Hellllooooooooooooooooo and welcome to July!🎆 I’m a bit late on this post but better late than never, right? And before I can look ahead to July (which has already been pretty eventful) I need to take a look back at June. Along with the the events I write about in this post, the highlights of June were watching the The Euros football tournament and Love Island coming back on TV. Leave a comment or send me a dm if you’re watching I wanna know who your top picks are🥂. Let’s recap the month!
The Month in Review
Yayoi Kusama Exhibitions
This month I returned to the Victoria Miro Gallery in Islington to view Yayoi Kusama’s I Want Your Tears to Flow With The Words I Wrote exhibition. If you’re not already familiar, Kusama is the is the self-proclaimed High Priestess of Polka Dots and is still creating art every day even in her nineties. The exhibition features large colorful paintings with her signature polka dots showing up throughout as well as several of her massive colorful polka-gotta pumpkins. You can learn more about her art in this video which also showcases her Infinity Mirror Rooms, two of which I had the opportunity to visit at the Tate Modern.
Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern are famously sold out til October, however I was lucky enough to get a returned ticket to the exhibition from one of my friends who’s a member. I’ve seen photos of the infinity rooms so much on social media but being there in person was a more special experience than any photo can capture. If you have a chance to go see one of these exhibitions where you become just a little polka dot in Kusama’s world I cannot recommend it enough.
London Gallery Weekend
This June saw the first ever London Gallery Weekend, where different galleries all over London opened their doors to the public, showing off their current exhibitions and offering some amazing events like live shows and free tours. Paris did the same as well, and considering how amazing the London weekend was, Paris Gallery Weekend is now a bucket list item. I have nothing against viewing artwork in a museum, but there’s something particularly special about experiencing artwork in a gallery’s more intimate setting. Though I only saw a fraction of the art on display during London Gallery Weekend, I still was introduced to so many amazing artists and gorgeous galleries that I am now keeping up with on instagram and look forward to returning to.
Disclaimer: the purpose of this section is to shed light on the amazing work these artists have produced, and dig deeper into these artists’ process and explore more of what they’re working on or have worked on. It is not a critique. Also, some of the exhibitions I mention have since ended.
This is the most beautiful gallery I’ve ever seen. The high ceilings, marble staircase, and gorgeous windows took my breath away. After leaving the gallery I immediately googled the history of the place, and if you’re curious about it for yourself you can check it out here. Thaddaeus Ropac gallery offered a free tour with one of their curators who explained the history, inspirations, and impact of the Tom Sachs and Robert Rauschenberg exhibitions on display.
Tom Sachs – Ritual
Tom Sach’s art makes me want to find power tools and get my hands dirty. Although the tours for Ritual that were offered during gallery weekend have passed, you can see an interview with Sachs on the gallery’s website where he describes the themes of this exhibition, his approach, and where he’s drawn inspiration from. After seeing this exhibition I went down a bit of a Tom Sachs rabbit hole. In this interview giving advice to the young, he urges people to keep trying new things if you’re searching for what you love, because he says doing what you love is the most important thing. This was also the theme of the book Range by David Epstein which I wrote about in a previous blog post, and it’s a key part in the story of so many influential people in history, especially artists. He also gave a fantastic Ted Talk on his work. If you’re interested in more of his work, check out his Ten Bullets project, and his sweet collaboration with Nike, NIKECraft, that deserves its own separate blog post.
Robert Rauschenberg – Night Shades and Phantoms
The gallery also has a series of photographs and screen printed photographs on metal from Robert Rauschenberg — an artist who needs no introduction. The collection is the largest of its kind that features both the Night Shades and Phantoms exhibited together. One of the most striking features of these works that I personally I found is seeing your own reflection while looking at them, making the pieces ever-changing and unique to everyone who views them. A description of the exhibition and videos describing it can be found on the gallery’s website. If you’re interested in learning more about Rauschenberg’s art and life check out this BBC Documentary.
Cristea Roberts Gallery
The Cristea Roberts Gallery hosted a show called “… Just what is it?” which highlighted 4 artists who’s works explore the meaning of “Home” – something which has been shifted for many of us since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
Polly Schindler is an artist from Connecticut, USA (shoutout New England!) and paints mesmerizing interiors in this exhibition that draw you into a space and play with color, texture, and pattern. I’m particularly obsessed with the sink painting in this exhibition (see photo below) and think the colors are goals for a future home. She has a wide range of works outside the exhibition like landscapes, portraits, abstracts, and more including my personal favorite: painted sculptures. One of her pieces may look super familiar because it’s the cover art for the book Early Morning Riser which seems to be in every bookstore’s colorful window and table displays at the moment. You can explore more of Schindler’s world of art on her website and her instagram.
I immediately wanted to step into the world of Charlotte Keates’ paintings, but all of the ones on display at Cristea Roberts are constructed from memories and don’t actually represent one real place. Keates talks about how she aims to capture the 5 senses of a memory in this interview on the gallery’s website. I visited the gallery with a friend of mine and we had an ‘aha moment’ after viewing of couple of her pieces realizing that parts of the canvas that are a wooden / cardboard looking color and texture are actually parts of the the canvas and not painted at all. After then we went and revisited all of the previous works we’d looked at before with a newfound level of wonder and inspiration. You can learn more about the artist and see more of their work on She Curates and their instagram.
Speaking of home, it turns out, like me, Zsofia Schweger is someone who has called both Boston and London home. Schweger’s pieces in this collection are playful yet simultaneously peaceful. I’m particularly obsessed with her paintings on the tube and of the London Underground in dreamy colors. Some of her previous works also include pictures made out of painted blocks. How cool are these? If you’re as obsessed with these as I am she has an entire highlight devoted to them on her instagram. In addition, she has an impressive list of previous exhibitions which you can find along with more of her works on her website.
Lederer’s paintings are an absolute feast for the eyes. Lederer explains that her works often comment on consumer culture, and I love that she admits she’s “hopelessly complicit” in it … something I can relate to! The more I looked into Lederer’s art the more I was drawn in, by the sheer volume of her work as well as the bright colors she uses that command your attention. In this interview she talks about the intentional perspective of her work, as well as explores how most of us experience art today, through a cell phone camera screen. I’d love to someday take one of her workshops she teaches in New York. You can see more of her work including her mono prints on her website and instagram.
TJ Boulting recently hosted a show by artist Kate Dunn: The Tabernacle: Welcome to Pharmakon. This show offered an audiovisual and interactive experience viewing Dunn’s paintings in changing light alongside gabber music. After viewing the audiovisual show, me and the other guests at the gallery were able to ask Dunn questions, and explore the paintings ourselves using UV flashlights. Dunn explained that since these paintings look one way in white light, another in UV light, and another as their own source of light, each one can be thought of as infinite paintings depending on the amount and type of light its exposed to. There was also a very special moment where everyone turned their torches off and the lights in the gallery turned off, and the luminescent paintings were the only light source in the room(see photos below). Imagine having these paintings lighting the hallways of your house at night? #goals. Dunn’s exhibition explores human connection in rave culture and inspires a sense of longing to be surrounded by people dancing in sync to the rhythm of the music, strangers and friends alike. This is something which I think a lot of us are looking forward to in a post-pandemic world, and I encourage you to read the description of the exhibition on the gallery’s website. Dunn has since had a show at The Tub in Hackney, and you can keep up with her most recent works via her website and instagram, and see more of the works in this exhibition on artsy.
During London Gallery Weekend Timothy Taylor Gallery exhibited Hilary Pecis’ show, Piecemeal Rhythm. The exhibition has since ended, but you can still find more information about the collection of Pecis’ works that were featured on the gallery’s website. Pecis’ paintings in this exhibition range from interiors, to landscapes, to still lives. My absolute favorite out of the collection was a landscape of the outside of a liquor store (shown in the center of the left photo below). It was a simple scene that could be from anywhere in America. A striking aspect of Pecis’ paintings which is difficult to capture in photos is the sheer size of some of them. You almost don’t notice because the gallery is so large, but then it hits you that this big painting is literally towering over you. The size of her works is also visible in this video of Pecis giving a tour of her studio. But don’t take my word for how amazing Pecis’ paintings are, check out this article which likens her to Matisse and Hockney and and chronicles the immense success she’s having this year!
The Skinny Confidential Him And Her Podcast
This episode of TSC Him and Her podcast, “How to Unlock Your Full Potential & Creativity With Renowned Artist, Jason Naylor” quite literally kept me up at night. So full disclosure I was having trouble falling asleep and put this podcast on to help me fall asleep, thinking I’ll listen to it again later during the day while I’m on a walk or painting. However, the interview was so interesting, I ended up not being able to fall asleep and staying up til 2 am listening to it and looking up all of Naylor’s work. In the episode Naylor discusses his career and highlights the prestigious brands he’s worked with including Sephora, Guess, Coach, Pepsi, and several others. He talks about the need to show up and create without waiting around for inspiration to strike, and attributes this work ethic to his success as an artist. I also loved hearing his strategy for painting murals. Give this episode a listen to find out what it is!