SHOWNews: Your Weekly Art Bulletin

by Christina Donoghue on 10 July 2024

Art and culture editor Christina Donoghue reports on the week in art.

Art and culture editor Christina Donoghue reports on the week in art.

Michaela Stark and Shannon Bono Head to Tate Britain For Sunday Social

If there's one thing SHOWstudio prides itself on it's supporting the next generation of talent by reporting on the next up-and-coming artists to watch and engaging them in interviews, projects and the like. Since 2022, Australian-born lingerie couturier Michaela Stark has been our muse-of-the-moment and we couldn't be more thrilled at the thought of the art world gradually catching on to her star quality, certified by the boundary-pushing designer's involvement in Tate Britain's Sunday Social which took place earlier this week on 7 July. Celebrating the closing of their equally celebrated and highly controversial exhibition Sargent and Fashion, Tate worked on a special events programme which took inspiration from Sargent’s sensational portrait, Madame X, to explore how taking risks through art can push boundaries and champion for inclusivity. The day saw a myriad of creatives joining Stark in taking part in a series of talks, workshops, performances, and tours including Sadie Sinner and Sarabande scholar Shannon Bono. Our highlight? Watching Stark come alive while she was suspended in a wooden frame knotted with nude coloured chiffon that wrapped around the cargo-like rectangular structure, all the while dressed in one of her signature couture looks. Now that's art.

Photograph by Fred W. McDarrah

MUUS Collection Welcomes Photographs by Fred W. McDarrah in New Pride and Protest exhibition

France and Britain may have recently swung to the left of centre but that doesn't mean the fight against fascism is over, nor is it for LGBTQI+ rights. Representing a view of queer cultural life in New York City pre 1969 and the Stonewall Uprising right through to the protests centred on the 1980s AIDS crisis, MUUS Collection's latest exhibition, Pride and Protest dives into the portfolio of longtime Greenwich Village photographer Fred W. McDarrah, who was the first picture editor and staff photographer for The Village Voice. Pictures of protests are everpresent but so are McDarrah's portraits of renowned poets Frank O’Hara and W.H. Auden, both of whom feature in the show alongside other depictions of key figures from the gay rights movement in all its contentious and celebratory public display. Amid the confusing and alarming statements concerning Trans rights in Britain and beyond, this exhibition offers respite for all those wondering 'when will the fight for human rights end', conceding in the notion that although there's a long-winding path ahead, half of it has already been walked by our brother and sisters in the 1960s,70s and 80s.

Pride and Protest: Photographs by Fred W. McDarrah is open to the public until 1 September.

'Up In Smoke' at NOW Gallery

NOW Gallery Supports the Work of Artist John Booth and Mat Barnes In Latest Exhibition Up in Smoke

Whether you believe it or not, London's Greenwich Peninsula hasn't always belonged to the filthy rich and ultra modern luxury high rises. Before the banks, the university and the lavish flats, Greenwich was very much a working class area. Just like many other parts of London, the historic former marshland was largely characterised by its vast array of chimneys - a fact that's served as vital inspiration for John Booth and Mat Barnes' NOW Gallery installation Up In Smoke. Reimagining the historical chimneys of the area, the exhibition sees the gallery space transformed into a vibrant, colourful and interactive hand-painted installation filled with five complete chimneys, each evoking the memories of the area’s lively past by connecting it with the vibrant cultural hub we know it as today.

As playful as it is provocative, Up In Smoke is open to the public until 22 September.

© Gian Paolo Barbieri - Eva Herzigovà in Luciano Soprani, Io Donna, Roma, 1997. Courtesy of Fondazione Gian Paolo Barbieri, 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

New Exhibition In Puglia Explores Why Fashion Photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri's Lens Goes Beyond Fashion

Only a handful of photographers deserve the accolade of being admitted into fashion (and Hollywood's) Great Wall of Fame; Edward Steichen, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Nick Knight and David Bailey to name a few. But it would be a lie to say that's the complete list, especially when you come up against the work of Gian Paolo Barbieri who has always been an exception to the rule while remaining none other than exceptional. Exploring Barbieri's seminal impact on fashion photography and the industry at large, The Lucie Awards and 29 Arts In Progress Gallery have teamed up with the photographer's eponymous foundation for the retrospective of a lifetime in Ostuni, Puglia, that serves as a well-nourishing meal for any budding fashion photographer. Featuring a highly sought-after selection of Barbieri's masterworks - including unpublished photographs from the 1960s to 2000 - the exhibition spotlights some of the most famous women of our time including Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci, Isabella Rossellini and Audrey Hepburn while also paying homage to the fashion legend's imitable campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ferrè, and many more. If you happen to find yourself in Puglia this summer, we don't have to tell you what to do or go to see but we do know you'd be missing out if this wasn't ticked off your list.

Gian Paolo Barbieri Beyond Fashion will be open to the public until 31 August 2024.

Artwork by Faye Wei Wei

London's Favourite Painter Faye Wei Wei Releases Debut Monograph Portals

If spirituality is Faye Wei Wei's playground, theatricality is the game she plays, and boy does she play it well. Movement is central to Wei Wei's paintings which are as bold as they are seductively poetic, quivering with a vibrant immediacy of sorts that casts its own spell on you. Compiling the best of her mythic and more ambiguous paintings, Wei Wei's debut monograph depicts a cast of characters drawn from the artist's own intimate memories to create a rich collective experience enjoyed by all who find comfort in her tender and beautifully fictitious works.

You can buy Portals on Cob Gallery's website here.

Bella Freud and Katy Hessel Talk the Top 10 Great Women In Art

There's no one more qualified to talk art history (sans homme) than Katy Hessel, who's not only the author of The Story of Art without Men, but also a Guardian columnist, podcaster, BBC presenter, Visiting Fellow at University of Cambridge and a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum. This Thursday, Hessel will be speaking to designer Bella Freud as the pair divulge their personal insights on the women who have influenced them - from art dealers, to artists, and everyone in between. Whether you sit in the camp of 'I love Artemisia Gentileschi' or 'Lee Krasner forever', this talk is bound to attract art nerds everywhere so sit down and get pen to paper while Freud and Hessel go head to head in a conversational that not only promises to be fascinating but also deeply inspiring.

Artwork by Hany Armanious, 'Somewhere to Cry', 2012

Henry Moore Institute Opens With Hany Armanious Exhibition

At long last, the nation's beloved Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is set to reopen this week following its first major refurbishment in its 30-year history, launching with the first solo exhibition in a European institution by Hany Armanious, one of Australia’s leading sculptors.

Armed with a practice that sees Armanious cunningly reflect on his own history - one which traces the artist's idiosyncratic ways of conversing with the world - Stone Soup brings together a sumptuous display of sculptural works from the artist's 30-year career - one as old as the institution Armanious will present his works in. The secret to understanding this artist's impressive masterpieces is there isn't one: all you have to do is reflect on your own feelings of joy and uncertainty when beholding objects for the very first time. Sometimes understanding and conversing with sculpture can really be that simple, and we're only too glad the Henry Moore Institute agrees.

Stone Soup opens to the public on 12 July and will remain so until 3 November, 2024.

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