must-see shows in London and New York

by Louisa Buck  |  27.05.2015
The Buck stopped here: this week’s must-see shows in London and New York

Samara Golden, Bad Brains (2012). Installation shot at Frieze New York 2012. Courtesy the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles
Zabludowicz Collection 20 Years: Zabludowicz Collection (until 16 August)

Anita Zabludowicz is one of the art world’s most active collectors. Over the past two decades she and her husband Poju have built up a collection of more than 3,000 works by 500 artists—and the couple shows no sign of stopping. The current 20th anniversary exhibition of 32 artists ranging from veteran and historic figures such as Isa Genzken, Maria Lassnig and Sigmar Polke through to established names including Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie and Damien Hirst to recent works by Ed Atkins, Heather Phillipson (and a collaboration by Laura Buckley, Haroon Mirza and Dave Maclean) is inevitably only a tiny sampling. But despite the porous themes of body, objects, and abstraction, the display is tightly and astutely sel ected and gives a sense of the collection’s ambition and scope.

Pierre Huyghe, the Roof Garden Commission (2015) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (until November 1)

Huyghe’s anti-monumental intervention on the Met’s roof initially looks as if the builders have been in: flagstones are uprooted and filled with murky puddles, and a large tank of waterborne creepy crawlies periodically clouds over and appears to have sprung a leak…Of course this studiedly casual appearance belies a complex feat of engineering and the whole work is a meticulously contrived meditation on the passage of time, which holds a direct conversation with the Met’s own holdings. Cutting-edge liquid crystal technology fogs up the tankful of primeval lampreys and tadpole shrimp, while the lone boulder of Manhattan Schist, which has also come to rest on the roof, is in fact part of the bedrock supporting the wraparound high rise skyline and dates back 450 million years. But the weeds and bugs accumulating around the excavated flags are changing minute by minute—as Huyghe himself says, “the important thing is not necessarily the big event.”

Rene Daniels, A Hot Day in the Lighthouse (1985). Courtesy of Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam. Photo: Peter Cox

DE.FI.CIEN.CY  Andrzej Wróblewski, René Daniels, Luc Tuymans, The Drawing Room (until July 11)

Another intelligent and ambitious show from the UK and Europe’s only non-commercial space devoted to both showing and—crucially—investigating contemporary drawing from around the world. Here three artists—Wróblewski (Polish), Daniels (Dutch) and Tuymans (Belgian) each present their own take on the ‘deficiency’ of pictorial representation via a fluid proliferation of changing styles and unstable images that bristle with association and can morph and shift into different readings. Histories, secrets and stories proliferate: Nazi atrocities, family rifts, the vagaries of the art world are just some of the back stories to these 50 works on paper along with a unique and disquieting wall drawing specially made in situ by Tuymans and based on photographed installations of his work.

Jonathan Borofsky, Running People at 2,616,216 (1978–79). Installed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photo: © Nic Lehoux

America is Hard To See, Whitney Museum (until September 27)

Exuberant and panoramic (both inside and out) yet at the same time generously welcoming and accommodating for both art and people, Renzo Piano’s new home for the Whitney is a triumph—as is the inaugural exhibition. Both complement each other perfectly. America is Hard to See is a 600-work-whopper drawn from the Whitney’s extensive collections, which aims to re-examine the history of American art fr om the beginning of the 20th century up to the present. And it does. Organised chronologically but further divided into 23 sub-chapters, the show presents the stars of the Whitney’s collection alongside a brilliantly selected array of lesser known figures (often women), who do more than hold their own, they often surpass and shake things up to such an extent that the big boys of American art will never look the same again.