• Matthew Darbyshire, An Exhibition for Modern Living, 2010, mixed media, 8' 2 1/2“ x 11' 9 3/4” x 14' 9 1/8". From “British Art Show 7.”

    “British Art Show 7”

    Hayward Gallery

    “The best British art show ever,” gushed the The Guardian when “British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet” opened late last year at Nottingham Contemporary. Could the London outing of forty artists born or resident in the UK live up to the fanfare? Easily, it turns out. Perhaps any exhibition with Christian Marclay’s immensely popular video The Clock, 2010, is guaranteed success. Marclay’s splendid, twenty-four-hour work made of existing film clips displaying the actual time, thus becoming a functioning screen-size clock, relentlessly pictures not just ticking timepieces but our uneasy

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  • Varda Caivano, Untitled, 2010, oil and ink on canvas, 34 1/4 x 18 5/8".

    Varda Caivano

    Victoria Miro Gallery | 16 Wharf Road

    You forget how hard it is to make a really good abstract painting until someone does it and keeps doing it again. Then you notice how surprised you feel. And you forget, too, how rare truly abstract paintings really are—I mean paintings that are not paintings of preconceived, preexisting images but simply of painting. Varda Caivano’s paintings are abstract, and as good as any being made these days. With this exhibition, “Voice,” the Buenos Aires–born Caivano has moved on from being one of London’s most promising younger painters and established herself as one the best painters, of any age,

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  • Ricky Swallow, Make-Do Suite, 2010, patinated bronze, wooden table, 52 3/8 x 96 1/2 x 24 1/8".

    Ricky Swallow

    Stuart Shave/Modern Art | 6 Fitzroy Square

    Ricky Swallow, who represented Australia at the 2005 Venice Biennale, is best known for painstakingly carved wooden sculptures that update the vanitas tradition with imagery such as serpents slithering through a bike helmet, a skull sinking into a beanbag, and a lone bird nesting in a sneaker. Although at thirty-six he is still relatively young, the success of these works has, to a large extent, typecast him. So it was striking that in his recent exhibition in London there wasn’t a piece of carved wood in sight. What initially seemed a radical departure, however, turned out to be pure

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