Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, I.W. Payne

Downtown

★★★★☆

On until 22 June 2024

The Kingly Street cupboard which hosts this Margate outfit’s pop-up barely has room for three artists. With two gallerists on site, it leaves little space for breath and even less for context. 

For once, that’s for the better. Henke and Pitegoff’s black-and-white photographs of leather handbags do for the vaginal labia what Mapplethorpe’s vegetables did for the penis. Seeing them this close up – there is no other way – invokes a violence that’s far from the gentle joke of an O’Keeffe desert flower.

Next to this macabre gynaecological luxury product line-up, Payne’s near human-size cardboard silhouette jokingly riffs on a Roy Lichtenstein cartoon. Move too close and its spikes will poke your eyes. Move one step back and you’ll hit a steel column. 

This little assembly would make the perfect décor for a court waiting room, unsettling any might-be villain. It may also be a great way to air yet keep close art’s most captivating defects. 


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Nicole Eisenman, What Happened at Whitechapel Gallery ★★★☆☆

Nicole Eisenman

What Happened

★★★☆☆

There’s a Bosch hellscape dedicated to Trump and a whole “basket of deplorables” polishing their guns in a prepper cell.

looking to the futurepast, we are treading forward, the Bolivian pavilion in Venice ★☆☆☆☆

looking to the futurepast, we are treading forward

★☆☆☆☆

The contemporary is of no interest to a nation whose future is yet to be dug out from the ground.

Xie Nanxing, Hello, Portrait! at Thomas Dane ★★★★☆

Xie Nanxing

Hello, Portrait!

★★★★☆

Looking at Xie’s portraits is a little like wearing a virtual reality headset over only one eye.

Nikita Gale, Blur Ballad at Emalin ★★☆☆☆

Nikita Gale

Blur Ballad

★★☆☆☆

Even though the show brings together a few unusual tricks, they are disjointed and leave little for the eye to linger on.

Eddie Ruscha, Seeing Frequencies at Cedric Bardawil ★☆☆☆☆

Eddie Ruscha

Seeing Frequencies

★☆☆☆☆

But either the curator or the artist should have known better.

Trevor Yeung, Soft Ground, at Gasworks ★★☆☆☆

Trevor Yeung

Soft Ground

★★☆☆☆

It’s stressful enough to fuck in the forest for fear of passers-by or the police; imagine having to also look out for curators.

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