Art Fair to Mayfair

Five new galleries, fifteen minutes apart, ArtReview takes a break from creating the November Power 100 issue to visit the new Mayfair spaces recently opened in London

By Helen Sumpter

Cho Yong-Ik, installation view, Olivier Malingue Gallery, London, 2016. Courtesy Olivier Malingue Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Poussin The Triumph of Pan), 2014–2016. Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech Mario Merz, At Borders, 1989, iron, grid, steel, neon. Courtesy Cardi gallery Skarstedt, 8 Bennet Street, London. © Richard Davies Latifa Echakhch, Forever Mi, Mi b, Do, Sol, 2016. Bronze, variable dimensions. © and Courtesy the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris/London

ArtReview has been holed up in its London HQ, frantically feeding data collected over the past 12 months into the giant 93-petaflop supercomputer it keeps in its basement, so that the humming machine can spew out this year’s Power 100 in time for ArtReview to publish in its November issue. It hasn’t passed ArtReview by, however, that not only has there been a fair in town, or rather several, but that in a narrow strip of central London between Green Park and Bond Street, five new galleries have sprung up. Working out that if it picks up the pace it can visit them all and still get back before the beast in the basement finally produces the 2016 list, it sketches out a map on the back of one of the old biscuit wrappers it keeps on its desk and sets off.

First stop on the map is Skarstedt, just south of Piccadilly on Bennet Street, where the gallery has added to its two New York spaces by renovating a 5,000 sq ft gallery next to the Ritz. The gallery is showing a selection of Cindy Sherman’s History Portrait photographs from 1998–90 with a selection of David Salle’s Tapestry Paintings from the same era. Noting that both bodies of work utilise a sumptuous colour palette of blues, browns and golds, ArtReview scribbles ‘perfect pairing’ in its notebook and moves on.

Powering on up Dover Street to Grafton Street ArtReview is warmly welcomed by the open door of Cardi ,where the Milan-based gallery has taken over a seventeenth-century townhouse and installed an impressive showcase of works by largely Italian postwar and contemporary artists, including Mario Merz, Piero Manzoni, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Giuseppe Penone. ArtReview didn’t have time to fully take in all the works across its five floors of galleries but was taken by the ‘striking wallpaper’ on the staircases, which it what it wrote down, as it made a mental note to return at a later date. 

ArtReview doesn't have far to jog to reach Oliver Malingue, up the stairs on the first floor at 143 New Bond Street, where Olivier, the son of Paris-based Malingue Gallery founder Daniel Malingue (and brother of Edouard Malingue whose eponymous gallery is in Hong Kong) is showing a survey of monochromatic paintings from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s by senior Korean artist Cho Yong-Ik. ArtReview is aware that the description ‘ochre monochromes’, doesn’t even attempt to do justice to the Dansaekhwa canvases it is looking at, but with the clock ticking it's time to head to the next destination. 

Taking a sharp left at the Princess Motor Yachts salesroom on Grosvenor Street, ArtReview next finds itself reflected in the mirrored splendour of Jeff Koons' shiny blue Gazing Balls, the inaugural exhibition at Almine Rech’s second London space (an addition to her existing gallery at Savile Row and galleries in Paris and Brussels). Attached to reproductions of Old Master paintings including Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan and Giotto’s The Kiss of Judas, there was no escaping either ArtReview's own reflection or the surrounding fsh-eye views of the gallery, in this art-historical ‘hall of mirrors’. 

Having taken a wrong turn down Brook’s Mews ArtReview thought it was going to miss Kamel Mennour’s show of broken bronze bells and autumnal oilstick and ink paintings by ArtReview’s October 2014 cover artist Latifa Echakhch. It's glad it does find it, enjoying the poignancy of the work, titled Spring and Fall. With perfect timing ArtReview arrives back in the basement just as its data-crunching machine of power is juddering to a halt. It scoops up the long folds of paper it's regurgitated out onto the floor and takes a look at the 2016 list.

Well, ArtReview thinks to itself, that’s a surprise, it wasn’t expecting that…

ArtReview's 2016 Power 100 list is published at one minute past midnight on Thursday 20 October on artreview.com

Cindy Sherman and David Salle: History Portraits and Tapestry Paintings, through 26 November at Skarstedt, 8 Bennet Street; Arte Povera, American Minimalism, ZERO Group through 22 December at Cardi, 22 Grafton Street; Cho Yong-Ik, through 16 December at Olivier Malingue,143 New Bond Street, first floor; Jeff Koons, through 21 January 2017 at Almine Rech, Grosvenor Hill, Broadbent House; Latifa Echakhch: Spring and Fall, through 12 November at Kamel Mennour, 51 Brook Street

7 October 2016