George Shaw, Ash Wednesday: 8.30am, 2004-5 (see exhibition details, below)
I noted, in the February Roundup, a flurry of exhibitions which hark back to the 1970s: John Stezaker (Whitechapel Gallery until 18th March), Susan Hiller (Tate Britain until 15th May) and Anti-Photography (Focal Point Gallery, Southend, until 2nd April); now a further range of exhibitions: suggests that a full-scale reassessment of that period is under way:
Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, Documentation VI, Pre-writing Alphabet, Exergue and Diary, 1978.
A major exhibition at the Barbican revisits the 1970s in New York: Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s. Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian gives something of the flavour of that period:
Those were the days. The exhibition continues until 22nd May.
Trisha Brown, Woman Walking Down a Ladder, 1973
Completing the 1970s fest is the first major UK show of the politically engaged and sometimes angry work of the late Nancy Spero at the Serpentine until 2nd May. Read Laura Cumming's review.
Just missing the 1970s is ‘… a multitude of soap bubbles which explode from time to time…’: Pino Pascali’s final works 1967-1968, at Camden Arts Centre until 1st May. The first UK show dedicated to this Italian artist associated with Arte Povera; Camden Art Centre will host an Arte Povera Symposium on March 12th.
The National Gallery is presenting a ‘complete re-examination’ of the work of the relatively little known Jan Gossaert (active 1503-1552) Gossaert (aka Jan Mabuse) is credited with transforming Flemish art by melding the technique of Jan van Eyck with Italian Renaissance conventions of the nude. Generally, this exhibition has received ecstatic reviews (eg Jonathan Jones, Richard Dorment), but Laura Cumming’s response in the Observer was distinctly cool. Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance is on until 30th May.
Other big shows in London include Watercolour at Tate Britain, until 21st August, (see reviews by Laura Cumming and Adrian Searle) and British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet at the Hayward Gallery until 17th April (see below for reviews of its first showing in Nottingham).
Two versions of the sublime are on show in Newcastle and Gateshead: John Martin: Heaven and Hell is at the Laing Art Gallery until 5th June. Martin (1789 – 1854) is probably best known for his giant, apocalyptic triptych of ‘Judgement’ paintings in Tate Britain. The Laing show is the first major examination of Martin for more than 30 years and brings together more than 80 paintings and prints and will travel to the Tate in September.
Larry Clark’s Tulsa, published in 1971 opens with the following statement: i was born in tulsa oklahoma in 1943. when i was sixteen i started shooting amphetamine. i shot with my friends everyday for three years and then left town but i’ve gone back through the years. once the needle goes in it never comes out. L.C.
Tulsa has been cited as one of the most influential photobooks of recent times, its autobiographical, intimate and seemingly authentic representation of drug addiction seen as groundbreaking. Clark went on to make Teenage Lust (1983) and A Perfect Childhood (1992), both controversial for their explicit representations of youthful sex, but achieved wider notoriety with his film Kids (1995). What do you do for fun? is a selection of vintage and new work at the Simon Lee Gallery until 2nd April. See feature by Ryan Gilbey.
Other current photography shows, include:
Finally, Construction & its Shadow is a display in the sculpture galleries of Leeds Art Gallery, curated by Andrew Bick. Andrew is a long time friend and associate of art and design at the University of Gloucestershire where he is currently a tutor on the MA Fine Art course. The display draws on the collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries and the Arts Council Collection and examines the Construction and Systems groups of British artists active in the1950s and 60s. It is an outcome of research Andrew undertook during a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship in 2008. The display will continue until 5th June; a symposium on Construction & its Shadow, co-hosted by the Henry Moore Institute, will take place on Wednesday 11th May 2011.
Construction & its Shadow, installation shot