Weekend Viewing: 12-14 November
Welcome back to my new weekly series, where every Friday I highlight a few choice exhibitions and events from around the world that can be viewed online or in person. From biennials to blockbusters and everything in between, this short list will guarantee your weekends are never boring.
1. Helen Beard: ‘The Tulips Are Too Excitable it is Winter Here’ at Reflex Gallery, Amsterdam
In the artist's second show at Alex Daniels' Reflex Gallery in Amsterdam, she brings together a host of new paintings exploring the geography of bodies and all the points of touch that can occur within and between them. Taking Picasso's Blue Period as a point of departure in choosing her palettes, bold tones and hues are applied in solid blocks, creating a rainbow patchwork of eroticism. As the title of the show suggests, Beard explores the transition to a new season and the way that our bodies experience this change, from cold to warmth, dark to light. She anticipates new beginnings and depicts how the landscape of the body manifests a period of transformation. And as well as looking forward to the new season ahead, Beard also captures the repository of memory that exists in the body - the memory of touch, of intimacy and shared experience. Her fascinating, jewel-toned works are hopeful, warm expressions of the power of human and physical connection.
Helen Beard. Image source: https://www.instagram.com/helenbeardart/
2. Group Show: ‘Vital Machinery’ at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, NZ
Opening this weekend alongside Jasmina Cibic's 'Charm Offensive' (see last week's post) is a new group show of contemporary Aotearoa artists working with the moving image and photography. It is both a snapshot of current practices within these mediums, and an opening into the history of photographic and film conventions, challenging the power dynamics of the lens and its viewpoint. The five artists included in the show activate a discussion of women’s experiences both in front of and behind the camera, the entanglement of lived experience and creative practice, and the implications of image capture within histories of colonisation. From digital photography to C type prints, these artists explore and exploit the possibilities of capturing, and manipulating, images of the world around us, from their own perspective.
Selina Ershadi, Amator, 2020. Image source: https://dunedin.art.museum/
3. Yayoi Kusama: '1945 to Now' at M+ Museum, Hong Kong
In the largest retrospective of the inimitable artist outside of Japan, more than 200 works from an illustrious career are brought together under one roof in the new M+ Museum in Hong Kong. From early drawings made as a teenager during WWII to her famed and beloved pumpkins, sculpture, installation, and archival material, Kusama's effervescence and determination to embrace the beauty of the world is ever-present. As the artist herself has said, "I create art for the healing of all mankind," and this impetus is clearly felt in the show, which is organised chronologically to guide visitors on an immersive journey through her fascinating life and work. Though perhaps a more reductive, simplistic presentation of seven decades of creative output, the show is an important positioning of Kusama's oeuvre as an internationally important one, and includes three brand new works that aim, in true Kusama fashion, to bring audiences together through embodied experiences. The museum has also created a detailed, interactive visual timeline of the artist's life and work on their website, which serves as a (comparatively pale) vicarious experience of the show if, like me, you're not able to get to Hong Kong before next May.
Yayoi Kusama in Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field, 1965. Image source: https://www.mplus.org.hk
4. Vinnie Hager: 'Letters' at The Gall3ry by Kollectiff, Venice CA.
One of the leading, preeminent artists of Web3 will showcase his new NFT collection 'Letters', at The Gall3ry by Kollectif in LA this weekend, along with custom clothing designed by the artist. Vinnie Hager’s genesis NFT collection consists of 1000 hand illustrated 1 of 1 pieces, an impressive feat in itself. The pieces are all uniquely and cleverly titled (like 'Black Leather Jacket', pictured, and 'Rugged Again'), and fall under a rarity chart. This collection is the ultimate expression of Hager's idiosyncratic and hugely popular doodle-style, which creates a pattern of hieroglyphic symbols across a striking background. Sometimes the symbols are clear and recognizable, like envelopes and hearts, and other times they seem much more abstract and biomorphic. The artist has a knack for combining tongue-in-cheek humour and self-awareness with an earnestness for art and design that makes his work so admired and desired. In true Web3 fashion, the gallery show at Kollectif is a bringing together of community, a bridging of digital and physical space and art, and a celebration of the openness and opportunities presented to those willing to embrace the challenges and controversies of an emerging industry.
Vinnie Hager, Black Leather Jacket, 2022. Image source: https://opensea.io/collection/letters-by-vinnie-hager
5. Paul Yore: 'WORD MADE FLESH' at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
As one of Australia’s most thought provoking and significant multidisciplinary artists, Paul Yore is a fitting choice for the latest in ACCA's series of solo shows featuring contemporary Australian artists. The 'maximalist' exhibition spans fifteen years of Yore's work, encompassing appliquéd quilts and needlework, banners and pendants, collage and assemblage, and large-scale mixed media installation. It's another intriguing example of what Danielle Thom recently observed as a return to rococo in contemporary culture (which is well worth a read). Yore's work has never been one to shy away from the political, and 'Word Made Flesh' is no exception. From the artist's early forays into small-scale textile works to a brand new commission that fills an entire room, Yore interrogates and critiques our hetero-normative, hyper-capitalist reality, and imagines an alternative existence that is joyful, anarchic and unapologetic.
Paul Yore, WORD MADE FLESH, 2022, installation view. Image source: https://acca.melbourne