Contemporary Culture Carousel – 2 Jan 12

EscapeIntoLife - ContemporaryCulture - architecturePhoto of interior of  I.M. Pei’s Islamic Museum of Art( 2008), Doha, Qatar

Looking Back

A sad goodbye to Eva Zeisel (NYT) ceramic artist,”whose elegant, eccentric designs for dinnerware in the 1940s and ’50s helped to revolutionize the way Americans set their tables.” She was 105 when she dies on 30th December 2011. It won’t take much of your time to read the obituary and check out her beautifully elegant designs.

EscapeIntoLife_Contemporaray Culture_Zeisel Coffee Service from the 1940s by Eva Zesiel

The top ten conceptual architecture projects of 2011 (Design Boom). This is looking back with an eye on the future, a showcase of the most viewed posts of 2011. Not sure if my favourite is the National Gallery of Greenland by BIG architects or the utterly stunning 21st Century Oasis by sou fujimoto architects. What’s  yours? If your answer is “none of the above” and you have another contender let us know: a mention and a link in the comments box will do very nicely, thank you!

EscapeIntoLife_Contemporary Culture_architectureNational Gallery of Greenland, by BIG architects

Catch it before it closes! New Photography 2011 at MoMA New York closes January16th. Go see what you think of the six artists “whose varied techniques and backgrounds represent the diversity of photography today”.  The photo below is by one of them, Viviane Sassen (Dutch, b. 1972). And yes, yes, I know you like virtual vists, if you click on each artist’s name at the main Link you’ll get to see a lot of works by each one. Have fun!

 EscapeIntoLife_ConetmporaryCulture-photographyBelladonna, 2010, photo by Vivane Sassen

Looking Forward: The very New Year

New Year’s Resolution Artworks (Guardian) OK so it’s not all contemporary art, but all new years start with resolutions right? And this is such a fun article, cleverly matching good artworks to good intentions. So let Goya and Ribera, and Philip Guston and Eric Ravilious inspire you to  learn something new, give generously to those less fortunate, stop procrastinating and get organised. They do have the best ideas these Guardian people!


EscapeIntoLife_ContemporaryCulture-CindayShermanUntitled #424, 2004, chromogenic color print, Cindy Sherman

Shows to See in 2012 (ArtInfo)  20 slides to tempt you in this suggested viewing list for 7 US and 3 London, England shows that range from Cindy Sherman and Lucian Freud to Dan Flavin and two  – yes two –  shows by good old Damien, plus exhibitions featuring Afro-Futurism and the surrealism of women artists in the USA and Mexico.

Unmissable Cultural Treats of 2012 (Independent) A British take on what to look forward to in film, theatre, live music gigs, books, dance and more, to help you with your trip planning. Go whet your appetite and don’t miss the 13 image gallery! Then go on to compare Geoffrey Macnab’s selected movies with the best films for 2012 (Guardian) as listed by Peter Bradshaw. One thing is certain, there’s treats a-plenty in store for all!

Best Books due out in 2012 (Guardian) We’ll be featuring more of the Guardian’s excellent crystal ball gazing Culture Preview 2012 series besides this one in future Carousels. Today we bring you Alison Flood and her book highlights of the year just starting. Will you be getting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the graphic novel version by Denise Mina? Will it be at the top of your list or will you sneeringly banish it to the deep recesses of darkest Hades?

Round the World

EscapeIntoLife_ContemporaryCulture -fashion-photographyOp Art-Badeanzug von Sinz, Vouliagmeni/Griechenland, 1966, photo by Brigitte Bauer,  F.C. Gundlach collection

If you like photography and fashion then let’s go see Vanity in Vienna at the Kuntshalle. Over 200 photos from the late 1920s to the present day by greats such as Richard Avedon, Erwin Blumenfeld, Lillian Bassman, Irving Penn, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Helmut Newton and more, all from the F.C. Gunlauch collection. And guess who else is showing at the Wien Kunsthalle? Viviane Sassen, that’s who! She has works in the No fashion please! group show – subtitle Photography between Gender and Lifestyle – but that ends January 29th, hurry, hurry!


EscapeIntoLife-ContemporarayCulture -Cosima_vonBoninTotal Produce (Morality), 2010, Cosima von Bonin

You don’t know the work of Cosima von Bonin? Get to know it at – short title –  Cut!Cut!Cut! (Art Daily). Otherwise known as CUT! CUT! CUT! FOR MUSEUM LUDWIG’S SLOTH SECTION, LOOP # 04 OF THE LAZY SUSAN SERIES, A ROTATING EXHIBITION 2010–2012   (Museum Ludwig) This show is the last loop of the Lazy Susan cycle that has crisscrossed four European cities, and it’s in a hip museum in cool Cologne, Germany, her home town. The press release from a previous Lazy Susan show in Bristol, UK, describes her as “one of the most prolific artists working in Germany today.” And continues “Von Bonin’s practice incorporates a mixture of sculpture, installation, painting, textiles, performances, sound and films”. And it’s often collaborative, and the show look ironic and fun. Until May 15th, best start to plan the plane trip to Cologne…

EscapeIntoLife_ ContemporaryCulture_CaiGuo-QiangDetail from Ninety- Nine Horses, 2011, Cai Guo-Qiang

Saraab is a major Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition (Art Daily)  Oodles of time too, until May 26th, to get ourselves to Doha, Qatar to the the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art. We need to get there to wander and wallow through this fabulous, provocative and important show.  If getting there is unrealistic for you, then the Museum’s super website has a whole host of must-see great images of the stunning installations with artist statements and behind the scenes information. And – please please, don’t skip it! –  the video that ends this post features Cai Guo-Qiang’s controversial Black Ceremony Explosion Event.

Doha has lots to see besides  this show by the way; there’s architect I.M.Pei’s maginficently geometric Islamic Art Museum for a start. And while in Doha, you won’t –  you can’t! – miss Richard Serra’s sculpture 7  (Independent) with its 735 tons of steel pointing 80 feet into the sky.  You don’t need to be a genius to work out that a visit to Doha is another glimpse into the future of contemporary art and architecture…..

Until we meet again, see how you like the Explosion Event video below. Must admit I’d probably be all oohs and ahs if I saw it for real, if the smoke let me see it properly, that is.


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