In the Press, Reviews

Top 10 Art Events in London, October 2014


Bertrand Lavier Fountain at the Serpentine Gallery


October should be renamed ‘Artober‘, as the line up of Art this month in London is extravagant and impressive, from the Frieze to the London Film Festival, the entire Art World will be descending unto London, competing savagely for exposure, clients and prestige. From Modern Art to Film, to the Frieze masters to fountains out of garden hoses, there is something for everyone who appreciates Art. The private view invites have been stacking up in my e/mail, enticing me to all of them but since I won’t be able to tele-transport myself to each and every one of them, I have chosen my Top 10 picks that I would go to, if a tele-transporting machine existed. I will review my Top 3 over the next few weeks.

Below are my TOP 10 Art Events going on around town this October:

1. British Film Institute London Film Festival: 8th to the 19th of October. From Channing Tatum as a wrestler, Benedicte Cumberbatch at war, a ‘Fury’ Brad Pitt, and a ‘Wild’ Reese Witherspoon, the red carpet promises to showcase some of the best emerging as well as experienced acting talent.

2. Frieze Art Fair Preview day and VIP Collectors Preview:  Tuesday, October 14. Open to the pubic: 15-19th October.

3. PAD London Art+Design Fair: Preview & Collector’s Day Tuesday October 14th. Open to the public 15-19th October.

4. Sigmar Polke: Alibis. Opening at the Tate Modern: Private view Wednesday October 8th. October 9 – February 8 2015.

5. Rembrandt: The Late Works at the National Gallery: Private view Tuesday 14th. Open to public October 15 to January 18, 2015.

6. Damien Hirst new exhibit ‘Schizophrenogenesis’ at the Paul Stopler Gallery. October 9- November 15th 2014. A pill-popping exhibit, which attempts to keep Damien Hirst relevant.

7. Bertrand Lavier Fountain Opening on Wednesday October 13th at the Serpentine Gallery. This artist uses everyday objects which he turns into art, in this case, ‘jets of water emanate from an unruly mass of garden hoses’.

8. Tracey Emin: ‘The Last Great Adventure is You’ at White Cube Gallery. October 8- November 16, 2014. The Last Great Adventure is You, is her latest work, and initially started as ‘a reference to the ‘other person’; however, over the two year period since she began creating this body of work, she came to realise that the implication was once again coming back to the self’.

9. Steve McQueen at the Thomas Dane Gallery. Tuesday October 14 – November 15. The award-winning film maker and artist shows two works, a film based and an object based work which, ‘hovers between the specific and the universal, the literal and the abstract, evading definition and multiplying experiential and interpretive possibilities’.

10. Self: Bacon, Hirst, Koons and Picasso at the Ordovas Gallery. October 14 – December 13, 2014. Self ‘looks at the interpretations of self-portraiture of four of the greatest artists of the 20th century, spanning the modern and contemporary eras’.




In the Press, Reviews

Review of Tate Modern’s Matisse Cut-Outs: The Cut-Outs vs Butt-Outs


(Blue Nudes. Photos taken by NHYM. Copyright 2014)

Tate Modern until Sept 7th

*****5 Stars

Cut-Outs vs. Butt-outs: Matisse vs. Kimye

Two ‘once-in-lifetime’ events have recently just occurred: April 2014 saw Matisse’s Cutouts opening at the Tate Modern, a historical and unmissable event bringing together all of Matisse’s most important cutout works, and May 2014 saw the most ridiculously over the top wedding of all time, golden wedding toilet and all; Kim Kardashian’s wedding to Kanye West. Kimye’s wedding kiss became the most ‘liked’ picture on Instagram. But the similarities between the two events end at voluptuous, naked women with large bosoms and bottoms.

The 21st century is laden with reality stars taking over the world and covered on every magazine, newspaper and social media cover. I despair to think that my children are growing up in a world with role models such as Kimye. Yes, she may be (artificially) beautiful and I am sure she is very ‘nice’, (her and her artistically enhanced derriere), but what is she really teaching our children? That constant bitching, plastic surgery, a world of materialism and superficialism, multiple weddings, and excessively spending ridiculous amounts on the aforementioned multiple weddings is an entirely normal proposition? Luckily, the Matisse exhibit at Tate Modern keeps my hopes up that we still have role models everywhere for our children, if we just open our eyes beyond the Kimye Press.


(The Mermaid and the Parakeet)

Going to this Matisse exhibit, (Matisse happens to be one of my favourite artists), was truly an unmissable event for me. The juxtaposition of Kimye’s vacuous and superficial reality life splashed all over the tabloids next to Matisse’s Cutouts and his life as an artist in the Daily Mail is unreal. How far we have come in 60 years from his death in 1954 to 2014. I will try not to go on like many Art Critics, writing verbose, possibly pretentious articles, that frighten most normal people with their diarrhea of adjectives, to describe what I saw (you can read all these articles online at the Telegraph, Guardian, and Times) but I hope to give you a ‘simple’ take on his world, his art, and his ‘genius’ (unlike the ‘genius’ called by Kim’s mother describing Jaden Smith in his white Batman suit).


(Large Decoration and Masks)

Matisse didn’t enter the art world because of pushy parents. His father wanted him to study law, but Matisse was introduced to art by his mother after a bout of appendicitis. He was ‘hooked,’ as one would say, and would become one of the most influential modern artists, next to Picasso. Matisse started his Cutouts late in his life as an artist, in his 70s, after a close encounter with death and major surgery, in what he calls his ‘seconde vie’. Despite his ill health, for Matisse this was his second chance at life, which gave him the freedom, ‘liberte,’ to truly express himself. Initially, the critics called his work ‘child-like,’ but I think he was trying to teach us to look at the world as if we were looking at it for the first time, like a child, to see beauty in the simple things. He used simple methods of paper, cutting and painting to cut out flowers, fruit, and seaweed. Simple, beautiful, objects we often overlook every day because of the busyness of our lives. He was then able to use the inspiration of a lifetime and translate it into artworks to create some of the most alive, dynamic and beautiful pieces of Modern Art.


(The Sheath)

He is known as the best colourist in the 20th Century and his vibrant colours of Blues, Yellows, Green, Yellow and Purple are reminiscent of a child’s painting palette. He manages to create movement through his cut paper and uses his paper cutouts, pasted on top of background paper, to create texture and contrasts of colours. Other themes of his Cutouts are Dancing, Jazz, Ballet, and the Underwater World of Tahiti, all subjects close to his heart and mine. Years before, Matisse had made a trip to Tahiti when he felt a lack of inspiration and there he spent days snorkelling and basking in the sun, and later used fruits, seaweed and palms from that trip to create ‘Oceania the Sea’, and ‘Oceania the Sky’. His ‘seaweed’ and ‘corals’ that he uses over and over in his cutouts, which you can see in ‘The Sheath,’ and ‘Decoration and Mask,’ show us where he was most at peace and happy; underwater surrounded by bright, vibrant light and colours not visible in the overwater world. When he was bed and wheelchair ridden, he was able to re-create scenes which he was now no longer able to enjoy, like the underwater sea, and also create a garden in his studio by pinning cutouts onto his walls.



What Matisse achieved in doing, despite his infirmity, his age, and his critics, was to create a new form of art which was alive, vibrant, and in his mind, full of clarity. While he was unable to move freely, he was still able to bring gardens and the seashore right to his bedroom. He was able to make dancers dance for him, to tell tales of Icarus and 1001 nights through his art and to recreate himself as an artist. For him, this was a rebirth, a second chance to see life differently and wanting to live it fully against all odds. This is what he can teach and inspire my children. Unlike a Kardashian, whose lustre will fade as her wrinkles multiply, her bum sags with age, and her money won’t save her from being replaced by the next prettier, younger thing.


(Family sitting below the Blue Nude on the Right, cutting out and reproducing Matisse’s works of art).

Five Matisse Cutouts you should know about (or at least appear to know about at a dinner party):

1. Blue Nudes Series: There are four of them and are his most popular and recognisable pieces aside from the Dancers painting.

2. Icarus

3. The Snail: Matisse’s slight exploration into abstract art, until he realised he should leave it to Picasso.

4. The Parakeet and The Mermaid

5. Large Decoration and Mask