For those of you who didn’t manage to make it to the big Frieze Art Fair that took over Regent’s Park between October 15-18, here comes a glimpse into Frieze London. Now it wasn’t only the heavy weights of the art world that descended but the baby pram club did as well (urgh). Despite Frieze occupying a vast amount of space, there simply wasn’t enough of it to accommodate the SUV of prams (the twin pram in double width).
Regardless, it was interesting to see what each gallery chose to promote. The art was of course of varying quality but there were a few select pieces that I would have liked to bring home with me and many that I wouldn’t have taken even if I got them for free.
Kevin Francis Gray.
Yoshitomo Nara, Beh!, 2014, acrylic on canvas.
Takashi Murakami, Cosmic Truth, 2014, acrylic on canvas on aluminum frame.
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace is currently exhibiting The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760. Now I’m not sure if it’s baby George that’s causing a bit of a Georgian hype/revival with several exhibitions and a BBC tv mini-series with Lucy Worsley entitled The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain recently aired. Regardless, my lust after fine paintings, etchings, sculpture, porcelain and furniture drew me out.
The exhibition explores the taste and royal patronage of George I and George II in a period of dramatic change across Britain. Satirist William Hogarth’s moralizing art print series including A Harlot’s Progress, 1734 and Marriage à-la-Mode, 1745 tell cautionary stories.
Chelsea plate, soft-paste porcelain, c.1755.
Meissen porcelain tea and coffee service, c.1730.
This would make a suitably fierce, regal throne/desk chair to help me make those tough decisions from while writing my dissertation. Though I’m not entirely convinced over its comfort in the long run.
With the Mori Art Museum exhibition Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Eternal, pop art enthusiasts will revel in the opportunity to see a ‘comprehensive retrospective of nearly 700 Warhol’s work and archives from the start of his career as an artist to his final years’.
Highlights include Warhol’s celebs of the world with portraits of Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, and Mohammad Ali to name just a few, his iconic Campbell’s soup cans, and a recreation of his legendary studio “The Factory” at near to true scale. Other highlights also include a selection of Warhol’s illustrations for top fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour and the BMW Art Car designed by Warhol in 1979 (as seen above).
My favorite bit from the exhibition included the Silver Clouds installation displayed with a spectacular night view over Tokyo. The shiny silver helium balloons slowly bopping around picked up the light and glow of the illuminated night life of the Tokyo cityscape beautifully.
A collection from Museo Poldi Pezzoli is currently on display at the Bunkamura Museum in Shibuya, Tokyo showing the stunning exhibition The Aristocratic Palace and its Beauty -Milano, the Magnificent Collection of the Nobleman. Gilt gold frames enclose dramatic portrait masterpieces and those with religious iconography, intricate tapestry, and further ornate objects help give insight into the lavish taste of prominent Milanese nobleman Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli.
The idea of bringing a few pieces home with me was tempting especially in order to compliment my own collection, but alas I had to make do with some beautiful postcards and Italian snacks (Sacucci Horocci with flavors of milk, strawberry and tiramisu) from the exhibition gift shop.
The Soul of the World “Anima mundi”, by Anne and Patrick Poirier, Cone in metal, diameter: 600cm / height 700cm, a “living sculpture with living birds”.
Luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton’s art space which occupies the 7th floor of their vast Tokyo Omotesando boutique never seizes to amaze me with their interesting exhibition program and their Traces of Disappearance exhibition is no different. With a live bird sculpture and a gummy bear mosaic that mimics traditional stained glass windows, can you really blame me?
Mont Ventoux, by Naoya Hatakeyama 畠山 直哉, 2005/2013, Consisting of a series of 12 C-Print images, 100 x 49 cm, framing structure 63 x 114 cm.
(Mosaic) The Sheer Size of It, by Kasper Kovitz, Candy on Plexi-glass, diameter: 710cm.
For you fashionistas or photography buffs, this is the exhibit for you and what better setting than Chanel’s vast Tokyo Ginza store which houses it’s very own gallery space on the 4th floor in the Chanel Nexus Hall. The exhibition Signature of Elegance displays a stunning selection of black and white fashion photographs by the legendary photographer Lillian Bassman (1917-2012).
While some images oozed post WWII glamor typical of Christian Dior’s New Look, others appeared as modern as ever. Lillian Bassman’s images of furtive eroticism featuring corsets, girdles and lingerie could easily enough grace the current pages of Vogue Paris without looking out of place. And, unlike the crass, sometimes even disturbing, erotically charged images of Helmut Newton (1920-2004), Lillian Bassman applied a tasteful sensitivity to her work with the female form.
So whether or not you find yourself in Tokyo at the moment and have access to Chanel Nexus Hall, Lillian Bassman is a name well worth looking up and getting some inspiration from.
With Shiseido Gallery’s latest exhibition showing Madoka Furuhashi’s work, I had a definite flashback moment to the days I used to spend in Beijing’s 798 art district and the type of artwork that was often featured in their vast gallery spaces.
The exhibition featured a number of photographs and installations and this one above, reminded me of Chinese artist Wang Jianwei’s furniture installations which I had the pleasure of seeing up close and personal when I last visited his studio.
David Downton’s fashion illustrations are undeniably glamorous and remind me of another iconic fashion illustrator’s work, namely that of René Gruau. The two illustrators have numerous things in common and one of these are their work for several of the same big fashion magazines and famous designers. I’m such a fan of David Downton’s work to the point of having three stunning limited-edition fashion prints by him decorating my wall in Tokyo.
These are two of my three fashion prints and show Dior Couture A/W 2009 collections made under the reign of John Galliano whereas my third is an elegant Versace from 2008, all purchased in London. I can’t help but gloat that they make an absolutely stunning trio and especially after having been framed at a great expense with hand-made champagne wood frames in Tokyo. Another bonus is that they compliment my home milieu to perfection.
So when I saw the cover of Kensington & Chelsea Magazine while browsing the isles of WHSmith I couldn’t help but feel team spirit and subsequently went on to pick up my own edition of the magazine for entertainment. This way I can also coordinate my two homes and have a bit of Downton in my London home as well, a total win-win if you ask me.