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The Ukrainians at the DAAD Gallery, Berlin

[Andrea reports from Berlin on a group show centering around political unrest in Ukraine; though some works have a lighthearted touch, their undercurrent remains somber. — the artblog editors] The most compelling exhibition I saw last month in Berlin was at the gallery of DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst), the German Academic Exchange. The Ukrainians (May 24-June 21, 2014), curated by Bettina Klein, was art from the front lines by a group of artists well-aware of the possibilities and limits of art in the midst of serious, political unrest.   Symbolizing state rhetoric Many of the artists spent time protesting with the ... More » »

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University of Brighton Graduate Show 2014

[Our UK correspondent, Katie, reflects on the plight of the graduating art student; she discusses how these challenges are reflected in a show of matriculating students’ work. — the artblog editors] An institution like a university provides its students access to an extraordinary range of contacts, information, resources, and tools. One difficulty is that the culture residing within its walls can also tend to reinforce a belief that such structures are essential to facilitate, showcase, and validate cultural production. The yearly Graduate Show at the University of Brighton sees a crop of students just about to step outside of this ... More » »

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Books on new approaches to art and its institutions, part I

[Andrea recommends two books taking a different look at the way art is categorized, displayed, and interacted with, and looks at a similar process currently in action at the Netherlands’ Van Abbemuseum. — the artblog editors] Reclassifying artists This collection of essays is a welcome, clear-eyed, and clearly expressed examination of contemporary art’s production and reception. Ben Davis is committed to and involved in politics that support social change, and skeptical of much of the current rhetoric around art and politics–such as the assumption that collectivism assumes a radical, political stance. A seriously informed, progressive Marxist, Davis defines class according ... More » »

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Makers – Collaboration in the age of new technology

[Katie reports from the UK, where she gets a taste of the “maker movement” encouraging everyone to take a hands-on interest in the creation of products and technologies. — the artblog editors] Today’s world seems to be filled with brand-new technologies, invented and reinvented at lightning speeds by the youngest of experts. The maker movement can be broadly defined as a group taking a DIY approach to these new technologies, prioritising the asking of questions and free experimentation in a culture of very hands-on creation. Collaborative workshops known as “hackspaces” are popping up all over, filled with making equipment and ... More » »

Space Odyssey: Chinese artist Li Wei flies above the crowd at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Postcard from Paris — Icarus en Ville at spring art fair Art Paris

[Matthew visits the spring art fair, Art Paris, and talks about the infusion of Chinese art there. — the artblog editors] Even the casual Paris observer will note that the Elysian Fields (Les Champs Elysées) have slowly become a bit more Chinese over the last two decades. Sushi restaurants are run by Chinese immigrants; old French “tabacs” and cafés are being taken over by Chinese and Vietnamese families. Chinese is almost a second language in the Louvre and my friends’ children all learn Mandarin at school. So it’s no wonder Art Paris, the spring salon that takes place each spring, ... More » »

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Dead space in a crowded city — Turning London’s empty warehouses into creative communities

[Katie takes an in-depth look at how rising housing costs are pushing some London artists to get creative, and live communally. — the artblog editors] London is an expensive city. Reports abound of broom-closets with toilets next to the bed going for exorbitant rates of rent, in a city plagued by homelessness and poverty. It is also home to a vibrant arts scene, with four major universities churning out batches of exciting young artists with wild ideas and a lot more drive than money. The rise of a new community center It’s no surprise, then, to find a thriving scene ... More » »

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United in light — Darren Almond’s To Leave a Light Impression and Dale Chihuly’s Beyond the Object in London

[Katie explores two London shows that treat light in very different ways, from moonlit nature photographs to abstract, colorful glass sculptures — the artblog editors] Light does much to connect us with the world. Its ricocheting rays tell volumes about what’s around us, from the expression on the face of a friend to the condition of a distant star. It’s little wonder, then, that light is an object of fascination and exploration for artists, who play with perceptions that most of us take for granted. Darren Almond‘s long-exposure moonlight photos, now showing at White Cube, play explicitly with the idea ... More » »

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The Rijksmuseum’s re-installation, and some comments on museum labeling

[Andrea visits the Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a decade-long, near-$500-million renovation. While pleased to see art objects placed in historical context, she laments the museum’s reliance on an inconvenient computer labeling system. –the artblog editors] This was my first visit to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam  since its refurbishment, and while 10 years was an exceptionally long time to put most of the collection of the country’s major art museum in storage, the results are superb. The most significant change, in terms of the displays, is the decision to arrange the art by period and theme, rather than medium. The ... More » »

Hope Kroll, That should do it. 2012. 12 x 17 inches, on vintage book paper.

Letter From Paris – Four great shows you might have missed and two American friends come to visit

(Our Paris correspondent, Matthew Rose, wraps up 2013 giving a shout out to some shows he saw and some work by Americans who visited him in Paris.–the artblog editors.) Best Mail Art show: Correspondence at Louis Vuitton Espace Culturel Correspondences (1 Feb – 5 May), an exhibition of mail art that brought together nearly a dozen artists who have scribbled and stamped away at the postal canvas for years: Ray Johnson, Eleanor Antin, Alighiero Boetti, Jan Dibbets as well as others with interests in networks and packaging – Stephen Antonakos’ works were featured outside (see photo) the building in the ... More » »

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Cracks in the boundary walls – Keith Harrison and Napalm Death

(Katie chronicles a participatory combination music/art show with an unexpected yet satisfying end — the artblog editors) It was a peculiar crowd that piled on to the two-carriage train to Bexhill on Friday 29th November, a sea of beer-swigging beards mixed with gallery types making their excited way to this sleepy seaside town. The occasion was a combination no less eclectic: a collaboration between the Victoria & Albert Museum’s former resident ceramicist Keith Harrison and the infamous grindcore band (**see note below) Napalm Death, who share both roots in Birmingham and a notorious appetite for destruction. On top of the ... More » »

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