The Return of Surreal: The artist as socially distant entity

Marina Abramović, Portrait with Scorpion Copyright the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, NYC.

I write this short text, imagining myself in some small way, to be particularly French: Raymond Roussel (1877-1933), or Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) by name, living vicariously and imaginatively in my unconfined and constructed world. This risks sounding rather glib given the gravity of our current predicaments, and as if to excuse the conceptual shorthand, I shall endeavour to unpack the aforementioned. Unzipping the both of these in turn is both complex and, I would assert, extremely relevant. Relevant in that we currently find our collective human conditions radically altered by circumstances that highlight the divergence between our interior worlds and externalised existences – in itself a rare occurrence. Read all about it here.

American Pastoral: Truth, Justice and the American Whey

The exhibition at Gagosian, London, until March 14, 2020, borrows its title from the 1997 novel of the same name by Philip Roth, in which the idyllic life of the New Jersey protagonist, Seymour, comes posthumously to represent an unravelling of the American Dream, a dream we even now recognise as being dogged by political and familial turmoil. Read it here

Installation view, artworks from left to right: © Estate Jack Goldstein © Mark Tansey © Jeff Koons © Richard Prince, Thomas Moran, ph. Lucy Dawkins

Vive la résistance

In this month’s edition of Wall Street International I write briefly on the works of Richard Deacon, not about an opening, but almost as a finissage to his current show Deep State in London.

From the time of his very early success at Riverside Studios in London, Deacon has carved, or more accurately, constructed, a career of considerable longevity comprised of works of huge variation, and below I will attempt to unpick why exactly this is of itself a more major accomplishment than one might think.

Deep State © Richard Deacon and Lisson Gallery

Frank Uwe Laysiepen | ULAY

It is with great sadness that I share this. I first met ULAY in Glasgow Tramway back in the 1980’s. Today the ULAY Foundation announced: “It is with our immense sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of one of the greatest artists of our time, the pioneer of polaroid photography, the father of performance art, the most radical, the one and only, ULAY, who has left for another journey, today, peacefully in his sleep (November 30, 1943–March 2, 2020).

Ulay and Marina Abramović. Photograph: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamyulay2

compulsive and compulsory viewing

A Matter of Life and Death (and Art): A version of art history in (a) film

Ulay-slash-Abramovic-Rest-Energy

Image: Ulay/Abramovic Rest Energy. Copyright the artists.

As we find ourselves advancing into the New Year and all of the promise/threat that this holds, I decided to take a slightly unorthodox approach to slicing-up art history through the lens of film. In fact it was the Michael Powell (no relation) and Emeric Pressburger film of (almost) the same name, that inspired me to want to gain some kind of insight into how art has wrestled with trying to express, Janus-like, the passing of time and its corollary concern with mortality. Of course any media-savvy type will tell you never to use the word ‘death’ in a movie or Internet article as it is an audience turn-off. Here we go then, death by misadventure…

Op ’til You Drop: Notes on Bridget Riley

When the name Bridget Riley (b.1931) arises in conversation, various epithets spring to mind; the (he)art of the swinging sixties, the doyen of Op, the arch orchestrator of opera Moiré, I could go on. For those who think that the works are decorative, then of course they are absolutely correct, but of course we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that their primary function is to decorate, which it clearly is not. Read on…

Arrest-3-1965

Bridget Riley Arrest 3 (1965) Copyright the artist/Karsten Schubert Gallery, London

Tess Jaray: A Life in Pictures

There is a certain irony attached to this brief text; why would a reviewer narrate the fleeting art fair stand display of an artist of such great longevity and of a lifetime filled with 6 decades of professional achievement? Well I propose the point that Tess Jaray is simply one of the few painters who continues to make indelible marks in both painterly and art historical terms, and what follows, is my attempt to qualify this assertion. Read on…

Monograph-show-of-early-paintings-c-Tess-Jaray-2019-All-rights-reserved-Courtesy-Karsten

Monograph show of early paintings © Tess Jaray, 2019. All rights reserved. Courtesy Karsten Schubert

A Question of Aesthetics in the works of John Carter

The Royal Academician John Carter is one of those guys who seems to have been around forever, widely respected but really best known to the English painting/sculpture cognoscenti, rather than a figure of international populist appeal. Find out why timeliness in art can render works sublime – even if only momentarily. Read on…

John-Carter-Identical-Shapes-Green-2018-Screenprint-30-x-40-cm-Courtesy-of-the-Artist-and.jpg

John-Carter: Identical-Shapes-Green, 2018. Screen print 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Artist-and Redfern Gallery, London.