With over forty participating galleries and three days of events, Mayfair Art Weekend opens with its Gallery HOP! on Friday 29th June – an evening of previews with galleries hosting special evening viewings and events from 6-8pm (with drinks sponsored by Sipsmith Gin).
In the lead-up to Gallery HOP! each week ArtReview is publishing a specially themed tour guide, to help you decide what to see and where to start in Mayfair’s busy art neighbourhood. So here’s ArtReview’s fourth and final tour…
The Ahead of the Curve Tour
If you’ve done the Pioneering Legends Tour, the Totally Abstract Tour and the Intensely Now Tour already, then well done you. But if you haven’t, don’t worry. ArtReview wraps up its virtual tours with this handy cross-section which takes in group shows, old art legends and younger art stars, painting, sculpture, video and photography. A sort of taster menu. You see? ArtReview is always on hand to keep you in the loop and ahead of the curve. And it starts on South Audley Street…
Rob Pruitt, American Quilt 2018: President Trump Studio Doodle, 2018, mixed media, 208 × 163 cm. Photo: Todd White. Courtesy Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/ Hong Kong
Rob Pruitt: American Quilts 2018 at Massimo De Carlo, through 21 July
OK, so they’re not actually quilts, and they’re far from comforting. Pruitt has long been an artistic pulse-taker of America’s cultural disarray, self-questioning, revelling in kitsch and mass culture and the artist’s uncertain influence within it. And here what preoccupies Pruitt is the Trump era – in big rectangular works which mostly draw on traditional American quilt designs, but infected with a sense that all is not right in the land of the free – big steel-surfaced designs riff on the stars-and-stripes, the flag made out in polished and rusted steel, while others rework the stripe pattern to hint at the rotating right-angles of a Swastika. Alongside these, more serene tessellations of red, white and blue suggest that another America is possible.
Franz West, Sisyphos V, 2002, mixed media, 152 x 122 x 1212 cm. Photo: Rob McKeever. © Archiv Franz West. Courtesy Gagosian, London
Franz West: Sisyphos Sculptures at Gagosian Davies Street, through 27 July
If artists like Pruitt strike out at seriousness and good taste in art, they owe some of that to an older generation of renegades like the late Franz West. A brief stop at Gagosian’s smaller Davies Street shopfront find three of the Austrian’s hulking, asteroid-like sculptures, amorphous bulks made up of papier-mâché, Styrofoam and cardboard, and dashed over with patches of painted colour. Sisyphos, in Greek myth, after trying to outwit Zeus, was condemned to spend eternity endless pushing a boulder up a hill, as punishment for his hubris. West’s playful blobs refuse any refinement, while both mythologising and lampooning the image of the heroic artist.
Camille Henrot, Monday, 2016, installation view at Fondazione Memmo, Rome. Photo: Daniele Molajoli. © ADAGP Camille Henrot. Courtesy the artist, Fondazione Memmo, Rome and kamel mennour, Paris/London
Mask at Kamel Mennour, through 28 July
If Franz West playfully messes with the image of the artist as rebel or provocateur – a persona to be performed – then MASK (at the London outpost of Parisian Kamel Mennour gallery) brings a more literal twist to the idea of personal disguise, in a group show exploring artists’ experimentations with the concept of the mask in photography, sculpture and collage. Contributing to a sort of ‘cabinet of curiosities’, thirteen of the gallery’s artists (among them Bertrand Lavier, Camille Henrot and Nobuyoshi Araki) explore the mask’s capacity for disguising, deceiving and performing identity and selfhood, class and gender. Or do they?
Alex Hartley, Case Study #22, Stahl House, 2018, acrylic, C type photograph, plywood and paint, 112 x 151 x 7 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
Alex Hartley: The Houses at Victoria Miro, through 28 July
Another kind of veiling, hiding and revealing is taking place in Alex Hartley’s ghostly, atmostpheric photoworks The Houses. Black-and-white images of mid-century modernist houses – the architect-designed kind you might find dotting the more exclusive hillsides of greater Los Angeles – are framed in acrylic cases, largely hidden by the hazy scenes of vegetation printed onto the front of these ‘vitrines’. The effect is luminous but disturbing, emphasising the unattainable distance of these places even as the works seek to capture and present them for the gallery goer. And what if that gallery-goer is a collector who happens to have a modernist house in the Hollywood hills?
Manon, The Salmon-Colored Boudoir, 1974, mixed media, dimensions variable. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, London
Spiegelgasse at Hauser & Wirth, through 28 July
From Hollywood hills to Zurich is only a couple of streets by foot, in art terms. Hauser & Wirth’s summer group show escapes the London heatwave back to the gallery’s Swiss roots. The show’s entertaining conceit, named after the street on which the legendary Dadaist nightclub Cabaret Voltaire ran in 1916, is that Swiss contemporary artists have tended to opt for forms of playful irrationality in reaction to the formal stuffiness of Swiss culture. Whether that idea floats or not, Spiegelgasse nevertheless spins a kaleidoscope of artworks from the last half century (Spiegelgasse translates as ‘Mirror Street’), from Urs Fischer’s weirdly self-conscious sculptures to a portrait by Giaccometti, and vivid, humble unstretched canvasses by Vivian Suter, and the dazzlingly reconstructed The Salmon Coloured Boudoir (1974) by cult performance artist Manon.
Carol Bove, The Romance of Black Money, 2018, mixed media, various dimensions. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York, London & Hong Kong
Carol Bove at David Zwirner, through 3 August
If messy, playful contingency runs through Speigelgasse, Carol Bove’s powerfully thoughtful steel sculptures at David Zwirner are anything else but haphazard. Riffing on the high-colour modernist sculpture of the last century, Bove manipulates chunks of found scrap steel or manipulates piece of box girder, twisting and compressing them with the assistance of heavy metalworking equipment, powerdcoating them with intense, flat colour. The result is a beguiling conversation about weight and weightlessness, massiveness and delicacy, human touch and machine production. Abstract sculpture was never so full of allusions…
Ange Leccia, Disappear, 2018, installation view. Courtesy the artist and Senesi Contemporanea, London
Ange Leccia: Disappear at Senesi Contemporanea, through 13 July
And finally, if the introspective focus of Bove’s sculptures gets too much, it’s only a few doors to Seneis Contemporanea, which is showcasing French photographer and video artist Ange Leccia, an artist who explores the relationship between the individual and the social and natural worlds. On view is his hypnotic video La Mer – the shifting waves of a shoreline seen from directly above, become a breathing, restless presence – while the Middle East is the subject of two new films, Disappear and Wardream, which shift between portraits of young women looking back at the camera, to scenes from sites associated with the conflicts of the last decades, from Palmira in Syria to the Twin Towers in New York.