20 April 2013

Weekend Reading: Aesthetica

Issue 52 (April/May 2013)

Over the past few months I have been re-evaluating my magazine buying habits. One of the first casualties, after a three year subscription, was Monocle magazine. Although I am still a regular listener of Monocle 24 (their food show, The Menu, in particular), the magazine is no longer such a good fit for me. It feels far too busy, with little boxes of text all over the page, cramming in as much as they possible can, seeming to cover a whole array of anything and everything. I still find it interesting to dive in and out of from time to time, but I am not one of those magazine buyers who picks up the odd issue here and there - if I buy it, I intend to buy it for at least a year. As such I have been on the lookout for new titles to add to my line up. And so, when I was asked if I would like a copy of Aesthetica magazine for review, it seemed the perfect chance to explore a potential new option.

An art and culture magazine that covers contemporary art, photography, film, music and performance, Aesthetica is based in the UK and released bimonthly. I am not really one for making New Year's resolutions, but one decision I did make at the start of this year was to attend more art exhibitions. I therefore find myself reading up on just about any exhibition going and endeavouring to visit those that seem the most interesting (...although I have recently been to a few that were rather poorly conceived, but that is an educational experience in its own way really). It was nice to see such a variety of art exhibitions covered in the magazine, with smaller reviews preceding full length articles on a select number of current and upcoming exhibitions. The magazine also covers performance pieces, notably Akram Khan's iTMOi in this issue, which is not an artform I have really read reviews of before outside newspaper articles. It is actually something I found fascinating reading about (although it is no longer New Year, I am rather tempted to add a new resolution to attend a few live performances if possible this year).

The magazine also included the standard editorial format, with photo-series included in the latter half, which given their varied subject matter made for enjoyable reading (...well, viewing). Indeed being an art magazine the choice and use of imagery is obviously highly important. Here I found that the imagery accompanying text was well chosen and well placed, although I did sometimes find myself wishing that the textual content was longer. I feel the need to point out that advertising was actually rather sensitively dealt with, being neither distracting or jarring. Given that the majority of it was exhibition and gallery based, it fit in well with the content and actually proved interesting to read, not something that one can level at most magazine advertising these days. Towards the end of the magazine was a feature I think was particularly well realised - an artists' directory, listing all the artists mentioned, with a small image, blurb and website links. A small addition, but one that I think is far more helpful than the short written lists other magazines often offer.

Overall, definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. As for me? I think I may just have to buy the next issue and take it from there.

Sterling Ruby's EXHM at Hauser & Wirth (Savile Row, London) and Navid Nuur's Phantom Fuel (Parasol Unit, London) reviewed. 

Ten recommended exhibitions - from Ryan Gander at the Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam (13th April - 18th May), to Ellen Gallagher at the Tate Modern in London (Until 1st September).

Article on Amalia Pica's first major museum show, an eponymous exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Article on Julio Le Parc's exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo.

Article on the international photography exhibition European Chronicles, taking place in Cardiff as part of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography. 

Part of photo-series on photographer Astrid Kruse Jensen.

Article on Akram Khan's iTMOi, as part of Sadler's Wells' Stravinsky season.

Artists' Directory found at the back of the magazine - a particularly useful addition.



  1. I picked up a copy too, really impressed with it

  2. Favorite magazine and favorite tea.Quiet and peaceful,charging time.