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Editors' Pick: Springing into Creation

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April 2, 2016
Passionate about art, frequent visitor of exhibitions, Widewalls photography specialist.

Other than being a friendly reminder that we’re already three months into the leap year 0f 2016, this article is also the messenger of spring. And with spring come allergies and many new events in our beloved world of the arts. Not that the past few months have been uneventful – after all, art knows no calendar – but with the blossoming trees and nicer weather, everything just seems more… inspiring. With this in mind, we’re not gonna let Anish Kapoor ruin our colourful thinking with his exclusive rights to the world’s blackest color… or that Iggy Pop got naked for art… again… I’m still wondering what that’s about.

Anyway, as you’re talking your stroll with a smile on your face, you might wanna check out some of the great exhibitions which opened in March around the globe, such as the one of Ellsworth Kelly and Luigi Ghirri at Matthew Marks in New York, JonOne’s three shows (in Zurich, Paris and Milan), Sterling Ruby at Sprüth Magers London, or Olafur Eliasson in China. Museums have been busy as well: at Moderna Museet, a great group show featuring a bunch of familiar names, at Kunstmuseum Basel we have the very best of post-war and contemporary sculpture, in Brussels we have a whole new museum, which will open with a remarkable urban art show… and speaking of urban art, it got its first ever fair to be held in Paris in April – but more on that in a bit.

The month of March was indeed an exciting one, with lots of talk on the state of the art market and a certain rebellious act a certain Italian street artist committed in his hometown of Bologna. We didn’t miss honouring the ladies on the International Women’s Day with a treaty feature, and we also focused on the wonderful art produced by artists in Iran, Africa, South Korea… and we also asked that very important question: What is Contemporary art anyway?

If we got your attention, please scroll down and experience a deja-vu of the 31 days behind us.

Botticelli Reimagined at Victoria and Albert Museum

More than 50 original works by Botticelli, alongside some 100 of those created by talents over the course of 500 years, will be on view at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, in an exhibition that represents an incredible homage in every sense of the word.

The extraordinary artistic vision of Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, much better known as Sandro Botticelli, was unfairly neglected for over three centuries before it was rediscovered in the 19th century. Ever since, the Italian painter has been considered one of the most important artists of today, whose 15th century imagery has set the standards for the interpretations of classical beauty, and has found its way into all spheres of contemporary life. As such, it influenced and inspired a great number of artists and designers, who have responded to the artist’s remarkable everlasting legacy, by reimagining Botticelli.

See which great names are participating in this grand show.

Robert Rauschenberg in Hong Kong

The legendary artist is having its first solo exhibition in this thrilling city.

Without the revolutionary artworks of the great Robert Rauschenberg, we wouldn’t be able to talk about contemporary art as we know it today. His innovative fusions of painting, installation, photography, printmaking and performance art had helped build the experimental movement that is Neo-Dada, given new definitions to paintings and assemblage, and had an immense influence on the creation, and the success, of Pop art. Robert Rauschenberg’s sixty-year-spanning career makes up one of the most crucial parts of the artistic landscape of the 20th century, and a selection of his works, created between the end of the 1970s and the early 1990s, will now be presented at Pace Gallery.

Read more about the works on view here.

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Blu Removes his Street Art in Bologna

The artist paints over 20 years of work in protest of a museum exhibition.

If you’re a fan of Blu artist and you’d like to see his street art, you’ll have to go Mexico City, or New York, or Berlin, because Bologna is no longer the place where you could do that. In yet another case of artists having difficulties in this Northern Italian city, Blu decided to remove all of his artworks from its walls, as a protest against an exhibition announced by a powerful cultural institution, Genus Bononiae. Accompanied by a group of activists from the XM24 and Crash community centres, the celebrated Italian creative covered the pieces he created over the course of the last twenty years with paint and spray, sending a clear message against “private predators” who are institutionalising street art without permission.

More on the story here.

A Chat About the First Urban Art Fair

A talk with the director.

We are all very excited as the day of the opening of the first urban art fair in Paris is approaching quite fast. It’s truly amazing news for all street and urban art lovers – there will be dozens of great urban artists and exhibitors, all of them in one place, at the same time. While we are all preparing for the first edition of the urban art fair, we spoke with Yannick Boesso, the director of the fair. We asked him about the curatorial concept of the fair, about exhibitors, what can we expect to see, about the position of urban art in the global contemporary art scene.

So, learn more about the first urban art fair in Paris and read the interview with Yannick!

A Word on Feminist Photography

From the earliest pioneers to the great Cindy Sherman and beyond, we celebrate girl power!

When in the late 1960s the feminist movement started its long-overdue fight for equality, art was one of its most powerful tools. Moreover, when feminism met photography and politics met art, it was a match made in heaven. This highly accessible medium helped feminists address critical social issues in the most direct of ways, while photographers embraced feminism as a new way of expression, a less abstruse and more personal one. This, of course, doesn’t mean that before this there were no female photographers whose work could be considered feminist. Think of Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the first women artists to make photographs in the 19th century, or Tina Modotti, whose revolutionary images exalted a sense of freedom, both personal and universal, or even Diane Arbus, who fearlessly photographed all things different, away from the fame of her husband’s fashion photography studio. But that first wave of the 1960s feminism, as well as all those that came after, influenced many women artists to consciously make feminist photographs that fight discrimination in both the art world and life in general.

Continue reading about these remarkable women here.

But What is Contemporary Art Anyway?

A question haunting us at any given time.

Contemporary art is, in most cases, defined as art that has been and continues to be created during our lifetime. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, if this was the case, how can we explain that no other artistic definition, no other artistic category of -isms is as confusing, and at the same time straightforward as Contemporary Art? The term demands respect from the beginning and its first word, contemporary, almost seems to suggest that you must know what it is without having to ask. God forbid you did, because maybe then you will not be considered as someone who’s in touch with what is going on. Well, Widewalls is not afraid to ask: what is Contemporary Art and how can we define it today?

Read our answer here.

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State of the Art Market in Asia

Did the 2016 Art Week Hong Kong have an influence on the growth or the slowdown of the Asian market?

What seems to be in the center of discussion among collectors, art market experts and art lovers worldwide at the beginning of the Asia Contemporary Art Show, Art Central and Art Basel fairs in Hong Kong, is the effect of the decline in China’s economy growth on the Asian art market. There is fear spreading that the price falls of oil, stocks and steel will spill over onto the art sector. According to Wall Street Journal (March, 2016), China’s total art sales fell 23% in 2015, which seems to be the largest drop since 2012. Even though headlines were throwing out different information, Lark Mason, chairman of Asia Week New York – an event believed to be a barometer for the Asian art market – claims that four leading auction houses (Doyle, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Christie’s) seemed to have quite robust sales.

More on the story here.

Korean Artists of Dansaekhwa in the Spotlight

Art makers from South Korea finally get their well-deserved recognition.

It was late 2014 when the art world began to acquaint with a movement that emerged as far as the mid-1970s. Exhibitions began lining up: local Kukje Gallery in Seoul, New York’s Alexander Gray Associates, Blum & Poe Los Angeles. The unjustly neglected Dansaekhwa, a contemporary Korean art movement, was finally getting the attention it deserved; and what’s more, it didn’t stop there for the remarkable Korean artists involved. The great effort made by Korean galleries and a hugely successful book on art in Korea, first such publication in English gave an astounding result: Dansaekhwa was the official Collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale in Italy in 2015, it was featured at Art Basel in Miami Beach and at London’s Frieze Masters, to name only a few events. Today, we can talk about the many solo shows of Korean artists coming our way, as well as an ever-increasing interest in this form of Minimalist art from Korea, mostly notably on the art market.

What is it that makes Dansaekhwa so appealing to collectors? Find out here.

Iranian Art on the Rise

Where can one see it? Everywhere.

When someone brings up the topic of Iranian art, admittedly, a lot of people do not have any opinion on it. This is mostly due to the fact that little positive information is provided on Iran as a country, and most importantly, on Iran as a melting pot of contemporary art. Reasons for this are manifold, but let’s just mention the biggest ones of all, the infamous Iranian Revolution and, of course, the recent, still ongoing conflicts between Iran and the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, as well as the one with ISIS. However, today, we are not here to talk about the troublesome political past of Iran, but about something wonderful and creative that emerged from one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Read more about the art from Iran taking over the West.