Gilda Williams

  • 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.

  • Liverpool Biennial

    The Liverpool Biennial, now in its fifth edition, may never surpass Tatsurou Bashi’s masterstroke, Villa Victoria, from the second edition in 2002. The artist had constructed a temporary hotel room around an imposing piece of nineteenth-century civic statuary dominating one of Liverpool’s busiest squares. Guests spent a night in a make-shift bedroom dominated by a colossal bronze Queen Victoria while urban traffic swirled ceaselessly round just outside the room’s thin walls, a dislocated island of intimacy and stillness amid a space of maximum exposure.

    If Villa Victoria was all about displacement—the

  • Roger Hiorns

    Having previously coated small models of gothic cathedrals, car engines, and other objects in bright blue copper sulphate crystals, sculptor Roger Hiorns took this technique to virtuosic heights with Seizure, 2008, encrusting an entire apartment wall-to-ceiling in sparkling azure crystals. This startling superimposition of nature onto culture was achieved by first sealing watertight an empty three-room apartment in a 1960s public-housing block condemned for demolition. A hole drilled into the ceiling from the apartment above allowed the artist to pour more than eighteen thousand gallons of the

  • John Samson

    You can watch excerpts from all three films by the late John Samson on view here on YouTube—Tattoo, 1975, Dressing for Pleasure, 1977, and Arrows, 1979—and see for yourself how spectacularly dreary Britain was in the 1970s. Samson made these documentary-style films around the time Dick Hebdige was researching his seminal Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979), and you understand why both observers found these thriving subcultural scenes—gangs, fetishists, punks, teddy boys—so worthy of attention. The rest of this bunch of islanders, poorly dressed and eager to vote Margaret Thatcher into office

  • Peter Coffin and Djordje Ozbolt

    Our expectation upon entering a dark, black-curtained gallery is that we will be watching some “new media” projection. But no: In this collaborative work by installation artist Peter Coffin and painter Djordje Ozbolt, Untitled (Djordje Ozbolt) (all works 2008), five small paintings hang on a wall in a darkened room. One by one, in sequence, each picture is brightly lit for a minute or so—the first a bit longer than the rest. The lighting on each picture varies. Four spotlights dance over a work subtitled Health and Safety, in which a monkey cavorts in some depthless gymnasium or construction

  • “Front of House”

    “Front of House” is a collaborative exhibition conceived as a four-way conversation between artists Ângela Ferreira and Narelle Jubelin, architect Marcos Corrales, and curator Andrew Renton. And a very polite conversation it seems to be at first, taking place in a sort of Miesian parlor furnished with beautifully crafted shelves arranged and designed by Corrales, an Andre-like Equivalent sculpture made up of Renton’s long-lost catalogues to his 1993 exhibition “Walter Benjamin’s Briefcase” (itself famously lost in transit), and some elegantly built wooden sculptures. Artworks such as Ferreira

  • Daniel Silver, Heads, 2006. Installation view, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK, 2007.

    DANIEL SILVER

    MUCH OF LONDON-BASED SCULPTOR Daniel Silver’s work occupies an in-between state—between complete and incomplete, between handmade and mass-produced, between artistic object and castoff. For an exhibition at Ibid Projects in London this past winter, for example, Silver acquired several discarded marble copies of Roman and Greek statuary, recently carved in Carrara, Italy, that had been tossed aside by local artisans because the sculptures were cracked, chipped, or rendered crooked during their making. Whereas the Italian craftspeople had deemed the work too crummy to bother finishing, Silver

  • Jimmy De Sana

    Taken when the American photographer Jimmy De Sana (1950–1990) was between the ages of just twenty and twenty-two, the small, black-and-white images in 101 Nudes, 1972, seem to document simultaneously this talented artist’s fumbling discoveries in both sex and photography. The subjects’ often embarrassing suburban posturing—a fleshy young woman walking gracelessly in the backyard; a skinny boy posing stupidly on a dining-room table, performing some sort of arabesque—captures the awkward, mischievous curiosity of early encounters with sex or art, the moments when our parents mercifully left us

  • Ryan Gander, Milestone, 2006, concrete, 13 3/4 x 9 7/8 x 4 3/4".

    Ryan Gander

    For the artist's first Swiss solo outing, the kunsthalle will present some fifteen sculptures, videos, and installations from the past two years.

    Who says Conceptual art is dead? On the heels of Ryan Gander's one-man show which traveled from Birmingham's Ikon Gallery to the South London Gallery earlier this year, a second major exhibition opens this June. Frequently examining doubt and boredom in studio life, Gander's quiet practice also mines history and memory, and his reworkings of found items—from crossword puzzles and city maps to children's books and PlayStation games—often contradict the spirit of the original: Milestone, 2006, for example, is a Roman-looking marker built from concrete that had fallen

  • Anthony McCall

    In the 1970s, when Anthony McCall’s Solid Light sculptures were first projected in galleries and loft spaces, cigarette smoke and dust particles filled the air promiscuously, allowing his room-size sculptural projections to function. Before the days of smoking bans and filter systems, works such as Line Describing a Cone, 1973—a projected white dot in a completely darkened space that slowly grows, over thirty minutes, into a circular line on the facing wall, eventually filling the blackness with a conical “volume” in space—did not depend on a hazer of the kind that is nowadays used to produce

  • William Daniels

    You might think that what makes William Daniels’s small, almost colorless paintings so exceptional is their extreme technical proficiency, but they’re more intellectually ambitious than that. Three years ago Daniels gained attention for canvases based on his own torn-cardboard tableaux of famous paintings: Cheap, homey material stood in for Mont Sainte Victoire or Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath, painstakingly reproduced, with Vija Celmins–esque levels of detail, in small brownish-gray paintings. For his recent show, Daniels covered his cardboard models in aluminum foil, and the

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila, The Hour of Prayer, 2005, four-channel video installation, 14 minutes 12 seconds. Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2007. Photo: Pablo Mason.

    Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    Emerging in the 1990s—the decade when moving image–based art reached a kind of worldwide zenith—Eija-Liisa Ahtila earned unique respect for her emotionally charged films, videos, and photographs.

    Emerging in the 1990s—the decade when moving image–based art reached a kind of worldwide zenith—Eija-Liisa Ahtila earned unique respect for her emotionally charged films, videos, and photographs. The FInnish artist's first retrospective in France will present four of her sculptures and some seventeen diptychs in addition to a selection of her “human dramas,” multiscreen films often set in claustrophobic interiors furnished with equally claustrophobic relationships. Using what she calls fragment-based storytelling, Ahtila exploits contemporary museumgoers' itinerant