The photographers who exposed America: Arbus, Goldin, Winogrand

By Shaun Pett

A new exhibition presents work by some of the most famous photographers of all time in the contemporary light of Black Lives Matter and the transgender rights movement

No one captured the chaos of the 1960s more acutely than Garry Winogrand. His voracious, omnipresent eye sought out the decade’s absurdities. He revealed the society balls of the 1%; the joy, violence and despair of marches, protests and parties; the spectacle of politics and press conferences, and the quotidian street. His work ventured far beyond what he regarded as the limitations of photojournalism, says Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario. “He very much strove to separate his image from the written word and embrace that ambiguity. He didn’t want a caption, he didn’t want a sequence, he didn’t want a narrative – he wanted a picture.”

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Source: The photographers who exposed America: Arbus, Goldin, Winogrand

    

How designer Willem Sandberg championed the rebellious type

By Simon Garfield

Torn-paper montages, bold intricate lettering and catalogues that anticipated punk … The first major UK retrospective of Willem Sandberg’s work reveals a designer who was ahead of his time

The exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, the first retrospective of Willem Sandberg’s work in the UK, may go some way to solving the one big Sandberg problem – the fact that not very many gallery visitors have ever heard of him. Sandberg lived a long life, from 1897 to 1984, and he was prolific to the end. He was a graphic designer, a pioneering museum curator and director at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, a champion of modern art and artists, and an original thinker. He rejected the formal and reverential in favour of the playful, daring and disruptive. With little formal training, he learned almost everything he knew from experience and experiment.

The show concentrates on his posters and catalogues, and once you see them you will never mistake his work for anyone else’s. He chose off-centre positioning, rough hand-torn paper montage, a collision of sans serif fonts and old Egyptian type, and almost always a bit of red ink somewhere. The names of modern artists flew across the page, as famous as matinee idols, which was slightly shocking in the 1940s. Sandberg composed his own manifesto in verse form:

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Source: How designer Willem Sandberg championed the rebellious type

    

Sweatshop art: Berlin artists join production line in capitalist protest

By Nadja Sayej

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster, artists have signed up to paint under ‘sweatshop conditions’ for three days – but not all of Berlin is buying it

Berlin street artist Emess walks into the Schau Fenster project space in Kreuzberg with a box of water-soluble spray paint and stencils. Taking off his puffer jacket, he puts on a white T-shirt with a number two printed on its back before starting his shift at Sweat Shop.

Related: Bangladesh factory collapse leaves trail of shattered lives

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SFMOMA review: it's art history on steroids but must go beyond big names

By Jason Farago in San Francisco

Heart of inaugural presentation is a collection that includes Warhol and Ellsworth Kelly, but in city’s battle over inequality the gallery may have picked a side

Pleasant, quirky, but not exactly world class: that could have described San Francisco a few decades ago, and could describe the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art too. But as the city by the bay has grown into a hard-charging hub of tech wealth and class resentment, SFMOMA is changing too, into a much grander sort of museum. After closing for three years, the museum has re-emerged in a massive new building, at a scale outstripping even New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and houses a substantially beefed up collection of art after 1945 – albeit one funded more by Bay Area titans of retail and finance than the notoriously stingy millionaires of Silicon Valley.

Welcome to winner-take-all art history, and to the new SFMOMA: an often impressive, occasionally flabbergasting procession of big names and high prices. It’s a mutated museum for a mutated city, and the old institution has been flayed open to make way for hefty new spaces. (This being San Francisco, other new additions include a hipster coffee joint and an SFMOMA app that will use your phone’s GPS to find the nearest bathroom, each of which is saturated with color for ideal selfie-snapping.) My colleague Oliver Wainwright has more to say about the new building, which is now the largest museum in America devoted to modern and contemporary art. Inside Snøhetta’s new crimped tower, the story starts with the recent acquisitions, and how SFMOMA developed a core as blue-chip as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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Source: SFMOMA review: it’s art history on steroids but must go beyond big names

    

David Rea plays in the aisle during one of the first pressurised passenger flights, March 1948

By Hannah Booth

David Rea plays in the aisle during one of the first pressurised passenger flights, March 1948

My father was an RAF fitter in the war; he was one of the ground maintenance crew at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain, working all night to repair the Hurricanes. BOAC snapped him up as an engineer when the war ended, because he had become an expert on Rolls-Royce aero engines.

He knew my mother from Salisbury, where they grew up, and as soon as he was demobbed, he sought her out at a dance. They married in 1946 and I was born almost exactly nine months later.

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Source: David Rea plays in the aisle during one of the first pressurised passenger flights, March 1948

    

Museums face ethics investigation over influence of sponsor BP

By Terry Macalister

Internal documents appear to show British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and others accommodating oil firm’s demands

The Museums Association is investigating claims that some of Britain’s most revered cultural institutions have broken its code of ethics in the way they dealt with one of their commercial sponsors, BP.

The move follows the release of internal documents seen by the Guardian that appear to show the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and other institutions bending to accommodate the demands of the oil company.

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SFMoMA's new extension – a gigantic meringue with a hint of Ikea

By Oliver Wainwright in San Francisco

Thanks to a new building designed by Snøhetta, the San Francisco gallery has more floorspace than MoMA – but the marriage of old and new is not a happy one

The word “art” floats in a cartoon cloud above the street in the architect’s sketchbook, on display in the new $305m (£209m) extension to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “Environmental concept,” reads a scribbled note on the page. “Fog.”

Norwegian architects Snøhetta, designers of the chiselled 10-storey addition to SFMoMA, due to open to the public on 14 May, are fond of their natural metaphors. They talk of their spectacular opera house in Oslo as an iceberg, their cultural centre planned for the deserts of Saudi Arabia as a pile of pebbles, while here in San Francisco they have attempted to conjure something as light and vaporous as the city’s famous coastal mists.

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Source: SFMoMA’s new extension – a gigantic meringue with a hint of Ikea

    

Naked contortions, empty exhibitions and Lego's mistake – the week in art

By Jonathan Jones

Polly Penrose poses awkwardly for women everywhere, as Mona Hatoum arrives at Tate and Maria Eichhorn closes the Chisenhale – all in your weekly art dispatch

Mona Hatoum
A welcome retrospective for this artist who makes the personal uncomfortably political and the familiar very strange indeed.
Tate Britain, London, 4 May until 21 August.

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Source: Naked contortions, empty exhibitions and Lego’s mistake – the week in art