Contemporary Culture Carousel 3

EscapeIntoLife_ContemporaryCulture3-1 photo by L.Tishkov & B.Bendikov, from the Private Moon series

Looking Back: The Week That Was

On December 15th 2011 we said “adieu” to an erudite, witty and fiery journalist, the great cultural critic Christopher Hitchens. Salman Rushdie led the tributes when he spoke of the loss on Twitter in these words: “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011” The tributes were many but the piece I liked the most, the one that stood out for me as the most felt and the most moving, was that written by his close friend, the novelist Ian McEwan (NYT)  The slide show in the photographic review on Vanity Fair  is worth watching  too, a reminder of the many stages of his long and multi-faceted writing career.

Exibitionist (The Guardian) The what’s-on-round-Britain round up with the usual well-selected slide show of 8 images. I am especially intrigued by the second slide, a work by Dermot Seymour from his Belfast show Fish, Flesh and Fowl, a good example of his “distinctly Irish folklore surrealism”. And by The Republic of The Moon, the current show at Fact in Liverpool, which you can virtually tour round a little right here.

And across the pond, another bigger and more broad ranging slide show of The Week in Culture (NYT) for your perusing pleasure.

Looking Back: The Year Now Ending

EscapeIntoLife-CCC3-2Ensemble VOSS, spring/summer 2001

Much more than “passing fashion” and definitely way, way up there on the genius and creativity scale, how I wish I had seen Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.  If like me, you weren’t one of the over 660,000 lucky – and exceedingly patient!  – people who waited hours and hours in line to get in to see it, you can get a fair idea of the work of the late Alexander McQueen by clicking the Link. Not at all the same as being there, but still, aren’t you glad we have the Internet that lets us take a peek?

Best 10 Books of 2011 according to Publisher’s Weekly. See what you think of the list. And hey look, we have a review of one of them right here on EIL. Check out what our Nick Martin  – who incidentally refers and links to a Christopher Hitchens article – had to say about Tina Frey’s Bossypants – and why he thinks Tina Frey is just simply….. funny.

EscapeIntoLife_CCC3-6Ai Weiwei’s installation of porcelain sunflower seeds at Tate Modern, London

Faces of 2011 (The Observer) has just featured Ai Weiwei as the latest face in this series now almost ended. Here’s how the piece starts: “Twelve months ago, Ai Weiwei was a celebrated artist, whose Sunflower Seeds had just opened at Tate Modern to widespread acclaim. Today he is as famous for the 81 days he spent in detention this spring as for his work. In attempting to silence him, the Chinese authorities appear to have amplified his voice.” All too true, take heed all those trying to censor and silence.

More ideas for Holiday Giving  – Music (The Guardian) Those clever people at The Guardian have come up with another cool idea for holiday gifts – the “unsung”  – haha! – musical gems of the year 2o11. Some of their music critics have selected “the pop, world music and jazz albums that deserved more attention in 2011 – and could make the perfect gift for the serious muso”. The serious muso? In Italian a muso is a long (as in sulky) face, ho hum…

The Best Maps of 2011 ( How refreshing to find a different “Best Of…”  compilation and there’s some really gorgeous data images, as well as fun visualisations, so do click the Links within the Link and go visiting. My top fave is the absolutely mesmerising Galaxy video, I like it so much I chose it as the perfect ending to this week’s Carousel.

Round The World

EscapeIntoLife_Contemporary Culture3_3

Embroidered vintage photo by Maurizio Anzeri

I will definitely be making time to go see the group show MakeUp just opened. The Press Release makes it sound juicy, listen: “Conceived as a gallery of fantastic creatures, unrecognisable ancestors, sumptuous multi-coloured doppelgängers, MakeUp presents a collection of recent hitherto unseen works by twelve artists in the ancient halls at the A Palazzo Gallery in Brescia (15th December to 11th March 2011)”. Brescia is situated east of Milan and west of Verona, which makes it almost local for me. Artists include two big names from Italy  Maurizio Anzeri and Francesco Vezzoli,, who is actually Brescia born, both of whom we featured here on EIL in the course of 2011. And check out the neat short interview  – plus 12 image gallery – with Maurizio Anzeri on Dazed and Digital here.

EscapeIntoLife_CC3_4Cloud Cities, Tomàs Saraceno

I am going to be in Berlin the Christmas week so I will get to see Tomás Saraceno’s beautiful Cloud Cities installation, yay! Looks wonderful and it’s another one that you can get inside and walk through. As someone whose fingers always itch to touch and stroke and feel works of art, I just love these installations that invite you to do just that, to participate physically. The installation by the Germany-based, Argentina-born artist is at the rather marvellous Hamburger Bahnhof where there is always so  much to see, so if I am in the mood I may take in the Paul Lafolley  or go check out the winners of the new young artists 2011 prize as well.

In Tokyo “Seven Dilemmas: Emerging Contemporary Artists Group Show” is showing until January 15th at Mizuma & One Gallery.  No, (shakes head sadly), there is no way am I  can get to Tokyo for this, but if I were there then I’d definitley go check it out. If like me, you don’t have a Tokyo trip on the cards, then click the Link and get a taste by viewing 12 of the works in the show.

Looking Forward to January

EsacapeIntoLIFE_CCC3_5A Damien Hirst spot painting

Damien Hirst and the Larry Gagosian are probably eagerly looking forward to January and their insane and gargantuan (or is grotesque a better word?) mega art event: Damien Hirst – The Complete Spot Paintings 1986- 2011. It opens January 12th at all  eleven Gagosian  galleries worldwide, no less; that means in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong! “It is, perhaps, all too appropriate that Hirst’s spot paintings — a body of work made almost entirely by his machine-like army of assistants — will be shown at the world’s largest machine for selling art” as Julia Halperin wrote for Art Info. Doubtless we’ll be hearing a lot more about this one in a few weeks from now.

Meanwhile at the Miami Art Musuem, the acclaimed exhibition, Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels (Art Daily), will open with a preview and artist talk on Saturday, January 14, 2012. Running until February 26, 2012, it’s a 10 year retrospective of Schutz’s work, and if she was recognised as a leading artist of her generation before she was even 30 years old, now that she is 35  she continues to maintain her promise and her shows are widely acclaimed. You can see more of her work right here here on EIL.

And finally, as promised, a beautiful finish to this week’s Carousel, with the Vimeo of Paul Bourke’s haunting 6df Galaxy Survey fly through, enjoy, it’s less than 3 minutes long:

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