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November Diary 2012

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Diary editor: Riya Patel | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-GardeAspen Magazine: 1965-1971The Art of Scent, 1889-2012
MoMA, New YorkWhitechapel Gallery, LondonThe Museum of Arts and Design, New York
18 November 2012 – 25 February 2013Until 3 March 201313 November 2012 – 27 January 2013

After the Second World War, Tokyo re-emerged as a centre of artistic creativity, making itself the setting for important movements in painting, sculpture, graphic design and video. MoMA’s show looks at the experimental art that came out of the Japanese capital between 1955 and 1970, and at some of the leading players in its avant-garde scene.

Phyllis Johnson came up with the idea for her groundbreaking multimedia magazine while holidaying in Aspen, Colorado. Each issue – published from 1965 to 1971 – had a different editor and designer and was intended to encapsulate a certain viewpoint and time. Boxed editions included posters, artwork and film reels as well as printed material, and over its short history Peter Blake, John Lennon, William S Burroughs and Andy Warhol all contributed to its unique format.

New York’s Museum of Arts and Design continues its unconventional exhibition series with The Art of Scent, a rundown of formative moments in perfume design over the past 123 years. Significant scent makers such as Ernest Beaux – who in 1921 created the “great modernist work” Chanel No. 5 – are featured, along with technological breakthroughs such as Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas’ use of extracted carbon dioxide for Pleasures (1995). Diller Scofidio + Renfro will design the exhibition.

Soviet Modernism: Unknown Masterpieces 1955-1991Chinese Design TodayEspen Dietrichson: One of Many Unusual Moments
Architekturzentrum, ViennaThemes and Variations Gallery, LondonGalerie Tator, Lyon
8 November 2012 – 25 February 20138 November 2012 – 8 December 2012Until 23 November 2012

Time is running out to appreciate the Stalinist architecture of the former Soviet republics. This exhibition explores lesser-known modern buildings from Estonia to Uzbekistan, exposing their often poor construction and the tainted associations that have left them perilously close to demolition. The show includes new testimonies from locals and the original town planners, and features case studies such as the Lenin Museum in Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Highways in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Ai Weiwei recently declared that “China’s art world does not exist”, referring to the struggle to work freely when controls are imposed on culture and creativity. But the west’s curiosity about China continues to grow, and now Themes and Variations presents a major exhibition of contemporary Chinese design in London. See work that mixes attitudes old and new – Li Lihong’s porcelain McDonald’s arches are painted with ancient ornamental patterns and Jia Li’s Memory Stool juxtaposes red kite silk and Perspex.

For the show Doubts in Time and Space (2011), Norwegian artist Espen Dietrichson made haunting prints of brutalist buildings – illusions that repeated entire facades and roof elements and suspended them away from the original as if held by some invisible force. The prints are comments on the contradictions of utopian thinking, designs that supposedly offer freedom but ultimately constrain. This month Galerie Tator exhibits these works alongside sculptures from Dietrichson’s residency at Moly Sabata in Sablons, France.

Bjarne Melgaard: A House to Die InBeyond ImaginationLouis Kahn: The Power of Architecture
Institute of Contemporary Arts, LondonStedelijk Museum, AmsterdamNetherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam
Until 18 November 2012Until 11 November 2012Until 6 January 2013

Snøhetta has been working with Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard to realise A House to Die In. The unusual project, which will commence in 2014, references the fire that destroyed Melgaard’s previous Oslo residence, and has an exterior made of 200 charred wood panels into which the artist’s distinctive drawings are etched. A 1:1 part of the facade is on show in the lower gallery of the ICA this month, as well as documents from the collaborative process of drawing and form-making between the two creators.

The first exhibition at the re-opened Stedelijk Museum – designed by Dutch architect Mels Crouwel – will be Beyond Imagination, a group show of contemporary artists working in the Netherlands. The expanded gallery spaces will be taken over by a selection of 20 artists, who were asked to propose new work that examines “the blurred boundaries between reality and imagination”. A programme of talks by each of the artists is planned throughout November.

American architect Louis Kahn was known for his monumental approach to modernism. His interest in ancient ruins and masterful detailing of materials can be seen best in the formidable Salk Institute, California, and the National Assembly building in Dhaka. These and many more of Kahn’s built projects, unrealised proposals, city plans and publications are brought together in Rotterdam this month, for the first European retrospective of his work for 20 years.

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