Shock! Horror! Neo Naturists too naked for Page 3

Louisa Buck: The current to-ing and fro-ing around whether or not The Sun newspaper is dropping topless women from Page 3 (today the paper denies that it ever intended to) has stirred up some fond News International memories for the artists Christine Binnie and Wilma Johnson who, after stripping off for an impromptu Neo Naturist performance with the androgynous Pop star Marilyn at Henley Regatta in the early 1980s, were approached by The Sun to pose for Page 3. MORE

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:50:00 GMT

High-octane evening for Paul Simonon

Louisa Buck: London was calling in all directions for Paul Simonon last night: on Paul Stolper’s stand at the London Art Fair in Islington, there was a large silkscreen print portraying the Clash bassist by Shepard Fairey. MORE

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:00:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—this week’s must see shows

Louisa Buck: “Caragh Thurling”, Chisenhale Gallery, until 1 February
There’s a surprising start to this eagerly anticipated show by one of our most interesting young painters: one large canvas almost completely blocks the entrance door, requiring visitors to squeeze around its back to gain access.
 MORE

Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:40:00 GMT

Pj Harvey makes an exhibition of herself

Louisa Buck: Expectations were high at last night’s eagerly anticipated first view of Artangel’s latest project: PJ Harvey exposing herself to public scrutiny for an entire month while she records her ninth album in a specially constructed studio in a former gymnasium in the bowels of Somerset House. MORE

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:19:00 GMT

It takes two in Bond Street

Louisa Buck: It was couples night in the West End on Tuesday with two sets of artistic duos unveiling both their separate and collective creations on opposite sides of Bond Street in London’s Mayfair. At Sotheby’s designer extraordinaire Tord Boontje’s first full retrospective of his fantastical furniture, lighting, jewellery and textiles is accompanied by a parallel survey of starkly striking works in glass, bronze and a various mixed media by his sculptor wife, Emma Woffenden, whom he met when they were both students at London’s Royal College of Art. MORE

Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:59:00 GMT

Will there be life after death for new private museums?

Jori Finkel: From the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in October to the construction of The Broad in Los Angeles now set to open this autumn, the model of the single-donor museum is thriving. You’d have to dial back the clock more than a century to the American “robber barons” like Frick, Morgan and Huntington to find another moment in art history when so many great institutions were founded by powerful individuals instead of broader coalitions or private-public alliances. MORE

Thu, 08 Jan 2015 07:46:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—New Year’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Egon Schiele: the Radical Nude”, Courtauld Institute, until 18 January
Astonishingly the first UK museum exhibition devoted to Schiele for nearly a quarter of a century, this tightly-selected and highly charged survey of just 38 drawings and watercolours of the male and female nude—including some excruciatingly raw images of pregnant women and a particularly scary new-born baby—made between the artist’s breakthrough year of 1910 and his untimely death from Spanish flu in 1918 when he was only 28, confirms what a bold, audacious but ultimately humane artist he was.
 MORE

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:30:00 GMT

Back with a fever

Louisa Buck: The new season kicked off to a high-octane start with last night’s launch of Fig-2, the constantly changing experimental art project which will present a whirlwind programme of 50 exhibitions over the next 50 weeks from within the ICA Studio, the Institute’s gritty former workshop which recently had a light-touch makeover courtesy of Universal Design Studio. MORE

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:42:00 GMT

Dreaming of a green Christmas

Louisa Buck: Seasonal celebrations took a slightly darker turn on 21 December when protestors set up outside the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing to voice their opposition to Shell’s sponsorship of “Rembrandt: The Late Works”. MORE

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:14:00 GMT

Farewell to the Glasshouse

Louisa Buck: One of the most Christmas-y places in the capital over the last few days has undoubtedly been Andrew Logan’s magical Glasshouse in Bermondsey, in the shadow of the Shard. Here, the artist and inventor of the now-legendary Alternative Miss World extravaganzas and his partner the architect Michael Davis (who 25 years ago designed their giant conservatory like space out of an asbestos ridden garage) were hosting their last-ever “Open Studio With Friends”, featuring not only Mr L’s magnificent distinctive shattered mirror sculpture and jewellery but also festive outfits from the designer Zandra Rhodes (whose Fashion and Textile Museum is just round the corner in Bermondsey Street) and a plethora of other goodies to be purchased from more creative pals such as the inimitable Christine Binnie (who introduced Grayson Perry to pots). MORE

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:55:00 GMT

Soft-shoe shuffle in Soho

Louisa Buck: When Rose Wylie last saw the cult 1980s alternative comedian and writer Alexei Sayle, it was back in September and she had just won the prestigious John Moores painting prize—at 80, the oldest artist to do so. MORE

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:15:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—reflective art alternatives to the festive overload

Louisa Buck: “Maggi Hambling: Walls Of Water”, National Gallery, until 15 February 2015 and “Walls of Water: the Monotypes”, Marlborough Fine Art, until 10 January 2015
Wonderful (and free) respite from the West End consumer cacophony in this exhibition/installation that fills a chapel-like space at the top of the National Gallery’s main stairs with nine paintings of giant waves, captured as they rear upwards on the cusp of crashing down onto the shore.
 MORE

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:40:00 GMT

James Franco’s Fat Squirrel

Louisa Buck: As Art Basel’s head of VIP relations in the UK, it is to be expected that Andreas Siegfried certainly knows a big name or two. He gathered quite a cluster, including Muriel and Freddie Salem, Julia Peyton Jones and jewellery designer Harumi Klossowski, the daughter of Balthus, at his chic west London home/private-showing space last night to unveil the latest paintings by the multi-tasking movie star James Franco, who had flown in from Hong Kong especially to preside over the proceedings. MORE

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

Open house at Open School East

Louisa Buck: All hail Open School East! As art is evermore marginalised on the national curriculum and our mainstream art schools increasingly become finishing schools for the international rich, this mould-breaking art school—which charges no tuition fees and embeds creative practitioners directly into the local community—offers an inspiring and crucial alternative. MORE

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here — this week’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Koen Vanmechelen: Darwin’s Dream”, Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London NW1, until 14 December
The labyrinthine tunnels and underground chambers of this 19th-century church crypt provide an atmospheric setting for this Belgian artist’s multifarious investigations into evolution, fertility and genetic diversity which span two decades and focus on the universally familiar form of the chicken.
 MORE

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:00:00 GMT

Lisson loves the 80s

Louisa Buck: The dating game was being played with a vengeance during the Lisson Gallery’s celebratory dinner at St John’s for its dual shows of hardcore veteran conceptualists Art & Language and the younger but equally interrogative Jonathon Monk. MORE

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:45:00 GMT

Cyclops unveiled at the Hamlyn awards

Louisa Buck: At a time when public funding for the arts continues to shrink and the role of the art prize becomes evermore crucial, the Hamlyn Awards, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year, is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. MORE

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:40:00 GMT

Are you being served? House of Voltaire returns to the West End

Louisa Buck: Never mind the Christmas lights being turned on in Oxford Street last week: for London art-worlders, the festive season properly got under way with last night’s opening of the House of Voltaire, the biennial goodie-laden pop-up shop from not-for-profit gallery Studio Voltaire, which this year has come to rest until 20 December in a chic first-floor atelier space in Mayfair, at 39-40 Albemarle Street. MORE

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:30:00 GMT | 2 comments

Breaking art rules

Louisa Buck: There is currently an abundance of books available to instruct us on how to look at and possess contemporary art—I’ve written a few myself—but I can think of none that manages to capture both the end product and the true spirit of making art as effectively as Art Rules! (and How to Break Them) by the writer and curator Mel Gooding. MORE

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:50:00 GMT

Deptford stories

Louisa Buck: If your exhibition venue already looks as if it could have been painted by Anselm Kiefer, it is difficult not to fall into the trap of selecting work that tries to compete by adding yet more sturm und drang into its surroundings. MORE

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:45:00 GMT

Gunpowder, singing and soup at Foundling Museum

Louisa Buck: Few events are as heart (and stomach) warming as the Foundling Museum’s annual 5 November dinner in which 100 creative people from all disciplines and generations come together for a bowl of soup and animated chat in the convivial spirit of the 18th-century dinners thrown on the same date every year by the Foundling’s founder Thomas Coram, which similarly brought together the philanthropic creatives of his day. MORE

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:50:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here — this week’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Conflict and Collisions: New Contemporary Sculpture”, Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, until 25 January 2015
One of the more inventive markings of this year’s centenary of the First World War is these three solo shows and special commissions by a trio very different young artists who are united by an interest in the evolution of the accouterments of warfare.
 MORE

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:00:00 GMT

The hand of fate on a number plate

Louisa Buck: Grayson Perry may be currently wowing the nation’s airwaves but a recent revelation that has not made it to our TV screens is causing your correspondent considerable disquiet. Back in the late 1980s, before Mr P became the country’s favourite tranny Potter and Companion of the British Empire, I purchased—for a mere three figure sum—his Funerary Urn, a magnificent vessel modeled on The Ashes cricket trophy and bearing a dual and playfully macabre inscription. MORE

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 07:56:00 GMT

The many sides of Helen

Louisa Buck: Visitors to North London’s Golder’s Hill Park who encounter the lifesized bronze of a pensive leggy young girl in t-shirt and the shortest of shorts, sitting on the floor with jettisoned flip flops at her side, may not be aware that the subject is a youthful Helen Scott Lidgett, the ultra-glam human dynamo and founding partner of the arts wing of Brunswick PR, who left a huge hole in the London (and international) art world when she died from ovarian cancer two years ago. MORE

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:00:00 GMT

Biennial blow-out in the Big Easy

Julie Baumgardner: The Prospect.3 biennial curator Franklin Sirmans glowed quietly as he looked out onto a crowd of 700 supporters last Friday night at “Miss Vesta’s Swamp Galaxy Gala”, held in the warehouse extension of the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. MORE

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:45:00 GMT

All blogs