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September 6, 2014

Jack Pierson: Tomorrow’s Man

A Scrapbook Study of Masculinity from the American Artist

“Kids these days don’t get things that are harder to come by than a Google search. People had to maraud around to find magazines like this in the 1950s and 60s, in their smalltown drugstores or porno shops,” says Jack Pierson of the appeal of mid-century, physique-focused magazines such as Tomorrow’s Man. Reappropriating the publication’s title as well as its retro bodybuilding aesthetic for his book project of the same name, Pierson takes viewers on a dizzying visual journey of homoerotica. For the second edition, previewed here, Pierson referenced his own vast archives and championed the work of gay artists as well as his own students: highlights include sci-fi-imbued illustrations courtesy of 1970s Playboy contributor Mel Odom and surreal assemblages from the New York-based artist Tibi Tibi Neuspiel. The resulting visual remixes rebel against the photobook format, leaving work straddling page breaks and genre definitions. “I’m hoping to do a dozen of these each term, and part of the idea is to keep some people consistent throughout the whole thing, so that it gives a feeling of addition and subtraction,” he says. “Hopefully something radical will happen along the way.”

Tomorrow’s Man 2 is published by Bywater Bros Editions September 30. The book will be launched at the Whitechapel Gallery during London Art Book Fair, from 26 through 28 September.

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Spotlight

Richard Hamilton: Word and Image

The Late Pop Art Vanguard’s Printmaking is Remembered Ahead of a Blockbuster Year

Marilyn Monroe, bodybuilding contestants and cut-outs of seaside postcards populate Richard Hamilton’s mixed-media gaze in this series taken from a survey of prints at the Alan Cristea Gallery, London. Having worked with Hamilton for 30 years, Cristea collected his original screen prints into his first posthumous print catalogue Richard Hamilton: Word and Image. Prints 1963-2007, in a year that will see the artist lauded with a major retrospective at Tate Modern and an ancillary show at the ICA. Hamilton's magpie approach to social chronicling extended to painting, sculpture, photography, typography and collage, bringing to the fore the themes of status, power and consumer culture in 1950s and 1960s Britain. It was a method that resulted in memorable art works that segued into the popular sphere, such as the 1968 cover of The Beatles’ White Album, and  “Swingeing London 67” a silk screen of the arrest of Mick Jagger and the art dealer Robert Fraser that he began the same year. Hamilton, who died in 2011, owed part of his multidisciplinary stance to James Joyce, who he discovered while conscripted into military service. “Joyce commands all matter of literary styles and combines them into unprecedented display of linguistic pyrotechnics,” he said. “Presenting an example that later freed me to try some implausible associations in painting.”

Richard Hamilton Word and Image, Prints 1963-2007 runs February 14 through March 22 at Alan Cristea Gallery.

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Spotlight

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Morning Ritual

The Maverick Swiss Curator Takes Us For an Early Morning Jog Into the New Year

“I believe in the idea of rituals,” says indefatigable cultural innovator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who helps us into 2014 with his thoughts on routine while taking his daily run around London’s Hyde Park. “But rather than following existing rituals given to us by society, I believe in inventing our own.” The Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery is the founder of the Brutally Early Club, a dawn exercise initiative frequented by artists, curators and thinkers including Marina Abramović and Markus Miessen. Ulrich led NOWNESS regular Linda Brownlee around the 350-acre oasis of green in the center of London that his gallery calls home, which also plays host to a New Years Day 10K fun run each year. Curating his first show in the kitchen of his student-flat in St. Gallen in 1991, Swiss-born Ulrich joined Julia Peyton-Jones at the Serpentine in 2005 and has been instrumental in the development of the gallery and the recent opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Iranian architect Zaha Hadid. Obrist's early running ritual just one facet of his can-do approach to life: he founded the 89plus Programme that celebrates the creativity of young people with fellow curator Simon Castes in 2013, and on top of his regular writing and lecturing engagements he also finds time to read at least one book a day. “The park is my extended office and I love the idea of having early meetings on the move,” he says. “It’s a discipline, but also kind of an urgency to start things. It liberates time.”

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