Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Florence Day 4

On day 4 of Florence we went to the Pitti Palace which was incredible. The rooms were so highly decorated for the paintings to the furniture and wallpaper. Each room had beautiful ceiling paintings and the paintings we looked at were Raphael's Madonna and Child with St John (Madonna della Seggiola) and Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith. These paintings are well known. I did not actually spend much time in this place as i really wanted to see Donatello David in a different museum so i quickly rushed over there before it closed but sadly missed it by 10 minutes so went and saw the Mona Lisa of Florence, Michelangelo's David. I queued for an hour in the rain and have never really studied this sculpture so had no idea what to expect from it. I was amazed by the marble sculpture mainly due to its monumental size. We couldn't take any photos in any of the major galleries so i do not have one of David. The David is located in the Accademia Gallery and is definitely worth a visit just for the David as the artists ability to create such a monumental sculpture is incredible!
These gates are by Ghiberti and called the Gates of Paradise, is an 8 paneled door, each gold relief sculpture depicting an old testament story such as Cain and Abel and Moses. The gates are fantastic and look so impressive when seeing them for the first time! I loved these gates and they are right opposite Brunelleschi;s Cathedral. After seeing a lot of Florence we left the next day but i had a fantastic time and learnt a lot about Renaissance art which was good for me as i am much more into modern and contemporary art!

Florence Day 3

On Day 3 we went to the Uffizi Gallery, it is like the National Gallery in London, only larger and huge queues, but well worth the wait! We queued for about 2 hours and saw so many artworks. I did not expect to see some of the works i did. I knew i would see the two famous Botticelli, The Birth of Venus and Primavera. Seeing these in real life was amazing but i was much more impressed with the Primavera than the other, The Birth of Venus is such a famous and reproduced image and was impressive to see how large it was in real life but i really loved the detail and iconography which yo can see with the Primavera. I loved it how the Uffizi showed the artworks as some of the works which are the most famous artworks in the world were put in such modest places and sometimes due to just being in a small room with other works which i didnt realise i got such a shock from seeing some works such as the Venus of Urbino by Titian is in a small room and I didn't realize it was in this gallery but extremely happy that it was. Another piece in this gallery which i really wanted to see before coming to Florence was the Battle of San Romano by Uccello. I have seen the version in London and love it and to be able to now have seen two of the three versions was great. All i need to do now is pop to Paris and see the third version in the Louvre. Once you have seen all the rooms and paintings there is a beautiful outdoor terrace which when i was there was the best weather we had all week so we could have a drink in the sun looking over Florence. If you go to Florence you can not miss the Uffizi.

After the Uffizi we went into the hills of Florence to the Piazzale Michelangelo, where we did a 'sound walk' which was walking up to the monastery in silence and listen to Gregorian monks chant religious songs. It was an odd experience but well worth it as it gives you time to listen to the things which you would not normally hear. The Monastery is also at the top of a hill and gives a fantastic view of Florence and watching the sun set over Florence is another must do!

Florence Trip Day 2

In Florence on day 2, Monday morning, we visited the Brancacci Chapel which contained the famous frescoes by Masaccio, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Tribute Money, as well as others. Fillipino Lippi did some works in this chapel, Disputation with Simon Magus and Crucifixion of St Peter. The chapel was beautiful and had amazing artworks all over the ceiling and walls.

After seeing this chapel we to the Duomo in the day and found that it was rammed with tourists which did show how big the cathedral was on the inside. The cathedral was designed by Brunelleschi and is a must see in Florence. It is free to get inside and look around but 3 euro entrance into the crypt which i do no recommend as it shows you broken pots and skulls but there is no captions to anything in Italian or English so hard to understand what is actual remains of the crypt and whats not. The outside of the building is decorated in beautiful polychromy of mainly greens and pinks and the large clock tower to the right of the cathedral!

After looking at the cathedral we went for a drink at the Caffe Giubbe Rosse, which is where the Futurists set up their first meeting in Florence. It was really cool to be in a place where such a large art movement had their first meeting to discuss the promotion of there movement. The futurists were in the early 20th century which was where art really began to go off in all different directions. The cafe was quite expensive so only had a drink and went elsewhere for lunch!
Then we went to what i think is possibly the most famous fresco in the world, definitely in Florence, which was at the Santa Maria Novella, Masaccio's Holy Trinity, this piece definitely lived up to expectations as i have studied for many years and I was more excited to see this piece then any other piece in Florence so was very glad this was on our itinerary. Giotto's Crucifixion was also very impressive but I do not know as much about this piece as i do the trinity. The way how Masaccio manages to capture the perspective withing the architecture does make look like you could climb into the painting.

Florence 10 March-14 March 2013 Day 1

As an LJMU history of art student, we took a 5 day trip to Florence. The home of Renaissance masterpieces. The days were filled with trips to museums and chapels. Florence is a beautiful city and can not be done in 5 days but we gave it a good shot! On day 1 we arrived in Florence at around 4pm after a long day of travelling so decided to rest and then go sight seeing at night. Florence is beautifully lit up at night even if all the museums were closed. The Duomo was lit up and could be seen from all around the city. The view from our hotel room captured the view of Florence perfectly!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Glam! The Performance of Style

This exhibition is possibly the blockbuster exhibition of the Tate Liverpool for 2013! From mainly looking at fine art in galleries such as Manet's and Turner's to making fashion a more respected part of the art world by showcasing a whole movement of style and pop culture. In the exhibition there is fine art such as David Hockney's 'Mrs Clark and Percy' and Marc Camille Chaimowicz 'Celebration'. The reason why its so different to any exhibition i have seen before is because of the layout and the use of music, which is from an artwork but also the display of outfits and use of vinyl cases on the wall, which many people would see and probably have the exact cover at home. This is due to the exhibition being about pop culture and will have a sentimental feeling to visitors who lived throughout the era which it is showcasing (1970-75). To others who were not around at the time it gives an exciting incite to what the time was like. The exhibition focus's on Glam! in the UK as well as the US so Warhol pops up a few times in this exhibition with works such as 'Women in Revolt' which is the poster for his film about the women's liberation movement. I attended the exhibition on the private view and Tate went all out for this view by having a bar and make up studio as well as a dance floor for anyone brave enough to take to it. Whilst i was there, no one took up the challenge of being the first on it! The exhibition was very busy and felt that i was moving round very fast as i was constantly in a queue so i feel i will return to the exhibtion to get another look! Glam! has been open since the 8th February 2013 and ends on the 8th May 2013 so plenty of time to go and see the exhibition!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Corner House

The Corner House is Located in Manchester and is an art gallery as well as a cinema. In gallery 3 there is a film installation by Rosa Barba. Rosa Barba is a Berlin based artist and has held exhibitions all around the world ranging from the Tate Modern in London to the New Museum in New York. The piece which is in the Corner House at the moment is called Subconscious Society, 2013. Barba is commenting on how analogue technology is already passing and the its the digital revolution. The film shows a group of people who are performing strange actions in a disused room where they assemble objects or move in sequences. The film has been filmed on one of the last Fuji stock shipments which is echoing the fading of the analogue technology. the film will showing until Sunday 24th March 2013.

Exhibition Research Centre: Jacques Charlier

The French Artist Jacques Charlier has an exhibition at the brand new LJMU Exhibition Research Centre which opened on the 30th January 2013. It is also the first exhibition Charlier has had in the UK. Jacques Charlier was very big in the northern European art scene and influenced many artists with his conceptual ideas. The photographs which have been taken in auction houses and art shows show spectators conversing and looking at the art. What i think the artist has achieved is taking notice of the ordinary and i never saw the scenarios which the photos are of as a social event. When i look at the photos i see spectators looking at the art works but i also see a large social aspect to going to an opening of an art event. The exhibition is very interesting and is open until the 1st March 2013.

MOSI: Air and Space Hall

This is another part of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is the Air and Space Hall which is a very large room containing many cars, bikes and planes all which have been built in Manchester. The point of this room gives people from Manchester as sense of pride showing them what their city has done to change the way we travel. The room is fascinating and rammed with aircraft. They even have a cockpit of an airplane which allows the spectator to go in and view what it is like to be a pilot. There is also a machine which you pay to sit in and has a screen which shows you flying and the machine moves in time with the image on the screen. The transport vehicles in here seem to be earlier transport machines rather than modern vehicles.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Cube Manchester

Whilst in Manchester I tried to go to the Cube Gallery to see some contemporary art but sadly the Cube was closed even though on the website it says the Cube will be open from 12pm-5pm but it was not so when i return to Manchester i will be have to go back and hope that it will be open!

MOSI: Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

Over the weekend i went to Manchester to visit a friend and on Saturday we decided to look around a few Museums. The closet one was MOSI. I was not the biggest fan of MOSI but the amount of interactive items on display made the Museum! As a child you would not get very bored in here, even in the making of cotton room. The museum also holds many free daily talks so that the visitor can learn more and buy making the tour free will attract more visitors. I did not go on one of the tours but they probably would have been really interesting. The museum seems to aim itself at a younger audience and families due to all the interactive objects on display but does also have adult themed exhibitions and shows such as during February 2013 there will be a Flesh-themed evening for adults. They also hold exhibitions which require the audience to be above a certain age but depends on the audience.

This image above is showing how you can make threads of cotton with your fingers and is overlooking all the machinery used once you have cotton threads. It is very educational but it is also very enjoyable. Below is a picture of a machine turning the cotton thread into a bandage used in hospitals. This is only activated when you push a button which makes the spectator engage in the machinery and not just walk past and miss it.
Overall i was not too keen on the MOSI but i believe they are attracting a good audience of the family and have managed to keep them entertained whilst looking around. When i was there, there were mainly small children and parents.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Sudley House

Took a group visit to Sudley House last week and found it to have a very interesting history. We got to have a tour round the ground floor of the house which has been preserved since the final member of the Holt family died. George Holt was a very rich man and gave back a lot of money to Liverpool and the University. He was also an art collector and was not swayed by the fashions of the time and liked what he liked. He had many artworks by famous artist such as Turner, Gainsborough, Burne-Jones and Studwrick. The house is fascinating and has amazing features in it, not only the paintings on the walls, but also parts of the furniture is persevered to show how exactly the layout of the house was when George Holt lived there. There is also a fantastic stained glass window on entering the house. The house when George Holt's daughter died was left to Liverpool and the land to be kept public. The artworks also have to be kept together in a collection and cannot be split up from each other.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Open Eye Gallery: E. Chambre Hardman

There is an archive exhibition of E. Chambre Hardman which is taking place at the Open Eye Gallery down by the docks in Liverpool. Hardman is from Ireland and was well known for his portrait photographs. This exhibition shows a selection of Landscapes which Hardman took in the 1930s. He took these photos when he and his wife decided to tour Britain which allowed him to develop and move away from the style of Pictorialism. Unlike many British photographers at the time Hardman did'nt want to show how industrialization has ruined the countryside. Hardman never mixed the city and the countryside. In this picture you see a hay stack with a manual haystack mover which takes the viewer back to a time of a tranquil countryside with no machinery. This exhibition really takes the viewer back in time and shows power plants, the peaceful countryside and beasutiful photos for which i may not have ever been seen if the director of the Open Eye in 1980, Peter Hagerty, stop them from being destroyed and had a retrospective of them!

Bluecoat Gallery: William Kentridge

A William Kentridge exhbition is being held at the Bluecoat Gallery until February 3rd 2013. Kentridge is one of South Africas best contemporary artists and this exhibition focus's on his printmaking skills which he learnt at Johannesburg Art Foundation. The exhibition is large and takes over the whole of the Bluecoat's ground floor which has about four galleries in it. The work is mainly done on top of literature, whether is be a dictionary or a fiction book or even a newspaper. The print of a cat on top on the work is a common occurrence. He uses many diffent techniques and methods to get the look he wants to achieve. The work on show here is from 1988 to present day works and a lot of his work has social and political themes. In some of his works you will see bike marks and paw prints of a dog where the work has been on the floor and his dog has ran over it. The exhibition is an interesting one and a good way to see where contemporary art is heading as you do not walk into the galleries and see paintings done by a brush on easel. His works also range in size from small to very large which is showing his ability of printmaking as it is much harder to create a print on a very large scale but he shows that he can.

Manet: Portraying Life 26th January - 14th April 2013

Held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, this exhibition is a must see. I went at 5 o'clock on the opening day and found the whole exhibition to be fantastic and it gives you a real good look into  Manet's life and what he liked doing. The exhibition focus's solely on Manet's portraits which are of his family, friends and models. The first room of the exhibition is dedicated to his mistress then later on wife, Suzanne Leenhoff and her illegitimate son, Leon. The portraits are of them doing everyday activities such as Mme Manet at the Piano (1868) and Boy Blowing Bubbles (1867). Everyday scenes are depicted as Manet wanted to depict avant-garde bourgeois society in a realist way. This is seen in his painting Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862) which the curator of the exhibition has given this painting a whole room to itself. Is this to show how important and famous it is or the lack of paintings which the exhibition holds? It really heightens the importance of this painting and allows for a lot of people to gather around and look at it in awe. The third room is a very fascinating room as it shows a chronological time line of Manets life and work down one wall and shows a large map of Paris and dots to show Manet's life. The dots represent his apartments/studios/friends. The exhibition also highlights why Manet chose portraiture which was because of the new technology of cameras which the exhibition also has photographic portraits of the time. The exhibition shows many works some unfinished and one of Emile Zola, who helped Manet a lot to become more popular with society. The only disappointment to me in the exhibition was in the final room which is dedicated to one of Manet's most painted models, Victorine Meurent. There were amazing portraits in here of her but there was one missing which i have always wanted to see but it seem as though i will have to go to the Musee d'Orsay to see Olympia, (1863). Overall i really enjoyed the exhibition and felt that it was entertaining and also thoroughly educational as every painting had an extended caption next to it allowing for every visitor to learn something new. The Exhibition is running until the 14th April 2013 and is worth a visit!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Royal Academy: Constable, Gainsborough and Turner

 Thomas Gainsborough RA, ‘Romantic  Landscape’, ca. 1783.

Over the winter break I went to the Royal academy to see the show: 'Constable, Gainsborough and Turner and the making of Landscape'. Constable, Gainsborough and Turner were artist which made Britain lead the art world for the first time with their Landscape paintings. This show was different to what i expected. It showed these three landscape artist came about doing landscapes by the artists who influenced them. The exhibition was all artworks which the Royal Academy owned and a lot of them were etchings as the exhibition also wanted to show the interest in printmaking at this time. There were only three large painted artworks by Constable, Gainsborough and Turner so I felt disappointed by this and felt that the Royal Academy only used these names to attract visitors as they are Britain's most famous painters from the 18th century. It would have been more appropriate to call the exhibition 'the making of landscape featuring Constable, Gainsborough and Turner'. But overall i did enjoy the exhibition and was nice to see Gainsborough away from Portraiture, which he made his name from, and into Landscape, where he shows he has just the same amount of skill as Turner and Constable to produce Landscape paintings. It was very interesting to see who these artist also continue to influence today such as Norman Arkroyd and Richard Long. The exhibition really opened my eyes to etching and i was not too sure about how much I liked it but after seeing so many i like etching and engraving as you can see the detail the artist put into their work with the pencil work which is covered up with the paintings.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Open Eye Gallery: A Lecture Upon The Shadow

The artwork in this exhibition is from artists from Shanghai and also the Northwest of England. They have all played with light and form to create a new version on everyday images in photography. The piece that stuck in my mind when visiting the Gallery was Fan Shi San's photos Two of us, 2009-. The reason why I liked these photos more than the others was because of the social historical background which they reflect. The one child policy in china which is still going on today. The one child policy only allows urban couples to have one child but there are a few people who are exempt from that such as if both parents are only children themselves. The people in these photos are always identical and never looking at each other giving of the sense of loneliness and separation of the idea that there could have been siblings but they are not allowed.

Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s Saatchi Gallery

In the final 4 rooms of the Saatchi Gallery is the exhibition Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s. The artwork which is located in these rooms are from artists who worked in Moscow in this time period, 1960-80. This is when the cold war was at its peak and the Soviet Union was a massive threat around the world and the artists give an insight to what it was like living in the capital, Moscow. The Soviet Union was a Communist country and Moscow was the only place where they could get contact to the outside world and due to this the formation of underground art movements happened.
This artwork caught my eye whilst working around as everyone knows of Andy Warhols, 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962. During the Cold war the two superpowers of the world were America and the Soviet Union. They both held Nuclear Weapons and incidents such as the Cuban Missile crisis happened. This artwork, Russian Pop-art No 3, 1964 by Oskar Rabin really shows how the Soviet Union viewed America as they have taken one of Americas most famous painters and the painting which he became famous for as well as a well known object which can be found in most homes in America and have ripped or shot at it to make it look like it ha deteriorated. It called also represent what everything would look like if the Cold War turned much worse and both countries set off Nuclear bombs. Go see this exhibition before it ends on 24th February 2013!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Saatchi Gallery: New Art From Russia

I really enjoyed this exhibition as did not know about many artists from Russia but since going to the Saatchi Gallery over Christmas I discovered artists such as Sergei Vasiliev, Gosha Ostretsov and Vikenti Nilin. There work was very interesting and shows the view what the Soviet Union was like and what the consequence has had on Russia. The Saatchi Gallery split the Gallery into two sections which was the first 10 Galleries was devoted to general Russian art which i am going to mention now and the second one was called 'Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960s-1980s'. The first section of the Gallery is post soviet union where as the second part of the Gallery is art in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991 and Russia was created.
When Entering Gallery 1, you see large photographs on all the walls, spaced out. On the photographs are men with tattoos all over their body. What i first thought was that the artist had used these men as canvases but in actual fact what i learnt was that the men themselves had used themselves as canvas's. Sergei Vasiliev is the artist and he worked as a prison warden. The men in these pictures are prisoners who decided to tattoo themselves with hidden messages against the Soviet regime and they also put what they had done to get into the prison. A fellow worker of Vasilev, Danzig Baldaev, catalogued the tattoos which has allowed for the iconography of the images to be understood more.

In Gallery 3 you come across a concrete stable like building with a chain across every door and when you get closer to the doors of each section you notice that there isn't going to be a pretty pony inside. This work is called Criminal Governement, 2008, and could be seen as a look into the soviet prisons at the time. However Gosha Ostretsov became obsessed by with costume-art and comic-strips. He led him to create latex masks and his work revolves around this. This artwork to him his like a fantasy comic-book world and instead of the civilians getting punished its the government officials which are!

Walker Art Gallery Hair Dress

Standing on the first floor of the Walker Art Gallery is this Dress Designed and created by Liverpool Designers Thelma Madine (known for Big Fat Gypsy Wedding) and Ryan Edwards. The dress was created using 250 metres of Hair extensions and was created by Thelma's work business. Ryan Edwards then sprayed and dyed the dress to get the colours which it looks like now. The whole point of this dress is to highlight an important issue. The use of hair extensions is popular in today's but where does the hair come from? They do not know exactly where the hair came from to create this dress so are using this to highlight whether the hair was taken unethically in places such as India and eastern Europe.