"Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus"
Deleuze & Guattari



Sunday, 7 December 2014

BLAKE X DANTE

William Blake. The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy
by Sebastian Schütze, Maria Antonietta Terzoli

Still swooning over William Blake's illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy - the last artworks he ever produced, commissioned when he was 65 years old and continued on his death bed. The images arrived recently in my inbox because Taschen is releasing a beautiful new edition to mark the 750th anniversary of Dante's birth. Blake interpreted the epic poem in 102 drawings, some of which the new book shows as fold-out spreads. The essays come from Sebastian Schütze, professor of Early Modern Art History at Vienna University, and Maria Antonietta Terzoli, professor of Italian Literature at the University of Basel.

Lucy carrying Dante in his sleep up to the entrance to Purgatory.
© Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, USA / Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop / Bridgeman Images
   
Left: The inscription over Hell-Gate. © Tate, London
Right: Dante and Statius sleeping, while Virgil keeps watching
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Circle of the Lustful. © Birmingham Museums Trust

Blake's preference for the esoteric over the material and his lifelong commitment to the supernatural has made him a touchstone for New Age beliefs and aesthetics but here we see his vision reaching back down the centuries to interpret the spirituality of the ultimate Medieval morality tale. 

The Ashmolean's major Blake exhibition has just opened in Oxford and is full of more gothic watercolours like these and tells the history of his revolutionary poetry and his lesser-known stint in publishing.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Thursday, 9 October 2014

CULTURUNNERS AT MIT

Last week I joined a brigade of artists and scholars brought together by Edge of Arabia as part of their Culturunners tour around America, an art project and curatorial programme aimed at generating nuanced inter-cultural empathy between people in the Arab world and those in the US.


The Machine To Be Another, an experiment in how virtual 
reality can encourage cross-cultural empathy

Culturunners contributors including Ahmed Mater, Stephen Stapleton, 
Azra Akšamija, Matthew Mazzotta, Regina Möller and Ava Ansari

Just before chatting on stage at the Sunday symposium with 
Carol Huh, curator at the Freer Gallery of Art and the 
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which together form the 
national museum for Asian art at the Smithsonian 

EOA co-founder Stephen Stapleton, architectural historian Azra Akšamija, and curator Ava Ansari - all also artists - launched the ambitious three-year project last month in Houston, Texas and stopped off as part of their art road trip at MIT in Boston where I joined them for three days of workshops, discussions, performances and a symposium with the Art, Culture, and Technology (ActMIT) department at the Media Lab.


Monday, 8 September 2014

SO LONG BEIRUT

Last month I closed my last issue as editor of Selections & the Art Paper in Beirut before leaving Lebanon with a feeling of having spent a fruitful 14 months enjoying work as much as play. My favourite features from the magazine this Autumn are Sheyma Buali's extensive interview with Palestinian pop artist Laila Shawa, and John Ovans' colourful depiction of Inhotim art park in Brazil, which I've always wanted to visit. 


My own articles this time include an interview with French curator Fabrice Bousteau about his personal experiences of India and synaesthesia; a profile of artfest Volcano Extravaganza, held annually on the Aeolian island of Stromboli and this year rave-themed under the title Forget Amnesia; and a skip through the history of Arab modern architecture, as told by Bernard Khoury and George Arbid for Bahrain's pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Read the magazine in full here.


I love Jon Rafman's piece 'I dig, you dig, and it, the worm, digs too' that we chose as the cover of the Art Paper. We went for a technology focus with brilliant stories on recent work by James Bridle and Trevor Paglen written by Merlin Fulcher and Arie Amaya-Akkermans, plus I share some thoughts on Art After the Internet having spoken with curator Omar Kholeif about the book he put together with the same subtitle. We also ran my interview with Tim Noble and Sue Webster from a few months back - quite fun as they talk about the new paintings they are making blind. Take a look here!

Next stops: New York >> Boston >> London...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

NEW LOOK SELECTIONS

I have been editing Selections, the Beirut-based, Middle East-distributed quarterly culture & style magazine, for precisely one year, but only felt like I could really produce something I was truly happy with this last issue, because the magazine was due a redesign. 



The new incarnation is cleaner and clearer - graphically both minimal and classic - and the issue, which takes Design as its theme, is genuinely packed full of strong stories and inspiring imagery.



We open with Zaha Hadid in conversation with architectural critic Hilary French, before chatting with the conductor of the Lebanese Philharmonic Harout Fazlian about his unusual line of work. Next comes my review of Richard Serra's epic new installation East-West, West-East, in the Qatari desert, followed by Sheyma Buali's thoughts on Thomas Heatherwick's new plan for an Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi; a studio visit with the recently knighted (in France) fashion designer Rabih KayrouzJustin McGuirk's thoughts on this year's Salone del Mobile; my interview with Rana SalamJohn Ovans' look at the interior design materials of Fameed Khalique, and at Karl Lagerfeld's Constructivist moment; a profile of Beirut Design Week; my thoughts on Design Thinking with Cyrille NajjarMarc DibehMarc Baroud and Niko KoronisRajesh Punj's interview with leading Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos; an interview with Jonas Dahlberg about his Norwegian memorial installation; Merlin Fulcher's comments on the ICA's discussion of failed colonial modernism; and our personal interview with Olivia Putman, who talks about the experience of succeeding her mother Andrée as head of Studio Putman, and shares her favourite artworks with us in the Curated By pages at the back.


Meanwhile, the peppy little Art Paper, which is more relaxed in format but serious about visual art and its producers, collectors, curators and gallerists, is going from strength to strength, expanding every issue and featuring an ever-growing list of interviews with important voices in the regional art scene.

--
Selections and the Art Paper are published with Rima Nasser as editor-in-chief at CNP, Beirut.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WE GOT ISSUES

The latest issues of the publications I edit are out in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.  



My personal highlights from the main magazine, Selections, are Amelie Hegardt's illustrations of the Spring Haute Couture looks by Marco Zanini for the revived house Schiaparelli, which she did especially for us, and the 16-page section Curated by Abdellah Karroum, director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. 


 

The Art Paper, the art supplement we launched in September, has gone from strength to strength and has become a real pleasure to create. This issue's lead story is my interview with Mona Hatoum and review of her powerful survey show Turbulence.


JUDY BLAME PORTRAIT 2014




Gorgeous portrait of Judy Blame on the Another site right now. Loving the hair. Shot by Julia Hetta and styled by Robbie Spencer for  Another Man S/S14. There's also a little video: www.anothermag.com