HKing & Baseling by Aleksandra Art

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3 Long Days at the Harbour

It hasn’t even been a week since the 4th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong ended and the dates for 2019 are already live on on the website. Recollecting my experience there are many highlights coming to mind. The significance of this edition has been heralded by a series of major art dealers opening their first Hong Kong spaces leading up to the Fair. H Queens new skyscraper located right in the centre of Hong Kong with their 5 metre ceilings offered the perfect conditions for this as well. Prior to the official opening in late 2017, H Queens hosted a public art programme “Time + Scale" on its ground premises and a digital art project “Voyages” showcasing video installations on the high street by artist collective teamLab (<3), Inci Eviner, Zhao Zhao and Sputniko!. These efforts have been all a part of the centre’s mission to position itself as transforming the cultural dynamic right in the heart of Central. Players such as David Zwirner, Galerie Ora-Ora, Hauser & Wirth, Pace Gallery, Pearl Lam Galleries, Tang Contemporary Art, Whitestone Gallery and SA+, the private sale gallery of Seoul Auction were already fully packed when I had the chance to come by and explore. On the ground floor I also noticed a “Coming soon” sign of La Petite Maison, warming the crowds for its first location in Asia.

 

Elevator at H Queens. Yoshitomo Nara @Pace Gallery. Mark Bradford @Hauser&Wirth. Entrance to SA+, Yayoi Kusama @SA+.

Making a 10minute walk from H Queens also led me to the Pedder Building, a historic construction much less flashy from the sidewalk. Exactly this space was the predecessor welcoming first western big names to central including Gagosian and Lehmann Maupin. Yet the FT describes "Its other tenants — including a toy shop, musty cigar seller and range of small fashion outlets — make for a quirky experience, but not necessarily one suited to an aspirational art crowd.”. Perhaps if they also had a major PR agency on a payroll the sentiments would’ve differed. Personally, I enjoyed both and Lehmann Maupin’s solo show of OSGEMEOS stood out as much as the sold out show at Hauser & Wirth. 

Staircase at the Pedder Building. OSGEMEOS works @LehmannMaupin.

At the fair I pushed through the jet lag to make sure and attend as many talks as possible. Organizers made a fantastic job pulling together speakers on a range of topics. Kick-starting on Wednesday was cultural economist Dr Clare McAndrew with an overview of key findings in the latest UBS x Art Basel report. I have long been fond of her reports previously published under the aegis of TEFAF. Not an easy task putting the opaque art market within a framework. Among my other favourite conversations was the Museum Talk moderated by Andras Szanto with notable arts professionals as Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern, Wallis Annenberg Director, LACMA among others (Watch here). The Artist talk “Bodies in Practice: On Figures and Figuration” has also stirred some discussion after the arrival of Antony Gormley (Watch here).
 

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Artist Talk | Bodies in Practice: On Figures and Figuration. Donna Huanca, Artist, Berlin Antony Gormley, Artist. Melati Suryodarmo, Artist, and Artistic Director, Jakarta Biennale 2017. Xavier Cha, Artist. Moderated by Qinyi Lim, Curator, National Gallery Singapore.

Overall it feels that Hong Kong, despite the complementary jet lags, offers a breath of fresh air (in a very metaphorical way, of course). It's an entrance to the Asian market and as more galleries open their spaces in the city the confidence only grows for more players to join in. Very curious to see the market performance next year and the effects of the 2019 opening of the M+ Museum.

5 Things I Found Online by Aleksandra Art

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In Search of Nirvana on the Web

Installation by John Isaacs at "Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick" exhibition at Somerset House, London

1. Jeff Koons: MOCA

My most recent discovery has been the work of a film maker and producer Oscar Boyson. Among a range of his films I highly enjoyed the short documentary about the artist I'm sure you came across in the press, online, public spaces or mentioned by me - Jeff Koons. It gets better - the documentary is narrated by Scarlett Johansson. If you want to brush up your knowledge of artists' work or for those who already know enough - simply hear the actress calling Jeff a "sexy motherfucker” this 8 minute clip is light, informative and enjoyable thanks to Oscars smooth and entertaining narrative. It has both fun facts like Jeff listening to Led Zeppelin an hour a day as well as insights into how he would like the viewers to know that the key to understanding his art is through interpreting their own experience. My favourite quote was when the narrator addresses the artist by saying "It's almost like your art is the combination of all the great things you’ve ever seen". This is so true if you look at the amount of masterpieces being appropriated in Jeff Koons' work, including the ballerinas from Ukrainian porcelain figures I was once so surprised about.  

April '17 MOCA hosted a gala honoring the artist Jeff Koons and commissioned this piece from Oscar Boyson. 

2. "Why the Web Won't Be Nirvana"

“What’s missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact”, writes Clifford Stolll about the Internet.

Let's rewind...

Newsweek 26th of February 1995, just after ARPANET/Internet celebrated its 25th anniversary, comes out this entertainingly opinionated article by Clifford Stoll. Although a technology skeptic, the astronomer Clifford Stroll is known to have helped capture a KGB hacker Markus Hess while being a systems administrator at the computer center of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (he also published a book about it). However, rather than discuss the accuracy of his assumptions in the '95 Newsweek article  I want to include this article within the context of current discussions on the capacity of Blockchain technology. Although the hype might exceed the capacity to deliver in the short term (or not?), it is so engaging to theorise on the future potential. And perhaps, within these discussions to take a break and look back might help us in looking forward? #dontoverthinkit

Article HERE

PS.

"Electronic Wonderland"? Sounds catchy. 

3. Grisha’s Guide to Kiev

Take an old gem, add a fresh touch = recipe for success. Exactly that's why I love this NOWNESS commission by director Jordan Blady. As he says, this was meant to be "a fashion film that didn’t feel like a fashion film". Which, I think he successfully achieved. I loved seeing such classic examples of my home towns' architecture elements populated by Supreme-ish youth culture and sprinkled with Wes Anderson-influenced aesthetics. Critically speaking it probably covered 0.1% of what there is to shed light on, yet it feels like a 100% leap forward compared to the existing western depictions of the region. #inlovewiththesubtleties

4. How Video Games Changed the World

The 2013 Documentary has been a one-off special by Channel 4. The film is a comprehensive overview of what he believes are the 25 most iconic releases that shaped the gaming industry since the creation of Pong in 1972. Presented by the British satirist Charlie Brooker, it features a vast amount of developers, specialists, comedians and authors in gaming and beyond. Documentary also includes interview with Will Wright, the designer of SimCity(1989) and The Sims(2000). Next thing I knew after watching this documentary was ordering the book by Charles Hamden-Turner on the Maps of the Mind (which actually finally arrived today), that influenced Wright to develop a model for the game's artificial intelligence. I'm sure one or two (or more like 10 or 20) of the games listed in this documentary ring a bell for you as well, so here's a chance to learn a bit more about the forces behind these creations:   

5. 100+ Conversion Rate Optimization Techniques

And before you laugh or say WTF haha.. I actually found this resource quite interesting. I didn't study marketing but at one point my job has almost entirely been focused on how to best market our products. Although my focus has shifted, I've been catching up and researching on any old or new techniques or developments that could help me improve my knowledge of the best marketing practices ever since. And whether it is the luxury sector you deal with or the lower price echelon products, it doesn't matter - these tips can be useful for you even as a user to know how you're being 'manipulated'..or less harshly let's just say 'approached'. So after reading this resource I went ahead and renamed my blog entry from "Stuff I found online" to "5 Things I Found Online". Did it work? Well, if you got this far I hope so.. xx

When in New York by Aleksandra Art

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3 nights  

In The City That Never Sleeps

Since I visited New York for the first time 7 years ago I've been returning on regular basis several times a year. Whether going for work or leisure, the city has always offered a new incredible experience, reminding every time why I love it so much.

When talking about cities, especially metropolitan ones as London or New York I can't help but reference concepts from a 1974 book by Jonathan Raban titled 'Soft City'. Just as he discusses the connection of an individual to a big city I think us readers could have our own experience with his book, connecting authors key argument to our unique journeys. Essentially, he believes the accumulation of personal experiences we encounter and paths we take is what constructs a city for us, our own city made up from the associations and memories our mind connects together. In 21st Century these encounters for me in New York included artsy (artsy as 'artistic' not as the company) video shoot locations, random all-nighters, favourite brunch spots, artist workshop visits, late night VR rooms, tons of unions, house parties, or occasional run-ins into a celebrity somewhere around Lower East Side. So inevitably I constructed my own version of New York, and although I don't think I can ever take off its 'Hard City' label, somewhere in my mind the city also softened up in allowing me to mould a version of my own. 

 5th Avenue

5th Avenue

I could write about countless favourite spots to visit and dwell how I'd love to take a sip of Jack's Wife Freda melon juice right now. However, I figured to keep it simple I'll just share a visual diary of the exhibitions I got a chance to catch during my stay this time and other snaps from my brief journey.

 Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Skate) at the Coleman/LES Skate Park under the Manhattan Bridge

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Skate) at the Coleman/LES Skate Park under the Manhattan Bridge

Barba Kruger @LES Skate Park

This short-lived piece has been commissioned for Performa 17, 7th edition of the biennial that runs across both public areas and private venues in New York. 

Barbara Kruger has a signature white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed font slogans in some cases applied on black and white photography. You may remember her Selfridges collaboration, heard "I SHOP THEREFORE I AM" or if this doesn't ring a bell then think Supreme logo... and I love how The New Yorker describes Supreme being inspired by Kruger and "teasing the boundary between homage, parody, and theft" borrowing her style to create their iconic logo.

 Eye Shadows by Sylvie Fleury

Eye Shadows by Sylvie Fleury

Eye Shadows by Sylvie Fleury @Salon 94

On the consumerist note I include the visit to Salon 94 solo 'make-up' show by Geneva-based pop artist Sylvie Fleury. Her works "larger-than-life symbols of contemporary vanity hang like black mirrors on the wall" @Salon 94. Fashionistas out there can probably already recognise their favourite shades of Chanel. Show open till 22nd December.

Gilbert & George: THE BEARD PICTURES @Lehmann Maupin

This year marks 50th anniversary for the British artistic duo Gilbert & George. On this occasion 170 works have been presented as part of the Beard Pictures series. My friend once rented a place next door to them at Spitafields and before knowing who it was has had serious concerns over their electricity. Apparently their basement was seen through a crack and lights were constantly on and off. This was all concerning until they finally met and it turned out to be their workshop and instead of lights it was simply the flash that made the lighting on and off. #knowyourartists

In New York I had a chance to see part of the anniversary series at Lehmann Maupin Lower Manhattan gallery that represents them. But then last week after coming back to London I also made it for White Cube opening of the other part of Beard Pictures and got to see the Gilbert & George IRL too. So for my friends both London & New York here you go:

NY - Lehmann Maupin 536 W 22nd Street & 201 Chrystie Street - open till 22nd December 

London - White Cube Bermondsey 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street - open till 28th January 2018

Kenny Scharf: Inner and Outer Space @Jeffrey Deitch

Probably the coolest gallery website (GO GO Click on it already)

“I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” says Kenny Scharf describing his art. The show is mostly 2017 work fresh out of the artists studio. Scharf's melting cartoon faces and drip paintings surround the gallery space, many acting as a nostalgic reminder of the 80's culture. I enjoyed discovering the playful pieces at this solo show as well the incredible gallery space I have not been to previously. Or maybe in London I'm just not used to white cube space being anywhere much outside of... White Cube. 

Not to overwhelm in one go I'll follow up with the second part perhaps next week and If I ever finish - then video entry as well... stay tuned and thanks for reading (or browsing pics and getting this far) xxx. 

An Evening Walk, London by Aleksandra Art

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Pilot

Little journey across the night lights of Mayfair

On Thursday night we embarked on a stroll across the street of London (documented below) as the Christmas lights have already been installed across town. The journey begins with a drive through central London maze to find a parking spot before we can go ahead to 'rolling'. In search of good light and 'capturesque' scenery the fountain by The Connaught felt like the perfect start as I loved their last year Christmas Tree by Anthony Gormley. Although it was unveiled 24th November 2016 so perhaps we were too early for tree itself -  so I'm left to wonder what will they bring this year. 

 The Connaught Christmas Tree 2016, designed by acclaimed British sculptor Anthony Gormley

The Connaught Christmas Tree 2016, designed by acclaimed British sculptor Anthony Gormley

We stoped by for quick warm drink at The Mount Street Deli and slightly seduced by the cozy atmosphere at Scott's continue forward, for we have set our mission to try out the new Crosstown Doughnut at Piccadilly. 

This is a first edit I did by myself and amused to try multiplicity of features, effects and audio it may come across a little overwhelming. Moving forward I believe it would be less time consuming and I would focus on establishing more consistency throughout. Nevertheless, this has been an exciting practice, especially to measure different options to promote and share content as well as analysing the performance across different social channels.

 Still from the Video

Still from the Video

Hope you enjoy and please share your thoughts/comments/suggestions here 

Special thanks for joining me to Photographer Axel Belorde