What We Learned This Week
The historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is to be taken over by the artist JR next month, with a twenty-five-metre-high installation. No stranger to mounting huge-scale interventions, he has placed his distinctive paste-up projects everywhere from the Louvre’s glass pyramid to the US-Mexico border. His black-and-white photo billboards have often sprung up at notable borders, drawing attention to the human stories behind the political policy-making. The Brandenburg installation will show images from 1989 of East and West Berliners climbing the monument the day after the Wall came down. We spoke to JR in Issue 35—get your copy here.
Bangkok is to host its first art biennial in October, featuring seventy-five artists from thirty-three countries, including Yayoi Kusama, Elmgreen & Dragset (who we interviewed in Issue 23) and Marina Abramović. They will exhibit at sites across the city, including site-specific works at ancient temples, many of whom will be hosting contemporary artists for the first time.
Over in London, Yayoi Kusama is the talk of upcoming Frieze week with a new solo show set to open at Victoria Miro on 3 October. Unusually for a commercial gallery, entry to the exhibition will be with timed tickets only, following hours-long queues for her last exhibition at the gallery back in 2016. The exhibition will feature new paintings and bronze sculptures (yes, there will be new pumpkin works), but the main crowd pleaser will be the large-scale infinity room, where a selfie snap amidst the endless reflections and shimmering lights is now de-rigueur for any self-respecting social media influencer.
The programme for Frieze London itself has been announced, and it features a strong female showing in the Projects and Live sections, with Laure Prouvost (whose studio we visited earlier this year), Camille Henrot, Julia Scher and Liz Glynn all presenting works at the fair. Prouvost has directed an opera singer to perform snippets taken from conversations overheard around the fair, in a pointed comment on the unseen surveillance of our personal data.
A whopping 160 galleries will have booths at the main fair, while there will be 130 galleries at Frieze Masters, including Dickinson gallery who will recreate Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden from St Ives, complete with pond. Tim Marlow, the artistic director of the Royal Academy of Arts, is the curator of this year’s talks at Masters.
There have been a number of significant deaths this week, including Geta Brătescu and Robert Venturi. The latter was an architect and theorist who championed postmodernism and celebrated bad taste, immortalized in his classic text Learning From Las Vegas. The Romanian artist Brătescu passed away aged ninety-two. She lived and worked in Bucharest throughout her six-decade career, but gained wider international recognition in recent years and represented her country at Venice last year.
Exhibition of the Week
The new annex of the South London Gallery opened this week, introducing the new (old) digs—a nineteenth-century fire station converted by gallery hotshots 6a Architects—alongside its inaugural exhibition Knock Knock, a survey of more than thirty artists exploring humour in their work. The show has rounded up bigshots like Maurizio Cattelan and Sarah Lucas, alongside emerging names like Bedwyr Williams and Pilvi Takala, to solicit laughs—but can contemporary art really make us laugh? Read our review of the exhibition here.
Quote of the Week
“It’s just another place fer the seagulls tae shite”
Instagram of the Week
The hand-drawn women who populate Laura Callaghan’s feed scowl, squint and do whatever they damn well want to, rendered in an alluring palette of pastel and bright blocks of colour. Together, they build a female-focused vision of the world, where women are free to do and dress as they please, whether that is popping a squat in an exercise class or downing a good glass of red at a museum opening. The Irish illustrator is based in London, and has collaborated with everyone from the New Yorker to jewellery brand Tatty Devine (whose studio we visited earlier this year). Follow her now.