sat 13/07/2024

Visual Arts Reviews

Carrie Mae Weems: Reflections for Now, Barbican review - going from strength to strength on an epic journey

Sarah Kent

Carrie Mae Weems is the first live black artist to have a solo show at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, yet she is hardly known here at all. So the Barbican’s retrospective is timely, especially since, at 70, Weems is making her best work yet.

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Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis, Hayward Gallery review - hope is what we need, but inspiration is a rarity

Sarah Kent

Dear Earth, Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is a mixed show of artists who address the parlous plight of our planet. The issue obsesses me, so anyone who braves the pitfalls of exploring this difficult subject has my sympathy.

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Life is More Important than Art, Whitechapel Gallery review - themes of arrival, belonging and departure unite fascinating mixed show

Sarah Kent

Standing just inside the door of the Whitechapel’s downstairs gallery is a luggage trolley laden with parcels (pictured below, right).

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Capturing the Moment, Tate Modern review - the glorious power of painting

Sarah Kent

Billed as “a journey through painting and photography”, Capturing the Moment reveals many ways in which artists have responded to photography – either by taking up the camera themselves, as did Candida Höffer, Andreas Gursky, Louise Lawler and Thomas Struth, or by making some superb paintings.

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Carey Young: Appearance, Modern Art Oxford review - in the eyes of the law

Mark Sheerin

A visitor to the city wishes to gain access to the law, but a gatekeeper blocks his entrance. The man petitions this imposing figure, who is only one of a series of legal bouncers. He is told there is gate after gate. He sits, he waits, he lies down, and eventually he expires. But not before making a close study of this implacable representative of the law. He even notes the fleas in the gatekeeper’s collar.

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Matter as Actor, Lisson Gallery review - living in a material world

Hannah Hutching

It is fitting that I watch Otobong Nkanga’s performance on a stranger’s smartphone screen. Solid Maneuvers, 2015, is about the extraction of precious resources from the Namibian landscape. It is about the long-term devastation humans wreak on the natural world and the equally devastating consequences nature revisits on us.

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Moon Is the Oldest TV review - a fitting tribute to a visionary modern artist

Helen Hawkins

Who created the term “electronic superhighway”? First described a system of linked communication that would become the internet? Envisioned a multichannel TV system where viewers chose for themselves what to tune into? Watch Amanda Kim’s excellent documentary Moon Is the Oldest TV and you find that the correct answer to all those questions is Nam June Paik.

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Sarah Sze: Metronome, Artangel at Peckham Rye station review - an installation of visual complexity and physical simplicity

Sarah Kent

One of the great things about Artangel is the interesting sites which they seek out for the artworks they commission. The latest find is the disused waiting room at Peckham Rye station, a once gracious space with a vaulted ceiling, arched windows and two fireplaces, now ripped out. The space was later converted into a billiard hall, the sign for which is still visible on the staircase wall, but when that closed down in 1962, the room was left to rot.

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Isaac Julien: What Freedom is to Me, Tate Britain review - a journey from making documentaries to making art

Sarah Kent

Isaac Julien was a student at St Martin’s School of Art when the Brixton riots broke out. Black youths took to the streets, frustrated by high rates of unemployment, police harassment, far-right intimidation and media hostility, and all hell was let loose.

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Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life, Tate Modern review - the hidden depths of abstract art revealed

Sarah Kent

In this juxtaposition of Piet Mondrian, a world famous modernist, and Hilma af Klint, a little known Swedish painter, guess who knocks your socks off ! This fascinating show is a delight and a revelation, because it declares the spiritualist underpinnings of modernism which many, until now, have sought to hide.

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