Friday, 23 June 2017

Garageland visits the Venice Biennale

Kirsty Buchanan acts as Garageland tour guide for this year's Venice Biennale, where she trembles at the Irish pavilion and joins a whale hunt in the arsenale. 

Huguette Caland's sensual line drawings and wearable dresses

This year the theme of the Biennale was VIVA ARTE VIVA a title which excited me with its bold and simple exclamation. 

In the Arsenale there seemed to be a focus on earth conscious, hippy world art such as Bonnie Ora Sherk’s work about the Crossroads Community or Ilana Halperin’s video documentation of what appeared to be a forest community of women holding hands in a circle. I particularly enjoyed these video works as they had a nostalgic feel to them.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

All The World's Females

With the 2017 Venice Biennale soon to kick off, Garageland's Kirsty Buchanan looks back on what we learned from the last one.

Martial Raysse, Makeup, 1962 at Palazzo Grassi

The theme of The 56th International Venice Art Exhibition, situated at the Giardini and Arsenale, curated by Okwui Enwezor was All the World’s Futures. In the expansive labyrinth of the Arsenale, one couldn’t help having an immense sense of misery. Heightened by the contrast between the high bright sun outside it felt prison-like almost apocalyptic. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Imagining Emma Hamilton

Arlene Leis talks to Dr Amber Ludwig Otero about the self-made, seductive celebrity that was Lady Emma Hamilton


George Romney, Head Study of Emma Hamilton as Miranda,
@ The Jean Kislak Collection

During her lifetime, Emma Hamilton (1765-1815) was considered one of the world’s great beauties. Men were fascinated by her charm and good looks, and throughout her lifetime, she formed several important, romantic attachments with prominent men, including Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh, George Romney, Charles Francis Greville, Sir William Hamilton and Horatio Nelson. These alliances helped establish her position in various social circles, in London and on the Continent, but they also caused her downfall. While her life echoes the typical rags to aristocracy tale and the artist Elisabeth Louise VigĂ©e Le Brun, once claimed that ‘The Life of Lady Hamilton reads like a romantic fiction,’ she was never fully accepted into London society. Emma’s own tragic end - debt, prison and death in Calais at 49 - reaffirms her reliance on the men in her life, and it also reveals the restrictions placed on women. Women could use their beauty to create new opportunities and careers, and in some cases even influence governance, but they were still chastised. 

I spoke with Emma Hamilton scholar Dr Amber Ludwig Otero about the exhibition Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.