Malevich at Tate Modern

In Museums on September 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Tate Modern’s exhibition about Kazimir Malevich is much more than just a black square. Although you’ll know a lot about black squares when you’re done.

Malevich (1875-1935) is not an easy artist to create an exhibition about. While his work might be rather straightforward to look at, looking at it is only part of the experience. To view his work and understand it – the nature of Suprematism and the philosophy underlying it – one needs to go on an art-historical journey to early twentieth century Russia.

Suprematism is mixed up with politics, identity and notions of the future, along with a healthy questioning of the very nature of art. It’s not a quick win.

I suspected Tate Modern would go on an intellectual rampage with this subject – as they are want to do – but was actually pleasantly surprised. Their curator has managed to tell the story clearly and concisely at each stage, allowing visitors to understand what they need to in order to make meaning in front of the art pieces.

If you don’t have time to see the exhibition before it closes on 26 October, you might want to watch Zaha Hadid’s programme about Malevich and his influence on her work. The Russian Revolutionary is on iPlayer until 16 September.

In other news, Zaha has today been confirmed as the designer of the Science Museum’s new Mathematics gallery, which will open in 2015.

Revealing secrets

In Museums on July 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Last year I wrote a blog post about a secret that had managed to come my way about a forthcoming exhibition. At the time I thought it was incredibly exciting and wondered whether I would spill the beans, or even if someone else would.

Now the wait is over – the secret is out. Indeed, it has been released in the proper way by a press release. I managed not to tell anyone, and am feeling rather smug about that. But I’m also enjoying the fact that other people are getting excited about this news too.

It’s the news that the British Library’s temporary exhibition next year about Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy will feature original copies of both the US Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Here’s the full press release. The New York Public Library and the US National Archives are both making historic loans of these items and I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing them displayed alongside Magna Carta.

For those who wonder why Magna Carta is an important document, these items coming on loan to be alongside it are surely proof enough. Magna Carta changed history and without it we wouldn’t have these landmark pieces of legislation. And of course they give rise to things like the UN and EU Declarations of Human Rights and countless others. Seeing them all together in one room next will be a real treat.

And I didn’t spill the beans once!

Comics at the British Library

In Museums, what i'm reading on May 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

Today the British Library opens a new exhibition about comics.

What I found really refreshing was that it takes us well beyond stereotypical comics such as Superman, Dan Dare and the Beano to new, dynamic and sometimes subversive places.

The comic art form is presented as a means of expressing the other, the underground, the non-conformist view, be it politics, anarchy, sex, gender, magic or identity. Comics have, for generations, been much more than teenage escapism and superheroes in tight outfits. From Andy Capp and the Fat Slags to heroes hanging out in gay saunas and even comics about generation rent.

I picked out a few of my favourite pieces and wrote them up into an article for Vada, an online magazine who have allowed me to grace their pages. Here’s the article …

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is at the British Library until 19 August


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