Sherman Sam

  • View of “Shinro Ohtake,” 2014. From left: Radio Head Surfer, 1994–95; WEB, 1990–91; Retina (Left Eye), 1989–91; Retina (Right Eye), 1989–91; Retina (Wire Horizon, Tangier), 1990–93.

    Shinro Ohtake

    Visitors to the 2013 Venice Biennale will remember Shinro Ohtake’s numerous scrapbooks in the lower level of the Central Pavilion. Displayed in glass cases, these open tomes radiate charm through their density of accumulated colorful papers. Each is as much an expression of mass and obsessiveness as it is of collage technique. Ohtake’s first comprehensive UK show focused primarily on his series “Time Memory,” 2011–14, and also included works from his series “Retina,” 1989–94; “Frost,” 1989; and “Cell,” 1989–90. Like his scrapbooks, the works in this exhibition suggest a combinatory mentality

  • Daniel Guzmán, Untitled, 2014, pastel, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, 25 x 17”.
    picks January 14, 2015

    Daniel Guzmán

    Daniel Guzmán has described himself as a “rock ’n’ roll artist at heart.” His Mexican heritage is his other great fount of inspiration. Known for his draftsmanship, the earlier, complex black-and-white drawings bring Raymond Pettibon to mind, another artist who has a history with music. Like Pettibon’s, this artist’s intense work in both ink and graphite is influenced by his love of the comic book.

    Thirty of Guzmán’s latest works on paper under the umbrella of the “Chromosome Damage” series continue to triangulate these influences. All untitled and mostly completed in 2014, these images are

  • Jack Bilbo, Trianugneophilio (Triangular Love), 1948, ink on paper, 17 1/2 × 13".

    Jack Bilbo

    Hugo Baruch was born in 1907 in Berlin, where he died sixty years later; in 1922, he became “Jack Bilbo,” and it was time spent in England from 1933 to 1948 that saw the genesis of his creative life. Entirely self-educated as an artist, Bilbo described himself in the subtitle of his autobiography as an “Artist, Author, Sculptor, Art Dealer, Philosopher, Psychologist, Traveller and a Modernist Fighter for Humanity.” Like William Copley in Hollywood, he was an engaging, entrepreneurial, self-taught artist who ran a gallery first: The Modern Art Gallery, located in central London, mixed the work

  • Phyllida Barlow, dock, 2014, mixed media. Installation view.

    Phyllida Barlow

    Over the past decade, Phyllida Barlow has deservedly moved from being a cult artist to exhibiting on the international circuit. This year saw a triple bill from the septuagenarian, including a retrospective of drawings at Hauser & Wirth in London and the inaugural exhibition at the gallery’s new venue in Somerset, but by far the most important of the three shows was the Duveen Galleries commission at Tate Britain. For a sculptor, this is one of the most visible platforms in the country—essentially a long, cavernous hall with vaulted ceilings from which various galleries radiate. Barlow’s

  • View of “Gego: Line as Object,” 2014.
    picks October 14, 2014


    Before immigrating to Venezuela in 1939 and turning to sculpture, Gego—who was born Gertrude Goldschmidt in 1912 and passed in 1994—was trained as an architect in Hamburg. However, sculpture may not be the best term to describe her work in this touring retrospective, as it seems closer to three-dimensional drawing. Like Fred Sandback defining planes with string, Gego articulates volume through line with airy, crystalline wire constructions. Her objects reflect both the structure and the sense of spatial articulation that one finds in architectural drawing and in the practice itself.

    Hanging like

  • View of “On the Devolution of Culture,” 2014.
    picks October 06, 2014

    “On the Devolution of Culture”

    With a wink to both Man Ray’s La Fortune, 1938, and Sherrie Levine’s subsequent ’90s homage, the seventy-six ordinary-looking objects arranged neatly on a snooker table in this exhibition resemble a very odd junk sale. However, “On the Devolution of Culture” is inspired by nineteenth-century British army officer Lieutenant General Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers’s collection archived in the Pitt-Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. A charming institution of archaeology and ethnography, the museum’s objects are catalogued and exhibited by type rather than by history or chronology. Mirroring that

  • View of “Simon Carroll,” 2014. All Untitled, 2002.

    Simon Carroll

    Establishing a studio in a Nissen hut in Cornwall, UK, allowed Simon Carroll (1964–2009) the opportunity to begin making drawings the size of a soccer field with specially adapted rakes on the nearby beaches. These gigantic drawings, eventually washed away by the tides but documented in photographs and videos—the latter included in a room-size retrospective at the Victoria and Albert dedicated to his work—display the ceramicist’s spontaneous and experimental spirit. Though smaller in size, his ceramics are just as ambitious in their own way. A fan of Abstract Expressionist painting,

  • View of “Franz West,” 2014. Foreground: Ordinary Language, 1995; Background:  The Ordered Oval, 1992-93.
    picks September 03, 2014

    Franz West

    After his passing in 2012, this first major UK retrospective of Franz West’s more interactive works has added poignancy, given that it was originally intended to be a collaboration with the artist. The exhibition focuses on his combination pieces, recombined with his friends’ works and grouped salon style, as well as the famous “Passstücke” series, or “Adaptives,” which he began in the mid 1970s. The “Adaptives” are white, biomorphic plaster forms built around metal rods that serve as handles. Four are on display in Adaptives with Box and Video, 1996. Enjoyable objects to touch and wear, these

  • Mario Schifano, Tutte stelle + particolare dell’oasi, 1967, enamel and spray paint on canvas with Perspex, diptych, each: 40 1⁄2 x 80 1/2".
    picks August 13, 2014

    Mario Schifano

    Twelve works by the late Mario Schifano are on view in this tight survey produced between 1960 and 1967—a key period in which his practice matured. The exhibition has been divided into two groups and the earliest pieces depict rectilinear O shapes, painted with enamel on paper attached to canvas in a matter-of-fact way. Schifano was fond of the flickering, changing nature of new media, and these forms hint at television screens. The second group ushers in imagery in the form of stars, palm trees, clouds, car accidents, and handwritten texts; while these show the artist’s continued use of enamel,

  • View of “Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film,” 2014.
    interviews July 29, 2014

    Bruce McLean

    Long based in London, the Scottish artist Bruce McLean is well known for his humorous conceptual works, such as his “retrospective” at the Tate Gallery in 1972, which was a one-day show titled “King for a Day” that consisted entirely of texts—a thousand propositions—on a wall. That work has been re-created in his current survey, “Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film,” which is on view at firstsite in Colchester, England, through November 30, 2014. Here he discusses the show and Opera Bouffant, a new project that will debut next year.

    I WAS A STUDENT AT ST. MARTIN’S at the same

  • Daniel Silver, Dig, 2013, figures from marble, plaster, rubber and concrete, dimensions variable.
    picks June 13, 2014

    “A Thousand Doors”

    Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Library of Babel,” “A Thousand Doors,” the inaugural project of the NEON foundation curated by Iwona Blazwick, takes place in the building and on the grounds of the Gennadius Library. Consisting of two interlocking parts—book-related works and a minisurvey of public art—Blazwick’s exhibition brings together elements of recent projects from across the globe to kick-start an organization oriented toward public works. Most prominent are the large primitive heads on plinths from Daniel Silver’s Dig, 2013. Originally an Artangel project set in the depths of a

  • David Robilliard, Box of Tricks - My Ass, 1987, acrylic on canvas, 49 x 49”.
    picks May 20, 2014

    David Robilliard

    In early 1975, the gay poet and largely self-taught painter David Robilliard moved from Guernsey, England, where he was born, to London. There, he befriended Gilbert & George, who published his first book of poems, Inevitable (1984). Robilliard created an impromptu exhibition of drawings for the launch of this book, and a life in art was born. Using bright, out-of-the-tube colors on white grounds, Robillard’s paintings from the 1980s are both charming and witty, and the charm lies in his instinct to organize pictorial elements with a matter-of-fact paint application somewhat like that of a sign