Eerie Photographs Reveal the Unseen Ruins of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in a New Book

A tame fox poses in front of the sign pointing the way to Pripyat from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All images © Darmon Richter/FUEL Publishing, shared with permission

After embarking on both permitted and illegal ventures into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, British writer and photographer Darmon Richter was able to document the ghostly ruins and abandoned structures throughout the hazardous region. He captures eerie Cold War-era relics in a series of mysterious photographs, including a paint-curling mural venerating Soviet heroes and the room where the initial malfunction, which decimated an area now part of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, occurred in 1986. Decades later, the nuclear disaster still is considered one of the worst catastrophes throughout history.

Published by FUEL, Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide encompasses Richter’s unprecedented access to the mysterious zone in its 248 pages. The volume is available from the publisher or for pre-order on BookshopRead the rest

A tame fox poses in front of the sign pointing the way to Pripyat from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All images © Darmon Richter/FUEL Publishing, shared with permission

After embarking on both permitted and illegal ventures into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, British writer and photographer Darmon Richter was able to document the ghostly ruins and abandoned structures throughout the hazardous region. He captures eerie Cold War-era relics in a series of mysterious photographs, including a paint-curling mural venerating Soviet heroes and the room where the initial malfunction, which decimated an area now part of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, occurred in 1986. Decades later, the nuclear disaster still is considered one of the worst catastrophes throughout history.

Published by FUEL, Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide encompasses Richter’s unprecedented access to the mysterious zone in its 248 pages. The volume is available from the publisher or for pre-order on BookshopRead the rest

The Art of Animal Liberation

Two rabbits in Lin May Saeed’s Beriln studio.

When I first visited Lin May Saeed’s Berlin apartment/studio two years ago, the Iraqi-German artist and animal liberation activist was in the process of carving a polystyrene sculpture as two large rabbit roommates hopped around, enjoying the nontoxic snow-like flakes that were falling to the floor. That sculpture was Girl with Cat (2019), which depicts a young woman kneeling next to her feline companion, whose large, slender body resembles those of the cats found in hieroglyphs and ancient statuettes. Saeed told me that the work was inspired by the late German activist and sociologist Birgit Mütherich, whose 2003 essay, “The Social Construction of the Other: On the Sociological Question of the Animal,” reveals that the cat-worshipping ancient Egyptians had no word for “animal.” For the sculpture’s debut at the Jacky Strenz gallery in Frankfurt last year, Saeed, who in 2001 graduated … Read the rest

Minimal Female Figures Explore Community, Identity, and Connection in Laura Berger’s Paintings

“In my feelings” (2020), oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches. All images © Laura Berger, shared with permission

In Laura Berger’s minimalist paintings, female figures entwine together in abstract formations. Their dark locks flow with the curves of their bodies, which are posed in relaxed, natural stances. Using tight color palettes of muted tones, Berger works mostly in acrylic, although she’s ventured into oil since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m not sure if it’s related to everything that’s been going on in the world or to the shift in medium itself, but my ideas have been moving in a more narrative direction which has really opened up a lot of new things for me to work with,” she tells Colossal.

The Chicago-based artist (previously) continues to explore themes of identity, community, and connection, in addition to more abstract conceptions of energy and quality of … Read the rest

Linda Givon, Founder of South Africa’s Goodman Gallery, Has Died at Age 84

Dealer Linda Givon, who founded Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg in 1966, has died at age 84. The South African publication Times Live, which first broke the news, reports that Givon’s death was “unexpected.” Goodman Gallery did not immediately provide ARTnews with Givon’s cause of death.

In the early years of the gallery, Givon worked with artists including David Goldblatt, Zwelethu Mthethwa, William Kentridge, Sydney Kumalo, Tracey Rose, and Moshekwa Langa, among others. She sold the gallery, which today also maintains spaces in Cape Town and London, to its current owner and director, Liza Essers, in 2008. Throughout her career, Givon was widely regarded as an influential and prominent dealer in the South African art scene during the latter half of the twentieth century.

Born in 1936, Givon worked at London’s Grosvenor Gallery before setting out to establish Goodman Gallery. She spoke with the New York Times in 2003 … Read the rest

Inside Information: Cross-Sections of Retro Technology Reveal Historical Moments of Iconic Objects

The distinctive Arriflex 35 IIC is one of the most significant motion picture cameras of all time, and a favourite of the Hollywood new wave of cinematographers of the 60’s ad 70’s. The hand held camera was famously beloved by Stanley Kubrick whose 1971 cult classic, A Clockwork Orange, was shot almost entirely on the Arri 35 IIC.

As part of an ongoing series titled Inside Information, UK-based design studio Dorothy explores some of the most iconic designs in the areas of film, music, personal computing, and fashion through clever “cutaway” infographics. Each illustration reveals a miniature isometric world packed with historical moments from famous concerts that used the Vox AC30 amplifier to films that utilized the Arriflex 35 IIC handheld camera which transformed movies forever. All five of the Inside Information graphics are available as 3-color litho prints on their website. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

Released

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Baltimore Museum of Art to Deaccession Major Warhol, Marden, and Still Works Works at Sotheby’s

On the heels of one U.S. museum’s controversial plan to sell 12 works at auction, another major institution has revealed that it will deaccession art in an attempt to fund long-term initiatives.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that the Baltimore Museum of Art is deaccessioning three blue-chip paintings from its collection. In the coming weeks, Sotheby’s will sell Brice Marden’s 3 (1987–88), estimated at $12 to $18 million, and Clyfford Still’s 1957-G (1957), estimated at $10 million to $15 million, at auction. The house will also sell Warhol’s The Last Supper (1986) via a private sale. Together, the works are expected to bring in $65 million.

Sotheby’s has not confirmed the dates of the upcoming public sales. A representative for the house did not respond to request for comment.

In a statement, the museum said it plans to allocate profits from the sale to advance staff salary increases … Read the rest

A Shark Swimming in a Heart-Shaped School of Salmon Tops 2020 Drone Photography Contest

“Love Heart of Nature” by Jim Picôt. “In winter, a shark is inside a salmon school when, chasing the baitfish, the shape became a heart shape.” All images © the photographers, courtesy of 2020 Drone Awards, shared with permission

The 2020 Drone Photography Awards garnered an arresting collection of aerial shots, and among its winners is a serendipitous image of a heart-shaped school of salmon. Captured by Australian photographer Jim Picôt, the piece is particularly special because a shark swims near the center, chasing one of the fish. Other prized shots include heron roosts nestled in the treetops, and a group of swimmers floating between crashing waves.

Hosted by the Siena Awards Festival, the contest received entries from photographers in 126 countries, and an exhibition titled Above Us Only Sky will run October 24 to November 29 in Siena to showcase the top images. Check out some of … Read the rest

Forthcoming Whitney Biennial Pushed to 2022 as Pandemic Upends Art Calendar

The next edition of the Whitney Biennial, arguably the most important art exhibition of its kind in the United States, has been postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Whitney Museum in New York announced on Thursday. Having previously been dated for the spring of 2021, it is now expected to open in April 2022 and run through August of that year.

The postponement means that the Whitney Biennial has gone the way of the Venice Biennale in Italy, the Biennale de Lyon in France, and the Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, three other high-profile biennial-style shows that were pushed from 2021 to 2022. The New Museum Triennial, another closely watched show of the kind, had been initially dated for 2021 as well, but it is no longer listed as such on the New York institution’s website.

In a statement, Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, … Read the rest

Neural Networks Create a Disturbing Record of Natural History in AI-Generated Illustrations by Sofia Crespo

All images © Sofia Crespo, shared with permission

Sofia Crespo describes her work as the “natural history book that never was.” The Berlin-based artist uses artificial neural networks to generate illustrations that at first glance, resemble Louis Renard’s 18th Century renderings or the exotic specimens of Albertus Seba’s compendium. Upon closer inspection, though, the colorful renderings reveal unsettling combinations: two fish are conjoined with a shared fin, flower petals appear feather-like, and a study of butterflies features insects with missing wings and bizarrely formed bodies.

Titled Artificial Natural History, the ongoing project merges the desire to categorize organisms with “the very renaissance project of humanism,” Crespo says, forming a distorted series of creatures with imagined features that require a new set of biological classifications. “The specimens of the artificial natural history both celebrate and play with the seemingly endless diversity of the natural world, one that we still … Read the rest

Tim Griffin Steps Down as Director of Celebrated New York Art Space with Experimental Tendencies

Tim Griffin, director and chief curator of the Kitchen, a nonprofit experimental art space in New York, will step down from his position at the end of the year. Griffin joined the Kitchen in 2011, after a tenure as the editor-in-chief and later editor-at-large of Artforum.

“I can’t imagine a more inspiring or humbling experience among artists than what The Kitchen, and its dedicated staff and board, has offered me over the years,” Griffin said in a statement. “Few places have such a history, decade after decade, of presenting the unexpected. Even fewer have people so deeply committed every day to supporting artists’ innovative work, and who, time and again, manage to pull it off whatever the challenges.”

While at the helm, Griffin oversaw significant projects by artists including Chantal Akerman, Charles Atlas, and Gretchen Bender, in addition to thematic exhibitions such as “From Minimalism into Algorithm” … Read the rest