The Easel

26th June 2018

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Galleries review – good news for ducks?

A couple of years ago it was suggested to Christo that he had avoided London. His response to that remark is, for the next few months, floating in the Serpentine lake. Christo has assured the locals that “Any interpretation is legitimate, critical or positive” Such works may be temporary but, as one writer observes, “the ambition behind it is boundless”.

Photography and Social Change: Dorothea Lange and the Politics of Seeing

Dorothea Lange was not an obvious candidate to trailblaze documentary photography. She was an upmarket portrait photographer before taking government assignments during the Depression. Her images were sensationally powerful and now form part of America’s visual history. “A camera is a tool,” she once said, “for learning how to see without a camera.”

19th June 2018

Tomma Abts @ Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Tomma Abst’s paintings – abstract, with just a hint of representation – have brought her acclaim and a Turner Prize. Modest in size, they are pure combinations of colour and line. Or, in the writer’s words, “[each] a distinct and powerful colour world … an image of nothing but the creative process itself.” A good video (3 min) of the artist is here.

Make America decay again – Thomas Cole and Ed Ruscha review

Cole’s five paintings, The Courses of Empire, are a highlight of 19th century American art. They depict the rise and fall of a grand empire, telling a story of transience. In the same exhibition is a contemporary homage to these works by Ed Ruscha. “The doomed empire Cole imagined inevitably looks like the USA … Ruscha [has] a colder eye. [He] shrugs and walks on”.