SIX ARTISTS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019

by Carmina Masoliver

On a recent trip to Bristol, I found myself in a pop-up art exhibition. The city itself was all I had imagined it to be – a hub of creativity that shows it’s no wonder why more and more creatives are making the move towards South West. The exhibition itself was called Honey Art Show and took place between 14th-19th December at Centrespace Gallery. The opening night was bustling with people, with on site screen-printing, music, and a generally chilled vibe. The following are six artists from this exhibition that I was particularly drawn towards.

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IT’S GOOD TO SPEAK EVEN IF NOBODY IS LISTENING – AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HANDSOME FAMILY

by Lewis Martin

On March 20th I had the pleasure of interviewing The Handsome Family as a part of their tour for the 20th anniversary of their album Through the Trees. I interviewed Rennie Sparks, half of the band’s duo, about the difference the band offers from the usual Americana band (and if they are even an Americana band), what it’s like releasing music under your own label, and if being in the spotlight makes their message more powerful.Continue Reading

REVIEW: BASQUIAT – BOOM FOR REAL

by Carmina Masoliver

For the past few months, the Barbican has been host to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s first large-scale exhibition in the UK, featuring work spanning his whole working life. His premature death at the age of 27 is tragic, yet it is astounding what he managed to achieve in such a short space of time. 

Upon entering the exhibition, the first room features some of his early work from the 1981 exhibition, New York/New Wave, which also included work by Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin and William Burroughs. On first impressions, those who aren’t familiar with Basquiat’s archetypal ‘naïve’ or ‘primitive’ style could be forgiven for thinking his art is something a child produce,  a criticism all to often laid upon contemporary art. However, for me, art is about both aesthetics and meaning, and art in which technical ability is more obvious, isn’t necessarily more interesting. Basquiat was known to mix supposed ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture in his work, and as his career progressed, so too did its level of detail and scale.

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SHADES OF TODAY: PICKING UP THE PIECES POST-TRUTH

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by Candice Nembhard

Shades of Today: Picking Up The Pieces Post-Truth
Centrum, Berlin
24th June 2017 – 23rd July 2017

Intense political climates such as Trump’s Administration and Brexit negotiations often mobilise visual, performative and conceptual responses among artists an. In an age of the closely documented and widely circulated, consumers are often inundated with updates and headlines, discussing a breadth of facts and fiction. Centrum’s group exhibition ‘Shades of Today: Picking Up the Pieces Post Truth’ not only addresses this either/or dynamic but looks to physical and online spaces that seek to keep specific narratives hidden from public consumption. The small interactive project space, through smell, image and sound, calls into question our own understanding of agency and accountability.

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JOAN LEE: THE MARVELOUS MUSE

by Richard Worth

The story goes that Stan Lee was dragging his feet on Marvel’s latest bid to catch up with the Distinguished Competition. He was becoming bored with the monster-matinée mags he made with Kirby and uninspired by the sci-fi parables he produced with Ditko and now his bosses had tasked him with making a book to rival DC’s newest hit, Justice League.

Stan wasn’t one for superheroes. They were too perfect, too unflawed, and too unfit for the hyper-dramatised, purple prose that was Stan’s hallmark. He moped and complained about his artistic integrity, as writers are wont to do, boring all around him until his perpetually patient wife finally told him to get on with it. Continue Reading

STRIPTEASE: ADMIRATION FOR SATIRICAL CARTOON

by Richard Worth

If you have read my work here at The Norwich Radical and elsewhere (shameless self-promotion, I know) it should be apparent that I enjoy satire. And as reality subtly blends in a dystopian crap-scape, one of the very few plus sides is that the satire game is booming. In addition to the plethora of late night hosts to match personal preference (Colbert does it for me) keeping us informed and helping us to laugh instead of cry, the humble illustration has been holding a mirror up to the corrupt, the cruel, and the incompetent and making them look ridiculous, and they know it.Continue Reading

REVIEW: LOVE IS LOVE ANTHOLOGY, FROM IDW PUBLISHING

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by Gwen Taylor

How on Earth do I put these feelings into words? I’m sitting here just after finishing Love is Love and I have been utterly floored. 2016 has been an awful year all around, a year where hatred and intolerance appear to have won, and love has been  firmly pushed into a corner. One of the most horrific events of the year took place in June at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. One person took the lives of 49 others who were celebrating their individuality and love in what had always been regarded as a safe space.

Love is Love is an anthology of responses to the shooting published by IDW Publishing and supported by DCComics to raise money for Equality Florida. It contains 144 pages of beautiful stories designed to celebrate love following a tragic event. Each piece is 1-2 pages long and all are incredibly powerful; the sheer number of contributors demonstrates how this horrific event was felt by everyone.
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TODAY’S ‘INTERSECTIONALITY’

by Asia Patel

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BEYONCÉ, HILLSBOROUGH AND UNITY THROUGH SONG

by Mike Vinti

It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks in the pop world. Prince died, Beyoncé pulled a well, a Beyoncé, and today (Friday April 29th) Drake has released his new album VIEWS. If ever there was a week to remind us of popular music’s impact on society and culture, this is the one.

While each of these moments are significant in their own right and worthy of articles of their own, of which there have been many, together they’ve demonstrated the power of music to unite people. Be it through, grief, shock or pure unadulterated hype, the three most significant cultural moments of the past eight days have used music to bring people together and for a few days at least, forget about those intent on tearing us apart.Continue Reading

THE POWER OF ARTISTIC RECONSTRUCTION

by Jess Howard

Since Daesh first made itself known at the turn of the 21st century, a significant number of religious and historical buildings, artefacts and objects of cultural significance have been destroyed, in what the Secretary-General of The United Nations Ban Ki-moon once described as ‘a war crime’. In response to this, a series of art works have been created to replicate the objects that have been destroyed since Daesh first established itself, which leads us to consider the ways in which artistic reconstruction benefits culture and society.

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BE MY ROCK? TRACEY EMIN AND THE OBJECTUM-SEXUAL COMMUNITY

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by Jess Howard

This week Tracey Emin – creator of the infamous My Bed piece – announced that she had married a rock. The press, understandably, reacted vehemently, with many rolling their eyes at Emin’s well-known performance artist ways, or mocking her for doing something so seemingly comical. What the press have failed to discuss is what Emin’s recent marriage, and the backlash she has received, has done for people who identify as objectum sexual.Continue Reading

KYLIE JENNER’S WHEELCHAIR PHOTOSHOOT

by Jess Howard

The Kardashian/Jenner family are rarely far from the press. From Caitlyn Jenner’s sensational Vanity Fair cover early this year, to the recent birth of Saint West, they are seldom out of the news. Recently, it has been model and the youngest of the Kardashian sisters, Kylie Jenner, who has been in the limelight.

Causing controversy by taking part in a photoshoot in which she posed passive and sexually in a gold wheelchair, Jenner’s photoshoot, directed by photographer Steven Klein, and accompanying interview, were part of a feature in Interview magazine, and it is explicitly clear why the internet has reacted in such a passionate and infuriated way. Continue Reading

BODY ART IN THE WORK PLACE

by Jess Howard 

Covering the body with tattoos has been a tradition among multiple socio-economic groups for centuries. From identification to decoration, the act of adorning the skin with ink is in no way novel or unique. Day to day it is incredibly common to see tattoos on people of all ages, from the first tattoo immediately after the 18th birthday, to the person in their mid forties with an exquisite and elaborate full sleeve. In short, ink is everywhere.

Yet the stigma attached to visual tattoos in the work place shows minimal chance of disappearing. When I started my first ‘proper’ job, I was told that tattoos were not allowed to be visible, and even today, ten pieces of ink later, I find myself wearing long sleeves to interviews and asking if my potential employer would like me to cover them up. Even I, a woman who has long loved body art in all of its forms, assume that the stigma is still attached.Continue Reading

PORNOGRAPHY AS ART

by Jess Howard 

Earlier on this month, Playboy magazine announced that their publication will no longer be featuring nudity as of March 2016. Citing the rise of easy access to internet pornography, the company has decided to pull their famous images from the publication in a bid to reconcile their disintegrating readership with their increasing online audience, which went nudity free at the end of last year.

Playboy made a name for itself during the 1950s, when sex and nudity where far less mainstream and far more taboo. Having previously worked for Esquire, after leaving due to a financial disagreement (when he was denied a raise of $5) founder Hugh Hefner set up the publication from his home in Chicago, Illinois. Unsure as to whether or not the publication would thrive, the first magazine was undated in case a second issue was not produced. Having purchased a nude image of film star Marilyn Monroe, taken before she had found success in the entertainment industry, Hefner placed it on the cover. As we now know, the magazine was to be a huge success.

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THE NME WITHIN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE RADICAL MUSIC PRESS?

by Jack Brindelli

With the formerly radical New Musical Express projected to become a free hand-out for corporate partners like Top Shop, former writer Paul Wellings talks Rock Against Racism, Jeremy Corbyn and Monty Python with Jack Brindelli and the Norwich Radical.

THE ARTIST AS THE CELEBRITY

by Jess Howard 

Artistic expression is primarily focused on creation. Regardless of an artist’s political, financial, social, or moral agenda, they are using a creative process to express their thoughts and views. Quite simply, art is creation.

However, a recent news story brought to light the act of destruction in creativity. With Turner prize winning video artist Douglas Gordon attacking Manchester’s newly built HOME theatre with an axe, causing excessive damage to the £25,000,000 theatre.Continue Reading

THE LONDON TUBE STRIKE: CRAB LOGIC AT ITS MOST CRABBIEST

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by Alex Hort-Francis

Last week saw a 24 hour strike by London Underground staff, with commuters and tourists left to make their own way across the city. The dispute centred on a new, much-heralded night-time service, which unions claim would impose changes to the working conditions of Underground staff without proper consultation. Union members voted overwhelmingly for strike action, with concerns about safety on the Underground voiced.

Watching people’s responses to the Tube strike is an exercise in forced deja-vu, with the same arguments repeated across the web: ‘plenty of people work harder for more hours and less pay’, ‘if they adon’t like it they’re free to find another line of work’ and the classic ‘they should suck it up and work harder like the rest of us’. The common denominator being that because the striking workers already have better pay and conditions than many of the city’s commuters they aren’t justified to take action to stop these conditions changing without their consent.

There is actually already a term for this: ‘crab mentality’ (although I happen to think ‘crab logic’ is a bit snappier).Continue Reading

WOMAN VERSUS WORLD

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by Carmina Masoliver

Hollie McNish: Versus tour —  Open Banking Hall, Norwich. Hollie McNish has been on this particular tour for a long time now, having had it extended from the first set of dates. In the format that one would expect a music gig to be in, this proves — if nothing else — that poetry can work in this setting.  As a poet, part of what I loved was McNish’s refusal to write something more theatrical with lots of movement, or to strive for a narrative arc. A poet who likes to keep things simple — this stripped down approach was refreshing and inspiring.

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PHOTOJOURNALISM: SHOOT OR SAVE?

by Jess Howard

The world of fashion and artistic photography are always portrayed as incredibly glamourous. Pre-organised shoots or models dressed in couture to advertise the latest perfume. Photojournalism falls into a slightly different category. Sitting on the boundaries between art and reporting, a photojournalist’s job is to depict the events and suffering that words are unable to convey.

But how does a photojournalist disconnect from the suffering they are capturing, without wanting to help those in the picture?

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ARTISTIC SECURITY

by Jess Howard

The work of the infamous graffiti artists Banksy has caused controversy and divided opinions since it began to appear around Britain in the early nineties. His identity has supposedly been revealed countless times, and many auctions have attempted to sell off his work, to leave the new owner responsible for its protection or removal. Throughout every piece of controversy, the artist has remained anonymous.

A fan of graffiti art in general, I have always been a member of the pro-Banksy camp. Whilst I understand the issues and ramifications of vandalism, to me art seems like one of the best methods of political activism. However, the recent awarding of listed status to a Banksy piece in Cheltenham struck a chord with me. The mural depicts three spies inspecting a phone booth, and was painted onto the side of a Grade II listed building. Since its appearance it has been repeatedly subjected to vandalism of its own, with other graffiti artists attempting to cover it in their own paint. Owing to the fact that the image was unauthorised, it could not be protected under the buildings pre-existing status.Continue Reading

SMASH THE CHARTS – POP, POLITICS, AND PUSSY RIOT

by Mike Vinti

It often seems today that everything exists in its own sphere — music in one box, politics in another, and visual art in another still. This is self-evident when you take a look at a lot of popular culture. For example, the rise of TV shows and films, such as The Interview, that use politics as backdrop for their plot, yet fail to engage in any substantial political critique.

The same thing has been taking place in music for the past twenty years, and musicians who have attempted to rectify this have either been relegated from their illustrious chart positions, or left to the underground.

This separation has made it harder for writers and artists of all stripes to experiment with the boundaries of their medium, and there’s been a death of explicitly political works of culture which make into the mainstream because of this. Of course, challenging the dominant perception of your chosen field always creates a stir. However it seems now, more than ever, musicians aren’t even being afforded the chance to do that.

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BE NON-COMPLIANT – A BITCH PLANET REVIEW

by Alex Valente

In February, the Image Comics/Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Inc. series Bitch Planet reaches its third issue in an ongoing series (tentatively, out of 30). Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly), drawn by Valentine De Landro (X-Factor), coloured by Cris Peter and lettered by Clayton Cowles, the book features a wonderful design by Rian Hughes (covers and title) and Lauren McCubbin (backmatter) and is tightly edited by Lauren Sankovitch. There will be no invisible labour here.

After three issues under its belt (depending on when this piece is published), it feels a little strange to write a review — so this is not a review, not exactly; this is an appreciation.

The Story

DeConnick uses her writing to build a dystopian setting in which patriarchal structures have reached such an overt manifestation of power that the rulers — the New Protectorate — are a bunch of old men who call themselves The Fathers. A society whose constant, obsessive message is ‘You are broken, you are fat, you must obey, you must comply’, a society that has rejected the idea of Mother Earth (‘Earth is the Father’) and created the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost — affectionately referred to as Bitch Planet – as a space (‘the Mother’) penitentiary for non-compliant women.Continue Reading

HOW MUCH DOES A PAINTING REALLY COST?

by Jess Howard

Last week a painting by French artist Paul Gauguin sold at auction for £197 million.

Nafea Faa Ipoipo, which translates to ‘When will you marry me?’, features two Tahitian women sat on a stretch of grass in front of a tree. We see the islands formidable mountains and an expanse of green fields behind them. The sale set a record for the most amount of money paid at auction for a piece of art. The work knocked Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players off of the top spot, which sold for £158 million back in 2011.Continue Reading

LOVING WITHOUT [GALLERY] LABELS

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by Jess Howard

Norwich city centre is home to a plethora of well-known art, by many famous and reputable artists. The Sainsbury Centre collection holds paintings and sculptures by artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon. A multitude of texts have been written on our Cathedral and the remains of the historic city walls. However, just because a piece wasn’t created by a world famous practitioner does not make it irrelevant.

I frequently find myself guilty of thinking this. Guilty of assuming that certain pieces of work around me are inferior because they are not held in well-known collections. Simply because they are not flanked by a well thought out gallery label, or hold price tag reaching financial levels equal to those involved with purchasing a small house or remote tropical island. Therefore this past week I have spent some time opening up my art historian eyes a little bit, and finding things that I didn’t appreciate before.Continue Reading