London galleries: Minimal and Conceptual art at large

Lisson’s historical show unites major international artists


Designed to complement “Gravity and Grace: the changing condition of sculpture 1965-1975” which opened at the Hayward Gallery last month (The Art Newspaper, p.24, Jan 1993, p. 5), Lisson has mounted a survey of the art of the first generation of minimal and conceptual artists. Its title is “Out of Sight Out of Mind” (14 February-20 March), and director Nicholas Logsdail has selected fifty artists to illustrate his theme. They include Robert Ryman, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Dan Graham, Lawrence Weiner (who has created a new work for Dean Clough, Halifax), John Baldessari, Art and Language, Richard Long, Barry Flanagan, Mario Merz, Gerhard Richter and On Kawara, as well as other artists who enjoyed some popularity and recognition twenty-five years ago but whose careers have been ignored in recent times. It will be interesting to see whether current opinion confirms that historical evaluation or throws up masters due for a fuller reassessment. Relevant, too, to the theme of the Hayward Gallery’s survey, although they are not included in it, are exhibitions of recent or new work by Hamish Fulton at Annely Juda (to 6 March) and by Gilbert and George at the Tate Gallery’s Liverpool branch (to 14 March). There are two important historical installations by Mario Merz at Anthony d’Offay (4 February-6 March). They are “Accelarazione” (1972) which incorporates an East German MZ motorcycle with waterbuck horns and a blue neon tube, and “Près de la Table” (1980), an arrangement of tables with branches and other attachments.

D’Offay is also showing twenty-two recent charcoal drawings, including a new railway subject, by leading British figure painter Leon Kossoff (4 February-6 March), whose previous exhibition of oil paintings at the gallery in 1988 was such a powerful demonstration of his talents. Kossoff prefers to segregate his drawings from his paintings in his exhibitions.

In and near Cork Street, Victoria Miro is showing eleven prints by Robert Ryman (16 February-26 March) drawn from two untitled portfolios published in 1976 and 1991. Best studied as loose sheets in a box wearing a pair of white gloves rather than as framed and glazed images, they explore different shades of white and frequently incorporate the artist’s name. Her exhibition coincides, of course, with the Tate Gallery’s survey of Ryman’s paintings. RAAB shows etchings and silkscreen prints by Rainer Fetting (to 27 February). William Jackson is exhibiting new abstract paintings created in Portugal and Spain by John Beard (9-27 February). Waddington is drawing upon its gallery stock (to 27 February) in an extension of last month’s exhibition and is featuring modern masters including Picasso, Miró, Dubuffet and Ivon Hitchens whose centenary exhibition opens at Bernard Jacobson at the end of this month (23 February-1 April). In the last two years, Waddington Graphics have published, in collaboration with Pace in New York, some twenty new graphic works by Jim Dine. They include new woodcuts on the theme of Venus, accompanied in one image by Neptune, and etchings of the Four Continents, the title of this exhibition (3 February-14 March).

In Soho, Karsten Schubert’s exhibition of Keith Coventry’s ten Suprematist paintings, which were previewed at the Cologne Art Fair and superimpose the colours of the leading racist football clubs as identified in a Fascist magazine over a recreation of Malévich’s white Suprematist painting, ends shortly (to 6 February), and is followed by a new series of sculptures designed by Michael Landy (10 February-6 March). They are the “Warning Signs”, each of which reinterprets a familiar traffic sign or public notice to make a political or economic point. On the gallery’s upper floor, the exhibition of drawings and small sculptures by Meg Cranston, the Californian artist who will be participating in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale, continues (to 6 March), and Schubert is screening a compilation of video works created by Californian artists in his basement (programme details from the gallery). There are works on paper by Tim Head at the Frith Street Gallery (to 27 February).

In Millbank, RAAB is showing works on paper and prints by Ken Currie (who has created seven new heads in oil, charcoal and beeswax), Keith McIntyre, Ian Hughes and Richard Gilbert (to 27 February), while Long and Ryle exhibit “Dreams”, twelve small but intense gouaches by Argentinian painter, Ricardo Cinalli. They are displayed with a large fresco and the exhibition coincides with a survey of Cinalli’s recent work, emphasising his large pastel drawings on tissue paper, which is taking place at the Accademia Italiana (16 February-14 March) and will then be shown in Argentina, Spain, Sweden and Russia.

In London’s East End, Purdy Hicks, renamed to reflect the appointment of Rebecca Hicks as director, is exhibiting ten new paintings and a portfolio of ten etchings, published in collaboration with the Print Centre, by Arturo di Stefano (5 February-6 March). Recently preoccupied with historical portraiture and a monochrome palette, the new subjects include classical mythology and pictures of the interior of the artist’s studio executed in a brighter range of colours. Since di Stefano comes from Liverpool, it is appropriate that there should be a survey of his art, thirty-four paintings, seven large woodcuts and other graphic works, spanning the last ten years and taking place at the Walker Art Gallery (29 January-14 March), which has been curated by Alex Kidson.

At Bipasha Ghosh, there are new abstract paintings by Michael Stubbs (to 20 February, for appointment call 071-231-6598), who exhibited his small canvases created with cake icing syringes at Nicola Jacobs in 1991. His new pictures, presented as diptychs, use paint squeezed from tubes in grids which are based upon plaid, tartan and check cloth designs.

The following exhibitions were mentioned in last month’s column and should be noted: interpretations of “The Lake of Innisfree” by William Tillyer, Maggi Hambling, Maurice Cockrill and Wendy Connolly at Bernard Jacobson (to 20 February), large sculptures by Phillip King and William Tucker at MAAK (to 9 February) and new sand paintings by Michael Young at Turske-Hue-Williams (to 13 March), the gallery’s final exhibition at its space in Old Bond Street before Michael Hue-Williams reverts to being a private dealer.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Minimal and Conceptual art at large'