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artforum.com

Sep 15 2020
Julia Phillips
Matthew Marks is pleased to announce “Julia Phillips: New Album,” the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street. The artist’s first one-person show at the gallery, it includes four new
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
‘Impossible Objects’ That Reveal a Hidden Power
‘Impossible Objects’ That Reveal a Hidden Power
The artist Trevor Paglen peers into the history of photography and its relationship to state surveillance.
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
Building Public Places for a Covid World
What are architects and urban planners foreseeing as people cautiously gather? Streets “curated” for various uses and dynamic cityscapes that both advance wellness and knit communities together.
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artforum.com

Sep 15 2020
Hundreds of Artists Sign Letter Supporting Striking Tate Workers
An open letter in support of striking Tate employees has garnered over 300 signatures from artists and art workers, including Turner Prize–winners and artists who have exhibited at Tate’s four galleries
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
New York City Museums Offer Back to School Discounts
New York City Museums Offer Back to School Discounts
Many museums and zoos are offering free and discounted admission for students and caregivers in the next few weeks.
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
National Museum of African American History and Culture Is Reopening
National Museum of African American History and Culture Is Reopening
While it won’t yet have an exhibition on recent protests against racism and police violence, its founding director acknowledges that it is reopening against the backdrop of “a changed America.”
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The Guardian

Sep 15 2020
More than 300 artists sign letter in support of striking Tate workers

Signatories call on organisation to use 10% of £7m government fund to stop redundancies

An open letter signed by more than 300 artists, including several former Turner prize winners, in support of striking Tate workers has demanded the organisation uses 10% of the £7m it received from the government to stop redundancies.

Last year’s four Turner prize winners, 2008 winner Mark Leckey and fourth plinth artist Heather Phillipson are among the signatories, who support the letter [PDF] which says “multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multilingual, workers from low-income backgrounds” will be cut out of the arts sector without action.

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artforum.com

Sep 15 2020
Taipei Dangdai Pushes Back 2021 Fair
Earlier this month, officials announced that the Melbourne Art Fair would be moved from 2021 to 2022; now comes the news that the third edition of Taiwan’s Taipei Dangdai, originally scheduled for
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
In Berlin, the Art World Spreads Out to Stay Safe
In Berlin, the Art World Spreads Out to Stay Safe
The first major international art event since the lockdown started took place at smaller venues around the city, rather than under a single roof.
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The New York Times

Sep 15 2020
In New Orleans, a Home That’s Gotten Finer With Age
The itinerant hotel developer Jayson Seidman purchased a crumbling, storied house — and had the good sense to leave it mostly alone.
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The Guardian

Sep 15 2020
Danh Vo: Chicxulub review – art from the Garden of Eden to the end of the world

White Cube Bermondsey, London
Ancient sculptures combine with plants and human limbs in Vō’s pastoral yet troubling art for the apocalypse

It is just a year since Danh Vo’s two interrelated London exhibitions. Now he is back in the city with a show whose tenor is quieter, more reflective, somehow almost pastoral: except that the disquiet in Vō’s art never goes away.

Partway through the current exhibition I found myself on my hands and knees, surrounded by huge felt tubs and ad-hoc, artful planters filled with grasses, ferns and other plants I mostly couldn’t identify, the smell of damp loam in my nose. Among all this unexpected greenery I was trying to look inside a glass-walled refrigerator unit within which a pair of legs dangle, one foot crossed over the other in the position of the crucified Christ. On top of this unit, in a second vitrine, sits a Greco-Roman marble male torso. From a distance, legs and torso seem to form a single headless figure. The legs look unnervingly like refrigerated human body parts. Flesh or not flesh? Up close, I discover that the toenails are gilded in gold. Later, I learn that the legs are cast from Vō’s partner. The work is called Beauty Queen.

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The Guardian

Sep 14 2020
You must remember this: Landskrona festival's most memorable shots – in pictures

Bear heads, melting glaciers and memories of genocides … the images at this year’s Scandinavian photography festival are under the theme ‘the architecture of memory’ – and you won’t forget them easily

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The Guardian

Sep 14 2020
Big bang theory: how blowing up a Transit van wiped out £1m of debt

Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn filled a gold van with £1m in banknotes then blew it up. As their film Bank Job hits the screens, the art avengers explain how they took on toxic debt culture – and won

As dawn broke one spring day last year, Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn parked a gold Ford Transit van on some waste ground in London’s Docklands. It was filled with £1.2m of banknotes – and it also contained a bomb. They then retreated to a safe distance, leaving a specialist to trigger the device. “It was the money shot,” laughs film-maker Edelstyn. “The camera man was very nervous,” adds Powell. “And we were too. What if we blew the van up but missed the shot?”

There was another problem. The shot was to be the climax of Bank Job, a film about their attempts to fight toxic debt culture with art, a battle that involved printing their own money. The scene was supposed to have as its backdrop the Canary Wharf skyline. But mist was obscuring this symbol of capitalism, so beloved of The Apprentice’s helicopter cameras. Emergency services workers, council officials, rubbernecking joggers, selfie-takers, art world hipsters and east London insomniacs waited in eerie silence for something to happen.

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artforum.com

Sep 14 2020
FIAC Canceled as Coronavirus Cases Spike Throughout France
Organizers of the Foir international d’art contemporain, better known as FIAC, have decided to cancel this year’s edition, originally planned to occur from October 22–25 at Paris’s Grand Palais. The
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artforum.com

Sep 14 2020
Jova Lynne Returns to MOCAD as Senior Curator
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has announced that Jova Lynne will be returning to the institution as Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator. Lynne—who began her initial stint at MOCAD as a curatorial
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The Guardian

Sep 14 2020
Mohamed Bourouissa, photographer of the dispossessed, wins Deutsche Börse prize

The French Algerian artist-activist awarded the £30,000 photography prize for an installation first exhibited at a Monoprix supermarket

The French Algerian artist Mohamed Bourouissa, has won the 2020 Deutsche Börse photography prize for his ambitious installation Free Trade, which was first exhibited across an entire floor of a Monoprix supermarket as part of the Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival last year.

Using photography, video, painting, text, drawing and sculpture, Bourouissa’s work reflects the precarious lives of the marginalised inhabitants of France’s major cities as they find ways to negotiate the market-driven economy.

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artforum.com

Sep 14 2020
Christi Belcourt
In Michif (Métis) artist Christi Belcourt’s painting The Fish are Fasting for Knowledge from the Stars, 2018, six northern freshwater fish watch the dance of the Milky Way through an abandoned ice
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The Guardian

Sep 14 2020
Grey houses, Spam fritters: Terence Conran saved Britain from so much | Suzanne Moore

Habitat’s founder brought sensuality and sophistication to a country starved of fun and colour. He taught me and countless others how to live

When my mum came to visit me in my council flat in the mid-80s, she looked around disapprovingly. “It may be all right when it’s furnished,” she acknowledged. “It is furnished,” I told her.

This was the difference between her generation and mine. I did not have the mandatory three-piece suite, dinner table and chairs all crammed into one room. There were no china figurines on display. My knockoff Habitat sofa she found sad. It was all “unhomely” and bare. She wondered why I couldn’t even get a nice lampshade. I had, as everybody had then, the cheap white paper globes. I still like them.

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The Guardian

Sep 14 2020
'We've seen it before': Olafur Eliasson on nazism, Brexit – and his new Berlin show

The Icelandic-Dane who brought The Weather Project to the Tate talks art and politics

The forced confinement of the coronavirus lockdown has inspired Olafur Eliasson’s new Berlin exhibition but it has also given him time to consider the polarisation of politics in Europe and the US.

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artforum.com

Sep 14 2020
Stéphanie Saadé on the Beirut explosion and an artwork lost to the blast
Stéphanie Saadé often traces her nomadic upbringing in her installations—spare and evocative meditations on memory, movement, and space. Like that of her “home” city of Beirut, Saadé’s past year in
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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings

This map of the US reflects a battle-torn landscape where nuance, compromise and empathy are casualties in the culture war

This is a map of the US I made last year in response to my experiences there when filming my forthcoming Channel 4 series, Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip. I love maps. They have an air of authority, they show us where to go. This map toys with the common delusion that there is a clear and certain route out of our mess of feelings.

Geographically, this map could be of anywhere as it is a map of the culture war that rages mainly online, but the US has a particularly well defined and extreme version. Stylistically, I was thinking of cold war propaganda maps showing the “communist threat” in the 1950s. The Big Brother-like figure at the top is Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook; I chose him because he is the best-known face of social media power.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Dancers, dreamers and cat killers: Appalachian kids captured by $10 cameras

Photographer Wendy Ewald remembers the world of loss, sorrow and survival that emerged when she gave Appalachian kids $10 cameras and told them to shoot their lives – and dreams

Wendy Ewald travelled to Letcher County, Kentucky, in the winter of 1976. She was 25 and not long out of college in New York, where she had trained as a teacher before discovering photography. “I was still a kid,” she says, “and I arrived in a place that was very remote and where everyone knew everyone else, but somehow I found it very easy to fit in.”

So much so that she remained there for six years, working in three schools, where she built darkrooms and taught practical photography, printing and book-making to children who, until then, had never thought their everyday lives were worth recording. “I bought a bunch of Instamatic cameras and sold them to the kids at $10 each,” she says. “I wanted to instil in them the sense that what they were doing really meant something. I felt it was somehow important that they owned their own cameras and valued them.”

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Australia's Parrtjima light festival 2020 – in pictures

Alice Springs is illuminated with light installations and interactive artworks for a unique celebration of Aboriginal arts, culture and storytelling

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Photo exhibition captures British life under lockdown

National Portrait Gallery unveils collection of 100 images submitted by the public

When historians look back at images of the British public in the summer of 2020 they will see grandparents hugging grandchildren through plastic sheets, livestreamed funerals and exhausted health workers.

But they will also see many acts of kindness, including a Spider-Man in Stockport and people anxiously cutting their partner’s hair with dog clippers.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Dazzling makeover of 90-year-old Spanish lighthouse divides opinion

Infinite Cantabria by Okuda San Miguel is a riot of colours, geometric shapes and animals

A 90-year-old lighthouse perched on a lush cape in northern Spain is at the centre of a cultural row after a dazzling paint job by a local artist left the tower outshining its lamp – and some critics blanching.

For almost a century, the lighthouse, near the Cantabrian town of Ajo, was a mute, monochrome sentry beaming its light out over the Atlantic.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
‘Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer’ outside Birmingham gets go-ahead

Aim of £9.3m project is to encourage prayer and ‘preserve Christian heritage of the nation’

An enormous Christian monument, more than twice the size of the Angel of the North, is to be built on the outskirts of Birmingham, fulfilling a vision its instigator says came from God.

The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be constructed using a million bricks, each representing a prayer from a member of the public and its outcome. The aim is to “encourage and inspire people going through the storms of life”, said Richard Gamble, the project’s chief executive and a former chaplain of Leicester City football club.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Let the healing begin: how can the Festival of Brexit unite Britain?

Gladiator bouts, a Shayne Ward supergroup, a national digital singalong … as the ‘Festival of Brexit’ calls for ideas to bring together leavers and remainers, artists offer their suggestions

The first rule of creating a festival designed to unite Britain is probably: don’t call it the Festival of Brexit. Ever since Theresa May announced a huge national event celebrating our departure from the EU, set for 2022 and with a budget of £120m, it’s acquired that nickname, suggestive of drizzle, stale pies and being forced to listen to Rule Britannia (with the words) on loop. Even the organisers are keen to stress that the current working title is actually Festival UK.

Name aside, the gargantuan task remains – how can a festival possibly unite the country given the enduring bitterness between leavers and remainers? Last week, organisers put out a call for creative minds to come up with “daring, new and popular” ideas aimed at conjuring instant national harmony. How hard could it be? A quick brainstorm around the Guardian office brought up the suggestions “reform Oasis?” and “get David Blaine back in his box – that united people”, whereas the best I could think of was a big screen playing repeat footage of that time Michael Gove fell over. Clearly we needed to turn to artists instead.

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artforum.com

Sep 13 2020
Robert Bird (1969–2020)
Robert Bird, a renowned English-born scholar of Russian and Soviet modernism and leading authority on the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, has died of cancer at the age of fifty. Since 2001, Bird taught at
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The New York Times

Sep 13 2020
How Old Is This Ancient Vision of the Stars?
How Old Is This Ancient Vision of the Stars?
It’s a tale of bronze, iron, looting and archaeological conflict.
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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
How to take great pictures: six acclaimed photographers share their secrets

Trust in chance, have fun, know where to stand… as the celebrated street photographer Joel Meyerowitz publishes a handbook, he and five other masters offer bite-size lessons

World-renowned street photographer Joel Meyerowitz (born 1938) began taking photos of urban life in his home town of New York in the 1960s and was highly influential in changing attitudes to colour photography.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
From Francis Bacon to Tracey Emin: Soho's historic Colony Room Club – in pictures

The Colony Room Club was a private members’ club in central London, that catered for the artistic elite. An exhibition opens this week to celebrate the work of its regular clients

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Missing: the art that vanished from Soho's Colony Room

Valuable works by the Young British Artists have not been seen since the infamous drinking den closed its doors 10 years ago

Paintings, sculptures and photographs by some of the leading names in modern British art, including Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and Tracey Emin, have gone missing. The artwork, which once hung on the walls in the Colony Room, one of London’s most notorious members’ clubs, has disappeared without trace, it has been revealed, since the private drinking den was forced to close in 2008.

“It’s a mystery,” said Turk, who came to fame as one of the Young British Artists (YBAs) in the 1990s. “And so, like the club itself, it is going to become part of the mythology.”

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
The week in TV: The Romantics and Us With Simon Schama; Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge and more – review

Simon Schama returns to the barricades, Louis Theroux chooses his greatest hits, and Sue Perkins brings her warming presence to cold hostilities

The Romantics and Us With Simon Schama (BBC Two) | iPlayer
Louis Theroux: Life on the Edge (BBC Two) | iPlayer
Sue Perkins: Along the US-Mexico Border (BBC One) | iPlayer
The Black Full Monty (Channel 4) | All 4

What an inspired wheeze is Simon Schama’s latest outing, The Romantics and Us. What might have seemed a relatively dry idea on paper – a trawl through 200-year-old art – turned out to be thumpingly relevant to almost every aspect of modern life, even down to last week’s Extinction Rebellion protests and migrant landings.

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The Guardian

Sep 13 2020
Elizabeth Price: Slow Dans; Tavares Strachan: In Plain Sight – review

The Assembly Room; Marian Goodman Gallery, London
The 2012 Turner prize-winner cleverly baffles and enthrals by turn, while the first UK show for Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan is a feast for the senses

The artist Elizabeth Price is queen of the screen when it comes to the splicing of word with image. At 53, she has found innumerable ways to overlay film with text to strange and shattering effect. From the early User Group Disco (2009), with its satirical blend of B-movies, pop songs and pompous French theory, to her Turner prize-winning The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (2012), which rose to its tragic peak in a crescendo of data, newsreel, smoke and singing, her work is unique and unforgettable. And so it is again with the trilogy of works presented by Artangel in Slow Dans.

In the darkness of a 19th-century assembly room, Price’s films pulse and glow on high walls above you. The first, Kohl, inverts the world, with photographs of disused collieries turned upside down so they seem suddenly alien and new. Clattering across the screen – split in three like a medieval triptych – runs a typewritten dialogue. The old mines are filling with water, we hear, and it’s gradually seeping from one shaft to another. Below us is a building tide.

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
The big picture: a giraffe in Tokyo

This arresting image reflects Japanese street photographer Shin Noguchi’s impulse to capture cultures thrown together

Walking past Tokyo’s Zojoji temple in March 2016, the Japanese photographer Shin Noguchi noticed what he describes as a “world cultural exchange event” taking place in the grounds. He wandered in and found himself drawn to the Namibia tent, where an irresistibly bizarre contrast with the venerable Buddhist temple and the Tokyo Tower in the background was provided by one impassive-looking giraffe.

It’s easy to see why the scene caught his attention. An award-winning street photographer based in Kamakura, outside Tokyo, who has been observing everyday (yet quietly extraordinary) Japanese life for the past 20 years, Noguchi views his work as a way of deepening understanding between cultures. “Even if it is difficult to completely erase the boundaries between cultures, races and colours,” he says, “I strongly believe that, through the steady activity of photography, we can lower the boundaries to a height where children can easily jump over them like a skipping rope.”

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Portraits of us: the places Australians call home – in pictures

This Is My Place is a new exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery featuring more than 100 works from the gallery’s collection. It spans 250 years and tells the stories of the places that define Australians; our countries, work spaces, spiritual homes and habitats, through painting, photography, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. The exhibition opens on 21 September

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Sir Terence Conran obituary
Designer, entrepreneur and restaurateur who transformed British taste through his passion for the importance of everyday things

Terence Conran, who has died aged 88, did more than anyone to enhance material life in Britain during the second half of the 20th century. Like John Lennon and David Bowie in their rather different ways, escape from suburban norms was his continuing inspiration.

He had a brilliant eye, good taste, the zealous energy of a messiah, entrepreneurial flair, humour and great charm, the latter with a sensitive on-off switch. His was a personal life as richly textured as a tranche of pâté de campagne. Terence had a big appetite for life and all its sensual pleasures.

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Terence Conran, designer, retailer and restaurateur, dies aged 88

Family pay tribute to Habitat founder as ‘visionary who revolutionised the way we live in Britain’

Sir Terence Conran, the man who dragged Britain’s front rooms and parlours into the modern age almost single-handed, has died at the age of 88, his family has announced.

A designer, retailer and restaurateur who founded Habitat in 1964, Conran was at the centre of an aesthetic revolution that established England, and London in particular, as a European creative powerhouse.

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Modernist Edinburgh embroidered on postcards – in pictures

Designer Laura Lees has embroidered many things. Dart boards on to jackets for fashion designer Luella Bartley, trompe l’oeil panelling for a London restaurant, and even swear words on to table linen.

But these postcards, which will be on show at London Craft Week (30 Sept-10 Oct), were inspired by love of her home town. “I’m from Edinburgh, renowned for the medieval and neoclassical architecture you usually see on our tourist postcards, but I’m drawn to its modernist buildings, such as the Royal Commonwealth Pool.”

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Terence Conran on his passion for intelligently designed products for everyone – video

In this interview with Jonathan Glancey from 2011, the designer, retailer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran talks about his desire to bring 'intelligently designed products to the mass markets'.

Conran, the founder of Habitat, died aged 88 in his Barton Court home on Saturday.

Among Conran’s proudest achievements was founding London’s Design Museum in 1989, through which he championed education for young people in creative industries

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artforum.com

Sep 12 2020
In Poland Museum Director’s Antigay Acquisition, Critics Find Ominous Portent
Piotr Bernatowicz, the recently appointed director of Warsaw’s leading Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art (CCA), has been accused of diverting public funds to pay for a homophobic work of
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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
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The New York Times

Sep 12 2020
7 Things to Do This Weekend
7 Things to Do This Weekend
How can you get your cultural fix when many arts institutions remain closed? Our writers offer suggestions for what to listen to and watch, as well as see in person at a gallery.
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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
Buy a classic sport photograph – Cantona bosses Liverpool

The latest in a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images. This week’s picture captures the joy of Leeds United beating Liverpool in a seven-goal Charity Shield thriller, on the eve of the first ever Premier League season

When Leeds United and Liverpool met in the Charity Shield in the curtain raiser for the inaugural Premier League season in 1992, Leeds were the reigning First Division champions and Liverpool, winners two years prior, were the FA Cup holders. Leeds arrived at Wembley boasting a formidable squad including the likes of Gary McAllister, John Lukic, Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed, Lee Chapman and Eric Cantona. The enigmatic Frenchman (pictured here) would guide Leeds to a 4-3 victory with a hat-trick, and weeks later would become the first player to score three in a single Premier League match. However, Leeds would ultimately lose Cantona to Manchester United in November that season – an irreconcilable loss – and limp to a 17th-place finish, only narrowly avoiding the drop; meanwhile, Liverpool would finish sixth and endure a further 27 years of domestic heartbreak before landing the big one last term. Now, these two rejuvenated titans will face one another in the league for the first time in 16 years, as the 2020/21 Premier League season gets underway.

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The Guardian

Sep 12 2020
'My company has gone fully remote and I'm despairing': who wins in the new world of working from home?

As we move away from the traditional 9 to 5, the boundaries between office and home are increasingly blurred. Meet the bosses trying to get it right

I am 20 minutes into my scheduled 30-minute call with Shivani Maitra when I start to freeze. Maitra, a partner at global consultancy firm Deloitte, is leading the firm’s post-Covid-19 research into the future of work, and is giving me a seamless analysis of what business is about to look like: more autonomy, more remote work, happier workers, more accessible leadership – all facilitated by technology. But I can’t get Skype for Business to function. It’s a hot day and the connection comes and goes, leaving me contorted and sweating over my laptop.

Maitra is not necessarily wrong, but as my kids (aged three and five) thunder into the room, I can’t help but think we have some way to go. Los Angeles-based tech company PORTL Inc has promised that, in five years’ time, we will all be able to beam life-sized, talking holograms of our colleagues into our homes; right now, I think an impenetrable forcefield around my desk would be more useful. “Technology is going to be key to how we work in the future,” Maitra concedes. “But it’s going to be an enabler – it’s not going to be an answer.”

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The Guardian

Sep 11 2020
20 photographs of the week

Fire at the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, protests in Louisville and Portland, migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and the enduring impact of Covid-19: the most striking images from around the world

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artforum.com

Sep 11 2020
Citing School’s Response to BLM Protests, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Students Boycott Annual Show
More than a dozen students are forgoing participation in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ 2020 Annual Student Exhibition in reaction the school’s handling of Black Lives Matter demonstrations,
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The Guardian

Sep 11 2020
Melbourne’s curfew descends and vibrant city becomes ghost town – in pictures

Melbourne residents are experiencing some of the strictest and longest coronavirus lockdown measures in the world as Victoria continues to work to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections. An overnight curfew from 8pm to 5am is in place, leaving the streets of a once thriving city deserted

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The Guardian

Sep 11 2020
The Guardian view on the ‘festival of Brexit’: don’t write it off | Editorial

About £120m has been set aside for arts commissions. It may as well be used wisely

When, at the 2018 Tory party conference, Theresa May announced a “nationwide festival in celebration of the creativity and innovation of the United Kingdom” to take place in 2022, it was immediately dubbed a “festival of Brexit” and written off by the UK’s overwhelmingly Europhile arts world. This week, as the first open call for creative teams has been announced, the hostility to the £120m event – which as yet lacks a name – has again intensified. What is the point of a festival whose very conception seems designed to antagonise half the population? Shouldn’t the money be used now, to try to help an arts world that is staggering under the appalling pressures inflicted by Covid-19? Why would any self-respecting artist agree to put their name to such a vainglorious event – one that was certainly conceived to showcase the supposed virtues of “Global Britain” and an increasingly ragged union?

It is a tempting impulse to obliterate the very thought of such a festival. But there are also good reasons not to. Martin Green is in charge: he is the man who oversaw Danny Boyle’s memorable, uplifting 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, and was the mastermind behind Hull’s successful year as the UK city of culture for 2016. He has a track record of converting ideas riven with difficult politics into events that transcend divisions of opinion to become meaningful and joyous. He appears determined to run the festival at face value, as an event showcasing the UK’s creativity, rather than one celebrating some hollow, bogus “independence” from the European Union.

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The Guardian

Sep 11 2020
Garden of evil: Trevor Paglen's sinister digital paradise puts you in the picture

Pace Gallery, London and online
The artist’s AI images of nature are not what they seem – and they aren’t the only things being watched in this mind-boggling show about surveillance

Is Trevor Paglen a hyper-suspicious activist exposing the state? Or is he an artist who has found that adopting such a stance helps him reveal things about how we live now? It’s hard to tell. Previously, he has photographed secret military installations in the desert and taken long-exposure pictures of the night sky that at first glance look like astronomy, but in reality record the paths of satellites watching our every move. That was before Covid-19, which seems to have driven Paglen to new depths of paranoid introspection, responding with the blackest of humour in an exhibition that may not even be an exhibition but a lure to catch the unwary in his sinister web.

The white walls and partitions of the gallery are hung with what look like artworks. Big photographs of flowers and woodlands bring the outdoors into this city interior. Paglen appears to have turned to nature for solace during lockdown. Like David Hockney and Nan Goldin, who have produced lockdown images of trees and flowers, he has wandered in pastoral meadows to relieve the stress – or so it seems. Except these meadows are unreal. They were produced using artificial intelligence. The harder you look, the less soothing they are. The colours are hyper-intense yet unseasonal. The leaves and petals are brittle, even plasticky.

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