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Posts tagged as Guernica

Raise a Glass to the Arts

One way they are doing this is by having art expositions within their corridors. As its name reveals, Arts Club started this trend in “attempts to attract.As its name reveals, Arts Club started this trend in “attempts to attract more clients,” said Arts Club Promoter Manuel Laparte.
“Before the crisis, people would go out more frequently,” said Carlos Lopez, marketing coordinator and Madrileno. “However, even after this country recuperated, there was a change with how the Spanish started to spend their money when going out.” Where bars are as abundant as people’s expectations, the addition of local art expositions help set them apart from the many options Madrid city-goers have to choose from. As you enter inside Arts Club, the entrance walls are lined with mismatching seats and round, dark wooden tables.
Looking up you can catch a glance of Mexican artist Aurora Covarrubias’ latest exposition. Inspired by the fast-pace life Madrid has to offer, along with her Mexican heritage,  her pieces display bottles of tequila and mezcal.Almost every piece displays something pink, weather it be lips, a bottle, pants or even the American $100 bill, which was transformed into a long, hot pink canvas.Expositions like Covarrubias’ allow not only for her to gain publicity, but also attract more people to the venue.“Killing two birds with one stone,” said Covarrubias. Many of the night goers that stop upon Arts Club, are coming to actually see her exposition.They get this information from social media platforms such as Instagram, through hashtags.While Arts Club might have been the first venue in Madrid to start the trend of art expositions, other, smaller bars around the city have quickly caught wind of this.In Malasana, the more hipster barrio of Madrid, a few bars have also caught on to this trend. On Calle Valverde 24 lies Verbena Bar, a much more casual place of leisure, considering they also open for breakfast.
Here, 20-something hipsters of all nationalities can be observed sipping on iced lattes, freshly squeezed juice and tea.Upon walking into Verbena Bar, you can observe an illuminated, long venue.astel colored liners hang from one end of the roof to the other side. Along the cream colored walls are hundreds of watercolor paintings, original drawings and old photographs placed in mismatched frames which oddly match the mismatched furniture.While indulging in typical Spanish tapas, like tortilla and patatas bravas with a Cold Doble of Mahou, one is surrounded by the hard work of local Madrileno artists. One of many examples amongst this venue’s walls is the small square canvas, which is a copy of Frida Kahlo.The brushstrokes paint her red dress like velvet and her thick brown eyebrows seem almost life like. Other places of the moment such as La Fabrica have also taken this trend and ran with it.
Open seven days a week, this small coffee shop, no larger than 400 square meters, has begun to expose contemporary art. However, along with this, they also have a library filled with photography books.Currently, amongst the white walls of La Fabrica is Marc Chagalls contemporary exposition, on loan from the Museo Guggenheim of Bilbao, Spain. The European Vanguard exposition reveals pieces from the Interwar period, a time when Spain was going through a civil war.This contemporary exposition, is “rival of Picasso’s Guernica in the Reina Sofia, and worthy of visiting,” said Vera Mateus, visitor to La Fabrica.“Everyone has a curious side,” said Manuel Laparte.“And most importantly, the young people of Madrid want to be and feel the now.” Like previously mentioned, art expositions give a variety of venues the opportunity to expose up-and-coming artists to the public, while simultaneously allowing them to attract more customers.
It turns out that young people relate better to art while sipping on Spanish beer and gin and tonics. This is extremely important considering that in Spain, “almost half of Spanish artists do not not make it to 8,000 euros a year,” according to a Spanish study by Lamono.This exposure helps many struggling, up-and-coming artists gain publicity and recognition.However, there is another side to this coin.It also allows for art to spread in the capital of Spain, in a time where less and less young people are visiting traditional sources of art such as museums. A study conducted by La Caixa undercovered that only around only “22% of Spanish men and women between the ages of 16-29 had visited a museum.”“Just because some people don’t understand art, doesn’t mean it is irrelevant,” Aurora Covarrubias said. “The past, present and future need an outlet, in this logical world.”

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Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize judge Ben Quilty on empathy, justice and the human condition

By Mark Eggleton. Reflecting on Hong Kong artist’s Siu Wai-hang powerful video work Open Ta Kung Pao, artist Ben Quilty says art is at its best when
Winner of last year’s Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize (HKHRAP), Siu Wai Hang’s work depicts the July 1, 2018 pro-democracy protest as it passed the headquarters of state-owned newspaper Ta Kung Pao.
Artist and award judge Ben Quilty found many of the works entered in last year’s prize powerful because he felt the artists were driven by their own lives to create the pieces.“Theyre not just entering an art prize.They’re actually standing up for something. And thats when art can be at its best,” he says.
One of Australia’s most revered artists and social commentators, Quilty says judging the Arts Prize was a great honour and he didn’t think twice about saying yes when asked to be one of the judges because of the political and social situation unfolding in today’s Hong Kong.“Its just such a fraught part of the world, with such a distinctly uncertain future as it confronts many human rights issues,’’ he says.
Ben Quilty.“I was so intrigued to know more about it.Being able to judge a prize like that, youre instantly exposed to so many artists that you wouldnt otherwise be able to see and know about.”Deep sense of empathyQuilty, who has served as Australia’s official war artist in Afghanistan and more recently visited refugee camps in Syria, has long been passionate about depicting the human condition.
It was something instilled into him early by his parents as he grew up in Sydney, and who, he says “made me very aware of the world”.“Somehow, they taught me, by about eight or ten, to have a very deep sense of empathy, which I do think youre taught.
Its a blessing and a curse but I wouldnt give it up for anything, because theyve given me the ability to feel the world, and the people in the world.”Documentation from Kate Sparrow and Gemma Abad Calajates shortlisted piece Recycled Thoughts.
Gemma Abad Calajate is a foreign domestic worker in Hong Kong.He says that feeling of empathy runs through many of HKHRAP prize entrants and it’s often very personal.It’s about what people know or have experienced themselves. For example, a lot of the entries depicted the struggles faced by domestic staff in Hong Kong especially Filipino women.“They’re responding to something that’s in their part of the world which I found very moving. It is their own stories or the hardship of people that live in their community and both Ive found are equally relevant.
”Moreover, Quilty was also moved by some of the works which draw on Hong Kong’s current political situation in a gentle, sophisticated way.He acknowledges it is difficult for Hong Kong citizens to be overtly critical of the Chinese government, but there are works dealing with how the Chinese are almost “actively dehumanising the population” by turning them into mere numbers.
And it’s also a comment on a wider issue in the digital economy.Communal experienceAs to why art is so often at its most powerful portraying pain, Quilty draws on the work of Picasso, who lived through war “but lived a pretty blissful, peaceful existence most of his life”.
“His greatest work is Guernica. Its about the horror of war.
The horror of war isnt horrible without the human condition and the way war affects the humanity involved in it.“So, whether its war, human rights abuses or the dysfunction of a community, when people in those communities respond using art, or literature or music, their lived passion ensures what they create is really profoundly powerful.
”One particular work which stirred Quilty’s emotions was first runner-up Sophie Cheung Hing Yee’s, mixed media piece Soften stones 1: Tombstone for 61 HK students suicide since 2016.The piece comments on the pressure placed on children in the city’s hyper-competitive education system and for Quilty the work was hugely poignant imagining kids sitting in rows, “spending hours and hours of their lives rote learning, and in the end, having the same job as thousands of other people”.“Its just a beautiful little thing a contemporary tombstone and a metaphor for modern China.”Quilty can be quite critical of Chinese heavy-handedness when it comes to human rights.
He cites the first year of the Hong Kong Art Fair when it showed in Beijing and there were “artists who made quite critical comments, although subtle and sophisticated comments about China, and instead of shutting the show down, they actually arrested the staff handing out catalogues at the beginning of the exhibition. They were just poor Chinese people trying to earn a living”.
It’s this sense of injustice which drives much of Quilty’s own work and it’s what he found inspiring judging the HKHRAP entries.“I always come back to it, and I think its just that Im human and Im interested in my own humanity, and then the collective humanity in all of us.

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