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.”


“Full Service”
November 18–26, 2017
Five Years

“Anne De Boer”
in November
opening February 23, 2018
Banner Repeater

“Hard Work//Care Work”
November 22–26, 2017
Limbo Limbo

“Our House of Common Weeds”
October 28–November 25, 2017
(Preview October 27, 6–9 pm, featuring a performance by Alys North and an afterparty with DJ set by Bizarro World.
Closing party November 24, 6–11 pm, featuring a performance by Carl Gent and karaoke with live link to The Bowling Green pub in Wigan.)

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

For me, great artist-run spaces like Five Years, Banner Repeater, Limbo Limbo, and Res are crucial to the ecosystem of the London art world, and to the art world in general. You don’t always know what you’re going to see, but that’s part of the fun—being surprised and challenged.

Five Years has been running since 1998. There are twelve members at any given time, and each member can organize two shows every 18 months. Each member pays a small fee and the program just sort of rolls on. Their next exhibition is called “Full Service,” which will be a show about nighttime and all the strange things nighttime allows.

Started by artist and curator Ami Clarke, Banner Repeater is a project space and reading room located on Platform 1 of the Hackney Downs train station in East London, which gets 4,000 passengers a day. Any commuter entering the station can visit it. In November Banner Repeater will be showing the work of Anne de Boer; after that they will be mounting “DLeb,” a group exhibition that, according to Clarke, “takes its name from the fact that a deleb (a dead celebrity) typically enjoys more data choice from beyond the grave, i.e.: they have more agency over the deployment of their data—name, image, and products that may be associated with them—than those still living.”

The artists who run Limbo Limbo are still studying at places like Goldsmiths and Slade art schools in London. They’re very good at organizing things as a group. I put this down to their being post-Millennials. Coming up, they’ve got a launch on November 3 for an EP called called “You’re a Funny One,” and a group show opening on November 22 called “Hard Work//Care Work.” The press release for exhibition reads in its entirety, “charity, capitalism, reparations, businesses, hard work, care work, labour, laziness, tiredness, exhaustion, mechanics, nature, fantasies, spirituality, religious myths, contemporary myths, societal myths, making it rain, popping bands, money, dollars, coins.” And that’s about all the information I’ve got for that show. But I would still one hundred percent go just to check it out.

Another space I’d recommend for a visit is called Res. Res. is a gallery and workspace in Deptford run by three curators, Helen Kaplinsky, Sarah Jury, and Lucy A. Sames. The next exhibition at Res. is “Our House of Common Weeds.” Five artists will present their work over successive weeks and the show will evolve out of those presentations. They are also organizing a reading group that will research flotation tanks around London!

Between these four spaces there’s a lot to see. By the time art gets to the bigger galleries, the roughness and craziness can get filed off. It’s nice to see it when it’s still raw.

Cedar Lewisohn is an artist and curator. He curated the exhibition “Street Art” at Tate Modern (2008) and “Rude Britannia” at Tate (2010). He is currently working on a three-year public art project for Pirelli HangarBiococca in Milan.

Leah Dixon, When I Invented the Wheel, and You Lost Your Memory, 2017, mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and Five Years.
DLEb-Living Currency. Image: kaycee’s kreations (kaycee99)