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Art of the Moment

  • Art of the Moment

    • Since it was invented, the GIF has gained more strength, today the 2.0 web cannot be conjured without thinking about this member of the binary fauna.

    The first ‘Motion Photography’ contest by the Saatchi Gallery and Google+ was a success / 

    Saatchi Gallery and Google+ launched the first ever global motion photography movement. Participants could submit their projects beginning on February 5th, and now the finalists’ work can be seen in the Motion Photography Prize exhibition from April 14th to May 14th at the gallery. This contest was possible because of the popularity of the GIF (animated GIF) as a creative activity with great possibilities as an art form.

    The winners of this year’s contest were:                                  

    Stefanie Schneider    Landscape

    Kostas Agiannitis    Lifestyle

    Micaël Reynaud      Action

    Matthew Clarke        Night

    Emma Critchley       People

    Christina Rinaldi      Urban

    The exhibition will feature the work of 54 finalists, selected from 4,000 participant from around the world. The digital loop phenomenon is gaining strength as a creative means; after all, it is a simple expression like memes or other cyberspace constructions which embrace life and transform it into comedy, contemplation and art.

    The 2.0 Web is completely turning life around, creativity is a conquest at the top of this list of transformations; the convening power that the internet can give to exhibitions and artistic events, extend the limits of the gallery to the dimension of datagrams circling cyberspace, expanding the reach of the work.

    Saatchi Gallery and Google have distinguished themselves for being agents of change in their fields, fostering creativity, research and experimentation. An important duo for the projects of future creators and collectives in different disciplines, and one we should keep an eye out for in the future.  

    Tagged: GIF, digital art
  • Art of the Moment

    • This exhibition is a great opportunity to appreciate pieces from 79 different artists who sympathized with this movement, which are rarely put on display.

    The Guggenheim in New York will mount a magnum tribute to Italian Futurism / 

    Futurism was a passionate movement, committed to its ideals. Few groups from the first half of the twentieth century worked with such valiant aesthetical and political notions. The artists relied on a wide spectrum of means in order to achieve the artistic conquests they sought, and thus poetry, music, theatre, dancing; painting and politics could be transformed into the motorised vehicle of Futurism.

    The Guggenheim in New York is showing Italian Futurism, 1990-1994: Reconstructing the Universe. This exhibition offers an extensive look into the thirty years that the movement lasted, establishing itself as the first of its kind to study this vanguard in the American continent. They study the work of 79 artists, divided under the following thematic axis: Heroic Futurism, Words in Freedom, Architecture, Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe, Arte Meccanica, Aeropittura and Photography.

    This historical exhibition includes pieces that are rarely put on display, by some of the most representative artists of the movement, such as Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Francesco Cangiullo, Gino Severini, Ivo Pannagi, and many others. The Guggenheim will exhibit the original manifestos created by the group and in addition they will also host a series of lectures and guided tours that will delve into diverse issues such as futurist design and the role women played in the movement.

    The sympathizers of the movement were roused by the speed, the roar of the engines, the flying machines and the automation of different processes. They embraced the ideals of modernity without hesitation, motivating a revolution from political, literary and artistic vanguards. The works the movement created can be matched with the feeling behind contemporary, since this vanguard forged the foundations for the interdisciplinary and artistic experimentation.

    The exhibition was inaugurated on the 21st of February and will remain at the museum until September. The interest in this movement is a revalorization of a unique vanguard, which required a great deal of innovation in terms of its practice and theory, which now support contemporary art. So, if you wish to get the engines of inspiration going, each futurist soul that existed during the first half of the last century will provide you with fragments of it. 

    Tagged: exhibitions, Guggenheim New York, Futurism Credits: Images (I Giacomo Balla: The Hand of the Violinist, 1912) (II Filippo Masoero: Descending over Saint Peter, 1930-1933)
  • Art of the Moment

    • Complete with cigarette burns and coffee stains, Morgan Library in New York is presenting the original manuscript and the illustrations of this 1943 classic.

    The original drawings of ‘The Little Prince’ / 

    Since it was first published in 1943, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, has captivated millions of readers around the world. And even if the author only wrote this one book, he stands among the most beloved in the world; he is one of those rare treasures that hold a timeless wisdom. But what few people know is that Saint-Exupery, a commercial pilot that never learnt English properly, wrote and published his masterpiece in New York, where he settled down in 1940, after the Nazi invasion of France.

    Shortly after he published The Little Prince, the author stuffed the manuscript and the drawings in a bread bag, which he handed over to his dear friend, Silvia Hamilton. “I want to give you something magnificent”, he told her, “but this is all I have”. After doing this, he flew to Algeria as a pilot in the French Air Force. On July 31, 1944 he embarked on a recon mission and never made it back. He was 44 years old when he died; a biographical fact that is charged with meaning when we remember that the little prince, sitting on his tiny planet, saw the sunset exactly 44 times.

    In 1968, the Morgan Library in New York acquired the original manuscripts. An exhibition that studies the creative process behind Saint-Exupery’s has been on display since January 24, ending on April 27, which explores his writing through the texts he excluded from the final version —Morgan’s manuscript has 30,000 words, almost twice as many as those published in the book— which also features the original watercolors.

    The drawings from this exhibition are covered in scribbled out words, cigarette burns and coffee stains, which makes them all the more endearing. What makes these drawings truly extraordinary, in addition to the affective elements like the baobab and the rose, is that they embody the fox’s unforgettable line: “what is essential is invisible to the eye”.

    If you are unable to travel to New York to see this exhibition, you can flick virtually through ten of the original illustrations by following this link. Enjoy. 

    Tagged: books, The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, exhibitions, inspiration
  • Art of the Moment

    • This building and its copious agenda are in synch with the rhythm of the glamorous city where the museum is located.

    Pérez Art Museum Miami: enriching the art scene in the American continent / 

    Last year we reviewed an exhibition that marked the end of an important era for the Miami Art Museum (MAM). Now, we’re excited to write the profile for the new Pérez Art Museum Miami, a place where art, culture and diffusion converge in a space unlike any other in the world.

    Herzog & de Meuron, the solicited architectural design firm, was responsible for the building and, as is usually the case with their work, they went far and beyond the expectations. This is an intelligent, vanguard, eco-friendly and simply beautiful building; the main façade fits right in with the landscape of this glamorous city. The design combines the charm of nature and open spaces with the needs of artists, curators and collectors.

    PAMM is a mutable space which is constantly evolving. There is always something new to see in its multiple temporary exhibitions, it has a large space devoted to the museum’s collection spread out over three versatile floors, where, according to the first exhibitions, anything is possible. They make the most of the natural light and due to its innovative construction it was possible to create indoor rooms with large open spaces, without columns that interrupt our gaze; what remains is an ideal panorama where exhibitions and events can truly be the main feature.

    The sculpture garden and the outdoor space embody a beautiful landscape where visitors from around the world can come together and enjoy themselves. The hanging gardens give it a fresh and friendly appearance, especially when seen from this imposing building. Undoubtedly the investment, sacrifices and wait were worthwhile. The new building can adapt to the dynamic and expansive nature of the city which it inhabits while it takes the shape that contemporary art requires.

    Their exhibition calendar is completely full for this year and a couple more, internationally acclaimed projects have been programmed, all sorts of artistic proposals, conferences and audiovisuals which aim to transform, or at least enrich, the global art scene.

    Tagged: Miami, Perez Art Museum Miami, museums
  • Art of the Moment

    • The Pritzker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of architecture, was given to Japanese Shigeru Ban this year, who has distinguished himself for his work with victims of natural disasters and war.

    Shigeru Ban, architect of disaster and compassion, winner of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize / 

    In 1979, Jay Pritzker, businessman and philanthropist, founded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, an award that since then has recognized “living architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”.

    With this purpose in mind, the Pritzker Prize has been awarded to artifices of spatial design such as Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), Frank Gehry (1989), Aldo Rossi (1990), Norman Foster (1999), Rem Koolhaas (2000) and Peter Zumthor (2009), among others who are equally or more renowned. The list is admirable, which is why the Pritzker Prize is one of the most important awards in the field of architecture.

    This year, the 2014 Pritzker Prize was given to Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect whose style is characterized by his use of vanguard and elemental shapes and materials, while Ban always favors the expression of the concept that makes sense of his buildings. Nonetheless, the most commendable aspect of his work —and one of the main reasons why he won the prize— is the fact that he designs houses for victims of natural disasters and for war refugees. Japan, Rwanda, India and the Philippines are some of the countries that have been stricken by tsunamis, typhoons or civil wars, and where there are hundreds or thousands of homeless people who have been aided by Ban’s work, since his talent as an architect has allowed him to find a balance between resistant buildings which are incidentally quick to build, capable of withstanding the forces of nature and which use local materials. The Onagawa temporary home, built in in Japan for the victims of the 2011 earthquake, was built with ship containers and paper tubes, an excellent example of Ban’s architectural dexterity.

    Tom Pritzker, director of the Hyatt Foundation, stated that "innovation is not limited by building type and compassion is not limited by budget. Shigeru has made our world a better place."

    It’s important to mention that Ban’s participation in many of these projects is pro bono, meaning he does not actually charge for his services and, in turn, he puts as much work into them as he does into renowned projects such as the  Centre Pompidou-Metz in France.

    In terms of the award, the architect said he still does not understand the situation, since he feels that this recognition has arrived too early in his career, when he has not yet reached the level he strives for. But for this very reason he believes the prize is a great incentive to keep working, “to keep doing the same thing”.

    And how could he not when this continuity is marked by helping others.



    II: A cardboard cathedral in New Zealand

    III: "Japan Pavilion," designed for Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany.

    Tagged: architecture, Pritzker Prize, Pritzker Prize 2014, Shigeru Ban, great architects Credits: Images (I: Benoit Tessier/ Reuters; II: Stephen Goodenaugh/ Associated Press; III: Hiroyuki Hirai)
  • Art of the Moment

    • Designed by the architect David Chipperfield, the museum was inaugurated at the end of last year.

    Fundación Jumex opens a new Contemporary Art museum in Mexico City / 

    The internationally renowned and award-winning architect, David Chipperfield, recently developed his first project in Latin America: the new Jumex Museum, which opened its doors for the first time in late 2013. The imposing 6,700 square metre building features plenty of space for exhibitions, gatherings and enjoying art. The complex is comprised by a basement, a ground floor, three other levels and an innovative virtual space.

    The Jumex Contemporary Art Foundation (Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo (FJAC)) has been promoting artistic potential in Mexico, and the world, for twelve years. Through commissions and acquisitions it has amassed one of the most impressive collections in Latin America where minimal art from the Sixties and Seventies is predominant. The foundation is also in charge of organising contests that develop and foster artistic creations in different formats.

    It is located in Mexico City and it is already considered one of the best contemporary art museums in the world, which will hopefully attract some art aficionados, as well as creators, curators and researchers interested in establishing new liaisons with the institution. When they first began, the foundation’s collection was placed in the company’s factory, but merely a decade later the experimental art works are moving to the museum, even if the original gallery will continue to host exhibitions.

    For further information surrounding the Jumex Gallery, the museum and their events, you can visit their official website. We suggest you also visit their virtual museum, a platform that specialises in digital and multimedia projects. This is undoubtedly a fortunate event for the foundation and for Latin American art; the new museum will create new opportunities for artists and art lovers by featuring inspiring cultural activities. 

    Tagged: art, contemporary art, museums, Fundación Jumex
  • Art of the Moment

    • This artist has inspired her followers, who have identified with her work for over three decades.

    An emotive retrospective at the Guggenheim recognises the work of Carrie Mae Weems / 

    When we stand before the work of Carrie Mae Weems (1953) we find ourselves in the presence of a manifesto of freedom and expression. This artist’s creations are driven by the commitment she has made to herself and her audience. The complexity of her oeuvre is reflected in the subjects she deals with: sexuality, racism, gender, class and social conflicts, the art of this creator has been appreciated throughout the world, and now the Guggenheim in New York is offering a vast retrospective.

    At the very beginning of her career she developed a well-structured visual narrative, which she has continued to employ in her pieces. She creates photographic installations that tell a story, she narrates encounters, dialogue, suffering and hope. Her ideas have been supported by different media such photography, audio, text, installation and, more recently, video. Her pieces are a sensitive invitation to reflect on the social dynamics that happen on a regular basis, she presents her audience with different points of view that give rise to an empathetic bond to the portrayed subjects and the stories they partake in.

    Using other people’s lives, her portraits draw viewers in emotionally allowing them to experience new perspectives and understanding the same problem. Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, is a glimpse at the extensive career of this polemic and committed artist. The exhibition will begin on January 24 and will close it in March, it will mainly feature her photographic work, and however, other media employed by Weems will also be on display. ‘Kitchen Table Series’ (1990) one of her most iconic and innovative pieces is at the forefront of the exhibition.

    In the thirty years of her career, the search for justice and equality has been a self-discovery path for Weems; she has freed herself or approached profound questions that now are the source of inspiration for a huge following that has found a form of relief in her artistic creations.

    Tagged: Carrie Mae Weems, photography, exhibitions, Guggenheim New York Credits: Images (I: Family Reunion) (II: Untitled (woman and daughter with makeup)) (III: Untitled (box spring in tree))
  • Art of the Moment

    • The artist Liliana Porter presents an installation that uncovers the materials that sustain the myth of modernity in the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano of Buenos Aires.

    The Man with the Axe: a metaphor of modernity’s ruins / 

    Modernity is perhaps one of the greatest civilising myths, even if its artifices pretended it wasn’t. As Jacques Lacan has asserted, elaborating on Claude Lévi Strauss’ concept of the myth, the myth is a construction of language that gives a name to that which otherwise would be impossible to name, a circumlocution that, in the case of modernity, bestowed human’s persistent need to seem better than he actually is at the expense of his deficiencies and faults, which he denies or hides, but that will eventually resurface.

    Liliana Porter has created an intelligent metaphor that portrays this tension, particular to modernity, El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves (“The man with the axe and other brief states”), which will be displayed in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires until February 24, 2014.

    The main piece, which the installation is named after, can be described as miniature figure that represents a man in a white suit and a black hat, who is holding an axe above his head, as if he was about to strike something. Since the gesture involves the entire body, the concentration of the mind, and a person who is focused on executing a single task, is extremely dramatic, however, its mute eloquence increases when we realise that this little man has given into an appalling destruction, he leaves behind him a long trail of ruins that begins with miniature ceramic objects, as small as he is, and continues a material in crescendo that continues to grow until it culminates in a deteriorated and inverted piano. In the interim, other fragment of debris —a sickle and a hammer, a gardener that waters the porcelain plates’ plants, a miniature reproduction of the moment when John F. Kennedy got in the presidential car, where he would eventually die, soldiers and ships, surreal miners, the image of a conventional marriage, and many more minimal images— appear to be inscribed in chaos and disorder, but are actually there with the purpose of making sense of the spoils.

    Borges once wrote that if all books were destroyed, except those by Thomas de Quincey, using the latter it would be possible to reconstruct Western civilisation. Borges, at least in this sense, was an optimist, especially if we were to compare this statement to Porter’s perspective, where said civilisation is already built on ruins, and that the dreams of modernity are built from this debris.

    Tagged: modernity, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Liliana Porter, installations