The Easel

8th October 2019

Kara Walker debuts monumental fountain in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

Kara Walker is having a moment in London. There is a survey of her acclaimed films that deal with slavery in America’s Antebellum South. A newly commissioned sculpture looks, at first glance, like British Empire bombast. Closer inspection shows it to contain figures that speak to Britain’s colonial past – “playful and inviting, yet brutal in its core.  A video (4 min) is here.

How Cuba’s Cold War graphic design found humour in propaganda

Russia’s Cold War propaganda sometimes used “muscular” socialist realist imagery. Without an equivalent homegrown style, Cuba’s artists improvised, often using the tools of advertising – strong images, simple slogans, bright colours, mimicking Pop art. Innovative, without a doubt, though in the fullness of time, it went the way of all Cold War propaganda. More images are here.

1st October 2019

Under the bridge with Mark Leckey

Can one be nostalgic for a motorway flyover? Leckey is. Growing up in northern England’s bleak industrial landscape, he has been shaped by its streets and working class youth culture. Using online found footage he has created films like Fiorucci, an “opus” that has “hypnotic, often arresting images of everyday stuff … a celebration of British urban subculture”. An excellent background piece is here.