Guide to London – Art in America Guide
City Guide

EDITORS' PICKS

“Monochrome: Painting in Black and White”

Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, March 21–July 15, 2018

This exhibition explores its subject from the Middle Ages through the present day. Comprising a selection of around sixty painted objects in a wide variety of materials (canvas, wood, glass, vellum, ceramics, silk, and more), the show includes work by masters of the Northern Renaissance, such as Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer, as well as major modern and contemporary figures like Jackson Pollock and 
Gerhard Richter.

Image: Gerhard Richter, Helga Matura with her Fiancé, 1966, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 × 39 1/2 inches. Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf. Copyright © Gerhard Richter 2017. Photo: Museum Kunstpalast – ARTOTHEK.

“More Dimensions Than You Know: Jack Whitten 1979–1989”

through November 18

For the past five decades, Alabama-born, New York-based abstractionist Jack Whitten has been working magic with acrylic paint, combing it, carving it, and casting tiles, membranes, and objects out of it to use in tessellated or collaged compositions. This exhibition, Whitten’s first at Hauser and Wirth’s London branch, presents a selection of his paintings from 1979 to ’89. Striated, scraped, impastoed, incised, and built up with textured skins molded from diamond plate, metal screening, and hardware—sometimes all in the same painting—they put on vivid display Whitten’s engagement with process.

Image: Jack Whitten, Black Monolith I, A Tribute to James Baldwin, 1988, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 82 inches. Copyright © Jack Whitten. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Genevieve Hanson.

“Jessi Reaves: Android Stroll”

through November 12, 2017

Bits and pieces of midcentury chairs, chewed-up baskets, tree branches, flannel, foam rubber, and doodads molded out of wood glue and sawdust, among other things, come together in Jessi Reaves’s sexy, funky, more-or-less usable furniture. In Reaves’s first show at Herald Street, a tailored, bright yellow organza cover must be unzipped to access the shelves of a hunchbacked cabinet. A plywood platform upholstered with patchworked and tufted fabric—part Charles James sofa; part homemade cable reel table—invites lolling. Addressing the modernist dictum that form must follow function, Reaves subverts both with panache.

Image: Installation view of “Jessi Reaves: Android Stroll,” Herald Street, London, September 30–November 12, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Herald Street, London.

“Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth”

The Broad, Los Angeles, February 10– May 13, 2018

“Discovered” by gallerist Leo Castelli in 1958, Jasper Johns has since become famous for his lexicon of flags, targets, numbers, maps, and light bulbs. Over the artist’s sixty-year career, his open-ended aesthetic, which fosters perceptual ambiguity and semiotic play, has influenced American art movements from Pop to postmodernism. Arranged thematically, this survey presents more than 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints by the honorary Royal Academician.

Image: Jasper Johns, Target, 1961, encaustic and collage on canvas, 167.6 x 167.6 cm. Copyright © Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York / DACS, London. Photo: Copyright © 2017 The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY / Scala, Florence.

“Rachel Whiteread”

through January 21, 2018

The first woman to win the Turner Prize (1993), British artist Rachel Whiteread is known for sculptures that translate negative space into solid form. This midcareer retrospective includes drawings, collages, photographs, and documentation of public projects such as the famed House (1993–94), her concrete cast of the interior spaces of a domestic structure, which was controversially destroyed soon after its completion. Along with new work on view for the first time, the exhibition brings together works from White-read’s first solo exhibition in 1988.

Image: Rachel Whiteread House, 1993. Copyright © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, February 2–April 23, 2018; Brooklyn Museum, September 7, 2018–February 3, 2019.

Is there a distinctive black aesthetic? How should art relate to a systematically oppressed community? Are figuration and abstraction equally valid? Should African American artists aim to succeed in the established (and overwhelmingly white) art world, or should they create their own uncompromised alternatives? Given events such as the Watts Rebellion in 1965, should work that is not socially engaged be dismissed as “irrelevant”? These are among the urgent questions faced by black artists in the tumultuous 1963–83 period covered by this traveling exhibition.” Presenting roughly 150 works by sixty artists, along with documentary photographs and ephemera, the show traces the many variations in black artistic practice between the civil rights era and the heyday of the Black Power movement. Along the way, it investigates black feminism, the extensive use of murals, collectives such as Spiral and AfriCOBRA, black-owned galleries, Black Panther illustrations, and other related topics. Participants include celebrated figures like Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Betye Saar, Jack Whitten, Lorraine O’Grady, David Hammons, Faith Ringgold, and Noah Purifoy, as well as still under-known artists like Randy Williams and Elizabeth Catlett.

Image: Barkley L. Hendricks, Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People—Bobby Seale), 1969, oil, acrylic and aluminum leaf on linen canvas, 59 1/2 x 48 inches. Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. Copyright © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

A Still Life by Chardin

July 7–August 26

Organized by the conceptually minded New York gallerist Maxwell Graham, this show does not include any work by Jean-Siméon Chardin, the 18th-century painter of small and exquisite still lifes. It does, however, include pieces by a dozen postwar artists who, like Chardin, have found beauty and interest in everyday things. The exhibition includes, among other artworks, a photocopy of a paper grocery bag by Pati Hill, a mini-monument made from wood scraps and part of an old stereo by B. Wurtz; and a photograph of a countertop crowded with objects—including a box of dog biscuits, a magnifying glass, and a half-used packet of coffee—by Moyra Davey.

WHAT’S MORE, The press release for the show offers such tidbits as this quote from Pati Hill on photocopies: “It is the side of your subject that you do not see that gets reproduced.”

Image: B. Wurtz, Untitled (Brackets and shelf #1), 1986, wood, metal brackets, wire, 18 x 9 3/4 x 11 inches.

VOICES

Art in America talks to artists, curators, and other leading figures about their favorite current exhibitions.


Marcus Verhagen interviewed on “Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)” at The Showroom

This tightly conceived show engages in subversive, mostly ironic ways with gender politics and notions of national allegiance.

Image: Sanja Iveković, New Star / Nova Zvijezda, 1983, collage, printed paper, hair, 14 1/2 x x 20 3/4 inches (framed). Courtesy of Kontakt, the Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation.

Curator Cedar Lewisohn on upcoming shows at some of his favorite artist-run spaces

“You don’t always know what you’re going to see, but that’s part of the fun—being surprised and challenged.”

Image: Verity Birt, Deformation Attends Her (film still), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Res.

2017 Frieze Spotlight curator Toby Kamps on exhibitions around London

“I love a good title.”

Image: Vittorio Scarpati, Untitled, 1989. Courtesy of Max Mueller. Photo Credit Andy Keate.

Sculptor Sarah Staton on exhibitions in London

“There are two exhibitions currently up in London that I think make a great pairing.”

Image: Christopher Wool, Head, 1992, enamel on aluminum, 107 3/4 x 72 inches. Courtesy Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo, Norway.

Diversity Art Forum director Pauline de Souza on “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at Tate

“‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,’ a survey of work made by African-American artists between 1963 and 1983, offers insight into these artists’ practices at a number of levels.”

Image: Emory Douglas, 21 August 1971, “We Shall Survive, Without a Doubt,” 1971, newspaper, 17 1/2 x 22 3/4 inches. Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Culver City, CA. Copyright © Emory Douglas/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of Emory Douglas/Art Resource, New York.

Critic and curator Jennifer Thatcher on Peter and Andy Holden’s father-and-son collaboration

“I loved this Artangel exhibition . . .”

Image: Andy Holden, Untitled (Bower), 2017, a recreation of a bowerbird’s bower, with a view of the film A Natural History of Nest Building (2017), by Andy Holden and Peter Holden, through it. In “Andy Holden & Peter Holden: Natural Selection,” September 10–November 5, 2017, Artangel at the former Newington Library, London. An Artangel commission. Photo by Marcus J. Leith.

Cécile B. Evans on shows around London

“This summer I noticed a welcome shift in the audiences that art establishments want to talk to and the people being invited to speak to them. The exhibitions on view were likely programmed before Brexit, before the outcomes of various elections and hopefully these are steps towards a longer commitment to diverse programming.”

MUSEUM CALENDAR

John Akomfrah

June 10, 2017–January 7, 2018

Rachel Whiteread

September 12, 2017–February 4, 2018

Basquiat: Boom for Real

September 21, 2017–January 28, 2018

Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth

September 23, 2017–December 10, 2017

Hyundai Commission 2017 (Turbine Hall) Superflex

October 2, 2017–April 2, 2018

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

October 18, 2017–January 28, 2018

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White

October 30, 2017–February 18, 2018

The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London

November 2, 2017–April 29, 2018

Red Star Over Russia

November 8, 2017–February 18, 2018

Wolfgang Tillmans: artist selected exhibition

January 26, 2018–April 15, 2018

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932—Love, Fame, Tragedy

March 8, 2018–September 9, 2018

REVIEW ARCHIVE

February 9-May 29, 2017
by Gabriel Coxhead

David Hockney is one of the most popular and widely-recognized artists of our time,” states the introductory wall text in Tate Britain’s retrospective––though actually that’s putting it mildly.

Image: "DOMESTIC SCENE LOS ANGELES" 1963 OIL ON CANVAS 60 X 60" © DAVID HOCKNEY
October 29, 2016–January 29, 2017
by Elizabeth Fullerton

Born in 1860 to a British father and Flemish mother, Ensor lived in the Belgian seaside town of Ostend for most of his life, apart from the three years he spent at the fine art academy in Brussels. This rootedness to Ostend, a resort popular in the…

Image: James Ensor: Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring, 1891, 6¼ by 8½ inches; at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
September 22–December 11, 2016
by Federico Florian

A DIY apparatus composed of pumps, glass jars, porcelain filters, plastic tubes, a copper still, and sundry other items was installed in the first room of Candice Lin’s solo show at Gasworks. An intense, unpleasant smell filled the air.

Image: Candice Lin: System for a Stain, 2016, wood, glass jars, cochineal, copper still, hot plate, and mixed mediums; at Gasworks.