Posted on April 24, 2014

The Snail 1953

Is it just us or do you also dream of a job where you can spend all day looking at beautiful pictures? We’ve always had a bit of an obsession with curators who make our favourite exhibitions actually happen. Browsing through great masters, travelling the world and working in amazing galleries to create an inspiring and visual feast for us to soak up and get excited about – what’s not to love about that sort of job? We’ve already waxed lyrical about Tate‘s new Matisse exhibition  - (win tickets to it here!) - but who better than its Assistant Curator Flavia Frigeri to give us a brief lowdown on the legend as well as a little insight into the sought-after career.

Can you give us a dummies guide intro to the Cut-Out and Matisse?

Most know Matisse for his painting and I think that’s why this exhibition will surprise a lot of people as it’s a completely new chapter in his life. He invented a new medium – the Cut-Outs – that was inspired by all of the things that have interested him in the past. Like his earlier work they are very colourful but colour becomes a material here. He physically cuts into the colour and pins the shapes he’s working on to the walls of his studio. He’s no longer limited to a canvas.

What is unique about the exhibition?

These works have never been seen together in such an extended way. This is the most comprehensive. It’s organized chronologically, so it takes you through the period step-by-step and how Matisse created the Cut-Outs as independent works in their own right. You’ll see how the scale changes – at the beginning they’re so small and eventually become so monumental and fill a whole environment.

What are the pieces you are most excited about?

A personal favorite and a standout piece is Jazz. It’s actually made of 20 individual cut-outs and is the illustration for a book. It’s the first time they’ve been shown in the UK, as they belong to the Pompidou’s collection and aren’t widely exhibited. It’s very special.

How do you start working on an exhibition like this?

The most exciting bit is reading and learning about the subject at the beginning. We then draw up an ideal checklist of works we really want that could substantiate our argument and also be visually appealing for those who are going to see the show. Then comes the difficult bit – finding the works. We started planning 5 years ago.

How did you get to your position?

I guess you always have an ambition to work somewhere like Tate. I studied Art History in Rome, then I did MA in the same subject but refined my area every time –  I focused on Modern Art from 1960s – and now I’m working on a phD. I always knew I wanted to go into curating so I did lots of work experience with Fellowships at the Guggenheim and eventually got my place at Tate.

How would you encourage young people keen to get into the field?

Go and see lots of shows! The other option is to do more traditional art historical route or there are more masters programmes focused on curating. Those are the two most direct routes.

Get the inside scoop on the exhibition in the making here:

Want to see the exhibition and more?! Be in with the chance to win an amazing weekend away in London including a night’s stay for two at the Ace hotel, tickets to Matisse and a £500 shopping spree! Enter here. Across the pond? Don’t worry, the epic exhibition will go to MoMA in October. 


Posted on April 23, 2014

Calling all New Yorkers (or those who happen to be visiting in the next month) look no further than the Tribeca Film Festival to get your fill of unique and inspiring film culture! Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca Film Festival has been running for 13 years but has already found its place among the like of Sundance and Cannes in the film festival stakes. I guess that’s unsurprising knowing the talent behind it – Robert De Niro – and the bounty of movie creatives that already exist in New York. That said, there’s an overwhelming 160 films on offer for viewing, so we’ve done the hard work for you and whittled down our favourite moments whatever your taste or fancy!

If you’re a music fan… The Nas documentary: Time is Illmatic

Embrace your New York state of mind! Go behind the recording studio door with Nas in a documentary following the story of Nas’ classic debut, Illmatic. From hearing about his jazz-musician dad to exploring his local neighbourhood, Time is Illmatic opens up Nas’s myriad of inspirations.

If you’re a fashion lover… Dior and I

Start the swooning now! If there’s an haute couture show us Topshop girls are unashamedly poring over, month after it’s happened, it’s Dior. There’s something about that romantic fashion house that is so iconic and now that Raf Simons has taken up the reigns, we’re besotted. Now there’s a chance to get a glimpse at how Simon’s artistic directorship has influenced the house and what goes into those intricately designed gowns. Race you to the front row?

If you’ve got a car… Tribeca Drive-In Screenings

That’s right, TFF isn’t just about classic cinema but bringing back some old school much-loved ways of watching films one of them being the drive in. We romanticise about hanging out in a convertible and watching a classic movie and now you can with TFF’s drive-in screening of Mary Poppins or Splash at the World Financial Centre.

If you’re a wannabe movie maker… Tribeca Talks

Calling all industry insiders here’s a talk you want to be at! Hone your film making skills with news from the greats. Whether it’s soaking up the Art of Sound & Design from the top lot at Dolby or getting an insight into editing room from legendary Martin Scorsese. There’s a talk and a guest that will have you movie-lovers hooked.

Make your TFF plans now and get tickets to all the screenings from their website right here.


Posted on April 17, 2014

Cut-Outs are a big deal this summer. And no, we don’t mean cut-out crops or open-back shirts (although they are a favourite for us too). We mean Cut-Outs as invented by legendary painter Matisse, and the Tate exhibition dedicated to his later life’s vibrant work. We’ve seen the hype and read all the papers declaring it the exhibition of the summer so went to check out if the critics were right…

Icarus 1943, maquette for plate VIII of the illustrated book Jazz 1947

From epic wall-spanning canvases to mesmerizing stained glass windows, it’s a feast for the eyes. But it’s not just the size, scale and variety of mediums that have us enraptured, it’s the colours. The petrol blue dancing figures, the geometric burnt-orange collages, the sprawling purple seaweed. Not only is Cut-Outs a prolific and rich exhibition but one that excites our inner creative.

Large Composition with Masks 1953

It’s bright, it’s vibrant and it has made us yearn for summer to hurry on up. The fact that Matisse only came to this form in his latter years, and that it often only took a little paint, card and pins to create most of them, blows our minds! For your Easter weekend culture fix or for any weekend from here til September, we can’t recommend this enough.

Henri Matisse, pictured in his studio. Photograph: Lydia Delectorskaya

This will undoubtedly be a summer sell-out so make sure to book your tickets now and make sure to tell us what you think! 


Posted on April 7, 2014

Photo by G.M. Fadigati, © Giorgini Archive, Florence

The late great fashion writer, Anna Piaggi, once wrote, “Italian fashion designers are a secret society make up of pioneers, a few investors and a few poets. They are the new phenomenon and the new elite.” Impressive, eh? And never does that statement feel more poignant than at the V&A’s mega new exhibition, The Glamour of Italian Fashion.

Let’s be fair, the curators couldn’t have picked a subject with more natural ability to shine and dazzle if they tried. Yes, we’re Brit fashion girls at heart at Topshop but when it comes to fashion history and craftsmanship the Italians steal the scene. Whether it’s Miuccia Prada’s latest flame-toting heels, Gucci’s peak-a-boo evening line (yes, that JLO one) or a dramatic Dolce and Gabbana hand-painted couture gown, the names, silhouettes and styles from Italy’s fashion designers have always been in the headlines.


The show is a rich timeline of the Italian fashion industry that spans the country’s post World War 2 fashion boom, Hollywood’s affair with Italian designers to an uncertain present day. For us, the most enthralling moments were seeing the glamour up-close. We swooned over encrusted dresses and held our breath over bejewelled capes: it is worth the trip just to go saucer-eyed over Mila Schön’s sequin-covered kaftan that was worn by Marella Agnelli at Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball.

So if you fancy musing over Moschino’s cheeky map dress or discovering the palazzo pant (Jackie Kennedy was a big fan!) there’s no better place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014 runs from 5th April – 27th July.


Posted on March 31, 2014

We appreciate a weekend slumped on the sofa as much as the next guy, but there’s no doubt we’d be much more interesting company if we always packed our days off with cultural pursuits. With this in mind, check out our timely selection of new and exciting things to see and do Stateside.

Maria Lassnig at MOMA PS1

Instagram @mompas1

Austrian Artist Maria Lassnig’s portraits penetrate deeper than surface level. “Body awareness” is her thing, and the sheer diversity of style and range of colours is certainly a sight to behold. With roughly 50 pieces of work including paintings, watercolours and films, this is Lassnig’s biggest US-based exhibition to date – go see!

Garance Doré and Anna Bond for Rifle Stationary

Instagram @garancedore

Francophiles among us will agree that dedicated blogger Garance Doré can do no wrong. Garance has made no secret of the fact that she loves a spot of drawing, so her collaboration with Anna Bond of Rifle Stationary seems wonderfully serendipitous. Pop along to the Open Studio on Saturday 28th for a day of activities with Garance, including calligraphy and letter writing etiquette and, of course to peruse some seriously attractive paper.

The No Fun Film Club

The No Fun Film Club

The No Fun Film Club does not live up to its name. Celebrating the work of New York’s up-and-coming filmmakers, you’re guaranteed to get inspired at a NFFC night. The next event on Sunday, March 30 at The Wythe Hotel features the work of Emily Kai Block. Music video buffs will know Block’s work from Grimes “Oblivion”, Grizzly Bear’s “Yet Again” and most recently Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife.”

Uprise Art – Dana Bell Exhibition

Instagram @uprisenyc

Whether you’re stuck for inspiration when it comes to decorating your walls, or you just want to browse the best new art around, it’s hard to beat Uprise. The amazing online gallery houses a whole host of artists’ prints, available to order or simply gaze upon. This month they’re also exhibiting the amazing work of artist Dana Bell at 120 Ninth Avenue, NYC.


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