What We Learned This Week
Chelsea Manning, the US activist and whistleblower, is to appear at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art this October, it was announced this week. Her appearance at the ICA’s annual friends dinner, hosted during Frieze London, is the latest politically-charged showing from its director Stefan Kalmar, following the Forensic Architecture exhibition at the gallery earlier this year. In a recent statement he explained that his aim is to “expand our idea of contemporary artistic practice”. Manning was released from military prison last May following Barack Obama’s decision to commute her thirty-five year sentence. For the ICA event, she is said to be planning to be discuss issues ranging from Artificial Intelligence to queer and transgender rights.
The work of another divisive figure will be arriving in London just in time for Frieze week this October—none other than legendary street artist Rammellzee, an early friend of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who is currently the subject of a major exhibition at Red Bull Arts in New York. While none of the works in the New York exhibition are for sale at present, they will go under the hammer following their outing in London. They will be shown at Lazinc, the Mayfair gallery of Steve Lazarides, who was once the dealer for Banksy. We reported on his high-profile exhibition of rare Banksy works last month, and the gallerist is now back in the spotlight with the first major exhibition of Rammellzee’s work in the UK, staged in partnership with Sotheby’s.
Meanwhile, a host of international artists are making their voices heard in a protest over new legislation announced in Cuba, which specifies that the Cuban government must pre-approve all independent cultural activity. A letter in opposition has been published online, and explains “The new laws restrict the creativity of the Cuban people, and criminalize independently produced art, limiting the ability to determine who can be an artist to a state institution.” Signatories include Tania Bruguera and Coco Fusco, and more than six hundred others have since added their signatures.
A work currently on public display as part of the Liverpool Biennial has been vandalized for a second time in the last month. Titled The List, it displays the names of thousands of refugees and migrants who have lost their lives while trying to reach Europe. Following the first attack on it, the artist Banu Cennetoğlu repaired and replaced it, but this time she has vowed to leave the damage in place “as a manifestation and reminder of this systematic violence exercised against people”, she explained in a statement.
The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC is to honour Aretha Franklin with a special exhibition of a portrait by iconic graphic designer Milton Glaser, following the announcement of her death at the age of seventy-six on Thursday from advanced pancreatic cancer. The portrait is distinctively energetic in its blocky, colourful composition, created by Glaser in 1968 when Franklin was just twenty-six years old. It is a fitting tribute to the remarkable musical artist, known as the “Queen of Soul”.
Exhibition of the Week
Summer Groupshow at Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam
This pleasingly eclectic exhibition brings together names as diverse as Roger Hiorns, best known for his icy-blue copper sulphate sculptural interventions, and Robby Müller, the longtime cinematographer for such directors as Wim Wenders and Jim Jamusch. Müller’s evocative photographs, many of them taken from his time on film sets, reveal his use of the camera as a tool for studying light and composition, with a particular focus on the overlooked details of city landscapes, from a service station to an empty motel room.
Quote of the Week
“The moment of creation is sometimes the most important part of the artwork.”
—Takesada Matsutani on his prolific career, from the influence of his time as part of the influential Japanese avant-garde Gutai group to more than thirty years living in Paris
Instagram Account of the Week
Alina Perez (alina.perezz)
Alina Perez’s paintings and drawings are often arresting self-portraits—huge glassy eyes glare out at you, or look off longingly, love-sick, into the distance—and they always grab your attention on an overloaded timeline. The Miami-based artist has been exhibited in a series of group shows in the past four years at a range of galleries in the US, such as Monya Rowe gallery and Andrew Edlin.