#1 Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris at Sprüth Magers
Until March 31, 2018
The title of this exhibition might suggest equal emphasis between the L.A. artist Craig Kauffman, and New Yorkers Donald Judd and Robert Morris. But the focus here is really on Kauffman’s six bright, punchy explorations of light and colour. A Judd stack piece and floor piece, and two examples of Morris’s wall felt pieces, provide historical context and formal comparison. There are similarities in the trio’s use of mass-produced, industrial materials, such as Plexiglas or plastic. Most of all they shared an interest in how those materials can make the artwork a perceptual object in its own right, with no visual reference to the outside world. While Judd devoted himself to cubes and Morris to strips of felt, Kauffman was unique in his use of vacuum-form technology to mould plastic into wall-relief paintings. Especially pleasurable are “Untitled Wall Relief” (1967/2007), playfully lippy with two pink and puckered lines emerging from a green expanse, and “Untitled” (1999), which hangs like a clear, bright textile, casting lurid pink shadows onto the wall. Kauffman’s works also shed a softening light upon the normally sleek Judd and sombre Morris, highlighting elements of the playfulness of their endeavours. It is the first time these three artists are exhibited together in Europe.
When: Tue – Sat, 11 am – 6 pm // Free Entry
Where: 7a Grafton St, London W1S 4EH // TUBE: Green Park
#2 Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell at The National Gallery
Until May 7, 2018
The show brings to London thirteen pastels, three drawings, and four oil paintings by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. These were all acquired by the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell at the beginning of the 20th century, and donated, later on, to the city of Glasgow, where most have remained, until now. The works encompass every period of Degas’ career and depict some of his favourite subjects. Pass through the usual suspects of ballet recitals and performances, women at their toilette, and racing horses, and make your way to the back room. There, linger with the dynamic and intimate “Tuileries, Woman with a Parasol” (1877) and remain with “Woman with Opera Glasses” (c. 1866). A rare example of a subject returning the artist’s voyeuristic gaze, this surreal and disquieting work is in itself worth the visit.
When: Open daily 10am–6pm, Fridays 10am–9pm. Closed Jan 1, Dec 24–26 // Admission free, donations welcome
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN // TUBE: Charing Cross
#3 Kaye Donachie: Silent as Glass at Maureen Paley
Until March 29, 2018
The figurative oeuvre of Glasgow-born, London-based Kaye Donachie is studded with historical and literary references. She paints portraits, still lives and landscapes, depicting both real and fictional heroines in places of importance for avant-garde thought. It is a subtly political act, to weave a new historical narrative highlighting these female figures from the margins. The inspiration for Silent as Glass, her sixth solo exhibition at Maureen Paley, is the collated writings and images of female poets, such as Iris Tree, Rena Rosenwasser and Katherine Mansfield.
When: Wed – Sun 11 am – 6 pm // Free Entry
Where: 21 Herald St, London E2 6JT // TUBE: Bethnal Green
#4 Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
I know, this is outside of London, but hear me out. Kettle’s Yard, which is considered one of the countries most intimate and spellbinding museums, has just reopened after a two year, £11.3 billion renovations. It is the former home of Jim and Helen Ede. In the 1920s and 1930s, Jim was the curator of the Tate Gallery in London, and he gathered an exquisite collection of modern art, including, among other, Constantin Brancusi, Henri Moore, Ben Nicholson, Henri Gaudier-Brezska, Joan Miro and Barbara Hepworth. Ede carefully positioned these works alongside furniture, ceramics, glass, stones and stray objects, giving as much curatorial attention to the pebbles he picked up on the beach as he did to his modernist masterpieces, creating aesthetic stability between all. There is an attention to every detail, every colour, form, and texture is harmoniously arranged, with a particular attentiveness to light and its effect on our senses. Kettle’s Yard was originally conceived with students in mind, the Edes idea was to keep an “open house” every afternoon of the academic term for students. They even loaned the works, so they could decorate dormitory rooms. This was in the 1950s, and the space was “in no way meant to be a gallery or a museum”. In 1966, the Edes gave the house, its contents, and the majority of their art collection to the University of Cambridge, since then, Kettle’s Yard has developed in somewhat haphazard fashion to accommodate its growing number of artworks and art lovers. The most recent one by Jamie Fobert (who also designed the Tate St Ives extension) is formally jarringly at odds with the Edes house – the intimacy is completely lost in the white cube aesthetics – but the new galleries, education spaces, and off-site projects align with the educational quality of the original “open house”.
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