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The Guardian

Sep 25 2017
Turner prize 2017 exhibition review: a snake-infested garden and fat cats on horseback

Satirical crockery, haircut pinups and jaunty potatoes jostle for the attention, along with pages from the Guardian. But Rosalind Nashashibi should win for her mesmerising films about everyday life in Gaza – and a mother and daughter’s overgrown Guatemalan home

Opening at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, the 2017 Turner prize is an uneven and at times frustrating exhibition. Relaxing the upper age limit for nominated artists is a good thing. Some artists don’t hit their stride until relatively late or are, for various reasons, overlooked. For a long time Lubaina Himid, born in Zanzibar in 1954, was just such a case. In the last couple of years, major solo shows in Oxford and Bristol, and her inclusion in a survey of 1980s black art, have brought her a new audience and increased visibility. Her 1987 tableau, A Fashionable Marriage, is a take on William Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode, restaged as a series of cut-out figures. It remains the best thing in Himid’s Turner prize exhibition, which is a pity.

Related: Lubaina Himid: the Turner prize nominee making black lives visible

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The Guardian

Sep 25 2017
Postcards on the edge as Britain’s oldest publishers signs off

With the demise of the country’s oldest postcard publisher, is the industry now a write-off – or are reports of its death premature?

Things we forgot we already knew: the postcard industry is dying. The country’s oldest postcard publishers J Salmon has been churning small coloured squares of card out of its factory in Kent for more than 100 years. Until now. The fifth-generation brothers who still run the company have sent a letter to their clients, advising them that the presses will cease printing at the end of the year, and they will sell off their remaining stock throughout 2018.

It’s a sad demise for a company that brought us some iconic images of our country. The firm’s story began in 1880, when the original J Salmon acquired a printing business on Sevenoaks high street, and produced a collection of twelve black and white scenes of the town. In 1912, the business broke through into the big time by commissioning the artist AR Quinton, who produced 2,300 scenes of British life for them, up until his death in 1934. From Redruth to King’s Lynn, his softly coloured, highly detailed watercolours of rosy milkmaids, bucolic pumphouses and picturesque harbour towns earned him a place in the hearts of the public. J Salmon did photographs, it did cheery oils of seaside imagery titled with a garrulous enthusiasm: “Eat More Chips!”, “Sun, Sand & Sea”, “We’re Going Camping!”. It commissioned the comic artist Reg Maurice (who often worked under the pseudonym Vera Paterson), to produce pictures of comically bulbous children with cutesy captions, alongside the usual stock images of British towns.

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The Guardian

Sep 25 2017
Turner prize's diverse shortlist 'makes a powerful political statement'

This year’s artists have all taken on political issues, after accusations that the prize was failing to engage with the current climate

This year’s Turner prize makes a powerful political statement with a shortlist of artists who champion the diversity of the British art scene, the director of Tate Britain has said.

Alex Farquharson, the chair of the Turner prize judging panel, said that the diverse, cross-cultural shortlist, “the most international to date”, sends an important and timely message during a period of increasing hostility towards immigrants.

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artforum.com

Sep 25 2017
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artforum.com

Sep 25 2017
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The Guardian

Sep 25 2017
Former Met boss Thomas Campbell: 'I was passionate about the museum and its mission'

‘Tapestry Tom’ was seen as an odd choice when he took over at the Met, and his modernizing mission caused division and dissent. Now, seven months after resigning, he explains why he feels vindicated

In February this year, the New York art world was abuzz with the sound of scandal. Talk was only of one thing: a New York Times front page which had posed the provocative question ‘Is the Met a great institution in decline?’. The allegations against the museum were wide-ranging: financial mismanagement, discontented staff, inappropriate office relationships, a misguided investment in modern art and an expensive obsession with digitising the collection. And the blame landed on the shoulders of one person: Thomas Campbell, the British tapestries curator, who had taken over as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art eight years previous.

Related: Director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art resigns amid pressure

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?

The wetter the better. From sponge cities in China to ‘berms with benefits’ in New Jersey and floating container classrooms in the slums of Dhaka, we look at a range of projects that treat storm water as a resource rather than a hazard

They call it “pave, pipe, and pump”: the mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century.

Along with the explosion of the motorcar in the early 20th century came paved surfaces. Rainwater – instead of being sucked up by plants, evaporating, or filtering through the ground back to rivers and lakes – was suddenly forced to slide over pavements and roads into drains, pipes and sewers.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
From Warhol to Studio 54: legendary New York posters – in pictures

New York cultural institution Poster House kicks off with a pop-up exhibition, Gone Tomorrow, featuring posters from classic venues and cult events from New York City’s history

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Lakes of mercury and human sacrifices – after 1,800 years, Teotihuacan reveals its treasures

When archaeologists found a tunnel under Mexico’s ‘birthplace of the gods’, they could only dream of the riches they would discover. Now its wonders – from jewel-eyed figures to necklaces of human teeth – are being revealed to the world

In 2003, a tunnel was discovered beneath the Feathered Serpent pyramid in the ruins of Teotihuacan, the ancient city in Mexico. Undisturbed for 1,800 years, the sealed-off passage was found to contain thousands of extraordinary treasures lying exactly where they had first been placed as ritual offerings to the gods. Items unearthed included greenstone crocodile teeth, crystals shaped into eyes, and sculptures of jaguars ready to pounce. Even more remarkable was a miniature mountainous landscape, 17 metres underground, with tiny pools of liquid mercury representing lakes. The walls of the tunnel were found to have been carefully impregnated with powdered pyrite, or fool’s gold, to give the effect in firelight of standing under a galaxy of stars.

The archaeological site, near Mexico City, is one of the largest and most important in the world, with millions of visitors every year. This was its most exciting development for decades – and the significance of these new discoveries is explored in a major exhibition opening this month at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Architect defends treatment of workers at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Jean Nouvel dismisses ‘old question’ over exploitation, saying conditions were better than for some in Europe

The French architect Jean Nouvel has defended his Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, a massive domed complex that opens in November, from accusations it was built by exploited and abused migrant workers.

The building opens on 11 November, 10 years after the Paris museum signed an unprecedented £663m deal to allow Abu Dhabi to use its name for 30 years and borrow 300 works from its collection.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Land of tassels, swags and sash windows: a swipe at Britain's pseudo-Georgian wonderland

It’s cheap, boring, shoddy and everywhere. But now artist Pablo Bronstein has turned his love-hate relationship with Britain’s ‘pseudo-Georgian’ architecture into a delightful show

Fibreglass porches, panelled garage doors and uPVC sash windows have rarely been celebrated in the hallowed halls of the Royal Institute of British Architects, but then Pablo Bronstein isn’t your usual suspect for an exhibition at the Portland Place pile. “I like to think it’s a bit Christine Hamilton,” says the artist, standing in one of the rooms, wallpapered a buttercup yellow, that he has erected in the RIBA’s gallery.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
El Greco to Goya review – tears, shackles and anguish in dark dramas from Spain

Wallace Collection, London
Ecstasy and self-loathing abound in this show of masterpieces and an exquisite selection of other paintings from the ‘best place to see Spanish art in Britain’

‘The best place to see Spanish art in the UK,” says Xavier Bray, director of the Wallace Collection in London, “is the Bowes Museum.” This remarkable institution in Barnard Castle, County Durham, exists because of the philanthropic instincts of its founders, John and Joséphine Bowes. He was British, the illegitimate son of the third Earl of Strathmore; she was a Frenchwoman who had acted on the Paris stage. Neither lived to see the Bowes open 125 years ago, but they bequeathed some remarkable pictures to the people of north-east England.

In 1862, their art adviser Benjamin Gogué wrote to them about El Greco and Goya, saying: “I have sold several pictures by these two masters. Although these two don’t appeal to you as artists, I think you might well take one of each for your collection.” They did, and the result is that Barnard Castle has what Bray, former curator of Spanish art at the National Gallery in London, calls “easily the greatest Goya portrait in the country”, a penetratingly intimate image of the painter’s friend, the poet, lawyer and prison reformer Juan Antonio Meléndez Valdés. It also has one of the best works made by El Greco, The Tears of St Peter. This subject, showing the saint in an agony of self-loathing after betraying Christ, was one that the Cretan artist returned to several times; there are at least six versions. This, however, is “the prime original”, says Bray.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Lost Rubens portrait of James I's 'lover' is rediscovered in Glasgow

Painting of George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, thought to have been a copy, is identified as original after 400 years

A long-lost portrait of perhaps one of the most famous gay men in history by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens has been found in Glasgow.

The portrait showing George Villiers, the first Duke of Buckingham, thought to have been James VI and I’s lover, had been hanging in a National Trust for Scotland property and was believed to be a copy of the lost original, which had been missing for almost 400 years.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Lubaina Himid: the Turner prize nominee making black lives visible

The favourite to win this year’s Turner talks about the quest for belonging in her work – and being the oldest artist ever shortlisted

I n a tranquil corner of Preston, Lancashire, there is a modest Georgian terrace with a handsome park below it and a river – the Ribble – running alongside it. It is here that the artist Lubaina Himid has lived for more than 20 years. She is, at 63, being celebrated as the oldest Turner prize nominee since the prize, in a belatedly sensible move, changed its rules – the cut-off point used to be 50. But age, it will turn out, is the least interesting thing about Himid – whose work has originality, political drive and youthful verve. And besides, in a year of cosmopolitan Turner prize nominees, with artists with roots in Palestine, Germany and the Caribbean, she is not the only artist over 50. What is far more significant is that she has been, art critics seem to agree, inexplicably undervalued throughout her career. Now, for what it is worth, she is also the bookies’ favourite to win. It would seem that her moment has – at last – come and I can’t wait to meet her, having fallen in love with the work I have already seen.

On either side of the front path, topiaried box shapes stand guard, leading to a pale yellow front door. This is a long way from Zanzibar, I reflect, where she was born. I ring the bell and Himid appears at the front door with a lovely, welcoming smile: mannishly dressed with chic specs and with just the tiniest touch of Mrs Tiggy Winkle about the intensity of her stance, although her clothes are cooler: caramel coloured brogues, gorgeous blue shirt, smart trousers. She is professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire and, while making tea, explains how much she loves her job, learning something new, every day, from her students – living proof that teaching need not inhibit creativity. She is a Preston devotee, too, singing the praises of its art gallery and green spaces, although, at one point, she volunteers that Preston, as a city, is “not quite sure of itself”. The lack of sureness – the absence of swank – is not unlike Himid herself. She brims with ideas but is never pushy in expressing them. And beyond the small talk, her feelings about the city count, if only because one of the greatest preoccupations of her work is what it means to belong.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Basquiat: Boom for Real review – restless energy
Barbican Art Gallery, London
Self-portraits rub shoulders with party polaroids in a retrospective that exudes immediacy and charm

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88) is the archetype of the doomed young artist, dead at 27 of a heroin overdose. A film in Boom for Real shows him walking through Manhattan, a hot young star with a sax and a beautiful face, his fame as the secretive graffiti artist Samo (Same Old Shit) already behind him. He is not yet 20.

This retrospective – his first here, surprisingly – is heavily tipped towards the life and times, and so stuffed with blown-up photos and footage of Basquiat dancing, musing, clubbing and hanging out with Warhol that it’s hard to see the art at first. But eventually it comes, fully formed, almost, from the start – the caricatural drawings, the names and epigrammatic phrases in block capitals, the darting cars, scudding planes, lists of heroes and historic faces, all sampled against glowing high-chrome backdrops with a DJ’s nonchalant energy.

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The Guardian

Sep 24 2017
Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth review – poetry to prose
Royal Academy, London
Jasper Johns’s first British show in 40 years captures both his brilliance and decline into self-parody

Flag is magnificent: a vision of glory in blood red, deep blue and the white of whipped waves. Each star on this spangled banner has a different character – pristine, ungainly, hiding beneath the brushstrokes – and the stripes are all rich impasto, heavily worked as a Rembrandt. The sheer grandeur of Jasper Johns’s 1967 masterpiece, which opens this show, irresistibly invokes old master art. Nobody in their right mind, you might think, could ever take it for a flag.

Yet this has been the steady claim pretty much since Johns painted his first US flag back in 1954. The picture was a sign for the very thing it signified. Was it a painted flag, patriotic and proud, or a painting of a flag that might not be either? What was its status? The artist (born in 1930) was credited with changing the way we look at pictures, and he continued this radical project with numbers, targets, maps and words, “things the mind already knows”, as he famously put it, and all abundantly represented here. You see the numbers, but don’t count them. You view the target without thinking of arrows. Johns turns symbols into abstractions.

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The Guardian

Sep 23 2017
Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017: how to improve on history
From the bar at the Folies Bergère to a pop art Renaissance chapel, architects at the Chicago Biennial were invited to reimagine spaces of the past as ideas for the future

There’s a group that’s not a group, a movement that doesn’t call itself a movement, an affinity of architects, a “constellation” as one of them calls it, whose time has come. It has been gathering influence for years if not decades and is known among architectural cognoscenti to the point where it is almost old hat, but it is at the moment when it is starting to shape buildings and bits of cities in ways that everyone else might notice.

These architects pay close attention to the fact and detail of the making of buildings – with what actually happens when something is made in one way rather than another, with the properties of scale, light, proportion and material. Their interest isn’t just technical or about craft, but is motivated by the human and social qualities, the physical, emotional and intellectual interrelationships that a built space can encourage. So they combine a care about the specifics of architecture with an awareness of the world beyond it, of both other forms of art and of the everyday.

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The New York Times

Sep 23 2017
A Short List of What We Like Right Now
A new Malick Sidibé retrospective, designer building blocks — and a dream house in Brazil.
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The Guardian

Sep 23 2017
The 20 photographs of the week

The Mexico earthquake, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar and the Catalan vote of independence – the news of the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists

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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
Art Review: A Head-Spinning, Hope-Inspiring Showcase of Art
In Latin American Los Angeles, bridges soar, walls fall. A grand exchange beckons the art traveler to “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.”
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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
Editor’s Letter: T’s Design & Luxury Issue: Editor’s Letter
Good design — like a good idea — is always relevant, and that context, while important, isn’t everything.
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The Guardian

Sep 22 2017
Prince Charles is called to public debate by designer Richard Rogers

The designer says he knows of five developers who privately consulted prince over architects, fearing his opposition

Richard Rogers has challenged Prince Charles to engage in public debate over Britain’s built environment after claiming he knows of five developers who privately consulted him over their choice of architects because they fear his opposition.

The Labour peer and designer of the Pompidou Centre reopened a simmering row over the heir to the throne’s interventions in architecture by alleging in a new book that the developers consulted the palace “to check what would be acceptable”. Rogers believes Charles should keep out of the subject unless he is willing to engage in open argument.

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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
The Design Companies Conquering New Ground
Three companies — two established, one emerging — move in new directions.
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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
Exhibition Review: Remember When They Wanted to Build a Parking Lot Over the Hudson?
‘Never Built New York,’ a new exhibition at the Queens Museum, showcases unrealized ideas, from the almost practical to the magical.
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The Guardian

Sep 22 2017
May's Florence speech venue represents European unity, not division

Santa Maria Novella is church with rich links to the Renaissance, a movement based on ideas that Brexit clearly rejects

The most charismatic of Santa Maria Novella’s artistic ghosts left no visible trace there. In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci was handed the keys to a set of rooms off its cloisters, where he lived for the next few years at the expense of the Florentine Republic; thinking, inventing and occasionally working on the Mona Lisa. He even seems to have built a flying machine there. The same rooms adjacent to the church were the venue for May’s Florentine address.

Related: Theresa May proposes two-year 'period of implementation' after UK leaves EU - live updates

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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
Alternative Movie Posters: Fan Art We Love
Artists’ odes to favorite films are increasingly valuable. It’s “like a Keith Haring knockoff becoming more popular than the original,” an expert says.
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artforum.com

Sep 22 2017
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The Guardian

Sep 22 2017
Jasper Johns' hot wax, Big Tom's geometry, and the strangest surrealist ever – the week in art

The great America unfurls his flags, targets, maps and beer cans, an old master called Big Tom reveals some weird geometry, and the Turner prize hits Hull – all in your weekly dispatch

Jasper Johns
The intellect and emotion of the objects and paintings, prints and assemblages of this exquisite artist put him at the centre of the art of our time. Flags, targets, maps and beer cans – Johns has done them all with unequalled wit. He managed to invent pop art, conceptual art and minimalism all in one go when he started to make an American flag out of waxy paint layered over newspaper collage in 1954 and has been meditating with the same serious irony about objects and their meanings ever since.
Royal Academy, London, from 23 September to 10 December.

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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
A Family Compound in Coastal Maine, Made From Scratch
At just 31 and with no formal training in architecture, Anthony Esteves has built a beautiful place to live — with a Japanese influence.
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The New York Times

Sep 22 2017
Bowie, Bach and Bebop: How Music Powered Basquiat
What was on the turntable in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s studio? The answer is crucial to understanding his work.
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The Guardian

Sep 22 2017
‘There was an unsaid understanding between us’: the Dallas Veterans Day Parade, 2004

Marine staff sergeant Mark Graunke recalls being embraced by Pearl Harbor veteran Houston James in Dallas

There’s an unwritten rule in the Marines that if you get caught in the media, you have to buy everyone a case of beer. So when this photograph went viral, my first thought was: “Uh-oh, I owe a lot of people a lot of drinks.”

As a staff sergeant, I was part of the initial effort in Iraq, entering from Kuwait in March 2003. My first job was to keep routes open, making sure there were no explosive hazards near the roads. Then I worked in explosive ordnance disposal, the military version of the bomb squad. Our job was to prevent things blowing up, or explode them in a controlled environment. I handled everything from bombs to grenades and mines.

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