According to many artists and art experts, people in Baku have become much more interested in art in the past couple of years. Apparently, the creation of new learning centers and galleries was not in vain. This has become especially clear at many different premieres – from relaxed home shows to complex conceptual art projects, where one cannot simply utter an empty “I liked that picture” and sip from a glass of wine. Conversations have become deeper, the public is pickier, and the organizers of closed openings are less likely to invite media people just for show. However, there are still many things to learn about the global art world. In this review, I have collected the brightest exhibitions that will take place this summer in various cities around the world from London to New York.
BY CHINAR BALAYEVA
AZERI OBSERVER CONTRIBUTOR
AFTER IMPRESSIONISM: INVENTING MODERN ART
THE NATIONAL GALLERY
Three great artists of the era: Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin
The decades between 1880 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 were a complex, vibrant period of artistic reimagining, searching, and innovation. It was also a period of great upheaval, when artists broke from established traditions and laid the foundations for the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition not only celebrates the achievements of three giants of the era but also follows the influences they had on younger generations of artists across Europe. The pioneers’ methods inspired Picasso, Mondrian, Klimt, Matisse, Kandinsky, Rodin, Munch, and Degas, leading to the flourishing of cubism, expressionism, and abstractionism.
MODERNA MUSEET COLLECTION
Sleepless Nights – From the 1980s in the Moderna Museet Collection features works by, among others, Cecilia Edefalk, Tuija Lindström, Ingrid Orfali, and Cindy Sherman, allowing visitors to reflect on the 1980s and the things that Europeans worried about at that pivotal time: the financial ups and downs, the fear of HIV and AIDS, and the end of the Cold War. In addition to the artists from Sweden, it includes works by superstars such as Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe.
The exhibition title is inspired by Teresa Wennberg’s large video installation “Nuit Blanche” (Sleepless Night) from 1983, which consisted of 25 TV screens. Wennberg portrays the first tense meeting between two people. She was one of many artists of that period who experimented with video and digital art, which were then just emerging.
BASQUIAT × WARHOL. PAINTING FOUR HANDS
FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON
It is incredible that, between 1984 and 1985, expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and pop art megastar Andy Warhol created around 160 paintings together in tandem (à quatre mains), including some of the largest works produced during their respective careers. Another famous artist, Keith Haring, who witnessed their friendship and creative unity, spoke of a “conversation occurring through painting, not words.”
According to the co-curator of the exhibition, Dieter Buchhart, the artists began to collaborate earlier than previously believed. The official date of their acquaintance dates back to 1982, when the two great innovators were brought together by the two artists’ dealer, Bruno Bischofberger.
In addition to joint and individual works by Basquiat and Warhol, the exhibition also features works by other major creators of the art scene of the 1980s, such as Michael Halsband, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, and Kenny Scharf.
KEITH HARING: ART IS FOR EVERYBODY
Even if you don’t know the name of graffiti icon Keith Haring, you would probably recognize his cheerful pop art characters. The project presents Haring’s expansive body of work and features over 120 artworks (including drawings, paintings, graphic works, videos, and frescoes) and archival materials. The curators of the exhibition note that it will explore both Haring’s artistic practice and life, with much of the source material for the exhibition coming from his personal journals. Works presented span from the late 1970s when he was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York until 1988, just two years before the artist died at the age of 31.
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE: TO SEE TAKES TIME
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MoMA)
“To see takes time,” Georgia O’Keeffe best known for her flower paintings once wrote. Reuniting works on paper in charcoal, pencil, watercolor, and pastel, that are often seen individually, this exhibition offers a rare glimpse of the artist’s working methods and invites us to take time to look. Between 1915 and 1918, a breakthrough period of experimentation, she made as many works on paper as she would during the next four decades. The exhibition features more than 120 works, and eight paintings spanning more than four decades.
YOSHITOMO NARA. ALL MY LITTLE WORDS
Yoshitomo Nara, one of the world’s most famous Japanese authors, climbed to the top of the artistic Olympus in the 1990s. Successful solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States brought him resounding fame. His recognizable Japanese comic-influenced style combines childlike cuteness with something otherworldly and sinister. Nara grew up in post-war Japan, as the country was trying to recover from the economic shock of the war. “There were no museums where I grew up, so my introduction to the art began with punk music album covers,” Nara recalled in 2014.
The exhibition ranges from early experimental works on paper and a number of paintings and sculptures to an expansive installation. The drawings, which Nara sometimes scribbles almost casually on slips of paper, envelopes, flyers, or corrugated cardboard, show the direct influence of music, literature, sub culture, and pop culture in expressing the artist’s sociopolitical concerns.