Farewell to the Glasshouse

Louisa Buck: One of the most Christmas-y places in the capital over the last few days has undoubtedly been Andrew Logan’s magical Glasshouse in Bermondsey, in the shadow of the Shard. Here, the artist and inventor of the now-legendary Alternative Miss World extravaganzas and his partner the architect Michael Davis (who 25 years ago designed their giant conservatory like space out of an asbestos ridden garage) were hosting their last-ever “Open Studio With Friends”, featuring not only Mr L’s magnificent distinctive shattered mirror sculpture and jewellery but also festive outfits from the designer Zandra Rhodes (whose Fashion and Textile Museum is just round the corner in Bermondsey Street) and a plethora of other goodies to be purchased from more creative pals such as the inimitable Christine Binnie (who introduced Grayson Perry to pots). MORE

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:55:00 GMT

Soft-shoe shuffle in Soho

Louisa Buck: When Rose Wylie last saw the cult 1980s alternative comedian and writer Alexei Sayle, it was back in September and she had just won the prestigious John Moores painting prize—at 80, the oldest artist to do so. MORE

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:15:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here—reflective art alternatives to the festive overload

Louisa Buck: “Maggi Hambling: Walls Of Water”, National Gallery, until 15 February 2015 and “Walls of Water: the Monotypes”, Marlborough Fine Art, until 10 January 2015
Wonderful (and free) respite from the West End consumer cacophony in this exhibition/installation that fills a chapel-like space at the top of the National Gallery’s main stairs with nine paintings of giant waves, captured as they rear upwards on the cusp of crashing down onto the shore.

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:40:00 GMT

James Franco’s Fat Squirrel

Louisa Buck: As Art Basel’s head of VIP relations in the UK, it is to be expected that Andreas Siegfried certainly knows a big name or two. He gathered quite a cluster, including Muriel and Freddie Salem, Julia Peyton Jones and jewellery designer Harumi Klossowski, the daughter of Balthus, at his chic west London home/private-showing space last night to unveil the latest paintings by the multi-tasking movie star James Franco, who had flown in from Hong Kong especially to preside over the proceedings. MORE

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

Open house at Open School East

Louisa Buck: All hail Open School East! As art is evermore marginalised on the national curriculum and our mainstream art schools increasingly become finishing schools for the international rich, this mould-breaking art school—which charges no tuition fees and embeds creative practitioners directly into the local community—offers an inspiring and crucial alternative. MORE

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:00:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here — this week’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Koen Vanmechelen: Darwin’s Dream”, Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London NW1, until 14 December
The labyrinthine tunnels and underground chambers of this 19th-century church crypt provide an atmospheric setting for this Belgian artist’s multifarious investigations into evolution, fertility and genetic diversity which span two decades and focus on the universally familiar form of the chicken.

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:00:00 GMT

Lisson loves the 80s

Louisa Buck: The dating game was being played with a vengeance during the Lisson Gallery’s celebratory dinner at St John’s for its dual shows of hardcore veteran conceptualists Art & Language and the younger but equally interrogative Jonathon Monk. MORE

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:45:00 GMT

Cyclops unveiled at the Hamlyn awards

Louisa Buck: At a time when public funding for the arts continues to shrink and the role of the art prize becomes evermore crucial, the Hamlyn Awards, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year, is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. MORE

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:40:00 GMT

Are you being served? House of Voltaire returns to the West End

Louisa Buck: Never mind the Christmas lights being turned on in Oxford Street last week: for London art-worlders, the festive season properly got under way with last night’s opening of the House of Voltaire, the biennial goodie-laden pop-up shop from not-for-profit gallery Studio Voltaire, which this year has come to rest until 20 December in a chic first-floor atelier space in Mayfair, at 39-40 Albemarle Street. MORE

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:30:00 GMT | 2 comments

Breaking art rules

Louisa Buck: There is currently an abundance of books available to instruct us on how to look at and possess contemporary art—I’ve written a few myself—but I can think of none that manages to capture both the end product and the true spirit of making art as effectively as Art Rules! (and How to Break Them) by the writer and curator Mel Gooding. MORE

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:50:00 GMT

Deptford stories

Louisa Buck: If your exhibition venue already looks as if it could have been painted by Anselm Kiefer, it is difficult not to fall into the trap of selecting work that tries to compete by adding yet more sturm und drang into its surroundings. MORE

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:45:00 GMT

Gunpowder, singing and soup at Foundling Museum

Louisa Buck: Few events are as heart (and stomach) warming as the Foundling Museum’s annual 5 November dinner in which 100 creative people from all disciplines and generations come together for a bowl of soup and animated chat in the convivial spirit of the 18th-century dinners thrown on the same date every year by the Foundling’s founder Thomas Coram, which similarly brought together the philanthropic creatives of his day. MORE

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:50:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here — this week’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “Conflict and Collisions: New Contemporary Sculpture”, Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, until 25 January 2015
One of the more inventive markings of this year’s centenary of the First World War is these three solo shows and special commissions by a trio very different young artists who are united by an interest in the evolution of the accouterments of warfare.

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:00:00 GMT

The hand of fate on a number plate

Louisa Buck: Grayson Perry may be currently wowing the nation’s airwaves but a recent revelation that has not made it to our TV screens is causing your correspondent considerable disquiet. Back in the late 1980s, before Mr P became the country’s favourite tranny Potter and Companion of the British Empire, I purchased—for a mere three figure sum—his Funerary Urn, a magnificent vessel modeled on The Ashes cricket trophy and bearing a dual and playfully macabre inscription. MORE

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 07:56:00 GMT

The many sides of Helen

Louisa Buck: Visitors to North London’s Golder’s Hill Park who encounter the lifesized bronze of a pensive leggy young girl in t-shirt and the shortest of shorts, sitting on the floor with jettisoned flip flops at her side, may not be aware that the subject is a youthful Helen Scott Lidgett, the ultra-glam human dynamo and founding partner of the arts wing of Brunswick PR, who left a huge hole in the London (and international) art world when she died from ovarian cancer two years ago. MORE

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:00:00 GMT

Biennial blow-out in the Big Easy

Julie Baumgardner: The Prospect.3 biennial curator Franklin Sirmans glowed quietly as he looked out onto a crowd of 700 supporters last Friday night at “Miss Vesta’s Swamp Galaxy Gala”, held in the warehouse extension of the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. MORE

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:45:00 GMT

TV dinner with the Perrys

Louisa Buck: It was a TV dinner with a difference last night when Grayson Perry’s friends and family—including his wife Philippa, his daughter Flo, the Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, the professor Lisa Jardine, the comedian Vic Reeves, the former Eastenders actress Sue Tully, the photographer Martin Parr and your own correspondent (see picture)—gathered around a giant television screen at the Groucho Club to watch the first episode of his new three part Channel 4 series, “Who Are You?” in which the intrepid artist grapples with the slippery issue of identity. MORE

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:49:00 GMT

The Buck stopped here — October’s must-see shows

Louisa Buck: “The Nakeds”, The Drawing Room, until 29 November
A stunning and unmissable show devoted to drawings of “the body exposed” which takes Egon Schiele as the starting point for a bodily parade of top-quality works by Chris Ofili, Marlene Dumas, Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois and many more.

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:00:00 GMT

Strength in numbers

Louisa Buck: For those weary of the febrile, fiscally obsessed shenanigans of Frieze week, the perfect antidote was to be found on Saturday night when Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was invaded by the no-holds-barred, agenda-free, all-inclusive cultural cornucopia that is Andew Logan’s Alternative Miss World. MORE

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:25:00 GMT

Gonzo Burroughs tribute

Louisa Buck: A multidisciplinary tribute to US author William Burroughs in the grand surroundings of Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank on Saturday was masterminded by the musician and actor Richard Strange to mark Burroughs’ centenary year. MORE

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:12:00 GMT

Ada the robot struts her stuff

Louisa Buck: Before Frieze London unleashes its special “Live” section this week, the major role of genre-blurring performance in the current London art scene was already being foregrounded by two outstanding one-off live events this weekend. MORE

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 01:09:00 GMT

Ai Weiwei, Alcatraz and the radical side of conceptualism

Jori Finkel: Over the past decade, Ai Weiwei has illustrated just how many forms activist art can take, from the monumental to the ephemeral. He started off blogging and tweeting before taking to Instagram, putting all to such creative uses that they seem like a natural extension of his practice. MORE

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 07:58:00 GMT

Newfoundland down in South London

Louisa Buck: It takes something very special to bring the great and the good down to an industrial estate next to West Norwood bus station in the depths of South London. But they came in their droves when the industrial estate contains the studio of the ceramic artist and author Edmund de Waal which is, just for this weekend, housing “Newfoundland”, a joint show of de Waal’s work and new jewellery by Romilly Saumarez Smith, the wife of RA’s chief Charles. MORE

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 07:00:00 GMT

Dear God, it’s me Gerhard

Louisa Buck: There was much admiration at the first sneaky preview of Marian Goodman’s magnificent new London HQ this morning, which occupies the grand former premises of Bernard Quaritch booksellers on Soho’s Lower John Street. MORE

Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:05:00 GMT

Feelin’ blue

Louisa Buck: All senses were assaulted (but in the nicest possible way) at Chisenhale Gallery’s patron’s dinner hosted this year by Nicoletta Fiorucci in her Foundation’s art-bedecked HQ just off Sloane Square. The refreshments themed to match L’Heure Bleu, the indigo-splattered wall-piece created by the 2013 Duchamp Prize winner Latifa Echakhch, which dominates the Foundation’s well-appointed kitchen. MORE

Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:17:00 GMT

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