The Wick List

Viewing Steve McQueen’s haunting documentary Occupied City: a multi-layered must-watch

Steve McQueen’s eagerly-awaited documentary Occupied City explores humanity at both its cruellest and kindest. The Turner Prize-winning artist roams his lens over the streets and buildings of an Amsterdam reeling from the pandemic in 2020, while telling stories of the Nazi occupation that still haunt his adoptive city. Scenes from the extraordinary times we have all lived through overlay door-to-door accounts of resistance, collaboration, bravery and denial during the occupation in this devastating but life-affirming collision of the past and present.

The film draws on the book Atlas of an Occupied City (Amsterdam 1940-1945), written by historian and filmmaker Bianca Stigter, who is also McQueen’s partner. It travels to around 130 addresses in the city to uncover what went on behind closed doors, including Gerrit van der Veen College, a school attended by the couple’s daughter that once served as the HQ of the Sicherheitspolizei, or German security police. No archival footage or interviews are included, however; instead a voiceover by Melanie Hyams, a young British-Jewish actor, reads descriptions of each place, and who lived or worked there, as McQueen pans around the contemporary scene. His images are spliced with the sudden eruption of street protests calling for freedom, while decrying racism and climate change. History is all around us, it seems, and we are constantly creating it. Occupied City is a multi-layered must watch – just be prepared for a four-hour stint.

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09 February 2024
The Wick - Yinka Shonibare CBE, Decolonised Structures, 2022-23. Fibreglass sculptures, hand-painted with Dutch wax pattern, gold leaf and wooden plinths. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and New York, James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and New York. Photographer: Stephen White & Co. © Yinka Shonibare CBE
The Wick List

Viewing Yinka Shonibare’s dazzling “Suspended States” take over Serpentine South

The Wick - Georg Baselitz
Oh, ach, dazwischen
Oil on canvas
© Georg Baselitz 2024. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)
The Wick List

Viewing Georg Baselitz confronts his past at White Cube

The Wick - Studio Lenca
Angelitos, 2024
The Wick List

Viewing The pride – and pain – of Salvadoran painter Studio Lenca at Carl Freedman Gallery

The Wick - Franz West chairs
Photo: Matthieu Lavanchy
© Archiv Franz West, © Estate Franz West
Courtesy Archiv Franz West, Estate Franz West, and David Zwirner
The Wick List

Viewing  PAD Paris’ cabinet of wonders

The Wick - Leilah Babirye, Nakambugu from the Kuchu Njovu Elephant Clan, 2023. Installation view at Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2024. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Photo by Jonty Wilde.
The Wick List

Viewing  Leilah Barbirye’s lively cast of wood and clay figures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Wick - Close up of Lo zoo di Enzo by Nanda Vigo. Enzo Mari Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli © Eva Herzog for the Design Museum.
The Wick List

Viewing  The radical – and often contradictory – vision of designer Enzo Mari