Easter Arts Diary

Exhibitions

Jubilee Park, E14, Anthony Caro, Until 25 May
Reflecting the jutting architecture of Canary Wharf, Caro’s sculpture, in his signature rusted, varnished and painted steel, displays a wide range of form revealing his invention and mastery of his materials. 

Hepworth Wakefield, WF1, Heather & Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers, David Thorpe, Until 10 June 2012
 In the first of a new series of spring exhibitions, Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe use film, sculpture, installation and performance to pose questions regarding our relationship with nature and what happens when man-made and natural worlds collide. These exhibitions explore utopian beliefs and practices and an impending sense of apocalypse.

Books

Earls Court, SW5, The London Book Fair, 16th - 18th April 2012.
In its 41st year, The London Book Fair is back at Earl’s Court.

The Old Abbey Inn, Manchester, M15, Eléna Rivera: A Preview, 19th April.
Author of Suggestions at Every Turn, Unknowne Land and Remembrance of Things Plastic, Mistakes, Accidents and the Want of Liberty amongst others and winner of the Robert Fagles prize in translation from the National Poetry Series, Eléna Rivera will read from her latest collection the The Perforated Map.

Films

Bradford, BD1, National Media Museum, Jamon, Jamon, Friday 8 April
Starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollà and  Armando del Rio this international Spanish hit launched Penélope Cruz’s career in 1992. Jamón, Jamón presents an intriguing exploration of class, sex and food.

Nationwide, This Must be the Place, Friday 6 April
Already hotly tipped for an Oscar, the film deals with middle-aged wealthy rock star, Cheyenne, (Sean Penn), who, having become jaded and bored with his retirement in Dublin, sets out on a quest to find his father's tormentor, SS Officer Aloise Lange, a Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the United States. Harvey Weinstein, reflecting on Penn’s performance asserts, “Sean proves once again that he is one of the finest actors of our time.”

Music

Royal Festival Hall, SE1, Peter and the Wolf, April 8 & 9
A family friendly event wherein actor Mackenzie Crook narrates Prokofiev’s guide to the orchestra over a film with live performance from the Aurora Orchestra.

Royal Albert Hall, SW7, Messiah, April 6
Handel’s sacred oratorio is given its correct season by the Royal Choral society, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and guests.

Theatre

Royal Opera House, WC2E, Polyphonia/ Sweet Violets/ Carbon Life, April 5- 23
In an “explosion of today’s brightest talents”, two of the most talented contemporary choreographers of the day, the fast-rising star of the fashion world Gareth Pugh and pop producer Mark Ronson, amongst other guest artists are brought together to create  a dazzling display of physical and aural mastery.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Love’s, Labour’s, Lost, 03 April- 14 AprilIn a celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary, Barrie Rutter directs Northern Broadsides cast of multi-talented northern actors in an entertaining and delightful comedy in this fast-paced battle of the sexes. Romantic, mischievous and filled with youthful exuberance, Love's Labour's Lost fizzes with song and dance, scintillating performances, jaw-dropping comic timing and hilarious 'steal-the-show' scenes.

Pompidou Centre
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Harry Styles: What can three blank Instagram posts tell us about music promotion?

Do the One Direction star’s latest posts tell us about the future of music promotion in the social media age - or take us back to a bygone era?

Yesterday, Harry Styles posted three identical, captionless blank images to Instagram. He offered no explanation on any other social network, and left no clue via location serves or tagged accounts as to what the pictures might mean. There was nothing about any of the individual images that suggested they might have significance beyond their surface existence.

And, predictably, they brought in over a million likes – and thousands of Styles fans decoding them with the forensic dedication of the cast of Silent Witness.

Of course, the Instagrams are deliberately provocative in their vagueness. They reminded me of Robert Rauschenberg’s three-panelled White Painting (1951), or Robert Ryman’s Untitled, three square blank canvases that hang in the Pompidou Centre. The composer John Cage claimed that the significance of Rauschenberg’s White Paintings lay in their status as receptive surfaces that respond to the world around them. The significance of Styles’s Instagrams arguably, too, only gain cultural relevance as his audience engages with them.

So what did fans make of the cryptic posts? Some posited a modelling career announcement would follow, others theorised that it was a nod to a Taylor Swift song “Blank Space”, and that the former couple would soon confirm they were back together. Still more thought this suggested an oncoming solo album launch.

You can understand why a solo album launch would be on the tip of most fans’ tongues. Instagram has become a popular platform for the cryptic musical announcement — In April, Beyoncé teased Lemonade’s world premiere with a short Instagram video – keeping her face, and the significance behind the title Lemonade, hidden.

Creating a void is often seen as the ultimate way to tease fans and whet appetites. In June last year, The 1975 temporarily deleted their Instagram, a key platform in building the band’s grungy, black and white brand, in the lead up to the announcement of their second album, which involved a shift in aesthetic to pastel pinks and bright neons.

The Weekend wiped his, too, just last week – ahead of the release of his new single “Starboy”. Blank Instagrams are popular across the network. Jaden Smith has posted hundreds of them, seemingly with no wider philosophical point behind them, though he did tweet in April last year, “Instagram Is A BlackHole Of Time And Energy.”

The motive behind Harry’s blank posts perhaps seems somewhat anticlimactic – an interview with magazine Another Man, and three covers, with three different hairstyles, to go along with it. But presumably the interview coincides with the promotion of something new – hopefully, something other than his new film Dunkirk and the latest update on his beloved tresses. In fact, those blank Instagrams could lead to a surprisingly traditional form of celebrity announcement – one that surfaces to the world via the print press.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.