Past Exhibitions
London is a terrific cultural city.  For theater and art it is incomparable.  
What follows is a selection of visual arts exhibitions that most interested me this March 2016.  
This is not a “Best Picks” in the usual manner. Enjoy and, I hope, find interest and education.
Jean Dubuffet at Tate Modern
“Low Art”, primitivism, the art of children – art making without the boundaries of studied intellectualism –
“outsider art” – caught the fancy of avant-garde artists in the mid 20th century.  Art Brut (Raw Art) was
more widely recognized (because its artists were in Paris) than its more short-lived Pays-Bas
(Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) counterpart, CoBrA (1948-1951).  
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) was the French “father” of the Art Brut movement.  This 1977 work is mature
Dubuffet acting crazy; childlike.
Abraham Cruzvillegas at Tate Modern
I became a Cruzvillegas fan after seeing his solo show at Regen Projects in December 2012 (writing –
“sculpture that is this fresh and unreferenced”).
Dominating the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern is no mean feat.  This current installation is much more
conceptual than the free-standing sculptures I know.  Here his use of “recycled” materials takes the form of
soil sampled from various London locations that then is watered and lit to observe what will grow.  It speaks
to the curiosity and possibilities inherent in “immigration”.
Religious Figure 1983
Giacomo Manzu (1908-1991) at Estorick Collection
Eric Estorick (1913-1993) was an American sociologist and writer living in London when he became
enamored with Italian (contemporary at the time) art.  The foundation that he and his wife started
maintains a small museum in Islington. The reason to go is the fine collection of Italian Futurists.  Since I
love aspects of Futurism – specifically Severini – it takes just a short walk from the Northern Line Tube
(Islington) station.
An Italian organized exhibition of Manzu (not a Futurist) is currently showing.  Manzu focused his sculpture
on portraiture and religious imagery.
Manzu - Bust of Woman 1952
Severini 1910
Gino Severini (1883-1966)
Severini spent his most formative years in Paris where he was influenced by the Synthetic Cubism of
Picasso and Juan Gris.  Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Filippo Marinetti and Severini were heavy hitters and
established the movement.  The Futurist were fascinated by youth, power, speed, and technology.  They
had strong Fascist leanings (wanting to modernize Italy and thinking Mussolini would help do so).  
Mussolini rejected them and subsequently they were identified as “degenerate artists” with the marriage of
German and Italian Fascism.  Futurism had a strong imprint on the evolution of Modern art.  Art Deco,
Constructivism, and Surrealism all reflected Futurist ideas.  Ridley Scott (in Blade Runner) modelled his
metallized human-morphs on Futurism.  Cyber-punk, manga and anime all reference Futurism.  A year ago
whilst in Moscow, I became enthralled with Natalia Goncharova and the other Russian Futurists who led
the way into Russian Suprematism.
Severini 1913
Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) 1911
Chantal Joffe at Victoria Miro
As a fan of portraiture, artists who practice the genre always catch my eye.  Joffe (born 1969) lives and
works in London.  Portraiture has had particular strength in British art for over 200 years.  Joffe continues
that proud tradition with her painterly sensitivity to subject.  Thinking of Elizabeth Peyton (USA), Marlene
Dumas (Amsterdam), and Luc Tuymanns (Belgium) – I hope observers will take heart in the continuing
dominance of British portraiture.  Of course, an ocean and continent
away LA artists John Sonsini and Dan
McCleary clearly would be welcome in London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Chillida at Ordovas
Chillida (1924-2002) lived and worked in San Sebastian, Spain.  Jose Tasende represents his estate on
the US West Coast.  His monumental works in Corten steel are unmistakable.  They are at the same time
architectural and animate.  “Wind Comb” at entrance to the bay/harbor of Donestia/San Sebastian is one
of the world’s great iconic outdoor sculptures and this 1999 work is part of that lineage.
Paul Winstanley at Alan Cristea
It seems I always see Winstanley’s work when in London.  His reductive view of generic places
demonstrates practiced hyper-realism.  This exhibition features isolated views of British Isles art schools.  It
is said that the concept of “art school” originated in the UK in the 1960s.  The subject of this painting is the
Glasgow School of Art – which is linked to Charles Rennie Macintosh (a major designer of the Art
     Joan Miro 1966
Bernard Jacobsen Gallery
I cannot think of ever walking into a commercial gallery in LA and seeing 16 works by iconic masters of
twentieth century art.  But this is London.
Arnaldo Pomodoro at Tornaduoni
Pomodoro is now 90 years old and still actively working.  He came from Italy for the opening of this
exhibition.  He is greatly influenced by his fellow countryman and progenitor of Italian Spatialism, Lucio
Fontana (1899-1968).  One of my first art interests back when the earth was cooling was the Pomodoro
sculpture seen in the collection of the San Diego Museum of Art in their outdoor sculpture garden.  
Nobody comes close to the Pomodoro signature aesthetic.
Alexander McQueen
Taking a serpentine route through St. James, Marleybone and Mayfair offers visual delights that make
the central London art scene a walker’s dream.
Yamashita Kikuji at Sadie Coles HQ
Have I have ever seen Surrealism done by a Japanese artist? Is this work by Yamashita Kikuji (1919-
1986) the first?  Just goes to show that I have a lot more to still see and learn.  Researching online –
LACMA organized a show “Drawing Surrealism” in 2013.  For that exhibition, the LACMA curator of
Japanese art, Hollis Goodall traced the lineage of early Japanese Surrealism that responded to work
imported from Europe in the 1930s.  The piece pictured here is from 1971.  Kikuji visited Europe as a
young man and came away influenced by Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, and Hieronymus Bosch.
Harmony Korine at Gagosian Davies
Korine calls these pulsating color orbs, Fazors.  The artist was born in Bolinas, CA and now lives and
works in Nashville.  His eclectic output includes film and photography in addition to painting.  This
exhibition in the one room Gagosian Gallery on Davies St. - totally visible through the streetside
windows - broadcasts like Robert Delaunay on LSD.  Wow.!
Alighiero e Boetti at Ben Brown
Since my first viewing of Boetti’s work at a contemporary art forum in San Telmo, Buenos Aires in the
early 2000s I regularly see his work as I travel the world.  The Tate Modern has a large number of his
works currently exhibited.  Boetti (1940-1994) was born in Turin, Italy and was an influential early
member of the Arte Povera movement.  True to his conceptual leanings Boetti designed the
embroidered works that he has become most famous for and then had Afghani women embroider them
at an arts collective in Kabul.  Each Arazzi was executed by one woman.  His large Mappa were the
product of many women embroiderers. With the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, work was
moved to Peshawar, Pakistan.  In 2010 a large Mappa was sold by Christie’s London for $2.75 million
USD.  The artist died in 1994 of a brain tumor.
Annie Leibovitz 2007
National Portrait Gallery
My favorite section of this museum is the second floor contemporary gallery.  It only takes an hour to
drop in and see it on my way home to Covent Garden.  Have I ever seen Leibovitz so demure and
respectful?  It is a beautiful, stately image.
Leon Golub (1922-2004) at National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery has a powerful exhibition of Leon Golub’s portraits of political leaders
(pictured here is Castro 1977).   In 1982 Golub wrote - “My portraits depict people who, if they act at all,
do it irrationally, irregularly – puppets on a string even if they claim to be running the show.”
Seems we nationally are in another Golub-moment.
Betty Goodman at ICA
Betty Goodman was seen at Daniel Kordansky in LA in March of 2015.  That show was better than this
ten year survey, ICA exhibition just because of the utilitarian nature of the ICA showroom.  Still Betty
Woodman (born 1930) is actively working – dividing her time between NYC and Italy.  I quote myself
from my LA Best Picks in March 2015, “She creates isolated environments using glazed earthenware set
against backdrops of epoxy resin, lacquer, acrylic paint and canvas.  Her work is as if a meld of Matisse
and Cezanne against a backdrop of Pattern and Decoration.“  She is every bit as important to the
evolution of ceramics as Arneson and Voulkos.
Hilma af Klint at Serpentine
What a find this exhibition was.  Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was a recognized classic-style painter in
Stockholm.  Her real interest was in the occult, science; worlds within objects.  She formed with other
women artists the “The Five”.  This group held séances and did automatic writing and drawing.  This
was in the 1880s and decades before the French Surrealist. “The Paintings for the Temple’ cycle was
comprised of 193 paintings produced between 1906 and 1915.  These are big abstract paintings with
figurative “roots” still discernible.  These abstractions pre-date Mondrian, Kandinsky and Malevich.!  
Incredible.  This woman understood complex contemporary scientific insights and melded them with
deeply spiritual practices.  She never showed her abstract work outside her group.  When she died
she stipulated that her cycle of paintings was not to be viewed for twenty years after her death.  The
story here is phenomenal.  She was a prescient artist – a genius who did see the way forward before
most were even able to say the word.
That's it.  I hope you had an interesting tour.
Doug Simay
Tom Wesselman at David Zwirner
There has been a huge resurgence of interest in Tom Wesselman (1931-2004).  Maybe an example of
death and market value?  His large Pop Art nudes are their own definition. Those works started in the
mid-1960s.  This exhibition presents 30 small collages produced between 1959 and the early 60s. The
work pictured above is 1960.  He produced these small works just after finishing at Cooper Union School
of Art in New York.  There is much homage to Matisse, Degas, Kandinsky, Memling, and de Kooning.  
These are brilliant collages.  I like Wesselman’s well known Pop stuff.  But these collages are
masterworks and time will not forget them.