='data:blog.isMobile ? "width=device-width,initial-scale=1.0,minimum-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0" : "width=1100"' name='viewport'/> The Crawford Arts Review: 2018

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Until Saturday 05 May

Polaroids were a happy way of framing a scene and instantly printing it out to check that the  composition had all of the desired features. In this Wim Wenders' show at Blain|Southern, Early Works: 19641984, the filmmaker and photographer took that little camera everywhere. Whether filming or touring, together, they visited France, Iceland, Australia, Algeria, Bali, Germany, and all across America. 

Friday, 30 March 2018

Until Saturday 28 April

Neon / Light: Sarah Lucas, Cerith Wyn Evans, Damien Hirst, Brian Eno, Peter Saville
Paul Stolper Gallery, Museum Street, WC1

Until Saturday 05 May Wim Wenders: Early Works, 1964-1984
Blain|Southern, Hanover Square, W1

Wim Wenders, In Brittany,  1964
Silver gelatin on Baryt paper, glazed,
on Alu Dibond, courtesy of
the artist and Blain|Southern

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Until Saturday 28 April

The work of no fewer than 5 art heavyweights is currently gathered in one smallish room at the Paul Stolper Gallery in Museum Street in an exhibition called Neon / Light.

Sarah Lucas, very much not the token woman in a group of four males, is showing New Religion (Orange), 2013, the outline of a  coffin (see pic below). Her gallerist, Paul, has neatly counterpointed 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Paintings by page numbers

I praised Modigliani's sculptured 'Heads' (some 12 are shown in this exhibition) in a previous post, so what do I think of his paintings? A wide variety of opinions circulate about them, at least in London  My advice is to make plans to visit this exhibition immediately before it closes in just over a fortnight. Otherwise, again in my opinion, you will miss something strikingly beautiful and, in terms of nudes, strikingly unusual. This is a man who paints a seemly nude. In a pure sense, they are academic nudes, the model's integrity intact. Modigliani was a great deal ahead of his time. And still is.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

David Batchelor's Spectrum of Brick Lane 22007, at Tate Modern (Blavatnik Building (the Extension) Level 4 Concourse)

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Until Monday 02 April (Easter Monday)

Go for the sculpture (and the sculptural drawings) not just the nudes

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani made sculpture as well as paintings and drawings. And fine ones. Tate Modern's Modigliani: A Portrait exhibition, showing 11 roomsful of his work, puts his sculpture at the back. If you make your way from the entrance straight to the back (room 5) you'll find the calm and well wrought 'Heads', limestone, sandstone and other building stones carved by the artist from about 1908 onwards and particularly in a 2-year burst of creative energy in the years 1911 to 1913 between the ages of 26 and 28. They come, like the sculptural drawings and paintings, from generous lenders from Walsall (the Garman Ryan Collection) to Washington. 

Modigliani's sculptures were inspired by the time he and many of his fellow artists, living in (of course) Paris, paid visits to the Ethnographic Museum (now the Musée de l'Homme). As the reader will know, the first time any artistic sensibility sees work originally created in unknown lands - Africa, Asia, Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire - not to mention from the Ancients of Egypt, Greece and Rome - many doors in the mind open. 

Woman's Head (With Chignon)
1911-12 Sandstone
572 x 219 x 235 mm
Merzbacher Kunststiftung
The many sculptures - the room is full - are well presented, each in a vitrine set on a well-spaced plinth. Too many people seem to walk unseeingly past them, thinking only of the paintings and missing Modigliani's fine interpretation of the early work he saw that inspired them, as well as the polish and precision of his practice. In one, a limestone 'Head', limestone being a natural, although non-living, material, there is a small cavité, where perhaps a larger fossil once rested. Within this hole, the sculptor has placed an even smaller head, classical in feel and carved from a white stone, probably marble. See also the Tate's wall poster in the sculpture room which relates the delightful story of Jacob Epstein's visits to Modigliani's studio and his reaction to the newly made sculptures. 

Head c.1911
Medium Stone
394 x 311 x 187 mm
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg 
Museum, Gift of Lois Orswell
© President 
and Fellows of Harvard College
You cannot see and appreciate this exhibition in a single visit. Nor should you try. Single membership of all 4 of the Tate Galleries costs £76 for a year, enabling you to visit as often as you like. Indeed, I intend to take my own advice here since I would like to spend a little more time with the paintings. Just outside the sculpture room you will find some delightful and more than competently drawn sculptural drawings, many of caryatids. I particularly liked 'Caryatid with Pointed Breast', c 1913-14. And for a work based on an ancient architectural device, the woman's body as weight-supporting column, it is truly modern.

And of course there are painted nudes aplenty, many gazing towards the viewer, and, deliberately so for the time, to the potential male buyer. This may be unworthy but I write this on International Women's Day: Modigliani's portraits of his friends, fellow artists and acquaintances also reward study - none of them, being men, are portrayed nude of course. Particularly interesting is his portrait of his first dealer, Paul Guillaume, smoking a cigarette. Modigliani has angled the face so that the nose and mouth appear bright and lively, gradually recessing the cheeks in a series of shadowy triangles, a stubbly effect that seems to suggest the way the sitter draws the cigarette smoke into himself.

Modigliani died of substance abuse and the tuberculosis that had dogged him since the age of 16 at the age of 35. His partner, the artist Jeanne Hébuterne with whom he had a child, pregnant with a second child, killed herself a few days after his death. She was 21. In the Tate shop, for £20, you can buy a Jeanne Hébuterne cushion cover. You can sit on her. In this reviewer's opinion, a little more decorum might have been exercised here. Again, this effect might have been mitigated by a partner cushion portraying the artist in one of his self-portraits.

Forthcoming: comments on the paintings

London SE1 

£19.70 (free for Members)Adult £19.70 (£17.70 without donation)
Senior £18.70 (£16.70 without donation)

Concession £17.90 (£15.90 without donation)
Under 12s free (up to four per family adult)

Extended opening hours 
now booking for selected dates

Monday, 19 February 2018

Until Saturday 10 March

Cob Gallery in Royal College Street, are holding a mixed show of sizzlingly good work by 14 young and emerging artists. NW1 is never difficult to get to. The Cob Gallery is behind St Pancras International, north of the Crowndale Road, and near the top of one of the most bike-friendly streets in London, Royal College Street. Pass the Royal Veterinary College on your right, carry on up, and you'll find the Gallery on your left, nestled in a nifty 2-level glass box.

Cob Gallery Royal College Street:
Installation view of front gallery

You'll find some brilliant new work by Katja A
Angeli, Cristina BanBan, Dominic Beattie, Asger Carlsen, Vanessa da Silva, Realf Heygate, Joseph Goody, Sif Norskov, Laurence Owen, Tristan Pigott, Paloma Proudfoot, George Rouy, Will Spratley and James Tailor.

COB GALLERY · +44 (90

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The new Exhibition Road Entrance for the Victoria & Albert Museum by Amanda Levete Architects

The Victoria and Albert Museum, founded in the middle of the 19th century, has, at a single stroke, reinvented itself for the 21st. The culmination of an ongoing programme of overhaul and renovation was the opening last year of a new grand entrance in the Exhibition Road. The project was masterminded by Amanda Levete Architects. (For further architectural details, see Dezeen magazine.) For visitors to the Museum, the new entrance makes a shining pathway into a much loved museum whose exterior has stood almost unchanged for over 160 years.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Medardo Rosso: "Sight Unseen". Until Saturday 10 February

At Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ely House, 37 Dover Street
Declaration of interest: I first saw the poetically waxen sculptures of Medardo Rosso during a European art tour (a budget European art tour, dear reader). I have loved his work ever since.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Rachel Whiteread exhibition may have closed, but Tate Britain is still there for your delight in architecture and art.
Rachel Whiteread's work 'Staircase' interacted with the concrete
roof beams, lights and visitors of Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1

Until Sunday 05 November, Simeon Barclay; until Sunday 21 January, Rachel Whiteread

Let me introduce Tate Britain, the building and its galleries, anew. You already know it? OK, bear with me while I sketch its wonders to any newcomers, mention the free 'Art Now'and introduce the (ticketed) special exhibition celebrating 30 years of the work of Rachel Whiteread.