Pauline Boty
A Portrait

★★★★☆

On until 24 February 2024

Pauline Boty was half pop artist, half actress, and in her mythology half pin-up it girl. The swinging ’60s would have been the perfect time for someone of Boty’s charisma to make a career of three halves. But she died young barely a decade into her practice, leaving a legacy of painting, collage, stained glass, and TV drama for speculation.

Although Boty was posthumously quite the rage in Poland’s soc-realist ’80s, it wasn’t until the again roaring ’90s that interest in her surviving oeuvre hit the UK art scene. Gazeli’s modest exhibition now brings a handful of Boty’s works – somewhat chaotic paper and gouache collages and oil paintings that could have been collages too – together with archives and tributes.

This mixes the woman and her legend, but without the air of mystery the artist enjoyed during her lifetime. Today, when a creator’s presence in their work is subject to TikTok’s terms of service, Boty’s multiple faces are challenging. She poses seductively on the cover of Men Only and in Michael Ward’s photographs, she lifts her dress for the camera. Such emancipation may have been a strategy for Pop art’s leading female founder. Today, its prompts aesthetic suspicion.


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

things fall apart; the centre cannot hold at Tabula Rasa ★★★★☆

Elli Antoniou, Ali Glover, Richard Dean Hughes

things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

★★★★☆

These works could bear witness to the birth of a star or the heat death of the universe. The curators don’t know which.

Josiane M.H. Pozi, Through My Fault at Carlos/Ishikawa ★★★☆☆

Josiane M.H. Pozi

Through My Fault

★★★☆☆

There’s a group, but they’re as indistinct as the faces of Jesus that regularly appear to people on slices of toast.

Amanda Wall, Femcel at Almine Rech ★★★☆☆

Amanda Wall

Femcel

★★★☆☆

There’s no dignity in paint when the arc of art history tends to “show hole”.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss at Sprüth Magers ★★★★☆

Peter Fischli and David Weiss

★★★★☆

A police procedural turns into a drinking game of Foucauldian power analysis.

Robert Ryman, Line at David Zwirner ★★★☆☆

Robert Ryman

Line

★★★☆☆

The artist’s signature becomes a distress call.

Talar Aghabshian, Solace of the Afterimage at Marfa’ at The Approach ★★☆☆☆

Talar Aghbashian

Solace of the Afterimage

★★☆☆☆

The carpet dealer gallerist’s zeal reveals the work’s lamentable inadequacy. 

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