Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. ‘In eight years chasing storms, I’ve never seen another like this … like King Kong in the flesh!’

    It was early evening, maybe six o’clock, when we stopped the van. The storms usually fire up at this time, when the sun has had all day to warm the earth. Then the cumulonimbus towers burst up through the atmosphere and all hell breaks loose.

    In chasing terms, it had been an easy day – we’d covered maybe 400 miles to get on to this line of storms in the far west of Kansas. We knew there was little chance of tornadoes, but our guide, my friend Roger Hill – a stormchasing veteran of at least 30 years – thought there was a good chance of some big hail and maybe even some landspout activity [where a tornado forms from the ground up].

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  2. Art lovers in India will this month have the chance to see panoramic views of New York Subway stations and their passengers, on display as part of the Indian Photography Festivalin Hyderabad. Natan Dvir’s series Platforms, is on show until October 8th

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  3. Gillian Wearing, first female artist to create statue for London square, granted planning approval for tribute to Millicent Fawcett

    The first female artist to create a statue for Parliament Square in central London has unveiled the final design.

    Related:Millicent Fawcett was a heroine deserving of a statue | Letters

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  4. Urban Nation, which will champion the movement and archive its works, opens with pieces by Banksy and Blek le Rat

    For some it is the largest and most democratic art movement the world has ever seen, for others it is unwanted visual pollution. But street art now has a permanent claim on the art world: an entire museum dedicated to the genre.

    Urban Nation in Berlin is the world’s first major institution built to champion and archive street art and graffiti, which fully emerged in New York in the 1970s with artists who would tag the subway tunnels. Since then it has grown into a global movement, with artists making works – mostly illegally – on cityscapes around the world.

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  5. As an American in 1990s Cuba, Tria Giovan risked being branded a traitor. But the photographer continued to visit and, from the dance hall to the hair salon, she captured the resilient spirit of the Cuban people

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  6. Royal Academy, London
    From the richness of his early targets and flags to the crammed canvases of his later years, this retrospective charts the great American’s six-decade journey from master of nuance to king of conundrum

    The idea of painting the American flag came to Jasper Johns in a dream, during the autumn of 1954. Impatient with the slow-drying enamel he was painting with, he turned to encaustic, mixing the colour with melted wax as a way of completing the painting quickly. The hot wax dries as soon as it hits the canvas. There is something terse about these layered, waxy marks, the drips that solidify immediately rather than run down and disturb the layers below. The medium gave Johns’s work a particular timbre and voice, full of immediacy and also reserve, a feeling of deliberateness and of ideas embalmed in the surface. There is also something corpse-like about the wax that may have appealed to him. Both the imagery and the application were a sort of rejoinder to abstract expressionism, though with hindsight Johns’s early art looks less of a break than a stepping aside.

    His flags are not paintings of flags, but flags themselves, painted. They are both the thing itself and its depiction. So too with his targets and his painted and drawn words, maps and numbers, his later cross-hatchings and crazy-paving shapes. Early in his career, ideas seemed to come to him in a flurry. Along with commonplace images, beer cans, shoes, brooms and the everyday clutter of his studio crept into his art. His relationships with Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham and John Cage fed his thinking. They were all in it together. It is a pity that this retrospective – which presents us with over 60 years of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints – doesn’t make more of this.

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  7. Barbican Art Gallery, London
    This dazzling retrospective reveals the savage sweep of Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist whose blood-spattered mouths and grinning human skulls captured the tragic arc of American history

    If the brilliantly promising artist whose paintings delight and dazzle the eye and mind in this retrospective were still alive, he’d be celebrating his 57th birthday come December. What kind of middle-aged artist might Jean-Michel Basquiat make? It’s hard to imagine him getting any older than 27, the age when drugs took his life. It is like trying to picture a Van Gogh who never shot himself, a Keats who recovered from tuberculosis and lived to be poet laureate.

    The young face of Basquiat looms large in this exhibition, in giant photographs and videos. He sits with Andy Warhol, who has his arm around his protege, in a clip from Warhol’s TV show. They talk about New York clubs, but what if the picture were reversed? Instead of an old Warhol embracing a young Basquiat, I’d like to see old man Basquiat dispensing advice to the young. More to the point, I think it might be good advice.

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  8. London show will explore works by nine radical feminists whose creations were once considered too explicit to be shown

    Overlooked and rejected works from the 1970s and 80s depicting female sexuality, graphic sex and women as empowered objects of desire are to take centre stage at one of the world’s most important art fairs.

    Friezeannounced a special section for this year’s fair that will explore the output and legacy of nine radical feminist artists whose works were considered too explicit by many fellow artists, let alone galleries.

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  9. Cache of posters from 30s and 40s, including one for John Ford’s Stagecoach, were kept under carpet of Penarth house for three decades

    A stash of beautiful cinema posters dating from the 1930s and 40s that were used as a makeshift carpet underlay have sold at auction for £72,000.

    Two builders found the posters, for films starring Hollywood greats such as Laurence Olivier, Boris Karloff, Vivien Leigh and John Wayne, when they renovated the house of a relative of a Cardiff cinema owner.

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  10. In his series Disenchantment, the photographer and scientist Eckart Bartnik chronicles aliens, googly eyes and dancing fish that drop from the country’s 800,000 vending machines

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