Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. Dorothea Tanning scores for the surrealists, human beings are replaced and French society pops out to the carnival – all in our weekly dispatch

    Dorothea Tanning
    Not only one of the surrealist movement’s great women but also one of its last faithful exponents: Tanning’s art ranges from dream paintings to disturbing installations.
    Tate Modern, London, 27 February-9 June.

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  2. Camp: Notes on Fashion will tell the story of camp’s origins from Versailles to 1930s Berlin

    Camp both high (the ballet, Caravaggio) and low (superheroes, Strictly) will be the subject of this year’s major fashion exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    At a press conference in Milan, Italy, its curator, Andrew Bolton, said camp spoke to the zeitgeist because of its roots in disenfranchised communities.

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  3. The painting that put the first lady of surrealism on the map

    Dorothea Tanning presents herself as an artist-sorceress in this 1942 self-portrait, with the power to make over the world through imagination and dreams. Costume has always been a means of changing character but Tanning ups the ante, with her skirt made from amorphous nude bodies.

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  4. A master watchmaker and an antiquarian horologist at their family-run workshop in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham

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  5. Thousands of publicly owned artworks to be listed in database over next two years

    Eve is a beautiful, biblical sculpture that Auguste Rodin originally intended to be part of his ambitious Gates of Hell project in Paris. Today she enjoys a spot which the artist could never have imagined – outside a Nando’s in Harlow.

    Rodin’s stunning 1882 statue is one of the first thousand publicly owned sculptures to be listed in a new UK database being created over the next two years.

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  6. Squeezed amid the City’s garish landmarks is a glorious, free-to-enter roof garden borne of public-private dealmaking … so what’s the catch?

    Sometimes the planning system just works. The untrammelled interests of global capital come up against a set of rules designed to ensure maximum public benefit, and something better is spawned in the process. The bounty is usually so small as to be negligible. Perhaps a few apartments will be marginally less overpriced, and called “affordable”, or there will be a tiny garnish of lawn, labelled on the plans as “park”. Which makes what has happened at Fen Court, a new office block on Fenchurch Street in the City of London, all the more remarkable.

    As a member of the public, you can now sit on a bench beneath a bower of wisteria 15 storeys up in the air, or eat your sandwiches next to a little pond while suspended among the rooftops of the Square Mile. The gothic space-rockets of Tower Bridge rise to the south, while the mad bulge of the Walkie Talkie looms to the west, along with the gleaming pipes and rooftop cranes of the Lloyd’s building and the dome of St Paul’s beyond.

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  7. Masked musicians, military tanks and Batman all play parts in the daily theatre captured by Betsy Karel of New York City’s famous intersection – loved by tourists, shunned by locals

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  8. National Portrait Gallery, London
    These tiny masterpieces, blazing with passion, desire and mystery, are among the most magical creations in British art

    A young man with dark hair erupting like fire in a crest on his forehead poses with his white shirt open to expose his chest. Golden flames surround him but he is unscathed. It’s an image straight out of an Elizabethan love poem. This unknown but red-hot youth was portrayed by Nicholas Hilliard in about 1600 on an oval piece of vellum just under 7cm tall – which makes it one of his larger works. Yet this tiny masterpiece is also a key to how his miniature art functions, its purpose, and why it is still so full of life after more than 400 years.

    Around his neck the ardent young man wears a gold chain, and with his left hand he fondles the ornament it suspends. Within that is another miniature – the image, surely, of the person for whom this one was painted. This portrait is a none too subtle symbol of blazing desire, given as a love token – but to whom?

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  9. Baltic, Gateshead
    The winners of the prize for up-and-coming artists – Ingrid Pollard, Kang Jungsuck and Aaron Hughes – take on war, racism and reality itself

    As Iraq war veteran Aaron Hughes contemplates his new commission for the Baltic Artists’ award, he tells the Guardian that “creativity can push back against the divisions that drive conflict”. Deployed to Iraq on behalf of the US army in 2003-04, Hughes became disillusioned by the destruction of war, and chose to turn his hand to creativity.

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  10. Serpentine gallery, London
    Why would anyone want to watch a hologram of the famous performance artist doing nothing? Abramović’s much vaunted show is tedious and trite

    People are standing around with hi-tech devices strapped to their heads. I am one of them. Through the lenses that protrude from my face, I can see how daft my fellow audience members look. We’re like a bunch of drunks playing that game where you have a word stuck to your forehead. This is Mixed Reality, which lets you see a virtual image within a real physical space. In the middle of the gallery stands the world-famous performance artist Marina Abramović, wearing a bright red dress with her dark hair tied back. She paces a bit. She holds out an arm and stares at it as if mystified. Then she dissolves in a cloud of blue dots.

    Abramović, you see, is present only in digital form. She has been filmed by 36 cameras to create a mobile simulation of herself. This virtual animated sculpture seems to walk on the actual floor of the gallery. At times she vanishes, leaving just her shadow to move around the room, creeping towards audience members.

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