Weekend Agenda 18/19 April - Monocolumn | Monocle


A daily bulletin of news & opinion

17 April 2015

ART: Sculpture Victorious, London

“The prize piece in this particular exhibition – the cover star, the poster boy – is a ceramic elephant from a China shop”

Peter York, cultural commentator

London’s Tate Britain has been reappraising the much-maligned era of Victorian art that gave the world some of the most blustering, grand and fantastical sculptural pieces it has ever known. Both epic and yet slightly kitsch, Sculpture Victorious asks the viewer to look again at some very familiar pieces such as the Minton majolica elephant but it also highlights the serene beauty and craftsmanship found in works such as Harry Bates’ 1891 masterpiece “Pandora” (pictured above). And by the look of some of the other outlandish pieces on show at Sculpture Victorious, Pandora wasn’t the only one thinking outside the box.

MUSIC: Tal National, Zoy Zoy

“Their gigs can last between six and 10 hours, whereas on this record it’s quite focused and song-based”

Luke Turner, associate editor of the The Quietus

Tal National are one of the west African nation of Niger’s most popular bands and now the rest of the world is starting to catch on, too. Zoy Zoy is the follow-up to 2013’s highly acclaimed Kaani and continues with the infectious combination of kora, highlife and afrobeat styles, among others, that are a product of Niger’s proximity to strong musical cultures nearby such as those from Nigeria, Mali and Ghana. But make no mistake; Tal National’s sound is one all of their own.

BOOK: The Monopolists by Mary Pilon

“It’s a very intriguing tale; far more intriguing than Monopoly itself”

Mason, writer

Born in Illinois over a century ago, Lizzie Magie was the inventor of The Landlord’s Game (pictured above), a precursor to Monopoly. And it’s this alternative history to the previously accepted story of the board game (said to have been invented by Charles Darrow and sold to the Parker brothers in 1935) that forms the backbone of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game. The book leaves no stone unturned in the tale of this trivial pursuit that is often perceived to be about simply getting rich quick. But it’s the game’s co-creators such as Magie and latter-day contributor to the Monopoly myth Ralph Anspach, who have often struggled hardest to get their name in lights.

FILM: Glassland

“One of those hard-hitting films that is hard to describe to make people want to go and see it – but you’ll be glad that you did because it’s so jolly good”

Anna Smith, film critic

Glassland directed by young Irish talent Gerard Barrett tells the story of an alcoholic mother played by Toni Collete and her son Jack Reynor, facing the harder realities of life in Dublin. The film is a raw look at alcohol abuse and why the bottle offers an escape but ultimately short-lived salvation for a matriarch whose family watch on in quiet desperation. But amid the bleak outlook are some truly impressive performances from Collette and Reynor that will resonate with anyone whose family stories might not have been the most perfect or conventional while growing up – and that might be nearly all of us.

MUSIC: Christian Marclay and Thurston Moore, Live at White Cube

“It has a lot to do with Christian’s fascination with sound and music in relation to visual art and physical art”

Thurston Moore, musician

Live at White Cube is a limited-edition release from London’s The Vinyl Factory that was recorded at visual and sound-artist Christian Marclay’s recent residence at White Cube Gallery – calling on friends such as former Sonic Youth songwriter Thurston Moore and the London Sinfonietta orchestra to fill the soundscape. Though this extremely hard-to-come-by vinyl artefact is being snapped up like hot cakes, you can hear the piece along with an extended interview with art-rock icon Moore on this Sunday’s The Monocle Weekly. Tune in at midday to hear the story behind the music.


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