The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is home to one of the holiest sites in Islam. It is also the only famous mosque that lies in disputed or contested territory. As tensions once again erupt in the Holyland, check out our guide to the world’s must see mosques here.
We list 10 of the most beautiful mosques in the world. From the stunning architecture to the intricate geometric tiling and ancient calligraphy, a visit to one of these places of worship is sure to take your breath away! Give it a read here.
The Autry Museum: Native American Horsemen
Located in Los Angeles, California, The Autry Museum of the American West is a museum dedicated to exploring, supporting and preserving the heritage of the American West. The Autry was founded in 1988 by actor and performer to house much of his own collection of Western Art, with the museum later merging with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian to improve the facilities for research, and to better share the story of the West.
A feature which we particularly enjoyed at the Autry was the art depicting the life of Native American Horsemen.
The force of nature humbles all men by Howard Terpning
The mummies will be displayed in an exhibition at the Grand Egyptian Museum, a new museum scheduled to open in 2020, along with the full Tutankhamun collection.
The multicolored coffins were found in the heart of ancient Egypt – in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, and have got scientists, Egyptologists and archaeologists very excited! It is the first collection of coffins of this scale to be discovered since the end of the 19th century. The Valley of the Kings is also famous as being the resting place of King Tutankhamun.
It came to public attention last week that the City of Rome is clamping down on tourists yet again, this time by banning visitors from sitting on the ever famous and ‘insta-worthy’ Spanish Steps.
Tourists who decide to stop here and who do not move along when requested – by the new specially employed police task-force – will be faced with a fine of up to €400.
The law came into effect at the beginning of July, however only last week did the police appear with their whistles to start moving people along.
The somewhat controversial move is part of a greater effort to improve Rome’s appearance and protect its heritage. The city is concerned by the amounts of litter left by tourists who stop to enjoy refreshments on the steps, and wished to discourage this kind of anti-social behaviour.
The Spanish Steps themselves are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, and recently underwent a costly restoration project in 2016.
Rome has become one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations and its historical monuments are increasingly at risk from the perils of over-tourism. The city’s officials have become known for introducing rules and regulations such as banning bathing in any of the city’s fountains, and penalising “messy eating” near the monuments.
The move comes amid a greater concerns for many of Italy’s major tourist destinations. Officials have expressed concerns for the welfare of the environment, the important historical landmarks and the future of Italy’s tourism sector.
Main Image: Spanish Steps, Ronald Tagra, Flickr Creative Commons
Celebrating the centenary of the Bauhaus
2019 is the centenary of the Bauhaus, the revolutionary art school and movement founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and closed in 1933 after pressure from the Nazis. The architecture, art and design that was created there is still revered around the world to this day, and an illustrious cast of designers and artists such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky bloomed here.
To mark the centenary three new museums will open this year in Germany – in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin. And the Grand Tour of Modernism connects landmark Bauhaus and modernist architecture in 100 locations across Germany.
main image: Teaching scene at the Bauhaus Dessau, photo: unknown, 1925-1932.
Thomas Cole: The Course of the Empire
British-American artist, Thomas Cole, was largely inspired by great British artists, Turner and Constable. And like many artists in the early 19th century, he took The Grand Tour of Italy and the Mediterranean to visit the great sites of the Ancient world, rediscovering the incredible ruins of Rome, Athens and beyond.
Cole had grown up in the midst of the Industrial Revolution in Northern England, witnessing the dramatic changes it inflicted on society. He would paint that story and it was a theme he revisited again in his new home on America’s East Coast where he emigrated with his family at the age of 17 in 1818.
The United States was in the throes of rapid industrialisation and change, and Cole – who was instrumental in the establishment of the Hudson River School – yearned for a natural world where bucolic landscapes lay undisturbed by progress
These themes, the influence of Turner and Constable and his wonder for the ancient world, would form the basis of Cole’s greatest work: The Course of Empire. Its five canvasses depict the foundation, growth, celebration, collapse and eventual ruin of a mythical empire. It’s a universal story repeated through the ages.
Browse The Course of Empire gallery below and check out our 10 part series, Empire Builders, which charts the growth, power and eventual collapse of 10 of the world’s great empires.
The Consummation of Empire, 1834
The Pastoral or Arcadian State, 1834
The Savage State, 1834
Watch the Empire Builders trailer!
Hollyhock House: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles
Hollyhock House in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, built from 1919 to 1921, was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earliest commissions, and his second in California.
It was built for American oil heiress, Aline Barnsdall, who never actually lived in it. The building is now the centerpiece of the city’s Barnsdall Art Park.
It was donated to the City of Los Angeles in 1927. The city recently spent five million dollars restoring it.
As with many of Wright’s residences, Hollyhock has an “introverted” exterior with small windows, and is not easy to decode from the outside. The house is arranged around a central courtyard with one side open to form a kind of theatrical stage and a complex system of split levels, steps and roof terraces around that courtyard. The design features exterior walls that are tilted back at 85 degrees (which gives it a “Mayan” appearance, sometimes referred to as the Mayan Revival style), leaded art glass in the windows, a grand fireplace with a large abstract bas-relief, and a moat.
The Hollyhock plant common in the area is used as a central theme to the design. An interesting feature is the glass corners, an early Wright idea later used at Fallingwater.
Like many houses designed by Wright, it proved to be better as an aesthetic work than as a livable dwelling. Water tended to flow over the central lawn and into the living room, and the flat roof terraces were conceived without an understanding of Los Angeles’ rains. The cantilevered concrete also has not stood up well to the area’s earthquakes.
Perched in the northwest corner of the famous Trafalgar Square in central London stands the Fourth Plinth. Since 1998 the plinth has been a a platform for enabling showcase their masterpieces by artists from around the world The Fourth Plinth Commission has recently announced the spectacular winning statues for 2018 and 2020 – a bull and a cherry.
New York City resident Michael Rakowitz has won the 2018 prize for his sculpture of the Lamassu, a winged bull deity destroyed by ISIS in 2015. This recreation is apart of his project The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist,which first came to life in 2006. The projects’ goal was to recreate the over 7,000 archaeological artifacts that were looted from the Iraq museum during the war. The Lamassu recreation will be made out of Iraqi date syrup cans, representing the decline of the once flourishing industry before the Iraq Wars.
Rakowitz is an Iraqi American artist best known for this conceptualised art displays. His art is deeply rooted in Middle Eastern politics. His work is currently being showcased in his grandfathers’ old packaging facility, Davisons & Co., which will be opened until the end of October. One of Rakowitz’ more notable projects is Enemy Kitchen (2004), in which he – with the help of his mother – teaches the public popular Baghdad recipes. His goal was to enlighten those who took part in the project about the Iraqi food and culture.
“As an artistic gesture I try to make an unlikely thing happen, and the impossible becomes possible,” – Rakowitz
His sculpture will be revealed next year.
London-based artist and poet Heather Phillipson is the 2020 winner for her sculpture THE END. The fiber-glass model consists of a cherry-topped dessert being eaten by a fly as well as a drone flying overhead which allows for curious onlookers to watch a live feed of the square from their mobile devices or tablets. The bulk of the sculpture is a generous dollop of whipped cream, chosen by the artist because of its indulgence and instability. Phillipson’s work delves into society’s shared experiences, be it as celebration or protest.
Phillipson’s work explores cultural references and emotional responses. Phillipson’s voice over film 100% Other Fibres.created for Frieze projects in 2016 was the recipient of the Jarman Award, an accolade recognising innovative and imaginative artists working with moving images for her The. Her work has been widely shown at institutions and fairs such as Frieze New York, the New Museum in New York and at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany.
Her work is currently being exhibited at the Drawing Biennial in London.
“It is important to go straight to the cliche and look at it. Not being able to accept anything at face value,” – Phillipson
Her sculpture will be revealed in 2020.
Although they won’t have their sculptures on display in Trafalgar Square, it is worth noting the other shortlisted artists who have also created incredible works of art.
High Way is a magazine-inspired sculpture of juxtapositions; with a light-green pickup truck at its base, followed by scaffolding, oil cans, and a ladder all placed with precision. This Mexican artists’ work reflects his ongoing interest in presenting the simplest of objects by experimental and culturally introspective means.
Untitled is a structure having seemingly straight stepped out of a sci-fi film. The New York-based Pakistani artist created a simplistic silhouette comprised of a dark body and polystyrene head lending it a mysterious and brutish appearance; Untitled leaves room for interpretation.
Raqs Media Collective
Inspired by a similar relic which stands in Coronation Park in Delhi, The Emperor’s Old Clothes represents the presence and absence of power – a solo ceremonial robe and no emperor to wear it. This statue follows a long line of similarly themed works, including Hans Haacke’s horse skeleton which occupied the plinth in 2015.
All video clips are taken from The National Gallery’s Youtube Channel.
Written by Savannah Chinelli, intern for Pilot Productions HQ in London
Iceland and the Reykjavik Arts Festival
Iceland appears to be the must see destination on the top of everyone’s travel list lately, and not only in my circle of family and friends, who’ve been yearning to travel there.In fact, Iceland has garnered substantial interest and has become so popular just in the past year that it won the viewer’s choice award for Lonely Planet’s, Best in Travel. Reykjavik was the favourite city and Iceland won favourite country.
Iceland also rose to the top of The National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine’s list of the world’s best destinations in 2012. From the Blue Lagoon, massive glaciers to the gorgeous waterfalls and temperamental volcanoes, the scenery and nature is nothing short of a visual masterpiece.
Additionally, Reykjavik is also home to many artists, musicians, writers and designers and is known to host numerous art festivals throughout the year. Currently, the most popular festival, the Reykjavik Arts Festival (RAF), established in 1970, opened on May 17 and runs until June 2, 2013, with Art, Space and Audience, being this year’s theme. From theater, dance to visual art and music, this festival encompasses not only local talent, but talent from all around the world.
Photo Credit: Sigurpor Holm Tryggvason
There are far too many works on display, including experimental art, performances and new innovations to name them all, but some notable ones include, Bang on a Can All Stars, six original radio plays by both established and upcoming playwrights, The Iceland Dance Company and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, combined with Harpa Concert Hall, will exhibit two of Igor Stravinsky’s musical choreographies: The Rite of Spring and Petrushka. Additionally, Iceland’s best-known actors, the heavy-metal band MUCK, the Icelandic Sound Poetry Choir and the Icelandic Sign Language Choir all combine to form, The Sound of a Bugle in a Shoebox: Magnús Pálsson performances 1980 to 2013.