More to Mucha than meets the eye – or is there?

Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939) may not be a household name but his style is certainly recognisable. The Czech painter and decorative artist rose to fame at the turn of the 20th century, creating designs for posters, biscuit wrappers and decorative panels that came to epitomise the Art Nouveau movement. Even today, Mucha’s distinct style is much imitated. Reproductions of his posters are often found on the walls of student houses or in coffee shops eager to recreate the glamour of La Belle Époque.

l-121-job-1896 Read the full article on Apollo.

The artist proving that beauty is on the inside – literally

You would be forgiven for forgetting that you are stepping into a tunnel of fat as you enter ‘Making Beauty’, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s exhibition at the Djanogly Gallery in Nottingham. Sheets of pig’s caul fat (the thin membrane that surrounds the animal’s stomach) hang from the ceiling, yet the artist’s site-specific installation Fragility (2015) is a far cry from a butcher’s shop. The artist has stretched the fat out, so that it drapes as delicately as lace or cobwebs. Remnants of blood and the intricate patterns produced organically by the pig’s blood vessels are reminders of the material’s fleshy origins, but its translucency also gives it an ethereal quality.

Installation view of Haruspex
 (2015), Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva. Courtesy Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva and Djanogly Gallery. Photo: Nick Dunmur

Installation view of Haruspex
 (2015), Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva. Courtesy Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva and Djanogly Gallery. Photo: Nick Dunmur

Read the full article on Apollo.

When artists deny, disavow or reject their work

After a bizarre authenticity court case, a Chicago court has ruled that a 40-year-old landscape painting is not by the Scottish-born artist Peter Doig. Retired corrections officer Robert Fletcher brought the lawsuit against the artist in 2013, claiming that Doig had sold the picture to him in the 1970s, and that Doig’s subsequent denials of his account were false. The artist’s lawyers argued that the painting was the creation of another man, Pete Doige, who had been incarcerated at the Thunder Bay correctional centre where Fletcher worked over the period in question. Doige died in 2012, but his family testified in court that the work was his. Read the full article on Apollo.

Lucian Freud on BBC's 'Fake or Fortune' Courtesy BBC

Lucian Freud on BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune’ Courtesy BBC

Artists opening galleries is not just a recent trend

Opening galleries has become rather fashionable for artists of late. Not long after the launch of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in East London last October, the artist duo Gilbert & George announced their plans to open a non-profit foundation for contemporary art in Spitalfields. But this trend for artists opening museums is not a new one, as the founding stories behind these institutions reveal.


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The Artist as Set Designer

On June 19, I saw the English National Opera’s production of Tristan und Isolde. Besides the cast, the house advertised its collaboration with the British-Indian artist Anish Kappoor, who doubled as the production’s set designer. Employing a famous artist as a set designer is an appealing double whammy for opera houses, promising both creative constructions onstage and a household name to attract audiences and coverage.

Kapoor is exactly the kind of artist to attract such audiences, as his large-scale public sculptures—such as Cloud Gate (2006) in Chicago’s Millennium Park (also nicknamed “the Bean”)—have largely been met with popular approval. Kapoor’s services have been utilized several times by opera companies in recent years: in 2012 he designed the set for the Dutch National Opera’s production of Parsifal, which is now being followed by this Tristan.

Read the full article on Van.

Stories in abstraction: an interview with Mary Heilmann

When Mary Heilmann moved from California to New York in 1968 she promptly took up painting. The decision was an unusual one: not only had Heilmann trained in sculpture and ceramics, she was also entering the New York art scene at a time when painting itself was being challenged by minimalism. ‘Everybody hated painting,’ Heilmann claims in the exhibition catalogue for her current retrospective ‘Looking at Pictures’ at the Whitechapel Gallery (her first major UK survey), ‘especially me’.

Read the full interview on Apollo Magazine.

George Shaw finds the otherworldly in trees, porn magazines and plastic sheets

Of all the subjects to focus on in the National Gallery’s collection – from seductive Venuses to glorious sunflowers – the choice of the humble tree is hardly the most riveting. Yet it is trees that dominate George Shaw’s exhibition ‘My Back to Nature’, which consists of works created in response to the collection. Since the start of 2014, Shaw has been the National Gallery’s associate artist, with special access to the collection. Shaw moved into the Gallery’s studio for one week out of every three, arriving every day at 8am so that he could draw from the collection for a couple of hours before it opened to the public.

Read the full review on Apollo.

The Rude Screen (2015–16), George Shaw. Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London

The Rude Screen (2015–16), George Shaw. Courtesy the artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London

Roman Britain when you least expect it

When Luke Irwin decided to convert an old barn on his Wiltshire property, he was not exactly aiming to make an important archaeological discovery. But when the electricians he hired to lay some underground electricity cables started drilling, they struck a hard layer 18 inches beneath the surface, which turned out to be the remains of an ornate Roman mosaic.

Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic at Fishbourne Roman Palace. Courtesy of Fishbourne Roman Palace / Sussex Archaeological Society

Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic at Fishbourne Roman Palace. Courtesy of Fishbourne Roman Palace / Sussex Archaeological Society

Read the full article on Apollo.

The long tradition of hating Henry Moore

Henry Moore may be regarded as one of the greatest British artists of the 20th century, but a group of Columbia University students have nevertheless rejected his work as ‘hideous’. The announcement that that his Reclining Figure (1969–70) will be installed in front of the school’s Butler Library caused a stir recently, with some 1,200 students protesting against the installation of this ‘lumpy hulk of metal’.

This opposition to an artist who famously wanted his art to speak to a wider public may come as a surprise. Yet this is not the first time that Moore’s work has been on the receiving end of hostility…

Draped Seated Woman (1957–58), Henry Moore.

Draped Seated Woman (1957–58), Henry Moore.

Read the full article here.

Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon and five Marilyn Monroes

Avedon Warhol at the Gagosian Gallery London

Warhol’s silkscreen printing process produces a kind of flatness and lifelessness: it robs the original photograph of each individual’s personal features or details and replaces them with cold, block colour. Unlike Avedon’s photographs, these are not portraits of consenting sitters – Warhol made them from photographs he found in newspapers or publicity shots. Their faces are mere tools for the artist to use for his final artwork.

Four Multicolored Marilyns, Andy Warhol.

Four Multicolored Marilyns, Andy Warhol © Jim Linwood

Read the review in full here.

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