Art in The Week That Was

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

Art:-

The Clyde Tunnel ‘Portal’ by Robbie Thomson.

Glasgow’s Clyde Tunnel has been transformed into a piece of sci-fi artwork in order to celebrate its 55th birthday.  Artist Robbie Thomson has filled the 762m space with immersive sounds, lights and robots, calling the transformative piece ‘Portal’.  Part of the Sonica Arts Festival, the display will compete for the city’s cultural programme in the European Championships 2018.  It will remain until 12th August.

Other notable parts of the cultural programme include:-

Celebrated photographer Wim Wenders, whose favourite medium is Polaroid.

Film Director and Photographer – Wim Wenders – stepped forward this week to protest the decline in modern photography.  Citing the rise in popular smart phone photography, the expert explained that because the public taking these new type of images don’t really look at them or display them once they are stored in their gadgets, this prolific use of photography has also meant its demise.  He also commented that whilst photography was originally about providing a more truthful medium than painting, with selfie manipulation software and apps, photography has lost the quality of honesty.  Wenders has suggested that a new term is found for this particular branch of modern photography.

Archaeology:-

Yet another notable, archaeological treasure found by a metal detector enthusiast in the UK this year. Art Today feels a hobby coming on!

An amateur metal detectorist, Jason Massey, has discovered a ‘high status’ Roman signet ring in a Somerset field this week.  Engraved with the god Victory, the gold ring was found at Crewkerne, just south of Yeovil.  It has yet to be evaluated by the British Museum, but is thought to date from around the 3rd to 4th Century AD.  The ring is thought to have been detected in the same location as a Roman lead-lined coffin, which was also found by Massey and his group of fellow enthusiasts – Detecting for Veterans – last November.  Massey also discovered around 60 Roman gold coins at the site, last Sunday.

5,000 year-old human remains found at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, have begun to give up more of their provenance via the use of new scientific techniques by a team led by Oxford University.

Scientists have discovered that a majority of the charred skeletal remains previously discovered at Stonehenge belonged to ancient humans from West Wales.  Along with the famous bluestones extant at the English Heritage site, 10 of the 25 individuals tested with new techniques were found to have travelled from the region of a quarry in the Preseli Hills.  Whilst it cannot be proved that these people actually helped build the monument, the earliest cremation dates within the group are allegedly ‘tantalisingly close’ to the date the bluestones were brought into the earlier structural formation (ditch and bank monument) to form the first stone circle.

The newly-unearthed Roman library discovered in Cologne (founded as ‘Colonia’ by the Romans in 50 AD).

An impressive public library – infact the oldest in Germany – has been uncovered during an archaeological dig in Koln (Cologne) this week.  The walls were first uncovered in 2017 during an excavation in the grounds of a Protestant church in the city centre.  It is thought the library may have been large enough to house up to 20,000 scrolls and could date back to the 2nd Century AD.  Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne stated:-

‘It dates from the middle of the second century and is at a minimum the earliest library in Germany, and perhaps the north-west Roman provinces.’.

Of its identification as a library he said:-

‘If we had just found the foundations, we wouldn’t have known it was a library.  It was because it had walls, with the niches, that we could tell.’.

Discovering the niches in the walls was indeed the eureika moment.  Likened to the library niches extant at Ephesus, they are too small to bear any kind of statuary, but instead housed stacked scrolls.

Following the preservation of the walls – which is currently in progress – 3 of the niches will be viewable by the public in the cellar of the new Protestant church community centre, which is currently under construction.

Performance:-

Britney Spears has reportedly stolen the show at this year’s Gay Pride Festival in Brighton, UK.  Nearly 60,000 revellers danced the night away on Saturday, 4th August, as the star performed hits from her back catalogue.  The show comprised her usual Las Vegas residency ‘Piece of Me’, plus songs from right back at the start of her career.  Brit and her fans hit it off right away, with the pop princess tweeted:-

‘Brighton Pride… all 57,000 of you are perfectly beautiful!  Heard it was a record-breaking turnout!!!  Thank you for a fabulous show…  I love you all.’.

Unfortunately, some of the usual Brighton Pride party-goers were a little disappointed to have missed out on their tickets this year, apparently disgruntled that Britney fans (and not necessarily LGBTQ Pride supporters) had got their first.

Madonna captured by photographic duo ‘Mert and Marcus’ (aka Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott) for Vogue Italia’s cover.

Queen of Pop, Madonna, revealed this week that one of the main reasons she relocated from America to Lisbon, Portugal, recently, was due to her disgust with President Donald Trump.  In her interview with Vogue Italia, the star commented that this is not ‘America’s finest hour’ alluding to her much-documented resentment of the unpopular Republican.  Whilst also having set up residence in one of Portugal’s finest cities in order to further her son, David Banda’s, football career, she apparently wished to ‘get out of America for a minute’.  The songstress is renowned for her ability to make a statement and she has not held back in the past in her anti-Trump protests.  From tweeting a picture of Eric and Donald Trump Jr and asking which was the biggest pussy, to featuring a Trump piñata at her son’s birthday party, Madonna knows how to get the public’s attention using any media necessary to make her point.

Fashion:-

The Vans x Van Gogh Museum collection is available to purchase on the vans website. A portion of each sale will be donated to the museum.

It was announced this week that VANS – the footwear manufacturer – are releasing a fashion line inspired by 19th-Century painter Van Gogh’s famous masterpieces.  A museum in Amsterdam dedicated to the celebrated post-impressionist has collaborated with VANS  to produce the Vans x Van Gogh Museum collection.  It will comprise pumps, t-shirts, accessories and jackets all printed with the Dutch artist’s most recognisable pieces.  Art Today’s favourites include a bomber jacket featuring the iconic ‘Almond Blossom’ painting, and deck shoes emblazoned with ‘Skull’.

Culture:-

Thousands of Holi worshippers in India came together recently to take part in the nation’s Fire Festival.  In the Southern coastal city of Mangalore, 2 groups of male volunteer devotees were pitched against each other in a fire throwing contest to appease Durga, Goddess of War.  To prevent serious burns occurring during Agni Keli, each participant sports protective layers of fabric, wrapped around their lower body.  They are also limited to 5 throws each.

 

[Credits:  Feature image – ‘Portal’ by Robbie Thomson (The Scotsman); YouTube – Jesse Dodsworth; The Scotsman;  My Modern Met; out.com; Vogue Italia; vans.co.uk; BBC Somerset; traveldigg.com; theguardian.com; rt.com; Culture Trip; en.unifrance.org; BBC News; ancientorigins.net]

 

 

 

 

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