Jaakko Niemelä’s Quay 6, 2021. © Maija Toivanen/HAM/Helsinki Biennial 2021.
For 2021, the inaugural Helsinki Biennial and Helsinki Design Week wore their hearts on their sleeves: showcasing art and design in an ethical, environmentally responsible framework that placed nature, craftsmanship and creativity in the service of community, both local and global
Phyllis Christopher. Photo: Kate Sweeney.
The photographer talks about her coming of age in 1990s San Francisco, where, despite the Aids crisis, lesbians, in the post-lesbian feminist era, largely wanted to come together, have fun and create visibility.
Restitution: The Return of Cultural Artefacts by Alexander Herman, published by Lund Humphries.
As western nations increasingly give consideration to the repatriation of stolen artefacts, cultural heritage law expert Alexander Herman takes us on a fascinating tour of the legal, ethical and political issues involved  .
Noguchi. Installation view, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 30 September 2021 – 9 January 2022. © Tim Whitby / Getty Images.
Aiming to bring sculpture into people’s everyday lives, Noguchi mixed cultural traditions with modern techniques. The sculpture, lighting, furniture, theatre sets and playground models on show here are a measure of his success.
Turi Simeti (1929-2021): A Homage, installation view, The Mayor Gallery, London, 2021.
A tribute to Turi Simeti presents an encapsulated overview of a major figure of Italy’s postwar avant-gardes.
Simone Fattal: Finding a Way, installation view, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 21 September 2021 – 15 May 2022. Photo © Whitechapel Gallery.
This is a staggering show, dominated by five unsettling figures, whose abstraction echoes the artist’s explanation that they are embarking on a journey of transformation.
Edward Ruscha, Pain Killers, Tranquilizers, Olive, 1969. Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 61 cm. Courtesy of the Christen Sveaas Art Foundation/DACS.
Images of dramas, dreams and moonlit dinners await visitors at the Whitechapel Gallery, in an exhibition imagining a journey on the most enchanted of night trains.
Adam Jeppesen in his studio, Villa Ruiz, Argentina. Photo: Charlotte Haslund.
The Danish artist talks about why he left documentary-making to make art, the project that took him from the north pole to Antarctica, and the thoughts behind the work in his latest show, his first solo exhibition in the UK.
Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. Photo © Jimmy Ketz.
The architecturally trained duo Arnout Van Vaerenbergh and Pieterjan Gijs talk about their collaborative practice, and how they seek to create new experiences for themselves and the visitor.
Ibrahim Mahama: Lazarus. White Cube Bermondsey, 15 September – 7 November 2021. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Todd-White Art Photography).
Through sculptures, installations and film, the Ghanaian artist repurposes objects from colonial and post-independence to show the impact failed companies and crumbling infrastructure have had on the people of his country.
Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-55. Encaustic, oil, and collage on fabric mounted on wood (3 panels), 41.25 x 60.75 in (104.8 x 154.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Gift of Philip Johnson in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. © 2021 Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Last of the last, with Baldessari gone, of the great philosopher-artists, Jasper Johns is taking a twinned victory lap around two major museums in a bifurcated retrospective that confirms his place in the pantheon.
Mit Jai Inn, Midlands Dwelling, 2021. Oil, colour pigment and glue on canvas, 310 x 837 x 670 cm / Acrylic on canvas on metal 61 x 232 x 77 cm. Installation view, Mit Jai Inn: Dreamworld (2021). © Ikon Gallery. Photo: Stuart Whipps.
Suffused with Buddhist philosophy overlaid with political overtones, the extraordinary works of this Thai artist can be touched, walked over and, in some cases, taken home for free.
The Story of the Country House: A History of Places and People by Clive Aslet, published by Yale University Press.
From a medieval manor house to a modern-day folly, Clive Aslet whisks us through time and place on a fascinating tour of British country houses.
Annie Morris, 2021. Photo: Holly Clark.
Morris, who has three new shows, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Frieze Sculpture and Timothy Taylor in London, discusses how personal tragedy and childhood memories feed into her work.
Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths, installation view, Lisson Gallery, Lisson Street, London, 14 September – 30 October 2021 © Marina Abramović, courtesy Lisson Gallery.
Abramović channels her passion for Maria Callas into a film in which she reinterprets seven death scenes from famous operas, and seven unusual alabaster sculptures. She explains how the Greek opera singer’s life has fuelled her art.
Alfred Drury’s statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts wears a sash of Dutch wax print. Photo: William Kennedy.
Yinka Shonibare has transformed this annual event into a paean to diversity, bringing work from the invisible and marginalised alongside that of amateur artists and academicians.
Peter Freeth. Would You Adam'n Eve it? Aquatint, 11 × 17 cm. Image courtesy Art Space Gallery.
Peter Freeth’s atmospheric etchings speak of mortality and human frailty with a poignant nod to the impact Parkinson’s disease has had on his life.
Tal R by Martin Herbert, cover; Palmer Park, 2018. Acrylic on cardboard, 453 × 480 cm (178 × 189 in). Private collection.
This book is essential reading for all lovers of painting and contemporary art and culture, shedding light on the ideas and methods behind Tal R’s enigmatic works.
Adam Farah: What I’ve Learned from You and Myself (Peak Momentations/Inside My Velvet Rope Mix), installation view, Camden Art Centre, London, 10 September – 23 December 2021. Photo: Rob Harris.
Farah creates a shrine to Mariah Carey in a coming-of-age journey and a sensory world of nostalgia and indulgence.
Alastair Gordon. Photo: Alastair Gordon.
Gordon talks about the impact lockdown had on his recent paintings, now on show at Aleph Contemporary in London, and his new book, Why Art Matters, which reflects on art seen through the lens of his Christian faith.
Pam Su. Lost and Found, 2021. Photo: Veronica Simpson.
Set in the heart of Britain’s former ceramic manufacturing centre, this inspiring show provides an invaluable platform for artists unafraid of tackling big topics.
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