Friday 08th July 2016Kusama Boosts Your Airbnb
If you're unaware of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, you may have been living under a rock for the last 50 years - or perhaps your artist awakening took place during a very few specific years when her practice had quieted down quite a bit (or maybe you're just not a particular fan of polka dots and you've repressed everything about them). She's the venerable queen of all things spotted, and has had an impressively long career, as we explored in an Artist Spotlight piece on her quite a while ago.
As her visibility ramps back up again, she's currently working in a partnership with the (in)famous disruptive hotel startup Airbnb and the Tate Modern Britain. For those of you unaware of it, Airbnb is a startup company that allows average people to rent out their spare rooms or spare homes/cottages using their website. It's totally shaken up the hotel industry and inspired a number of people to leverage the new system in brand new ways.
Of course, part of that means that there is a great deal of competition in the more popular areas of the world, including London, Paris and New York. Needless to say, it's always nice to have an edge over the competition, whether it's better amenities for your guests or proximity to popular locales, but there are few things that can top having your rental rooms decorated by a famous artist.
That's exactly what the partnership is putting together, and the decisions are going to made via a lottery-type contest conducted by the Tate Modern Britain. Unfortunately for all those of you just reading about it now the contest closed on May 10th, 2016, but it will still be fascinating to see the results of her work (not to mention how much the lucky winner decides to charge for sleeping inside a work of art).
It turns the whole notion of a 'boutique hotel' on its head, considering the fact that some of Kusama's work has sold at auction for millions of dollars US. If you're living in London, expect to see an especially incredible listing popping up somewhere on Airbnb in the next few months, although there is no word on when the project is due to be completed.
Posted on July 08th 2016 on 08:43pm
Wednesday 22nd January 2014The March of Progress in London's Galleries
It's no secret that the art world is undergoing some major changes. As we discussed recently, the market for auctionable art has taken a turn for the better in recent years, driven by expanding wealth in Asia and the Middle East, as well as increasing consumer confidence throughout the West. However, in the market for artists still making a name for themselves, a number of other changes are taking place, most notably the transition away from the traditional model of the independent gallery towards online galleries managed by the artists themselves as well as the growing popularity of the 'art fair'.
This transition can be something of a double-edged sword, especially in locations that are historically and locally famous for their art gallery districts. London's own venerable Cork Street is - to some, surprisingly - just one of the latest to suffer the depredations of real estate developers hoping to maximise profits in desirable downtown locations. This Valentine's Day, the local planning council deadline for public response to a proposal to redevelop historic Cork Street, home to a great number of galleries, some of whom have had their current locations for nearly a century.
Westminster city council has tentatively approved the deal in principle, which hoped to build 42 flats over a shopping centre, pending the results of the request for public responses. A number of other developments are slated to go in, assuming that the first proposal is ratified. To date, a number of prominent public figures have spoken out against in favour of preserving the cultural and historical significance of Cork Street, including actor Bill Nighy, comic Graham Norton, illustrator Quentin Blake and retail leader Mary Portas, among many others and a great deal of support from the general public. A plan currently exists to place a portion of the neighbourhood under the purview of a 'special policy area', but gallery owners hope to dramatically expand the borders of the area to save as many galleries from relentless urban development as possible.
No matter how much of the area is saved, however, it's impossible to mistake it as a sign of the changing times of the art world. As any good artist will tell you, traditions are always being up-ended and turned inside out in art, and the way the public interacts with art isn't going to exempt from those changes. While there will surely always be a desire for physical galleries, they can no longer assume their own viability without changing and adapting.
Posted on January 22nd 2014 on 04:40am
Monday 30th December 2013London Art Fair 2014
If you happen to find yourself in London in the middle of January, be sure to take some time to drop by the annual London Art Fair, being hosted at its usual residence in Islington, the Business Design Centre. There are several new features this year, as well as the return of a few old favourites, but most notable this year is the participation of the Hepworth Wakefield.
In case you're not up on the UK gallery scene lately, the Hepworth Wakefield is one of the most exciting new galleries around, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The building was designed by famous British architect David Chipperfield for an impressive £35 million, but the cost was easily vindicated by the impressive attendance numbers racked up in the first 5 weeks it was open, with over 100,000 visitors gracing its halls. The Hepworth Wakefield's contribution to the London Art Fair will be an exhibit titled 'Barbara Hepworth and the development of British Modernism' curated by Frances Guy, Head of Collections.
Many other galleries from around the world will also be contributing various exhibitions, including a presentation of 1950s Japanese avant-garde group GUTAI by the Whitestone Gallery out of Tokyo, which recently concluded a major exhibit of the works at the Guggenheim in New York City. Nearly 100 galleries in total have contributed works to be exhibited, ensuring the London Art Fair's place as one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Among the returning favourites this year are the 'Art Projects' and 'Photo50' sections of the fair. This year, Art Projects will be curated by Adam Carr, who has acted as guest curator at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, and Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin, Italy. This year, the focus will be on collaborative and interactive pieces from galleries around the world, many of which will be working together for the first time. Photo50 will be curated thisd year by Charlie Fellowes and Jeremy Epstein, both of whom are directors of the Edel Assanti Gallery. The exhibit is entitled 'Immaterial Matter', and explores the increasingly blurry distinctions between the digital world and the material world.
The London Art Fair is open from Wednesday, January 15 until Sunday, January 19, with tickets at the door costing £17.00 (although you can save yourself £2 and buy online in advance for £15.00), and children under 12 can attend for free.
Posted on December 30th 2013 on 11:58pm