Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Americans show the British how it's done at Wembley



I'm getting excited about our return to Wembley Stadium on Saturday for the Saracens, Harlequins tie (with a McFly pre-match). The last time we were at the stadium was for the once yearly visit the American NFL pays to the UK. The San Francisco 49ers were playing the Denver Broncos and travelling thousands of miles for a match did not mean that they would not put on a show.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alighiero Boetti (the other show on at Tate)


Whilst most of the attention has been on the Tate Modern's Yayoi Kusama exhibition this month (I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago), there's another show on at the reclaimed power station that is not to be missed. Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan has been trundling along quietly since the end of February and whilst Kusama has had the cover of the tube map and Louis Vuitton to push her forward, the Boetti show has relied upon his intelligence and prominence within Arte Povera.

Boetti was part of the Arte Povera group of Italian artists working through the 1960s and became known for his use of existing materials and commissioning his work out to groups of people to complete after he had thought up the original idea. Some of his most striking and well known works are his maps (above) which were made in a hotel he set up in Kabul as an art project between 1971 and 1979. Each map depicting the state of the world at a different time or more detail in a certain area. Check out the insanely cool 360 (if I do say so myself) here.

Many of Boetti's projects were taken to obsessive levels, one project saw him make up a journey for different artists and then post letters to the places he had imagined he had sent them. When the letters were returned to sender, because the artist he was sending them to wasn't there, Boetti would put the letter in a larger envelope and send it on to the next place. When the letter came back again, Boetti would post it off to the next place in an even bigger envelope... you get the idea.

My favourite works are some large boards with very small biro marks on, completely filling the spaces in neat lines, made by a group of students - the different artists visible only by the styles of the biro lines. Within pieces commas have been included to communicate messages which can be read using the alphabet on the side.

 

I always like going to see shows at the Tate Modern, every now and again you're reminded where you are  as many of the galleries look out over the Thames and St Paul's beyond. Appropriately, the room with the view housed Boetti and his wife's project which extensively documented the thousand longest rivers in the world. Their findings were documented in three quite chunky books (which don't have indexes by the way) and a large canvas with the names of the rivers and their lengths embroidered in a digital-like font.

So after all that I was thoroughly impressed with the show, I wasn't exhausted as much as I felt at the end of the Kusama show - there was minimal reading and you could just get lost in Boetti's works and let the OCD part of your character take over. Like it really needs an excuse!

Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan at the Tate Modern until May 27. Click here for tickets

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fashion meets art at Selfridges


The design of the new Womens Designer Galleries in Selfridges is described as "fashion meets architecture" but with the release of The Film Project the phrase "when fashion meets art" could easily be applied. These fashion films - on show at the The Old Selfridges Hotel until March 25 - are beautiful and take a conceptual view towards some of the labels held in the Womens Designer Galleries; Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, A.F. Vandevorst, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten and  Comme des Garçons.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tim Lewis' fantastical imagined machines made real


Coming from Pinner, home of cartoonist, illustrator and some would say inventor Heath Robinson (there's a museum you know) I'm used to see fantastical drawings of mechanical objects conjured up from the mind of a man who clearly thought very differently to the rest of us. But he did have one fault, none of his brilliantly technical drawings ever realised themselves into real life working machines. Making dreamt up machines has not been a problem for Tim Lewis whose show, Mechanisms opened at Flowers Gallery on Kingsland Road this week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The art of unlimited cinema


Part way of saving money, part treat (ok maybe more treat) I've signed up for a Cineworld Unlimited Card. The idea is that we like going to the cinema but really don't like the prices we're charged for the tickets. Orange Wednesdays help yes, but it's so busy you have to set aside a whole chunk of time before to queue up for your tickets. Now with our Cineworld passes we can go any time and see as many films as we like. Perfect.

To celebrate this we ventured over to the O2 on Saturday morning for a double feature of The Woman in Black and The Vow. They contrasted well, TWiB providing the fear factor and The Vow the tear factor. I recommend them both, although if you're prone to not liking terribly cheesy films I'd steer clear of the vow. 'Cus it pongs.

The Vow did have one culturally redeeming quality though, set in Chicago and Rachel McAdams' (told you, cheese) character being an artist, many of the scenes take in the city's public art including Anish Kapoor's mammoth sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Having only seen it in photographs and not in person (hint hint anyone who wants to fly my to Chicago) the big screen really brought home how impressive it is. The MCA Chicago is also name-dropped.

Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams under Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in The Vow


As my cinema-going no doubt increases over the next few months (and my social life decreases) there'll probably be more as seen on the big screen posts coming your way so stay tuned...

Top image © Maximillien Brice and film still from The Vow courtesy Sony Pictures

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Time for some #leavingdrinks



It's funny the things that people you work with everyday notice about you. You don't realise until you threaten them with leaving. On Friday I had my last day at Phaidon before starting a new position at a different website and the among the things that I will apparently be remembered for (apart from my astounding work ethic and brilliant digital skillz) are tweeting, my supply of Yorkshire tea and that I replace the baked beans in my all day breakfast at the local cafe with chopped tomatoes.
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