Michael Landy’s “Closing Down Sale” at Karsten Schubert

Lisson’s On Kawara with Houshiary


When Nicholas Logsdail opened his gallery’s Bell Street extension at the beginning of the season, he created an opportunity for showing different artists in their own spaces. Lisson’s presentation of On Kawara with Shirazeh Houshiary (7 May-27 June) illustrates that opportunity rather effectively. Promising young Persian sculptress, Houshiary, whose “The Earth and the Angel”, a recent acquisition by the Tate Gallery, looks particularly handsome in the museum’s New Displays, has created three new sculptures and a suite of large drawings for this exhibition. She fills the main space with “Isthmus”, a tall copper box seven and a half metres in length and rising to the gallery’s ceiling. A narrow gap permits access to the interior which, in contrast to its dark, oxidised skin, is brightly polished and causes a multiplicity of reflections. Two smaller works share that concern for inner reflection, which the artist uses as a metaphor for the inner, or true, self. “Bright Night in a Dark Day” is a lead and copper floor sculpture, and “The Cube of Man” is a column of hexagonal lead boxes lined in gold leaf. More rigorously geometric than her previous and distinctively organic work, the new sculptures appear to mark a change of direction and approach the work of Bruce Nauman or Robert Morris, but their content is consistent and in them Houshiary continues to explore the journey from the body or self to its spirit, as she works towards a major exhibition at Grenoble’s Magasin in 1993 or 1994. On Bell Street’s ground and upper floor, On Kawara, senior Japanese conceptual artist and recipient of the recent Carnegie Prize, is showing four date paintings, made in May and June of last year, with the ten volumes which comprise the book One Million Years—Future, and a new set of “I’m Still Alive” telegrams and “I Got Up” postcards.

Michael Landy’s “Closing Down Sale” at Karsten Schubert (to 30 May) is his most important exhibition since “Market” was installed at Building One in the autumn of 1990. Comprising nearly fifty supermarket trolleys tightly packed with discarded household kit salvaged from skips and tips, the exhibition recreates, in the context of an art gallery, an Oxford Street clearance sale, with all its sleazy devices for purchases by pressure. The gallery’s windows will be covered in whitewash announcements, and a tape recorder plays, on continuous loop, the artist’s own voice inciting his audience to buy while stocks last. At a time when business is tottering, Landy’s enterprise sails close to the wind and could only have been mounted by a dealer whose new lease in Charlotte Street has secured his own operation.

Sadly, however, genuine closing down sales are taking place in other galleries. Kasmin’s shop posted a For Lease sign some weeks ago, although he remains in Cork Street until he can identify a new tenant for his property. But he looks to follow Mark Glazebrook who closed the Albemarle Gallery three weeks ago and reverts to being a private dealer and exhibition curator working from his home in Pont Street. With former partner, Rodney Capstick Dale, he opened the gallery exactly five years ago with a Salon des Refusés of works rejected by the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition. Craigie Aitchison is his leading artist looking for a new representation.

Marlborough, a neighbour in Albemarle Street, opens a third exhibition of Therese Oulton (1 May-12 June), whose new paintings should dispel any lingering suggestion that she is a painter of the landscape. “Abstract with Memories” is the exhibition’s title, and the title of a set of four large yellow paintings at its core. There are five canvases from the “Transparence” series, predominantly blue in tonality, their honeycomb structures loosely derived from her study of crystalline formations in Egypt. Three other pictures from this series were exhibited at LA Louver in January of last year. “Close Up” and “Flare Up” are her latest works, large red compositions where the lattice is stitched more tightly. On the evidence of this new group of works, the Tate Gallery’s decision to acquire “Deposition” from her last exhibition in 1990 was quite justified. Marlborough Graphics is mounting a related exhibition of Oulton’s mezzotints (21 May-13 June) and a group of monotypes printed by Garner Tullis in Los Angeles.

As other galleries close, it is nice to be able to report that Milch has reopened in a new location in Bloomsbury. Directors Tamara Chodzko and Lawren Maben have taken a lease at 100 Great Russell Street where they launched their programme at the beginning of last month with ‘A Modest Proposal” (to 16 May). It features a collaboration between Simon Patterson, who looked an intriguing new prospect at the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Doubletake’, and Douglas Gordon,

a sculpture of tins of housepaint relabelled with the names of members, historical and current, of Europe’s Royal Families. Karsten Schubert’s colleague, Lady Helen Windsor, is included in the display. Gordon himself has made a mail work, sending short, threatening letters to 300 recipients,

and Anand Zenz has designed a pinstripe suit (ed.13), woven by a tailor in Savile Row, but changing the stripe to a provocative text which can be read at

close quarters. An exhibition of new sculptures by Nayland Blake opens

in later May and will be discussed in next month’s column.

In Cork Street, Waddington draws on his remarkable stock for an exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture (to 30 May). Besides groups of bronze statuettes by Degas and Henry Moore, notable works include Miró’s “Tête” (1974), “Oedipus II” (1962), a stone and bronze sculpture by William Turnbull, Kim Lim’s “River-Stone”, a new standing block of Calacatta Siena marble, delicately decorated with incisions, a vast wall sculpture (1987) created by Mimmo Paladino from gold and encaustic and bronze, and Julian Schnabel’s “Jacqueline”, a bronze bust of his former wife mounted on a steel platform and shown at his retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 1987. RAAB’s stock exhibition (to 4 July) is a changing selection of works by gallery artists including Rainer Fetting, Karl-Horst Hödicke, Luciano Castelli and Daniel Spoerri. Benjamin Rhodes is exhibiting new sculptures of household objects by Zadok Ben-David (to 13 June), who represented Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1988. For his third exhibition at Bernard Jacobson, Maurice Cockrill has made ‘The Four Seasons”, four oval canvases which he shows with a group of new pictures on door panels. Since some critics have made a link between Cockrill and Peter Lanyon, it is appropriate that this exhibition tours to the Newlyn Art Gallery in June and will be seen at Exeter’s Spacex Gallery and at the Plymouth Art Centre.

In Dering Street, Grob gives a first exhibition to Danny Moynihan

(12 May-20 June), who was seen at the gallery in a mixed exhibition two years ago. For this exhibition, the artist has

painted six voluptuous nude portraits and four still-life compositions of fruit and tennis balls. A catalogue includes an interview conducted by Damien Hirst. Anthony d’Offay’s survey of neon works by Bruce Nauman, extensively previewed in last month’s issue, includes “Seven Figures” (1985), a chain of erotic entertainment (to 16 May). Then the gallery closes for three weeks in preparation for its major summer exhibition of new pictures by Anselm Kiefer.

Other exhibitions discussed in previous issues include seven large woodcuts by leading Swiss master, Franz Gertsch, at Turske-Hue-Williams (to 29 May), Kenny Scharf at Edward Totah (to 23 May), Mayor’s British Surrealism (to 22 May) and Brice Marden’s “Cold Mountain” series of prints at Marianne Holtermann’s new gallery in Bond Street (to 29 May).

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Schubert holds "Closing down sale" of Landy'