What We Learned This Week
Artist and musician Mark Fell has created an app called A Stitch Outside Time for travellers on the London to Southend-on-Sea C2c train line. The app “explores how we perceive and experience time”, using generative music technology to respond to the train’s movement and location, so that users hear the sounds differently each time. The app accompanies Fell’s first major solo show in a UK institution, The Concept of Time Is Intrinsically Incoherent, opening at the Focal Point Gallery this weekend. The show will display new installation works using sound and light that explore Fell’s long-standing interests in space, time and materiality. The works also draw inspiration from Southend’s Victorian fairground and seafront arcades, with an installation that “will recreate the audiovisual sensations of a traditional arcade hall of mirrors”, according to the gallery.
Jeremy Deller has created a Beatles-inspired “Fuck Brexit” t-shirt. The design riffs off the ubiquitous John& Paul& Ringo& George shirts by Dutch design agency Experimental Jetset, adding a furious political stance—and notably leaving poor Ringo off the end. Deller began working on the range in 2017, and each design replaces the endings of familiar phrases with “Fuck Brexit”. The artist told the Guardian: “It’s ground us down, the whole process has left us all ground down. Humour is important in these conversations. It was probably used during the campaign but I can’t remember anyone using it. [Vote] Leave at least used imagery; they were cleverer with words and images, more viral. I should have really done these during the campaign.”
Sharp-suited shiny sculpture purveyor Jeff Koons has downsized his New York-based studio and in doing so, has made a number of staff layoffs. ArtNews reports that “the last major round of layoffs at the studio occurred in 2017, when the company let thirty workers go, among them assistants who had worked at the studio for decades. The studio also laid off workers in 2015 and 2016.”
Masterpieces from the National Gallery are to go on show in Japan for the first time. Sixty paintings, including Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, will be shown at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo and the National Museum of Art, Osaka in 2020 to coincide with the the Olympic Games in Tokyo the same year. Pieces include those from the Italian Renaissance to the beginning of the twentieth century. “My heart is brimming with joyful expectation for this rare opportunity to immerse myself in the rich stories told by the great paintings,” says Mr Toshio Yamanashi, director of the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
Kanye West—the artist currently known as Ye (to some)—has donated $10m towards the creation of land artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater installation, which is currently being built inside the crater of a dormant volcano in Arizona. When completed, the piece will feature twenty-one viewing chambers connected by six tunnels—“a vast, naked eye observatory for celestial objects and events ranging from obscure and infrequent to the more familiar summer and winter solstice,” according to the artist. Turrell has been working on the piece since 1977, and will need to raise $200m in order to complete it, Apollo reports. “This is life changing. We all will live in Turrell spaces,” West tweeted last month.
Quote of the Week
“I love [animals’] accessibility, and the ease with which we project our subjectivity on them. They don’t occupy time inside a painting the way people do.”
—Ambera Wellmann talks to us about her fleshy and tactile paintings that are at once sexual and non-sexual, and in which disgust mingles with attraction
Exhibition of the Week
Approaching Abstraction, 30 January — 23 March, Blain Southern, London
Opening at the end of the month at Blain Southern is a new group show of contemporary Mexican artists working in abstraction, including Tania Candiani, Tomás Diaz Cedeño, Cristobal Gracia, Isauro Huizar, Daniela Libertad, Fabiola Menchelli and Benjamín Torres. Shown together, the pieces look to showcase a “movement amongst Mexican artists towards abstract and more monochromatic work”, according to the gallery. The show runs concurrently with Fundación Casa Wabi founder Bosco Sodi’s exhibition, Heavens and the Earth.
Instagram Account of the Week
Medieval Reacts (@medievalreacts)
Medieval Reacts is that desirable combination of cultured and idiotic with a variety of medieval paintings accompanied by penis jokes, witty puns and put downs. Relatable, hilarious—and you’re (sort of) learning about art history whilst you’re giggling in bed, on the tube or on the loo. If you have a spare three days we suggest you click the link and ENJOY!