My Beautiful Venetian Launderette
If, by chance, you feel like cleaning your clothes in Venice next month, why not pop in to the Casa dei Tre Oci, a grand 20th-century palazzo on the Giudecca, where visitors can use a fully operational soviet-style launderette installed by emerging artist Arseniy Zhilyaev (Laundry, 2012). But why launch a piece, made up of spin cycles and soap suds, at the heart of La Serenissima? "Public laundries were part of a utopian urban planning that traces back to constructivist commune houses where all aspects of private life had to be shared. This intention revealed itself in the architecture of the houses of the new type that were built starting from the late 1920s; there were no kitchen or laundry facilities in the apartments because these types of private activities were supposed to be performed publicly," say the curators Katerina Chuchalina and Silvia Franceschini. "Thus appeared the famous soviet canteens or laundries that lasted in the Russian cities until the fall of the Soviet Union... Zhilyaev's project is an attempt to reenact this long disappeared practice into a new and unusual context." The work forms part of an exhibition, "The Way of Enthusiasts" (29 August-25 November), organised by the non-profit, Moscow-based V-A-C Foundation. The show, a collateral event at the Architecture Biennale, also includes works by Yuri Palmin and Alexandra Galkina, among others.
Young art stars in the shadow of the Olympics
If you pop along to the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, why not drop in on an intriguing group exhibition at Annex East located on the doorstep of the Games in Hutchins Close (until 23 August). Five young London-based contemporary galleries contribute to the culture smorgasbord by showing one piece of work by one artist (hence the catchy title "One One One"). "The Olympic Games comprises nations from all corners of the globe collectively gathering under one roof to celebrate and test the capabilities of the human body. In this sense, 'One One One' can be seen as a site upon which to test the values of the inclusive, universal spirit associated with an event like the London Summer Games," explains the press statement. Participants are: Hannah Barry Gallery (James Balmforth); Cole (Oliver Michaels); Millington/Marriott (Neil Rumming); Andor (Julian King) and Limoncello (Yonatan Vinitsky).
Hamptons premier for Chamberlain film
Anyone who visited the impressive John Chamberlain retrospective at the Guggenheim earlier this year may want to take a trip out to the Hamptons this week, where a documentary of the artist made by his step-daughter, the filmmaker Alexandra Fairweather, has its premiere at Art Southampton tomorrow night (26 July). The seaside location is more than fitting since Chamberlain's studio was on nearby Shelter Island. “HEAARTBEAT”, as the work is titled, presents a lesser-known side of the sculptor as a father and husband. The film was created before Chamberlain’s death in December 2011 and follows him “as he battles health issues… to complete sculptures that will leave his mark on the world,” says a press release. The limited seating screenings on Thursday and Friday benefit the Ross School's Chamberlain–Fairweather Scholarship Fund for the Arts and the Watermill Center/Chamberlain Residency Grant Fund, established by the artist’s family.
The art handlers have taken over the gallery
Jack Shainman gallery in New York appears to have hit upon a canny marketing ploy for the exhibition "Hi! Jack" (2 August-1 September). An e-mail addressed to Shainman informs the genial Manhattan gallerist that his art handlers have organised a "soft takeover". The result? An exhibition that presents "rarely shown works by artists from your gallery alongside artists of our choice who have never shown at Jack Shainman Gallery", say the forthright workers. Artists selected include Tyler Rowland and Mariah Robertson (but names cheekily blotted out on the e-mail include Emily Jacir and Christian Marclay). "Please do not be alarmed. We strive for camaraderie as we collapse the divisions of labor. This is our revolt. For the duration of HiJack!, we are not merely your 'art handlers' and we do not truly regard you as our hostage. We hope that under these conditions Stockholm/Lima Syndromes will flourish," continues the intriguing, entertaining e-mail.
The art of selling in Amsterdam
A church in the centre of the red-light district of Amsterdam is to be the venue for an art fair. The city's deputy mayor, Lodewijk Asscher, has agreed to open the sale in the gothic Oude Kerk (old church), which is now surrounded by windows adorned with scantily-dressed ladies; built in 1300, it is the oldest building in Amsterdam. Sixty Dutch and international artists will be exhibiting from 20 to 23 September. There will also be a charity auction to benefit pregnant African women suffering from HIV/Aids, with the paintings temporarily on show in windows in the adjacent houses. The fair, called Art in Redlight, coincides with the long awaited opening of Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum's extension on 23 September.
Titian goes to the Royal Ballet
The fourth and final performance of "Metamorphosis: Titian 2012" at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on Friday 20 July is a sell out, such is the demand by balletomanes and visual art aficionados to be there as the Royal Ballet's best dancers chassé in front of sets while wearing costumes designed by the artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger. Inspired by Titian, Ofili has painted a lush, tropical Eden-before-the-Fall backdrop. Shawcross has devised a robot with limbs that mirror the dancers' movements while Wallinger's sculptural, two-way mirror defies that age-old theatrical superstition about mirrors being bad luck on stage. Meanwhile, a hop, skip and jeté away at the National Gallery, Wallinger's contribution to the exhibition "Metamorphosis: Titian 2012" (until 23 September) has been causing a few raised eyebrows—and strained necks. To glimpse his latterday Diana—a woman in a shower—viewers become voyeurs, less Actaeon in a forest glade and more peeping Tom at the bathroom key hole.
(Not) going for gold
Everyone (sort of) loves a loser which is why Indian artist Sarnath Banerjee's billboards dotted around east London make such an impression on the eve of the Olympics. Banerjee's graphic illustrations, one of six new public art projects produced by Frieze Foundation entitled Frieze Projects East, depict sporting failures: "almost-winners, under-achievers, almost-made-its", according to the artist. (It's not taking part but the losing that counts after all.) Artists Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne have, meanwhile, filled the now defunct, delightful art deco Poplar Baths in Tower Hamlets with cheeky inflatable sculptures, including a gargantuan rendition of 1990s UK pop songstress Betty Boo. Frieze Projects East has been commissioned by Create, an organisation that presents east London-based arts projects, and the London 2012 Festival.
Creed and his committed campanologists
Will the bells really ring out on 27 July? Martin Creed's Work No. 1197. All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes entails millions of people pealing their bells across the UK to mark the start of the London Olympics. And what about people who incorporate campanology into their everyday lives? "Town crying is part of Britain's heritage and we will bring colour to the 'happening'," says David Peters of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers. Alan Regin, the steeple keeper at Christ Church Spitalfields in east London, declares with gusto: "This is not the usual type of ringing that we normally do, but at Christ Church Spitalfields, we say 'why not?!'"
Gustav gets a new gallery on his birthday
We couldn't let today go by without mentioning that 14 July is the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt which, according to the Art Media Agency, is marked by the opening of the Gustav Klimt centre in Kammer near Lake Attersee. The new centre is due to be a key venue for devotees of the Vienna Secession trailblazer, with more than 30 drawings and reproductions of Klimt's frieze sketches for the Stoclet Palace in Brussels on show in the launch exhibition. Gustav spent many happy hours in the region, depicting one of his favourite landmarks, Kammer Castle.
Rachel's not-so-public art
UK artist Rachel Whiteread has outlined plans for her next project which devotees may struggle to find. "I made a piece in Norway. There was this boathouse on a fjord outside Oslo, in the middle of nowhere. It was going to be destroyed. So I shipped it here, cast it, and put it back on the fjord. I'm going to do a few more like that: two in LA, one in Norfolk, one somewhere else. I'm calling them my secret sculptures. They're little forgotten buildings, and I'm going to fossilise them," she told The Observer. People can use a map and book made by Whiteread to locate the works. "I'm really happy about the idea. It's public art that's not public art," adds the enigmatic artist.
Black and The Scream: did he or didn't he?
The art world is rife with talk today of Leon Black, the US billionaire who, according to the Wall Street Journal, dug deep ($120m deep) for Edvard Munch's 1895 pastel, The Scream, in May at Sotheby's New York. Black, head of the investment firm Apollo Global Management, is a major art player with works by Raphael, Picasso and Turner in his collection. Speculation is now swirling about where the painting will end up: the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art (Black sits on the board of both New York museums). And did the billionaire in question shed any light on the matter? He diplomatically declined to comment.
Tied to Tracey
People, it seems, have wildly conflicting opinions about public sculpture and how it dovetails with everyday life. This use of Tracey Emin's bronze 2005 piece Roman Standard, however, could be considered resourceful and cheeky at the same time (who knows though if the bicycle owner was even aware of the bird perched on top?). Emin's charming work features in Great St Helen's: Sculpture Space, a show of seven sculptures by artists Michael Craig-Martin, Angus Fairhurst, Dan Graham, Thomas Houseago, Julian Opie, Yayoi Kusama (and Ms Emin herself, until January 2013). The project is a collaboration between the City of London Corporation and local businesses such as Hiscox and British Land.
Hirst puts Burger King in a spin
Canny Damien Hirst makes sure that his work is seen in the most unexpected of places... such as Burger King in Leicester Square in London, the tourist centre of the capital. Hirst's spin painting - which has the catchy title Beautiful Psychedelic Gherkin Exploding Tomato Sauce All Over Your Face, Flame Grilled Painting, 2003 - is on loan to the restaurant according to Marketing magazine which adds: "Burger King claims the last part of the name is particularly apt, given the fact it flame-grills its beef burgers, a cooking method it often draws attention to in its advertising." Over the weekend, visitors to the fast-food eatery seemed blissfully unaware though of the big-name artist in their midst, focusing instead on their fries and shakes.
Sea surrenders pristine Roman sarcophagus
Diving school trainer Hakan Gulec came across more than fish and flotsam during a recent trip to the bottom of the ocean near Antalya off the coast of southern Turkey. An object protruding through the sand on the sea bed caught Gulec's attention, prompting the intrepid explorer to dislodge and photograph the mystery find. According to Hürriyet Daily News, he then showed his images to officials at Alanya museum who were taken aback by the discovery: a striking, well-preserved sarcophagus adorned with Medusa heads, cupids holding up garlands and dancing women at the corners."The Alanya museum has gained a new piece of art," said its director Yasar Yildiz. "The figures on it show that it dates from the Roman period." But where has it come from? Perhaps it was made in the famous sculpture school at Aphrodisias further up the coast, which produced sculptural works for the Roman empire.
Courtauld party swings at Tate Modern
The great and the good of the international art scene flocked to Tate Modern last night for the Courtauld summer party sponsored by The Art Newspaper. Alumni and other dignitaries packed on to the mezzanine to hear professor Deborah Swallow, director of the Courtauld, toast the success of the prestigious London academic powerhouse. Swallow congratulated Tate director Nicholas Serota who has just received the Ordre de la Légion d’honneur and thanked Nicholas Cullinan, Tate Modern curator, who was instrumental in organising the swanky bash. Cullinan is not just an esteemed scholar, however, but also nimble on his feet, throwing a series of stylish and energetic moves on the dance floor.
Will Emiratis believe their own eyes?
An exhibition unlike any other has just opened in Sharjah. “The Museum of Optography: The Purple Chamber”, backed by the Sharjah Art Foundation, is currently at the Collections Building, Arts Area, opposite the Sharjah Museum of Art (until 3 October). The eyebrow-raising project comes courtesy of the artist Derek Ogbourne; according to his website, the show, part of a series, “explores the idea of 'The Last Image' bleached on to the retina at the moment of death”. Ogbourne's unusual pursuit was prompted by a fracas at a party in the1990s when the artist was punched in the eye, reports Gulf News. Emiratis can pop in and pore over photographs of rabbit optograms from 1975, 145 “imagined last moments” drawn by Ogbourne and a recreation of the laboratory of Wilhelm Kühne, a 19th-century German physiologist who apparently created the only known optogram. “My history and that of the Museum converge and overlap to create a world where the lines between fact and fiction are blurred, where birth and death merge and where objectivity is lost,” says Ogbourne, rather enigmatically.
Life, the universe, art and everything
We know that the discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson, announced by scientists at Switzerland's Cern (the European Council for Nuclear Research) yesterday, is not strictly art-related. But the news is of such importance that it would be a shame not to pass the achievement on and celebrate it. The discovery reveals how particles clustered together to form the fabric of the universe; in other words, the Higgs boson gives matter mass. Unearthing the so-called "God particle" should give artists plenty of food for thought. Cern, which operates the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, is already engaging with artists though. Last year it initiated a three-month residency programme over three years called Collide@CERN, inviting artists to its laboratory near Geneva where they will be mentored by leading scientists. But in light of the Higgs boson phenomenon, putting the art into particle physics just got a lot more exciting.
After Constable sale soars to £22m, will the Baroness sell more works?
Constable's The Lock, 1824, fetched an eye-watering £22.4m (with buyer's premium) at Christie's in London yesterday following a media frenzy. The work was owned by Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza who said she needs the money to care for her collection. The Lock, meanwhile, had been on loan to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid since 1992. But two of the museum's trustees objected to the sale: Francesca von Habsburg, the stepdaughter of the Baroness, and Norman Rosenthal, formerly of the Royal Academy in London (he has since resigned as trustee). "Francesca has sold off family paintings, including an American picture that I bought back at an auction in New York some years ago," quipped the Baroness, the widow of Hans Heinrich. But will the Baroness sell any more works? Half of her collection, or 400 works, is on loan to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza under an arrangement with the Spanish state. The Baroness told the ministry of culture that she will not sell further paintings. When The Art Newspaper asked whether this represents a firm commitment, she responded: "Absolutely."
Brüggemann's joy of text
Stefan Brüggemann has a way with words, presenting tantalizing and trenchant text-based conceptual pieces. The residents of Miami are now due to get a taste of the Mexican artist’s textual flair as Brüggemann is due to shortly install on a façade of the city’s Bass Museum the following work: (This is not supposed to be here). "I like to create tension in my work between conceptual and pop ideas though I consider myself to be more capitalist than marxist. I play with the idea that at the end of the day, art is a product. When someone acquires my work, it means that a circle of communication and production is completed," he says. A selection of new and recent works by Brüggemann are also due to go on show in an exhibition dedicated to Mexican artists at Rove Gallery, 33-34 Hoxton Square in London (5 July-25 August). “Misrepresentation, Mistake and Non-Disclosure”, curated by dealer Marina Kurikhina, will include new and recent text-based offerings from Brüggemann including Untitled (Joke & Definition Paintings), 2011, an astute appropriation of works by Richard Prince and Joseph Kosuth. The exhibition also includes pieces by José Davila and Gonzalo Lebrija.