Philomena Epps

  • picks February 26, 2018

    Ian Giles

    Ian Giles’s current exhibition considers the legacy of the influential, pink pages of BUTT magazine, which started in 2001 and ended as a print object in 2011 (BUTT still maintains a website). Issues appear in a small library and vitrine display at the gallery’s entrance, where copies of other gay periodicals such as the 1970s zine Straight to Hell—a journal of anonymous sex stories that was a formative inspiration for BUTT—and recent issues of Attitude, Fantastic Man, and Hello Mr. are also laid out.

    Giles solicited firsthand material through interviews in order to build a narrative for After

  • picks November 27, 2017

    David Panos

    For David Panos, the fabric of a sneaker, text on a high-fashion T-shirt, or the detailing of a baseball cap have the ability to trigger memories. For Reveries & Street Madeleines 2016–17, 2017—one of the pieces that open the exhibition here—the artist has recorded such sartorial cues in furtively shot clips on his iPhone while out and about. For Panos, these moments of now call to mind the aesthetics of 1989: specifically, through the gestures and other forms of expression belonging to various fashion and dance subcultures. His work asks what the revival of these idioms says about how we recycle

  • picks October 03, 2017

    Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati

    Pink daylight filters through the windows of this former chapel. At its center is a small white box full of drawings. Walking into the space to view these works feels like you’re about to do something very private, such as confess your sins or take in a peep show.

    This is the first time that Italian artist Vittorio Scarpati’s final project, Putti’s Pudding, 1989, has been shown outside the US. Although included in Nan Goldin’s exhibition “Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing,” at New York’s Artists Space in 1989, Putti’s Pudding was originally conceived as a book. Working in collaboration with his

  • picks July 27, 2017

    Monira Al Qadiri

    “The embassy was an alien spacecraft hiding the biggest conspiracy known to man.” I hear this suspicious utterance while sitting in a booth at an artificial American diner—my notebook nestled among salt and pepper shakers, a dispenser of stripy red straws, and bottles of ketchup and mustard—as I immerse myself in Monira Al Qadiri’s installation The Craft (all works 2017). In an accompanying video, the artist meshes old family photographs, shaky VHS footage, and amateur-looking cartoons of extraterrestrials to convey an enigmatic story about her childhood and a galactic conspiracy: a cross between

  • picks May 30, 2017

    Lara Favaretto

    “Absolutely Nothing,” Lara Favaretto’s current (and largest to date) UK exhibition, brings together significant pieces from the last two decades along with new works. The title, however, is misleading, as Favaretto has turned the museum space into a thinking machine. Thinking Head, 2017, a public commission by the gallery, is a sculpture composed of a hidden device emitting water vapor that slowly rises from the roof of the building, inspired by Alighiero Boetti’s last sculpture, My Brain is Smoking, 1993. The intensity of Favaretto’s steam will differ according to the levels of contemplation

  • picks April 14, 2017

    Maeve Brennan

    The Drift, 2017, is Maeve Brennan’s major film commission and first institutional solo exhibition. Brennan’s practice—exemplified by previous work such as Jerusalem Pink, 2015, which considered the relationship between the role of stone in Palestine and her great-grandfather’s occupation there as an architect during the British Mandate—merges serious investigative documentary practices with a sensitive and poetic relationship to using moving image as a means to create subjective and/or staged moments: footage meets fiction.

    Brennan has been based between Beirut and London since 2013. The Drift

  • picks March 16, 2017

    Georgia Horgan

    All Whores are Jacobites, 2017, an installation by Glasgow-based artist Georgia Horgan, makes up her first solo show in London. The artist’s research-based work engages with issues of history, capitalism, and gendered labor. Horgan’s interest in the sharing of information—through broadcast, distribution, or teaching—is derived from a wider concern with how history can be invented and how society might reproduce and consider itself in the contemporary moment. Using a Marxist approach, the artist highlights the sociopolitical conditions that keep capitalism thriving, making the past tangible in

  • picks February 07, 2017

    “Jerwood Solo Presentations 2017”

    In a video, a black sack covers the head of a naked body. The body is filmed in front of a green screen—much like the nonspace of detention environments. This hooded figure reappears in the second part of the film in a montage of aerial shots, onto which a striking poem is superimposed, describing an encounter with a security officer at a London airport. This is Imran Perretta’s single-channel video brother to brother, 2017, which explores the relationship between unmitigated state violence and border surveillance. Shortly after I watched this piece, Donald Trump imposed his ban on Muslims,

  • picks December 02, 2016

    France-Lise McGurn

    Light up a cigarette and enjoy the party—the title of France-Lise McGurn’s solo exhibition here, “Mondo Throb,” signifies a rhythmic, vibrating, and discotheque-style environment. Mondo, which means “world” in Italian, is highlighted through the visceral connotations produced by the strong sound of something throbbing.

    Utilizing a mix of gesso, oil, acrylic, markers, and spray paint, McGurn constructed much of the show in situ, producing Soft, psychic, sweet surprise (all works cited, 2016) a wall mural, and several untitled floor drawings. They cavort and intersect with a number of (mostly)

  • picks November 01, 2016

    Simeon Barclay

    Artist Simeon Barclay’s current solo exhibition is his first in London. This multidisciplinary offering explores the subtleties of gender and memory through a diverse range of references derived from sports journalism, fashion, Afro-Caribbean culture, and British working-class history.

    The quietly embedded symbolism and cultural signposting within Barclay’s works—“semiotically charged” things, as the curator Morgan Quaintance notes—are gently highlighted by the artist’s clever use of various media. Sculpture, printmaking, video, and audio all coexist comfortably within the space, initiating a

  • picks October 17, 2016

    Katia Kameli

    “What language do you speak stranger? . . . Tell me where are you from? It does not matter, here everyone is an outsider. Sit down please, and join my circle of listeners.” We read these words upon entering the space and are invited to take a seat within a re-creation of an al-halqa, the traditional Arab storyteller’s circle. A wooden structure with soft cushions forms the installation accompanying Katia Kameli’s 2012 film The Storyteller, originally commissioned for the Marrakech Biennale of that year. In her first UK solo exhibition, Kameli has crafted a journey through recent works that

  • picks August 09, 2016

    “Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity”

    This group exhibition explores the disjunction between the simultaneous visibility and vulnerability of black men in contemporary society. Curators Ekow Eshun and Karen McQuaid express that while black men may be lauded as globally influential and cultural trendsetters, the disproportionate rates of arrest and incarceration in both the UK and the US tell another story. In order to eschew the misrepresentations and stereotypes associated with the hypervisibility, or, indeed, hyperinvisibility of black masculinity—a quote from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has been stenciled on the wall—the curators

  • picks July 18, 2016

    “The Science of Imaginary Solutions”

    The institution of the museum has relied on object-led narratives since its establishment, employing a show-and-tell apparatus in order to bolster citizenship and project ideology. “The Science of Imaginary Solutions,” a wide-ranging group exhibition, queries the foundation of this knowledge. By monopolizing on the line that rests between factual and fictional narratives, this presentation disrupts the notion of the past as static, homogeneous, and reliable, as it offers up a series of objects that form an incomplete history from today to the eighth millennium BCE. Fittingly, the title is derived