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The Guardian

May 16 2021
David Hockney is right about Derrida

David Hockney | Tracey Emin | David Cameron | Classical music

Hockney is in trouble in these pages (Letters, 11 and 13 May) for thinking it was Derrida’s quip that painting is dead, when the sentiment has been around for 400 years. But in a recent catalogue to a show of his work in Paris, the French curator Donatien Grau explains that Hockney’s reference to Derrida is to the gist of Derrida’s set of essays La Vérité en Peinture of 1978. This gist is that “the legitimacy of painting as representation” had been broken at the time of the “birth of modernity” – a claim that Hockney manifestly resists and in his work triumphantly refutes. His reference to Derrida is precise and apt.
Jonathon Brown
Duranus, France

• Tracey Emin – what a star (‘This is mine, I own it’, 13 May). Having been decolonised and stomatised a couple of years ago, I found that it is surprising what you take in your stride and what you miss after such a change in your bodily functioning. For me, the greatest loss has been the relaxing 15 minutes on the loo in the morning with the Guardian crossword. I do it in bed now before getting up, but it’s not the same.
James Lindesay
Leicester

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
The Making of Rodin review – the sculptor in a ghostly new light

Tate Modern, London
A succession of plaster arms, legs and heads reveal Rodin’s working practices in a fascinating show that nevertheless leaves you longing for the finished work

The Making of Rodin is a show almost entirely composed of plaster casts: fragile and small, delicate or solid, heavyweight, lifesize or gargantuan. It is thronged with figure groups, solo statues, trays of hands and feet in glass cases. Smooth, chipped, marked up in pencil for rearrangement or enlargement, provisional studies or final casts – they are all uniformly, overpoweringly white.

This puts Rodin in a strange new light (sharpened by the open shutters at Tate Modern), although not for scholars, or perhaps for his own contemporaries. For Rodin himself chose to show nothing but plaster casts at the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris. The central gallery here is based on his self-designed pavilion, including studies for the monument to Balzac, pint-sized and colossal; limbs, heads and hands for The Thinker, as well as the finished figure; and numerous versions of Rodin’s The Walking Man, imprisoned in mid-stride as if navigating shifting sands.

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
The art of getting dressed

Do artists have a more liberated attitude to clothes? Fashion journalist Charlie Porter talks about his fascination with what painters, sculptors and photographers choose to wear to work in the studio

The fashion writer Charlie Porter has always been a compulsive reader of the language of clothes, his eye drawn irresistibly to the colour of a stranger’s coat; to the cut of their suit or the logo on their trainers. “I think everyone’s a bit like that,” he says. “We all do it, all the time. Clothes are information. A policeman’s uniform tells you what he does. If you feel threatened or out of place, it’s often clothing that gives you this sense first. But because I’ve worked in fashion, I suppose I’m particularly attuned to it.” Is the sartorial ticker tape in his head a bit exhausting sometimes? “Not exactly.” He laughs. “But the pandemic has given me quite a nice rest from it.”

I meet Porter, the author of an eclectic but invigorating new book about artists’ clothes, in the public garden at Arnold Circus, near his home in Shoreditch, east London – and, naturally, my first question has to do with his own look. Never mind his painters and sculptors. What is he wearing today? Porter regards himself as “quite a mess, usually,” but yes, he admits to having put some thought into his look this morning. “This is by Craig Green, a young London designer,” he says, of a heavy cotton jacket in Yves Klein blue that’s decorated with mirror work. Opening it, he reveals an off-white artist’s smock from Labour and Wait, hipster purveyor of all that is functional, from aprons to watering cans, which he favours for the freedom of movement it permits as well as for its “space-age” collar. This is matched to a pair of striped trousers whose provenance he can’t quite remember. Finally, there are his loafers, which are Gucci and about 15 years old.

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
‘Iranian culture has huge depths and continues to be relevant today’

Five thousand years of Iranian art goes on show at the V&A this month. A private collector who lent many of the works reveals what light these treasures cast on the country

The drive from London to a certain nameless valley in rural Oxfordshire - a preposterously pretty realm of flint cottages, quaint pubs, willow trees and gentle hills - is always slightly unnerving. This part of the country is so close to London and yet the feeling is of stepping back in time, a remoteness that is sudden and unexpected. But today the experience is all the stranger, for I’m on my way to visit an institution I did not even know existed until a few days ago. Housed in a private museum whose location, hidden beneath farmland, I cannot reveal, the Sarikhani Collection is one of the most extraordinary and significant assemblies of art in Britain, if not the world. It comprises, in all its magnificence, some 1,000 items: ceramics, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts that together tell the long and wondrous story of Iran and its culture from 3000BC until the 18th century.

The driving force behind this collection is Ina Sarikhani Sandmann, the warm and curious person who greets me when I finally arrive (there is no mobile signal and I twice get lost). Her passion for Iranian art is, as I’m about to discover, disconcertingly infectious. Talk to her about an object for only two minutes and you will quickly be overcome by the feeling that you cannot possibly sit still until you’ve seen this inlaid candlestick or that turquoise ewer; an exquisite 11th-century fragment of the Qur’an written in a script called Eastern Kufic; a magnificent 400-year-old carpet on which, if you look carefully, you can see a bixie (a leonine animal) locked in combat with a qilin (in this case a type of deer with a dragon’s face). She knows a lot, but she makes her expertise so accessible you hardly notice the learning involved, let alone the fact that you left home without having eaten any breakfast.

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
‘We’re ready for you’: English galleries and museums throw open their doors

With few overseas tourists, curators think there has never been a better time for Britons to see their own national treasures

Leading museum and gallery directors have urged the public to grab a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see national treasures up close when the buildings reopen in England on Monday. Social distancing means that great art, like the newly restored Gainsborough, Cornard Wood, at the National Gallery, or the precious archaeological finds from Sutton Hoo in the British Museum, will be easier to examine than ever before – all due to government bailouts. It is an enticing offer, although one that stands to be taken up most readily by privileged sections of the population.

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, told the Observer he regarded it as “the perfect moment to rediscover” the exhibits: “In the summer, the museum usually has a high proportion of overseas tourists, so this year will of course be different.”

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
Matthew Barney: Redoubt; Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust – review

Hayward Gallery, London
Ovid meets the NRA as Matthew Barney revisits his Idaho childhood, while Igshaan Adams takes tapestry to the next level

Matthew Barney’s first British show in more than 10 years is all picturesque nature, a 21st-century version of the American sublime. Everything centres on the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, where the artist was raised. Gilded tree trunks soar up through darkened galleries, radiant etchings cast an eerie glow on the ground, and a feature-length movie unleashes spectacular visions of snowbound peaks, torrential rivers, star-shine, dawn, dusk and wolves. This is a meditation on the wilderness, with Barney as a multimedia Thoreau.

The film is easily summarised (surprisingly, given the abstruse mythologies of Barney’s great five-film Cremaster cycle). Ovid’s tale of Diana and Actaeon is restaged with Actaeon working as a ranger for the US forest service, and Diana as a camouflaged sharpshooter tracking him through the sights of a hi-tech rifle. The nymphs he unwittingly spies are two contemporary dancers in hideous white long johns. The choreography is laboriously weird.

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The Guardian

May 16 2021
Hey teacher … how Syd Barrett’s artistic genius flowered at school

An early still life painting by the Pink Floyd founder will be sold at auction

Monet had his water lilies, Van Gogh his sunflowers, but for Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett it was orange dahlias. A vibrant still life painted by the late frontman of the British band when he was 15 will go under the hammer on 27 May as his childhood playmate puts it up for sale.

“I have lots of happy memories, including watching the first Dr Who series from behind the sofa together. But the Syd I remember is a different, younger person, and I know there are a lot of fans who feel even more about him who might give this painting a home,” said Phil Harden, who spent hours with Barrett as a boy in Cambridge and later visited him as an adult, when the former musician was struggling with mental illness in seclusion. “He was a funny and lively boy, but also very protective of me, as I was six years younger. It is rather amazing to me that he is still so highly regarded across the world.”

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The Guardian

May 15 2021
There’s a time and a place for trees – don’t transplant them for our amusement | Rowan Moore

Making an exhibition out of living things rather defeats any environmental message they are supposed to convey

A gaggle of oak saplings has gathered outside Tate Modern. They were grown by the British artists Ackroyd & Harvey from acorns from the trees that the German artist Joseph Beuys had planted in the city of Kassel in the 1980s, in a “social sculpture” called 7000 Oaks. This temporary installation, the official blurb says, creates “a place for gathering and for rethinking our connections with nature”.

It takes its place alongside the forthcoming four-week appearance of 400 trees in the courtyard of Somerset House, by the designer Es Devlin for the London Design Biennale, which is also meant to make us reflect on nature and the environment. Plus, there’s a temporary wooded hill planned for Marble Arch and the different-but-related craze for putting trees high up on multistorey apartment buildings in Shanghai, Milan and Quito.

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The Guardian

May 15 2021
The big picture: in celebration of youthful freedom

In Sven Jacobsen’s painterly images, the young become as one with their environment, seemingly without a care in the world

Sven Jacobsen’s photographs ask interesting questions about innocence and bliss. A new book concentrates on images of youthful freedom; teenagers scale fences and climb trees and plunge into lakes, they skateboard and snog and do headstands and backflips and laugh like they will never, ever stop. Any of the pictures might lead advertising campaigns for spring water or blue jeans or perfume – Jacobsen has worked as a commercial photographer for multinational corporations and knows all the seductive emotions – but there is, too, an extra edge of intimacy and challenge at work. They invite you to recall moments when you felt as alive as the people – family members, friends and models – he depicts. He calls his collection Like Birds.

Jacobsen suggests that when he takes the pictures he is looking always for the “flow of beauty” that might unite the figure with the landscape, a sense of subject and background dissolved. He likens his process to surfing, letting a wave take over and seeing where it takes you. This picture of the underwater swimmer is typical. He captions it as a “painting” for good reason – the scene carries visual reminders of a pre-Raphaelite Ophelia, but the young woman here is very much alive, in her element, not yet ready to break the glassy surface of the water, holding her breath for dear life.

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The New York Times

May 15 2021
What You Didn’t Know About Barkley L. Hendricks
The less celebrated side of the artist’s career, his photographs, receive deserved attention in a new book.
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The Guardian

May 15 2021
‘It’s important to build pride’: Coventry looks to future as UK city of culture

Organisers have faced huge challenges in the Covid pandemic, but hope their events can help rejuvenate the arts sector

Under the colourful kaleidoscope of Coventry’s latest public artwork, Chenine Bhathena reflects on what the next 12 months hold for the city as it begins its year as the UK’s city of culture after a four-month delay due to the pandemic.

“The city is transforming around us. I think it will be really important to build pride for people here, and to be able to show off on a national stage, to help people understand the city as it is now,” she said. “After Covid, the city of culture is more important than ever.”

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The New York Times

May 14 2021
From David Hammons, a Tribute to Pier 52 and Lastingness
From David Hammons, a Tribute to Pier 52 and Lastingness
Their artistic paths crossed like ships in the night. Now, in “Day’s End,” Hammons creates an immortalizing homage to Gordon Matta-Clark and art history.
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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Carmen Ramos Appointed Chief Curator of National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, has named E. Carmen Ramos—currently acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum—as its chief curatorial
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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Katerina Gregos Named Artistic Director of National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
Greek-born curator, writer, and art historian Katerina Gregos has been announced as the new artistic director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens. The twenty-year-old institution
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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Jovencio de la Paz
The fiber works in Jovencio de la Paz’s solo exhibition “Cumulative Shadow” are not as simple as they appear. For most of these pieces, de la Paz employed a computerized Thread Controller 2 loom and
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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Dilşad Aladağ and Eda Aslan
In 2015, forgoing any kind of public consultation, the Turkish government allocated the botanical garden of Istanbul University, a supposedly protected object of cultural heritage, to the Directorate
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The Guardian

May 14 2021
20 photographs of the week

The escalating conflict in Gaza and Israel, young migrants on the border between Mexico and the US, protests against the government in Colombia and the enduring impact of Covid-19: the most striking images from around the world this week

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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Rindon Johnson on the “The Law of Large Numbers” and the power of a name
Visitors to Rindon Johnson’s “The Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies” at New York’s SculptureCenter (March 25–August 2, 2021) pass first under the drawn whole hide of a cow. On damp days, the skin
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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Yee I-Lann
“Borneo Heart” marks Yee I-Lann’s first solo exhibition in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah. The artist’s practice is structured and sustained by acts of communality, as is
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The Guardian

May 14 2021
A funfair ride to the end of the world: Heather Phillipson: Rupture No 1 review

Tate Britain, London
Resistance is futile in the sumptuous colours of Phillipson’s entertaining apocalypse, filled with colossal metal creatures, agitated animal eyes and a giant celestial peach

Animal cries, a howling wind, the distant calls of a flock of swans and a gurgling of buffalo at the water hole fill the length of the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain. Heather Phillipson is at it again in her delayed 2021 Duveen commission, opening, along with the rest of the gallery, on Monday. A funfair ride to the end of the world, Rupture No 1: blowtorching the bitten peach (Phillipson’s titles are always a bit of a stretch) takes on eco-doom and nature up against it in a trashed world, ourselves, beset by pandemic, included. Her aesthetic is post-industrial, post-disaster, post-everything; part Mad Max, part video game, part excised scenes from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, redone in glowing Technicolor. Filled with alarms, and fun for all the family, this three-part installation, her biggest work in the UK to date, is the most complex Duveen commission I’ve seen. You can’t but help let it suck you in.

To begin with, the eyes grab you. They know you’re here. A pink tongue licks an alien lizard pupil. Eye of tiger and eye of wolf, zebra eyes, swivelling chameleon eyes and bright monkey eyes, jostling and blinking and swerving on a procession of flat screens that lean this way and that, wedged into the mound of sand that runs down the middle of the gallery, each screen like a tilting tombstone. It is a kind of Noah’s ark as much as a Gulch City graveyard; there are even funnels, broadcasting the sound of a flooded world. Beached on the gallery floor, this imaginary vessel is drenched in a red glow of ambient lighting.

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The Guardian

May 14 2021
From brutal Dubuffet to nice guy Nero: what to see as art exhibitions open

As galleries reopen their doors, we preview a visual feast that includes Rodin, Eileen Agar, Paula Rego, Matthew Barney – and an out-of-body experience in Liverpool

Provocateur, founder of art brut, or raw art, Jean Dubuffet embraced the arbitrary and irrational, using crude materials and working with an ironic rejection of skill and finesse. Immersed in French intellectual and artistic life, the show focuses both on Dubuffet’s own work and on his extensive collection of outsider art. It’s the first major UK exhibition of this complex, fascinating artist in more than 50 years.
Barbican Art Gallery, London, 17 May-22 August.

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artforum.com

May 14 2021
Willem de Rooij
In this compact but extraordinarily layered exhibition, Willem de Rooij poses unresolvable questions regarding the ethics and efficacy of appropriation, an art-historical tradition that has long informed
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The New York Times

May 14 2021
Basquiat and Other Artists of Color Lead a Swell of Auction Sales
Basquiat and Other Artists of Color Lead a Swell of Auction Sales
As live auctions resumed at Sotheby’s on Wednesday night, bidders there and at Christie’s the previous night welcomed a shift toward diversity in the contemporary art market.
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The Guardian

May 14 2021
Heather Phillipson brings her ‘parallel planet’ to Tate Britain

When gallery reopens on Monday, artist says she will not be ‘inviting people in to be comfortable’

People may well be unsettled by the strange, apocalyptic disaster zone created in Tate Britain’s grand central galleries and so be it, the artist Heather Phillipson said. “That’s fine. I’m not inviting people in to be comfortable.”

Visitors to the reopened gallery on Monday will encounter a sensory experience of noise, colour, animal eyes staring at them from screens, post-industrial mutant creatures, a 14-metre papier-mache ram-type creature and much, much more.

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The Guardian

May 14 2021
Paradise found: London gallery showcases art inspired by Islamic garden design

Nature-driven artist and environmentalist Clare Celeste Börsch among contributors to exhibition exploring concept of Eden

As in many paradise gardens, particularly those inspired by Islamic culture, a fountain lies at the heart of the quadrilateral garden created inside the Aga Khan Centre gallery in King’s Cross, London. This fountain doesn’t spout water, however, but beautiful, intricate strips of paper with laser-cut flowers made by Berlin-based American artist Clare Celeste Börsch.

The fountain is at the centre of Making Paradise, an exhibition exploring the concept of Eden through art and Islamic garden design. On display are numerous artworks depicting trees, flowers and fruits, including botanical illustrations from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley library collection, alongside contemporary works.

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The Guardian

May 14 2021
Eileen Agar’s seaside surrealism and Thomas Becket’s lost medieval Britain – the week in art

We also have the wildly subversive Jean Dubuffet, the making of Rodin and Tracey Emin’s unflinching self-portraits – all in your weekly dispatch

Eileen Agar
One of the most imaginative and quirky early 20th-century British artists gets a fresh look – is Agar’s seaside surrealism due a revival?
Whitechapel Gallery, London from 19 May until 29 August.

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The Guardian

May 14 2021
Comical, cartoonish, wonky-nostrilled brilliance – Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty review

Barbican, London
With his galumphing caricatures, spurting paint and quivering doodles, the art brut master caught the hectic rhythm of the postwar world – and his street scenes make you want to jump right in

Grinning and bald, Jean Dubuffet leans comically over one of his little sculptures, a frangible little figure that looks like almost nothing at all. Here he is again, in one of the many photos of the artist that punctuate the Barbican’s exhibition, sitting in his studio surrounded by his painters’ paraphernalia, his pastes and concoctions. For all their wild galumphings, the boss-eyed grins and childlike caricatures, the lumps and excretions and strata-like accretions, Dubuffet’s paintings were the product of an ordered mind and an equally ordered studio.

He may have wanted to give the impression that his art was produced in a state of laid-back amateurism, but it is belied by the professionally stretched canvases stacked-up behind him, their corners all nicely wedged, their heaving surfaces kept within their perfect rectangles. Even so, he delighted in the fact that bits of his paintings cracked and flaked and sometimes slid off, or spurted wet paint from beneath their congealed slurries on to the floor or people who got too close.

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The Guardian

May 14 2021
Shoephoria! The history of footwear – in pictures

Shoephoria! at the Fashion Museum in Bath showcases 350 pairs of boots and shoes to illustrate their evolution over the last 300 years, demonstrating the creativity and style of shoemakers and wearers

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The Guardian

May 13 2021
Blackstock Road: the world on my doorstep – a photo essay

Photographer Timothy Spurr has been a lifelong resident of Finsbury Park, north London. His work Blackstock Road focuses on food and the environments in which it is served, and examines the stories of independent family businesses of the multi-ethnic community in the area, celebrating the fruits of London’s diversity

Many years later, while sitting at my parents’ home during the first national lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic, I would remember the late afternoons in school uniform, returning to Blackstock Road to find refuge in my mother’s café. Back then, Finsbury Park, an energetic municipality of north London, was not a destination where people sought “good” food, at least not to the level of the early TripAdvisor critic. Rather, its high street was lined with more utilitarian fare: bustling electronics shops, barbershops, and newsagents. Merely a handful of restaurants decorated the street with vivid shop fronts and a variety of cuisines, bringing a visual relief to a north London grey. These establishments were founded and frequented by a multicultural and multi-ethnic immigrant population, enriching the community with its diversity.

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The Guardian

May 13 2021
Shoephoria! exhibition to open at Fashion Museum in Bath

Long-delayed show features footwear from across four centuries, from red velvet mules to sneakers

More than 350 pairs of shoes, from Noël Coward’s monogrammed slippers to white Toffeln clogs worn by a frontline health worker, are to go on show as part of the long-delayed Shoephoria exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath.

The show, which opens next week, also features Kanye West-designed Yeezy trainers, a pair of cream calico trousers that morph into boots by Gareth Pugh, and 36 pairs of Manolo Blahniks. It had been due to open last year, but was postponed because of the pandemic.

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artforum.com

May 13 2021
Ceija Stojka
Despite their vivid depictions of life and all its attributes—love, angst, curiosity, horror, and barbarism—Ceija Stojka’s paintings have a way of withdrawing from one’s gaze. The works seem to implode
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The Guardian

May 13 2021
Would you pay £99,000 for this self-lacing Nike? Sneakers Unboxed review

Design Museum, London
From battered Vans to box-fresh Adidas, how did sneakers become an $80bn-a-year global industry? This fun show has all the answers – including how to get really fat laces

‘It was all about being the freshest,” says Koe Rodriguez, toothbrush in hand. “That’s how you pulled honeys, how you got respect from the hard rocks. That’s how you laid your game down. It was all about being fresh.” The hip-hop historian’s not talking about his teeth, though, but his sneakers.

Rodriguez appears in Just for Kicks, a 2005 documentary about sneaker culture that also features an MC explaining his painstaking monthly shoelace-cleaning ritual. Treating his precious laces as if they were the finest cashmere, he would carefully scrub them between his clenched knuckles, then pinch out the water, squeeze them with a towel, and press them with the tip of a hot iron, to make them as wide as possible. “They gotta be fat,” he insists.

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The New York Times

May 13 2021
4 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now
Hassan Hajjaj’s “My Rockstars”; Hanne Darboven’s matrix of digits; Patty Chang’s list of fears; and Rachel Rossin’s painting-projection blends.
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artforum.com

May 13 2021
Iyko Day on Asian hate through the prism of anti-Blackness
#STOPASIANHATE HAS BECOME a rallying cry in response to the surge in anti-Asian violence since the beginning of the pandemic, from random, brutal attacks on the elderly to a white gunman’s murder of
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The Guardian

May 13 2021
Behind the wheel with the lowriders of Los Angeles – photo essay

The customized cars have been symbols of cultural resistance for 70 years. Kristin Bedford tells their story in pictures

Since the first lowriders rolled out of Los Angeles more than 70 years ago, the ground-hugging, customized cars have served as mobile canvasses for vibrant self-expression, Mexican American pride, and cultural resistance.

The essence of that movement is captured by the photographer Kristin Bedford in her new book, Cruise Night, a collection of 75 color photos and interviews which she hopes will transport readers to the passenger seats of lowriders, allowing them to sense the nostalgia for a bygone era and glimpse the ways in which the cars remain woven into the fabric of everyday life.

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artforum.com

May 13 2021
Citing Pandemic, Artists Call for India to Halt Redevelopment of New Delhi
An international group of artists, curators, scholars, and historians signed a statement calling for the government of India to put an immediate halt to its Central Vista redevelopment plan in New Delhi
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The Guardian

May 13 2021
A giant ‘F you’ from the Anglo-Saxons? | Brief letters

14-year-old Guardian readers | Cerne Giant | ‘Painting is dead’ | Peter Mandelson | Boris Johnson

It’s gratifying that the Guardian still publishes letters from 14-year-olds (10 May). After the Manchester Guardian printed mine in 1955, a teacher commented sardonically on my poor handwriting in a report: “Does he type his letters to the press?” Seven years later I was taken on as a graduate trainee reporter in Manchester, starting a decade on the paper. You may not have seen the last of Joseph Walker.
Richard Bourne
London

• Given that the Cerne Giant hillside carving is apparently from the same period as Cerne Abbey and there are no records at the abbey of it (Cerne Giant in Dorset dates from Anglo-Saxon times, analysis suggests, 12 May), could it be that locals unhappy with the abbey, or the imposition of religion, decided to carve this magnificent “F you!” for abbey residents to contemplate? I expect religious controversy, and possibly planning objections, are not just modern human reactions.
Marsha O’Sullivan
Derby

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The New York Times

May 13 2021
National Gallery of Art Reopens With a New Vision: ‘For All the People’
The museum has a new logo and mantra as its director, Kaywin Feldman, moves to diversify the collection and the staff.
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artforum.com

May 13 2021
Met Installs Plaque Honoring Lenape People, on Whose Land It Sits
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday installed a plaque at its main entrance acknowledging that it is sited on the homeland of the Indigenous Lenape people. “The Metropolitan Museum of
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The New York Times

May 13 2021
Artists in a Post-George Floyd, Mid-Pandemic World
Two new exhibitions at Mass MoCA created over the past year offer insights into our new normal.
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The Guardian

May 13 2021
A spectacular gorefest – Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint review

British Museum, London
The archbishop’s slaying and martyrdom transfixed the medieval world – and inspired some magnificently murderous art and artefacts that are still shocking today

If you thought medieval religious art was all clasped hands and uplifted eyes, then prepare yourself for the gorefests that shudder through this brilliant new show like a broadsword hitting bone. On 29 December 1170, four knights sent by King Henry II entered the holy sanctum of Canterbury Cathedral with swords drawn and slew its archbishop, Thomas Becket, a flamboyant, charismatic politician who’d started his career as the king’s right-hand man then became a thorn in his side as a champion of church over crown. The murder – whether or not Henry really intended it – rapidly became notorious across Europe and Becket was revered as a modern martyr. Not figuratively but literally, being canonised as a saint just three years after his death.

The medieval cult of Becket was promoted with shockingly realistic murder scenes on bejewelled caskets, the glowing pages of illuminated manuscripts and mystical stained glass. This exhibition has plenty to fascinate history buffs. But its glory is to make the art of the middle ages come alive. The emotional story of Becket’s slaying and the strangeness of the rites and rituals that celebrated him provide a direct human connection with the people and images of a remote world. Suddenly the art of that faraway time seems brutally contemporary.

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The New York Times

May 13 2021
Heirs Sue Over Ownership of a Pissarro, Saying It Was Seized by Nazis
Heirs Sue Over Ownership of a Pissarro, Saying It Was Seized by Nazis
They claim that the painting, “The Anse des Pilotes, Le Havre,” was taken from their ancestors by the Nazis, and have filed a lawsuit in Atlanta to recover it.
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The New York Times

May 13 2021
5 Things to Do This Weekend
5 Things to Do This Weekend
Our critics and writers have selected noteworthy cultural events to experience virtually and in person in New York City.
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The Guardian

May 12 2021
‘Odd, eerie and haunting’: behind Maya Lin’s Manhattan ghost forest

The famed artist and architect draws attention to climate change’s biodiversity loss with a forest of dying Atlantic cedars in New York

In Manhattan’s bustling Flatiron District, 49 coastal Atlantic cedars – each around 40ft tall, leafless branches grasping at the sky – tower over Madison Square Park’s usually flat, grassy plain. The spectral forest, a new installation by the artist and architect Maya Lin, looms like a jarring holdout from winter – barren, save for smattering of lichen on each trunk, a stark contrast to the verdant six-acre park’s late-spring growth and the clean lines of the skyscrapers overhead.

Related: 'They are living maps': how Richard Mosse captured environmental damage in the Amazon

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The Guardian

May 12 2021
Fierce friends: Moyra Davey is inspired by Peter Hujar’s archive – in pictures

New York artist Moyra Davey found a selection of little-seen images in the renowned US photographer’s archive – then responded to them with her own images

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The Guardian

May 12 2021
From London to Beijing on the old Silk Road – a photo essay

Taken on a 25,000-mile trip across 16 countries, these images capture cities, landscapes and people along the trading route – and the pre-Covid freedom of cross-border travel

I set off on my dream journey from London to Beijing in the halcyon days of 2019. It’s a trip that seems unimaginable today. Travelling overland, I wanted to experience the transitions between cultures, to understand more about what connects us. I was also interested to see the legacy of exchange along the Silk Road trade routes that once connected China with the west.

My first major stop was Venice. The city is full of influences brought there by its many and varied visitors, especially those from the east. You can see these in the domes of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, which evoke the medieval minarets of Cairo, and in Renaissance masterpieces with their brilliant blue pigments – produced from lapis lazuli mined 4,000 miles away in northern Afghanistan and brought to Venice along the Silk Road.

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The Guardian

May 12 2021
Tracey Emin on her cancer self-portraits: ‘This is mine. I own it’

As she starts to rebuild her life after surgery, the artist shares her unflinching self-portraits taken during treatment, talks about seeing dead people in hospital walls, and explains why she’s buying herself a punchbag – and kittens

‘I’m smiling and talking to you,” says Tracey Emin, sitting at her kitchen table. “But it’s not always like this.” We’ve been delaying this conversation until she finally felt well enough. She has been spending a lot of time in bed, just resting. On the phone, she sounded weak, but today she is indeed smiling, getting excited as she speaks – the Tracey who I have been fortunate enough to get to know.

“Now I’ve got a terrible pain in my legs, it’s unbearable. That’s why I’ve been in bed. I’m determined to go for a walk later because I hardly ever go out. I have a urostomy bag, so I have a major disability. The more well I get, the more annoying it is. Previously it was all right because I was on morphine. But now I want to do things and I can’t.”

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artforum.com

May 12 2021
Joan Kee on Chao-Chen Yang’s Apprehension, ca. 1942
In this month’s episode of “Under the Cover,” Artforum editor-in-chief David Velasco talks with scholar Joan Kee about Chao-Chen Yang’s Apprehension, ca. 1942 and on imagining a future without violence
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artforum.com

May 12 2021
Richard Nonas (1936–2021)
Post-Minimalist sculptor Richard Nonas died in New York May 11 at the age of eighty-five. The news was announced by his gallery, Fergus McCaffrey. Trained as an anthropologist, Nonas was known for his
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