Lillian Davies

  • Un Prologue et trois parties (Bayreuth Festpielhaus) (A Prologue in Three Parts [Bayreuth Festival House]), 2007, mixed media on paper, 17 x 54 3/8".
    picks May 14, 2007

    Guillermo Kuitca

    Seizing the epic structure of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, Guillermo Kuitca engages its historic resonance in ruminations on legacy and evolution. Each of the four canvases that complete Kuitca’s The Ring, 2002—here installed independently, rather than as a continuous frieze as is sometimes the case—is paired with one of the operas and marked with production-company logos to resemble record sleeves or CD covers. Although connected by the expanding circuitry of a street-map-like grid, Kuitca matches each opera to a unique theater, conductor, and record label—recognizing the ongoing evolution of

  • Philippe Parreno, El sueno de una cosa (The dream of a thing), 2001, still from a 35-mm film, 1 minute.
    picks May 04, 2007

    “Slash Fiction”

    The coat of arms of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland marks the entrance with a double crown, symbolically overthrowing the sovereignty of the space. Each visitor must have her KREV-issued visa application approved before entering, indicating an appropriate “purpose of visit.” Inside, curators Nav Haq and Mia Jankowicz have brought together video, installation, and performance works that seek escape from the mechanics of the status quo. Wang Wei, one of six international artists included here, has provided a scaffolding construction that simultaneously restricts movement and emphasizes the

  • David Shrigley, Laundry, 2006, still from a black-and-white video with sound, 2 minutes 44 seconds.
    picks April 25, 2007

    “Momentary Momentum”

    Launching the intimacy of drawing into spectacular motion in a selection of films, videos, and animations, cocurators Ziba de Weck-Ardalan and Laurence Dreyfus have carefully installed work by twenty international artists across two floors of this showcase space. Headlining the exhibition in the first room, Christine Rebet’s Brand Band News, 2005, a triple-projection video installed inside a raw wooden cabin designed by the artist, is a magical vision of the Wild West. Bewitching music, composed by George Philip, with lyrics by the artist’s brother Frédéric Rebet, accompanies the narrative,

  • Darius the Great (detail), 2007, mixed-media costume and ink and watercolor on paper, dimensions vary. Installation view.
    picks April 03, 2007

    Marcel Dzama

    Marcel Dzama’s Ljubojevic (all works 2007), a life-size bear costume peering through a hole in the wall just behind the gallery's front windows, is a gatekeeper at the entrance to this iteration artist’s fantastic world. Inside, Dzama’s drawings and photo collages give life and dimension to his cast of characters, evocative of those in Roald Dahl’s playful tales. The ink-and-watercolor sketch for Ukuleter describes a tree with a thick trunk and spindly branches as a “day-time talk show king” who “popularized the ukelele which was named after him.” But his story ends in misfortune—he was “burnt

  • Christine Rebet

    In 1911 the Dreamland fairground on Coney Island was completely destroyed by fire, a tragedy foreshadowed by the fear-inducing entertainment that had been the amusement park’s top draw: Fighting the Flames, a terrifying show in which hundreds of performers staged the elaborate rescue of more than a dozen people from the top of a burning six-story building. In her exhibition “Tiger Escape,” French artist Christine Rebet (who lives and works in New York) has returned the surreal details of this seaside nightmare to the status of spectacle in twenty-three colored ink drawings, a sound installation,

  • Left: White Cube's Jay Jopling and artist Andreas Gursky. Right: Dealer Monika Sprüth and Andrew Silewicz, director of Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary March 25, 2007

    Rave Reviews

    London

    As I entered Mason’s Yard at 6:30 PM last Thursday, the cobbled square was already packed with youthful hipsters sipping beer under a green vinyl tarp. Do these revelers ever even make it into the gallery, I wondered? I navigated through the crowd and into White Cube’s latest annex, where all three levels had been given over to eleven of photographer Andreas Gursky’s new works—more than five thousand square feet of pure spectacle. But technically, this was only half of the show—Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers’s new Grafton Street gallery (officially opening that night) was hosting the rest.

  • Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie No 21, 1960, metal on cardboard, acrylic, and plastic, 40 11/16 x 41 7/8 x 2 9/16".
    picks March 14, 2007

    “The Geometry of Hope”

    Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro’s presentation of works from Patricia Phelps de Cisneros’s preeminent collection offers a breathtaking look at developments in abstract art in the Americas during the twentieth century. Posed in opposition to the “geometry of fear,” a term coined by the art critic Herbert Read to describe creative tendencies in postwar Britain, Perez-Barreiro opens this historical show in the '30s and moves quickly forward, focusing on the dynamic centers of Montevideo, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Paris, and culminates with works by Carlos Cruz-Diez and other kinetic

  • View of “John Armleder: About Nothing. Works on Paper 1962–2007.”
    picks February 19, 2007

    John Armleder

    Filling the great hall of the South London Gallery, the accumulation of more than four hundred of John Armleder’s drawings made over the past forty-five years forms an entirely new and enchanting environment. Curator Beatrix Ruf acknowledges the breadth of Armleder’s works on paper, pulling together designs as well as doodles, each a playful investigation of line, shape, color—or designer furniture. Armleder has densely packed Ruf's selection of pieces, running to the top of the high walls, that reveals the artist’s wide-ranging aesthetic and conceptual interests: large pieces of yellowing

  • Left: Artist Tim Gardner and Veronica Schriber. Right: Dealer Stuart Shave with Tate curator Stuart Comer. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary January 20, 2007

    Family Affair

    London

    Although we’d never met, Charles Saumarez Smith, director of the National Gallery, greeted me with kisses as I arrived through the grand portico entrance for the opening of “Tim Gardner: New Works.” Clearly, love was in the air, and for this intimate gathering in room one of the Trafalgar Square institution, a charming space the size of a living room, friends and relatives were gathering to admire Gardner’s landscapes and portraits. I met Gardner’s father, Jim, who introduced me to his wife, sons, nieces, and nephews, all of whom had traveled from Canada to celebrate. Gardner himself graciously

  • Mesas de trabajo y reflexión (Tables of Work and Reflection), 1978–94, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks January 17, 2007

    “Victor Grippo: Tables of Work and Reflection”

    Victor Grippo’s energetic devotion of chemisty, poetry, and craftsmanship to the transformation of raw materials from his native Argentina speaks to his faith in natural substances and the human spirit. For Mesas de trabajo y reflexión (Tables of Work and Reflection), 1978–94, the title installation of this, his first large-scale exhibition in London, Grippo and others marked each of seven worn work-tops with notes dedicated to the pieces’ modest carpentry, “La mesa esta vacia pero en si misma contiene” (The table is empty, but contains itself). Elsewhere, a long, narrow table supports Naturalizar

  • David Musgrave, Television Drawing no. 4, 2005, graphite on paper, 13 x 9 3/4".
    picks January 03, 2007

    David Musgrave

    David Musgrave’s quietly contemplative graphite drawings of twigs, tape, and pieces of twine settled among televisual static and dust are a deliberate retreat from the wild speed and vibrancy that define the urban landscape. Musgrave’s hermetic tendency grants elevated status to the oft-forgotten states of construction and transmission; the sometimes-lengthy artistic process, private and reverently observant, can be as important as the final, public artwork. In his work, ephemeral elements become beautifully finished objects, especially in the case of the show’s single bronze sculpture, a spindly

  • Left: Hans Ulrich Obrist, codirector of exhibitions and programs and director of international projects at the Serpentine, and Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones. Right: Artist Tracey Emin. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary November 28, 2006

    Vanitas Fare

    London

    Not to be outdone by the YAAs of “USA Today,” Charles Saatchi’s latest Royal Academy blockbuster, Damien Hirst has followed the Serpentine Gallery’s “Uncertain States of America” with “In the darkest hour there may be light,” a selection of his enviable murderme collection. Having begun by swapping works with his friends Angus Fairhurst, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Lucas, Hirst has continued to amass his holdings by strategic purchases through art dealers—and eBay. Yes, he admitted to Hans-Ulrich Obrist that he has a penchant for fake Picassos available through the Internet auction site. This is the