Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. Her first impulse was to cover the London underground in breasts – but instead the Turner prize-winner is urging commuters to pick up shovels. We crawled inside her studio to find out more...

    You must stoop to access Laure Prouvost’s Antwerp studio. The Turner prize-winning artist’s doorway is only chest high, like the entrance to a Wendy house. I tell her I feel I’ve been forced to bow down and pay homage. A more usual reaction, she says, is that people feel as if they’ve been eaten.

    Once in, you’re greeted by a monumental set of fibreglass breasts – pink, perky and disembodied – which occupy the centre of the floor. There are more breasts on a side table: spare components from the artist’s squirting fountain sculptures. These breasts are adapted from maritime floats. Buoy boobs: I imagine Prouvost, with her love of polyglot wordplay, would appreciate the pun.

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  2. Second Home, a co-working space company, has transplanted the ‘Instagrammer’s paradise’ for a summer of cultural events

    When José Selgas and Lucía Cano unveiled their striking translucent wavy tunnel pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery in 2015, it was variously described as a psychedelic pupa, a trippy womb, a rainbow wormhole and – perhaps key to its runaway success – an Instagrammer’s paradise.

    Now it has gone trippy in a whole new sense, because it is being moved across the ocean to Los Angeles, where it is being reconstructed piece by piece for a summer of cultural happenings and intense community conversations.

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  3. The story behind the extraordinary theatre is the subject of a new exhibition

    Shortly before Samuel Beckett died in 1989, he received a request to name a new drama company and its theatre after him. Playwrights and thespians are habitually immortalised in this way – London can currently count the Pinter, Coward, Olivier, Gielgud and Garrick theatres, among others. But Beckett was not being asked to give his name to a gilded West End playhouse, an overture he would doubtless have detested and declined. Sala Beckett in Barcelona, founded by the actor Luis Miguel Climent and playwright José Sanchis Sinisterra, is as far from the plush velvet orthodoxies of commercial theatre as it is possible to imagine.

    Sala Beckett occupies a remodelled workers’ cooperative building in Poblenou, a former industrial quarter wedged between the sea and the heart of Barcelona. In Spanish, sala means simply a room or hall. “It’s a space for creation and encounter,” says current director, Toni Casares. “It’s not a listings theatre that opens its shutters 10 minutes before the performance and closes them again as soon as the audience has left. It’s a space where things occur, where things are cooking throughout the day.” Standing apart from the conventions of the industry and the culture of leisure, Sala Beckett puts on plays, but it also “shapes, experiments, searches and manipulates time”.

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  4. Keith Haring’s art speaks loud and radiantly clear at Tate Liverpool in the first major UK show of his work

    Keith Haring, at Tate Liverpool, is a true surprise: a show of unexpected jubilance and beauty. The American artist was only 31 when he died in 1990, and it is almost beyond belief that some of the most vital images in this enormous exhibition were painted when he was living with Aids. But for a British audience who know him through the instantly recognisable graphics, undimmed down the years through the use of timeless black and white on everything from T-shirts and posters to Reebok sneakers, at least part of the pleasure is the sheer power of them, writ large and in radiant colour.

    Radiance – and the radiating black lines scintillating around Haring’s simplified images of lovers, tellies, barking dogs and his trademark baby, crawling ever-onwards – is the overwhelming effect of this art. It is achieved entirely through line and colour. Just two elements – and even one, if you consider the original chalk drawings he made on vacant subway hoardings in New York in the early 1980s. Somehow, two of these have been preserved like chunks of the Berlin Wall and are shown here alongside fabulous photographs of the speccy young Haring darting about with his chalk to the fascination of passing passengers.

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  5. The Turner prize nominee on socially engaged art, his Colombian heritage and why his family is part of his new Art Night show

    ‘Art and life – there is no separation between the two,” Oscar Murillo says. It is a line that stays in the mind although it is thrown out casually, part of a longer conversation. What is clear is that Murillo’s life is jammed with work to the point where art and life have become almost indistinguishable. He has a solo exhibition, Violent Amnesia (his first in the UK since 2013), at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge; there is a show at David Zwirner’s London gallery; he is reviving a show in Berlin; and, later this month, a further show will open at The Shed in New York.

    Murillo is also on this year’s Turnerprize shortlist, saluted by the jury for the way he “pushes the boundaries of materials” – especially in his paintings. In addition, he has been commissioned to do a piece for Art Night in Walthamstow, part of the mayor of London’s first London Borough of Culture celebrations in Waltham Forest.

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  6. Ryan Pierse is a Sydney-based sports photographer for Getty Images. He talks through some of the most memorable frames from his 20-year career

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  7. From his first Twitter post in 2016, the caustically satirical photomontages of @Coldwar_Steve have become a cult phenomenon. Here are some highlights

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  8. A new retrospective of paintings by the Indigenous artist shows a maverick at work

    Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann launched the first retrospective exhibition of her mother’s multi-decade painting career with an open question to the audience.

    She recalled the 1973 controversy surrounding the National Gallery of Australia’s purchase of the US painter Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionist work Blue Poles. “Well, if they bought that then, why weren’t they interested in my mother’s painting?” she asked.

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  9. Tate Liverpool
    He was riotous, funny and furious – and his exhilarating boing-boing works took potshots at crack, God, guns, repression and Aids prejudice. This horribly prescient exhibition shows how to respond to calamity

    Keith Haring was everywhere in the 1980s. All over the walls of the New York subway, all over T-shirts, all over posters, all over dresses and all over Grace Jones’s body. You could wear him on your lapel. He was there when you needed him and there when you didn’t. He was in all the galleries and nightclubs and he invaded your house. He was all over MTV and he wanted to be all over the Berlin Wall, a section of which he painted. Haring was joyous, riotous, funny and angry, this gawky skinny kid with the glasses and a Sharpie pen. And then he was gone, dead at 31 from Aids-related illness in 1990.

    Now he fills the top floor of Tate Liverpool and the gallery shop. His little bouncy figures climb the columns in the cafe. With his outlined boing-boing beings and miraculous babies, his barking dogs and his three-eyed faces, his boys in heat and his general malarkeys, he took potshots at God, sexual repression, America’s culture of guns and the dollar, and much besides.

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  10. El Mirage is a racetrack on a dry lake bed a few hours outside Los Angeles in the California desert. Raced on since 1937, the 1.3-mile track attracts drivers from all over the US, some of whom reach speeds of up to 200mph.

    London-based photographer Wilson Hennessy joined them for a weekend for his latest project. “Everyone was really happy to have their cars shot,” he says. “They welcomed you into the community. It was a pretty awesome experience.”

    Almost all of the cars that race at El Mirage are modified originals, with some of them as old as the Ford Model T. “Each car is truly individual,” says Hennessy. “This is what drew me to shoot them.”

    Hennessy went to the racetrack just before dawn each day. The dust lifted by the cars and the glowing sunrise created the otherworldly atmosphere of the photographs. “It was like God’s own natural smoke machine,” he says.

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