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Choices from the 'Festival in a Box'

Do Try This at Home

For the ‘festival in a box’ – in Director Shoair Mavlain’s words – ‘the artworks travelled to people’s homes, classrooms and community spaces’, so eliminating the reliance on personal travel ‘which itself relies on economic privilege’ and allowing the viewer to ‘become the curator’ by choosing how to hang the work.

Peter Hujar: 'Self-portrait', 1966 FAD magazine

Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram

You can’t put everything on the increasingly central art medium of Instagram, as it’s censored. Specifically, any photographic image of genitals, naked buttocks or bare female breasts are out. The fact that it’s art isn’t held to make any difference, which has caused some annoyance.

Georg Baselitz: 'Manopola - Fausthandschuh', 2019[ FAD magazine

A Big Hand for Baselitz

The past few years have tended to see Georg Baselitz in fine, adventurous form, at least in the studio (less so in the interview room, where his ludicrous generalisations about female painters have tended to put people off). And you have to hand it to him here: well into his ninth decade, Baselitz has come up with a series of works quite unlike anything he has done before – a whole show of hands, many of them monumental

Surprises from Art UK

Art UK is the online home for every public art collection in the UK, recently represented to make 250,000 works easily searchable with a facility to curate your own show. Faced with so many options, I took took the simple approach of looking for less usual examples from some of my favourite C20th artists.

Trouble Online at Art Basel

Art Basel’s online viewing rooms can be visited until 26 June. There is plenty of trouble in the world for that art to reflect: not just the virus, the economy, wars, terrorism and global warming but also bad attitudes. Here’s my selection of work which addresses the anti-discriminatory agenda so effectively foregrounded by ‘Me Too’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’…

3 from The #artistsupportpledge

Perhaps the most heartening coronavirus development in art has been the development of the Artist Support Pledge, whereby works are offered for sale for up to £200, and when an artist sells £1,000-worth they pledge to spend £200 supporting another artist. Over 250,000 works have now been posted on Instagram at #artistsupportpledge, generating over £20m! Naturally, quality is variable at that quantity, but it is easy enough to access artists you like through their own Instagram accounts. I posted some examples in my 22 April column. Here are three more who appealed to me…

Abstract Rainbows

Here are three rainbow-channelling works which I like: superficially similar concatenations of rectangular blocks which have many underlying differences.

Creative on Instagram

Instagram has become the default means for artists to present themselves online. Mostly, that’s to show new work, how it comes about, inspirations, recommendations – all of which can be interesting. But some go further: their Instagram account becomes, in effect, the platform for creating new work, perhaps at a slant from the work for which they’re best known. Here are four artists whose posts I look forward to from that less usual angle.

Mel Bochner, Plain as the Nose on Your Face

Lockdowns have been in place long enough by now that galleries have had time to home their digital content beyond simply putting up what would have been in the gallery. Simon Lee’s Mel Bochner viewing room, for example, gives us various texts, a film and a discussion with the New York based artist which, alongside the images, provides a comprehensive overview of his practice (to 17th May)

Dallas Art Fair from the Sofa

The Dallas Art Fair has taken a hybrid position in response to the coronavirus: it has stuck to its original dates of April 14-23, but only online, postponing the physical fair to October 1-4. Here’s a choice of six works you can see and buy in advance at  https://www.dallasartfair.com/online  should you happen to have the requisite amounts to hand…

At least it isn’t 1666

Want some consolation during the lockdown? Covid-19 is far from being as lethal as the bubonic plague which, for example, killed a quarter of London’s population in 1665-6.

Touching from a Distance

My heading comes from Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’, and given that the band also recorded ‘Isolation’, they must be the go-to musical precursors of our current ‘social distancing’. What about visual artists?

A New Reality?

Will the enforced move from physical to virtual exhibitions and fairs during the corona restrictions accelerate a permanent shift in the balance?  It’s hard to say, but there is certainly plenty of online content available. Here are four things which came to my attention in the first few ‘stay at home’ days.

Virtually Hong Kong

Art Basel viewing Rooms (available 18-25 March following the cancellation and return of 75% of fees) shows no particular platform innovations in allowing galleries to showcase what would have been at the fair.

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is on tour.

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is on tour, the last stop being Leicester (21 Feb – 18 April). 1800 entries were whittled down to the 60 artists shown, with their primary motivations across technical accomplishment, working drawings towards a future purpose, exploration of expanded techniques (eg film of drawing) and the expression of potentially media-neutral ideas.

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