Now that the brightest day of the year has been left behind, it feels like we’re slowly coming to winter. However, there is still so much summer time left full of events and appointments! Finally one can choose between online and offline. Along with contemplating arts you can also take a proactive approach and stand up for a creative who desperately needs support. More detail about that in this week’s Art Digest.
A C T I V I S M
Time for action: join ‘Free Yulia Tsvetkova’ campaign
Russian artist and femme activist Yulia Tsvetkova has been recently charged with the dissemination of pornography. She’s being accused of administering the social media group ‘The Vagina’s Monologues’, which contains depictions of female sex organs as well as creating a series of body positive drawings called ‘A Woman is not a Doll’.
The maximum sentence of imprisonment she faces is 6 years. Artists and just concerned people from all over the world have decided to rise for Yulia and created a special platform. If you want to join and help the artist, the easiest way to do that is to sign a petition and spread the news through social media. Using back channel to resolve the situation is also encouraged. Find out more about the case, the social initiative, and ways to contribute on the platform. For those from outside Russia there is an English-language video by artist Nicole Garneau.
Yulia Tsvetkova doesn’t only promote women’s agenda, but also supports LGBTQ rights. Until recently she was the director of an activist youth theatre in her home city Komsomolsk-on-Amur, having produced 9 plays there. Charged by the authorities, the artist was placed under house arrest in November 2019 and was released in the middle March, just as the COVID-19 lockdown became effective. Recently many social initiatives in supporting the artist have been established. One of them is ‘Yulia Tsvetkova 500-Meter Solidarity Walks’ launched and conducted by artist Nicole Garneau in Russia, Berlin, and London. The artist herself has been awarded the 2020 Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Arts Fellow. Yulia Tsvetkova’s case is tried in early July 2020, thus, it’s time for action (and everyone can help).
V I D E O A R T
‘Love is the Message, the Message is Death’ by Arthur Jafa streaming online all weekend long
Arthur Jafa’s 2016 film ‘Love is the Message, the Message is Death’ will be streamed online via 13 art institutions on June 26—28. A seven-and-a-half-minute video work by Jafa is accompanied by the Kanye West’s song ‘Ultralight Beam’ and provides both colour and black and white footage, exploring the life and experience of Black Americans. It’s not only that the 13 remarkable institutions (among which are the Tate, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum) will synchronize doing that, but also the fact that Arthur Jafa has never made his video work available online before.
Arthur Jafa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1960. The artist focuses on making video works and producing films, exploring the African-American identity in the cultural-historic context. His works have been widely recognized and shown in the major US and world museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, LUMA Foundation Zurich etc. Regarding his moving video installation ‘Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death (2016)’, which has been highly acclaimed by critics, the artist said in a statement to Tate:
‘I want to make Black cinema with the power, beauty, and alienation of black music. That’s my big goal.’
F A S H I O N
Paris Fashion Week to go ahead in September 2020
The pandemic managed to strike on the fashion industry, however, the latter just won’t give up. We’ve already discussed a few online shows by some world-renowned brands launched recently — now it’s time to go offline. As you remember, Men’s Fashion Week was cancelled this year and SS20 Fashion Week has been turned online… Meet the Paris Women’s Spring/Summer Show this September, after all! The womenswear show will run from September 28 to October 6, 2020, the further details will be provided later. However, Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has announced that Paris Fashion Week ‘will comply for its implementation to the recommendations of public authorities’.
P H O T O G R A P H Y
V&A Museum releases Glastonbury Festival archive online
The V&A has acquired the Glastonbury Festival archive since 2014. In the year of the 50th anniversary of the Festival, the Museum reveals the collection of Glastonbury highlights and invites visitors to join. If you ever visited one of the largest greenfield music and performing arts festivals of the world, you can share your written memories, sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The V&A appreciates being able to ‘collect and capture a living performance archive and to document and trace the Festival’s history and influence across 50 years’. Since Glastonbury has moved online this year, checking the V&A’s archive might be a good chance to remember the best parts of it.
New online collection by Annie Leibovitz to benefit social goals
Swiss-born contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth presents a series of limited-edition prints by the famous photographer Annie Leibovitz. Called ‘Update’ the online collection explores the sense of a place and composes the photographs made by the artist both before and during the COVID-19 lockdown. 100 % of proceeds raised from the sale will be equally splitted between the Black Lives Matter, the Equal Justice Initiative, and COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.
Some of the ‘Update’ photographs were made in upstate New York, where Annie Leibovitz has spent her quarantine period. These are primarily about documenting the landscape of the artist’s home environment. The other part was shot previously at the places where prominent figures, such as Emily Dickinson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Darwin, and Virginia Woolf used to live and work.
‘There are no people in the pictures. I photographed houses and landscapes and objects that belonged to people who are no longer there.’ (Annie Leibovitz, on the ‘Update’ series)