Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Frances Stark

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Frances Stark 2010_-_Pull_After_Push

I don’t believe it is cruel or unfair to say that a museum is probably not the natural home for Frances Stark’s work. The artworks that she has made over the past 24 years (the timespan covered by this retrospective) are many things – epistolary, diaristic, notational, self-referential, accretive, serial, slapdash, intricate – but they are not, in the main, the kinds of forms that museums are traditionally built to house. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Kibbo Kift Kindred

Angus McBean. Kinsman on rock, Switzerland, 1930.

In 1929, the Whitechapel Gallery mounted an exhibition of painted tents, carved ceremonial totems, shields, banners, costumes, archery equipment, embroidery and weaving looms. These objects, all of them crafted by hand, were not the work of some remote island tribe, nor even medieval European artefacts, but the regalia of an idiosyncratic group of men, women and children, predominantly English and active during the 1920s, who called themselves the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift. This autumn, the Whitechapel Gallery has put many of those same materials back on display in a show co-curated by Annabella Pollen, the author of a meticulous new history of the group. Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin

In 2007, Robert Irwin had a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Held in the city in which Irwin has lived since the early 1980s and curated by the museum’s director, his old friend Hugh M. Davies, the exhibition was something of a homecoming tribute for the artist. He did not know it at the time, but a chance meeting during the installation of the exhibition would open the door to an unexpected new chapter in his career, one that this year is coming to fruition with exhibitions at Pace, New York, in the spring, and at White Cube, London (until 15 November). Read the rest of this entry »