Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. The Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition has announced its category winners. The competition, now in its seventh year, celebrates the work of image makers and offers an insight into the landscapes, wildlife and nature of the planet and the adventures to be found on it

    • The overall winner and runner-up will be announced at the Photography Show in Birmingham on 17 March
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  2. A new pop-up exhibition in Los Angeles aims to explore the history of the self-portrait and the danger of the ‘death selfie’

    Museums are no longer just places to see art – they’re venues to take selfies posted with #museum. So why not call out the elephant in the room? That’s the philosophy behind the Museum of Selfies, a pop-up exhibition which opens next month in Los Angeles.

    Related:'We're stepping out of a binary' – celebrating the art of marginalized LGBT Muslims

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  3. From Picasso to Andy Warhol, visual artists have long been lured by the magic of music. A new exhibition reveals the art world’s most striking album covers

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  4. Second Home is reinventing office life. Is yours next? Step inside its world of vintage chairs, froth insulation and zig-zagging walkways

    A wall of transparent plastic has been stretched across the gap between two mews houses. It’s a bit steamed up but, as I peer inside this makeshift structure, I can make out the tips of spiky leaves, just visible through what seems to be a cloud of frothing white bubbles. It looks like someone’s having a foam party in an illicit backstreet cannabis farm, but this is actually the latest outpost of a company determined to make going to work not just another day in the office.

    “We always want people to think ‘What’s that?’ and be drawn inside our buildings,” says Rohan Silva, the 37-year-old co-founder of Second Home, provider of “unique workspaces and cultural venues for entrepreneurs and innovators”. The company opened its first space in Spitalfields, east London, in 2014 and now boasts users ranging from tiny tech startups to the likes of Volkswagen and auditing giant KPMG.

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  5. Royal Academy, London
    This blockbuster show is chock-full of masterpieces. So why is our critic calling for revolution?

    Just for a moment the tapestry of grandeur parts to reveal the brutal truth. Armies clash on an English field in a chaos of smoke and horses. From under a furled flag peers the grey, dead face of the monster Medusa, snakes writhing on her severed head. This hideous face and the armies behind it suggest all is not well with the British monarchy. In the foreground stands the young crown prince, Charles I’s eldest son. Still barely a teenager when this was painted in the early 1640s, he is portrayed by William Dobson with the proud bearing of a war leader. The painting prophesies that he will become a fearsome fighter. Like Medusa’s head that turned those who looked upon it to stone, his royal eye will petrify his enemies.

    That, of course, is not what happened. Charles I was a catastrophic king who alienated his people and parliament so totally that by 1642 he provoked civil war in England, not to mention big trouble in Scotland and Ireland. Defeated and captured, in 1649 he was beheaded. His son fled abroad, and England became a republic until 1660.

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  6. The Third Muslim show aims to encourage inclusivity by challenging stereotypes giving voice to queer Muslims

    In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorattack – the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in American history – queer Muslims felt the chill when it was announced the killer was Omar Mateen, a homophobic Muslim man who was reported to be gay.

    “It was a particularly fraught moment for queer and transgender Muslims because the attacker was unfortunately a Muslim,” said San Francisco artist, writer and curator Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

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  7. Oliver Cromwell’s government gave artwork as part payment of money owed for palace repairs

    A Titian painting once owned by Charles I and given to his plumber as part payment for money owed is coming to auction.

    The two-metre tall painting is a show-stopper in its own right, depicting the terrified virgin martyr St Margaret escaping from the mouth of Satan in the shape of a dragon. But its extraordinary provenance adds another layer to its story.

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  8. Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton
    From grumpy goats to pitchforks … countryside wonders and terrors come to life in this chaotic survey of our relationship with nature

    It is all going down at Durslade Farm, Hauser & Wirth’s Somerset art venture. There will be cheese-making. There will be baking and wood-fired oven demonstrations. Goats shall be milked. Fernando García-Dory’s Goat Pavilion project, devised with Hayatsu Architects, opens The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind. Curated by Adam Sutherland, director of Grizedale Arts in the Lake District, the show, with its theme of society’s contradictory relationship with the rural, is full of promise. The title itself is a migrant’s drinking toast, and encapsulates feelings of hope and longing.

    The goat man arrived with his goats, ready to install them on a specially designed climbing frame on a lawn between the buildings. The goats are meant to clamber about and socialise. But the pitch of the steps and ramps are too steep for the larger animals, and the goat farmer thinks they would churn up the lawn to a muddy morass in no time at all if given the chance. It was raining. Goats don’t like the wet and wouldn’t leave their trailer. Someone should have asked the farmer, a local top man in his field, or possibly the goats themselves, but they didn’t.

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  9. Hayward Gallery, London
    The German photographer’s vast, high-detail images play wonderfully with reality and artifice – though at the expense of human individuality
    • Read Rowan Moore’s review of the new-look Hayward Gallery

    Too good to be true: that is the art of the German photographer Andreas Gursky. His monumental pictures of our world – magnificently orchestrated, gorgeous in their super-saturated colours – are so improbably detailed you can view the sea from outer space and somehow see tiny people far below on the shore. Everything is in equal focus, and every photograph holds more than the eye can see. That they are not real is surely obvious at first glance.

    Or is it? This remains the crux of his work. When Gursky’s picture of the Rhine as a band of silver light between parallel grass-green stripes became the most expensive photograph ever sold, in 2011, many people didn’t realise it had been digitally altered. Gursky removed dog walkers, trees and an entire power plant for the sake of abstract beauty, updating German Romanticism with his geometric sublime. But the photograph still partook of the reality it depicts; it is the Rhine, and yet it is not.

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  10. Reopening after a two-year refurbishment, the true glories of the once-despised South Bank gallery are revealed

    • Read Laura Cumming’s review of the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the revamped Hayward

    It is said that when a footballer returns from a long period of injury it’s like getting a new player. With Feilden Clegg Bradley’s renewal of the Hayward, it’s like getting a new art gallery. Its cleaned-up, robust exterior advances and recedes into the winter sun with new vigour. Its interiors breathe. You can enjoy again its sequences of contrasting volumes, its changes of level, its noble stairs, the glimpses outside, the odd but effective decision to install big, shiny brass handrails in what is mostly a rugged aesthetic.

    Contemporary art galleries often over-rely on walls of plasterboard, a material coy about how solid it is, which makes spaces fade into indeterminate nothingness. At the Hayward, plaster is punctuated with concrete, now lovingly cleaned with techniques more often used on classical statues. The material gives a reference point, a sense of strength and personality. It also gives the inside an outdoors feel, a continuation of the Southbank Centre’s terraces and stairs into a space that happens to be roofed.

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