Frieze London 2014 Reviews

Don’t Sleep on Lawrence Weiner at South London Gallery

Installation view of Lawrence Weiner's show at South London Gallery. (Also, a precise description of how many Frieze goers will likely feel by the end of this week.)

Installation view of Lawrence Weiner’s show at South London Gallery. (Also, a precise description of how many Frieze goers will likely feel by the end of this week.)

Sadly, it is impossible to see all of the art that is on view in London during Frieze and so, with each passing moment, decisions about what to visit get tougher. It’s Wednesday afternoon now, and many international visitors will be heading to Heathrow in the next 48 hours, which means that it’s triage time. One bit of advice: do not miss Lawrence Weiner’s show at South London Gallery, “All in Due Course.”

Yes, it’s a bit of a trek from the fairs, and it is a relatively small show, but it is an absolute pleasure. Weiner has expertly placed just a few new poetic text works around building, in the galleries and outside, like “MANY THINGS LEFT ON THE BANKS OF A RIVER/INEVITABLY TO BE SWEPT INTO THE FLOW,” which fills the entire wall of the largest gallery. After an action-packed art week, it is a potent palette cleanser—a hot, crisp shower after long days in the rain.

It is also definitive proof that Weiner, who is 72, remains at the top of his game. Unlike so many of his once-venturesome avant-garde peers from the 1960s, he ventured out pretty much to the edge of art but never came back. He’s made a home out there—working with just text and space—and he’s still hard at work.

I’m tempted to describe the show in minute detail, but I think it’s better to just go take a look, and let it be a surprise. (If you are not going to be in London before it closes on November 23, there are installation shots on the gallery’s website.)

Two quick notes: if you do visit, make sure to walk a bit down the street to catch a piece Weiner has done on the old Peckham Road Fire Station, and be sure to visit the gallery’s gift shop, where a special temporary tattoo is on offer for just £0.50 ($0.80), making it perhaps the cheapest artwork on offer anywhere this week.

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