Aesthetica Magazine is an international art and culture magazine, founded in 2002. Published bi-monthly, it covers contemporary art from around the world across visual arts, photography, architecture, fashion and design. It has a readership of over 500,000 and national and international distribution.
Across the brand, Aesthetica also produces a number of awards, exhibitions and events in art, photography, literature and film. They consist of the BAFTA-Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival, the Future Now Symposium, Art Prize and Creative Writing Award.
Cherie Federico, Managing Director and Editor of Aesthetica, was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2008. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, in June 2019.
Aesthetica was founded by Cherie Federico and Dale Donley, when they were students at York St John University, in 2002.
In 2003, the magazine received distribution at Borders. In 2007, the magazine began to be stocked in WHSmith high-street stores and in major galleries including the ICA, Tate and National Portrait Gallery in London, Arnolfini in Bristol and the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. In 2009, Aesthetica significantly increased its distribution network and is now stocked at major airports and train stations nationwide, department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods and is exported to over 20 countries worldwide.
Aesthetica includes features on art, design, architecture, fashion, film, and music, highlighting notable new exhibitions around the world and showcasing contemporary photography, from emerging to established practitioners. The publication covers work by leading artists such as Steve McQueen, Martin Creed, Ai Weiwei, Jenny Holzer, Alex Prager, Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz, Cindy Sherman, Vivianne Sassen, amongst others.
Articles have explored subjects such as the intersection between art and politics, the marriage of fashion and technology, contemporary minimalist design and architectural innovation.
A large section of the magazine is dedicated to photography and has featured photo essays from artists such as Richard Tuschman and Stephen Shore. It has also published photography by the likes of Julia Fullerton-Batten, Maia Flore, Carolina Mizrahi, Formento & Formento, Ryan Schude, Natalia Evelyn Bencicova, Maria Svarbova, Brad Walls, Kevin Cooley, Emily Shur, Miles Aldridge and Michael Wolf. Recent cover photographers include creative duos Sally Ann & Emily May, JUCO, Yossi Michaeli, Eugenio Recuenco, Daniel Korzewa, Jacques Olivar and Jimmy Marble.
Aesthetica covers the latest exhibitions opening around the world at major art institutions. Previous editorial features have covered Hello, my name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, London; What is Luxury? at the V&A, London; the Future of Fashion is Now at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Frank Gehry's retrospective at Centre Pompidou; Mona Hatoum's retrospective at Tate Modern; a collection of Pierre Paulin's designs at Centre Pompidou; Jenny Holzer's site-specific commission at MASS MoCA; Anthony McCall at The Hepworth, Ai Weiwei at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Gregory Crewdson at The Photographers' Gallery; The Future Starts Here at the V&A, and Björk Digital at Somerset House..
With urban development, sustainability, geopolitics and adaptability as core interests for the architecture features, previous articles have included coverage on Frank Gehry, Venice Biennale, Bernard Tschumi, the Chicago Architecture Biennale, the Serpentine Pavilions and the RIBA Stirling Prize.
Aesthetica often publishes features on design, considering social spaces, domestic solutions[clarification needed] and 21st century practices. Previous features have provided coverage on the London Design Biennale, the Shanghai Expo, the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair and Surface Design Show, as well as articles based on new releases from Prestel Publishing and Thames and Hudson.
Names and institutions to have been featured include designers from London Fashion Week, Iris van Herpen, Viktor & Rolf, Pauline van Dongen, Crafting Plastics! and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The film section in Aesthetica reviews and explores new films, with a focus on works of artistic merit. Films covered include works by Alice Lowe, Ben Wheatley, Richard Ayoade, Atiq Rahimi and Michel Gondry. Films reviewed by Aesthetica include BAFTA winning Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski, BAFTA-nominated ‘71 by Yann Demange and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's 20,000 Days on Earth following the life of Nick Cave, which won the Editing Award and the Directing Award at Sundance in the World Cinema Documentary category. The film section also often explores film festivals and interviews festival programmers, cinematographers, directors, writers and more.
Topics covered include manipulating found sounds, creating music from video games, the rise of YouTube and the evolution of the music video. Other subjects include opera, dance music, instrument design, musical comedy, production and packaging as well as interviews with award-winning musicians such as Alt-J, CHVRCHES, Chelsea Wolfe and Anna of the North.
At the end of each magazine is the section Last Words, which features work and a statement by a prominent artist. Previous artists include Cornelia Parker, Julio Le Parc, Marie Hald, Chiharu Shiota and Do Ho Suh.
Aesthetica also offers the Artists' Directory network for both emerging and established practitioners. This provides an opportunity for artists to connect with art collectors and gallerists.
The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is an international film festival which takes place annually in York, England, at the beginning of November. Founded in 2011, it is a celebration of independent film from around the world, and an outlet for supporting and championing filmmaking. The programme includes over 400 films screenings and 100 events, such as masterclasses, networking sessions, panel discussions and the UK's first Industry Marketplace, making ASFF is one of the UK's key film festivals.
ASFF is also a BAFTA-Qualifying festival, meaning short films that are screened may be eligible for a BAFTA award.
The festival opens for entries each on 1 December and closes on 31 May. ASFF welcomes submissions from emerging and established practitioners, accepting Short films across a range of genres including; Advertising, Animation, Artists’ Film, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Experimental, Fashion, Music Video and Thriller. Since 2018, ASFF has also accepted Feature Film entries over 60 minutes, as well as Virtual Reality & Immersive projects.
All films in the Official Selection are in competition to receive a number of awards. These awards recognise outstanding talent in filmmaking practice. The winning films are selected by a jury of industry experts, and are presented at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony.
The Industry Marketplace is the first event of its kind in the UK. The event is a platform for attendees and delegates to engage with key organisations from across the sector, including international film festivals, screen agencies, sales agents, global distributors and renowned universities. Over 40 exhibitors were included, from BFI NETWORK, Locarno Film Festival, Creative England, to Edinburgh Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hijack Post, London College of Communication and Festival Formula.
In 2013, the Art Prize evolved into an exhibition as well as a publication, presenting longlisted and shortlisted works from March to August in York, UK. Both Main and Emerging prize winners have since been awarded at the Private View, given £5000 and £1000 respectively, amongst other accolades. The exhibition moved to York Art Gallery in 2017, and has since exhibited works from today’s leading practitioners including Magnum photographers, Turner Prize-nominees, RSA Film directors, World Press Photo winners and Prix Pictet nominees. The Prize attracts thousands of entries each year from across the globe, from countries including Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, the UK and the USA. The judging panel has included representatives from BALTIC, Frieze, V&A, and FACT Liverpool.
Winners of the 2020 Art Prize were awarded on 12 March at the Private View Exhibition at York Art Gallery. Filmmaker/Artist Rhea Storr was presented with the Main Art Prize for her work A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message, which considers cultural representation, masquerade and the performance of black bodies. Chris Yuan was presented with the Emerging Art Prize for his work Counterfictions, which examined alternative realities of ecological collapse after the construction of Trump’s border wall proposal.
Entries open in January and close on 31 August. The Prize welcomes submissions across: Photographic and Digital Art; Three Dimensional Design and Sculpture; Painting, Drawing and Mixed-Media, and Video, Installation and Performance.
The Future Now Symposium is a two-day event held annually at York St John University. The event brings together key institutions, galleries and publications for discussion surrounding the most pressing issues from today's creative industries. Through imaginative debates, career advice and cultural engagement, Future Now is a platform for idea generation.
Originally launched in 2016, Future Now sessions are led by artists, curators, academics and representatives from major cultural institutions in the UK such as Tate, Art Fund, Arts Council England, Whitechapel Gallery, Royal College of Art, Frieze, V&A, Getty Images Gallery, The Art Newspaper, Foam Amsterdam, RIBA, Magnum Photos, London Art Fair, The Design Museum, The Spectator, Serpentine Galleries, BALTIC and Glasgow School of Art.
Topics have included: Innovation in the Making: Technology, Design and Digital; The Value of Design; Arts Journalism is the Digital Age; How to Get Ahead as an Emerging Artist; Regeneration: Metropolitan Architecture; The Future of Art Journalism; Talent Development and Art Prizes; Funding and Commissioning and The Changing Face of the Art Institution, amongst others. I
The fifth edition of the Symposium took place 12-13 March 2020. Speakers include renowned UK documentary photographer Martin Parr, who spoke about his distinguished career documenting contemporary life and the human condition. Cornelia Parker (OBE, RA) who touched upon the use of materials in sculpture and large-scale installation, exploring their meaning in a world of mass-consumption and geological fragility. Also in attendance were Prix Pictet-winning artist and director Nadav Kander, and Official War Artist John Keane, who discussed the ethics of representing a war zone, reinterpreting the definition of painting. Additional talks and panels were presented by Creative Review, Photo London, Design Museum, Queer Britain, Arts Council, House of African Art and Serpentine Galleries who spoke about the landscape of curation, digital art, funding, journalism and the role of art prizes today.
Future Now's sixth edition is hosted completely online, with live events running 28 April - 1 May, and an On Demand section running 2 April - 30 April. Key topics for 2021 include Environmental Photography: How Can Images Save Us?; Curating During a Time of Change;Documentary & Ethics: When is it Your Story to Tell?; Digital Ecologies: Three-Dimensional Storytelling; The Business of Art: The Future of Collecting; Decolonising the Art World; Diversity & Programming; Fine Art, Hip Hop, Pop Culture; and Deep Fakes: Control and Subversion in Art.
Key speakers include representatives from MoMA, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Tate, London; Gagosian, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; Leica Galleries; Magnum Photos; ICA Boston; MASS MoCA, Massachusetts; and British Council, as well as individual artists such as Fahamu Pecou, George Byrne, Athi-Patra Ruga, Bieke Depoorter, Shirin Neshat and Turner Prize nominees Jane & Louise Wilson.
The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an international literary prize for established and emerging poets and writers. Prizes include publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award Annual.; £1,000 cash prize each; a consultation with Redhammer Management; a Full Membership to The Poetry Society; a subscription to Granta, and books courtesy of Bloodaxe Books and Vintage.
Call for entries open in January and close on 31 August, accepting entries across Poetry and Short Fiction.