MOCA LA director Philippe Vergne on what he would do in London this month [posted 2/27/2018]

“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.


“B. Wurtz: This Has No Name”

Through February 3, 2019

This survey provides a comprehensive view of B. Wurtz’s photos, paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which monumentalize humble, everyday materials like food containers, bits of clothing, and scraps of wood and metal. The show includes some of Wurtz’s early hybrid pieces from the 1980s that pair a dramatic photo of a given object with the item itself. Many of his playful, delicately constructed tableaux made up of elements such as plastic and mesh bags, aluminum pans, ribbons, and socks are also featured in the show.

Image: B. Wurtz, Untitled (bread painting #3), 2010, Acrylic on canvas, plastic, thread, 59 x 39 x 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

“Tania Bruguera”

through February 24, 2019

Part political art and part political action, Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s work has taken myriad forms, among them a 2014 public performance in which she invited everyday Cubans to step up to a podium in Havana’s Revolution Square and speak their minds (the event was canceled by Cuban authorities, who also arrested several would-be participants) as well as a storefront community center in New York City offering services to recent immigrants. In 2008, Bruguera had policemen on horseback storm Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and corral surprised visitors into the center of the gallery—transforming audience members into state-controlled citizens, according to the artist. This season, Bruguera returns to Tate Modern with a new commissioned piece, involving a heat-sensitive floor,  expanding on her concept of Arte Útil (art as a social tool).

Image: Installation view of “Tania Bruguera, Hyundai Commission,” Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2018. Photo copyright © Tate photography (Andrew Dunkley).

“Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963–2017,”

through December 2, 2018

American abstractionist Jack Whitten, who died in early 2018, is justly celebrated for 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—but he’s less well known as a sculptor. This show of his  sculptures, organized by the Met Breuer, New York, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, brings together some forty works. Made on summer trips to Greece starting in the 1970s and inspired by African, Cycladic, and African American vernacular art, they incorporate bones, nails, drawer pulls, circuit boards, fishing line, and carved wood and marble. The pieces evince the same engagement with process as Whitten’s two-dimensional works, a kinship underscored by the inclusion of eighteen of his paintings.

Image: Jack Whitten, Mirsini’s Doll, ca. 1975, Cretan Walnut, Black Mulberry, 14 1/2 x 5 x 3.25 inches. Collection of Mirsini Amidon. Copyright © The Estate of Jack Whitten. Courtesy The Estate of Jack Whitten and Hauser & Wirth.

“Charles White: A Retrospective”

through January 13, 2019

Having participated in Works Progress Administration arts projects and, in the late 1940s, spent some time with the revolutionary Taller de Gráfica Popular print collective in Mexico, Charles White (1918–1979) pursued a social realist path that was worlds apart from what he once called “the inhuman and abstract direction in which so many of the young artists of my own country were moving.” Debuting at the Art Institute of Chicago, from whose school he graduated in 1938, this survey features around eighty prints, drawings, and paintings by this Chicago-born figure who sought to convey the dignity of working people and to instill African Americans with a sense of cultural pride.

Image: Charles White, Paul Robeson (Study for Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America), 1942-43, carbon pencil over charcoal, with additions and corrections in white gouache, and border in carbon pencil, on cream drawing board. 24 7/8 × 19 1/16 inches. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Kathleen Compton Sherrerd Fund for Acquisitions in American Art. Copyright © The Charles White Archives / Art Resource, New York.

“Mika Rottenberg”

through November 4, 2018

Through surreal videos—in which sweatshop workers churn out such absurdist products as cheese made from the milk of women’s hair; wet wipes impregnated with sweat; and live bunnies—Argentine-born Israeli artist Mika Rottenberg addresses real-life subjects, including immigration, labor, and inequality.  A survey of her work, which inaugurates the Assemble-designed Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, will include two new works commissioned for the show.

Image: Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant), 2015, sculpture and video installation. Installation view in “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, September 8 - November 4, 2018. Photo: Andy Keate. Image courtesy of the artist and Goldsmiths CCA.

“David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night”

Through September 30, 2018

By the time he died of AIDS at age thirty-seven in 1992, the largely self-taught artist David Wojnarowicz had established himself as a creative force in painting, photography, filmmaking, performance, critical and creative writing, and gay activism. A quintessential East Village figure (his friends included Kiki Smith, Peter Hujar, Zoe Leonard, Karen Finley, and Nan Goldin), he famously—and vociferously—took on such champions of bourgeois propriety as Cardinal John O’Connor, William F. Buckley, and the American Family Association. This retrospective of his work draws primarily from the museum’s own Wojnarowicz holdings.

Image: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One day this kid . . .), 1990-91, photostat mounted on board, sheet: 29 13/16 × 40 1/8 × 3/16 inches, image: 28 1/8 × 37 1/2 inches. Image copyright © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

“Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams”

through January 01, 2019

In sculptures of futuristic buildings and cities, Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948– 2015) articulated a utopian vision of a more productive, more peaceful, more just global community. Made from cardboard, paper, plastic, found objects, and printed commercial packaging, Kingelez’s exuberant models of soaring towers, streamlined buildings, and gracious public squares embodied his hopes for the newly independent African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and extended them to the wider world.

Image: Bodys Isek Kingelez, Stars Palme Bouygues, 1989, mixed media construction, 39 3/8 × 15 3/4 × 15 3/4 inches. Courtesy van Lierde collection, Brussels. Photo: Vincent Everarts Photography, Brussels.

“Jessie Dunahoo”

through August 31, 2018, by appointment

Kentucky artist Jessie Dunahoo (1932–2017), who was born deaf and lost his sight as a young man, made astonishing quilt-like panels from plastic shopping bags, fabric scraps, and yarn, each the exact size of his work table, and each a visually sophisticated arrangement of colors and textures; irregular voids and regimented grids; solid shapes and imprinted images and words. Institute 193’s Phillip March Jones, who will open a branch of the Lexington-based space on the Lower East Side this fall, has curated an installation of Dunahoo’s work in Elaine de Kooning’s former studio in East Hampton, New York.

Image: Installation view of “Jessie Dunahoo” at Elaine de Kooning House, East Hampton, New York, 2018.


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Photographer Janice Guy on four shows in New York [published 08/07/2018]

“The Folk Art Museum has a beautiful show of scientific illustrations by the 19th-century artist Orra White Hitchcock.”

Image: Orra White Hitchcock, 27. Strata near Valenciennes, pen and ink and watercolor wash on cotton with woven tape binding, 14 x 20 7/8 inches. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
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Showroom director Emily Pethick on four shows in London [posted 3/15/2018]

“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.

MOCA LA director Philippe Vergne on what he would do in London this month [posted 2/27/2018]

“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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