• Michael Simpson

    David Risley Gallery

    For some reason, English artists whose work has seemed scarce in recent years have begun showing again lately—John Stezaker and Marc Camille Chaimowicz are two who come to mind; Michael Simpson is another. Simpson’s last solo show in London was at the Serpentine Gallery in 1985, when he exhibited very large paintings, some depicting totemic figures, others seeming to show a hurricane of books hurtling through the void.

    Since 1989 Simpson has been making a series of paintings, also quite large and now numbering sixty-six (although the artist has destroyed more than twenty), which bear the

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  • Alan Kane and Humphrey Spender

    Bruce Haines Mayfair

    As “In the Face of History,” an exhibition of twentieth-century European documentary photography, was closing down the road at the Barbican, Ancient and Modern was doing its bit to represent Great Britain’s contribution to the genre, in the work of Alan Kane and Humphrey Spender. The style’s British proponents are often seen to have started off valiantly if a little bit dully, only for their sociological intent to get lost in the shiny, grotesque netherworld of Martin Parr, but this exhibition offered a worthwhile second look.

    Spender, who died in 2005, was one of Britain’s great black-and-white

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