Sula Bermúdez-Silverman

Bad Luck Rock

★★☆☆☆

On until 6 January 2024

Bermúdez-Silverman’s tabletop sculptures cast in Uranium glass glow under UV light. Their forms resemble items from an architectural salvage catalogue. Stucco flourishes fallen from a Neoclassical cathedral spire are conjoined with a lion’s claw feet broken off a Queen Anne wardrobe. A Rococo window becomes the picture plane. These assemblies repeat in the exhibition with only minor variations in order and colour, as though they were customised for a mass consumer market. Each would be at home in the museum gift shop. 

Even without the artist’s explanation, this work is both blunt and lazy. Its references are too vague to place in the history of Western design and their contrasts are unchallenging. But the gallery text – itself a prime artefact of Art-Ideolo-GPT – suggests that Bermúdez-Silverman’s is a decolonial project intended to catch out the “pathological systems of power” hard-wired into her design trinkets. The European forms for her become weapons to bludgeon the conquistadors and to uncover the abusive history of extraction of Uranium glass’ raw materials. This is all talk, however, and brings nothing to the work which remains a poor man’s version of history or, more appropriately, a philistine collector’s absolution.


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

Armando D. Cosmos, Nothing New Under the Sun at Phillida Reid ★★★☆☆

Armando D. Cosmos

Nothing New Under the Sun

★★★☆☆

Cosmos wants to redefine STEM as the alliance of science, theosophy, engineering, and myth.

Auudi Dorsey at PM/AM ★★★★☆

Auudi Dorsey

★★★★☆

Dorsey records the human experience with the true universalism of paint.

Tyler Eash, All the World’s Horses at Nicoletti ★★☆☆☆

Tyler Eash

All the World's Horses

★★☆☆☆

The artist must choose which ground is best ceded.

Tesfaye Urgessa, The Ethiopian Pavilion in Venice ★★★★★

Tesfaye Urgessa

Prejudice and Belonging

★★★★★

Urgessa’s figures are contorted in love, death, or merely life.

Alvaro Barrington, Grandma’s Land at Sadie Coles ★★★☆☆

Alvaro Barrington

Grandma’s Land

★★★☆☆

The party slumps into a half-voiced political complaint and never recovers. This is what happens when instead of living culture, we ‘celebrate’ it.

Abel Auer, The shadow of tomorrow draws an ancient silhouette at Corvi-Mora ★★★☆☆

Abel Auer

The shadow of tomorrow draws an ancient silhouette

★★★☆☆

Auer is more interested in the fate of painting than humanity and thus stands apart from the army of zealots who make eco art today.

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