Louisa Elderton

  • Grace Weaver, Puff Puff, 2021, oil on canvas, 49 x 45".
    picks July 21, 2021

    Grace Weaver

    Slow down; savor life’s small moments. It took a global pandemic for many of us to ditch our addiction to busyness and heed this noble, if clichéd, advice. Grace Weaver’s suite of ten new paintings, “Droop,” produced during lockdown, depicts a repertoire of the hitherto unexceptional: taking out the trash, slowly sipping a beer, pulling on a cigarette and relishing the smoke rings. Their titles often conjure distilled sounds, like the plosive breath of Puff Puff, 2021, which portrays a pallid woman watching two clouds of cigarette smoke rise into the air.

    Shaped like disks, these puffs wink at

  • Rebecca Ackroyd, Trawler, 2020, epoxy resin, fiberglass, wig, 29 1⁄8 × 21 1⁄4 × 7 7⁄8".

    Rebecca Ackroyd

    Rebecca Ackroyd’s show “100mph” seemed still in a process of becoming. The gallery was filled with modular walls and temporary scaffolds wrapped in dust sheets. From the outside, the space looked closed for refurbishment; inside, the plastic rustled as you walked past, swelling with air and then receding. The twenty-seven drawings and sculptures that comprised this show were hung over the plastic and depicted metal air vents, grilles, and drains. There were also fishnet stockings as well as tights so ludicrously full of runs that they, too, were apertures as much as membranes. For Ackroyd,

  • Monika Maurer-Morgenstern, Es brennt (Fire), 1976, watercolor on paper, 7 x 5".
    picks March 19, 2020

    Monika Maurer-Morgenstern

    Sometimes you just need to have a quiet word with yourself. German artist Monika Maurer-Morgenstern’s works conjure such a psychological space: a many-colored penetrating self-dialogue, by turns calming and castigating. In her works on paper in pencil, crayon, pastel, and watercolor, from the 1970s to the present, Maurer-Morgenstern—who was formerly referred to as an outsider artist—suggests power plays within the self.

    Wein doch nicht (Don’t Cry), 1997, sees a scarlet apparition looming angrily over a cowering, wide-eyed figure, wild scribbles propelling outward from their chest, anxiety made

  • A.K. Burns, Leave No Trace (Negative Space 000), 2019, Still from the 28-minute, 15 second five-channel HD color video component of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising a 48 × 48 × 85 1⁄4" cube, speakers, a plastic skull, used tires, and ratchet straps. Clara López Menéndez.

    A.K. Burns

    A nosebleed, a thick pipe from which liquid drips, a juicer spilling pools of bejeweled color, the hazy aura of a sun eclipsed by the moon—these were among the images of leakage in the three video installations, a silent film, and twenty-one collages in A.K. Burns’s exhibition “Negative Space.” Another kind of leakage was evoked by Chelsea Manning’s military jacket, which reappeared throughout the series of sci-fi films on view, including two older works, A Smeary Spot (Negative Space 0), 2015, and Living Room (Negative Space 00), 2017; and the more recent Leave No Trace (Negative Space 000),

  • Cecily Brown, Untitled (After Beckmann), 2012, gouache and water color on paper, 12 x 16".
    picks July 03, 2019

    “Max Beckmann in Dialogue: Cecily Brown, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Dana Schutz”

    “We are all tightrope walkers,” navigating the lines between art, grief, and passion—or so wrote Max Beckmann in “Letters to a Woman Painter,” composed for a 1948 lecture at Stephens College, the US’s second-oldest women’s college, in Columbia, Missouri. That same year, he arrived in the United States following his long exile from Nazi Germany and painted Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), a portrait of opera singer Minna Tube, his first wife and muse. Beckmann’s depiction of her as the spear-wielding principal from Wagner’s eponymous opera is a keystone work in this exhibition, which places the German

  • Gallery Weekend Berlin dinner at the Postbahnhof. (All photos unless otherwise noted: Louisa Elderton)
    diary May 21, 2018

    From Bratwurst to Bulgari

    THEY SAY YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. When it came to the fourteenth edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin and the second iteration of ArtMonte-Carlo—both of which opened on April 27 and ran until April 29—I did as much as I could. The organizers of the latter attempted a collaboration, ferrying collectors between the two sites via private jet and helicopter—not very Berlin, but very Monte Carlo. The idea was to coax the most coveted collectors from Monaco’s principality to Germany’s capital and vice versa. Not a bad idea given Berlin’s desire to entice the international elite.

    The New York Times hosted the

  • View of “Elham Rokni: The Seven Abdulkarims,” 2018.
    picks February 27, 2018

    Elham Rokni

    Iranian artist Elham Rokni confronts a subject that has been increasingly sidelined in the mainstream media of late, namely, the displacement of peoples due to war and conflict. After interviewing refugees from Eritrea and Sudan seeking asylum in Israel, the artist made mixed-media works on paper, a book, and a video recounting their folktales and oral histories, rendering stories as dreamlike images.

    Refugees’ rucksacks stored in treetops open the video The Seven Abdulkarims (all works cited, 2018) before we are introduced to Khamis Elshaikh/Abdulkarim, a Sudanese actor. Rokni and he visit the

  • View of: “Leonor Antunes: the frisson of the togetherness,” 2017–18.
    picks February 16, 2018

    Leonor Antunes

    Leonor Antunes’s exhibition here, “the frisson of the togetherness,” thrills as rapturously as an eagerly anticipated kiss. Her materials, forms, and techniques coalesce to stirring effect, producing an atmosphere that carefully weaves the viewer into her mesmeric installation.

    Soft light from freestanding lamps, which casts gentle shadows, caresses the perforated shapes that divide the gallery. Leather horse bridals sit within tangled trellises; teak panels, reminiscent of room partitions, are laced together and fan out (permutations, all works cited, 2017). They’re punctured with large, triangular

  • Holly Hendry, Reflux, 2017, plaster, jesmonite, oak, cement, aluminum, marble, steel, tumeric, grit, poppy seeds, ash, paint, 41 x 24 x 22".
    picks October 12, 2017

    Holly Hendry

    The body has long been a subject of artistic investigation, from Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical studies or Rembrandt’s paintings of autopsies to Alina Szapocznikow’s sensually corporeal sculptures of limbs and lips and Sarah Lucas’s 2009–2010 “NUDS” series, to name a few. The lineage leads to Holly Hendry, a young artist whose unique sculptural language abstracts the body into layers of organs and dermis, akin to the sedimentary buildup of soil.

    Following her graduation from the Royal College of Art last year, this is the artist’s first solo show in Berlin. Combining floor-based and wall-mounted

  • Ed Clark, Rainbow, 2003, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 58".
    picks September 22, 2017

    Ed Clark

    Maybe you’ve heard of Ed Clark, but even if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat with this exhibition. Though a part of the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s and an early adopter of working with shaped canvases, Clark—who was born in Louisiana in 1926 and grew up in Chicago—has retained a relatively low profile, only recently receiving a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2013. Here, he presents paintings made between 1978 and 2013: large-scale canvases of brightly colored acrylics, fluid and forceful, as well as smaller pieces on paper of acrylic and dried pigment, which

  • Left: Art Cologne director Daniel Hug with dealer Jochen Meyer and artist Julia Müller. Right: Art Berlin director Maike Cruse.
    diary September 19, 2017

    First Time’s a Charm

    BERLIN IS IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE, both seasonal and structural. Seasonal because a summer of torrential rain has finally given way to the blue skies and orange hues of autumn, and structural because, as Forbes said earlier this year, Berlin has “turned into a thriving global capital that draws investors.”

    One of said investors is the respected fair Art Cologne, which has now merged with art berlin contemporary (abc) to create Art Berlin. This event was inaugurated last week and, as most of Berlin’s art world succumbed to the flu, sales soared for art and Ibuprofen alike.

    The city’s exponential

  • View of “From the Aesthetic of Administration,” 2017.
    picks September 08, 2017

    “From the Aesthetic of Administration”

    How do you envisage the aesthetics of administration? Early morning light, a wood-veneer desk, perhaps tea in a chipped mug? Conceptual artist Joshua Schwebel seeks to examine art from a structural perspective for this exhibition, which could be mistaken for a dowdy office. The show began as an email (a copy of which is pinned to the wall here), sent by Schwebel to Berlin’s arts-funding administration, the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa (Senate Administration for Culture and Europe), inviting its staff to produce artworks for his show. He received only two positive responses, from Pauline