Last weekend I had the privilege to see an amazing collection of Jeff Koons’ work at the Newport Street Gallery in South East London. I’ve only been able to see a few of his works, but never a collection close to this size and variety. Even from his early career as an artist in the 70s, he began challenge the assumptions of art. Heavily inspired by Duchamp’s readymades, Koons’ own experimentation with readymades began with his obsession with inflatables, which became one of his most well known themes. His large inflatable balloon series experiments with durable materials such as steel, so shiny you can see yourself in the reflection. These sculptures are truly monumental. In addition, Popeye his inflatable pool toy series are designed to fool the eye. The pieces are cast in aluminum and painted, but look like vinyl. You could only imagine how heavy they are (well definitely heavier than the vinyl versions). The exhibit also features his infamous photographic series Made in Heaven with him and his then wife Ilona Staller as Everyman and Everywoman, and a monsterous pile of play-doh cast in aluminium simply held up by its own weight. The show is definitely one to see and it’s free! It closes on the 10th so make your way there this weekend.
I promise I will keep updating this blog with all the new and fun things this city has to offer.
This weekend Jeff Koons exhibition, next week Frieze Art Fair!
So I know I’ve been a little MIA recently, and for those who don’t know I’ve moved to Lake Louise, Alberta for a bit to work. It’s definitely been an adjustment from the city life I’m used to, but I love it here so far. But recently I got the opportunity to come back to Toronto last week to participate in Art Toronto 2015, Canada’s contemporary art fair and I worked with Susan Eley from Susan Eley Fine Art Gallery in New York City.
I was absolutely obsessed with “Countercurrent Flow Big” at Gallerie de Bellefeuille and pretty much stopped by each day on my lunch break just to watch the performance piece. I also really loved “Bathing in Bliss” by Joshua Jenson-Nagle at Bau-Xi Gallery. I didn’t get a good picture of it due to the plexiglass it was mounted on but I will insert one here:
Many people asked me how I got this opportunity and honestly, it was a mixture of luck and knowing the right people. I met with Emilia Ziemba who at the time was working at Red Head Gallery in Toronto a couple years ago and she remembered me and suggested me for the position.
It was such an experience and hopefully next year I will be able to do it all over again, if not working then definitely will come visit the fair if I’m not in school in London yet…but hopefully fingers crossed I will be in England…
Imagine walking into a cloud and coming out tipsy…hard to believe, but it’s not as far fetched an idea as we thought.
Bompas & Parr, the same people that brought us The Guinness Factory’s Tasting Room, has allowed us to walk into a cloud of breathable cocktail through the site of a monastery in Borough Market, London. Alcoholic Architecture is a pop up bar that basically acts as a weather system for “meteorology and mixology collide against a canvas of monastic mayhem, referencing the gothic splendour of neighbouring Southwark Cathedral.” Your cocktail enters the room using powerful humidifiers and alcohol enters your bloodstream through your lungs and eyeballs which bypasses your liver.
Situated next to the UK’s oldest gothic cathedral and on site of an ancient monastery, themes of the times will be reflected through their drinks. Think spirits and beers created monks and drinks with Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer, and Buckfast (a fortified wine that Scotland is trying to stop from entering the country).
“Inside, the sound is modulated, so that it is like you are right inside the glass,” Parr says. “It’s a dense atmosphere that builds into a thunderstorm with lightning. It’s a new way of experiencing drink, and it’s social because it’s an immersive shared environment. You all have the same flavor sensation.”
You walk through a monastic-themed changing room and bare a robe so you don’t leave smelling like a liquor bottle. Get yourself a drink at the crypt-like bar and bring it back into the cloud for you to enjoy and “breathe responsibly”.
Alcoholic Architecture is on until early 2016. If you’re in London, you must go see it and tell me all about it. Get tickets and check out more of Bompas & Parr’s work on their website.
Hello all! I know it’s been a while since I last posted but I’ve been away for some time and working lots. I promise I am working hard on keeping this blog updated. There are some really exciting things coming.
A few weeks ago, I was in Chicago for Lollapalooza and decided to visit the iconic Art Institute of Chicago (remember that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?). It is rated the #1 museum in the world according to Tripadvisor in 2014 and I can tell why. AIC probably tops the MoMA for me with its collection of Edgar Degas and Van Gogh, and modern and contemporary art collections, I was left in awe at each corner. What I especially liked about it was it’s flow and organization. I felt like I had enough time and space to explore each room and not overwhelmed by the works or the amount of people. And not to mention its staff! I met some of the most friendly people who worked there who are always willing to talk to you.
The AIC featured a Charles Ray exhibition- his first major exhibition since a mid career retrospective in 1998 and features four new sculptures only on view in Chicago.
Chicago-born Ray has reinvented contemporary sculptural practice since the early 1980s using aluminum and stainless steel to create a fluid like and reflective effect in his life-size and over-life-size sculptures. His works were like nothing I’ve ever seen up close. The bas-relief sculptures from afar looked flat and linear but once you got closer you realize how the depth and perception can affect how you look at a piece. The works are created from a combination of long process of study, experimentation, and a painstakingly meticulous attention to detail, control and discipline (some of his works takes as long as ten years to make!). His pieces are utterly timeless and contemporary at the same time leaving its audiences reminiscing about childhood, sleep, ghosts, and self-portraiture as well as a combination of a new medium and ancient sculptural techniques such as bas relief.
The show is on until October 4th, and if the staff is friendly they’ll let you take some fun pictures😉
Have any of you ever been to AIC? What were some of your favourite works?
Frida Kahlo is my spiritual animal. Not only was she a beautiful soul and talented artist, she did not have an easy life. Her work is celebrated in Mexico and also by feminists who acknowledge her depiction of female expression and experience.
Although she is sometimes classified as a Surrealist artist, she rejected that label and said her paintings reflected more of her reality than her dreams.
She has been through it all. Not only did she live through the Mexican Revolution, at six years old she contracted polio which resulted in her right leg becoming thinner than the left and as she got older, she hid this by wearing long, colourful skirts. It was also rumoured that she was born with spina bifida which would have affected her spinal and leg development.
When she was a teenager, she was in a tragic bus accident which left her with a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus (ouch), resulting in difficulties in reproducing. She suffered lifelong health problems including relapses of extreme pain. While recovering from her injuries she was bedridden and confined in a hospital bed for months at a time, she was isolated from her peers and began to paint her famous self-portraits which perfectly reflect this isolation and her pain. But through this experience, she was able to become the painter we all know and admire today.
Kahlo used bright colours and dramatic symbolism and primitive style that is common with indigenous Mexican culture. Themes included the monkey, which in Mexican mythology is associated with as a symbol of lust. Kahlo used this symbol as a tender and protective symbol. She also combined themes of her familial background, and Christian, Jewish and Mexican themes were often depicted in her works.
If things couldn’t get worse, her marriage with another famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera was extremely volatile as they both had bad tempers and both would cheat on each other countless times. Kahlo who was 20 years younger than Diego, was bisexual and had affairs with both men and women and although Rivera didn’t care much about her female relationships, her affairs with men made him jealous. Rivera, on the other hand had an affair with Kahlo’s younger sister. Although that relationship was clearly unhealthy, we can thank Rivera for encouraging her artistic development and to pursue painting as a career. They ended up divorcing to get married again a year later but often lived separate from each other…talk about making their lives the storyline for a soup opera, am I right???
In July of 1952, Frida’s right lower leg was amputated at the knee due to gangrene. In addition she also had a case of bronchopneumonia which left her weak and ill for another two years. Diego still at her side, attended to her anxiety attacks and still encouraged her to keep painting. Kahlo died on July 13th, 1954 and the official cause of death was stated as pulmonary embolism, although she began to increase her morphine consumption after the amputation and some suspected that she died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental. A few days before she died, she wrote in her diary: “I hope the exit is joyful- and I hope to never return– Frida”. And even though, her relationship with Diego was rough, he stuck by her and encouraged her even on her last days because he loved her. In his autobiography, he wrote that the day Frida died was the most tragic day of his life and he realized too late that the most wonderful part of his life had been his love for her.
Frida has been described as: “…one of history’s grand divas…a tequila-slamming, dirty joke-telling smoker, bi-sexual that hobbled about her bohemian barrio in lavish indigenous dress and threw festive dinner parties for the likes of Leon Trotsky, poet Pablo Neruda, Nelson Rockefeller, and her on-again, off-again husband, muralist Diego Rivera.“
She also been quoted to say, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.”
Feliz Cumpleaños to the most feistest woman ever.
Be prepared to be throughly disappointed in every balloon animal you have ever received as a child. Japanese artist, Masayoshi Matsumoto creates the most intricate balloon sculptures of animals and insects from bald eagles to prickly iguanas.