A daily bulletin of news & opinion

3 July 2015

ART: Haroon Mirza/hrm199 Ltd, Basel

“He’s an incredibly varied artist working with everything from sound to installation and video – often with a lot of found kinetic objects – and this show is the best show you will see all year.”

Francesca Gavin, art critic and curator

British artist Haroon Mirza has taken over Basel’s Museum Tinguely with works that range from large installations to pieces made with video and random found objects. Part of hrm199 Ltd’s aim, named after Mirza’s own studio, is to convey a sense of process and collaboration that is vital to the artist’s finished pieces. As such this exhibition also features contributions from Anish Kapoor, among others, whose work Mirza has included and even added to in order to show that though great artists can steal if they want to, well-liked ones can simply borrow.

MUSIC: Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Jaakko Eino Kalevi

“He sort of has that ‘deconstruct music and rebuild it again’ mindset, yet the results are very smooth – it’s a very pop record.”

Luke Turner, associate editor of ‘The Quietus’

Finnish musician Jaakko Eino Kalevi was a tram driver before his dreamy songs found an audience and you sense that Kalevi might still be happy at the wheel of a trundling tram with all the time in the word to think. But luckily the prolific Finn is now delivering his effortlessly louche disco tunes to the world and his recent self-titled album (his eighth in eight years) is a great place to start. Where will the journey end? Best ask the driver.

THEATRE: The Motherfucker With the Hat, London

“It’s laugh-out-loud a lot of the time, but it’s got real pain in it.”

Dominic Maxwell, chief theatre critic for ‘The Times’

Director Indhu Rubasingham’s production of US playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’s colourfully titled play The Motherfucker in the Hat is at London’s National Theatre for the next few weeks and The Times’ Dominic Maxwell gave it a rave review on The Monocle Arts Review. The play focuses on New Yorker Jackie and his efforts to stay off drugs and out of jail while encountering life’s unrelenting hurdles. But with a comic yet touching performance from lead Ricardo Chavira, this hard tale set in the Rotten Apple has a sweet centre, too.

FILM: Amy: The Girl Behind The Name

“You get a lot of different perspectives on her and the film has been cleverly selective in which testimonies it trusts and which it doesn’t – it’s obviously extremely sad.”

Tim Robey, film critic for ‘The Telegraph’

Senna director Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the life and demise of soul singer Amy Winehouse has not found favour with her immediate family, who say the film portrays them as not having done enough to prevent her premature death. But controversy aside, Amy is a timely and essential reminder of a great talent lost, showing joyous spontaneous moments caught on film such as the recording of Back to Black as they happened. And though we all know how it’ll end, the questions that Kapadia’s film asks about how best to nurture and steer raw talent means that the Winehouse story is still open to interpretation.

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

“It does what literature is meant to do – it talks about so many different questions from different angles.”

Fleur Macdonald, editor of ‘The Omnivore’

Algerian journalist and author Kamel Daoud’s debut novel bravely wades into modifying a classic: Albert Camus’s The Outsider. In that 1942 book, Camus’ protagonist Meursault murders an Arab on an Algiers beach. Daoud’s novel is told from the perspective of the victim’s brother in a story revealing depth and subtleties about Algerian culture that Camus may never have been able to imagine. Importantly, the book stands alone as its own story, both a rebuke and tribute to a literary classic, while creating a new one in the process.


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