The Easel

20th April 2021

New tricks, but this show still finds the soul in everyday objects

Whiteread sculpts household objects – hot water bottles, chairs and once, famously, the inside of a terrace house. Her first post-pandemic show comprises derelict sheds, made from reclaimed materials and painted deathly white – “mortal remains, like piles of bones”. These “unsettling” works share a family resemblance to Whiteread’s previous work – revealing the marks that life leaves on things. They are masterpieces, says one critic – “great lockdown art”.

Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins and Polka Dots Have Officially Taken Over the New York Botanical Garden

Will this be New York’s most welcomed show of the year? Kusama’s work is immensely popular. Even so, her works will surely gain something extra from being shown in a springtime garden. It’s not a cerebral art event but, as a sensory experience, it could be right up there. As Kusama advises “Become one with eternity. Obliterate your personality. Become part of your environment.” A video is here.

13th April 2021

Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start

New York’s MOMA and Alexander Calder were best buddies. MOMA promoted Calder in key exhibitions while he enabled the fledgling institution to boast a modernist American artist. Calder was their “household god”. The museum’s marketing blurb says that this exhibition celebrates this decades-long relationship. Does it, or is it just a lovely show that will tempt cautious people to visit? Who cares? “Nobody doesn’t love Sandy Calder”