Friday, 24 July 2015

Stockwell Depot - University of Greenwich Galleries

[Unidentified work on roof of Stockwell Depot]
Stockwell Depot 1967-79 is at University of Greenwich Galleries until 12 September 2015.
This exhibition and associated publication by Sam Cornish celebrate a fascinating moment in British art: the Stockwell Depot studios flourished in a period of notable social, political and aesthetic turbulence. As John A. Walker records in Left Shift: Radical Art in 1970s Britain: "During the 1960s, the formalist ideas of the American critic Clement Greenberg... had dominated art theory in Britain and there were some British artists - mostly abstract painters and sculptors associated with St. Martin's School of Art...and the Stockwell Depot studios in South London - who continued to be influenced by the Greenbergians during the 1970s." (p5)  The emergence of Conceptual Art and the subsequent fashionable fascination with French theory that gave rise to Postmodernism effectively marginalised formalist abstraction - yet many artists such as those associated with the Stockwell Depot stubbornly persisted in their aesthetic convictions. Hopefully, Sam Cornish's book will throw some much needed light on a neglected patch of British art history - it was surprisingly difficult to track down relevant information just to write this blog entry. I look forward to learning more.
Peter Hide, Beryl
Fred Pollock, Honeydripper, 1977
David Evison
John Foster, Full Face, 1978 (left) and Katherine Gili, Vertical IV, 1975
Roland Brenner, Deep Space,
Roland Brener, Sculpture with Single Arch, 1968
[Unidentified artists/work on the roof of Stockwell Depot]
Stockwell Depot: Sculpture Exhibition (1968) with Peter Hide, Sculpture No.2

View of Stockwell Depot
Postscript. For a brief, delirious moment, back in the day, I imagined that the artists of Stockwell Depot worked in the spectacular Modernist concrete architectural masterpiece that is Stockwell bus garage - a sculpture in its own right. 

Stockwell Bus Garage; architects: Adie, Button and Partners, 1952

Albert Irvin - Gimpel Fils

Albert Irvin, Untitled, 1973
Albert Irvin RA OBE: Painting the Human Spirit is at Gimpel Fils until 28 August 2015.
I was very sorry to learn of Albert Irvin's death earlier this year (26 March 2015) and wrote a brief memorial note on this blog (see below); so, I am delighted to see that Gimpel Fils have mounted this memorial exhibition.
Albert Irvin, Moving Through, 1960
Albert Irvin, Pegasus, 1982
Albert Irvin, Merlin, 1987
Albert Irvin, Mansfield, 1993
Albert Irvin, Florian, 1999

Monday, 20 July 2015

Anthony Caro - The Hepworth Wakefield & Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Anthony Caro, Month of May, 1963
Caro in Yorkshire is at The Hepworth Wakefield and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 1 November 2015.
The coincidence of these exhibitions of Caro with those of Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain (see below) and Henry Moore, also at YSP (see below), makes for an interesting comparison of the (arguably) major British, twentieth century abstract sculptors. Caro's innovatory, painted, welded sculptures of the 1960s represented a spectacular and radical turning away from the 'humanist', organic, carved work associated with Moore and Hepworth.
As noted in the entry marking his death in 2013 (see below)  Caro (having worked as an assistant to Moore) was profoundly influenced by the work of the Abstract Expressionists and, in particular, by the work of sculptor David Smith and the ideas of Clement Greenberg experienced during a visit to the United States in 1959.
I like Adrian Searle's description of  an encounter with Caro's best work: "[They] dance in front of you and you have to dance with them and around them. This involves lots of sidling and bending, squats and pirouettes, circling and shimmying." 
Personally, I like the painted work of the 1960s the best - it still seems fresh and lyrical.
Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Mark Hudson, Jackie Wullschlager, Karen Wright, Louisa Buck and William Cook.
Anthony Caro, Twenty Four Hours, 1960
Anthony Caro, Sculpture Seven, 1961
Anthony Caro, First National, 1964
Anthony Caro, Slow Movement, 1965
Anthony Caro, The Window, 1966-7
Anthony Caro, Double Shot, 1987-93
Anthony Caro, Forum, 1992-4
Anthony Caro, Promenade, 1996
Anthony Caro, Morning Shadows, 2012
Anthony Caro, Rhapsody, 2011-12
Anthony Caro, Terminus, 2013
Anthony Caro, End of Time, 2013

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Henry Moore - Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Henry Moore, Large Two Forms, 1966-69
Henry Moore: Back to a Land is at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 6 September 2015.
Like his contemporary Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore's sculpture developed in close relation to the landscape; in contrast to the concurrent exhibition of Hepworth at Tate Britain (see below) where her work is confined to quarters, this exhibition (co-curated by Mary Moore, the artist's daughter) puts the work into the open air - where it belongs.
Moore and Hepworth were lonely representatives of British Modernism on the international stage in the first half of the twentieth century; however, in the 1960s work that, pre-war, had seemed the last word in avant-gardism began to seem conservative, not least in contrast to the radical work of one of Moore's former assistants - Anthony Caro. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park now offers the opportunity to compare and contrast with a concurrent exhibition of work by Caro (see above). 
Read a feature by Mark Brown interviewing Mary Moore: Damien Hirst set back art by 100 years, says Henry Moore's daughter.
Henry Moore, Large Reclining Figure, 1984
Henry Moore, Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points, 1969
Henry Moore, Draped Reclining Figure, 1978

Barbara Hepworth - Tate Britain

Barbara Hepworth, Three Forms, 1935
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World is at Tate Britain until 25 October 2015.
Barbara Hepworth forged a distinctive sculptural style drawing both on influences from European Modernism (Picasso, Brancusi, Arp) and her deeply personal response to the landscapes of Yorkshire and Cornwall. She achieved international renown - cemented by the installation of Single Form outside the United Nations HQ in New York in 1964. Her achievement is the more remarkable for being (I think) the only female, British sculptor of any note in the first half of the twentieth century. Her reputation is secure - and, indeed, her best work (eg Pelagos) offers marvellously resolved and moving aesthetic form. However, this exhibition has been received with generally luke warm reviews - not so much in terms of Hepworth's aesthetic achievement (though there are sceptical voices - "Was Barbara Hepworth a giant of modern sculpture - or a dreary relic of post-war Britain?" - Martin Gayford in The Spectator) but with respect to the Tate's display - "cramped, frustrating, weirdly selected and badly displayed" - Laura Cumming in The Observer. There seems to be a consensus that the essence of Hepworth's sculpture is in its organic relationship with the landscape and that it lives and breathes in the open air, yet it is here being suffocated in artificially lit galleries and in vitrines.
Nevertheless, this is an opportunity to reassess her significance - and to do so alongside concurrent examinations of two other giants of British Modernist sculpture: see also entries for Henry Moore at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Anthony Caro, also at the YSP and at the Wakefield gallery named for her - The Hepworth.
Read features by Tim Adams and Sarah Crompton and reviews by Laura CummingAlastair Sooke, Jonathan Jones, Jackie Wullschlager, Martin Gayford.
Barbara Hepworth working on the plaster of Single Form 1963; the completed bronze stands in the grounds of the UN headquarters in New York
Barbara Hepworth, Large and Small Form, 1934
Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child, 1934
Barbara Hepworth, Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red), 1943
Barbara Hepworth, Pelagos, 1946
Barbara Hepworth, Corinthos, 1954-5
Barbara Hepworth, Curved Form (Trevalgan), 1956
Barbara Hepworth, Squares with Two Circles, 1963
Barbara Hepworth, Hollow Form with White, 1965

Thursday, 16 July 2015

RIBA Stirling Prize 2015 - shortlist

The Whitworth, University of Manchester
The buildings shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2015 are:

- Burntwood School (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)
- Darbishire Place (Niall McLaughlin Architects)
- Maggie's Lanarkshire (Reiach and Hall Architects)
- Neo Bankside (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)
- University of Greenwich, Stockwell Street Building (heneghan peng architects)
- The Whitworth, University of Manchester (MUMA)

See a selection of images below with links to descriptions of the buildings on the RIBA website. The buildings include a school, a redeveloped art gallery, a cancer care centre and 'affordable' housing as well as luxury apartment blocks next door to Tate Modern. Read commentary by Oliver Wainwright and Rowan Moore.
The winner of the prize will be announced on 15 October, 2015.
(See the shortlists (and winners) for 2014 and 2013.)
Click on images to enlarge.

Burntwood School (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)

 Darbishire Place (Niall McLaughlin Architects)

 Maggie's Lanarkshire (Reiach and Hall Architects)

 Neo Bankside (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)

 University of Greenwich, Stockwell Street Building (heneghan peng architects)

The Whitworth, University of Manchester (MUMA)