EMIN LIBRARY IN UGANDA
British art star Tracey Emin, who shot to fame in 1995 with an embroidered tent inscribed with the names of "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995," has embarked on an architectural adventure of a different sort. On Feb. 18, 2008, she is inaugurating the Tracey Emin Library outside of the capital of Kampala in the African nation of Uganda. The library is run as part of Forest High School, and will function as a center for adult literacy and computer skills as well as a library serving 800 students, ages 12 to 18. Emin worked with the charity Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS), which she met a scant six months ago, and an investment company to bring the dream alive.
In the regular column that she writes about her life for the Independent newspaper, Emin describes what led her to initiate the project: "For ages, I wanted to do something that would be helping others but at the same time really helping me," she writes. "I want to nurture something, see it grow." Emin contributed 70 million Ugandan shillings for the library, or about $82,000.
DESIGN TAKES "FORM LONDON"
Get set for Form London, the second annual art-and-design fair at Olympia National Hall on Hammersmith Road, Feb. 28-Mar. 2, 2008. Organized by Clarion Arts, which also puts together the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair and the Winter Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair -- both in the same space -- Form used to be known as the Spring Fine Art & Antiques Fair before it took a turn to capture the more happening contemporary "design art" scene in 2007. Its first outing was described as "charmingly anarchic" by the Antiques Trade Gazette, but the 2008 edition is looking to be more polished, offering a vetted selection of dealers this time around.
The show includes exhibitors in contemporary and modern art (Mumford Fine Art, Rebbecca Hossack Gallery, Redfern Gallery, Saatchi Online, Whitechapel) as well as contemporary and modern design, textiles, ceramics and jewelry. This year, the fair has a novel promotion: the "Form Airstream," a classic American airstream trailer, with a custom interior designed by Form creative director Russell Sage, which is touring London displaying "key pieces of art and design" (the Airstream company is one of the sponsors of the event).
And returning from last year is the popular "DNA" exhibition within the fair, spotlighting emerging design artists. This time out, the figures highlighted are Jordi Canudas, Stephen David Graham, Rosalind Davis, Stephen Johnson, Arabel Lebrusan, Geoffrey Mann, Piper Mavis, Claire Morgan, Michaela Nettell, Okay Studio, Luka Stepan, David Sutton and Sarah Van Gemeren. For more info, see www.form-london.com
DENVER WELCOMES BRITISH ARTISTS
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, which last October opened its dazzling new facility (designed by British architect David Adjaye), has commissioned London artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster to install a large signature light sculpture in front of the building. Titled Toxic Schizophrenia / Hyper Version, the work is a large fiberglass heart stabbed through by a dagger, dripping blood, studded with LED lights and installed on a pole.
Certain to become emblematic of the museum -- executive director Cyndey Payton called it a reminder of "teen spirit" and "street culture beyond our institutional walls" -- the work is the first public commission for Noble and Webster in the U.S., and is the largest iteration of one of their signature motifs (a version of which is currently on display at Gagosian Gallery in London). Noble and Webster have a previous relationship with Adjaye, who designed their studio and house in London in 2003.
The duo is speaking at the museum on Feb. 26, as part of its "Logan Conversations" series of talks with artists. The MCA is also having a "Bloody Heart Party" on Feb. 14, featuring blood-red cocktails, celebrating both the new commission and Valentine’s Day.
JULIAN CURATES JARMAN
Film fans who couldn’t make it to the Sundance Film Festival for the debut of Isaac Julian’s documentary Derek, a biopic about the life of the late artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, get another chance when a Julian-curated show dedicated to Jarman opens at the Serpentine Gallery, Feb. 23-Apr. 13, 2008.
The exhibition is conceived of as an "immersive environment" focusing on Jarman’s life and work, and includes paintings, rarely seen Super-8 films, an installation of Jarman’s legendary 1993 film Blue and light boxes created by Julian with images of the cottage where the older artist lived in Dungeness.
The show also marks the UK premiere of Derek, which features one-time Jarman muse Tilda Swinton. Derek received mixed reviews at Sundance -- Variety called it "lovely if flawed" -- though it was picked up for distribution by the Film Sales Company.
DOIG AT THE TATE
The Tate Modern has just opened the long-awaited mid-career retrospective of the 48-year-old British painter Peter Doig, Feb. 5-Apr. 21, 2008. Featuring two decades worth of work, with an understandable focus on his famous depictions of his icy childhood in Canada, the survey runs up through his newest paintings made since he moved to Trinidad in 2002. The show tours to ARC/Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, May 29-Sept. 7, 2008 and Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Oct. 9, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009.