Sunday, 12 November 2017

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White - National Gallery

Hendrik Goltzius, The Great Hercules,1599
Monochrome: Painting in Black and White is at the  National Gallery until 18 February 2018.
This is a wonderful exhibition. The idea of a survey of black and white painting may not seem immediately enticing, but this is a spectacular show. With works spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st century the variety is remarkable and includes work of jaw-dropping beauty and skill - for example Jan Van Eyck's Annunciation (1430s) in which the painted forms convincingly simulate three-dimensional stone figures; Louis-Léopold Boilly's A Girl at the Window (after 1799) which although a slightly kitsch, sentimetal picture, contains a shiny telescope that you would swear was made of metal and protuding from the picture plane. At the other extreme there is Frank Stella's spare, rigorous and beautiful, Minimalist painting, Tomlinson Court Park I (1959). Altogether there is simply so much visual pleasure to be found here.
Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Laura CummingAlastair Sooke.
Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation Diptych, c1433-5
Albrecht Dürer, Head of a Woman, 1520
Etienne Moulinneuf, (after Jean-Simeon Chardin) Back from the Market (La Pourvoyeuse), c1770
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Odalisque in Grisaille, c1824-34
Peder Balke, The Tempest, c1862
Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square, 1965
Frank Stella, Tomlisn Court Park I, 1959
Gerhard Richter,  Helga Matura with her Fiancé, 1966

Chuck Close, Joel, 1993

Monday, 9 October 2017

Everything at Once - Lisson Gallery + The Vinyl Factory

Dan Graham, Two V’s Entrance-Way, 2016
Everything at Once: Lisson Gallery + The Vinyl Factory is at Store Studios, 180 The Strand, until 10 December 2017.
Marking the Lisson Gallery’s 50th birthday, this sprawling exhibition presents the work of 24 Lisson Gallery artists in the vast industrial spaces of the Store Studios. I enjoyed it hugely – even though much of the experience seemed to involve walking into black space and feeling your way to the audio-visual experience, which is not generally my idea of fun. (See the full list of participating artists here.)
My favourite installations included Dan Graham’s glass and steel ‘pavilion’, (Two V’s Entrance-Way, 2016), Haroon Mirza’s mesmerising sound and light installation, (A Chamber for Horwitz; Sonakinatography Transcriptions in Surround Sound, 2015), Shirazeh Houshiary’s pulsating chants and videos inside a black felt-lined space, (Breath, 2003) and Anish Kapoor's monumental ‘hat’, the dark interior of which swallows all light so that you stare into nothingness, (At the Edge of the World II, 1998). These works were all new to me but there were some old favourites here as well – Tony Cragg’s totemic stacks of industrial parts, (Minster, 1987), the longest Long I have ever seen, a mud wall-painting stretching the width of the building, (Peloponnese Line, 2017), and I was thrilled to see a couple of Julian Opie’s ‘empty cabinet’ works, (i and t, both 1988).
In an ironic way I even enjoyed my glimpse of part of one Marina Abramović’s early films: Freeing the Body, 1975 – watching this grainy black and white film of a woman, naked but for a mask, jiggling around to the beat of a bongo drum somehow seemed to encapsulate the essence of a certain sort of 1970s ‘third area’ art which seemed excruciating then, (and still does) but now made me laugh.
Alongside the Lisson's show, sharing the space at Store Studios, there is also a fantastic installation by Ryoji Ikeda - Test Pattern [N°12], 2017, which subjects visitors to a mind-bending experience standing on a floor of rapidly oscillating patterns of black and white stripes, the patterns generated by sound waveforms. (Or something like that - it is pretty amazing.) 
Read a reviews by Laura Cumming and Adrian Searle.
Haroon Mirza, A Chamber for Horwitz; Sonakinatography Transcriptions in Surround Sound, 2015 (detail)

Anish Kapoor, At the Edge of the World II, 1998
Richard Long, Peloponnese Line, 2017
Julian Opie, i, 1988

Marina Abramović, Freeing the Body, 1975 (still from film)
Ryoji Ikeda - Test Pattern [N°12], 2017

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Langdon Clay - Polka Galerie, Paris

Langdon Clay, A and P Car, Buick Le Sabre, 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, 1974
Langdon Clay: Cars is at Polka Galerie, Paris until 5 October 2017.
I first came across the picture above in 1978 - I still have the flyer for the exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 26 July-24 September 1978. I loved it then and, nearly forty years later, I love it still, as I love Clay's whole series: Cars: New York City, 1974-76.
Below is my selection of his pictures; see the selection at Polka Galerie, here.
Click on images to enlarge.
Langdon, Clay, Sign of Good Taste car, Plymouth Duster, Hoboken, NJ, 1975
Langdon Clay, St. Vincent's Car, Cadillac Coupe De Ville, St. Vincents Hospital, 13th und 7th Avenue, 1974
Langdon Clay, Charlie Robert’s campaign car, Chevrolet Bel Air, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1976
Langdon Clay, Blind Vette, Chevrolet Corvette, nahe Bloomingdales, 1974
Langdon Clay, Tritone Car, Buick Electra 225, West Village, 1975
Langdon Clay, Bent Car, Dodge Dart Kombi, Soho, 1976
Langdon Clay, Silver Fish, Chevrolet Impala Custom Coupe, in front of Con Edison Substation, 1975
Langdon Clay, 161 car, Chrysler New Yorker, north of 14th Street off 7th Avenue, 1974
Langdon Clay, Zizka Cleaners Car, Buick Electra, 1975