Jonathan P. Watts

  • Peter Wächtler, Untitled (Clouds), 2018, HD video, color, silent, 10 minutes 36 seconds.
    picks January 10, 2020

    Peter Wächtler

    Much has been made of Peter Wächtler’s skilled handicraft and anachronistic registers. The title of his latest exhibition, “The Datum Trail,” refers to the now-obsolete singular form of data, the premise from which inferences are drawn. Although three of the four works here were displayed earlier last year as part of Wächtler’s solo show at Bergen Kunsthall, Josey’s domestic Georgian galleries—furnished, at the opening, with a pair of blazing coal fires—offer his mannerist fancies a befitting interiority.

    In the rear gallery, the flame’s crackling lent an uncanny soundtrack to a stop-motion video

  • Stephan Dillemuth, Disko (Mojos), 1989/2019, Plexiglas, wood, mylar, lighters, candles, sugar cubes, chicken bones, 65 x 18 x 12".
    picks October 17, 2019

    Stephan Dillemuth

    When the French restaurant beneath Eros House in Catford was evicted following complaints of late-night raves-cum-orgies, the new tenants kept its name: Le Bourgeois. It’s an irony not lost on Stephan Dillemuth. Crummy, gleeful, serious, his installations in “Diskodekorationen: From Another Century” literally decorate a disco, or what’d been a sort of disco before the artist-led gallery seized an opportunity at London’s art periphery.

    This show’s title accents another kind of distance: Between 1987 and ’89—in another century—Dillemuth, on a Bavarian grant, moved to Chicago, where he encountered

  • RWD magazine covers, 2016. Photo: Olivia Rose.

    This Is Grime

    This Is Grime, by Hattie Collins and Olivia Rose. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2016. 320 pages.

    THE ONLY STATESIDE PHOTOGRAPH in Hattie Collins and Olivia Rose’s book This Is Grime flickers at the edge of abstraction. Illumined by camera flash, a hazy specter—the fug of weed smoke, maybe—renders the signage of Williamsburg’s Music Hall barely legible: DIZZEE RASCAL—BOY IN DA CORNER. The show took place this past May, and Dizzee, offered an undisclosed fee by the Red Bull Music Academy, had agreed to perform the entirety of his Mercury Prize–winning album Boy in da Corner (

  • Edward Thomasson, Other People, 2016, watercolor on paper, 33 × 45 1/2".

    Edward Thomasson

    Unwittingly enacting something central to Edward Thomasson’s exhibition “Other People,” I reflexively supplemented its title to constitute Jean-Paul Sartre’s familiar aphorism “Hell is . . .” Abstracted from its context, the line has become the meme-like slogan of misanthropes. Its separatist ideal, latently theological, envisions withdrawal into the self, the logical consequence of which is loss of intimacy or empathy.

    This is inimical to Sartre’s philosophy of le regard: that we are dependent on and qualified by the Other. To be seen, Sartre writes, is to be “the instrument of possibilities

  • Christodoulos Panayiotou, Untitled, 2016, pseudomorph after aragonite, 18k yellow gold, 2 3/4 × 2 1/2 × 1/2".

    Christodoulos Panayiotou

    Almost exactly a decade before Christodoulos Panayiotou opened his recent show “False Form,” the Cypriot artist convened a roundtable at the University of Oxford among an astrophysicist, a historian of antiquity, a philosopher, and an artist, Jem Finer, on the theme of absence. The antiquarian introduced negative theology as a way to think beyond reason; thus the Christian tradition, she explained, asks questions relating to what God is not.

    The notable sparseness of “False Form,” with its five unwrapped panels—their gilt edges showing—stacked facing the wall protected by U-shaped foam

  • View of “Daniel Keller and Nicholas Cheveldave,” 2016. From left: Nicholas Cheveldave, Pipe Dreams, 2015; Daniel Keller, AmazonGlobal-Priority Cairn Unit 2, 2013; Daniel Keller, Stack Relief (Kai Zuckerberg + Bushwick Kutcher), 2015. Photo: Damian Griffiths.

    Nicholas Cheveldave and Daniel Keller

    Billed as “a collaborative exhibition by twenty-four international galleries across eight London spaces” and coordinated by Vanessa Carlos, director of Carlos/Ishikawa, Condo generated discourse largely centered on the economic straits facing younger commercial galleries in the city. You might be the hottest ticket in town, but cultural capital alone won’t pay your invoices. For this experimental exhibition, various galleries from all corners of London—among them Arcadia Missa, The Sunday Painter, Southard Reid, Project Native Informant, Supplement, and Rodeo—hosted work from galleries

  • Beatrice Loft Schulz, Living Arrangement # (detail), 2015, emulsion paint, glass beads, handmade paper buckets, tissue paper, polystyrene, marbled paper, packing materials, beading, gauze, dimensions variable.

    Beatrice Loft Schulz

    To enter Beatrice Loft Schulz’s “Living Arrangement #” meant passing through a ten-foot-wide, New Agey, patterned curtain of glass beads laboriously threaded by the artist. In advance of the exhibition’s opening, Arcadia Missa gallery director Rozsa Farkas told me, Loft Schulz and her assistant, Ruby Read, performed a magic spell to harness the earth’s energy for the gallery. Evidence of this ritual remained in the wiry stick bundles propped in the rear two corners of the space—charms signposting the invisible forces encircling this total environment. Loft Schulz’s work characterizes a