Wednesday, 9 January 2019


SHOWS TO SEE: Up Now in London 

see also my Instagram feed as paulcareykent

Robert Rauschenberg: ‘Spreads’ 1975-83 at Thaddaeus Ropac to 26 Jan

I took a dozen people – mostly artists – round a dozen West End shows. Everyone agreed the stand-out was Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Spreads’ 1975-83 - in which all manner of content from his classic combines and solvent transfers are spread onto the toast of the simpler, silken ‘Jammers’ (1975–76) without any of it looking muddled. ‘Rumor (Spread)’ 1980 also benefits from a title pun...

Meiro Koizumi: Battlelands at White Rainbow to 12 Jan

The key work in this first UK exhibition by Japanese artist and filmmaker Meiro Koizumi is a one hour film starting on the hour: his edit of a four year project in which five US veterans imagine themselves back into traumatic wartime experiences which they recount as they move, blindfolded, around their everyday spaces: a dramatic visualisation of how conflict imposes itself on ordinary life, and possibly the best follow-on I've seen to Martha Rosler's famous Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, 1967-72. 

Amie Siegel: Backstory to 16 Feb at Thomas Dane Gallery

The presence or absence of Bridget Bardot in 'Contempt' lies at the core of Amie Siegel's dizzying combination of text and film works playing off Goddard's 1963 film and Alberto Moravia's novel 'A Ghost at Noon', 1954, on which it is itself based. Quite possibly the cleverest show currently on view.

Pacific Breeze at White Conduit Projects, Islington to 13 Jan

For this unusual show, 70 artists have created contemporary versions of fans, which are beautifully displayed on shelves in a custom made stand design. There's plenty of beauty, and just as much humour; and a mix of the fan influencing the production (as in '130°' by Takumi Kato) and the fan as a novel place to paint. I'm a particular fan of the contributions by Ryan Gander, Glen Baxter,  Jane Bustin, Juan Bolivar, Marta Marce, Sally Kindberg, Sally Osborn, Susan Sluglett and William Mackrell… 

Martin Creed: Toast at Hauser & Wirth to 9 Feb

A thoroughly enjoyable parade of wit over two twenty minute cycles in a recommended viewing of painting, sculpture, performance and film: one in a darkened space with films, one in the light with performances. 'Work No. 2919 Tree of art' 2018 is the most visually minimal in a packed show of 'difficult thoughts' which prove disarmingly simple. It seemed a touching metaphor of creative growth until I started reading it as 'Fart'.

Through the Looking Glass at the Cob Gallery, Camden to 19 Jan

44 artists contribute small works to the highly entertaining show 'Through the Looking Glass': ideal holiday season fare, but with plenty of yuletide food for thought as well. James Capper, Polly Morgan, Gavin Turk and Paul Benney, with his boldly punning locket and clasp 'Story of the Eye' above, excel. As do two artists invert each other: Nancy Fouts' 'Happy Pills' 2018 are actually ladybirds trapped by a visual pun; whereas there really are pills inside Alice Anderson's worryingly totemic 'Sedatives' 2018.

Markéta Luskačová at Tate Britain to 12 March


Among the widespread moves to enhance the visibility of neglected female artists, Markéta Luskačová (born 1944) has a notably strong case, so it’s great to see that Tate Britain have dedicated a room to both her East European and – after she left Prague in 1975 - British photographs. This,  from the series ’Seaside, North East England' is typical: a grittily surreal monochrome which works in the detail as well as in the overall compositional, documentary and emotional aspects

Andy Harper: Plastic Fox at Patrick Heide to 12 Jan

The 'Plastic Fox' is not just a painting's title, but an item Andy tells me he's always wanted but never found. Now he has one!? 'Pocket of Straws' (above) demonstrates his new method - consistent with the natural-artificial mixture of a plastic fox - of puncturing the surface of his vegetational density with what could be computer swatches (but are actually shapes masked out with Frisket Film at the start of the process, then painted as the last step). Plus upstairs, an informal retrospective selection.

Jesse Darling: Art Now - The Ballad of Saint Jerome at Tate Britain to 24 Feb

‘Epistemologies (shamed cabinet)’ 2018 sees wounding and liberation – here from the constraints of institutional display – come together in the limping potential escape of a cabinet. What’s more, they’ve found a use for lever arch files, of which a huge pre-digital surplus remains. Darling makes an intriguing job of the ‘Art Now’ room, sparked by the story of St Jerome and the lion, more typically an art historical subject but here the starting point for an epistolary exchange between Darling and a priest who is also transgender, and which leads in to the room’s many and varied works on themes of healing, control and the subjugation of otherness.

Heather Phillipson: My Name is Lettie Eggsyrub at Gloucester Road underground station - throughout 2018.

Phillipson is a vegan who says that eggs are subject to torture - would you like to be cracked or boiled? - when we forget they are potential lives. So her whole-platform eggstravaganza questions consumption, bit it's more obviously a fun thing to go to work alongside, with farting eggs making especially wacky sense.

Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 


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About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09) and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.