Sherman Sam

  • Bjarne Melgaard

    Bjarne Melgaard’s recent exhibition had two parts, each separately titled. “Bodyparty (Substance Paintings)”consisted of fourteen works populated mostly by bulging-eyed, penis-faced figures with multiple protuberances; “Life Killed My Chihuahua,” meanwhile, was a takeover of the gallery’s Instagram account. Most of the square canvases (all Untitled, 2017–18, and measuring roughly seventy inches by seventy inches) that made up “Bodyparty” sat on marble tiles and leaned against the wall; four were propped up, back-to-back, in the middle of the room. Packed tightly into a small space, the front

  • Phillip King

    This two-part exhibition took place in both of Thomas Dane Gallery’s spaces: In one presentation, titled “Colour on Fire,” Phillip King showed two new polychrome sculptures; in the other, titled “Ceramics 1995–2017,” he displayed thirteen large clay objects. Together, the works showed him continuing to expand the notion of sculpture-in-the-round by exploring materials and inventing forms. Colour on Fire, 2017, is a freestanding, four-part work constructed from painted sheets of polyurethane foam. Two rectilinear elements—in pink and green, respectively, both riddled with cylindrical holes

  • Martha Jungwirth

    Martha Jungwirth’s first exhibition in the United Kingdom coincided with a period of broader international rediscovery. The Viennese septuagenarian was the only woman in the loosely gathered, short-lived Wirklichkeiten (Realities) group that exhibited together in 1968–72: The figurative painters offered a counterpoint to the prevailing Minimal and Conceptual tendencies of the era as well as to the local Vienna Actionists. But until lately, her expressive paintings have rarely been shown outside of Austria and Germany. This exhibition consisted of thirteen works made between 1998 and 2015, in

  • Bernard Piffaretti

    “Calligram” was Bernard Piffaretti’s first solo show in London. With nine paintings dating between 1988 and 2017, it also provided a tiny snapshot of his range and approach. Born in Saint-Étienne, France, in 1955, the Paris-based artist has since 1986 been making abstract paintings that are always divided in half along a central, zip-like, painted line, with one side a near repetition of the other. Always, the center line is the first move, the starting point; whether he then continues by painting on the left or the right varies from work to work. A subtler continuity within Piffaretti’s oeuvre,

  • Jiro Takamatsu

    “The Temperature of Sculpture” was an ambitious first survey of Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998) outside his home country of Japan, significant not only because Takamatsu is a seminal postwar avant-gardist, but because the show was designed around key moments from his exhibition history. The seventy-two items on display included objects, photographic documents of actions and installations, sketches, and diagrams. Focusing on the period between 1961, when Takamatsu turned from painting to sculpture, and 1977, the year of his inclusion in Documenta 6, the show was divided into sections based on key

  • Tony Cragg

    Peter Murray, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s director and the curator of “A Rare Category of Objects,” described the show as a survey rather than a retrospective of Tony Cragg’s work—a representation of the “state of [the artist’s] thinking at present.” With fourteen large sculptures dotting the grounds, and 143 works including drawings, prints, and photographs as well as sculpture housed in four galleries and a small project space, the exhibition consists mostly of recent pieces, interspersed with a handful of key historic ones. 

    The park’s Underground Gallery houses the bulk of the show:

  • Michael Krebber

    Just as any exhibition held every two years can be called a biennial, a piece of fabric hung on a wall, with or without paint on it, can plausibly be called a painting. And yet, just as the idea of a biennial carries a lot of baggage, so does the notion of painting, and the oeuvre of Michael Krebber constantly works at posing uncomfortable questions about it. 

    This was the second and smaller iteration of this New York–based German artist’s survey, “The Living Wedge,” which originated at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves in Porto, Portugal, curated by João Ribas and Valérie Knoll. The

  • picks April 11, 2017

    Zhang Enli

    Zhang Enli’s art stands in opposition to the cynical realism and political Pop of his contemporaries and predecessors. His works are more of a celebration than a critique of daily life. For some time, the Shanghai-based artist has been emptying out the more recognizable content of his canvases. In the beginning, depictions of people gave way to large still lifes; now, representational bits of the world get transformed into vast painterly abstractions.

    For instance, at the center of Tension 1, 2013—the earliest of the ten paintings currently on view—a tangle of emerald ropes wraps around what

  • Anthea Hamilton

    Starting in 1957, writer and former Tate Gallery curator Harold Stanley “Jim” Ede turned four nineteenth-century cottages near the University of Cambridge into a single home, called Kettle’s Yard, in which to display his collection of mainly British modern art. In 1966 Ede donated the property to the university, though he and his wife continued to live there until they retired to Edinburgh in 1973. In the process, Ede created a unique environment for art, characterized by a kind of studious informality. The gallery’s major renovation, now in its second year, provided an opportunity to tour its

  • Imre Bak

    The now-septuagenarian Hungarian painter Imre Bak describes 1968 as a pivotal moment. A visit to Documenta 4 showed him the radical changes taking place across the Atlantic. That, together with trips to London’s Tate in the previous years and his work with a German gallery that exhibited American art, opened the young artist’s eyes to innovations in abstraction—particularly what he called “the emerging American art scene, when the abstract versions of Pop Art appeared, such as Hard-Edge and Color Field Painting (Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly).” Offering a concise picture of the intellectual

  • picks November 22, 2016

    Rodolfo Aricò

    Italian artist Rodolfo Aricò resisted the primary aesthetic trend of his milieu—Arte Povera—and instead took to the developments in painting happening across the Atlantic. Indeed, his shaped canvases call to mind Frank Stella, Robert Mangold. But this former student of architecture didn’t entirely fall in line with the kind of pictorial logic espoused by those Americans. In the pieces on display here, dating from 1966 to 1974, Aricò turned to history—specifically, the arches of ecclesiastical painting and the fundamentals of perspective—to generate his geometric structures.

    For example, the

  • picks November 03, 2016

    Michelangelo Pistoletto

    Michelangelo Pistoletto describes his newest work as coming to him like a mirage. And indeed, the half-submerged golden car, Miraggio (Mirage), 2016, serenely located in a fountain of Blenheim Palace, pops out like a surreal prop from a Fellini movie. For Pistoletto, this work sits at the juncture of the natural and man-made—much like Blenheim’s manicured gardens. But it also points to another clash: Arte Povera. Or rather, the collision of blue-chip status with an art that valued the humble and quotidian. One palpably feels this irony in the octogenarian artist’s unusual retrospective, distributed

  • Jeremy Moon

    This two-part exhibition of works by Jeremy Moon, curated by the young, Glasgow-based artist Neil Clements, consisted of working sketches, studies, and archival material at Large Glass, while at PEER four of his paintings were accompanied by a slide show projected within a large sculpture by Clements. Having studied law and then worked briefly in advertising while maintaining an interest in classical ballet, Moon was inspired to turn to art after seeing the now-legendary “Situation” exhibition at the Royal Society of British Artists gallery in 1960. Aside from a few months at the Central School

  • picks July 06, 2016

    Markus Karstiess

    Within this minisurvey of Markus Karstiess’s sculptures from 2005–15 is a video of him excavating Robert Smithson’s 1969 asphalt pour in Rome, Was die Erde sieht (With the Eyes of the Earth), 2014. The result of this activity is Karstiess’s Scholar’s Rocks, 2015—a craggy ceramic base cradling fragments of Smithson’s work. That artist’s pours celebrated entropy and gravity, while Karstiess’s clay pieces draw on the primeval energies of this planet. His room-divider-like series, “Dirty Corners,” 2013, is another nod to the Land art master, and certainly Joseph Beuys’s “Fat Corners” of the 1960s.

  • Channa Horwitz

    Channa Horwitz was, notoriously, the only woman selected for Maurice Tuchman’s landmark Art and Technology project (1967–71) and, worse still, was the only selected artist not to have her work realized and exhibited. A diagram on graph paper for the movement of light on eight Plexiglas beams floating in a magnetic field, Art and Technology Proposal: Beams and Intensity of Lights, 1968, was on view in this long-overdue survey, which originated at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and was organized by its chief curator, Ellen Blumenstein. Although the proposal never took on concrete

  • Maria Taniguchi

    Known for a diverse practice that includes video, sculpture, and printmaking, since 2008 Maria Taniguchi has also been making black paintings that schematically depict a wall of tiny black bricks. Her recent London show included eight such works, all in vertical formats, with two sizes on view (ninety by forty-five inches and nine by four feet); in the past, she has exhibited much bigger ones—a piece shown in Basel in 2013 was nearly fifteen feet long. Here, as is often the case, the paintings were installed leaning against the wall à la John McCracken. They were also positioned spaciously

  • picks April 12, 2016

    Hany Armanious

    Walter Benjamin famously asserted that reproduction and dissemination diminishes the auratic quality of an original artwork. Hany Armanious, however, tries to prove the opposite. Known for re-creating objects in polyurethane resin, his uncanny, hyperreal sculptures have a glow all their own. Keep in mind that they are nothing like Duane Hanson’s figurative representations. Rather, the Egyptian-born Australian lovingly renders the detritus of the world.

    His subjects tend toward the distressed, abandoned, or overlooked. For example, a child’s scrawly drawing is transferred via an industrial dyeing

  • diary April 11, 2016

    Odd and Evenly

    RAISING THE DEAD seems to be the hot trend in biennials. So it should come as no surprise that Stephanie Rosenthal’s first such exhibition should have a work by Malevich as its centerpiece. The London-based curator’s doctoral thesis took its cue from the Russian’s black square, and at the twentieth edition of the Sydney Biennale, she one-upped her curatorial colleagues by reconstructing a 1913 modernist Russian opera. Victory over the Sun originally had costumes designed by Malevich and music by Mikhail Matiushin, but here in Sydney, Australians Justene Williams and Huw Belling stepped in to

  • Raoul De Keyser

    Although this exhibition, “Raoul De Keyser: Drift,” curated by Ulrich Loock, included forty-eight paintings spanning four decades, at its heart were the artist’s final works, from 2012: a group of twenty-two small paintings collectively titled “The Last Wall” and installed as they had hung in his studio. Situated on one central pale-gray wall and arrayed unevenly along its entire length, these pieces, like his earlier paintings, tantalized in their rough-hewn, unrefined nature.

    The casualness of their grouping accorded with the spirit of their production. For example, Flooded in Brown, 2012,

  • picks February 29, 2016

    Merlin James

    Merlin James sometimes refers to his activity as “easel painting,” and it makes sense, considering the intimate scale and historic subject matter he usually works with. This survey, which covers over three decades of production and contains thirty-one paintings, twenty-one drawings, and fifty-four sculptures, mostly of model buildings displayed in vitrines, offers a succinct view of the Welshman’s projects. It is rare that these tiny sculptures, normally found within his paintings and constructed from leftover wood fragments, get exhibited.

    James’s paintings are predominately landscapes in format