Diego Rivera, 'Dance in Tehuantepec (Baile in Tehuantepec)', 1928. Oil on canvas, 200.7 x 163.8 cm. Collection of Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. Photo Collection of Clarissa and Edgar Brontman Jr., courtesy of Sotheby's, New York / © 2013 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / DACS. Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910–1940
Royal Academy of Arts, 6 July - 29 September 2013
Opening this weekend, the Academy’s new exhibition
examines the explosion of creativity in painting and photography in post-revolutionary Mexico. The show in the Sackler Wing spotlights how the country’s state-sanctioned art programme precipitated, in contrast to the type of stolid, party-line work seen in Russian Socialist Realism, real artistic experimentation.
Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco blended in their murals and canvases the stories of workers, peasants and the country’s pre-Colombian civilisations with confident, modern compositional techniques. Alan Riding sets the scene in the latest issue of RA Magazine,
explaining how non-Mexican artists, including photographers such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston and Henri Cartier-Bresson, were also inspired by the art and politics of the time.
The Spirit of Utopia
Whitechapel Gallery, 4 July - 5 September 2013
The post-revolutionary spirit of Mexico may seem idealistic from today’s apathetic political culture, but the Whitechapel’s new show, ‘Spirit of Utopia’,
presents ten contemporary artists and artist-collective who aspire to change society.
Pedro Reyes, 'Sanatorium, Museum of Hypothetical Lifetimes', 2012. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
The subject of a recent show in the capital, which I reviewed back in the winter,
Chicago-based Theaster Gates emphasises the role of skills and education with a project in which potters teach their apprentices in the gallery space. Other participants include the London landscapers Wayward Plants, who imagine the future of food production, and Danish collective Superflex, whose film reinterprets the recent financial crisis as a psychiatric condition.
Manchester Art Gallery, 6 - 21 July 2013
The biannual Manchester International Festival brings together a wide array of visual artists, music makers and other cutting-edge creative cultural practitioners for over two weeks of shows, performances and screenings.
Fischli & Weiss, 'Moon Over Takasaki', 1998. © Courtesy the artists.
do it 2013
is the festival’s unconventional group show, in which the instructions of artists from Ai Weiwei to the aforementioned Theaster Gates are acted out by either other artists or the audience – Tracey Emin RA, for example, enacts the instructions of seminal French sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The Whitworth stages an epic performance piece by Indian artist Nikhil Chopra, as well as opening its summer exhibitions, which includes a show comparing the works of paper by William Blake, J.M.W Turner RA and Anish Kapoor RA, as well the display of Alison Wilding RA’s important column sculpture Deep Water (1989).
Ricardo Basbaum: Re-Projecting (London)
The Showroom, 12 July - 3 August 2013
The Showroom was one of the first commercial galleries to open in Bethnal Green, an area of London that has now become an important for the city’s art scene. After more than 20 years, in 2009 it reopened in Edgware Road, and has since been presenting an interesting programme of experimental exhibitions and projects.
Ricardo Basbaum, '[small operatic event] Would you like to participate in an artistic experience?', 1994 - ongoing. Performance at The Showroom, London, 2010. Photo : Daniela Mattos.
Next week the Brazilian artist Ricardo Basbaum begins a collaboration
inside and outside the venue with diverse community groups that serves young people, the elderly, the homeless and women seeking refuge. The results are open-ended, with the emphasis on events that allow the different groups to connect together.
White Cube Mason's Yard, Thursday 11 July, 6-8pm
Something of the spirit of the RA’s Summer Exhibition can be seen in an unlikely place next week. White Cube
in the West End, whose exhibition space in Mason’s Yard is normally dedicated to solo presentations of the blue-chip artists it represents, is displaying from Thursday an open submission show, selected by the Såo Paulo-based curator Adriano Pedrosa.
Rodrigo Garcia Dutra, 'When to Unseeing Eyes Thy Shade Shines So!', 2013. Wooden pallet, textile and books. 39 3/8 x 47 1/4 x 15 3/4 in. (100 x 120 x 40 cm). © Rodrigo Garcia Dutra. Photo: the artist. Courtesy White Cube.
The call for entries notice said that Pedrosa – in an art world where commercial spaces are becoming more and more influential – aims to “unsettle the system of gallery practices, initiating a dialogue with artists that might not have access to this network”. The artist list is yet to be revealed.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine