Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. In his new project, the film-maker behind Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death shifts his focus to ideas of whiteness

    Just days after the US presidential election in 2016, Arthur Jafa debuted his seven-minute film Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death, which won acclaim as a hugely impactful portrayal of American life.

    Set to Kanye West’s anthemic homily Ultralight Beam, the film oscillated between clips of ordinary black life and extraordinary violence inflicted on black bodies.

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  2. He has photographed his dad’s furniture, teenage shoppers and even vegetable peelings. Now Nigel Shafran has tackled homelessness – by asking rough sleepers to take photos of him

    ‘Homelessness is now so visible on a day-to-day level that that it’s becoming hard to ignore,” says photographer Nigel Shafran. “I just felt the need to address it in some way that wasn’t cliched or exploitative.” To this end, The People On the Streetis a photobook about homelessness, but without a single picture of a homeless person in it. Instead, it comprises 52 snapshots of Shafran taken by various homeless people he encountered in London and Paris. Each has a simple caption – Daniel from Leytonstone, Charing Cross, WC2; Sherinne, Old Street, EC1.

    “The big problem with the subject is how do you photograph a homeless person without it becoming a picture of a victim?” asks Shafran over coffee in Soho, where evidence of just how chronic the problem has become is all around us. “The book is my perhaps peculiar response to that question and I’m sure I’ll get a bit of criticism for it, but there you go. My approach came from a genuine place and I stand by it.”

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  3. The Scandinavian artist is tackling climate change by transporting centuries-old Greenland icebergs to the banks of the Thames – allowing people to smell and taste the earth’s air before it was polluted

    Olafur Eliasson is putting the chill into climate change. The revered Scandinavian artist has placed 24 large blocks of centuries-old ice, harvested from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, in a circle outside the Tate Modern in London, with another six on display in the City.

    The purpose of Ice Watch London, a collaboration with award-winning Greenlandic geologist Minik Rosing, is to bring the effects of climate change closer to home, putting people in direct contact with its effects so that they can feel – and even sniff and lick – the ice as it slowly melts away.

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  4. A new book, East London Photo Stories, combines the work of 14 acclaimed photographers to bring a vibrant area of the capital to life

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  5. Lyon’s Fête des Lumières is the world’s largest visual arts festival. It takes place over four nights every December and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Our photographer Alicia Canter visited the city twice to see the remarkable transformation

    Reflets by Damien Fontaine

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  6. My friend Ian Jarman, who has died aged 63 of a heart attack, was an artist who captured the changing urban face of Manchester as well as the timeless rural landscapes of East Anglia and the Hebrides.

    Painting was the centre of Ian’s being, and through artistic adventures in his mind he responded to the landscapes around him by producing powerful images and evoking a real sense of place – in oil, mixed media and watercolour.

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  7. Photographer Andrew Moisey uncovered ritual hazing, extreme drunkenness and toxic masculinity on one college campus – from men destined to be America’s future leaders

    Last year in the US, fourfreshman students died as a direct result of hazing rituals during college fraternity initiation ceremonies. All the deaths occurred during or just after drinking bouts in which the victims consumed vast amounts of spirits in a short space of time while older students egged them on. One of the deceased, Maxwell Gruver, 19, a student at Louisiana State University, was found to have had a blood-alcohol level over .49 g/dl at the time of his death – just .31 is considered life-threatening.

    “Nobody can physically drink that much... You have to be forced to drink it,” his mother told ABC news. “It’s senseless. I mean, how is making your brother do all these things, and humiliating somebody, a brotherhood?”

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  8. Ikon, Birmingham
    Mixing sights and sounds in often beautifully confounding ways, Haroon Mirza is on a mission to rewire our brains

    Haroon Mirza is the electricity man. Kilowatts are the main medium of his art. His twinkling, zapping, glowing, crackling, pumping and frequently eye-popping sculptures and installations live or die by the switch.

    Sound precedes every work. Even in the foyer of the Ikon Gallery, two floors below his show, you can hear the feedback howling upstairs. Moving from one room to the next is like navigating an audio storm, from light rain to thunder to the sound of chopping, sizzling, pattering, the shattering of ice, the scratch of needles on old turntables and the weird, teeth-aching noise of recording equipment broadcasting itself. But to all of this Mirza brings light.

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  9. Hauser & Wirth, London
    The eclectic artist’s new show is a striking miscellany of personal anxieties and totems, from stressed sopranos to breakfasts in bronze

    The man on the screen keeps banging his head against a great wall of hedge. Or perhaps he is trying to lose himself in it. Later he tries the same thing with bushes and flowering shrubs, as if that was likely to help. “Difficultthoughts,” shrieks the soundtrack, “he’s having difficult thoughts!” And so it comically seems. Martin Creed (for it is he) is up against a real mental thicket. The film is both metaphor and sendup.

    As the projection ends, three gallery assistants turn up in real life with an oil painting on a trolley, which they proceed to hang on the wall in a kind of dumb show out of Laurel and Hardy. The picture shows a bit of landscape, overwritten with a list of basic elements and what might be an imploring instruction to the artist: “Trees, Flowers, Seas – Please?” Whereupon the lights go out suddenly, in what feels like a rueful self-parody of the work that won Creed, now 50, the 2001 Turnerprize.

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  10. Hauser & Wirth, London
    From singers accompanied by dancing socks to filmed vignettes of people opening their mouths to reveal masticated food, Creed’s exhibition is absorbing, moving and funny

    Lily Cole looks straight at the camera as it homes in. Parting her lips as if to speak, she opens her mouth, in close-up. I hope that isn’t her tongue in there. The colour is worrying. I think it is masticated fruit, orange perhaps. When the forensic psychiatrist Estela Welldon opens her mouth, there’s some other kind of goo in there – gum or marshmallow or maybe toffee. Everyone in these filmed vignettes, including the artist’s mother and his partner and various friends,­ has been chewing on something. But not on the slice of peanut butter on toast that revolves seductively on a turntable elsewhere on the room, and which gives Martin Creed’s latest exhibition its title, Toast. The toast is patinated bronze, the topping a generous slather of gold.

    Related:Martin Creed: 'I keep hair. And I'm afraid of cheese'

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