A Sculpture Gets Castrated, and Olafur Eliasson Surrounds Tate Modern with Ice

Plus, Ai Weiwei’s flag to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights and new Art on the Underground tube maps by Jade Montserrat and Linder. All this and more in our weekly round-up.

What We Learned This Week

Olafur Eliasson and Ice Watch

Huge ice-blocks have appeared outside the Tate Modern, thanks to Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosing. The public installation, entitled Ice Watch, aims to highlight the impact of climate change and takes the form of twenty-four blocks of ice arranged in a circle on Bankside; as well as six blocks in the City of London outside the headquarters of Bloomberg, which is supporting the piece through its Bloomberg Philanthropies arm. The ice is created from water from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, where ice sheets are visibly melting into the sea. 

Left: Linder, The Bower of Bliss, 2018. 29th edition Pocket Tube map for Art on the Underground. Right: Jade Montserrat, hand this piece to one Jacob Aston West. Photos by Benedict Johnson

New Art on the Underground tube maps by Jade Montserrat and Linder have been revealed. Linder’s piece shows a photomontage of one woman’s mouth within another, and coincides with her piece The Bower of Bliss, another Art on the Underground commission at Southwark station which “seeks to put women’s voice at the centre of public space”, according to organisers. Montserrat’s design for the map was created with pencil and watercolour and paper, and the piece is accompanied by a poster work—My Anger Became My Motivation: Baroness Lawrence on Grenfell, which is shown in the 270 London Underground stations—and a limited edition print, In Memory of Sarah Reed, a reference to the tragic suicide of Reed, whose mental health needs were inadequately met in Holloway Prison.

Ai Wewei, Fly The Flag

Ai Weiwei has created a flag to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. The flag will spend the next six months travelling around schools, care homes, town halls, offices, hospitals, libraries, community groups and individual citizens (in its digital and physical forms) with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of human rights; and in June 2019 it will be flown for seven days (one for each decade) across the UK. The project, dubbed Fly The Flag, has been orchestrated by lead producer Fuel along with Amnesty International, Donmar Warehouse, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Tate Art Galleries. Additional co-commissioners include Coventry City of Culture Trust. “As we all come to learn, human rights are the precious result from generation after generation’s understanding of the human struggle,” says a statement from Weiwei’s Berlin studio. “He is proud to be a part of this force.” You can read the full Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.

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  • Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir's Mer-Sausage before and after the vandalism. Courtesy of Cycle Festival of Music © Hari

In October, the phallic Litla Hafpulsan (“little mer-sausage”) appeared in the centre of Reykjavik’s  Lake Tjörnin. The piece by Icelandic artist Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir was created a response to the centenary of the country’s independence from Denmark; and was in dialogue with a replica of The Little Mermaid by Nína Sæmundsson given to the city by the former colonial ruler in the 1940s. Late last week, however, it was found the piece was no longer so phallic: the “sausage” part of the sculpture had been lopped off, and was later found in bushes near the lake, the Art Newspaper reports.

The Anonymous Was a Woman programme has waived its long-held anonymity to reveal the ten recipients of its 2018 grants, which award $25,000 to selected female artists over forty years-old. Winners are selected by a group of female art historians, curators, writers and past winners. The programme began in 1996 in response to the National Endowment for the Arts’s decision to stop funding individual artists, and until this year had long been awarded by a donor who chose to remain anonymous. “But earlier this year, the New York-based artist Susan Unterberg revealed herself as the funder in an article in the New York Times,” ArtNews reports. Among this year’s winners are Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Betty Tompkins, Patty Chang, Heather Hart and Rocío Rodríguez.


Quote of the Week

John Loker with Nellie the tortoise. Photograph by Emily Mayer

“We have evolved very much alongside animals, we both eat them and use their strengths and differences to our advantage, we even satisfy our curiosity at their expense”

—In the second of our new series on artists and their pets, John Loker writes about his long history with tortoises, and his current pet Nellie, who he says could teach him a thing or two about relaxation and tenacity.


Exhibition of the Week

Mat Collishaw, Seria Ludo (detail), 2016, Courtesy the artist, BlainSouthern & The National Trust, Photo: Kippa Matthews
Mat Collishaw, Albion, 2016. Courtesy the artist, BlainSouthern. Photo – Peter Mallet

Mat Collishaw,The Grinders Cease, until 26 January 2019 at Blain Southern, Berlin

In Mat Collishaw’s first exhibition at Blain Southern’s Berlin gallery he’s showing recent works spanning installation, sculpture, photography and painting. The show takes its title from the King James Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes: “In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened…” Visitors to the show will first be greeted by a new work, 2018’s Columbine, which animates Albrecht Dürer’s 1526 watercolour study of the same name; before moving into three spaces containing work including Albion, a huge, slowly rotating, ghostly image of the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest; and the photography series Last Meal on Death Row, which depicts meals requested by prisoners prior to execution.


Instagram of the Week

Harrie Bradshaw (@Harrie.Bradshaw)

Harrie Bradshaw aka Harry Freegard was an icon at Central Saint Martins and since graduating he hasn’t stopped supplying us with his distinctive looks. The fashion designer admits to not knowing how to make clothes, and graduated from CSM with a collection that was barely held together by numerous safety pins. His show was about his funeral—he’s obsessed by his own death to the point of making his own dated memorial plate. He’s funny, fabulous and he will inevitably make you say “Wait.. What?!”