Editors' Pick: A lot of Dada and a few Exciting Announcements

March 1, 2016

As February winds down, and we take another look at the art happenings that we were talking about this month, it becomes obvious that it was pretty much marked by Dadaism. The avant-garde movement had its centenary this year in February, so in order to reflect back on its ingenious protagonists, we made a list of 10 people associated with Dada. A week or two later, we found out about Cabaret Voltaire's new plan for preservation and sustainability, which involves selling the place as a living sculpture to a rich benefactor, and keeping the birthplace of Dada in its authentic condition. We wrote more about the movement, and these articles await your attention, so make sure to scroll down a little bit.

Meanwhile, alongside Dada's 100th birthday celebration, two great street-art festivals took place recently, one of which lasted for a few months (the amazing ST+Art Delhi), and the other one for just a week in February, but it made enormously powerful impact on the whole planet, since it seems like everything people were talking about these days was POW! WOW! Hawaii. In case you somehow missed it, check out the two of our latest Street Updates. As for art festivals and fairs less concerned with street art, we made an announcement for the promising Art Dubai,  and Art Paris 2016. Art Cologne will welcome us later this spring, and finally Artexpo New York is something you definitely shouldn't miss this April.

A lot of interesting things are going to be happening in the next few months, so stay tuned, and in the meantime take a look at some of February's highlights, in this article.

MoMA's Online Photography Course

Coursera is an online platform which offers a number of courses on many subjects, and it often collaborates with famous universities and organizations. This time, they partnered with MoMA, end it resulted in creating something great.

Entitled Seeing Through Photographs, MoMA‘s online course consists of six sessions which explore 180 years of the medium’s existence and the many ways it’s been used throughout history and into the present day. Through six short films, four video conversations, sixteen audio slideshows, visits to artists studios, and more, the students can learn about what a photograph really is and how it can be used: “as a means of artistic expression, as a tool for science and exploration; as an instrument of documentation; to tell stories and record histories; and as a mode of communication and critique in our ever increasingly visual culture.”

Find out how MoMA online photography course could help young collectors.

Depicting Pregnancy, from Modernism till Now

This is not a very common topic in art, and yet it depicts a stage in life of a woman, which anticipates one of the most amazing aspects of life as such - giving birth. Why is that so?

Some blame the canons of classical art, which did not see a woman’s body bearing a child fit in, while others call out the influence of the taboo behind the immaculate conception of Virgin Mary. With time, the topic found its way to the pedestals and within frames, gradually taking down the veil of controversy and misconception from this natural phenomenon.

See how different artists depict the art of being pregnant.

Dada's Centenary - about the Origins

Find out how Dadaism was conceived, and under which conditions it started to exist - what the word Dada means (if it even means anything), and what were the consequences. 

It is absolutely essential to understand the context of the time in which a movement, or an idea, starts to exist. The aspects of art that still, after all of these years, confuse people who are not that well informed, are mere consequences of very deliberate actions from the past. Today, saying that art isn’t art sounds arrogant, predictable and even worse, mediocre. But in 1916 in Zurich, it was a completely different story.

Read the whole story here.

Dada in Practice - about the Techniques

Once you learn (or remind yourself) of the origin of Dadaism, take a look at the techniques that Dadaists were using, deliberately or intuitively (if there was even a difference between the two in that moment).

Surely the one who started it all was Marcel Duchamp, as he introduced us to the readymades: mass-produced, commercially available, utilitarian objects that turned everything upside down. The long-established definition of an artist was thrown into confusion, and just like that, life became art. Duchamp had managed to elevate an ordinary object to the dignity of an artwork by mere choice and by adding a title and a name to it. He also dismissed the idea that art must be beautiful – certainly not in the traditional way.

Find out how art stopped being beautiful here.

Representing the Sea throughout History

We were talking about the sea, as a subject of representation in art, and the way it made impact on artists over time.

From Claude Monet and his fascinating paintings to the abstract expressionists, a viewer remains stunned with the pure beauty of these representations of sea. Today, when we could say that the art is flooded by the sea of concepts, it’s nice to take a look back, to the depictions of sea in different periods of Modern and Contemporary Art history. Styles have changed, as well as techniques – only subject-matter remains the same. Many things have changed, including the media as well.

See the whole article here.

Photographs of the Seventy Abandoned Mental Hospitals

Christopher Payne made a photography book which showcases abandoned asylums, their interiors and found objects. British author Oliver Sacks wrote an essay to accompany the book, describing mental hospitals, and mentions the likelihood of being mad and safe in such a place.

America’s vast mental hospitals, with their lavish grounds, incredible views and numerous pavilions, represented an often sight for more than half the nation’s history. Many experts believed that well-designed buildings and grounds, as well as a peaceful environment and fresh air could all contribute to a quicker healing of mental illness. Through the photographs of Christopher Payne, we see the splendour of these facilities – or better yet, proper palaces, both indoors and outdoors, their crumbling façade and dusty rooms.

The exhibition of Payne's works is still on view, so make sure to read more about it.

Fighting Gentrification through Street Art

Well, apparently life in London is not cheap, and planned gentrification does not help its outskirts very much. East London district of Shoreditch has been facing these problems.

Shoreditch is facing a complete make-over, as the plans for an £800 million redevelopment in form of six building towers with (unaffordable) apartments and offices threaten to change its face and soul for good. What has long been a creativity hub and home to many talented artists in search for a cheap, interesting place to live and work in could now be all about trendy & cool hipster hangouts and overpriced rents.

However, the longstanding, fruitful relationship between Shoreditch and the art that still carries out the unique atmosphere of the neighbourhood has been going strong for the past three decades.

Find out what happens next - here.

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