John Keane, Gulf War Artist

Soon after the start of the Gulf War on 2 August 1990, painter and photographer John Keane was invited by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London to be Britain’s official war artist for this new conflict, forged in the disintegration of the Cold War. At first refused accreditation by a suspicious Ministry of Defence, due to his record of painting an unflattering portrait of war, the 36-year-old Keane eventually … Continue reading John Keane, Gulf War Artist

Exhibition: Dreamworlds and Catastrophes

Recommended by ESPIONART in 2015, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Jersey is home to a vast collection of nonconformist Soviet art that was secretly amassed and brought to the United States by the late American economist, Norton Dodge. The latest exhibition at the museum focuses on fantastical and nightmarish scenes conjured up by Soviet artists at the height of the Cold War, inspired by the … Continue reading Exhibition: Dreamworlds and Catastrophes

Venice Biennale Highlight #3: Hope!

Considering the current conflict ravaging Ukraine, it’s no surprise that the country’s national pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale is highly policised. Within a confined glass cube on the waterfront, on the approach to the Arsenale, a host of young Ukrainian artists present works in response to the crisis. By combining them under the title of Hope!, curator Björn Geldhof announces the intention that the … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #3: Hope!

Venice Biennale Highlight #2: Paperwork, and the Will of Capital

Among the tightly-packed displays in the cavernous main exhibition hall of the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale, Paperwork and the Will of Capital: An Account of Flora As Witness by US artist Taryn Simon stands out as one of the most thought-provoking and carefully-crafted artworks. Simon’s installation explores the overlooked role of flowers as a form of soft diplomacy. The artist at first appears to be presenting them as … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #2: Paperwork, and the Will of Capital

What & Where: The Guard Who Jumped the Berlin Wall

What: Florian and Michael Brauer and Edward Anders, Mauerspringer (Walljumper), 2009 Where: Brunnenstraße, Berlin, Germany In June 2009, a few months prior to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new sculpture appeared on the streets of the German capital. Mauerspringer (Walljumper) by Florian and Michael Brauer and Edward Anders depicts a life-sized East German border guard named Conrad Schumann, in … Continue reading What & Where: The Guard Who Jumped the Berlin Wall

The Iconic Image of Che Guevara

When Cuban photographer Alberto Korda snapped two shots of Che Guevara at a memorial service in Havana on 5 March 1960 his photographs were initially lost among thousands taken of the charismatic revolutionary leader. For seven years Korda’s preferred image of the 31-year-old, known as Guerrillero Heroico (Heroic Guerrilla), remained largely unknown. But with Guevara’s death in October 1967 the man became a legend, and … Continue reading The Iconic Image of Che Guevara

The Trauma Art of Thailand’s Forgotten Massacre

A brutal but largely forgotten episode from recent Thai history has united several contemporary artists to produce a ‘trauma art’ to comment on the loss of collective memory. The Thammasat University Massacre on 6 October 1976 was a shocking moment. The violence took place in the midst of an anti-communist crackdown in Bangkok, provoked by fears of a communist takeover following the recent Fall of … Continue reading The Trauma Art of Thailand’s Forgotten Massacre