Lynne Gentle

  • diary July 03, 2010

    Forever and a Day


    WITHIN THE RANK CONFINES of a 36 “bendy” bus on Thursday evening, I made my way to South London Gallery’s exhibition and gala to celebrate the completion of its recent building project. As I pondered just how Britain’s boring new “age of austerity” might manifest itself in the art world, my dirty red chariot lurched to a stop outside the gallery, whereupon depressing notions of an economy drive evaporated with the vision of the gossamer mighty Aphrodite Gonou and cute Kenny Goss, better half of George Michael and one half of the Goss-Michael Foundation.

    Inside, the building was humming with

  • diary June 01, 2009

    Vital Signs


    MASON’S YARD IN SAINT JAMES’S was the place to be in London on Thursday night for Tracey Emin’s “Those Who Suffer Love” at White Cube, and Abraham Cruzvillegas around the corner at Thomas Dane Gallery. Economic green shoots of recovery or not, the evening provided just the high-spirited fuel injection London needed to remind itself of its indomitable upper lip and famously plucky style.

    The weather was superb, the designer shades were big, the heels were death-defying, and there were mountains of décolletage as far as the eye could see—coincidence, perhaps, but I suspected homage to endowed and

  • diary December 01, 2008

    Supply and Demand


    WHEN LONDON does public-transportation chaos, boy does she pull out all the stops. My Tuesday-evening tour of a handful of London’s top galleries was an obstacle course of stumbling blocks and banana skins. But such is life in the city.

    Surmounting transport challenges at last, my first stop was Saint James’s, where Hurvin Anderson’s new exhibition at Thomas Dane was enjoying a mellow and respectable attendance. The wainscoted entrance to the gallery is accessible via a narrow staircase that is passable only by one very thin human being at a time. Once inside, I was pleased to discover that I

  • diary October 19, 2008

    Gilt by Association


    I would be lying if I said the words credit and crunch weren’t informing my safari through the art world as it swarmed into London last week for Frieze. But despite gloomy headlines, and in fine British fashion, London brushed itself off, blew away the clouds, and offered up some glorious autumnal weather.

    Bypassing Wednesday’s VIP preview, I draped myself over a piece of overstuffed chintz at Aspinalls in Mayfair while anticipating Lehmann Maupin’s soiree for honored guests artist Teresita Fernández and architect David Adjaye. The “swellegance” of the venue thumbed its gilt nose at budget cuts

  • diary April 29, 2008

    Captain Cooke


    Thinking myself terribly clever, I arrived early to the inauguration of Stuart Shave/Modern Art’s new West End gallery last Thursday evening, under the assumption that this would guarantee a leisurely private viewing of Nigel Cooke’s exhibition “New Accursed Art Club.” Imagine my chagrin when, by half past five in the afternoon, the joint was already jumping, and caps were flying off beer bottles faster than rattled gallery staff could ice them down. Clearly, there are a lot of clever people in London. I double-checked my watch as the crowds pushed in.

    And what a crowd it was. Artists great and

  • diary March 02, 2008

    Gown Town


    It’s difficult to work an evening gown in London unless you’re the queen. Without footmen, a scepter, and the odd lady-in-waiting, evening gowns look just plain wrong in this climate. It was therefore royally unfortunate that strapless, ankle-skimming frocks were de rigueur last Wednesday evening at “Figures of Speech,” the Institute of Contemporary Art’s annual fund-raising gala. Held at the drafty Royal Horticultural Society’s conference center in darkest Victoria, the multifaceted money-spinner involved an exhibition, dinner, and auction, punctuated by a series of five-minute presentations

  • diary December 06, 2007

    Sleeper Hit


    Neurotically reluctant to stray farther north than north London, I felt mild dread as I boarded a train last Monday for Liverpool, Europe’s 2008 Capital of Culture. Everything is the new something these days, I thought, cynically bracing myself for the novelty of a Turner Prize served up Scouse-style. Ringo Starr meets Andy Capp to discuss Duchamp? Turned out I was wrong.

    This year marks the first time the Turner Prize has poked its nose outside London, a decision that, director Nicholas Serota assured me, was not a wonky reading of the Tate compass. Determined to give the city a leg up and

  • diary November 13, 2007

    Angels in America


    The London art world would starve to death these days but for the culinary ministrations of Caprice Group’s Mark Hix, the chef of the moment and the man behind the menu at the Artangel Dinner, held on Saturday evening in the Great Hall at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Hosted by an anonymous “pair of angels,” the event celebrated Artangel’s artistic labors of love and the people who “inspire and support” them. Guests included the father of Pop art, Richard Hamilton, who delivered the evening’s keynote speech, as well as artists Ruth Ewan, Alan Kane, Clio Barnard, and Roger Hiorns, the latest

  • diary October 07, 2007

    Speed Limit


    What do you get when you mix a knob of elephant dung with half a cow, a smidge of transvestitism, and a full-scale garden shed? Why, a Turner Prize retrospective, of course. Last Monday night, Tate Britain unveiled an exhibition that is exactly what it says on the tin—a retrospective of works by all the winning artists. Short-listed “losers” were contentiously excluded from the exhibition, warranting only a mention in the show’s “supporting material.” Ouch.

    Seen by many as the catalyst in bringing contemporary art to the attention of the British public—a public only too eager to proffer a vociferous

  • diary September 26, 2007

    Digging In


    Underdressed for the weather and impractically shod, I hobbled to rough-’n’-ready Kentish Town last Monday evening for the unveiling of London’s newest art space—a rebranded nineteenth-century Methodist chapel called, somewhat succinctly, 176—now the home of Zabludowicz Art Projects. While rumor has it that several notable London-based collectors are hatching plans to open public art spaces of their own, collector and patron Anita Zabludowicz has pipped them to the post. With suitably proportioned spaces rare in the Big Smoke, the chapel must have truly been a godsend, albeit shipped from above

  • diary July 14, 2007

    Star Trek


    When is a party not a party? When it’s a “fearless pooling of knowledge!” pronounced Hans-Ulrich Obrist, indefatigable curator and master of spin, as he surveyed the glamorous gathering at London’s Serpentine Gallery on Wednesday evening. Director Julia Peyton-Jones had pulled her usual star-studded crowd on the occasion of the esteemed not-for-profit’s annual summer party. Imperiously branded, The Summer Party dwarfs every other art-world event on London’s social calendar. At £250 ($500) a pop, tickets are by invitation only and highly sought after—and everyone who scores one attends.

    As seasoned

  • diary May 06, 2007

    From Hair to Eternity


    On Tuesday evening, the 36 bus was packed and stale with urban humanity. As it crept across South London, I strained for a glimpse of something other than housing estates broken by the occasional Georgian terrace, anything that might indicate art. South London Gallery (SLG) is geographically challenged, and yet, flanked by Camberwell College of Art, it is one of the most highly respected public galleries in Britain, with an historical pedigree and a finger-on-the-pulse program. Featuring abundant natural light and elegant proportions, the SLG space, according to many artists and curators, is