Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

8 August 2014

PHOTOGRAPHY: NEW YORK

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness

The Production Line of Happiness, the first retrospective devoted to US photographic artist Christopher Williams is now on show at New York’s MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). For Williams, photographs not only present the viewer with an image but also ultimately create experiences that are part of wider consumerism. Williams’ works, which include photographic images and Super-8 shorts, are presented in a creative yet disorientating style with the gallery’s traditional make-up broken up by importing whole walls from previous venues that the artist has exhibited at. Certain details of the pieces have also been blown up to supersize, seemingly to hammer the commercial point home. But for all the conceptualism, it’s clear that The Production Line of Happiness, for Williams at least, simply leads to producing good work.

Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street. Open Saturday to Wednesday, 10.00-17.30; Thursday and Friday, 10.30-20.00. Until 2 November.

moma.org

ARTS FESTIVAL: TORONTO

SummerWorks Performance Festival

Toronto’s annual SummerWorks Performance Festival stands out among arts events for its scope. From this weekend and until the next, the 23rd edition welcomes nearly 40 works of theatre, music and dance from some of Canada’s most adventurous voices. Highlights this weekend include Thus Spoke, a dance mash-up from Montréal that weaves together everything from Nietzsche to Hendrix, and El Jinete, a mariachi opera inspired by classical Mexican cinema. This year the festival also presents Artsvote Toronto, a panel discussion between leading Toronto artists and candidates in the upcoming mayoral election about the role of art in the community. It is even rumored that mayor Rob Ford might attend – worth the ticket price alone.

SummerWorks is at various venues across Toronto. For more details please visit the website. Until 17 August.

summerworks.ca

PHOTOGRAPHY: LONDON

Streetscapes

Embark on a pictorial tour through sprawling cities and close-knit townships near and far this weekend at public-art programme The Photographic Angle’s Streetscapes exhibition at Kings House and Queens House in Harrow, London. Capturing the adaptability of communities, ingenuity of design and the emotion behind urban life, the collection curated by Royal Society of the Arts photographer Adrian Stone features works from 31 individuals ranging from Turner-inspired images depicting joy and wonder by Qian Yongning, to Bev Stein’s documentary-style collection displaying political activism. Streetscapes highlights the diverse and often overlooked intricacies of life within the city.

Kings House and Queens House, Kymberley Road, Harrow. Open daily 10.00-15.00. Until 13 August.

thephotographicangle.co.uk

ARTS FESTIVAL: EDINBURGH

Edinburgh International Festival

Perhaps now better known for its comedy offshoot – the fringe festival, the Edinburgh International Festival’s roots go back decades into music and performance of a much more civilised kind. Over three weeks this August, 2,400 artists from 43 nations will be performing to mark the centenary commemoration of the First World War – showcasing art’s power to transcend despair and bring hope. On Sunday don’t miss legendary South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s collaboration with classical ballet choreographer Mark Baldwin in Inala – which means “abundance of goodwill” – at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Events are ongoing at venues around the city and will culminate with 400,000 fireworks lighting up the sky above Edinburgh Castle to the sound of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

At venues across Edinburgh. Please see website for details. Until 31 August.‘Inala’ takes place at the Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place, 10-12 August.

eif.co.uk

MUSIC: GLOBAL

Spoon: They Want My Soul

Austin alt-rockers Spoon have been an occasionally brilliant but mostly overlooked band for much of their career. But They Want My Soul is a magnificently defiant late-game changer that with its unapologetically scrappy sound amid some lovely thinking-man’s pop songs reminds everyone that not only are Spoon still here, but they’re also really good. And maybe they have been all along. The songs range from the balladry of “Knock Knock Knock” that comes on like “Space Oddity”-era Bowie sung by a man of a certain age battling with a sampler (and an orchestra) rather than a spaceship, to the slinky disco of “Outlier” and the lo-fi rock of “Rent I Pay”. Rules may have gone out of the window but on They Want My Soul, Spoon seem happy to be starting again.   

‘They Want My Soul’ is available now.

spoontheband.com

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