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Art Digest: January 18—24

By Januar 24, 2021 No Comments
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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: January 18—24

You’re an art dealer, gallerist? Managed to summarize the 2020 art year in the end of December or just going to do that? Then you would be pleased to hear. According to the Artsy Gallery Insights 2021 Report, social media has become galleries third best sales channel, pushing art fairs to the sixth place. Actually, it’s a wonderful situation. Just in 2019 digital activities of the galleries like its website, online marketplace, and social media accounts couldn’t enter the top three, taking the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions in the list respectively, while now two of them do. Digitalization works, and as we’ll see, not exclusively in the case of art galleries. Discover other findings, initiatives, and curious art projects of the week in the Digest below.

A R T 

Have an appetite for art? Check new videos by Uffizi Galleries 

‘Uffizi da mangiare’ (Uffizi on a dish) is a new series of videos and a brilliant in-house PR campaign launched by the world-famous galleries. Started on January 17, the project features Florentine chiefs presenting refined recipes, which, for its part, were inspired by the masterpieces from the Uffizi immense collection. The videos are expected to be posted in Italian every Sunday on the Facebook account of the Uffizi Galleries (indeed, the culinary language is multinational and commonly understood). Last week Fabio Picchi, head of Cibrèo Firenze restaurant, gave an online-workshop on how to cook fish and lobsters in Giacomo Ceruti’s style. Yes, just like in the ‘Ragazzo con la cesta di pesci e di aragoste’ painting (1736) by the old master.

Surprisingly or not, the Uffizi Galleries ran no social media before the pandemic. Today, the digital audience of the institution reaches 88,000 followers on Facebook and 591,000 followers on Instagram, which turned out to be a watermark for Italian museums. The Uffizi’s director Eike Schmidt is full of hope about the new project. ‘As families cook and eat these dishes, the art will be the natural conversation topic,’ she shares. Six episodes of the series are already ready for consumption, while another dozen are being prepared. In the future chiefs from other districts like France, Spain, and Britain may also be invited to cooperate. It’s the project success that might tell the trajectory of the ‘Uffizi da mangiare’ .

Da Vinci wouldn’t believe: a beer company pays homage to college diplomas (and it’s extremely expensive) 

$180,000 USD. According to the recent calculations by Natural Light Beer, this is the average cost of four-year college education in America. No, the beer brewing company didn’t go into statistics, but rather decided to hit on arts. The new installation ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ by Natural Light Beer features 2,600 real college diplomas, either hanging from the ceiling or placed in the stack of papers on the floor. The entire work is valued at $470 million USD (just multiply $180,000 by 2,600), which, actually, means two things. First, the installation slightly exceeds the cost of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, the most expensive masterpiece ever sold. Second (and this is the ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ main idea), millions of American college grads are at risk today, because of the student debt crisis raging over the last few years. 

The ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ installation is placed at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, but you can also enjoy it remotely, visiting the company website or using an AR lens on Snapchat. Though their choice of the artistic medium might seem unusual, Daniel Blake, Natural Light Beer VP of marketing, gives it a reasonable explanation, drawing a smart analogy between ‘the costs of the art world’ and ‘the sky-high cost of attending a four-year college’. Thus, the company hopes to raise public awareness to the issue of student debt and make people appreciate their college experience (both as a piece of one’s heart and a damage to one’s pocket).  

F A S H I O N

Take a look at Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection

Looking back on 2020, I as a PH Arts Editor have noticed an oversight in the magazine’s work. We don’t usually focus on men’s fashion as much as we do on women’s. My gut tells me, it isn’t right, just looking at the growing audience of Purplehaze, which is diverse. So we’re getting better with a brief review of the Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection. The show was presented this week in a video format. 

In some sense the Japanese designer stays true to himself, giving preference to the black colour palette, loose cuts, and general rebellious spirit. Yet it’s important to remember that Yamamoto has based his brand’s philosophy on the Japanese principles of wabi-sabi, which are not inherent to the Western world of aesthetics. Wabi-sabi served as a leitmotif for the beloved deconstructivism, that’s another matter. But in the latest collection Yohji Yamamoto decided to go further, adding teenage aggression to the apparel, not to say, westernizing them. Hook-and-eye fastenings, defiant statements, belts with buckles, all these make us immediately think of renegades from the world of fashion like John Galliano or Vivienne Westwood. This is not to say that the designer has no right to experiment (it’s good to have him trying new things), however, in the current Yamamoto’s version that kind of rebel sounds not convincing enough. It’s like East meets West and everybody feels lost. However, for those preferring pretty bold mixtures and despising stereotypes, Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection might be a decent match. 

F A S H I O N    P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Twice as fashionable: Rei Kawakubo’s looks in the images by Paulo Roversi at Dallas Contemporary 

Good news for those across the Atlantic: Dallas Contemporary has prepared a fantastic solo show by Paulo Roversi, Italian acclaimed visual artist. While Peter Doroshenko, Dallas Contemporary’s executive director, names Roversi the last of the great European fashion photographers’, his one-man exhibition at DC is unprecedented for the US museum world. It’s the 40-year-long creative relationship between the artist and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo that served as a concept for the show, which Doroshenko and Roversi discussed back in 2019. Although Paulo couldn’t visit Dallas Contemporary during the last year’s quarantine, the exhibition display was paid enough attention to, with video clips of the space being sent to Paris, to Roversi’s home for his approval. 

The show is titled ‘Birds’, which is meant to embody the sense of movement so inherent to Paulo Roversi’s photography. ‘His works evoke motion, be it through the camera moving or something smudged on the lens,’ says Doroshenko. Today when the freedom of our physical movement is much in question because of the pandemic, such a concept comes as a relief. The display features over 40 images of Rei Kawakubo’s outfits, both well-known and never disclosed before. Paulo Roversi refers to his collaboration with the Japanese fashion designer and founder of Comme des Garçons as a ‘new inspiring adventure’ and ‘good opportunity to show <his> work together with hers’. It’s worth mentioning that Dallas Contemporary focuses on different aspects of arts, including fashion. DC has already showcased such maitres de la photographie as Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, and Peter Lindbergh.  

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Outcomes for 2020: ‘Favourite Books’ category by LensCulture 

Despite all odds, each of us had something to recall from 2020 with a smile on a face. If it isn’t about achievements and personal relations, at least, we all could enjoy reading at home, breaking away from computer screens. Choosing and, still less, recommending a book is a highly subjective matter, yet it’s nice to find out what your friend or someone you treat with respect can’t stop reading. The already familiar to you LensCulture questioned 36 people ‘who know and love photobooks’ on their favorite publications. Take a look and put on your watch list, if it’s not there yet. 

Among the respondents are artists, photo editors, curators, publishers, gallery directors, and other folks who have first-hand experience with the medium of photography. In some sense photobooks closely remind novels: they are meant to narrate stories, biographical, historical ones, or mediate experiences like personal diaries do. LensCulture Favourite Photobooks of 2020 digest features all sorts of visual editions, from the reissue of an incredibly important ‘Death in the Making’ by Robert Capa to a fresh and witty (so is the name of the publishing house) book by Olga Bushkova titled ‘How I Tried To Convince My Husband To Have Children’. Each of the critics comprehensively explain their choice, while websites of the publishing houses graciously showcase images from the books so that you can make sure you’re fond of it. 

On the cover: ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ installation by Natural Light at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Courtesy of Natural Light Beer company