Critics’ Picks

Bedwyr Williams, Curator Spattered with Poo, 2018, brush pen on paper, 7 8/10 x 7 8/10".

Bedwyr Williams, Curator Spattered with Poo, 2018, brush pen on paper, 7 8/10 x 7 8/10".


Bedwyr Williams

Frutta | Glasgow
9 Duke Street
December 21, 2018–February 15, 2019

Between living in rural Wales and representing his country at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Bedwyr Williams is well placed to feel the full force of the nightmare of art-world mores. This is evident in his shrewd suite of thirty-eight line drawings for “Adjunct Curator,” which satirize various art-world personas. In our modish times, I can only wish you luck in dealing with the grinning “curator with chummy youth leader vibe,” the glazed solemnity of the “boring artist with an interesting name,” the grimace of the tote-bag-toting “toddler faced art fanatic” or the bespectacled smugness of a “curator spattered with poo by performance artist he commissioned.”

The caricatures all have the same small, square format and are, like many people in the art world, framed in black. Each one captures the sense of remove felt in the shallow sociality of exhibition openings or art fairs with their curated wine, hasty introductions, and whispered gossip. The overall effect is comparable to that of Ruben Östlund’s 2017 feature The Square, in which the cultural relativism of spectacle design is also strongly felt. The slippages of personal/professional life forefronted in the captioned clichés of dress and attitude hit frighteningly close to home, but in the politesse of the gallery, their astuteness—gained through prolonged art-world exposure—also refreshes. Fortunately, it appears that I am in no way directly implicated—there’s not a single drawing of a critic with my sense of style. It’s relieving to feel in on the joke, surveying from a safe distance the glamorously bemused, the eccentrically nervous or coolly VIP. I missed the opening, but it must have been great theater; the work poised to meet all the right people—almost.