Art Digest: July 13—19

By Juli 19, 2020 Juli 26th, 2020 No Comments

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: July 13—19

While some try to save the world with art, others give away art to save themselves. Sometimes it’s useful to think of the needs of near yours (fellow sufferers do count) as did White Cube recently. Sports Illustrated (SI) has surprised its readers with a cover of the new Swimsuit Issue. It’s definitely a precedent in the 56-year history of the magazine. And that’s aside from the new performance piece by Marina Abramović Institute, which is also a sensation. Let’s start off with Art Digest for this week!

Trans model Valentina Sampaio to appear on the cover of Swimsuit Issue (SI) 

The Brazilian-born model Valentina Sampaio is trans, and she will grace the pages of the special edition of Sports Illustrated (SI) called Swimsuit issue. The new print issue comes out on July 21 with gorgeous Sampaio on cover. Swimsuit issue exists for 56 years, never before has the magazine featured transgender people.

As for the model, she has already collaborated with Vogue Paris and Victoria’s Secret and, according to her, got used to overcoming difficulties both in life and in the modeling world. Having grown up in the north of Brazil, Valentina claims her country (which she finds beautiful) hosts the highest number of violent crimes against the trans community globally. However, now the model feels grateful to SI for such a groundbreaking opportunity. 

‘Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds.
<…> I’m excited and honored to be part of this’
(Valentina Sampaio)

Swimsuit issue has been published annually since 1964. A special edition of Sports Illustrated, which is one of the most famous American sports media, Swimsuit issue is quite autonomous in the sense that it has its own television shows, videos, and calendars. Usually released around February, each print issue features beautiful women in bikinis on its cover and in the inset. Over the years, such female fashion models, as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson, and Daniela Pestova have graced the edition, among with some famous non-models — athletes and celebrities. There is some evidence that Swimsuit issue gives a perfect start for the career of a supermodel. 

New public intervention by Banksy features rats in London Underground 

British street artist Banksy is famous for his public interventions, often thought-provoking and topically relevant. Take his latest artwork at Southampton hospital, which we covered in the previous Art Digest. This time the artist went down to the London Underground disguised as a cleaner to stencil rats across the trains. Some of the creatures are pictured sneezing, while others ‘spray’ the interior of the subway car with a disinfectant. To conduct the intervention successfully, Banksy asked the passengers to move away and give him space for work. What’s the message? The artist seeks to remind people of the importance of wearing face masks during COVID-19. The entire process of the artistic intervention was caught on camera. You can find the video under the title ‘If You Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get’ on the artist’s Instagram (and enjoy the 1997 song ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba at the backdrop).

UPD. It was revealed on July 15 that actual London Underground cleaners have removed Banksy’s artwork due to the‘strict anti-graffiti policy’ of the institution. This decision has evoked various reactions of the public: while some people accuse the subway workers of callousness, others claim Banksy could have found a better place for his intervention. Anyway, all we have now is the video mentioned above, which serves as a documentation for the artist’s practice. 

Mentee of Marina Abramović Miles Greenberg to undertake a 24-hour performance 

The 23-year-old artist Miles Greenberg enjoys undertaking physically challenging, enduring performances, however, this time it was something special. Supported by the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), the artist presented his ‘OYSTERKNIFE’ performance, in which he was walking atop a conveyor belt inside the empty Montreal’s Centre Phi for 24 hours uninterruptedly. The performance took place from 4 pm July 16 to 4 pm July 17 and was streamed through the MAI website. The title of the work alludes to the 1928 essay ‘How It Feels To Be Colored Me’ by Zora Neale-Hurston, who was a famous American author and filmmaker, covering the topics of the African-American experience, gender, and racial struggles. In the essay Neale-Hurston says, she doesn’t ‘weep at the world. <…> I’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife’.

‘I’m just trying to slow everything down to a fraction of the speed’. (Miles Greenberg) 

Miles Greenberg was 13, when he saw the work by Marina Abramović ‘The Artist Is Present’. Three years later he got to know ‘the grandma of performance art’ personally, which certainly shaped his future career. Heaving left formal education, Greenberg immersed into independent research projects, focusing on the Black body, it’s identity and trauma. Today he is a performance artist, a curator, and a theoretician based in NY. In early February 2020, just before the COVID-19 outbreak, Miles Greenberg undertook a 6-hour performance at Perrotin New York, in which he succumbed to the impulses of his body.

White Cube Gallery supports recent London art graduates online 

20 graduates were selected from the London most prestigious art schools to join the ‘Tomorrow: London’ series of exhibitions organized by White Cube. Since many art projects were either abandoned or postponed this year, the prominent London gallery decided to give a chance to emerging artists, so they could make a statement. Each week of July you can see works by 5 artists displayed at the gallery (also available online), which will culminate with a group show in the middle of August. That’s how White Cube seeks to support the younger generation of artists in interesting times, who may well be the future of the art world.

‘It has been inspiring to engage with this new generation — 20 singular voices collectively tackling some of the most urgent issues of our times’. (Jay Jopling, White Cube founder & owner)

British Airways to auction off £1.2 million painting by Bridget Riley

Until recently the airline has possessed a multimillion-pound art collection, some of which goes on sale on July 28. British Airways suffered big losses due to COVID-19 crisis and hopes to cope with it through auctioning off a total of 17 pieces at Sotheby’s. Among the lots are paintings, prints, and works on paper by such artists as Damien Hirst and Peter Doig. The famous stripe painting ‘Cool Edge’ (1982) by the pioneer of op art Bridget Riley will also go under the hammer. Riley is believed to have produced the work inspired by her trip to Egypt. The estimated value of the painting is £1,2 million. Such high profit expectations from the airline can be well understood: the art collection has significantly grown in value since its inception in 1996.

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