• David Smith

    Whitechapel Gallery

    David Smith’s sculptures appear on the surface to fit logically into the notion of a 20th-century “tradition.” Smith’s career, so the story goes, perfectly replicates the formal transition from the Cubism and Constructivism of the century’s early decades to Abstract Expressionism in the ’50s and early ’60s. In consequence, monumentality, greater simplicity, and an interest in form for its own sake became his trademarks as he pushed his ideas further, almost as if he were consciously laying the groundwork for sculptors who followed him.

    Placing a linear teleology onto an artist’s career, however,

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  • John Latham

    Lisson Gallery | 27 Bell Street | London

    John Latham is a true maverick and, in institutional terms at least, one of Britain’s most undervalued artists—principally because he has been a constant thorn in the flesh of whichever establishment body he has been associated with, whether through his happenings and events, or through his work with the Artist Placement Group, which he helped found in 1965. This exhibition of his early works, done between 1954 and 1969, featured a selection of his figure paintings, book reliefs, and roller paintings.

    One of the more notorious instances of his disruptive behavior occurred in 1966 when, while

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