James Turrell on the OAA

The US-based Complex Art + Design blog is running a ‘Best of 2013 (so far)’ series including identifying its choice of the most important artists of 2013 (so far). At number 2 it has James Turrell,  who has three simultaneous exhibitions this year at the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. A short film of Turrell’s work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park can be viewed on The Open Arts Archive.

Lichtenstein study day now online

Footage from the recent collaborative study day organised by The Open University with Tate Modern is now available on the Open Arts Archive.

This study day explored issues raised by a major Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern. His extraordinary body of work was the springboard for a critical exploration of ideas around the meaning of pop in the US and UK and its legacy for contemporary art and culture. Curators, academics and artists contributed to the debates.

Speakers include: Hal Foster, art critic and historian, Iria Candela, Curator, Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, David Mellor, University of Sussex, Leon Wainwright, The Open University and Lisa Tickner, The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Summer party!

The Open Arts Archive is looking forward to tonight’s Summer Party and MK Calling preview tonight at Milton Keynes Gallery. 

MK Calling (28 June – 8 September) is the Gallery’s summer programme of exhibitions and performances, featuring 100 artists, musicians and performers from Milton Keynes. This dynamic season of painting, video, dance, music, poetry and much, much more will showcase MK’s finest emerging and established talent.

The MK Calling preview and MK Gallery’s Summer Party with free hog roast and live jazz will take place on Thursday 27 June, 6-10pm. Everyone is welcome. There will be speeches by Anthony Spira (MK Gallery’s Director), Hedley Swain (Area Director, ArtsCouncil South East) and Peter Geary (MK Council Cabinet Member for the Arts) at 7pm.

More information about the event is available on the Open Arts Archive or from Milton Keynes Gallery.

Art and climate

The Two Degrees festival takes place this week (17-22 June) at Toynbee Studios in London, offering a range of activities examining the connection between art and climate change. This is a topic addressed by the Radical Nature Study Day back in 2009, available to view on the Open Arts Archive, but is no less current today.

Agnes Martin in the news

Agnes Martin has been in the news this week as her work features in the current exhibition at the Mayor GalleryThe Nature of Women (5 June until 26 July) features six female abstract artists, among them Agnes Martin, Aurélie Nemours and Lisa Corrine Davis. Furthermore, two of Martin’s paintings are also new to the Kunsthaus, Zurich in their latest exhibition (7 June – 8 September) of the Hubert Looser collection.

Agnes Martin was the subject of a conference at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge that can be viewed on the Open Arts Archive at http://www.openartsarchive.org/oaa/archive/692.

FABRIC-ATION at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Open Arts Archive was very pleased to film a study day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this weekend. ‘Contemporary Art and Textiles in West Africa’ was one of the events organised to coincide with Yinka Shonibare’s Fabric-ation exhibition running this summer.

The first part of this study day (‘African Textile, African Contemporary’) introduced participants to the textile heritage of Nigeria that Shonibare draws upon. It looked at the various forms of textile production in Nigeria, with specific reference to the Yoruba people. The diverse forms of weaving, dying and industrial production were examined. It then explored the significant place that textiles have in Yoruba culture, opening out the various traditions of use as well as looking at how those traditions have been brought forward into the twenty-first century, in areas of textile use such as masquerade, identity and religious practice as well as modern fashion and clothing. This revealed the complexities of notions of ‘African-ness’ as many of the textiles we now consider to be ‘African’ in fact have substantial European origins and influences. The colourful cloths featured in Shonibare’s exhibition are less popular, in Yoruba culture, than plain white cloth, which also has particular ritual or religious significance.

The title of the exhibition, ‘FABRIC-ATION’, plays on the role of fantasy in the cloths the artist has created. This highlights the extent to which Shonibare’s work sets up complex and often paradoxical notions of identity based on ideas of disguise and cultural hybridity, which are also common in aspects of so-called ‘British’ culture.

The second part of the day (‘African Contemporary, African Textile’) looked at the relationship between textiles and contemporary art in Nigeria, examining a number of artists who make use of textile traditions in their work. A substantial focus in this respect was on the issue of the ‘modern’ and the tensions that may arise for post-colonial artists who wish their art to be considered, under this heading, alongside that of their western counterparts.

Footage from the day will be available on www.openartsarchive.org shortly.

New collaboration with New Art Exchange, Nottingham

The Open Arts Archive is very pleased to be working with the New Art Exchange in Nottingham to film one of its upcoming events and make it accessible to all those who can’t attend in person.

It’s a very appropriate link up as the New Art Exchange is hosting a multi-layered three-screen installation created by acclaimed film-maker John Akomfrah , The Unfinished Conversation, which presents former OU Professor Stuart Hall’s memories and personal archives, extracted and relocated in an imagined and different time to reflect on the questionable nature of memory itself. More information about the installation is available from the New Art Exchange.

The Open Arts Archive is pleased to be participating in a symposium relating to the installation on Saturday, 8 June 2013, 11:00am – 5:00pm at New Art Exchange Nottingham. The symposium will explore the work of John Akomfrah, the black audio collevtive and other visual artists inspired by the work of Stuart Hall. More information is available on the Open Arts Archive website.

Gill Perry in New Zealand

Open Arts Archive Director Professor Gill Perry has been spreading the word about the Open Arts Archive in New Zealand as part of a lecture tour relating to The First Actresses, a major curated exhibition held at the National Portrait Gallery last year.

Professor Perry talked about the show on Radio New Zealand.

The exhibition presented a vivid spectacle of femininity, fashion and theatricality in seventeenth and eighteenth-century England. It featured portraits of some of the best known female performers of the period, who ranged from royal mistresses to successful writers and businesswomen, and accomplished musicians. It explored the ways in which these early celebrities used portraiture to enhance their reputations, deflect scandal and increase their professional status.

Podcasts related to the exhibition are available on the Open Arts Archive:

Professor Judith Hawley discusses James Gillray’s ‘Dilettante Theatricals: – or – a Peep at the Green Room’, 1803, The National Portrait Gallery, London.

Dr Moira Goff discusses John Ellys’s Portrait of Hester Booth, c1722-25, the V&A Museum.

Dr Lucy Peltz discusses Daniel Gardner’s Three Witches from Macbeth, 1775, The National Portrait Gallery, London.

Dr Berta Joncus discusses Jeremiah Davison’s Portrait of Catherine (‘Kitty’) Clive, 1735, Longleat House.

Study days at Tate Modern

The Open Arts Archive contains a wealth of video footage from study days organised jointly by The Open University and Tate Modern. The study days date back to 2002 with the latest on Lictenstein and the wider worlds of British pop this March.

Content from the study days can be browsed on the Open Arts Archive website by choosing Tate Study Days from the archive.

Alternatively for ease of access, the study days are listed below.

22 June 2002: Matisse Picasso, Creating and Destroying Histories

5 October 2002: Abstraction and Interpretation

27 March 2004: Expanding concepts of sculpture

26 June 2004: Concepts of the Avant-Garde

12 March 2005: Contemporary Art and Globalisation

25 June 2005: Performance, Gender and Identity

25 March 2006: Utopias and Avant-gardes

24 June 2006: Museums and Art History

17 March 2007: Identity and Performativity

16 June 2007: Surrealism and Film

8 March 2008: Against the Avant-garde

5 July 2008: Photography in the street and the studio

28 March 2009: Constructivism and the Art of Everyday Life

27 June 2009: Futurism and the Avant-garde

27 March 2010: Abstraction

20 November 2010: Gauguin and myths of the artist

20 July 2011: Joan Miró

16 March 2013: Lichtenstein and the Wider Worlds of British Pop