The Wick - Discover Hurvin Anderson, Flat Top, 2008

Discover Hurvin Anderson, Flat Top, 2008

The paintings of Hurvin Anderson, which draw on the genres of still life, landscape and portraiture, tackle such urgent themes as community, identity and Blackness within contemporary society. Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Anderson has also explored his own personal relationship with his African-Caribbean heritage as well as societal notions of African-Caribbean males.

His celebrated Black Barbershop series, of which Flat Top is part, is perhaps his most famous investigations into these themes. From the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, the so-called ‘Windrush’ generation of Caribbean migrants was exiled from white churches, bars, pubs and hairdressers. In response, they established their own social clubs, hair salons and barbershops, which came to represent spaces of comfort and self-acceptance.

In Flat Top, two barbershop chairs sit at jaunty angles in front of a pink wall filled with geometric blocks of colour. Scraps of hair pepper the floor, as though the sitters have only just left the shop. In this painting, Anderson conveys both presence and absence, figuration and abstraction, masterfully capturing the disorientated and displaced cultural landscape of Caribbean immigrants.
The Wick - Martin Parr, Great Dorset Steam Fair, Dorset, England, 2022 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Discover Martin Parr, Great Dorset Steam Fair, Dorset, England, 2022

You’d be hard pressed to find a photographer of more quintessentially British scenes than Martin Parr. He rose to prominence in the 80s for his gritty pictures of northern England and has since published over 100 books of his own work. He’s perhaps best known today for his scenes of ordinary British life, from jubilee street parties and Butlins holiday camps to working-class terraces and seaside activities.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to British photography, Photo London has presented Parr with the prestigious Master of Photography award. Previous winners include Nick Knight, Don McCullin and Shirin Neshat. ‘It’s a great honour to be named Master of Photography,’ he says. ‘I relish the opportunity to show a totally new exhibition of work of images taken in the UK.’ Shown alongside early black and white images will be new high-octane colour works including this striking photograph taken in 2022 at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Parr’s Photo London exhibition will run from 11 to 14 May 2023 in the Embankment East Side Gallery at Somerset House. Don't miss it!
The Wick - Isaac Julien, O que é um museu? / What is a museum?

Discover Isaac Julien, O que é um museu? / What is a museum?

Isaac Julien is one of the leading artists working in film and video today. He came to prominence in 1989 with his drama-documentary ‘Looking for Langston’ and has since garnered a cult following with his films and video installations exploring such urgent themes as memory, desire, identity and politics. He hasn’t, however, had a major solo museum show in the UK until now.

Opening in April at Tate Britain is the largest UK survey of Julien’s pioneering four-decade career to date. Among the standout works on display will be this striking image from Julien’s 2019 photographic series exploring the buildings designed by the Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. It depicts a twirling ballet dance under a staircase in an abandoned culture centre designed by Bo Bardi in Salvador. ‘The idea was to really question the utilization of the museum space,’ Julien explained. ‘I think there’s a way in which architectural spaces offer this sort of appropriation for artists and performance.’
The Wick - Lee Bul, Untitled (Cravings White), 1988, reconstructed 2011

Discover Lee Bul, Untitled (Craving White), 1988, reconstructed 2011

Over her boundary-breaking five-decade career, South Korean artist Lee Bul has made work, spanning large-scale sculptures, paintings and installations, that tackles urgent themes such as patriarchal authority, the marginalisation of women and the blurred lines between binary oppositions such as old and new.

Featuring serpentine forms, Untitled (Cravings White) is made from painted white cotton-filled fabric, and suspended from the ceiling on a thin steel chain. The abstract sculpture is a reconstruction of a piece of clothing that Bul wore during a performance titled Craving at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul in South Korea in 1989. Unfortunately, the original objects worn during the performance were destroyed when the artist’s studio was flooded in 1990.

At once an abstract sculpture and the reconstruction of a performative piece, it underlines the integral role of the two art forms in Bul's work. ‘My first performances were a natural extension of my sculptural concerns and incorporated some of the soft-sculptural forms that I had been working on,’ the artist once said.
The Wick - Thandiwe Muriu, Maridadi, 2022

Discover Thandiwe Muriu, Maridadim 2022

The self-taught Kenyan photographer Thandiwe Muriu is best known for her artfully constructed images celebrating Africa’s vibrant patterned textiles and its rich mix of cultural practices and beauty traditions. In recent years, her unique visual language blending Kenyan tradition, heritage and modernity has garnered her critical acclaim and loyal collectors around the world.

Muriu often photographs her models with sculptural hairstyles and their eyes closed or covered in the same striking fabric that is used for the backdrop. In doing so, she creates a surreal illusion that prompts the viewer to ask questions around identity, beauty ideals and what it means to be a modern woman in Kenya today.

Maridadi, meaning ‘beautiful with style’ in Kiswahili, is part of the artist’s Material Culture series, which is inspired by the elaborate headwraps that her mother dons for special occasions. Even if many women use the same fabric, Muriu says, no two headwraps are ever the same. As such, they reveal each wearer’s personality and style.
The Wick - Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboy), 1989. Chromogenic print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York © Richard Prince. Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/Art Resource/Scala, Florence

Discover Richard Prince’s Untitled (Cowboy)

Richard Prince made his name creating works with appropriated imagery. His photographs featuring images of mass media — luxury magazine ads, social media profiles and entertainment flyers — raise questions around authenticity, ownership and copyright as well as the role of consumer culture in the construction of American identity. This photograph is the highpoint of his famous series Cowboys (1980-1992), which was pulled from Marlboro cigarette ads. By removing the text and cropping the images down, he enhanced their dynamism and intensified their original artifice. His pictures of cowboy pictures deconstruct the most famous of American archetypes, prompting the viewer to question what is real and what is fiction or myth.
The Wick - Yves Klein Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 154) (Untitled Anthropometry [ANT 154]), 1961, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Discover Yves Klein – Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 154) (Untitled Anthropometry [ANT 154])

For his Anthropométries, one of the twentieth century’s most daring artistic projects, Yves Klein invited naked female models to cover themselves in blue paint — a patented ultramarine pigment now known as ‘International Klein Blue’ — and imprint their bodies onto the canvas. Some of these paintings were produced during elaborate performances in front of an audience. Although the display of nudity shocked the French establishment, these works were not intended to titillate, Klein argued, but to liberate. The forms made by his models, or ‘human paintbrushes’, float freely and drift into the beyond, sealing the passage from the material to the immaterial realm. Featuring multiple solid imprints against a cream backdrop, this example now resides in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Wick - Grayson Perry, Morris, Gainsborough, Turner, Riley, 2021

Discover Morris, Gainsborough, Turner, Riley, 2021, by Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most famous living artists. He is best known for his subversive ceramics and printed tapestries that interrogate what it means to be English today. By using art forms traditionally associated with grand country houses, he elevates the dramas of contemporary British life, from class and identity to money, commuting, marriage and social media. Executed in 2021, this brightly coloured tapestry references celebrated works by Morris, Gainsborough, Turner and Riley. However, in typical Perry style, their works have been digitally altered or adjusted, their colours and orientation changed within the tapestry’s rich and layered textures. It is currently on view at Victoria Miro in London as part of their solo show of Grayson Perry tapestries.
The Wick - Discover Simone Leigh, Cupboard XI (Titi)

Discover Simone Leigh, Cupboard XI (Titi)

Best known for her ‘Anatomy of Architecture' series which began in 2016 and for being the artist who represented the United States at the 59th Venice Biennale, New York-based artist Simone Leigh poses much needed questions about cultural stereotypes. Both figurative and abstract, Leigh’s sculptures extend beyond the human form and manifests both personal experience and colonial narratives of societal history. As a female form emerges from a structured skirt made of raffia, Cupboard XI (Titi), 2020, blurs the lines between decorative and fine art whilst questioning the value of an object and the fetishisation of the female body, with an emphasis on the black body. In a world that is partial to iconoclasm, Leigh is rewriting the art historical cannon.