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Developing a website such as SDk and the magazine it hosts takes time. That's why we think contributors and others interested in what we are doing deserve to be kept informed on our progress. This page has been designed to do exactly that: to keep you up-to-date as to where we are. We're pleased to have you with us.

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‘Sex and Regulation’: seminar focuses on the excesses of the state, media and lobbyistsLatest News ->

Thurs 03 Feb, 2011.

A UK academic organisation, the Onscenity research network, hosted a seminar at the British Academy, London, on 1 February to draw attention to increasing state regulation of sex in relation to media, labour and the internet.

Julian Petley, professor of screen media and journalism at London’s Brunel University, chaired the seminar, and introduced it with his own presentation, “Censoring the image”. Petley is a veteran advocate of free speech, and he once again demonstrated his detailed grasp of a broad range of censorship and free speech issues in the United Kingdom.

Petley began his delivery with the sobering declaration that there were many UK laws limiting freedom of speech; he then tabled an overview of these laws, their history and their socio–legal impact today. He drew particular attention to the evolution and problems of the Obscene Publications Act (OPA), various child protection laws, and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (CJIA) 2008....Read more

Japan's island of art: a sublime museum experience worthy of pilgrimageLatest News ->

Wed 12 Jan, 2011.

Japan's island of art: a sublime museum experience worthy of pilgrimage

by Paul Cochrane

Viewing art is more often than not an urban activity. Galleries and museums don’t tend to be tucked away in forests or on small islands only accessible by ferry. Indeed, a remote island in Japan’s Inland Sea is not where you would expect to find a gallery devoted to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series. Nor to be the location of what can only be described as a sublime museum experience.

But a remote location showcasing artistic masterpieces has the air of a pilgrimage about it as well as providing a more relaxed setting to ponder and appreciate the art you have traveled so far to see.

There was certainly a feeling of anticipation in the air as visitors boarded the ferry for the fifteen-minute ride from the mainland, around five hours by train from Tokyo, to the island of Naoshima. This is not a place that is on most visitors’ to-do list when visiting Japan, like including an afternoon to tour the Louvre when in Paris. Naoshima attracts the artistically inclined, whether architecture students staying at youth hostels near the port or well-heeled art aficionados checked in at one of the four hotels run by the Benesse Corporation....Read more

Fritz Lang’s restored Metropolis screening worldwideLatest News ->

Tues 21 Sept, 2010.

The discovery in Buenos Aires in 2008 of an uncut version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis, was as important an event for world cinema as the discovery of a lost Picasso would be to the more traditional art world, according to the artistic director of the British Film Institute, Eddie Berg. Berg, along with other film industry figures, was speaking in interview for the BBC television current affairs programme Newsnight, which last month also broadcast excerpts of the lost footage from the newly restored full-feature film.

Those interviews and film excerpts can be seen on the BBC website in the report “What makes sci-fi epic Metropolis so influential?”, but why stop at that when Metropolis is likely to be showing at an art-house cinema near you? Following our own advice, we here at SDk patronised Bristol’s Watershed media complex yet again on Sunday 19 September to pay appropriate homage to what is widely regarded as among the most important and influential films in cinema history....Read more

Barbican Art Gallery, London: The Surreal HouseLatest News ->

Fri 10 Sept, 2010.

Those of you who have read SomethingDark magazine will know that Eugène Satyrisci is our comment writer. He also writes reviews, and Eugène visited The Surreal House exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery on 15 July, and we’ve been chasing him ever since for an article for our then still-new Latest News section. Now he’s convinced we’re serious about this, he finally relented and provided us with a review, and, at the risk of posting another last-minute alarm of “don’t miss this one”, we’ve rushed it onto the site just before the exhibition’s closing day.

We could also say “better late than never”, but then what this review has to say is not only relevant to what is happening today, but looking back critically at what happened yesterday, so we can better understand what is happening today, and what may be on the horizon. This is especially applicable in the case of this review since it’s a double-header: our intrepid columnist also attended the “Surrealism, philosophy & literature” talk on 15 July, part of the Barbican’s exhibition-support programme....Read more

UK Lowbrow–Pop Surrealism exhibition revels in successLatest News ->

Mon 23 Aug, 2010.

Art From the New World wound up at the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery yesterday with the expectation that final visitor figures would reach the 60,000 mark – a thrilling success in the eyes of the director of the Los Angeles gallery that curated the exhibition.

Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) director Richard Scarry made no secret of his delight with both the attendance figures and with viewers’ overwhelmingly positive response during a public guided tour of the exhibition on Saturday 21 August. SDk attended this tour and can vouch for the large number of fellow, suitably impressed and appreciative, attendees.

Scarry, who is Bristol-based and flies to Los Angeles for a week or so at a time once a month to attend to his duties in person at CHG, said he was determined to mount Art From the New World in Bristol as a result of the Banksy exhibition held last summer at the same venue. Banksy – Bristol’s most famous ambassador for the city’s thriving independent arts and cultural scene along with the internationally influential “trip-hop” music artists Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky (also known as “the Bristol sound”) – drew some 300,000 people, many from overseas, to the Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition....Read more

Art From the New WorldLatest News ->

Tues 17 Aug, 2010.

Art From the New World

Art From the New World may be nearing the end of its showing at the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery (UK), but that’s all the more reason to make an extra-special effort to see what is billed as an exhibition presenting, for the first time to British and European audiences, nearly 50 emerging and established artists working in the contemporary American Lowbrow–Pop Surrealism movement.

Many of the artists created new work especially for the exhibition, which was curated by the Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, in collaboration with the Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery. Jan Cory Helford, founder, owner and curator of the LA gallery, has outlined the significance of Art From the New World:

...America is gushing forth a new wave of taste and style born of Pop Iconic culture, expanding American diversity, resistance to the mainstream art world and a need to communicate to an art audience looking for relevance in America’s Age of Uncertainty....Read more

London: Cork Street Open Exhibition 2010Latest News ->

Thurs 05 Aug, 2010.

London: Cork Street Open Exhibition 2010

The Cork Street Open Exhibition has garnered a prestigious international reputation in its three years of existence, and after attending the 2010 private viewing on opening day, Wednesday 4 August, SDk can appreciate why this is the case. This year’s event attracted more than 1,200 entries, from which a panel of five judges drawn from the UK art world selected some 100 works of contemporary painting, photography, graphic art, sculpture, original prints and mixed media for exhibition.

SDk particularly appreciated the sociopolitical comment in Hey, Are You a Terrorist?, a drawing–collage by the young Finnish artist Toni Toivonen (judge’s choice, runner up), and the urban landscape paintings The Alley Way and Urban Scene, in oils by American artist Courtland Blade and in acrylic by English artist Keith Krzywicki, respectively.

Also catching our eye was the unmistakably Dali-esque Vertigo, in oils by Lindsay Pickett (UK), and Cows Crossing, a digital work by Irish artist Christine Simpson, as well as what might be termed the “Freudian surrealism” of A Place Beneath the Surface by London-based photographer Dominic Hawgood....Read more

Major Mapplethorpe retrospective hosted by NRW-Forum, DüsseldorfLatest News ->

Sat 10 July, 2010.

Further evidence that SDk is not obsessed with Robert Mapplethorpe but that the point we are making – that his work was, and still is, enormously significant both artistically and sociopolitically – is valid and relevant today, is the fact that galleries and museums internationally are still featuring significant showings of his work. This was the case with the Robert Mapplethorpe: A Season in Hell exhibition hosted at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London late last year (see our Latest News entry dated 30 June), and it is currently the case with the major retrospective at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf.

Entitled simply as Robert Mapplethorpe, the NRW-Forum exhibition, which runs to 15 August 2010, presents more than one hundred and fifty photographs representing, “all areas of Mapplethorpe’s work, from portraits and self-portraits, homosexuality, nudes, flowers and the quintessence of his oeuvre the photographic images of sculptures, including early Polaroids. The photographs are arranged according to themes such as ‘self portraits’, which includes the infamous shot of him with a bullwhip inserted in his anus, as well as his almost poetic portraits of his muse, Patti Smith, the photographs of black men versus white women, the body builder Lisa Lyon, the juxtaposition of penises and flowers... and finally those images of classical beauty based on renaissance sculptures, and impressive portraits of children and celebrities of the day”....Read more

Further viewing – the art of Robert MapplethorpeLatest News ->

Fri 09 July, 2010.

Probably the best collection of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography viewable online is presented by the Guggenheim Museum’s main New York site (Collections > Collection Online > Major Acquisition > The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Gift). This online collection presents a selection of the Guggenheim’s holdings of some two hundred examples of Mapplethorpe’s work, gifted to the museum by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation between 1993 and 1998. The gift made the Guggenheim “the most comprehensive public repository of this important American artist’s work”; and, together with a substantial grant, also inaugurated the museum’s photography collection and exhibition programme....Read more

Further reading – Mapplethorpe, art and politicsLatest News ->

Wed 30 Jun, 2010.

For those interested in our nonfiction main feature for SDk01, “Twenty years later: Mapplethorpe, art and politics”, there was a beautifully presented exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s work hosted by the Alison Jacques Gallery in London late last year. Entitled Robert Mapplethorpe: A Season in Hell, the exhibition featured not only photography, but also some of the artist’s mixed-media collages, installation and sculptural pieces. Importantly, the exhibition can be viewed on the hosting gallery’s website: see the Alison Jacques Gallery. Alert to such events, because magazine carried an article on the exhibition, choosing to emphasise Patti Smith’s appearance at the gallery (for those who didn’t know, Smith and Mapplethorpe were lovers in New York City in the late ’60s to early ’70s before the latter came out as gay, the two remaining committed friends until Mapplethorpe’s death in 1989).

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