Art in The Week That Was

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

Art:-

’33’ by Studio Weave at Greenwich Peninsula. The structure will be officially opened on 17th September, with free tickets available on Eventbrite.

It was announced this month that a new art installation will grace the Greenwich Peninsula from 17th September until 28th October.  Entitled ’33’ the architectural folly – which was created by Studio Weave in collaboration with Hato Press and Jay Cover – celebrates:-

‘… the evolution of the area as a creative community providing new homes, jobs and neighbourhoods near the River Thames’

The design mixes Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian elements and features a galvanized steel, powder coated staircase in vibrant yellow.  On the second level, the floor showcases epoxy paint stencilled graphics that symbolise flat room settings.

The management team have stated that visitors may actually climb the 3-storey, timber studwork structure, as long as they book their place online first.  Visitors must be aware that the upper levels do not have step-free access and the attraction may be closed if weather conditions become adverse.

Archaeology:-

Professor Christopher Henshilwood has led the Blombos Cave dig since 1991.

The oldest drawing ever made has been discovered in a cave in South Africa, according to archaeologists.  Found with a cache of other art forms, including jewellery and ochre stone etchings, the drawing has been added to a growing group of similar ancient art discovered as far apart as Morocco and Indonesia.  Professor Christopher Henshilwood from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, stated that this particular cache:-

‘…demonstrated that early Homo sapiens in the southern Cape used different techniques to produce similar signs on different media’

Thought to be the oldest human drawing discovered so far, the ochre ‘hashtag’ design on this rock is also known as an ‘octothorpe’.

Found in Blombos Cave, east of Cape Town, the rock which features a cross-hatched pattern drawn in ochre, lay buried there for over 73,000 years.  It was previously surmised that symbolic thought only emerged around 40,000 years ago when Homo sapiens colonised Europe – and yet much older, deliberately-scratched, artefacts have been discovered dating back over 300,000 years.   It is thought the Blombos Cave cache demonstrates the first deliberate depiction of symbolic representation, however.

Professor Alistair Pike from the University of Southampton (specialising in Neanderthal art) welcomed the finds:-

‘It’s very exciting but also not very surprising given the amount of symbolic activity that has already been found in the cave…’.

The Cressoni Theatre treasure trove, found accidentally last week by a team of archaeologists north of Milan.  Due to be redeveloped into luxury housing, the theatre/cinema was only closed in 1997.

Meanwhile, archaeologists in northern Italy discovered a veritable treasure trove of ancient Roman coins this month.  Found in the basement of an old theatre in Como (north of Milan), hundreds of coins dating to the late imperial era were unearthed hidden in a soapstone jar.  According to the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, the treasure has been transferred to the Mibac restoration laboratory in Milan for analysis.  National media outlets have estimated the find to be worth millions of dollars, with Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli stating:-

‘We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of the find, but that area is proving to be a real treasure for our archaeology.  A discovery that fills me with pride.’.

Photography:-

One of the recent Mars HiRISE images published by the University of Arizona entitled ‘Hanging Sand Dunes within Coprates Chasma’.

NASA released 2,540 stunning images of Mars taken by the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) recently.  HiRISE has been recording images of the surface of the red planet for the last 10 years, with incredible results.  The photography is said to be so detailed that scientists can examine geographical features with pinpoint accuracy.

Festivals:-

Some stunning footage has emerged from this year’s Burning Man Festival set in the Nevada Desert.  Every year thousands of eclectic participants descend on the dry and dusty plain to form their own civilisation – named Black Rock City.  Famed for its art installations, Mad-Max-style costumes, performance art and free collective consciousness, the festival sets out to create a ‘temporary metropolis dedicated to art and community’.  Notable moments from this year included colossal puppetry, ‘Bloom’ (a 40-foot tall, iridescent jellyfish), ‘Shadows Out Of Time’ (a theatre art installation) and ‘Ethereal Fleeting’ (a series of clouds held in place by a spider-like sculpture).

Performance:-

Kate Bush – who turned 60 in July this year – was awarded the Ivor Novello award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2002. She also received a 2018 nomination for induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland, Ohio), recently.

It was announced this week that legendary vocalist/songwriter Kate Bush is to publish a book of her lyrics featuring a comprehensive introduction by novelist David Mitchell.  Set to be released on 6th December by Faber, ‘How To Be Invisible:  Selected Lyrics’ will showcase songs from Bush’s 40-year career which famously incorporate quotes from greats such as Emily Bronte, James Joyce and the Brothers Grimm.

Writing about Kate Bush in The Guardian (2011), David Mitchell commented:- ‘It’s hard to think of a novelist, let alone another singer-songwriter, who takes on such diverse narrative viewpoints with Bush’s aplomb…’.

David Mitchell – who has previously described Bush as his ‘hero’ – wrote 3 spoken-word sections featured in the singer’s ‘Before The Dawn’ comeback performances in 2014.  He commented:-

‘For millions around the world Kate is way more than another singer-songwriter:  she is a creator of musical companions that travel with you through life.  One paradox about her is that while her lyrics are avowedly idiosyncratic, those same lyrics evoke emotions and sensations that feel universal.’.

In other news, it was revealed that Jason Donovan cycled over to Hyde Park in an impromptu move to reunite with ex-partner Kylie Minogue during her headline show in the capital.  Performing top of the bill for BBC Radio 2 Live, the Pop Princess was due to sing their 1989 hit ‘Especially For You’.  Half way through the song, Donovan joined her on stage following a surprise telephone invitation from Kylie only an hour before.  Charmed by the warm gesture, Donovan later tweeted:-

Featuring that famous lift and twirl, Donovan and Minogue unexpectedly reunited this week at BBC Radio 2 Live, Hyde Park, to perform their 80’s hit ‘Especially For You.’.

‘I literally turned up on my bike to support my friend Kylie Minogue and next thing you know I’m onstage Hyde Park in front of 70,000 people recreating those dance moves Especially For You 1988 – mad!’.

Fashion:-

Model Valeria Garcia wearing her Elvie breast pump at London Fashion Week this weekend.

Model Valeria Garcia has become the first ever runway participant to wear a breastpump.  Walking at London Fashion Week SS19 in the Marta Jakubowski show, Garcia sported a black, lacy bra with the Elvie Pump clearly visible on both breasts.  She is not the first model to promote breastfeeding rights at a fashion show, however.  Mara Martin walked the runway whilst breastfeeding her 5-month-old child to rave reviews back in July this year, during Miami Swim Week.  She reportedly stated afterwards:-

‘…I hope to normalize breastfeeding because it’s a natural thing women can do for their babies. I think women should be able to feed their babies how they want, when they want and where they want.’.

The Elvie breast pump features synchronicity with a smart phone app, enabling women to silently go about expressing breast milk whilst out and about or at work.  Elvie Founder Tania Boler said her design concept was prompted because:-

‘Being a new mother can be incredibly stressful…’.

 

[Credits:  Feature image – ‘Martian Polar Dunes’ HiRISE MRO image of Mars published by NASA (futurist.com); youtube.com; Burning Man 2018 by Rescue The Princess! (youtube.com); burningman.org; mg.co.za; The Independent; news.com.au; CNN; The Guardian; list.co.uk; aniland.info; itv.com; eveningexpress.co.uk; hirise.lpl.arizona.edu; mars.nasa.gov/mro/mission/instruments/HiRISE; uahirise.org/updates; greenwichpeninsula.co.uk; NOW Gallery; eu.usatoday.com]

 

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