london

View of “Cornelia Parker,” 2013. From left: Oil Stain (Bethlehem), 2012–13; Spilt Milk (Jerusalem), 2012–13.

Cornelia Parker

Frith Street Gallery | Golden Square

View of “Cornelia Parker,” 2013. From left: Oil Stain (Bethlehem), 2012–13; Spilt Milk (Jerusalem), 2012–13.

Despite its ostensibly humble, idiosyncratic materials and elegant post-Minimalist aesthetic, Cornelia Parker’s work is often infused with a frisson of danger, the aura of celebrity, or the lure of the spectacle. All three are manifest in The Maybe, her 1995 collaboration with Tilda Swinton, in which the actress lies, apparently asleep, inside a glass vitrine. Reprised intermittently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York over the course of this year, the work has drawn criticism for pandering to our culture’s obsession with celebrity, albeit in acceptably highbrow form. And indeed, there is something troubling about Parker’s visually seductive practice, which offers vicarious encounters with violence, fame, and illicit substances, all rendered palatably abstract. The intriguing provenance of her materials—including silverware flattened by a steamroller (Thirty Pieces of

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