Egyptian Surrealism and the Quest to Define Modern Art in Egypt

“The calls to revise the canon of art history have grown louder in the last few years, but the research, curation, and collection of art from regions that have long been overlooked or ignored is a slow process. Egyptian modern art appears to be the latest to undergo this process of rediscovery and integration into the larger history of art. Two major traveling shows (one beginning at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the other at the Palace of Arts in Cairo) are reexamining this period and prominent Egyptian modern artists, including George Henien, Hamed Nada, Ramsis Yunan, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, and Van Leo……..

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Inji Efflatoun, “The Girl and the Beast” (1941) @ Egyptian Surrealism and the Quest to Define Modern Art in Egypt.

Bruce Nauman…..a dark room

“As much as we might feel that our lives are lived these days at breakneck speed, Bruce Nauman’s work suggests otherwise. “Films,” for Nauman, “are about seeing.”

………..Bruce Nauman began working with video in 1968, after a move from San Francisco to New York. He’d been working with film, but found it difficult to find a good processing lab on the East Coast. Around this time Nauman had his first show at the Leo Castelli gallery. The gallerist knew of the artist’s interest in video, so he put up $1200 for some equipment and gave Nauman a year to work with it……”  Read more


Dan Flavin in the Puerto Rican jungle

Only 6 people a day get to see the extraordinary setting for this work of Flavin’s. Installed in a majestic cave in the Puerto Rican jungle by artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Flavin’s work interacts with light entering through the top of the cave to suffuse the space in an otherworldly glow.


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Singapore National Gallery

The worlds largest public collection of modern Southeast Asian Art opened it’s doors last week (24th Nov). The new Singapore National Gallery was built in the shells of the the former City Hall and the Supreme Court buildings at a cost of $358 million.


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Banksy @ Dismaland

There’s a lot out there on Banksy’s latest contribution to the dialog of the great decline. Most of it’s carefully packaged and spun on the corporate web. So here’s something refreshing, a take with no contrivances. Banksy says ” its all the more interesting because I’m not in it” but is that really the case? Whilst the show is full of the work of other artists Banksy’s vision is the cohesive glue; so in a sense I find it opening out another dimension of Banksy’s world that makes even more sense of the work he is so well known for.

Banksy has also hit London’s underground and bus networks in a blitz protesting the DSLI Arms Fair taking place in the London Docklands

The Rise of the Private Art “Museum”

From the New Yorker, an interesting look at a number of private art museums in Europe. In the face of the inability of public galleries to compete with private buyers in a market dominated by auction houses and the consolidation of art as commodity it’s no small surprise to see an escalation in the number of private art museums, including our own MONA.

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“This building isn’t meant for art,” Christian Boros said. “How the art fights against the ugly building is very interesting to me.” Credit Photograph by Wolfgang Stahr/laif/Redux

Image courtesy @ The New Yorker

David Lynch Paintings

As his admirers eagerly await new episodes of his cult 1990 TV series Twin Peaks, David Lynch – the director best known for films such as Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, the Elephant Man and Mulholland Drive – opens the first major exhibition of his work in the UK.

Lynch, who was a painter before he was a filmmaker, entitles his Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art show Naming to highlight the ambiguous nature of naming his paintings, drawings, watercolours, photographs and films. DR STEPHEN MOONIE, Lecturer in Art History at Newcastle University, enters Lynch’s universe. @ BBC Arts
Image © David Lynch, TV BBQ, 2009 | Courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles | Photography: Brian Forrest
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Cornelia Parker @ Witworth Art Gallery


A still from Parker’s film War Machine, featuring the paper rolls used to make commemorative poppies

“Cornelia Parker is renowned for her ability to transform the most familiar objects into unfamiliar forms, and often by the most forceful of means. She has stretched bullets into lengths of wire, made drawings using explosives, flattened brass ­instruments with a steam roller and—most famously—in 1991 she blew up a garden shed and then meticulously ­suspended its fragments in a constellation-­cum-swarm around a single light bulb, under the title Cold Dark Matter. This is now owned by the Tate and features in a major survey of Parker’s work which heralds the reopening of the ­Whitworth Art Gallery in ­Manchester, where it is accompanied by new ­commissions created from the red fabric used to make commemorative poppies and the revolutionary new form of carbon developed in Manchester, graphene”.@ The Art Newspaper

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Art and Conscience | Ai Weiwei

‘Trace’ Ai Weiwei@Large

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.58.59 pmImage courtesy of New York Times

Ai Weiwei stands as an artist of exceptional personal integrity whose story is an extraordinary one to say the least.

I’ve admired his work and practice since I first saw some installation shots in 1999.

This year sees him installing works in the notorious Alcatraz prison as part of the @Large exhibition organized by For-Site. His installation ‘Trace’ consists of 176 portraits of political exiles and prisoners of conscience put together using a staggering 1.2 million Lego pieces. Out of the things that so many children have used to build and manipulate imaginative scenarios and environments Ai Weiwei constructs a tableau that serves to remind us of those who have either been imprisoned or exiled for actively resisting or exposing the wiles of oppressive regimes.

Read the full story here