    The new exhibition in Brooklyn’s Colab Projectspace, Wood and Pulp, sees artists Scotty Albrecht and Damion Silver discern new common ground between the strikingly different mediums of wood and paper. Taking the concept of balance as the central idea, the artwork is founded upon the notion of craftsmanship, reinventing and reforming found objects in muted kaleidoscopic works of collage and assemblage. Craftmanship is a key influence in the show; both artists are self-taught woodworkers and their mastery of their medium is evident in the beautifully constructed pieces they have contributed.

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    A great show here from Brandon Graham, a highly acclaimed comic strip and graphic novel artist whose work acts as a well-illustrated bridge between day-to-day mundanity and life on far-off planets. This exhibition celebrates the launch of his new book, Walrus, which is “a punning, humorous and sexy universe of machines, logos, women, and bumbling men, all cast in an alternate sci-fi universe.”

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    Exhibitions as brilliant as this don’t come along very often, and prove not just that function can be as necessary as form, but also that fascinating, contemporary objects placed in archaic interiors nearly always look spectacular. Dans le Jardin, dans le Ciel, dans la Cave by Alberto Biagetti is currently running at Galerie Italienne and is a collection of fascinating objects, each with their own individual stories to tell.

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    American cartoonist and illustrator Charles Burns first acquired a gaggle of avid comic book fans in the early 1980s with his drawings for avant-garde comic magazine RAW and his portfolio of stomach-churningly visceral ink illustration, not least the seminal graphic novel Black Hole. He’s had us screwing up our eyes in equal parts tense astonishment and discomfort ever since.

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    The Design Museum has already announced its winners of the annual Designs of the Year showcase and we were thrilled to see the GOV.UK site scoop the top prize. But with just a few weeks of the accompanying exhibition set to run, now is YOUR chance to have a say on which designs really knocked your socks off. The Visitor Vote throws the power to the people and anyone can cast their vote at the pop-up polling station as to which of the 99 entries is their favourite.

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    What Sam Winston doesn’t know about text and experimental typography isn’t worth knowing. The London-based artist and educator has spent his working life examining the way we approach all manner of literary artefacts, from giant dictionaries to the works of William Shakespeare, finding new and innovative ways for his audience to engage with text in a visually intuitive fashion. For an upcoming show at the V&A, Sam has been commissioned to produce work in response to a specially written piece by the author Hari Kunzru, illustrating the text in a fashion that references mankind’s worship of the periodic table through a combination of western scientific symbolism and eastern religious geometry. The final works are totemic slabs of zinc, deeply etched with Sam’s trademark typographic flair.

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    The Serpentine Gallery’s annual Pavilion has become something of a landmark in London’s art and design calendar. In its 13 years it’s seen some of the most prominent figures in global architecture showcasing the breadth of their skills in a fast-paced, experimental environment that allows them to produce a structure that best demonstrates their architectural philosophy – a kind of temporary calling card for the world to enjoy. Frank Gehry, Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid and the late Oscar Niemeyer have all produced pavilions in the past decade or so, and it’s safe to say they’re all household names now, though some were not before their pavilions took shape.

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    “Last year I sent a postcard to a stranger called Jonathan Hopkins. It said on it ‘Fuck you Jonathan, fuck you and fuck your shit legs’.” So begins Mr Bingo’s manifesto of meanness; the illustrator has been hard at work churning out those brief, hilarious insults with accompanying drawings, so that you can skip that daily dose of self-administered loathing and order for it to be delivered to your doormat, in postcard-form, from a stranger instead!

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    Have you ever popped out to pick up a pint of milk and inadvertently found yourself captivated by the neo-classical detail on the lamp-post outside the corner shop? Have you actually?

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    We’re already licking our lips in anticipation at the host of shows opening in east London this week and prominent among those we’re looking forward to is lovely-looking new work from Supermundane. His exhibition Super-Alpha “takes his love of typography to its natural conclusion” creating bold letterforms filled with intricate, detailed imagery.

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    Cool London exhibitions are like buses – someone will often be eating fried chicken a few feet away from you. No, wait, they’re like buses because you wait for one and then several come along at once, as proved this week when east London witnesses the unveiling of more great shows than you can shake a tepid bottle of beer at. One of the most anticipated must be Ryan Todd’s new exhibition at Kemistry Gallery, which boasts maybe the best title of 2013 thus far – No Fun Intended.

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    It’s not abnormal to enjoy exhibitions, after all, thats the idea but when you come across a show that blows your mind to smithereens – now that’s uncommon. This is how I felt when I attended Michael Landy’s “Saints Alive” at the National Gallery. Armed only with the knowledge that Michael had “constructed robotic saints that move around,” I had no idea what to expect.

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    When not referring to themselves as VLF and designing a myriad different things together, Thomas Cristiani and Antoine Roux go by the names their parents gave them and maintain an exciting, highly-aestheticised fine art practice that seems to be heavily grounded in pop cultural references and unique personal mythologies. As big fans of their design we’re happy to say they can count us as fans of their gallery shows too, particularly the recent Education and Work exhibition at Artisan Social Designer in Paris. Talented chaps indeed!

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    Photographers Tim Bowditch and Nick Rochowski have recently completed an unusual project, taking it upon themselves to visit every single underpass on the M25 and document them at night – some feature streams running underneath, others are footpaths or tunnels just big enough to let tractors through. By using a camera that specialises in taking photographs in total darkness, the black and white images pick up tiny details of these desolate environments and transform them into “lunar-like” landscapes. Tim and Nick also noticed the noise created above them on the motorway itself and decided to record the sounds they heard as an accompaniment to the work, adding to the uncanny atmosphere of a place whose aesthetics you usually wouldn’t look at twice.

  24. Boucle-list

    Whether you speed about town on a mighty chrome steed or amble about on foot, pull skid stops at traffic lights or wait politely as the signals change on your train you must have noticed your local area filling up with bikes. If you live in a city the summery streets are now teeming with lycra-clad roadies, moustachioed skidders and one or two smartly-dressed gentlemen on Bromptons. Like it or not, bicycle culture is here to stay, and its influence on contemporary image-making is profound.

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    If you like your art with a psychedelic twist and an enormous amount of cutting and pasting then Travess Smalley may well be the artist for you. His process is as convoluted as they come, examining process and materials with experimental rigour – printing textures and colours on a deskjet printer before cutting, pasting and rescanning for further digital manipulation. He does this repetitively. The resulting images are utterly striking, traditionally psychedelic in their colour ways yet contemporary in their creation.

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    One of the finest gallery experiences I’ve had in the past few years took place during the London Design Festival 2011 when Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec decked out the V&A’s Raphael Court with Textile Field, a giant carpeted surface raised above the ground that allowed you to pad around the gallery in only your socks, enjoying the works on display in a most decadent and relaxing fashion. Of course the Bouroullecs’ practice extends to much more than carpeting galleries; they design furniture, interiors, functional products and other, fine art-directed work.

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    With this year’s Crafts Council extravaganza COLLECT now just a week away, it’s a good time to take a closer look at some of the creatives whose work will be on display at the exhibition’s Project Space. As usual they’re an eclectic bunch and whatever your crafty passions you’re sure to find something that floats your boat, but here’s three that we’re particularly excited to see included.

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    I know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t it be awesome to clad an entire room with Richard Woods’ colourful, exaggerated wood-beams? Yes it would, and now here comes the good news; The Alan Cristea Galley is exhibiting a solo show of Richard Woods’ art, complete with a floor-to-ceiling installation of his eye-popping wood-grain motif. As well as his renowned Woodblock Inlays series there’s a collection of new sculptures too.

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    I remember being ten. It was 1994, BritPop was in the air and I had a killer tracksuit that I basically never took off. Heady days indeed. But my own decennial is rather put in the shade by this year’s COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s annual fair which this year celebrates ten years in some style.

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    We look forward to Pick Me Up a great deal – not only does it mark the beginning of spring and the joys of drinking beer outdoors, it also marks the point in the year where some of the world’s best illustrators and artists can bring their wares into one large area to exhibit to the public. What’s great is that most people, those outside of the strange hot-dog infused world of illustration, will never have seen a lot of these artists (and will be able to buy affordable items to take home with them).

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    Vampires have infiltrated popular culture, especially of the teen variety, but twin brothers, Gert and Uwe Tobias are more concerned with their Romanian heritage than the myth of Dracula. As a result, eastern European folklore is a key influence for their artwork; strange-looking creatures creep into their pieces, and you have to look twice to recognise these characters, especially in their woodcuts.

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    When we heard that New York’s Museum of Moving Image (MOMI) was hosting an exhibition celebrating the art and history of the music video, our first thought was – isn’t MOMI a funny acronym? Our second thought was – that sounds awesome. But our third thought (it was a busy day) was – how will curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of Flux go about bringing these important cultural artefacts to life. How can you structure a show like this beyond a series of TV screens? Well now we have our answer – and my word have they aced it. Working with exhibition designers Logan, they have created an amazingly immersive and occasionally interactive experience for visitors to engage with the work of the likes of OK Go, Kanye West and Björk. The presence of the giant milk carton from Blur’s Coffee and TV is just the cherry on top.

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    One of the other great things about being in Milan this week is how many old friends you get to run into. The guys at Konstfack (arguably Sweden’s most prestigious design school) have visited us in London a couple of times, but we never get to see their work outside of paper portfolios. At their Milan show Design Anima, we got a chance to spend some time with them and have a proper look at the incredible quality of their work.

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    Get ready to succumb to the world of patterns. If you hadn’t realised already, they are around every corner, in your food, your clothes, your reading material. It seems we focus on the more outlandish elements sometimes. rather than what is staring right at us, and Patternity – aka art director Anna Murray and surface/textiles designer Grace Winteringham –have recognised this. “In a time where we are deluged by information and paralysed by choice, pattern can clarify complexity,” they say.

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    Meat is amazing. Vegetarians, I salute you and your principles, but you chaps and chapesses are missing out. Artist Brion Nuda Rosch is with me on this, as evidenced by his new show at Mother New York’s The Peanut Gallery. Brion has set his sardonic sights on our borderline-erotic relationship with carnivorous treats and turned them into strangely beautiful artworks. It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in with Brion, and it’s uplifting to see he’s lost none of the wit that drew us to him in the first place.

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    There’s a visceral thrill in discovering that someone really creative has another string to their bow that you were previously unaware of – and that’s exactly how we felt when we came across the photographs of Graham Nash. Most famous as a musician from seminal 70s bands like The Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash, Graham spliced his career with a passion for portrait photography, some of which has just gone on show in Lodnon. With amazing access to the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Graham combines his rock and roll sensibility with a mighty impressive eye for composition.

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    Another cracker of a show at London’s KK Outlet, this time showcasing the work of the very well-curated selection of artists that make up Hugo & Marie, New York’s most wonderful creative agency. Loosely based on the merging of science and visual arts, the 12 artists and illustrators – many of whom we regard as being some of the very best working today – have pooled their extraordinary minds to create this monster of a show.

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    “There’s old music, there’s new music, and then there’s David Bowie” reads a quote in the David Bowie is exhibition – it came from his record company back in the day. Keep that in mind while you work out how you’re going to get tickets to the most exciting show ever to occur at London’s V&A (in our humble opinion).

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    Please answer yes or no to the following questions. 1.Do you like art and design? 2. Do you like and/or trust It’s Nice That? 3. Do you enjoy going to arts and design shows (either for cultural edification or to impress potential dates on internet dating sites)? If you answered a series of yeses Meg Ryan-style then have we got news for you.

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    Californian artist Pae White has just arrived at Peckham’s South London Gallery with an installation made up of a 48 kilometre network of threads. Characterised by its transient nature, Pae’s work is often constructed from fragile materials that are utilised en masse to build large-scale sculptural works. Previous installations have include gold-lined popcorn kernels suspended from transparent thread and tapestries of billowing smoke plumes.