Michael Massaia, Sponge Bob, 2014
July is national ice-cream month! Photographer Michael Massaia’s melted ice-creams make art out of a familiar sight during summer days; sticky and gross, his images also hint at the indulgence and wastefulness of consumerism, and those artificial colours suddenly look shocking rather than something we want to put in our stomachs. Maybe we don’t feel like an ice-cream anymore…
18 July 2018
Ryan Gander with Jamie Clark, Phoebe Edwards, Tianna Mehta, Maisie Williams and Joshua Yates, From Five Minds Of Great Vision (The Metropolitan Cathedral Of Christ The King Disassembled And Reassembled To Conjure Resting Places In The Public Realm), at Liverpool Biennial 2018
The Liverpool Biennial opens to the public this week, and is celebrating twenty years of ambitious commissions throughout the city. This looming space-age structure is the starting point for Ryan Gander’s new installation work Time Moves Quickly, created in collaboration with five young artists from Knotty Ash primary school. Gander has dissected the Frederick Gibberd-designed brutalist Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral into “building blocks”, which have then been reorganized by the children and enlarged to create public seating that encourages biennial-goers to sit back, relax and dream of sacred architecture.
17 July 2018
Nobuyoshi Araki, Untitled (Flower Cemetery), 2017
The renowned Japanese photographer’s latest exhibition, opening today at Anton Kern gallery in New York, takes its cue from his project Sentimental Journey, which documented both the “intimate and mundane” aspects of his honeymoon. Against the inky black and white photography in the show, his red-soaked Untitled (Flower Cemetery) is especially luscious—and classically Araki.
16 July 2018
Paul Hill, Legs Over High Tor, Matlock, 1975
The British countryside has a strong aesthetic—both wild and quaint in parts, green, rugged and, very often, wet. A new show of photographs from the Hyman Collection at the Hepworth Wakefield celebrates the stirring nature of the UK landscape, which has provided inspiration to a host of writers over the years. Paul Hill’s moody Legs Over High Tor speaks of childhood adventure and danger—depicting a pair of white-socked legs dangling causally over the side of a jagged rock face.
15 July 2018
Hank Willis Thomas, Hand of God, 2017
After a month of surprise defeats and brilliant performances, the World Cup final has come down to France and Croatia. As we wait for the winner to be decided at last today, we are reflecting on some of the tournament’s most memorable moments. None more so than Maradona’s audacious punch against England in 1986, dubbed as the “Hand of God” by the man himself. Displayed during Hank Willis Thomas’ exhibition The Beautiful Game at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London last year, his chromed sculpture immortalizes the infamous goal, and provides a moment where sports and art overlap sublimely.
14 July 2018
Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander (1982)
Today marks the one hundredth birthday of legendary film director Ingmar Bergman. To celebrate, we take a look through Taschen’s stunning new publication The Ingmar Bergman Archives. Spanning Bergman’s extensive and varied works, it features the memorable opening scene from the semi-autobiographical Fanny and Alexander. Alexander, a representation of the young Bergman, plays The Three Musketeers with his puppet theatre, echoing some of the director’s fondest childhood memories. “Ej blot til lyst” above the archway is Danish for “Not just for pleasure”…
13 July 2018
Maud Lewis, Black Cats
Are you superstitious? This unlucky Friday 13th, we’re enjoying Maud Lewis’s line-up of black cats (which are often associated with bad luck), who stare out of the canvas at the viewer with beady yellow eyes. The painting sold in 2017 for $37K—five times its asking price. Lewis is often described as a folk artist and is known for her upbeat style. By the time of her death in 1970, she had covered almost all the walls of her house with paintings.
12 July 2018
Painted sheep at Latitude Festival
Festival season is upon us again, and none honours the arts quite as much as Latitude, which opens today. Britain’s cross-disciplinary event brings ballet to the lake, visual arts to the woods, and comedians, poets, authors and speakers to packed, sweaty tents. The painted sheep are a highlight every year, bounding about the hillsides in an array of tones. These chaps must have been photographed on opening day—their florescent coats are worse-for-wear by the end of the festival, mirroring the monstrous hangovers of the punters who line up to snap them.
11 July 2018
Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, about 1615-17
The above painting sold to the National Gallery in London for £3.6 million this month—a record for its artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, a renowned Italian Baroque painter. It also happens to be only the twentieth work by a female artist in the gallery’s collection, which contains more than 2,300 European paintings. Aged eighteen, the artist had endured “thumbscrew-like torture” at her own rape trial—to ensure she was telling the truth. This defiant work alludes to her ordeal, and also to her tremendously unbreakable strength.
10 July 2018
Harland Miller, I’ll Never Forget What I Can’t Remember, 2016
Memory Palace—a new group exhibition at White Cube in London—celebrates twenty-five years of the gallery and brings together more than forty artists. Harland Miller, author and visual artist, features with a work from his series of paintings based on the dust jackets of Penguin Classics, combining aspects of pop art with his love of text. His sentiment is playfully absurd and yet ultimately reflective on the limitations of memory.
9 July 2018
David Hockney, Striped Mug, 2010
Happy birthday to David Hockney—he turns eighty-one today. Hockney’s latest exhibition of iPhone and iPad drawings is soon to open at Annely Juda Fine Art in London. The divisive works, which offer a twenty-first-century twist to his pop-y painting style, are testament to his ongoing urge to explore the possibilities of image-making and to keep evolving. His latest work on iPads“takes it to a new level”, the artist says, “simply because it’s eight times the size of an iPhone, as big as a reasonably sized sketchbook”.
8 July 2018
Guy Bourdin, Charles Jourdan, 1978
There’s no denying the joy of the Polaroid photograph—a simple and now decidedly old school way to test composition and to take off-the-cuff photos. The Polaroid Project, a newly opened show at C/O Berlin, celebrates the charm of the instant photograph, with candid images by Andy Warhol (of course), Dennis Hooper and Richard Hamilton. The above image by Guy Bourdin is playfully meta—showing a model’s legs peeking out from under a Polaroid photo.
7 July 2018
Ren Hang, Untitled
“All bodies, in Hang’s work, are equally seductive, and equally grotesque. Hang didn’t see gender, he saw desire in the human form,” writes Charlotte Jansen in Elephant’s Beyond Gender issue. As Pride London kicks off in the city today, we’re celebrating the late photographer who saw past the traditional barriers of sexuality to explore people simply as people, at play, and sexually alive. “I don’t want others having the impression that Chinese people are robots with no cocks or pussies,” the artist once said.
6 July 2018
Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic leg with leather boot
The Mexican artist was born 111 years ago today. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, currently on show at the V&A Museum in London, captures the complexity of her life, work and style, revelling in her attention to detail and the highly individual image that she sculpted for herself, as well as delving into the woman underneath her spectacular surface. Some have found the inclusion of this prosthetic leg and leather boot to be shocking—as it asks viewers to acknowledge the notoriously difficult life of this twentieth-century icon.
5 July 2018
Francois Prost, After Party, 2014
Is this the future of clubbing? In 2014 François Prost travelled around France and Belgium photographing iconic nightclubs in daylight. Sometimes kitsch, often tacky, their front facades are designed to attract revellers a few drinks in, but the morning after—as Prost captures them, lights switched off, doors shut up—their architecture becomes absurd on the industrial or rural landscapes they occupy. Gen Z-ers are more likely to be at home than at a seedy, overpriced party, and Prost shoots with a certain kind of nostalgic eye, an ode to a disappearing visual language and the kind of nocturnal magic these spaces once harnessed. A selection from the hundreds of dejected nightclubs Prost photographed is currently on show in Paris at Superette Gallery, in the artist’s solo exhibition, Photo Stories.
4 July 2018
Tina Barney, 4th of July on Beach, 1989
Washed out hues, American pride and well-heeled Rhode Islanders typify the large-format colour photography of Tina Barney, whose portraits of East Coast social elites are loaded with woozy glamour. Sitting halfway between reality and a dream, the contrived element of Barney’s scenes is blurred by her spontaneous capturing of images, which give us a sense of the good life that’s always on the cusp of disappearing for good. The uncertain political future and splintering national identity of America today complicates the symbolism of 4 July; whether or not to celebrate the holiday is a divisive decision among some Americans. But it is precisely this split personality, self-conscious grandeur and fabricated drama that make Barney’s images—4th of July on Beach (1989) among them—a picture-perfect vision of fraught times.
3 July 2018
Franz Marangolo, Campari Soda Is In Line With The Times!, 1960s
This hot weather can leave one a little parched, no? Drinks manufacturers will be benefiting from this increased collective thirst—if their advertising is up to scratch, that is. One of the first brands to understand the value of really distinctive marketing was Campari, the Italian maker of the herby ruby-red aperitif: no wonder Futurist painter Fortunato Depero was inspired to declare that “the art of the future will be largely advertising”. Over a century’s worth of classic campaign imagery, including Franz Marangolo’s Swinging Sixties bottle-on-legs, is celebrated in The Art of Campari at the Estorick Collection in London, which opens tomorrow.