Art in The Week That Was

A selection of creative current affairs and events which have hit the headlines…

Art:-

A view down Fleet Street in 1890.

A photographic exhibition curated by the London Metropolitan Archives (City of London Corporation) has opened in the Capital, featuring the city 150 years ago.  The free display will remain at Aldgate Square until August 12th, when it will move to Paternoster Square until August 23rd.  Highlights include a couple seated on a Victorian tricycle, several views of now-demolished architecture, and Crystal Palace’s rebuild at Sydenham Hill.  The images were captured using plate cameras on tripods, which could only take one picture every 15 minutes.

Another stunning photography exhibition opened at the Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi, New Zealand.  Entitled ‘Puaki’, meaning to ‘come forth, show itself, open out, emerge, reveal, to give testimony’, the display by photojournalist Michael Bradley seeks to explore ta moko, the permanent tattoos on the face and body which are practiced by NZ indigenous culture.  Bradley, by showcasing the differences between wet-plate photographic methods used by 19th-Century European settlers and modern, digital photography, details how the stunning body art was almost lost to the historical record.  The former technique almost erases the tattoos, whereas the latter shows them much more clearly.

Paris‘s first ever digital art museum opened its doors to the public recently.  Called the ‘Atelier des Lumieres’ (‘Workshop of Lights’), the former foundry offers a multi-sensory, immersive exhibition where visitors can truly experience great works of art.  From Klimt to Stowasser, Schiele to the Vienna Secession art movement, masterpieces are displayed as you’ve never seen them before.  There is also a room dedicated to artificial intelligence and digital installations by newer artists (‘Le Studio’).  The museum marks an attempt by Paris’s cultural chiefs to draw in younger visitors and also to make the arts more accessible.  Culturespaces president, Bruno Monnier, stated:-

‘People do not learn about culture as they did in the past. The practices are evolving and cultural offering must be in step with them. The marriage of art and digital technology is, in my opinion, the future of the dissemination of art among future generations.’.

 

Archaeology:-

The 6th-Century Saxon warrior found on Salisbury Plain military training grounds this week. The team – comprising Wessex Archaeology representatives and also Afghanistan war veterans – commented that all of their finds were much better preserved that those usually found on agricultural land.

A 6th-Century Saxon warrior was found buried on Salisbury Plain during military excavations this week.  War veterans from the conflict in Afghanistan were assisting Wessex archaeologists on a dig at Barrow Clump, within the training grounds, when they found scores of Saxon burials (men, women and children), along with weapons and jewellery.  The warrior’s grave is particularly well-preserved being that it has lain beneath a tank track for some years.  Grave goods included an ornate belt buckle, patterned sword including traces of wood and leather scabbard), a knife, a spear and tweezers.  Barrow Clump comprises a Bronze-Age burial mound seated on an older Neolithic settlement, which was used in later Anglo-Saxon times as a cemetery.

The soldiers were sent to the dig by Operation Nightingale – a scheme to aid the return and recovery of veterans from recent conflicts by involving them in archaeology.  The scheme has been so successful that a majority of the veterans have retrained as professional archaeologists.  The soldiers commented that to find a comrade in arms who might have shared some of the combat experiences they had endured, made the find doubly poignant.

The grave goods will be sent to the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes.

The previous garden design revealed at Chatsworth House this week. The estate has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.

The continued heatwave has yielded yet more archaeological places of interest in the UK this week.  Last week, Art Today reported on several hidden sites which had been given up by the land during the unusually-scorching Summer sun this year.  This time, it was the turn of Chatsworth House (Derbyshire – owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) and its ornate 17th-Century gardens.  Head of Gardens – Steve Porte – said he had been aware that the designs dating back to 1699, had lain hidden beneath the lawns.  He commented:-

‘It wasn’t a lost landscape or anything – we knew it was there…  But the fact is, it’s normally a green lawn so everything is hidden underneath, so its not visible.’.  

Sweeping outlines of carefully-curated flowerbeds and paths were revealed in the dry weather, an eerie symptom of the hottest UK Summer since 1976.

Performance:-

Legendary Polish rock star – ‘Kora’ – passed away this week aged 67.  Famous for fronting and songwriting for Manaam – one of the most publicised rock bands to come out of Poland in the 80s and 90s – she was a major award-winner within the music industry there.  She was also a familiar face on Polish music show ‘Must be the Music’.  Kora (Olga Jackowska) had suffered from Ovarian Cancer – for which she became a vociferous advocate – since 2011.  The acclaimed singer was once married to poet and painter, Kamil Sipowicz, and had been part of the Solidarity movement in the latter part of the 20th Century.

US Country music artist Eric Church has allegedly blamed lobbyists – and in particular the NRA (National Rifle Association) – for 58 people being gunned down at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, recently.  2 nights before the tragedy Church himself headlined the event that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He commented:-

‘I felt like the bait:  People come to see you play, then all of a sudden they die?  That is not an emotion I was prepared to deal with.  It wrecked me in a lot of ways.’.

The shooter apparently had a whole arsenal of weapons – 21 AK-47s and 10,000 rounds of ammunition – and was able to hold off the Las Vegas SWAT team, ensuring there were more victims.  Eric Church blames the NRA and their staunch lobbying of the Second Amendment for providing a block to appropriate recording of mass weapons stashes.

Fashion:-

Ivanka Trump closed her fashion line this week, following criticism on the brand’s ethics and also boycotting by the #GrabYourWallet movement.

Ivanka Trump has announced that she is closing down her fashion line.  The news came the day after it was revealed that the heiress manufactures her branded clothing, footwear and other accessories in China.  The brand has been suffering a downturn in sales since Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.  Following the publishing of the Access Hollywood ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ tape, groups of women boycotted the brand and proliferated the hashtag #GrabYourWallet.  The hashtag then developed into a social media movement, spearheaded by Shannon Coulter and Sue Atencio.  The website states:-

‘… two women simultaneously realised they could no longer in good conscience do business with companies doing business with the Trump family.’.

The boycotting of Trump products resulted, beginning in the autumn of 2016.

Coulter tweeted her thoughts on the closure victory:-

‘This is people power at work.  This is you using your voices and your hard earned money to push back on extremism…  You are #GrabYourWallet and this is your win.’.

Business:-

The House of Lords warned this week that the arts will suffer as a result of Brexit.  The Lords are anxious that without a reciprocal arrangement with the rest of the EU, the UK may see a decline in skilled creative workers coming into the UK.  The Lords’ EU home affairs sub-committee’s report on the Brexit aftermath called for greater clarity on the matter from the government.  The report states:-

‘Such a development would be to the detriment of the sector, and represent a significant loss to the audiences that enjoy seeing talent from across Europe performing in the UK.’.

The committee’s recommendation was to introduce some kind of ‘touring visa’ to provide arts professionals to move freely throughout the EU to share their skill.  It also stated that the cultural sector is ‘profoundly important’ to the UK’s economy and international influence, thriving only with continued collaboration with such professionals from around the world.

In similar news, organisers of this year’s WOMAD festival have complained that due to a newly-complicated visa process following the Brexit referendum, musicians are already refusing to perform in the UK.  Chief organiser Chris Smith stated that entering the UK has become so ‘difficult and humiliating’ that performers are put off.  He also stated:-

‘The world has never needed events like Womad more than it does now.  It stands for tolerance and understanding and learning and openness, but that culture is being crushed as politicians lurch to the right.’.

 TV & Film:-

The newly-sculpted heads of The Golden Girls figures by Trevor Grove Sculpture show incredible detail.

Alexandra Daddario has previously starred in the ‘American Horror Story’ TV franchise, and also ‘Baywatch’ as Summer Quinn’.

News this week that The Golden Girls characters are to be turned into action figures delighted fans the world over.  Debuted at San Diego’s Comic Con, the 8-inch-tall figures are uncanny likenesses of the show’s 4 female leads – Dorothy Zbornak, Rose Nylund, Blanche Devereaux and Sophia Petrillo.  The National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) – manufacturers of fine pop culture collectibles – have taken the task as seriously as any sculptor, with painstaking attention to detail, including the correct fabric for each and every item of clothing.  Pre-order your set now for $114.99.

Sophie Kinsella fans were also happy to hear that the author’s best-selling novel ‘Can You Keep A Secret?’ is being made into a Hollywood movie, starring Alexandra Daddario as Emma Corrigan.  Kinsella announced the news on her social media pages this week, sharing Daddario’s posting on the matter.  Both are evidently excited at the project and gave the director’s name as Elise Duran.  Daddario also has an Executive Producer role.  IMDB states that the movie is currently in pre-production.

 

 

[Credits:  Feature image – Puaki by Michael Bradley exhibition (petapixel.com); Facebook:  @polandinenglish; Facebook:  @necaofficial; Facebook:  trevor.grove.9; The Guardian; The Independent; womad.co.uk; Evening Standard; YouTube; Nico Paladino; Mashable; Second Nexus; ivankatrump.com; imdb.com; hdwalle.com; vimeo.com; countryliving.com]

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