Open – Shut – Open, the SFAI

The San Francisco Art Institute, SFAI, opened in 1871 and is one of the oldest schools dedicated to Contemporary Art in the United States. In March 2020, I was sad to read that the school was closing due to financial pressures exacerbated by COVID-19. Since then many supporters have emerged, citing its unique contribution to the arts and mustering the funds and motivation, for it to continue. So students will be able to complete degrees, public art courses and exhibitions can live another day. But why do I, a British artist and write care about this? How did I even come to know of SFAI?…

Continue reading “Open – Shut – Open, the SFAI”

Lockdown Art Tally

I planned to spend 1 month in the UK, arriving in early March 2020, to host an art project, The Body Room, in London. As the COVID-19 situation has unfolded, I stayed and it has been almost 5 months now. As I get ready to return to Valencia in a few days time, I thought I’d make a tally of all the new and unexpected ways I’ve engaged in art during the lockdown. In a rough chronological order, it goes like this .. read along and see how many you recognise too!

Continue reading “Lockdown Art Tally”

Reading Notes – ‘The Story of Art’ by EH Gombrich

In early lockdown I enjoyed reading this slab of a book on art history. It starts with cave paintings which felt strangely pertinent as we all hunkered down for lockdown. Despite its 700 pages, its actually a pretty pacy whirl through art history. His language is clear and non-pretentious and the layout is impeccable. Full marks for usability – if he talks a bit a painting, he puts a full colour decent sized reproduction in! It’s a pretty ‘conventional’ and mainstream version of art history, and of course there’s barely a woman in it, and the artist is always a ‘he’. But what he does write about is insightful and useful.

Continue reading “Reading Notes – ‘The Story of Art’ by EH Gombrich”

Reading Notes – ‘Living with the Gods’

I recently read, ‘Living with the Gods’ by Neil MacGregor, originally a radio series and a fascinating exploration of religion and rituals, across cultures and throughout history. MacGregor is a former director of The British Museum and he weaves this story through the medium of artefacts. Examining places and objects that illuminate how humans have practiced faith and beliefs through time.

Continue reading “Reading Notes – ‘Living with the Gods’”