Art in the Week That Was

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

1.  National Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 

‘The Power of Nature’ by Sergio Tapiro Velasco – 2017 National Geographic Photographer of the Year.

The National Geographic Photographer of the Year was announced.  A stunning photograph by Sergio Tapiro Velasco of Mexico clinched the top prize.  Featuring a powerful eruption of Mexico’s Colima Volcano, the exemplary piece details an ash cloud highlighted by a lightening bolt, streaking through the velvet black night sky.  The photographer himself said: ‘I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life…’.  The photograph was entered in the ‘Nature’ category of the top publication’s annual competition.  It is available as a wallpaper download on the National Geographic site.

2.  World Interior of the Year Award 2017 Shortlist 

‘Stable’, Belgium, by Studio Farris Architects – shortlisted for this year’s Interior of the Year Award.

The shortlist for the World Interior of the Year Award 2017 has been announced.  78 shortlisted contenders spread over 9 design categories will vie for the coveted prize at the Interior Design Festival at the Arena Berlin from 15th to 17th November.  It will coincide with the World Architecture Festival and the World Building of the Year 2017 will also be announced during proceedings.  Last year’s winner was a boutique with a matt black interior in Hangzhou, China.  This year, Amsterdam studio UXUS is shortlisted in the Retail category for its shop design for the Herzog and de Meuron extension to the Tate Modern.  Meanwhile, Zaha Hadid Architects (‘Mathematics’, The Winton Gallery, Science Museum, London) and Perkins + Will (Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, England) amongst others are pitted against each other in the Civic, Culture and Transport category.  Paul Finch – Programme Designer for Inside and WAF stated: ‘… our conference theme is ‘performance’, which will examine how elements like colour, acoustics and volume contribute to the success of new and refurbished interior projects.’.  Dezeen will sponsor this year’s event.

3.  Bitcoin up 264% this year – Easy-To-Use Gallery Payments 

Romanian artist Stefania Nistoreanu becomes the first artist in her country to sell a painting using Bitcoin. Listed on luxury buying platform, the painting took seconds to buy with a currency value of 1 Bitcoin to $2,250 at the time of transaction.

Digital currency Bitcoin rose 264% this year, breaking through the $3,500 mark earlier this month.  The cryptocurrency’s presence in the art world is growing rapidly due to the ease of recording large transactions on a virtual ledger.  The first UK art gallery to accept payments in digital currencies is Dadiani Gallery based in central London.  Bitcoin alongside Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash and NEM are featured as payment systems on the Dadiani Gallery website via ‘Blockchain’.  The Gallery explains: ‘A Blockchain is a decentralised, network centric digital ledger, on which transactions are recorded. Cryptocurrencies are managed by this network and not by any central authority. It is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks.’.  One of the advantages of such a system is that multiple users can transact using a cryptocurrency, incurring a minimal administration fee no matter the payment sum involved.  Another egalitarian feature is that providing you have an internet connection, the Blockchain is available to you.  Dadiani helpfully advise that they are on hand should buyers wish to create their own currency ‘wallet’ to enable their purchases.  They will be creating their own gallery cryptocurrency later this year.

4.  Buckingham Palace Festival 

Visitors to the Buckingham Palace Festival enjoy the photographic opportunity provided by a mock-up of one of Her Majesty’s gilded carriages.

Buckingham Palace opened its doors for its annual family festival earlier this month.  The one-day summer event featured arts activities of various kinds to entertain the influx of crowds during the school Summer Holidays.  Visitors could take part in arts and crafts, dance and drama, as well as creating an individual investiture medal or designing an outfit for a State Banquet.  One particularly popular attraction was to pose in a recreation of the palace’s balcony, where the Royal Family greet the Trooping the Colour parade each June.  In The Queen’s Gallery, which currently has an exhibition entitled ‘Canaletto & the Art of Venice’, children were able to decorate their own Venetian masks and create their own watercolours.  A key point of poignant interest was the exhibition dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, in The Staterooms.

5.  BigPicture Natural World Photography Winner 

‘Confiscated’ by Britta Jaschinski – Grand Prize Winner of the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition 2017.

Another annual photographic competition winner was announced, this time being the BigPicture Natural World Photographer Winner 2017.  The Grand Prize was bestowed upon Britta Jaschinski for her shot entitled ‘Confiscated’.  The photograph features 2 elephant feet that have been converted into footstools, in a disturbing attempt at combining trophy display and upholstery.  Jaschinski – a lecturer in photography and animal rights issues across Europe – states: ‘These stools are only an example of the many deeply disturbing items that people try to smuggle through borders and airports across the globe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stores 1.3 million seized items at a warehouse in Colorado. Trolleys are used to move the confiscated items around the warehouse. I placed the body parts on this backdrop to give some dignity to the objects and pay respect to the animals that loose their lives in the name of status, greed and superstition.’.  Other prize winners include ‘Mantis Mom’ – a shot detailing a Praying Mantis mother guarding millions of eggs by Filippo Borghi – and ‘Sea Jewels’ – a sealife shot taken by Jodi Frediani in Monterey Bay, California.




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