Stuart Morgan

  • John Walker

    Working and reworking Velasquez’ Las Meñinas, the painting Michel Foucault described as “the representation . . . of Classical representation and the definition of the space it opens up to us,” John Walker has moved gradually from complex, murky interiors to a final, sun-filled dissolution of the motif he calls the “alba.” Two series of drawings were created, presenting familiar Walker motifs and “characters”: a bulbous human figure, simultaneously bosomy, testicular, and feathered; a shape halfway between a baseball mitt and a bunch of bananas; most versatile of all, the alba—solid object,

  • Ian McKeever

    After hovering between drawing and photography, Ian McKeever has turned to painting with his “Night Flak” series, organized with the discipline of a conceptual piece. For his six paired panels, inspired by the German Romantic poet Novalis’ Hymns to the Night, he chose canvases as large as he could encompass with arms outstretched. Then he prepared himself like a Method actor. To accustom himself to dark spaces he learned potholing; Novalis had been a student of mining. He got into the habit of painting at night, working from dusk to dawn without lights. The intention was not to learn to manage

  • Anthony Caro

    Anthony Caro’s recent small-scale works are sculptural aphorisms. Open and closed, balanced and falling, abstract and recognizable, part and whole interpenetrate rhythmically, and while some pieces permit immediate visual access, others conceal their complex organization, demanding close attention. Play of opposites is evident, too, in their making. Often they resemble improvisations urged suddenly into permanence by bronze casting. Domestic utensils, trays, drapery, and pipes defy gravity. Accident turns into high drama, as when jugglers let plates drop nearly to the floor before catching them.

  • Simon Read

    If as many entities exist as there are points of view—Ortega’s theory of perspectivismo—then there is a camera for every subject. Working on this assumption Simon Read, as much inventor as artist, perfected (among other things) a pinhole device the height and width of a gallery, and a rotating apparatus to create anamorphic portraits. Basing his art on principles of Renaissance perspective, he took his cues from Jan Dibbets and John Hilliard, elaborating the metaphor of eye as camera to remind viewers of lacunae inherent in coherent but arbitrary systems. Having done so, he regarded them as

  • Michael Sandle

    Though a selection of bronzes and a gallery of watercolors is a modest enough offering from Michael Sandle, a man sometimes regarded as the most ambitious British sculptor of his generation, it nevertheless provides a progress report on his activities during a voluntary exile which has already lasted ten years. In the 60s, A. Alvarez’s essay on the “gentility principle” in English poetry was hotly debated. We could never produce a John Berryman or a Robert Lowell, he argued, because good manners got in the way. Perhaps the same was true of sculpture; New Generation politesse proved no defense

  • Gilbert & George

    Appropriately, Gilbert & George’s photo-piece retrospective ends its European tour in the East End of London, not far from the artists’ Fournier Street home, from which the collaboration has been stage-managed for the last 14 years. Around 1968 the posh but dilapidated pair, silly-ass comedians in old school ties, began an energetic expansion of the term “sculpture” by insisting that their every action qualified for the title. Strolling nonchalantly down country lanes, they dedicated themselves to Art and to a life of “artisticness,” basing their satire on the values and beliefs of the middle

  • “Machineworks”

    Nothing, it seems, can stop American art’s flirtation with function. Stylistic bankruptcy or some obscure collective passion has already produced mock furniture, unwearable clothes and uninhabitable buildings. One of many justifications for Janet Kardon’s important “Machineworks” is a shift of emphasis. Implicit in “Machineworks” is the proposition that in the ’80s the Duchampian rite of passage will constitute an analysis of the notes to the Large Glass, and that the way forward will be found less in what it says than in what it does.

    Apollinaire believed that Duchamp could reconcile art with

  • Antony Gormley

    With Open Door, 1975, Antony Gormley felt that for the first time in his sculpture “the conceit and the process were united.” The work consists of a four-panel, turn-of-the-century pine door that has been sliced meticulously into vertical strips. Each slice has been flipped over and nailed to battens, and the result then hangs free in the air. Gormley is aiming to re-create or redefine objects by sculptural means and his work usually begins with such “conceits,” neat devices or clever metaphors involving simultaneous perception of two images. Sometimes the effect is gentle, as when he slices a

  • Cold Turkey: “A New Spirit in Painting” at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

    A WOMAN DECIDES TO hold a dinner party and hires a maid to wait on the table. All goes well until the servant steps into the room carrying a huge turkey, trips and drops it on the carpet. “Blanche,” says the hostess, her voice quivering, “Take that away and bring in the other turkey.” “A New Spirit in Painting” isn’t just a turkey—it’s the same old turkey dusted off and disguised. Cold, mangled and covered with fluff, it may stick in our throats, but the day is saved—any turkey is better than no turkey at all. Unless of course, you prefer the truth. The most provocative part of “A New Spirit”

  • Peter Greenaway

    Peter Greenaway has written documentaries about defenestration and people struck by lightning. He has also written pseudo-documentaries about fictional characters such as the polymath Tulse Luper. The Falls, a marathon three-hour-long movie made with the support of the British Film Institute, employs, extends and ridicules his pseudo-documentary conventions. It examines the results of a mysterious occurrence—the Violent Unknown Event (VUE)—discussed but never explained by the characters. Of the 19 million victims of the VUE a random selection from the new. fictitious Standard Directory yielded

  • James Coleman

    In an empty room a television set is displayed, as if for sale. On the screen a pretty girl poses coquettishly on a couch, with a pianist behind her. Except for a couple of close-ups she remains in full view for 45 minutes, performing a sequence of poses, showing off her shimmering green dress while she and the pianist alternate the narrative. The pianist provides an improvised accompaniment which, like a movie score, modulates with each new episode, quoting itself as well as other styles and melodies, from Chopin to Cole Porter. “It seemed just like another routine day at the boutique,” she

  • Tony Cragg

    Toy boats and trains, an ice-cream spoon, a flowerpot holder, caps from toothpaste tubes, the nipple from a baby’s bottle, a length of hose pipe, an imitation rosebud, a comb, a lighter, a whistle. . . . Most of the objects assembled on the floor are made of red plastic. Only occasionally is something not red or not plastic. Cheap, broken, discarded items have been retrieved from gutters and trash cans. Some are dirty, as though long buried. They form a pattern, faintly distinguishable as a figure. On the far wall hangs a toy Red Indian and the title of the piece: Red Skin.

    Tony Cragg’s new work