Lillian Davies

  • 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

  • Installation view at Galerie Yvon Lambert, 2006.
    picks November 14, 2006

    Anselm Kiefer

    Anselm Kiefer’s monumental canvases and sculptures, a constant tribute to material and accumulation, are, in this manifestation, an homage to the Jewish poet Paul Celan. While the sheer number of works included in this exhibition require not one, but two Marais galleries, this split allegorizes Celan’s constant displacement as he was forced to move around Europe in times of tyranny, war, and revolution. Kiefer has situated his dedication to the poet in the landscape surrounding Salzburg; despite the persecution of the Jewish people by the German state during Celan’s lifetime, the poet remained

  • Coué, 2006.
    picks November 10, 2006

    Alain Sechas

    In his first exhibition at this gallery, Alain Sechas pays tribute to the legends of twentieth-century art history with a series of paintings and sculptures that mischievously quote a parade of iconic modern masterpieces. In Barnett, 2006, Sechas casts one of his noodly cat people (who inhabit many of the works here) in a cartoonish scene, depicting the sprightly creature peeling a piece of tape from between two fields of color in a playful allusion to Barnett Newman’s revered paintings. For Alberto (petite famille) (Alberto [little family]), 2006, Sechas has painted, in his quick, comic-strip

  • Installation view, 2006.
    picks November 09, 2006

    Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom

    Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom’s black Formica structures, situated within a cohesive environment of light and sound, completely transform this gallery. For the installation, organized by Heidi Fichtner, the walls and ceiling have been painted black, allowing the tangible darkness of the work to fill the space. The title of the installation—For I Was like One Dead, like a Small Ghost, a Little Cold Air Wandering and Lost—is taken from that of an Edith Sitwell poem, but the work itself was conceived as a potential set for Luigi de Rossi’s 1647 Baroque opera based on the myth of Orpheus. Gonzalez

  • The Romantic, 2006.
    picks October 25, 2006

    Mathew Weir

    Mathew Weir’s small, secretive paintings have a mysterious and almost numinous presence. As if creating votive images, he takes solitary subjects, among them a robed figure carrying a cross, Abraham Lincoln, and an exhausted farmhand, and locks them into a rich field of colors. Around many of the figures, he crafts intricate wreaths that channel both the rich border designs found in illuminated manuscripts and fading chintz. For The Voyeur, 2006, he cradles a swaddled infant on a shaped canvas—a narrow rectangle topped by a convex arch. Suggestive of both an open doorway and a tombstone,

  • On Translation: Stand By, 2005.
    picks October 20, 2006

    Muntadas

    With the text WARNING: PERCEPTION REQUIRES INVOLVEMENT emblazoned across the gallery’s glass facade, Antoni Muntadas declares the premise behind his ongoing project, “On Translation.” Inside, those increasingly ubiquitous retractable-fabric barriers dictate a crisscrossing path through the space; the path guides visitors on a slow and prescriptive tour past five color photographs glowing in large light boxes, each titled On Translation: Stand By, 2005. The images capture people forming lines at the Doge’s Palace in Venice, an international airport, a cinema in France, outside an administrative

  • Nu (lissant), 1942–43.
    picks October 20, 2006

    Francis Picabia

    Christening the gallery’s new exhibition space, Francis Picabia’s glossy nudes flash painted lips, penciled brows, and soft flesh in a string of practiced poses. Appropriating images from magazines, postcards, and illustrated romance novels rather than engaging with life models, Picabia gives his women a vulgar air of repeated exposure. On pieces of cardboard and wood, the painter copies the distinct postures and props that mark each figure with an erotic identity and narrative. He re-creates the dramatic lighting used to maximize the impact of shadows beneath collarbones, reflections off of