London

Bob and Roberta Smith

Hales Gallery | London

Brother-and-sister act Bob and Roberta Smith (no relation to the New York Times’s art scribe) is one—or, more accurately, two—of several pseudonymous identities that the British artist born Patrick Brill has adopted while distributing his homespun, semi-anarchic output over the past decade. But more than that, I am Bob and Roberta Smith—or so stated several button badges purchasable at Hales’s entrance; another recurrent phrase was ART NOT WAR.

Declarative sentences, usually brightly painted on salvaged wood and reveling in the inept graphic flourishes of a novice sign-writer, are the tragicomic bedrock of the Smiths’ art. Served up like that, how seriously can you take statements like “Art can stop terrorism DEAD in its tracks” or “La la la la la stuff your fucking ID cards la la la up your fuckin’ arse la la”?—both examples drawn from the show’s centerpiece sculpture, Big Nest (all works

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