Vorticism: avant-garde art at the Tate Britain, London

In the years before the outbreak of World War One, European artists developed a variety of different styles to reflect the pace of change and industrialization in what used to be a traditional continent.

Cubism and Futurism were two of the biggest movements. One of the briefest and most vibrant was Vorticism. The Vorticists started around 1913 and focused on the hard lines and quick pace of the machine age.

Now the Tate Britain in London is hosting a major exhibition on the movement called The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World. It brings together more than 100 Vorticist works from all the major players.

One of the leaders of the movement was Wyndham Lewis, although some Vorticists say the only reason he was popularly seen as the leader was because he gave more interviews to the press. He was certainly important, though. Lewis was the founder of the Vorticist journal Blast, the first issue of which had a hot pink cover and featured writings by T.S. Eliot and Ford Madox Ford. A whole section of the exhibition is dedicated to this journal and its groundbreaking design and typography.

Some of the rarer works on display include those from the many women welcomed into Vorticist ranks, a daring move at the time. There are also the Vorticist photos of Alvin Langdon Coburn, often hailed as the first abstract photographs. These photos will blow your mind and hurt your eyes.

%Gallery-126430%While Vorticism was mainly a British movement, this exhibition also explores its influences on the New York modern art scene. In fact, it was an American poet, Ezra Pound, who gave the movement its name.

The output of this movement was remarkably small. Blast only had two issues, and there were only two Vorticist exhibitions. World War One killed some of the Vorticists and left others embittered against the modern world. Yet Vorticism had a major impact on modern art and its works are still discussed and copied today. The two issues of Blast are still in print almost a century after they first appeared. One advantage of its brevity is that an exhibition of this size can encompass a majority of the major works, giving the visitor a full understanding of the meteoric life of one of modern art’s most intriguing avant-garde movements.

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World opened yesterday and will run until September 4.

[Image of Workshop c. 1914-5, by Wyndham Lewis courtesy of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust]

Three art fairs in Madrid this month

Madrid has always been a favorite destination for art lovers, and in February you have three more reasons to go. Later this month the Spanish capital will host three contemporary art fairs.

Art Madrid is the biggest, with 45,000 visitors last year. Now in its sixth year, Art Madrid is hosting 89 exhibition spaces that will showcase the collections of 60 art galleries from across Spain and around the world. It’s open from Feb. 16-20.

ARCOmadrid is celebrating its 30th year by focusing on Russian and Latin American contemporary art. Pieces from 12 Russian galleries will be on display and a “Solo Projects” program features artists from Latin America. It’s open Feb. 18-20.

JUSTMAD2 is the youngster of the crowd and only in its second year. About 50 exhibitors from many different countries will be showing their stuff. There will also be special programs on experimental design and sound art. It’s open Feb. 18-20.

It’s no coincidence that these are all happening at the same time. Buyers from all over the world will be here looking for The Next Great Talent, and like book fairs or other trade shows there will be a lot of hustling going on. Visiting one of these fairs will not only give you a large, interesting art exhibition for your money, but also insights into the inner workings of the art world.

Want your art in the Guggenheim? Here’s your chance!

The Guggenheim and YouTube have teamed up to find the world’s most artistic short videos.

YouTube Play is a contest for Youtube videos that show something truly inventive and different. No fan vids or farting dogs need apply. Two hundred finalists will be judged by a panel of art experts and culled down to 20 to 25 videos that will be shown in a special exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York City. It will be the first of a biennial competition.

This will attract a lot of creative entries, especially by video artists and animators. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of the finalists showed the wide world in all its glory? A good travel video such as this one of The Amber Fort in Rajasthan can hold its own against more consciously artistic works. Not only are there some beautiful shots, but the video subtly explores the relationship between heritage and tourism.

So get the cameras rolling and make a video that deserves to be shown in one of the world’s leading modern art museums. But hurry up, submissions close July 31!

Photo courtesy Enrique Cornejo via Wikimedia Commons.

Modern art gallery opens in Rome

The ancient monuments of Rome have a trendy new neighbor.

The National Museum of the XXI Century Arts, popularly known as the Maxxi, has finally opened after a controversial five-year delay and ballooning construction costs that eventually topped $200 million.

Award-winning Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid is responsible for the funky building design, which houses 27,000 sq/m (291,000 sq ft.) of exhibition space, offices, workshops, and lecture halls. In keeping with Rome’s legacy of fine buildings, the museum gives equal space to both art and architecture.

Current exhibitions include a survey of Italian contemporary architecture, a retrospective of the varied work of Gino De Dominicis (whose media ranged from video installations to sculpture), and a selection from Maxxi’s permanent collection.

Image courtesy MAXXI.

See the Museum of Modern Art in two minutes

Ever visited New York City’s Museum of Modern Art? It’s quite possibly the world’s greatest museum for art lovers – harboring numerous masterpieces from painters including Picasso, Pollack and Warhol, among others. But it’s also quite overwhelming. If you’ve never been, prepare to be overwhelmed by thousands of different works across multiple floors, ranging from sculpture to photography to film and special exhibits. You will be exhausted when you leave.

That’s where this neat video comes in. Someone took the time to create a video montage of every single piece of art in the museum’s painting gallery in April 2010, collapsing the experience into a YouTube video just over two minutes in length. It’s a dizzying reminder of just how much this great museum has to offer. Whether you’ve already gone or have yet to visit, take a minute to enjoy one of the world’s great collections of modern art.

[Via Metafilter]