reviews

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay, Aphrodite of the Terror (detail), 1987, plaster, 64 1/8 × 21 1/4 × 18 7/8".

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Victoria Miro Gallery | Mayfair

    The French Revolution was a recurrent theme in Ian Hamilton Finlay’s protean career as a poet, Conceptual artist, sculptor, and gardener. Offering an invigorating model for thinking about politics and history, the Revolution runs like a red thread through his work in diverse media—from printed postcards to the gardens of Little Sparta—and was in evidence in the twelve works assembled here. While the title “1789–1794” also invoked the utopian promise of the Revolution’s early years, what captured Finlay’s imagination was clearly its most radical phase, the Terror of 1793–94. Jacobin

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  • View of “Yto Barrada,” 2015. Photo: Damian Griffiths.

    Yto Barrada

    PACE

    What does it mean to be fake? The word immediately conjures negative terms used to describe a state of deception or untruth, an assertion that is inauthentic, unreal, perhaps even a lie. The French equivalent, faux—which also, of course, registers in English—was used repeatedly by Yto Barrada in her exhibition “Faux Guide.” The show was, quite literally, a “fake guide” through actual, probable, and fictional histories of an area of Morocco that lies between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert—once the floor of an ancient ocean, described by the gallery text as an “El Dorado

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  • Peter Coffin, Untitled (Powers of Ten), 2015, mixed media, 13 1/4 × 68 3/4 × 84 1/4".

    Peter Coffin

    Herald St

    Just in time for summer, American artist Peter Coffin had set up a picnic that was more than simply a pleasurable break from routine: It was a conceptual excursion into alternative realities. Scattered across overlapping blankets on the floor was the typical picnic gear with (mostly) fake food, an embroidered mirror cushion, and a pair of reading glasses, as well as journals and books from the fields of physical science that Coffin tends to reference in his multidisciplinary practice. With the journals dating to the 1970s, Untitled (Powers of Ten), 2015, was a precise re-creation of the picnic

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  • View of “Ann Craven,” 2015.

    Ann Craven

    Southard Reid

    Ann Craven’s third solo exhibition in London was also the first devoted entirely to her palette paintings. As the name of the show, “Untitled (Palettes: Naked, Tagged), 2013–14,” implied, the fifty canvas objects on view in the gallery, all 24 x 18 inches, had first been used as palettes to mix paint; Craven says she finds it “easier to mix color on a canvas than on paper palettes.” The pieces are dated from October 2013 to October 2014 and hung chronologically in a single line along each of the two floors of the gallery; each work corresponds to a single painting or group of paintings for which

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