Sunday Art Brunch: from the revitalization of London's Art Scene to the best of 1-54 Marrakech Art Fair


Welcome to our Sunday Art Brunch series, where each week we aim to bring you the newest and most intriguing advancements in the art community. From fresh exhibitions and conversations with artists to market patterns and professional observations, we have you covered. So, take a moment to unwind and join us for a carefully curated selection of art news to begin your Sunday on a positive note.

Revitalization of London's Art Scene After Brexit and Covid-19 Pandemic: Masterpiece Founders Establish New Fair to Replace Cancelled Event

The London Summer Art Fair will be held at the same venue as now-defunct Masterpiece, the Royal Hospital Chelsea

Two of the original founders of Masterpiece fair, which was cancelled last month, are launching a new event called The London Summer Art Fair in the same Chelsea location and June slot as the cancelled fair. The new event will feature around 40 to 60 dealers specializing in a diverse range of disciplines such as fine art, furniture design, jewellery, and antiquities. The fair is being self-funded and built by one of the biggest fair builders in the world, Harry van Der Hoorn. Exhibitors will have to pay £1,050 per sq m and there is strong demand, including from European and US dealers. The Art Newspaper  telling that the fair is being positioned as a post-Brexit and post-Covid fightback for London, but challenges still face the British art market, particularly in the mid-tier. The founding chairman of Masterpiece, Thomas Woodham-Smith, who deals in European furniture, says he is "deeply resentful" of Brexit and how the experience of buying in Europe has become "absolutely nightmarish”.

he Open Art Fair, renamed from the British Antique Dealers’ Association’s annual fair after 80% stake acquisition by Woodham-Smith and Van Der Hoorn in 2019, is expected to face challenges due to the negative impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic on the British art market, particularly the mid-tier. The fair was cancelled in 2019 due to the UK lockdown and was unable to be held in 2021 and 2022. Currently, there are not enough dealers interested in participating to make the fair viable, according to Woodham-Smith.

Re-emerging from the Shadows: Women and International Artists in the Era of Abstract Expressionism Re-Discovered

Yuki Katsura's Work (1959)Courtesy of the collection of Melissa M. Stewart, New York, NY © Estate of Yuki Katsura

London's Whitechapel Gallery is hosting "Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-1970," an international survey of female artists who helped redefine art after World War II. The exhibit includes over 150 paintings by 80 artists and demonstrates how the experimental spirit of Abstract Expressionism, previously considered an "art of serious men," evolved far beyond US borders. As The Art Newspaper tell, the women, who lived through post-war turmoil, sought a new way to represent the world through an abstract language of subjectivity and feeling. Their diverse styles included use of raw canvas, palette knives, graffiti-like scrawls, collaged washi paper, and even fire and acid. Despite society's lack of gender parity and expectations, these women pursued careers as professional artists and pushed against discrimination, embracing gestural processes and seeking freedoms in their work.

MEP  presents Zanele Muholi in Paris 

Zanele Muholi; Courtesy of MEP

In France, the MEP - Maison Européenne de la Photographie is presenting a retrospective showcasing the work of Zanele Muholi, a highly regarded South African photographer and activist. Muholi's focus is on the Black LGBTQIA+ community and the exhibition features over 200 photographs and videos, as well as several archival materials, that span the entirety of Muholi's career thus far. This is a significant event that pays tribute to one of the most highly respected artists in the world today. GalleriesNow reports that Muholi's portraits are a collaborative effort, with the subject having a say in their appearance, location, and pose. The photographer also turns the lens on themselves, challenging the representation of Black women in history. Muholi's work creates a new positive imagery for underrepresented communities and promotes mutual understanding and respect. Muholi has received numerous awards and honors for their work, which has been featured in solo exhibitions worldwide.

Netflix Japan Draws Criticism for Incorporating AI in Background Art of Anime Short

Screenshot from The Boy and the Dog. Photo: NetflixJP on Twitter

Fans have criticised Netflix Japan over the release of anime short, The Dog and the Boy, which was partially generated by A.I. The short, produced by Netflix Anime Creators Base, anime producer Wit Studio, and A.I. development company Rinna, shows a robot dog's search for its human owner. The backgrounds for the film were hand-sketched and then color and texture were added using Rinna's A.I. technology, with the final scenes revised by hand. Despite the explanation, the majority of the criticism was aimed at the use of A.I. in such a poignant film and the characterization of a "labor shortage" in the anime industry. Animators were seen as needing better compensation rather than being unavailable. The use of A.I. in the anime industry remains a contentious issue, with artistry being prized and some seeing the use of machine intelligence as an insult to life itself. Enjoy more on Artnet.

The best of 1-54 Marrakech Art Fair

The scene at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in Marrakech, Morocco; Photo by Ayoub Essefi

The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is back in Marrakech, held at the refurbished Mamounia hotel, which is marking its 100th anniversary. The fair's fourth edition in Marrakech started on February 9 with a press preview and will end today. The event features 60 artists and 20 exhibitors, including 8 galleries from the African continent and 4 based in Morocco. Additionally, there are 12 new exhibitors, such as Foreign Agent from Lausanne, Switzerland, HOA Galeria from São Paulo, Superposition Gallery from Miami Beach, and Templon from Paris.The fair offers a diverse range of art, including figurative paintings, textile-based works, and multimedia installations. Founding Director Touria El Glaoui, who began her career in banking before launching 1-54 in London in 2013 and the Moroccan edition five years later, said Marrakech is the ideal place to discover the city and its unique blend of African, Arabic, and French cultures. Outside La Mamounia, visitors can enjoy two special projects, including "Still Free," a performance by Portuguese painter Francisco Vidal, and a motorcycle designed by Belgian artist Eric Van Hove. These projects highlight the city's creative energy and provide a unique cultural experience. Enjoy more on ARTnews.

Written by
Giulia Manca