The Easel

25th May 2021

Tony Cragg is the star of Houghton Hall’s summer sculpture exhibition

Houghton Hall is a magnificent English country mansion that hosts an annual solo sculpture show. Only superstars get invited – this year it is Tony Cragg and his biomorphic, abstract forms. Difficult to interpret, they are Cragg’s take on nature, expressed in form and surface. The works in the show are “elegant … expressions of our current anxieties” but seem optimistic about “our presence in the biological realm.” An excellent backgrounder here.

18th May 2021

David Hammons ‘ghost pier’ draws lines to Village’s waterfront past

Public art sometimes disappoints but New York now has a piece that is being feted. Pier 52, once a derelict structure on the Greenwich Village shoreline, was both a noted gay haunt and subject to large “cutouts” in its walls by the artist Gordon Matta-Clark. The pier is long gone but an outline in steel now stands on he site as a tribute to this rich social history and to Matta-Clark. Says one critic, approvingly, “its empty of everything but history, light and air”.

The Making of Rodin review – not a radical, just a plain old genius

A case of trying too hard? After umpteen Rodin shows, London’s Tate is showing a large array of Rodin’s preparatory plaster casts. Its unclear that they show something new. Repeated use of particular casts was nothing more than standard procedure for the day. Further, Rodin’s mix-and-match method has none of the spirit of today’s ready-mades. We are left with what’s already known – Rodin’s radical vision replaced stilted realism with the expressive modern body.