Briefing / Global
After the summer’s megafairs, the art scene is chilling out and the centenary of the Bauhaus movement is being marked on small screens and in a new museum. Plus: emo-pop cures all ills, books and films explore the clashes between generations and a familiar face returns to newsstands.
‘Saves the World’
LA-based trio Muna caused a stir with debut album About U; the political record was an easy listen thanks to its excellent emo-pop. However, such was the hype and critical acclaim that post-success blues soon took hold. Thankfully this gave the band extra motivation to create worthy follow-up Saves the World. Electro-pop banger “Number One Fan” is all about self-love; it’s the album’s first single and a highlight that sets the tone for what follows. Tracks such as “Hands Off” feature synths galore but there are also fantastic ballads, particularly “It’s Gonna Be OK, Baby”. Muna have grown up – and are growing on us.
‘Saves the World’ is released on 6 September
Finished with the megafairs but still have a little cash and time to spare? Then chill out at the most relaxed art fair in Europe: the boutique Art-O-Rama in the Cartonnerie, a former cigarette factory in Marseilles. Now in its 13th edition, this fair brings together 31 emerging (and fashionable) international galleries, specialising in the presentation of work by artists under 40 via mini-exhibitions. “The idea is to create a great experience, discover new artists, talk to young gallerists and get a sense of current creation – all in a casual environment,” says fair director Jérôme Pantalacci. “You really won’t be out of place if you turn up in flip-flops.” There’s a programme of public and private museum shows around the region too.
Art-O-Rama is on from 30 August to 1 September
Galleries to watch out for:
Solo project by 28-year-old Croatian-born film-maker and performance artist Nora Turato, who is based in Amsterdam.
Union Pacific, London
German-born, Basel-based conceptual painter and sculptor Jan Kiefer will show his grape paintings, which play with the tradition of still-life.
Chapter NY, New York
Ryan Mrozowski’s lush paintings of flowers and leaves play with pattern, repetition and colour, belying the rather mundane subject matter.
Kistefos Museet, Norway
Norwegian collector Christen Sveaas transformed his family’s pulp factory in Jevnaker into a gallery in 1996. Kistefos Museet, the institution he founded, made its name thanks to the sculptures by the likes of Anish Kapoor and Tony Cragg spread across its surrounding woodland. But Sveaas decided that he needed a new space to exhibit paintings; enter Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Studio, which designed The Twist, a helix-shaped building that stretches over a river running through the grounds. But it’s not just the building that will turn heads; the programming will too. The first exhibition includes works by abstract painter Sir Howard Hodgkin and Turner prize-winner Martin Creed.
The Twist opens on 18 September
‘Jan Groover: Laboratory of Forms’
Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
In the 1970s and 1980s, US photographer Jan Groover was as well known in New York as Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons. In an exhibition at Moma in 1987, her subtly feminist still lifes of kitchen utensils and fruit were much admired. But her decision to move to France in the 1990s changed all that. After her death in 2012, her archive was donated to Switzerland’s Musée de l’Elysée; this is the first complete retrospective of her work. “She was a pioneer in form and colour,” says curator Tatyana Franck. “She trained as a painter and it shows in the construction of her photographs.” A global tour is on the cards.
‘Jan Groover: Laboratory of Forms’ opens on 18 September
‘Utopia and Demise: Art in the GDR’
Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf
Georg Baselitz and Gerhard Richter are international superstars, both East Germans who made it to the West before the border clamped shut. The reputations of artists who stayed behind could hardly be more different. Few know of Bernhard Heisig, Willi Sitte and Werner Tubke, even though all of them were acclaimed in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). A major exhibition – held at the Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – aims to set the record straight. It focuses on 13 state-approved and rebel artists. “Before the wall fell there were a number of gdr shows in the West,” says curator Steffen Krautzig. “Since then there’s been almost nothing. But there’s a new generation now who are more open-minded.”
‘Utopia and Demise: Art in the GDR’ opens on 5 September
‘Bauhaus – A New Era’
Arte & ZDF
It’s 1919. Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus school is challenging Germany’s received wisdom and seeking to change artistic and societal attitudes. Dörte Helm is a student fired up by Gropius’s provocative approach; she becomes a true disciple. It is through her lens that this series tells the history of one of the most influential cultural movements of the past century. Co-written and directed by Lars Kraume and starring Anna Maria Mühe (Dogs of Berlin) and August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), it is the story of a woman negotiating the repressive norms of her homeland – and finding an artistic voice of her own.
‘Bauhaus – A New Era’ is released in September
The Souvenir is a daring and typically subtle tale of love, addiction and exploitation from Archipelago director Joanna Hogg. Honor Swinton Byrne and her real-life mother Tilda Swinton star as the daughter and parent trying to deal with the younger’s partner, a suave civil servant who has wheedled his way into her heart, bank account and London flat in the 1980s. Much of the narration is based on Hogg’s own memories; the director has said that the film showed her how real life can borrow from cinema and how a relationship can become its own Hitchcock mystery. This unsettling film deals with seduction and squandering; the topics are such fertile ground that a sequel is already in the works.
‘The Souvenir’ is released on 30 August
Trafalgar Studios, London
Peter Shaffer’s career-defining 1973 psychodrama Equus is – in theory at least – as exciting as theatre gets: a portrait of a mind in meltdown that bares both body and soul. Director Ned Bennett’s recent production – first seen at London’s Stratford East – has received a deserved West End upgrade to the Trafalgar Studios. Gone are the animal accoutrements usually used to tell the story of a teenage stableboy who blinded six horses in a mad frenzy. Instead Bennett relies on his performers’ natural physicality to recount the misplaced passions that drive Equus to its thunderous conclusion. Newcomer Ethan Kai is the sexually fraught Alan; Zubin Varla is his attendant psychiatrist. To paraphrase Shaffer, Equus gallops.
‘Equus’ runs at Trafalgar Studios until 7 September
‘The Dutch House’
When wealthy Cyril Conroy buys a house outside Philadelphia, the portraits of the previous owners – the Van Hoebeeks – are still on the walls. Cyril expects his wife Elna to be delighted with the lavishly decorated house and invites a portraitist to paint them too. But Elna doesn’t feel destined for the life her husband has chosen for her and soon leaves. This absorbing novel by Orange prize-winning Ann Patchett examines how a home can impact its occupants. The couple’s children struggle with a distant father and their own fluctuating fortunes; will they be able to escape the legacy of the Dutch house?
‘The Dutch House’ is released on 24 September
Iconic magazine The Face is back. The title had a digital pre-launch in April but returns in print as a quarterly in September. The highly anticipated first issue will be helmed by i-D’s former features editor Stuart Brumfitt. The content won’t stray too much from the magazine’s trademark reports on fashion and youth culture but Brumfitt certainly doesn’t see the reprise as a nostalgia trip: The Face will gather contributors from around the world to mull over why pop culture matters now more than ever. We welcome the sight of a familiar face reappearing on our newsstands. Brumfitt’s approach is proof that there’s hope for old classics to be smartly revived.
‘The Face’ will be on sale in September
As the Bauhaus movement celebrates its centenary, themed exhibitions are popping up in institutions all around the world. We speak to the director of the newly opened Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany, to hear why there’s much more to the school’s teachings than design and architecture.
“When people think of Bauhaus today they mostly just think of its iconic buildings and clean, functionalist style. But that’s only one aspect. The Bauhaus is inspiring in many ways; it promoted a variety of new opinions and perspectives on the world. Gropius once said that Bauhaus is not so much a style but an attitude. By celebrating its centenary we can change people’s way of thinking. I think that after this year, no one will reduce the Bauhaus to just white cubes.
Our centenary programme demonstrates that Bauhaus applies to more than design and architecture. Through a great variety of events, exhibitions, tours, publications and discourses, we hope to break up the perception of a homogeneous doctrine. But first of all we have to keep in mind that Bauhaus was a school, so pedagogy also plays a major role in our discussion. And there are always new schools and academies that work on innovative forms of teaching and interaction. Who knows, maybe some of them will eventually become as famous as the Bauhaus.”