Gilda Williams

  • Michael Landy

    Michael Landy decided to construct a giant container in which to throw London’s unwanted artworks. The first question was: How big should it be? The answer here was: colossal—some forty feet long by thirty-three feet wide and about two stories high. Evidently, Landy had high expectations; however, with hundreds of doomed artworks barely covering the container’s floor (the heap not much more than three feet at its deepest) by exhibition’s end, Landy’s Art Bin, 2010, became an unexpected tribute to how highly this city values its artworks—not quite the “monument to creative failure” that Landy

  • Ian Kiaer

    The first gallery in Bloomberg Space, little more than a lobby, is a singularly unsuitable place for the display of art. With its shiny black floor and track lighting, it is coolly corporate in feel. Its irregular, small area is overwhelmed by a double-height ceiling and a corner of floor-to-ceiling glass. A footpath cuts diagonally through the tiny space, with its one oddly oblique wall, making it uncomfortable to stop and actually look at the artworks forced into its corners.

    Into this unwelcoming place, Ian Kiaer has heroically installed his understated art. A painter by training and disposition,

  • Clunie Reid

    The images Clunie Reid uses—culled from tabloids, the Internet, snapshots, and low-grade celebrity magazines—are rephotographed and printed on sheets of shiny silver paper that are then applied to aluminum panels and partially edged with duct tape. Inserted seamlessly within the pictures are digital-type texts or graphics; upon them have been occasionally applied cheap, colorful stickers of the variety favored in the late elementary school years. Imperatives such as COME BACK! or IT’S TIME FOR BED CASSIOPEIA! may be scrawled in black or red marker, in the round and rapidly executed penmanship

  • The Otolith Group

    In the preface to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explained that she wrote fiction not because she enjoyed “weaving stories of supernatural terrors” but because of its capacity “for delineating human passions more comprehensive and commanding [than] the ordinary relations of existing events.” Almost two centuries later, the films of the Otolith Group (Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar) also adopt fiction—specifically science fiction, the genre Shelley helped invent—in order to explore impossible or failed histories and the compelling messages coded therein. In A Long Time Between Suns (Part 2), 2009,

  • Jean Painlevé, De gaulle ou Pince de homard, 1929, black-and-white photograph, 24  3/4 x 19 5/6". © 2009 ADAGP, Paris.

    The Subversion of Images

    In the forthcoming exhibition of nearly four hundred works made between 1920 and 1940, expect lesser-known found images, independent magazines, films, and games by some seventy-five artists.

    This survey of Surrealist photography—the Pompidou’s first since Rosalind Krauss and Jean Livingston’s 1985 “L’amour fou/Explosante-fixe”—might as well have “In the Expanded Field” as its subtitle. In the forthcoming exhibition of nearly four hundred works made between 1920 and 1940, expect lesser-known found images, independent magazines, films, and games by some seventy-five artists, from Jacques-André Boiffard to detective novelist Léo Malet—as well as rarely exhibited photos by André Breton and Antonin Artaud—all flanked by the iconic prints of

  • Elizabeth Price

    WELCOME appears projected in large, bright yellow Barbara Krugeresque lettering on the opening screen of Elizabeth Price’s film series “New, Ruined Institute.” The first two parts of this unfinished trilogy, WELCOME (The Atrium), 2008, and USER GROUP DISCO (The Hall of Sculptures), 2009, were on view here. The imposing invitation contrasted with the disorienting pitch-black space, filled with an intense musical score by Jem Noble that employs samples ranging from John Carpenter to Joy Division. After five minutes, the first screen goes silent and the source of the music suddenly emerges from

  • “Voodoo”

    True story: I took a disaffected, directionless high school senior to the opening of “Voodoo,” and, wildly enthused by this show, she applied to art school the next day. That’s how inspirational this gem of a group exhibition was. “Voodoo: Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit” roughly coincided with Nicolas Bourriaud’s grand Tate Triennial, a twenty-first-century mission statement on the future of curating filled with large-scale, theoretically au courant works. In contrast, “Voodoo”—crammed floor to ceiling with some fifty-five works dating from the nineteenth century to the present—represents

  • Lindsay Seers

    The third and final film in Lindsay Seers’s elaborate installation, “It has to be this way,” 2009, shows art critic Michael Newman intelligently critiquing the work itself, discussing the connection between memory and technology and thus memory’s inherently prosthetic quality. It’s very good stuff; so what’s left for a reviewer to do? Viewers of the three DVD works that made up the exhibition could only conclude that Seers is so savvy about her art’s theoretical underpinnings that she virtually hands us every critical or historical comment to be made about it; it feels intellectually self-conscious

  • Claire Hooper

    Claire Hooper’s Nach Spandau (To Spandau), 2008, is a video to watch alone. It follows the nearly empty U7 subway line in Berlin, station after station, in a fifty-three-minute series of short sequences on HDV. Each shot sooner or later lingers for a few seconds on some brief, motionless image, usually concentrating on the architectural details of each station; the overall result is an alternating pattern of wall-size moving images followed by often beautiful moments of stillness. Nach Spandau becomes a claustrophobic road movie that provokes a hypnotic curiosity about each next frame in its

  • Duncan Campbell

    Bernadette, 2008, is the story of Bernadette Devlin, the Irish political activist who, in 1969, became the youngest-ever female member of Parliament at the age of twenty-one; she was to remain an outspoken leader of the impoverished Catholic working classes. Beyond mere biography, however, Duncan Campbell’s 16-mm film (transferred to video) is also a story about storytelling itself—about the gaps, the choices, the subjective rehearsing of history, and all the moments left unrecorded and forgotten. Campbell uses primarily archival footage—usually exhilarating moments of Devlin’s spectacular

  • Tim Shaw

    Far off almost anyone’s London contemporary art map is Kensington, the posh residential neighborhood where the only galleries are the sort that might be expected to exhibit small bronze figurines—like this foundation, sited in the former studio of the prominent postwar sculptor Kenneth Armitage. And small bronze figurines, by the little-known midcareer sculptor Tim Shaw, do occupy the top floor, which made the installation hidden at the back all the more astonishing.

    Shaw has spent part of his two-and-a-half-year residency here building Casting a Dark Democracy, 2007–2008, a gargantuan, more than

  • the Whitechapel Gallery’s expansion

    WELL INTO THE 1980s, visitors to the East End of London would have been hard-pressed to imagine that this predominantly working-class area—hardly a magnet for cultural tourism in Thatcher’s Britain—would become a hub for contemporary art. If a few brave gallerists were already in the East End—such as Robin Klassnik of Matt’s Gallery, which opened in 1979, and Maureen Paley, who opened her first space in 1984—the indefatigable Whitechapel Gallery was the institution that made the district an unmissable if offbeat destination for cognoscenti in search of quality exhibitions of exciting new art.