= The Crawford Arts Review: 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Until Thursday 14 December

As if to emphasize how much light matters in these frequently dark days, Annely Juda Dering Street (walk into Bond Street and take the first turn on the left) is showing - as part of a group show - "Sous-Pr
ématisme", No.1, No.2, No.3, a 3-part lateral work by the French artist François Morellet, created in 2010. The contemporary painter, sculptor and light artist died in May last year and the present exhibition, Light / Dark, shows this master of minimalism with other gallery artists who have responded to the theme. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Until Sunday 05 November, Simeon Barclay; until Sunday 04 February (redacted) until Sunday 21 January, Rachel Whiteread

Let me draw your attention to Tate Britain, the building and its galleries, anew. If you already know it please bear with me while I sketch its wonders for newcomers, or those who haven't visited for a while, mention the free 'Art Now', and introduce the (ticketed) special exhibition celebrating 30 years of the work of Rachel Whiteread.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Until Sunday 08 October

Gregory Crewdson's show Cathedral of the Pines at the Photographers' Gallery represents, to this reviewer, photography as time travel.* The reference is to 19th century America: pioneering; enduring. The setting, the pine woods of Western Massachusetts, were previously loud with saw milling, manly cries, and lumber camps. The people in the scenes, dressed plainly, with background props that look like heirlooms, are contemporary to the years 2013-14 when the shots were taken.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Until Sunday 24 September

JONGERIUS at The Design Museum Breathing Colour

Start here at the light 
box to see how colour changes against different lighting and backgrounds





AND colour
The Artist: Hella Jongerius studied (industrial design) at Eindhoven Design Academy. She started her own design studio, Jongeriuslab, shortly after graduating. If you fly KLM those interiors are her design. As are products for companies from IKEA to Vitra.

The Building: Master-planned by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), in conjunction with Allies and Morrison, and a design team led by John Pawson, the Design Museum opened in November 2016. A feast not only of architecture but of product design, technology, graphics, and fashion. Founded in 1989 by Sir Terence Conran.

Design Museum opening times: 
Open daily 10:00–18:00 (last exhibition entry 17:00)
The museum is open late on the first Friday of every month from 10:00–20:00 (last admission 19:00)

Adult £10.50
Student/ concession £8.00
Educational group booking price: £3-£7 per student (groups of 10 or more)
Family (1 adult + 3 children) £17.00
Family (2 adults + 3 children) £24.00
Child (6
15 years) £5.50
Children under 6 years free
Members free

The exhibitions ticket allows you entry into both of the current temporary exhibitions
Adult £18

Parabola bar cafe and restaurant, operated by Prescott & Conran
Monday to Wednesday 10:0023:00
Thursday to Saturday 10.0023:30
Sunday 10.0018.00

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Until Friday 15 September

Oxford Street is possibly one of the most underappreciated streets in London. It is  undergoing a marvellous renaissance. In a single brief visit last week, I was able to find streetscape art, architectural art and gallery art all flourishing off north Oxford Street in the area opposite Bond Street Tube.

Streetscape art
The tiny Bird Street runs from Oxford Street to Barrett Street just behind. Smooth as a billiard table artificial grass has been laid - making the little street feel like a breath of the countryside, even in the rain. A row of beach cabins have been installed (see left) and you can have your picture taken and instantly uploaded to your device.

Snazzy new architecture 
Walk to the end of Bird Street from Oxford Street and turn right into Barrett Street. Be careful crossing James Street and continue along the southside of the quiet pedestrianised enclave that leads to St Christopher's Place. There at the top you will find Jigsaw - in a sleek and modern building that somehow blends perfectly with its older neighbours. On the far left you will find my third surprise, the Tyburn Gallery.

Gallery art
The Tyburn Gallery is well named for the river of that name (now underground confined in a pipe) crosses Oxford Street at this point on its way down to the Thames. The gallery is showing Untitled, a group show of the work of five artists. Left is 'Hotel Globo' (2016) by M
ónica de Miranda, one of a series of 10 shot in an Angolan Hotel unchanged since the 1950s.

Joël Andrianomearisoa (his 'Passion labyrinth' from 2014 works with flat and folded black paper on a white ground, full of subtle interaction from every angle. It reads, to me, like a wonderful 3D (and rectangular) evocation of Kazimir Malevich's 'Black Square' (Malevich's memorable exhibition at Tate Modern was covered in this blog in August 2014). Three further artists complete the lineup. Victor Ehikhamenor shows large works of intricately perforated white paper. Edson Chagas shows us Luanda City in a series depicting 'everyday objects'. Some of the urban walls of Sfax in Tunisia form the basis for the work of Mouna Karray. Enjoy it all: the art; the architecture and design; the light, the peace, the super clean sparkle, the unhurried atmosphere - with little or no motorised traffic, you'll feel welcome here.

Tyburn Gallery
St. Christopher’s Place

26 Barrett Street
London W1

Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm
Saturday 12pm–5pm

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Indoor glass to brighten your space

Ways to make the summer solstice last a little longer - but only until Sunday 23 July

Brian Clarke, a visiting Professor of Architectural Art at University College London, has been called 'the rock star of stained glass'. His 'Summer Solstice Screens', works in laminated glass, are being shown at the Heni Gallery in Soho.

There's nothing quite like stained glass to bring light and colour into interiors. The summer solstice marks the longest day. June and July represent peak sun, peak light and peak colour out of doors. But you can amplify the available light and try to prolong summer by bringing some of the light inside.
Shown here from the top are Clarke's 'Ascot' (2017), 'Wall Street' (2017), and lit by window light and itself lighting up one of the gallery windows, a version of the mesmerising 'Darkness Visible' (2012).

Heni Gallery
6-10 Lexington Street
London W1
Check gallery for opening times 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Until Friday 16 June The American Dream pop to the present at the British Museum

A way with junk yard parts, fluorescent lights and lumber

Found in America at Waddington Custot shows us the work of three American sculptors who, inspired by the stuff of the rapidly industrialising US of the early 20th century, in the process forever changed the art of sculpture itself. The gallery is to be congratulated for assembling a show of the works of these Titans - John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin and Robert Indiana - each of whose work, by its boldness, enabled the eye of surely every artist since.

John Chamberlain, 1927-2011, image courtesy of Wikipedia

John Chamberlain's work is marvellous in its sensibility. taking the already ground-breaking 1940s abstract expressionist painting of the time into a further dimension, that of sculpture.  Shown below is Abby Cassidy, made from painted steel, the metal configured and interlaced in a way that as you gaze into its depths, offers a new delineation of volume. Tate Britain has two of his works from the 1960s.

John Chamberlain, Abby Cassidy, 2006, painted
and chromed steel © 2017 Waddington Custot 
Gallery reference B44034

Chamberlain''s raw materials are pieces of scrapped automobiles he selected from the mechanical car crushers of the time. As early as 1961 the works were shown at MOMA, alongside works by Duchamp, Picasso and Braque. 


 Dan Flavin, 1933-1996, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

I love the work of Dan Flavin. What he did with off-the-shelf fluorescent tubes and a limited colour range has never ceased to amaze and inspire me. I don't know what is at work: the physics of light; the chemistry of light; the physics and chemistry of its industrial production . . .? It all seems simple yet the effect on the optic nerve is profound. Waddington Custot have three works on show "monument" to V. Tatlin (1968), Untitled (1969), and Untitled (to Véronique) (1987). Even if you can't buy, go and see. Your optic nerve will thank you.

 "Robert Indiana [b. 1928] working in Maine" (Photo  courtesy Charles Rotmil, via Wikipedia)

Robert Indiana is our third American sculptor. Indiana, along with Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain, was one of the precursors of this paradigmatic shift in sculptural practice. The Waddington Custot exhibition shows three of his works from the 1960s and early 1970s. Here he recycled sections of wooden roof beams into sculpture. He adds rusted iron wheels and paints on alphanumeric symbols using stencils from commercial signs and packaging, all the materials 'found' and 'repurposed'. His interest in typography led him to create, in 1958, his well known 'Love' image where the letters LO, the O slanting, are stacked on top of the letters VE. Often reproduced, a version of this image can be seen in the complementary exhibition mentioned above at the British Museum. Waddington Custot also show his number sculpture ONE through ZERO (2003) made from panels of Cor-ten (marine grade) steel.

Until Saturday 01 July
Found in America
Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm
Saturday, 10am to 4pm

Monday, 24 April 2017

Until Saturday 13 May

Eastcastle Street W1, just north of Oxford Street, is now an established fine art destination. It already has a Kaffeine and I should mention too that across Oxford Street to the south you'll find the Photographers' Gallery.

PiArtworks resides at No. 55 Eastcastle Street. The World Made New exhibition is the fourth of five dedicated to a curatorial season that runs until July. The five artists too are from outside the gallery's roster, Sovay Berriman, Ilana Halperin, Iz Öztat, Lindsay Seers and Michelle Williams Gamaker. The show is curated by Oliver Sumner. As in much fine art, less is often more in curation and Sumner doesn't disappoint. 

Here are three works shot at random: 1., 2. Sovay Berriman's Resting Post (installation view) and Falling Wizard, and 3. Iz Öztat's Posthumous Production Series (installation view to street). All five artists deftly explore personal mythologies of birth, transfiguration and constructed identity.




PiArtworks London
55 Eastcastle Street, London, W1
Nearest underground station: Oxford Circus
Ph: + 44 207 6378403

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00–18:00
Saturday: 11:00–18:00

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Gavin Turk has a well developed sense of less is more. A cardboard box, a scrunched-up plastic bottle, a selection of throwaways that could easily have you looking twice at objects you put in the bin. All offer themselves unadorned to the visitor's interpretation, in Turk's hands, elevated to art. I rather admire it.

Not that the artist doesn't offer clues - for example, in his titling, part after all, of the work. Thus we have some almost squeezed out paint tubes, curved like ancient toothpaste tubes,  and minus their labels. Their titles are, variously, 'Payne's Grey, 'Raw (and 'Burnt) Sienna' and, wittily accessible even to non-artists, 'Reclining Paint Tube'. 


Each of the paint tube works is subtitled '(Albers Table)', a reference to the fact that their 'plinths' are three of the nesting tables Josef Albers designed in the 1920s (see above).

I'm going to leave it there. The smaller of Turk's two shows is at Ben Brown Fine Arts (until Wednesday 12 April), the bigger solo show is at Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery (until Sunday 19 March).

Friday, 17 February 2017

Rodin, but not quite what you expect - Until Saturday 11 March

Rodin employed much tenderness when he sculpted The Kiss* (see pic below). Wrought in marble, he also employed much muscle, as well as all his skills, to create perhaps 'the' emblem of the lovers' embrace.

But look again, here's a close-up.

What has happened? The male has been given a nipple-ring; Out of shot, someone has removed one of his fingers and stuck it on the wall. Look at the female. Her body has been gouged and wormy bits added. Round the back, someone has given her dreadlocks. And look, someone is actually touching the sculpture. 

Ha, it's intentional, so I'll stop teasing dear reader now.
  1. It's not marble, it's a slightly larger than the original copy cast from oil-based modelling clay (Plasticine to give it its trade name).
  2. It is the work of a present-day artist, the very much alive Urs Fischer.
  3. The artistic idea is to confront immutability; to make a copy that is so malleable that it can become a collaborative work, a collaboration between the artist and the viewer - you and me if you like.**

Here's my final pic, the fun bit . . .


I hope the picture speaks for itself. Please note that I visited the exhibition on February 14 - subsequent visitors will have made further changes since then.
Urs Fischer
The Kiss
Sadie Coles
1 Davies Street 
London W1K 3DB 
Tues – Sat 11 – 6 
For all enquiries:  

* Rodin also practised a form of co-laboration in that he employed studio assistants who, working from small models, would rough out the basic shapes of a sculpture for the master to complete. Rodin made three signed copies of this work, also in marble. You can see one of them in Tate Britain.  
** Urs Fischer's The Kiss (2017) will be exhibited at Sadie Coles HQ over the course of a single month.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Elvire Bonduelle at Ronchini Gallery
until Saturday 18 March
French chic from an artist who shows early signs of the flair and humour of a young Claude Lalanne (see earlier review). Of course it may be that it's because both women are French. Bonduelle, a young Parisian trained at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, produces work that is spirited, cheeky and poetic. Her black metal benches, austerely unupholstered, may not look all that comfortable (see below), but each pair carries a witty message - 'Cool Raoul' as shown or 'Relax Max'.

22 Dering Street
London W1 
Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat 12-5
Note: Walk in from Oxford Street 
into the start of Bond Street and 
take the first turning on the right 
to find Dering Street

Elvire Bonduelle, Cool Raoul, 2016, painted iron (in two parts) each 45 x 40 x 140, 45 x 40 x 120 cm
© Ronchini Gallery and the artist, published with permission

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Les Lalanne until Thursday 26 January

Installation view of the interior artscape created by designer Manfredi della Gherardesca to accompany the work of Claude and the late Francois-Xavier Lalanne at Ben Brown Fine Arts, 12 Brook's Mews, London W1. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Three London exhibitions closing in January

1.  Ingeborg Lüscher at White Rainbow, Mortimer Street closes Saturday 21 Lüscher exhibits a powerful understanding of the material and metaphysical world, her main materials in this show of work composed between 1987 and 1992 being black ash and sulphur powder, both products of combustion. In metaphysical terms, hell fire tamed if you will. Perfect if you want a bit of metaphysics after your Sainsbury shop just along the road.
2.  mi _ _c _ _ (5 Mexican artists) at Chalton Gallery, Chalton Street closes Sunday 22 Puzzling but in a good way, a show that seems to disappear before your very eyes. Well done to the gallery for championing these Mexican artists:  Eric Valencia, Israel Urmer, Wendy Cabrera Rubio, Romeo Mijangos (definitely one to watch) and Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba. Again providing art while you shop, you'll find the gallery in Somers Town, between Costcutter and Euston Brook Clinic.
3.  Claude & Xavier Lalanne at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Brook's Mews closes Thursday 26 Animal sculptures by the late François-Xavier that, hollow within, often double as desks, fireplaces or storage pieces. Ethereal flora and fauna by Claude, including her Choupatte Géant bronze that stands majestically outside the gallery. I would love this piece to become part of Westminster's permanent public art, not least because on chilly days it manages to resemble a cauldron of steaming soup - standing on chicken legs. Worth noting also, is that the gallery itself has been transformed into a truly magical artland by the designer Manfredi della Gherardesca.