A rendering of Carsten Höller’s slides scheduled to appear at London’s Hayward Gallery later this year. (The Hayward Gallery)

The Hayward Gallery is bringing the work of Carsten Höller to London starting in June. Improbably, the gallery has managed to take the spectacle of Höller’s last museum appearance in London—at the Tate Modern in 2006—and turn it all the way up.

For his show at the Tate, Höller installed vast winding slides through the museum’s Turbine Hall. Now, only nine years later, he’s doing the very same thing at the Hayward, just on the outside of the building. That’s in addition to the winding slide the artist punched through the floors of the New Museum in New York in 2011. And at the Prada offices in Milan in 2000, and at the Berlin Biennale in 1998, and so on and so on.

The artist tells the BBC that the slides at the Hayward are there for “experiencing an emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness”.

Museums aren’t buying into redundant Höller exhibitions for the wafer-thin societal critique. The slides are just one of a piece with the spectacle-driven art exhibitions that have come to dominate museum calendars—and therefore, the cultural platforms of major cities. If museums insist on commissioning artists to work at the glib scale of starchitecture, then it’s time to start thinking of museums as malign developers.


Kriston Capps
The Atlantic CityLabs

Bark painting of a barramundi, Western Arnhem Land (about 1961) (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

There are only a handful of bark art examples from the Dja Dja Wurrung in Australia, and they’re leagues away from their place of origin. A new exhibition of indigenous art of Australia at the British Museum, which holds these artifacts in their collections, will finally bring them back to the South Pacific. However, leaders there want them returned permanently.

Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation opens April 23 in London, the first major British exhibition to focus on indigenous Australia through these artifacts, many which have never been on public display. The British Museum’s release notes it will be a “unique narrative exploring the complex history of Indigenous Australia from Captain Cook’s landing in 1770 up to the present day” and has been “developed in consultation with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, Indigenous art and cultural centres across Australia, and has been organised with the National Museum of Australia.” Many of these objects will then travel to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported last month, that “will be the first time that these objects have been exhibited in Australia since they were collected.”


Allison Meier

Light reflections … A detail from Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (1872), dismissed by critics as worse than wallpaper. Photograph: Getty Images

It is one of the ironies of impressionism, the quintessential French movement, that it had its beginning and its end not in Paris but in London. It is another irony that the key figure in the movement was not a painter but, that most maligned of species, a dealer. In 1871, having fled the Franco-Prussian war, Claude Monet was living in London. It was in January that year that the landscapist Charles-François Daubigny took him along to the inaptly named German Gallery on New Bond Street and introduced him to the proprietor, another French expat, named Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). Whether or not the gallerist believed Daubigny’s words of introduction – “This artist will surpass us all” – he liked Monet’s work well enough to buy numerous canvases and, a few days later, paintings by his fellow artist-refugee Camille Pissarro, too.

This meeting and the chain of introductions, friendships and innumerable business transactions it put in motion was to culminate 24 years later with an exhibition just down the road on Bond Street at the Grafton Galleries. The exhibition, sometimes known as The Apotheosis of Impressionism, contained 315 pictures and was, and remains, the largest show of impressionist works ever held. For Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and their peers it was final confirmation that their struggle to win acceptance for their unacademic, light-infused paintings had been successful. For Durand-Ruel, it was validation of his steadfast support for this group of avant-garde painters which had several times put him on the point of financial ruin. As he noted: “My madness had been wisdom. To think that, had I passed away at 60, I would have died debt-ridden and bankrupt, surrounded by a wealth of underrated treasures.”


Michael Prodger
The Guardian

Part of Peter Zumthor’s developing zinc mine museum in Norway in October 2014 (Photo: Arne Espeland/Kon- Sul AS)

Set to open in the summer of 2016, a sleek museum designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor for a Norwegian zinc mine has been over a decade in the making, although parts of the attraction are already in place. The arrangement of buildings with its exposed beams, some perched on existing stone structures, is part of Norway’s National Tourist Routes.

The ambitious creation of 18 routes by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, started in 1994, includes an impressive roster of local and national artists and architects collaborating on structures and installations along the road. The project is harnessing the old roadside attraction idea, except instead of fiberglass dinosaurs or mystery houses luring travelers to more rural locales, we are presented with modernist rest stops or a sleeping bear in a cave diorama by artist Mark Dion.

Designboom shared images of the in-progress zinc mine museum this week. Located in Allmannajuvet, it will be dedicated to the mining that took place there from 1881 to 1899. As Icon reported last year, Zumthor was commissioned for this museum of industrial heritage in 2002, but a combination of the instability of the mountains with the architect’s meticulous work pace, which has made his minimalist architecture so striking, has meant long delays. In the subsequent years since the commission, a memorial Zumthor designed in collaboration with the late Louise Bourgeois opened as part of the National Tourist Routes. Situated on the Arctic island of Vardø, it memorializes 91 people burned for witchcraft in the 17th century, with a long structure that looks something like a ship’s hull under construction culminating with a steel chair engulfed by flames.

Louise Bourgeois installation in collaboration with Peter Zumthor in Vardø, memorializing 91 people burned for witchcraft (© Hege Lysholm/NPRA)


Allison Meier

The eyes have it … Hiroshi Sugimoto: 50 Glass Eyes. Courtesy of Hiroshi Sugimoto

On 23 April 1988, 14 months after the artist’s unexpected death, the sale of Andy Warhol’s personal effects began in New York. There were 10,000 items up for auction. In the six-volume catalogue that Sotheby’s published for the occasion, these lots seem to fit neatly into a connoisseur’s categories: art nouveau and art deco, drawings and prints, Americana, an entire volume devoted to jewellery and watches. The auctioneers had photographed much of this material at Warhol’s house on East 66th Street; his Native American artefacts are lavishly arrayed on the Sheraton dining table, spilling on to 14 Ruhlmann chairs. The impression is of a keen but democratic aesthete’s eye; folk art and mass-produced gewgaws caught Andy’s fancy as much as aspirational antiques. But the photographs record a canny fiction. Sotheby’s handlers had elegantly corralled an astonishing mess, the product of Warhol’s conspicuous but oddly secretive shopping habit. They had turned a morbid, chaotic hoarder into a proper collector.

The elegant distinction between pathology and taste is one of the subjects explored in Magnificent Obsessions, the Barbican’s new survey of artist-collectors present and (recent) past.


Brian Dillon
The Guardian

Corinne Vionnet, “Makka” (Photo: Hyperallergic)

Have we been here before? Will we all be in this same spot again soon? Smeary visions of famous destinations, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Colosseum to the Hollywood sign, Corinne Vionnet’s aggregate compositions provoke a puzzling, often beautiful feeling of déjà vu. As in Impressionist paintings, Big Ben resolves amid splotches; Yosemite Valley looms with familiarity. Only the iconic structures clarify out of the gauze, while figures fold into the blur, ghosts in the mist. Yet in the haze there’s an invitation to go on imagining. I may have personally only visited four of the 18 locations on display in Vionnet’s Danziger Gallery exhibition, but I could envision myself in all of them, an unseen face in the crowd or perhaps the one behind the camera, lining up my own personal shot.

In 2005, just as Flickr and other photo-sharing sites where coming into being, Vionnet began to comb the internet in search of repeated, similar-looking photos of the same site, sets she would then layer by the hundreds into hazy composites. Early on, she noticed a trend in how amateur travel photographs were being constructed, and by extension how leisure and reality were being conceived.


Jeremy Polacek

Vincent van Gogh's Evening (after Jean-François Millet), 1889.
A day’s work … Vincent van Gogh’s Evening (after Jean-François Millet), 1889. Photograph: © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

This summer the Grand-Place in the Belgian city of Mons will be transformed into a blaze of yellow, a field of 7,500 sunflowers celebrating the city’s turn as European capital of culture, and the peculiar man who spent 18 months living in the area and failing at yet another chosen career.

This time his failure marked a turning point in the history of art: sacked as a preacher and evangelist working in the Borinage, a tough coalmining region, Vincent van Gogh decided that his future lay in art.

In 1880, not yet even a failed artist, he was living in Cuesmes, a village on the outskirts of Mons in southern Belgium. Images of the battered landscape, poor simple houses and grinding hard work he witnessed would stay with him for life. The Borinage inspired one of his first major works, The Potato Eaters, and its sootily dark palette, though it was not painted until 1885, after he had left the region.

Van Gogh in the Borinage, open from 25 January at BAM, the Beaux Arts Mons gallery, will include scores of paintings by Van Gogh and other artists who inspired him. It will bring together for the first time his early versions – made from prints – of works by Jean-François Millet, whose paintings of peasant life he greatly admired, and his paintings of the same subject made years later in the last months of his life when he was in the asylum at Saint-Rémy.


Maev Kennedy
The Guardian

Michael Williams’s “Wall Dog” 2013, part of MoMA’s “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” exhibition. (Courtesy CANADA)

What sets so-called atemporal painting apart from painting that might be less kindly characterized as derivative or regurgitative? In her catalog essay for “The Forever Now,” a 17-artist exhibition which opens at the Museum of Modern Art on December 14, curator Laura Hoptman traces the definition of atemporality to sci-fi novelist William Gibson, for whom the term captures “a new and strange state of the world in which, courtesy of the Internet, all eras seem to exist at once.” While some might lump such a phenomena under the larger banner of postmodernism, Hoptman does not. “Unlike past periods of revivalism, such as the appropriationist eighties, this super-charged art historicism is neither critical nor ironic; it’s not even nostalgic. It is closest to a connoisseurship of boundless information, a picking and choosing of elements of the past to resolve a problem or a task at hand.”


Scott Indrisek
Blouin ArtInfo

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An example of ‘edible art’ is proof of what top chefs already know – a culinary masterpiece has to look the part as well as taste delicious. Psychologists found that a salad (left) tasted better when arranged to resemble Painting Number 201 (right) by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky

Forget fresh ingredients, expensive wine or quality spices, culinary masterpieces have to look the part to taste delicious.

It’s a concept that gourmet chefs have long exploited, and now scientists in Oxford have provided evidence to back up the claim.

In a recent study, psychologists found that a salad tastes better when arranged to resemble a work by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky.

So much so, that diners are willing to pay twice the price they would for a more rustic salad, thrown together with the same ingredients.

Franco-Columbian chef and one of the authors of the study, Charles Michel, designed the salad resembling the abstract artwork, Painting Number 201, to explore how the look of food affects how it tastes.


Ellie Zolfagharifard
Daily Mail

Loose grasp of technique … Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio. Photograph: BFI/Allstar/Allstar/BFI

Years ago, I was asked to write a screenplay about JMW Turner for Peter O’Toole (who was not going to play Turner). Sadly, the film never happened. It might have been a chance to redress the fact that most films about artists set in the past come badly unstuck when it comes to recreating the actual practice of drawing and painting. Peter Greenaway, in The Draughtsman’s Contract, took trouble to provide authentic 17th-century costumes and architecture, yet the draughtsman’s drawings – central to the plot – are embarrassingly late 20th-century in style. Likewise, Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio indulges in painterly oil-sketching procedures unthinkable in Caravaggio’s time.

When I, and some of my colleagues on the Turner’s House Trust, were consulted by Mike Leigh and his team for the film Mr Turner, we found them already steeped in the artist, his life and times. They were well-read, stimulating to talk to, not really in need of much guidance from us. And watching the finished film was a strange mixture of the comfortably familiar and the utterly strange: Turner and the early 19th century bursting fresh and fully formed from creative minds, quite different from those of art historians and museum curators.

As everyone knows, Leigh is an idiosyncratic director. His methods are inscrutable, he keeps his cards close to his chest. He seems to enter into a mystic pact with his actors who join him in a passionate attempt to get as close to their subject as possible, to identify with characters and events as though they were reliving them not as mere imitators but as incarnations of those people and events. Stanislavsky is only the starting point as far as Leigh’s method is concerned. As for plot, that emerges out of the white heat of this debate.


Andrew Wilton
The Guardian


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