Art in Print

Can Italy make its teens more cultured by giving them €500 each?

As of this month 18 year olds are eligible for a €500 (£420) cash gift courtesy of Il Presidente. There is, of course, a small catch. The expensive gesture (£250m in a country on the economic skids) is a “culture bonus” designed not to improve Italy’s 40% youth unemployment rate, but to inject a bit of art into the gloomy lives of school-leavers.


To get the cash, anyone turning 18 this year will need to download an app and get vouchers for approved purchases, such as going the theatre. It’s not clear how widely the definition of “culture” is being applied, but, as an experiment in bottom-up arts funding, it is without precedent, if not without opposition: Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, has been accused of cynical crowd-pleasing.


A study by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2014 found no significant impact on GCSE results when trips or cash were offered as incentives to students, despite some surveys with contrary results – and reports that some parents are offering thousands of pounds to children in return for top grades.


Via The Guardian


“You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970” at the V&A

The exhibition is a blockbuster show examining the significance of the psychedelic music, fashion, design and political activism of the late 1960s, which opens on Saturday at the V&A. It details the positive, mind-expanding impact of LSD – still legal in 1966 – on a generation that embraced the hippy values of peace and love.


The exhibition has been curated by Victoria Broakes and Geoffrey Marsh, who were responsible for the David Bowie exhibition in 2013 – the fastest-selling in V&A history, seen by more than 310,000 people.


Moving through a series of themed rooms – Swinging Sixties fashion, political upheaval, the drug culture, consumerism – the exhibition illustrates how in an age before social media, rock music became the principal vehicle and soundtrack for the dissemination of countercultural ideas, whether in the coded (and not so coded) references to drug use and social dissent and change, or as a platform for style and design.


Via The Telegraph


Blockchain Art Exhibitions Explore the Bitcoin Technology’s Future

Simon Denny, the Berlin-based New Zealand artist, uses everyday objects like these to illuminate how technology shapes the way we live and work. This time, he explores blockchain, the little-understood technology underpinning the digital currency bitcoin.


His latest exhibition “Blockchain Future States”, opening on Thursday at New York’s Petzel Gallery, looks at competing views about how the technology should evolve. Large cutout images of the leaders of three leading blockchain companies—Digital Asset Holdings LLC, 21 Inc. and Ethereum—stand near globe-like structures meant to highlight how new currency systems could challenge traditional forms of statehood. A Risk board for each firm lays out the company’s strategy to create a new world order.


The artist says his goal isn’t to come to a solid conclusion about which blockchain future is better, but to tease out the possible opportunities and obstacles of each. “When people come across new technologies like this, they’re just not sure,” he says. “I’m coming in as a fan and optimist, but not as a blind publicist.”


Via The Wall Street Journal


Bill Viola’s ‘Mary’, St Paul’s Cathedral, London: ‘Iconic and unknowable’

There is a clash between modernity and timelessness, the superficial and the profound, the seductions of technology and the biological simplicity of nurturing a baby in Bill Viola’s video work “Mary” for St Paul’s Cathedral. The installation will be open to the public in the north quire of St Paul’s Cathedral in London from 9 September. Through this artwork he unlocks Mary’s story by saying that they should focus on “the feminine principle” to evolve the piece beyond Christian imagery.


Viola first started exploring the artistic potential of cathedrals in 1975 when he was investigating the impact of sound on the perception of space. What began as an acoustic experiment quickly developed into a fascination with cathedrals as living organisations. It seemed fitting when, almost two decades later, “The Nantes Triptych” (1993) and then “The Messenger” (Durham Cathedral, 1996) were presented in ecclesiastical settings. His attraction to the Christian aesthetic became yet more explicit in “The Passions”, pieces inspired by Renaissance devotional paintings, so this installation representing Mary seems like a natural culmination of his life’s work to date.


Via Financial Times