Art in Print

Collector turns Fortnum & Mason into gallery for British art


Retail magnate turned art collector Frank Cohen has gone back to the shop floor with an exhibition of work by names including Tracey Emin and the Chapman Brothers at Fortnum & Mason. Mr. Cohen, 72, who made his fortune running a DIY chain, has lent more than 60 works to the Piccadilly store for a month for the exhibition. The exhibition, Fortnum’s X Frank, opens today, and is timed to run alongside the Frieze art fair in October.
The idea of the exhibition started after he sat next to Fortnums boss Ewan Venters at a dinner for the wedding anniversary of their friend, novelist Howard Jacobson. “Fortnums is a British institution and I’ve always been a big collector of British art from the moment I had a penny in the Seventies,” Mr Cohen said.
Mr. Venters said he hoped customers would be captivated by the “innovative collaboration”.


Via Evening Standard


City Hall reveals plan for dedicated ‘artist zones’ in London to protect from soaring rents


Justine Simons said stopping creative people being priced out of London was a priority for her. She had been appointed to London’s new deputy mayor for culture by Sadiq Khan in July. She said the “ultimate solution” was to ensure artists own their studios and she was looking at ways of helping individuals and organisations to purchase unused spaces in existing creative hubs such as in east and south-east London, and identify new ones. According to her dedicated “artist zones” created in areas such as Hackney Wick and Peckham offer protection against developers and soaring rents. Her team are also looking at whether creative firms could benefit from cheaper business rates.
“What we want to create is an area where creative people can put down roots and that would be a creative enterprise zone. That’s working with local authorities, developers with the creative community and residents. It’s putting a spotlight and a ring around an area.”


Via Evening Standard

Charlotte Moorman New York exhibition: a spirit of unruly innovation


If you’ve never heard of Charlotte Moorman, the cellist who covered her breasts with propellers, television sets, or nothing at all, it may be because for a time she was too famous for her own good. In the 1960s she earned notoriety and sarcastic snorts, especially from artists she championed. She played cello while held aloft by a bunch of helium balloons. She wrapped herself in clear plastic sheeting. And by the time she died in 1991, her career had been written off as an avant-garde sideshow. If Moorman is remembered at all today, it’s as Nam June Paik’s sidekick, the lady who wore his “TV Bra for Living Sculpture” (1969).
Now that so many of her collaborators and detractors have become historical figures, New York’s Grey Art Gallery is trying to lend her posthumous respectability. She might have been amused by the thoroughness with which the curators have pawed through her archives and come up with masses of video clips, photographs, papers and relics, supplemented by copious wall texts . She emerges from this earnest and effervescent tribute as an intrepid performer/impresario, who worked hard to launch advanced art and music out of its New York bubble and into a wider world.


Via Financial Times


Inside Bedlam, England’s first mental institution

The new exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond, which opens on Thursday at the Wellcome Collection in London, charts the asylum’s journey from medieval priory and Hogarthian hell-hole to its modern incarnation. The exhibition focuses as much as it can on sufferers, dwelling equally on their experiences of illness and also its treatment and the consequences. It traces the continually evolving relationships between illness, people and institutions, drawing on an extraordinary range of artefacts, documents and often arresting artworks.
The exhibition isn’t perfect; no account of the subject can be. It is literally brainless — there isn’t one in sight from start to finish. The rest of the Wellcome may be embracing neuroscience with its promises of a new psychiatry, but not here. However, it tells a compelling story, convincing you that the closure of the asylums and the embrace of community care was as much economic as therapeutic. It shows how Psichiatria Democratica and the anti-psychiatry movement failed to prove their slogan that “liberty is cure”. No amount of reform or ideological fervour has abolished mental illness. Indeed, it seems more common than ever. Yet while simple solutions remain elusive, the voices of the service user or patient increasingly humanise what we do.


Via The Times


Zen and the Art of Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami got religion. In “Learning the Magic of Painting,” an exhibition opening this week in Paris, the Japanese artist best-known for colourful, animé-inspired pop art and fashion collaborations with brands like Louis Vuitton presents a series of new works based on traditional Zen art.
Mr. Murakami turned to his ancestral culture following the 2011 earthquake in Japan. The devastation the temblor caused the country and its people pushed the artist to question religion as a social phenomenon that helps people cope with disaster. “Japanese people on the surface have no religion,” says Mr. Murakami. “Still, they have a spirituality below. With the big earthquake, I could see how we need religion.” As part of that reflection, Mr. Murakami embarked on a project to create a modern rendering of “The 500 Arhats,” a classic Japanese scroll depicting the disciples of Buddha who have achieved enlightenment.
Four years on, Mr. Murakami continues to revisit the ancient Japanese arts—most recently with his interpretation of the enso, a circle painted in a single gesture of the brush that symbolizes the search for perfection. “The enso is a true homage to Japanese tradition, a return to a more unfettered minimalist practice, the result of a complex artistic and spiritual path,” says gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin. In the more than 40 new works on display at Galerie Perrotin until 23 December, Mr. Murakami brings the two disciplines together, mixing religious characters such as Buddha, dragons and tigers with his signature icons, including pandas, skulls and flowers.


Via The Wall Street Journal