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Posted inArt

A Home That Makes the Old Masters Come Alive

Art always has some sense of place, whether it is the result of where it was created or the setting it is placed in, but art as a place can be something truly transporting that goes beyond installation to become a world unto itself. I’ve seen shades of this in two current shows, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Stray Light Grey that subverts Marlborough Gallery into urban backrooms and Andrew Ohanesian’s The House Party at Pierogi’s Boiler Room that brings suburbia to Brooklyn, and even in the ongoing, heavily atmospheric theatre experience Sleep No More with its beautiful 1930s time travel. All of these have led me to think on one of the most engaging and curious of these kinds of art experiences: the Dennis Severs’ House in London.

Posted inArt

2012 London Olympics Causes Artist Rents to Skyrocket

You can’t see out of the east-facing window of artist Dragica Carlin’s London studio, because of all the paintings that are stacked against it. But if you could, you’d be looking straight towards the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, in Hackney, east London. Carlin came to London from Croatia nearly twenty years ago, and like hundreds of other artists, she was attracted to Hackney because of its vibrant and edgy street life and its low-rent studios (it has been estimated that there are more studios here per capita than anywhere in the world). But in the months since London won the right to host next year’s Olympics, fending off rivals such as New York City, the lives of artists and other residents have been transformed in sometimes unwelcome ways.

Posted inArt

Stephen Jones Gives Good Headwear

“Does anyone still wear a hat?” This lyric from Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece musical Company, as crooned out by Elaine Stritch, rung in my head as I found out that master milliner Stephen Jones’s show Hats: An Anthology would travel across the pond from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to the Bard Graduate Center in New York City this Fall. Though English aristocracy continues to include interesting headwear in their luxe lexicon (remember the Royal Wedding?), are hats still so much a sartorial staple in the United States that they warrant an exhibition?

Posted inArt

Looking at London, Revolting!

LONDON — We are now six days into the unrest that started in the Greater London neighborhood of Tottenham, spread throughout London and then erupted across England. London has been relatively — but tenuously — calmer than it was on Monday night, when looting, arson and violence escalated and reached new and disparate parts of the city … What’s been more interesting to me, however, has been the ways in which many denizens of England have established identities as non-rioters or anti-rioters and expressed criticism through social media and images circulated through it.

Posted inArt

5 Observations from London’s Frieze Art Fair

This past weekend was the annual Frieze Art Fair, held in London. Featuring over 150 galleries from all the best Western nations (and maybe a few others), the Frieze Art Fair is one of the largest and most notable in the world. This was my first outing to Frieze, and people keep asking me “How was it?” I think “how it was” can best be summed up as the top 5 parts of Frieze I actually remember (presented here in no particular order).