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Art Digest: July 27—August 02

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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: July 27—August 02

Every month of the year grants us new opportunities, including, but not limited to, the career ones (just look what we found). Watching an inspiring film about fashion, seeing a worthy exhibition, or flipping through a book, which is not quite a book, but a documentation of the artist’s heritage. Whatever you look for, don’t miss your opp!

Artwork Archive opps for artists in August 2020

Artwork Archive is a web based program for artists, galleries, and collectors to present, sell, and buy art. Each month the website comes up with some new opportunities for creatives, a substantial part of which, however, targets US artists (since it’s a Denver-based initiative). Still there is a great variety of other opps on the list this August. 

For instance, the Magazine for Contemporary Art seeks works by visual artists worldwide to include in the upcoming online publication. ‘Curiocity’ Brisbane (Australia) calls upon all creators, engineers and architects included, to reflect upon the intersection of art, science, and technology, while J. Mane online gallery wants artists to share their vision of food and eating. Deadlines for submissions vary from early August till late September, 2020 — anyway, there is not much time left. And don’t forget about the Complete Guide to 2020 Artist Opportunities — a careful weekly newsletter by Artwork Archive, offered for free. 

Yayoi Kusama retrospective at Gropius Bau pushed to March 2021

Another representation of works by the famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is postponed: planned for September 2020 at the Berlin Gropius Bau, the retrospective will presumably take place in March 2021. Exhibitions by Kusama at the New York Botanical Garden and Tate Modern in London were also moved because of the pandemic. When the major retrospective finally takes place, viewers will get a chance to see the entire artistic heritage by the 91-year-old Yayoi Kusama created throughout her career. After Gropius Bau the exhibition is set to visit the venues of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland. 

The 91-year-old Yayoi Kusama is one of the top-selling female artists in the global art market today, widely recognized for the obsessively repetitive patterns in her works (polka dots is the most encountered one). However, it wasn’t always like that. The Japanese artist took a hard road to reach fame in her older age. Having grown up a highly anxious person (Kusama is reported to have had her first hallucinations as a child and generally being traumatized in this age), she moved to New York to continue studying art. Though being friends with Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and other promising artists, who were to become famous in NY very soon, Kusama had it tough promoting and selling her artworks in US. Her first decent show of Infinity Net paintings took place in 1959. Later for about a decade she participated in group exhibitions in Europe, not enjoying popularity overseas. It’s the 1966 Venice Biennale, where Kusama presented her work Narcissus Garden, that made the artist attractive for the American art world. As for her homeland Japan, it was only in the 1980s that she gained recognition there. Yayoi Kusama art is both captivating and repulsive: finding oneself at one of her Infinity Mirror Rooms filled with numerous objects designed the same way, one can’t but starts thinking of the artist’s destiny, genius, and the pain she had to go through. 

Documentary about Martin Margiela to be available online soon

The film Martin Margiela: In His Own Words released in April 2020 will appear in online cinema on August 14. A documentary throws some light on the enigmatic figure of Margiela, one of the greatest yet anonymous couturiers of the world. The Belgian fashion designer hardly ever wanted to open up before the film director Reiner Holzemer talked him into a few confessions. Along with shots of Margiela’s sketches and his personal belongings, the film features comments made by some other stars of the fashion industry, like designer Jean Paul Gaultier and critic Cathy Horyn. Martin Margiela himself will show up in the frame, too.

P.S. While waiting for the online premiere until the mid August, enjoy the official trailer of the film https://hypebeast.com/2020/4/martin-margiela-in-his-own-words-trailer

So, Martin Margiela is like Banksy for the world of fashion, still what is he famous for apart from that? The Belgian designer is considered one of the pioneers of deconstruction and sustainable approach to clothing, while the collections by Maison Martin Margiela have shaken the world by their careless innovativeness. After having graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in 1980, he started off as a design assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier, before setting his own brand in 1988. Highly successful at the turn of the century, Margiela left his own company in 2009, claiming he was tired of pressure and a bit run out of inspiration. Margiela has never enjoyed having direct communication with journalists, that’s why he remained personally known in small circles only for a long time. The new movie might suggest another explanation for the phenomenon of Martin Margiela, but one thing for sure: the designer knew how to turn trash into treasure and wasn’t afraid of looking bizarre. 

Works by Anselm Kiefer exhibited at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg 

A new series of monumental works by Anselm Kiefer have been put on show at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg until October 3. In this series the artist refers to the famous German poet and singer of the classical period of Minnesang, namely Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170 – c. 1230). In his new pictures painted in the south of France, Kiefer sings the beauty of nature, just like Vogelweide described the enchantment of a romantic meeting in his poems. In the new series Anselm Kiefer gives a particular focus to the figures of Grim Reaper, Eros, and Thanatos. 

The art by German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945) (b. 1945) can be defined as neo-expressionism. Using different materials, such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac, Kiefer explores the issue of cultural and collective memory, reflecting a lot upon Germany’s post-war identity and history. In his works the artist makes various allusions to literature, philosophy, and religion, which fits well with Kiefer’s background: before studying arts, he learnt law and Romance languages. Paintings and sculptures by Anselm Kiefer are exhibited worldwide. 

Street art by Banksy documented in new hardcover book 

The new hardcover book has a long title, which sounds like Banksy: You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat and if You Were Not You Would Know About. It has 248 pages that highlight works by the famous street artist: from his early graffiti from the late 1990s till the objects created in the recent 2018. The fresh edition serves both as a chronicle and documentation of Banksy’s artistic career. So, as a reader, you can not only enjoy high-quality illustrations of the artist’s works, but also extensive descriptions, which explain the context of his oeuvre. The book has been released online and is already available for purchasing 🙂 

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In focus: The World of Women – postmodern pop-art by Irina Greciuhina

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Alexandra Zagrebelnaia

In focus: The World of Women – postmodern pop-art by Irina Greciuhina
A talented architect and designer found her way in the contemporary art through creation of the monumental paintings of the women. Bright colored, catchy and ironic, these painting make you wonder about all the peculiar details and their meaning.
Irina was born in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, where she still lives in works. However, her style is influenced by continuous travelling and attending of International Design and Art events.
Discussing her shift from architecture to painting, Irina says “Architectural background is giving me a lot of ideas and knowledge, that I am transforming into my artworks. I am perceiving a process of the art creation as my personal cult and intimate ritual which gives me a freedom of expression”.

Futurological Congress, 2020

After years of experiments, Irina has found the most interesting subject for her – female architypes. In her works she is wondering how personality and world perception of a woman can be affected by the external factors such as giving birth to a child, building a family or even changing the gender roles. The choice of this topic is stipulated by a continuous self-study, as an artist and as a woman. She is imagining and alternative Universe with women in the center. Irina tells that these female images are recreated from different sources around her, including everyday life, fashion magazines and even internet. In fact, when you look on her paintings, you can have a feeling that you’ve seen these characters somewhere before. Maybe it’s a supermodel or a historical personality? However, often these ladies are a product of manipulations and mixing of different pictures, gestures and face expressions.

The Blue Heaven, 2019

Orbital Station, 2019

Paradoxical Illiusions, 2018

Surrealism and interpretation of dreams, became strong references to the artist, but she is expressing it in a post-modern way, mixing bright colors, catchy poses from the posters, decorative elements and patterns with the typical elements of pop art.
Since 2019 Irina has been actively exhibiting her artworks and participating in international projects. In a short period of time she has managed to participate in the International Biennial of Painting, exhibit her works in Italy, Spain and France and even have her first solo shows.
Using mostly acrylic paint and working on large-scale canvases, recently she has started to experiment with digital art, studying how the new technologies can affect the creative process, giving her new ideas and skills.

Shifting the Schizo-pole or gorgeous product that you can sell, 2018

The infinity is multiplied by reflection, 2018

XY00, 2020

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Art Digest: July 20—26

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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: July 13—19

If you are into photography, enjoy traveling and/or have an iPhone, we have some good news for you. Anyway, the news below is good, also for those who prefer attending contemporary ballet and major art exhibitions to taking photos. Well, first things first.

B R E A K I N G   N E W S 

German curator kidnapped in Iraq finally released 

Berlin-born Hella Mewis who is an art curator specializing on young Iraqi art was abducted from the street of Baghdad on Monday. On that day Mewis left office in the downtown to ride her bike home, when two cars pulled up and grabbed the woman. Mercifully, to everyone’s relief, the curator was rescued by the Iraq security forces on Friday and is reported to be in good health at the moment. Hella Mewis has been living in Baghdad for several years and is prominent both for her civic engagement and participation in the Iraqi art scene.

‘I love Iraqi food, I love the Iraqi people. Of course, I have difficulties with the social customs here, but, as a foreigner, I can enjoy my freedom and am not involved. (Hella Mewis in the interview with Iraqi journalist Sary Hussam, January 2020)

Hella Mewis left for the capital of Iraq in 2013, being involved there into a project sponsored by Goethe Institut. According to the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau, she immediately felt at home in Baghdad and decided to stay there for a while. The curator soon founded Tarkib — a collective of young artists, who in their turn created Bait Tarkib center for contemporary art, also headed by Mewis. Coming into contact with modern art might be pretty unusual for the majority of Iraqis, and Hella Mewis undertook that mission. In her curatorial practice she focuses on the status of Baghdad women as well as the freedom of artistic expression and research. 

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Meet winners of Apple’s 2020 iPhone Photography Awards 

This year the reknown iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS)

takes place for the 13th time. Thousands of photography lovers from over 140 countries have sent their works for the competition, and here are the winners: Dimpy Bhalotia (Great Britain) received the Grand Prize as the Photographer of the Year for her highly expressive though black-and-white Flying Boys. The work pictures three teenagers jumping into a river (an up-from-below shot). The first place in the leading category was taken by Artyom Baryshau (Belarus) for his dreamy, blue No Walls, the second was Geli Zhao (China), who amazingly captured sheets flying, but preferred to leave his work Untitled. Iraqi Saif Hussain presented a portrait of an old man called Sheikh Of Youth and took the honored third place.

Apart from the Photographer of the Year, the major and most privileged category, IPPAWARDS has also a dozen of other noteworthy nominations, among which are Architecture, Abstract, Children, Landscape, News/Events, People and etc. If you feel like applying next time, all you have to consider is using a photo device by Apple (either an iPhone or an iPad of any model, no matter how new it is). Also your work shouldn’t be published anywhere before, except for personal accounts of social networks. Altering photographs is not allowed, you should also be ready to verify that your work was taken by an Apple device, if required. Find out more on the website of the Awards

Call for entries: LensCulture Journeys 2020

LensCulture is glad to suggest you an alternative to traveling, since the latter is not the safest option so far. Taking part in LensCulture Journeys 2020 might bring you back to some good old days, when tripping was easy and exciting (hopefully, it still will be in the nearest future). Right now you have an opportunity to be exhibited at Paris Photo, in case you win the award. Anyway, all participants will be honored with judging by the world leading experts in photography, such as Jim Casper, LensCulture Editor-in-Chief, or MAGNUM Photographer Carolyn Drake. Needless to say, your journey photo can be anything: from fictional journey to documentary — each genre will find an appropriate category. Further details are available on the LensCulture website. The deadline for submissions is August, 19. 

C O N T E M P O R A R Y  A R T 

First venue for documenta 15 announced 

The former department store Sportarena in Friedrichsplatz (Kassel) will be the first venue of documenta 15, which takes place from June 18 — September 25, 2022. It may also be referred to as ruruHaus, since the artistic direction of the exhibition is run by the Jakarta collective of artists and creatives called ruangrupa, while the word Haus (house) is from German. 5,000 square meters of the ruruHaus will become a meeting point for various communities, artists, and visitors throughout the 100 days of documenta 15. Even the windows of the former department store will be involved into practice (it’s going to be a public space project). 

The concept of documenta 15 has also been announced, and it’s lumbung. The word comes from Indonesian and means a collectively governed rice-barn, where the harvest is kept for the good of the community. Ruangrupa members say, lumbung can act as an effort (alongside so many others) to show that things can be done differently’. The artists admit, they are ‘therefore not suspending lumbung, but accelerating it’. Among the initiatives ruangrupa chose to work with are Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (Berlin, Germany), OFF-Biennale (Budapest, Hungary), Más Arte Más Acción (Nuqui, Choco, Colombia), Jatiwangi art Factory (Jatiwangi, Indonesia), and a few others that go hand-in-hand with lumbung values. 

M O D E R N   D A N C E 

Two premieres by NDT Standby and She Remembers available online 

It took just 3 weeks for the choreographers of Nederland Dans Theater (NDT) Paul Lightfoot and Sol León to create two brand new plays based on the demands of the new reality. Standby by Paul Lightfoot is choreographed to Knudåge Riisagers’ ‘Etudes’ and performs the metaphor of social distancing (only those artists who know each other can interact closely on stage). Sol León has built her piece ‘She remembers’ around the image of a door. According to Sol, ‘a door, and not a window’ helped her ‘express the beauty and the difficulty. The ups and the downs. The front and the back’.

The both premieres took place on July 15. You can enjoy watching ‘Standby’ and ‘She remembers’ online on the NDT website until August 10.  

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In Focus: Uldus Bakhtiozina

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Julia Kryshevich

In Focus: Uldus Bakhtiozina

The child of rebuilding times, the founder of ‘Tatar Baroque’, named one of the strongest women 2014 by BBC… St. Petersburg-born artist Uldus Bakhtiozina has developed a distinctive visual language to talk about Slavic cultural code: through the prism of absurdly bizarre stereotypes, folklore characters, and a touch of romance.

Uldus Bakhtiozina was born to a family of a Tatar father, half-Ukrainian mother, and Jewish step-sister in the Soviet Leningrad (Saint Petersburg, Russia) in 1986. Growing up in the period of Perestroika has formed her candid and open view of things. How else do you explain the artist’s unconventional career path? Having studied public administration for 4 years in her home city, Uldus left for London to study Graphic Design at the renowned Central Saint Martins. 

However, the artist admits, she was brought up by the ‘street’. Doing side jobs and observing the life around, Uldus made sure she knew the direction. She returned to Saint Petersburg after graduation and started her independent artistic practice in the field of fine art photography and filmmaking

I want to learn or feel something when I look at an image – so I try to create the same experience with my my art and my life’. (Uldus Bakhtiozina, from the interview with Aesthetica Magazine, 2014) 

In her works Uldus Bakhtiozina focuses on the representation of Russian culture, drawing inspiration from folklore — legends, myths, and fairytales. Photographs by Uldus are soaked with fantasy and dream, however, it’s the detached ironic approach that makes her works intense and distinguishes the artist’s manner. For instance, in her Conjured Life series (2016) Uldus Bakhtiozina refers to escapism as a power that, though being highly addictive, helps us to live our lives and empowers us to create. 

In another collection called Desperate Romantics the artist discusses some contemporary issues of Russian society, such as gender stereotypes, problem of following one’s aspirations (often against public expectations), through the lens of Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics. Uldus Bakhtiozina admits, she is deeply impacted by the English painting and poetry of the 19th century, along with Iron Man, German language, and pops of color. The artist bravely confronts narrow-minded perceptions with her great sense of humor and advocates for freedom of expression. 

My life in general can be described in one phrase, ‘analytical spontaneity’, I analyze my surroundings and take spontaneous action’. (Uldus Bakhtiozina, from the interview with Vogue Italy, 2015) 

Uldus never digitally manipulates her works — what for, since she is perfectly capable of doing magic herself, with the help of a small, but professional team during many hours of shooting. The artist enjoys acting as a model sometimes (and she’s really great in it), however, she isn’t fond of using instagram as a tool of promotion. According to her, an old school method of portfolio review might work the best for the aspiring photographers. 

In 2014 Uldus became the first Russian speaker in the history of TED and took part in the BBC 100 Women project. Two years later she was proclaimed a Senior TED fellow. The artist collaborates with such fashion editions, as Vogue Italy, Aesthetica Magazine, Worbz, Chaeg Magazine, C-41 Magazine. The Best Young Fashion Photographer according to Vogue Italy (Photo Vogue 2016) and the finalist of Laguna Art Prize (2017), Uldus Bakhtiozina currently lives and works in Saint-Petersburg. She is represented by Anna Nova Gallery

‘Be brave, be ironic — it helps. Be funny and create some magic’. (Uldus Bakhtiozina, from the TED Talk 2016)

Uldus Bakhtiozina’s website: uldus.com
Her instagram @uldusss

Art Digest: July 13—19

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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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Art Digest: June 29—July 05

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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: June 29—July 05

To bring freshness to the column, this time we’re going to talk about photography only. Open calls, initiatives, exhibitions — welcome a bird’s-eye view of some inspiring photo events of the week.

Ren Hang Nudes Exhibition at Centro Pecci runs until August 23

The Nudes exhibition (Nudi) by the famous Chinese photographer Ren Hang is the first extensive project to highlight the oeuvre of the artist in Italy. The exhibition comprises more than 90 photographs taken from the international collections as well as poetry and other art objects by Ren Hang. The distinctive feature of Hang’s works is a focus on nudity and aestheticization of the corporeal in its various manifestations. The Nudes exhibition runs from June 04—August 23 at the Luigi Pecci Contemporary Art Center (Prato, Italy).

‘We were born nude…I just photographed things in their more natural conditions’ (Ren Hang)

Chinese photographer and poet Ren Hang (1987—2017) became famous for his provocative approach in the exploration of human nakedness, often in the fusion with nature. Choosing explicit poses and the alike-looking models (slender, white-skinned, dark-haired, with red lipstick and painted nails for women), the artist researches what’s like to be young and free-spirited in China. Though not touching intentionally upon the political subjects, Ren Hang questions, if it’s possible to dispose of one’s own sexuality and identity in the society driven by the collectivist values. Being a gay himself, the artist is familiar with the constant state of confrontation from experience.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Martin Parr, and other photographers to raise money against racism 

Wolfgang Tillmans, Martin Parr, Renell Medrano, and other photographers (around 100 of them) have donated works from their archives to the Anti-Racism Photography Fundraiser platform. The Fundraiser organizers claim that racism is a deep-rooted British issue and see the decision to fight against it as a call both for the creative world, and the world at large. The price of each print is about $125 USD, all works are printed and delivered by the London-based service theprintspace

Money raised from the charitable sales will be distributed between the three anti-racism organizations: The Black Curriculum, Black Minds Matter, and Exist Loudly. The complete list of artists participating as well as the display of their works are available on the platform

2020 Turner Prize announced its winners

Certainly you know the Turner Prize, the UK’s acclaimed award for art, which helped such artists as Grayson Perry, Gilbert & George, and Anish Kapoor to pursue a brilliant career (all of them won the prestigious award in the past). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Turner Prize takes place in a new guise. Called the Turner Bursaries, the reward for each winner has comprised $12,300 USD (instead of the typical $31,000 USD). Ten artists have been chosen. 

This year jury is chaired by the Director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson. And here are the winners of the 2020 Turner Bursaries: Arika, Liz Johnson Artur, Oreet Ashery, Shawanda Corbett, Jamie Crewe, Sean Edwards, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Ima-Abasi Okon, Imran Perretta, and Alberta Whittle. Well worth taking a closer look at: these could be the rising stars of the art world.

New East Photo Prize 2020 call for entry 

The New East Photo Prize 2020 is a contemporary photography award for artists from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia, and Central Asia. The award has been launched by Calvert 22 Foundation and it’s online edition The Calvert Journal in 2016. The mission of the project the organizers define as championing artistic excellence in photography as well as recognition of various representations of the social, cultural and physical landscape of the New East and other perspectives on that region. This year applications are open until July 20. Learn more about the project and the conditions of participation from the website.

The lucky ones who succeed in the competition will have the opportunity to a) have their works featured online in the Journal; b) win a cash prize of £1,000; c) get a £500 voucher for photographers equipment; d) get a full tuition scholarship; e) take part in a finalists group show, if circumstances permit*. The jury panel includes international artists, photographers, curators, and researchers.

PhotoBook Awards by Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation calling 

Celebrating the photobook’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography — this what the PhotoBook Awards founded by Aperture Foundation and Paris Photo focuses on. This time there are as usual three major categories to apply: First PhotoBook, PhotoBook of the Year, and Photography Catalogue of the Year. However, organizers await even more critical and creative statements from the applicants due to the unprecedented year.

The submissions deadline is September 12, the winners are to be announced in November 2020. There is a set of criteria for books submitted as well as entry fees (learn more from the website). The judging process this year is two-staged: representatives of both Paris Photo and Aperture Foundation will select the short-listed candidates in New York, while the final winners will be chosen by a distinct jury in Paris right before the start of Paris Photo.

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Art Digest: June 22—29

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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: June 22—29

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 glastonbury@vam.ac.uk. 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) 

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Pioneers in colour in photography: William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Mitch Epstein

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L i s a  L u k y a n o v a

Pioneers in colour in photography: William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Mitch Epstein

Nowadays when we can create light and colour of the picture with the help of digital apps, it seems rather odd that it took several decades for color photography to regain its rightful place in collections and museums. The Kodak color film was already introduced in the 1920s and the full production of the improved Kodachrome began in 1935. For a long time, however, the color photographs had muted tones: the crowd dressed more than modestly, burgundy cars, brown houses.

However, when colour photography finally overthrew its monochrome father it became the major source of inspiration and work for many artists such as Mitch Epstein, William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz.

Joel Meyerowitz (1938, New-York, USA)

Joel Meyerowitz is a acknowledged genius, a universal master of photography, who knows how to find exceptional moments in ordinary places and has frequently changed the way he shoots. The famous photographer Robert Frank (author of the photo book „Americans“) had a tremendous impact on the oeuvre of Joel Meyerowitz.

In his reminiscences, he notes that it was Frank who contributed to his decision to take up photography. One of the episodes that took place in 1962 is quite remarkable. At that time Meyerowitz worked as an art director of the magazine and did not even think about photography. However, by chance got on the Frank’s shooting, was almost enchanted by his dynamic way of working, the constant movement around the model. At that moment it was not important for Meyerowitz how the result of the photo shoot would appear – he was attracted by the process itself.

Having no theoretical training in photography, Joel Meyerowitz was able to wrap this flaw in his favour. He was not bound by any dogmas or rules – he took pictures as he saw and felt in his heart.

In 1966, Meyerovitz took an 18-month trip across Europe, a journey that deeply inspired him and could be regarded as a turning point in his career as a photographer. There Meyerowitz was taking many shots from a moving car.

William Eggleston (1939, Tennessee, USA)

William Eggleston is an American photographer who contributed to making color photography an admissible and venerated art piece deserving of a gallery exhibition. 

The first big research on colour photography was in 1976, with an Eggleston exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and then the genre grew with the collaboration of the Dusseldorf School of Photography.

William Eggleston has an astonishing skill at creating amazing compositions from the most common items. Those who have seen the master at work have noted that Eggleston is very serious, even fanatic about the composition of objects. Picking the right angle sometimes took a lot of time for the photographer, but he always was rewarded with an impressive outcome.

The ordinary life of the American people. This is exactly the focus of the vast majority of William Eggleston’s photographs. He was not chasing sensational photos, did not shoot loud happenings – and, nevertheless, his shots are exciting, capturing the viewer’s attention for quite a long time.

Eggleston is still taking photographs as usual today. A new documentary film called „William Eggleston in the Real World“ presents the viewer with a unique personality, transmitting his view on work and life. The documentary was released in 2005.

Mitch Epstein ( 1952,  Massachusetts, USA)

Mitchell „Mitch“ Epstein (born 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts) – American photographer, and one of the first photographers using color. His photographs are in numerous major museum collections, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Modern in London.

By the mid-1970s, Epstein had abandoned his academic studies and started traveling, beginning to study photography in the United States.

Ten of the photographs he made during this period were in a 1977 group exhibition at Light Gallery in New York. Ben Lifson wrote in his Village Voice review: “Mitch Epstein’s ten color photographs are the best things at Summer Light…. At 25, Epstein’s apprenticeship is over, as his work shows. He stands between artistic tradition and originality and makes pictures about abandoned rocking-horses and danger, about middle-age dazzled by spring blossoms, about children confused by sex and beasts. He has learned the terms of black-and-white photography, and although he adds color, he hasn’t abandoned them, loving photography’s past while trying to step into its future.”

During his life he published several books: New York Arbor, (Steidl, 2013) Berlin (Steidl & The American Academy in Berlin, 2011); American Power (Steidl, 2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (Steidl, 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Steidl 2005); and Family Business (Steidl 2003), which won the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award.

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Art Digest: June 15—21

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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: June 15—21

Having happened once, some cases keep on echoing through time long afterwards. Artists from all over the world confront discrimination of any kind, supporting those who are at risk. Discover some vivid examples of artistic actions as well as other inspiring news of the week below.

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

‘See In Black’ launches a charitable photography print sale 

80 black photographers will share their vision of America through a series of prints telling the story of black people, their families and culture. The initiative has been inspired and organized by See In Black, the recently established coalition of negroid photographers and creatives. The mission of See In Black is to document history accurately, ‘with intentionality, respect, nuance and care’, which doesn’t necessarily imply making images of black figures. However, this time we’re going to see an exceptional photographic homage to black identity, which coincides with the Juneteenth (June, 19). Starting from that day, one can peruse the sale lots on the website of the coalition. The sale will end on July 3. What’s the price? $100 USD per each print. 

Juneteenth is an annual holiday in US, commemorating African-Americans freed from slavery. Exactly 155 years ago, on June 19, 1865 the Civil War ended and African-Americans were informed they were free. The holiday has been celebrated ever since, however, in the wake of tragic events such as Floyd Case, it has regained its’ meaning and relevance. The name of the holiday derives from the combination of the words June and 19. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

By Bobby Rogers. Photo_ See In Black

By Josef Adamu. Photo_ See In Black

By Marc Clennon. Photo_ See In Black

Meet the 2020 Street Photography Awards winners & finalists 

LensCulture Awards had it hard this year, just take the Street Photography competition: due to the pandemic and the follow-up safety measures, city streets have almost become lifeless… but not quite, fortunately. Despite everything, hundreds of photographers from different countries took part in the 2020 Edition of Street Photography Awards, either submitting the works done before the outbreak of the COVID-19 or even sending recently shot ones. Along with the series & single image winners, each of the 8 jurors of the Awards has made a special pick, briefly explaining one’s choice. Learn more about the winners & finalists from the LensCulture website. Or at least, enjoy our quick photo review below.

The jurors say, they had to make an extremely difficult choice this time. The percentage of the worthy works was high — many submissions had that special kind of storytelling, which distinguishes street photography from the other genres. 6 top winners, 8 special juror’s picks, and 25 finalists — 39 photographers from 19 countries in total, whose works charged with the right ambience and street feeling you will hopefully savor.

S O U N D 

Conceptual artist Ekene Ijeoma to show a ‘voice portrait’ of NYC residents

New York City is famous for its’ diversity in every way. Artist Ekene Ijeoma wants to capture and honor this unique city trait by recording the voices of its’ more than 8.5 million residents. The art project A Counting consists of recordings of citizens, each of them counting from 1 to 100 in one’s native language. The project’s website reports, there are 600 languages spoken in NYC, the records of 854 participants speaking in 70 languages have been already collected.

If you want to contribute to the initiative, you can either share own voice record (it might take about 5 minutes), or help the project by transcribing other calls (just 3 minutes). All you need to do is to enter the website and choose the language you want to transcribe, be it Persian, Hawaiian, or Mandarin-Chinese

Artist Ekene Ijeoma together with his group Poetic Justice at MIT Media Lab, and The People in response to the U.S. have established the project to support non-White and English-speaking communities through ‘language acknowledgement’. 

New York City is one of the most diverse yet segregated cities and, at a time of increasing division, ‘A Counting’ meditates on how to heal those divides and speculates on what a unified city could sound like. 

(Ekene Ijeoma) 

F A S H I O N 

Model Halima Aden to become first Vogue Arabia’s Diversity Editor-at-Large

Somali-American model Halima Aden will take over the newly minted position of Diversity Editor-at-Large in the Arabic edition of Vogue. Aden will be responsible for contributing a monthly column, thus, ‘highlighting hard-hitting social topics, inspiring personalities, and committed organizations with impactful work’. While the model says it’s a great pride for her to join the team of the Magazine, Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut finds this collaboration effective and meaningful. The Magazine needs extra support from a credible and competent figure, believes Arnaut

Still, what’s so impressive about the 22-year-old Halima Aden? She was the first model to wear hijab on a Vogue cover (June 2017 issue) as well as to walk with her head covered New York Fashion Week two years later. A UNICEF ambassador since 2018, Halima Aden embodies the world industry of modest fashion. Wearing hijab is a demand of Islamic faith, which is always covered in her modeling contracts. 

Photo_ Harper’s Bazaar

Halima Aden on Vogue Arabia cover. Photo Condé Nast

Photo_ Jean-Paul Pietrus_The Observer

C I N E M A 

Five films by Shirin Neshat available online for 24 hours 

Some of the most important works by the US-Iranian artist Shirin Neshat can be viewed online on the website of Goodman Gallery. From June 20—June 24 the Gallery will broadcast the following films one after another, which of them being available for an overnight: Women Without MenDreamers trilogy: Illusions and Mirrors; Sarah; Roja — Turbulent; Rapture; SoliloquyTooba; The Last Word — Looking for Oum Kulthum. Don’t miss the start of your favorite film (whatever it is) at 7 pm CEST on each of the days. 

An Iranian-born Shirin Neshat started her artistic career as a photographer creating politically engaged works that explore femininity in the context of the severe state regime. Later she switched to video works, which, though conveying a straight message, differ by a more poetic imagery and softer narratives. Shirin Neshat has both won a Golden Lion at the Venice Art Biennale (1999) and a Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival (2009), which is considered a rare achievement. She lives and works in New York.

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Art Digest: June 08-14

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
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Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: June 08-14

June is the brightest month of the year — the daytime is so long that it feels like the night will never follow. And it doesn’t really matter what to do — whether to go to a museum (the one that is already open for the public), to watch a fashion show online or flip through a cool magazine. By the way, have you heard the latest news about Manifesta 13? Yes, it’s coming, and very soon! Discover about that and more from this week PH Digest.

Manifesta 13 is to run from August 28 to November 29, 2020 In Marseille 

Manifesta 13 will finally take place this year, starting from late August. 

Originally the biennial was to open in May but was moved back due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since Marseille has remained the venue for the event, Manifesta 13 is going to focus on the identity of the key port city of France, its history and diverse culture. To date, the artist list for Manifesta 13 includes 47 creative representatives from such countries as UK, Germany, Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, Russia, US, Vietnam, let alone local French artists. 

Titled as ‘Traits of the Union, The Third Program, The Parallels of the South’, the biennial is curated by Katerina Chuchalina, Program Director of V-A-C Foundation (Moscow), Stefan Kalmár, Director of London’s ICA, and Alya Sebti, Director of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Berlin. The biennial consists of the three parts — its central exhibition Traits d’union.s; the education and mediation programme Le Tiers Programme, and the parallel programme Les Parallèles du Sud. Though the event is to be launched from August 28, you can already start discovering its educational component. Invisible Archives #4 exhibition is available at Tiers QG, the headquarters of Le Tiers Programme from June 12.

Art for Health: 100 artworks to be displayed at London hospitals 

In such challenging times like these artists don’t stay aside. We’ve already seen numerous examples of their involvement, and there’s another one. The Arts & Health service for Barts Health NHS Trust Vital Arts (London) has launched an initiative called #100NHSRooms, which aims at placing original artworks across 100 hospital rooms of the city. Now patients and clinical staff of such hospitals as St Bartholomew’s, Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross, Mile End, Newham Hospital can enjoy contemplating art, either recovering or resting. According to the organization, #100NHSRooms is the response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, the impact of the initiative might extend far beyond it. The list of the artists participating and further details on the project are available at Vital Arts website.

Conrad Shawcross ‘Tamara Spline’ 2014

Diango Hernandez ‘Hashtag Love’ 2020

Henry Hudson ‘IPad Dreams’ 2020

London Fashion Week running online from June 12—14

Early in April it was announced that London Men’s Fashion Week scheduled for June wasn’t going to take place this year just like those of Milan and Paris. However, now we have an alternative — the event has been relaunched as a ‘digital only platform’, covering wear both for women and men. What does that mean, exactly? That would mean we are not going to see any fashion shows in the usual sense, but it would be rather a variety of digital content formats provided by the participating brands. The platform of London Fashion Week is free for everyone to access from June 12—14.

Panel discussions, online conversations, playlists, and podcasts instead of unveiling new seasonal collections? That may be a way out in circumstances where many factories are temporarily closed and supply chains are halted. However, while the emerging brands such as Robyn Lynch and Bianca Saunders grasped the opportunity of trying new formats, several established names refused to take part in London Fashion Week at all. Thus, Burberry, Craig Green, Martine Rose, Wales Bonner are among the absentees. And yet it’s worth visiting the LFW digital platform — first, it’s a precedent that may go down in history; second, where else would you find such a variety of audible, visual, and interactive content starring faces of the fashion scene in one place?

Sony World Photography Awards 2020 announced its winners 

One of the world’s largest photography competitions Sony Photography Awards has revealed the names of the laureates for this year edition. The recipients of the award have been chosen in the four competitions — Professional, Open, Youth, and Student, plus in the brand-new Alpha Female and Latin America Professional Award categories. In 2020 more than 345,000 images in total were submitted for the contest. On the Awards website you can not only see the winners’ works but also watch their acceptance videos.  

As a result, Pablo Albarenga from Uruguay has been rewarded twice as both Photographer of the Year and Latin America Professional Award winner. For his series of works Seeds of Resistance Pablo received $25,000. Tom Oldham from UK (Open) presented a black-and-white portrait of Charles Thompson aka Black Francis, a Greek photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki (Student) showcased a night-time view of the renewable-energy systems found on the island of Tilos, which she called Aeiforia. Lily Dawson-Punshon from UK made a photographic reference to the renowned Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring and, thus, became the Alpha Female Award winner, while a 19-year-old Taiwanese Hsien-Pang Hsieh was chosen in the Youth category for featuring a street performer. 

Aeiforia by Ioanna Sakellaraki, Royal College of Art

Black Francis by Tom Oldham, United Kingdom

Lily Dawson-Punshon, United Kingdom

Samira Nasr is the new and first-ever black editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar

The former executive fashion director at Vanity Fair Samira Nasr will head Harper’s Bazaar starting in July, replacing the magazine’s longstanding editor Glenda Bailey. Montreal-born Nasr who has Lebanese and Trinidadian routes is the first colored person to be in charge of the edition in its 153-year-history. Seems like it has taken a long time for change, yet better late than never. In comparison, the other leading US fashion edition Vogue can’t boast of ‘elevating and giving space to black editors, writers, photographers and designers’, as Anna Wintour, Vogue longtime editor-in-chief has recently admitted. Back to Samira Nasr, the new head of Harper’s Bazaar seems to have a proactive stance and much energy to continue the changes started by her precursor Bailey.

The cover of the new Vogue Italia designed by children 

Remember discussing the covers of the July print edition of Vogue UK last time? Vogue Italia has revealed the images of the June issue, which is entirely dedicated to children under the hashtag #OurNewWorld. And yes, the covers are designed by the younger generation as well. 8 kids from 2 to 10 years have presented their drawings that now decorate the face of the Italian edition. Learn more about the #OurNewWorld initiative from @vogueitalia Instagram account.

Cover of Edition 838 Vogue Italia, June 2020

Cover of Edition 838 Vogue Italia, June 2020

Cover of Edition 838 Vogue Italia, June 2020

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