reviews

  • Robert Morris

    Tate Modern

    In 1971, when Robert Morris was at the top of his game, he constructed a site-specific installation composed of plywood ramps, beams, balancing platforms, ledges, and a massive sphere for Duveen Hall, the stately entrance to the former Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain). Then forty years old, the erstwhile Minimalist envisioned something more complicated than a mere grouping of geometric forms and shapes. As David Sylvester and David Compton wrote in the exhibition catalogue, the artworks were “a sequence of structures which, although they resemble in their uncompromised simplicity Morris’ earlier

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  • Paul McDevitt and Cornelius Quabeck

    Stephen Friedman Gallery | 25 - 28 Old Burlington Street

    Though Cornelius Quabeck and Paul McDevitt are now both based in Germany, the two first met while studying in London. Quabeck has recently been working on the West Coast, and it was in San Francisco that the two artists encountered the work of Albert Bierstadt. Popular, successful, hugely productive, and not averse to redeploying tried-and-tested compositional tricks, the nineteenth-century landscapist— trained, as Quabeck initially was, in Düsseldorf—seemed an appropriate reference point for their own ongoing collaborative project. It helped, too, that Bierstadt’s name can be literally translated

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  • Johanna Billing

    Camden Arts Centre

    Drawn to contexts that might, in lesser hands, prompt lumbering pontification, Johanna Billing happily favors a direct appeal to viewers’ senses and emotions over an overtly pedagogical approach. The videos that the Swedish artist showed here are watchable and well crafted. Filtering understated sociopolitical allusions through accessible meditations on everyday life, Billing distills the scattershot into the essential by marshaling connections among people, places, and processes, conjuring affecting juxtapositions of image, music, and incidental sound en route to a bigger picture.

    Titled after

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  • “Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.”

    Institute of Contemporary Arts

    Named after the legendary magazine published through most of the 1960s by the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, “Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.” was a game attempt to trace, in the confines of the ICA’s four petite spaces (and one passageway), five decades of the interplay between poetry and what is still unfortunately often called “visual art.” What emerged was a loose and necessarily spotty history of fifty years of text in art, minus Conceptualism: Instead, the show took concrete poetry as its starting point.

    The exhibition was articulated in four distinct parts. The first room was devoted to Finlay, the

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