Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)
5 June–8 August 2010
by THE EDITOR
In the DCA upstairs exhibition space, the collective sing, dance and entertain through several screens and recordings, with their colourful, playful messages plastered across the walls and tied into the details of the installations. The main room houses a stage, with a large screen in the centre and various interesting displays. One smaller room exhibits a range of brightly coloured, and dangerously high platform heels, or ‘guitar stilettos’. DON’T ART FASHION MUSIC is something of a post-punk wonderland, a tea party where Tracey Emin, Barbara Kruger and Sid Vicious would all be perfectly at home – a bright, brazen, brilliance.
Now infamous, worldwide, for their chaotic, energetic style, Chicks on Speed met over a decade ago at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Those original members (Melissa Logan, Kiki Moorse and Alex Murray-Leslie) were over the years joined by A. L. Steiner, Kathi Glas, Anat Ben David, Faustine Komplewjski, Kroot Juurak and Vice Cooler (or so they are known). Their name was originally derived when a gallery employer said they worked as fast as “chicks on speed” when hanging exhibitions – and there is also something aptly delirious in their DIY styled art – their whimsical, celebratory triumphs. Tongue in cheek and admittedly silly, there is something refreshing in art that is entertaining and does not take itself too seriously, and certainly there is an audience for it in a part of the country where rain is oh too common in July and August.
Courting fashion, music and performance art, the DCA is hosting collaborations between Chicks on Speed and local and international artists, and screening related films in the cinema downstairs – including Brit Chic, Raw Deal, and Bauhaus: Mythos der Moderne. The DCA Print Space, furthermore, has been turned into a Pop-Up Shop, featuring work by Chicks on Speed, as well as other new artists. For such a multi-disciplinary and expansive collective, the DCA is clearly an ideal venue.
Ashley Havinden: Advertising and the Artist
The work of Ashley Havinden is on show at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh. Havinden was a major force in the development of advertising during the years between the two World Wars and beyond, working for the company WS Crawford from the age of 19.
Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads
Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads – The loss of faith in humanity in the late 1940s was such that the human image in art became increasingly difficult to portray. The existential despair expressed by Jean-Paul Sartre in Nausea (1938), found a visual counterpart in the images of despair and alienation of Francis Bacon, the expressionism of Oskar Kokoschka and the apocalyptic visions of Arthur Boyd. For the most part, abstraction in the visual arts dominated because, after the horrors of Auschwitz, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, artists found images of humanity impossible to create.
Book review: Maker of Dreams, the Mother of them All. Madeleine Vionnet, edited by Pamela Golbin
Since the 1939 closing of her maison, Vionnet has been eclipsed in fashion histories by more colourful contemporaries Paul Poiret and Chanel.
Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out – book review
In many ways, the course of history was changed when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, not only for Americans, but also for those who welcome change as a fundamental necessity and an inspiration.