Zeitz Museum of Contempoary Art Africa

Art in 2017: major events and museum openings

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Whatever else 2017 brings, there can be no doubt that it is a bumper year for major art events. Here are a few stand-outs in a very crowded calendar.

The Grand Tour

Once every decade, international contemporary art’s three most prestigious events – the Venice Biennale, Documenta and Sculpture Projects Munster – all take place in the same year, resulting in much frantic scheduling by dedicated followers of very latest in visual culture. 

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Robert Rauschenberg: the leader of American art’s great ménage à trois

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The dazzling, haunting ‘combines’ at the heart of Tate Modern’s forthcoming retrospective were part of a private game between Rauschenberg and his peers and sometime lovers, Cy Twombly and Jasper Johns

Robert Rauschenberg

Generous, big-hearted and political … Rauschenberg in front of his picture of President Kennedy. Photograph: Burton Berinsky/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

 

Robert Rauschenberg’s 1954 work Untitled is an upright wooden box supported by a white, colonial-era table leg over an open stage-like enclosure in which a stuffed Dominique hen struts next to a nostalgic photograph of a tall man in a white suit. Walk around this oddly compelling array – every surface of which is covered in old pictures, newsprint and smeared paint – and you find a pair of shoes, painted white. Do they belong to the man in the portrait? Who was he? Why does this constellation of stuff trigger such an undeniable, unforgettable sense of mystery?

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Venice architecture biennale 2016 – ideas for real world problems

A sense of social purpose drives this year’s Venice biennale, and while good intentions don’t always translate into good ideas, the best combine usefulness, economy and beauty

by Rowan Moore

 One of Block Research Group’s ‘beautiful

One of Block Research Group’s ‘beautiful, delicate’ vaults. Photograph: Italo Rondinella/La Biennale di Venezia

Architects are insecure about their usefulness. They work with buildings, which are generally large, expensive, long-lived and important to life, but it’s not always obvious what is significant about the specifically architectural aspect of their work – the refinements and rearrangements to the functional object that might otherwise come into being without architects’ help. If they have some influence over large budgets, it is developers or politicians who usually make the real decisions. At best, an architect can be like a jockey on a horse. Often, he or she is more like the groom, who puts nice plaits in its mane and tail.

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London Craft Week: design highlights

Girih Treasure Chest by David Linley is on show during London Craft Week

Girih Treasure Chest by David Linley is on show during London Craft Week

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Given how much it has grown already, it’s hard to believeLondon Craft Week is just a year old. But as the initiative celebrates its first birthday (kicking things off once again with an almighty party at the V&A) it’s hard not to sound like an overexcited aunt, pinch its chubby metaphorical cheeks and say “Gosh! How you’ve grown…” Because this second edition is not only almost twice the size of the first (there are more than 130 events taking place across the city compared to last year’s 70) but the quality promises to be even better still – with a surge of interest from potential partners and participants the organisers have had to be ruthless as to what events and exactly who is allowed under the umbrella. But the biggest difference of all? If London Craft Week already feels like an established event on the calendar, then it means craft as a discipline might have finally found its voice.

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Conceptual art: why a bag of rubbish is not just a load of garbage

Burned books, dirty nappies and stacks of oranges – conceptualism flew in the face of stuffy modernism, but is still often dismissed as pretentious. Olivia Laing explores a new exhibition at Tate Britain

Keith Arnatt Self-Burial 1969

Keith Arnatt Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969. Photograph: © Keith Arnatt Estate / DACS, London

 

In August 1966, a part-time tutor at St Martin’s School of Art withdrew a book from the college library. His name was John Latham and the book in question was Art and Culture, an essay collection by the doyen of modernism, Clement Greenberg. But Latham didn’t read the book. Instead, he invited friends, students and fellow artists to his house for what he called a “Still and Chew” event. Participants were asked to select a page, chew it to a pulp, and then spit the resultant “distillation” into a flask. Latham added acid, sodium bicarbonate and yeast (“an Alien Culture”), and left the fertile brew to bubble gently.

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Ad-free art on the underground: Düsseldorf’s ‘pure’ new metro line

Geometric shapes, projections of planets, LED walls … Germany’s first art on the underground project is an ambitious collaboration between artists, engineers and architects

Giovanna Dunmall

The U-Bahn station Heinrich-Heine-Allee

It was an unusual project,” says Berlin-based artist Heike Klussmann, a lead designer of the new U-Bahn line, which opens on Saturday in the German city of Düsseldorf. Fifteen years in the making, the Wehrhahn metro line consists of six new stations running east to west beneath the city centre, collaboratively designed by architects, artists and engineers. “Normally the construction part happens first and then the artists are commissioned. Here the architects, artists and engineers worked together from the beginning,” she says.

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Bjarke Ingels to design 2016 Serpentine pavilion – but he’s not the only one

Julia Peyton-Jones’s swansong as gallery director includes four more summer houses in Kensington Gardens, designed by architects aged between 36 and 93

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