Philippe Vergne on what he would do in London this month

“I would rush to the Whitechapel Gallery to see the Leonor Antunes exhibition.”
Image: South London Gallery garden by Gabriel Orozco, 2016. Copyright © Gabriel Orozco. Photo: Andy Stagg.


through March 31, 2018

To make his “Quilt Paintings” in 2007 and 2008, New York–based artist Mike Cloud sewed constellations of new children’s clothes (sometimes with the tags still attached) to canvas, then added painted words and images. Stuffed with foam or stretched over starbursts of stretcher bars, these exuberant works combine bold T-shirt graphics with brushy renderings of rabbits and snowmen, and cheerful colors with ambiguous connotations.

Image: Mike Cloud, Snow Man Quilt, 2008, oil and clothes on canvas, 52 x 42 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Erben Gallery.
through April 8, 2018

In one of these boldly composed color photographs by Elle Pérez—whose interest is in “the erotics of underground communities and the possibilities inherent to marginal spaces and identities”—the subject leans into the camera, his lower body wrapped in a towel, his hair wet, his smile enigmatic, and his torso bearing the scars of top surgery. Elsewhere, bodies both desired and desiring are fragmented, obscured, or simply implied, as in a still life of a stretched-out elastic chest binder drying on a hanger.

Image: Elle Pérez, Nicole, 2018, archival pigment print, 44 3/8 x 31 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal, New York. 
through April 7, 2018

Form and meaning converge in Kay Rosen’s word-based art, which of late has become more overtly political. This exhibition shows her corralling letterforms and language into protest signs for our times. Referring to the Republicans’ decades-long battle for tax cuts for the rich, the wall painting Trickle Down (2016–2018) starts with “TRICK” on one line, with the rest of the phrase stacked below it; elsewhere, the title of the mural-sized White House v. America (2018) is shortened to a giant “WHvAM.”

Image: Kay Rosen, Triumph Over Trump (Blue Over Yellow), 2017, acryla gouache on watercolor paper, 22 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Copyright © 2018 Kay Rosen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
through June 3, 2018

Despite being one of the most significant Latin American artists of the twentieth century, Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973) is not well known in the United States. The first exhibition of her work in a US museum, this show focuses on the 1920s, when the young Brazilian artist returned to São Paulo after studying in Europe and being exposed to art movements like Cubism, Futurism, and Expressionism. Along with other avant-garde artists and writers, including her husband, the poet Oswald de Andrade, do Amaral promoted modernism in Brazil and helped create an art scene that drew on contemporary European developments while honoring indigenous Brazilian culture and style.

Image: Tarsila do Amaral, Anthropophagy (Antropofagia), 1929, oil on canvas, 49 5/8 x 55 15/16 inches. Acervo da Fundação Jose e Paulina Nemirovsky, em comodato com a Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. Copyright © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos.
through May 28, 2018

This exhibition is a vivid reminder that the decade marking the end of the Weimar Republic not only fostered hyperinflation, unemployment, foreign profiteering, nativism, kitsch art, militarism, and anti-Semitism—culminating in the triumph of the Nazi Party and the launch of  World War II—but also sustained a highly cosmopolitan, often Expressionistic avant-garde. Featuring work by more than a score of artists like Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, and August Sander, the show is curated by Olaf Peters, who also organized the Neue Galerie’s 2014 “Degenerate Art” exhibition, examining the derisive treatment to which Hitler’s regime subjected progressive artists from 1937 onward.

Image: Max Beckmann, Paris Society, 1931, oil on canvas. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo credit: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/Art Resource, New York. Copyright © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
National Gallery, London, June 11–October 7, 2018

An iconic representation of the American landscape, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, After a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow (1836) is Thomas Cole’s masterpiece, a monumental evocation of the tension between wilderness and civilization. This focused exhibition establishes an international context for Cole’s quintessentially American artwork, comparing it to paintings and prints by English artists including J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. In addition to offering a selection of Cole’s paintings, prints, and watercolors from the first half of the nineteenth century, the show assesses his influence through comparisons to the later work of Asher B. Durand and Frederic E. Church.

Image: Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow, 1836, oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 76 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908. Image Copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
through April 2, 2018

Subtle, unsettling investigations into the ways in which objects can be transformed by context—and the construction of the context itself—are the hallmarks of Carissa Rodriguez’s photos, paintings, videos, and installations. The New York–based artist has shown infrequently in her home city, where her only previous solo was a quiet affair in a midtown art advisory in 2013. Rodriguez’s exhibition in the spacious main gallery of SculptureCenter extends her inquiry into appropriation with new video and photographic works exploring the legal and scientific frameworks in which information—whether biological or artificial—is copied.

Image: Carissa Rodriguez, The Girls, 1997-2018 (video still), Hi8 video (digitized), 37:30 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Karma International, Zurich/Los Angeles.

“Ian Cooper: Saved”

through March 18, 2018

At Downstairs Projects, founded by artists Ruby Sky Stiler and Daniel Gordon, Ian Cooper offers beautifully made, cartoonish sculptures of giant pieces of paper and pencils, with a focus on visibility, masculinity, and—perhaps—redemption.


By appointment at

Image: Ian Cooper, Total Misunderstanding, 2017, turned poplar lumber, sprayed waterborne primer and paint, calfskin, waxed thread, rubber stopper with machined and blackened steel hardware, 16 x 10 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Downstairs Projects.


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Showroom director Emily Pethick on four shows in London

“It’s an important moment when such an institution acknowledges work that’s been gestating in the spaces of universities or smaller arts organizations.”

Image: Forensic Architecture, Torture in Saydnaya Prison, animation still, 2016. Witnesses were asked to describe architectural details, such as dimensions and textures, and these recollections elicited further memories of the prison and experiences therein. Commissioned by Amnesty International. Copyright © Forensic Architecture.

Philippe Vergne on what he would do in London this month

“I would rush to the Whitechapel Gallery to see the Leonor Antunes exhibition.”

Image: South London Gallery garden by Gabriel Orozco, 2016. Copyright © Gabriel Orozco. Photo: Andy Stagg.
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Art writer Marcus Verhagen interviewed on “Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)” at The Showroom [Published 2017/11/02]

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 [Published 2017/10/25]

“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 [Published 2017/10/16]

“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 [Published 2017/10/06]

“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 [Published 2017/10/06]

“‘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 at Artangel [Published 2017/10/05]

“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.
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Artist Cécile B. Evans on shows around London [Published 2017/08/28]

“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.”

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