Cultural Crawl: good things to see in February


Danh Vo at Marion Goodman

Did you read in the comments on yesterday’s post on Soft Living, that the Danish have a word for this? It’s ‘hygge’, so let’s make February a ‘hygge’ month and be nice to ourselves. Make some time for ‘hygging’ while wrapped in copious layers of warm things, but also maybe treat yourself to a restorative trip to your local art gallery or museum, to feed your soul as well. I always feel cheered by an injection of culture and London has an ever increasing list of amazing art galleries to visit, for free, too. It’s worth noting too that many of these amazing new galleries are run by women and feature some great women artists too. Makes a change.

First up (above) is work by Danh Vo at Marion Goodman’s gallery. Marion’s gallery opened last autumn to much excitement because she is tres important in the New York art world, very successful indeed and is 84 years old. I do hope I’m doing scarily ambitious things like opening a new gallery when I’m in my 80s. Danh Vo’s work left me a little cold, until I got to the gold printed cardboard and suspended garden tools. I have no idea what it means, but I loved the bling and wondered how my garden tools might look with a bit of gold leaf on them….it’s remarkably easy to do.

Do not miss the cardamon buns or blueberry oatcakes at the close by Nordic Bakery too. Very restorative.

And then at all the Victoria Miro galleries is an extensive show of Sarah Sze’s wonderful work, below, which is delicate, layered and slightly cluttered, it appeals to my collecting-and-making principles.

Sarah Sze at Victoria Miro

Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London

Different installations of Sarah Sze’s work are in each of Victoria’s galleries, so check out what you fancy seeing first. I’d see them all, it’s beautiful stuff.

Sarah Sze at Victoria Miro

Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London

Next up and just around the corner is Wilhelm Sasnal at the Sadie Coles gallery. The chatter in the art world is that Wilhelm is one of the best and most interesting painters around currently, I am not qualified to comment but there is something about his work that’s very engaging.

wilhelm sasnal

Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles

He has many styles, so it’s never dull viewing and I was really taken with these still lives (above and below), not least for their lively colours and upbeat vibe.

sadi coles

Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles

Also, he has a neat way with edges…..below. I always like an interesting canvas edge.


Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles

Then at the Pippy Houldsworth’s gallery in Heddon Street, which is a great place to stop for lunch if you are in need of food or coffee, is a collaborative show of paintings by Helen Frankenthaler and Aimee Parrot, with one piece from The Wilson Sister too.

Helen Frankenthaler is a great colourist, she works on raw unprimed canvas to create pools of vibrant colour, Aimee Parrot is a colour experimentalist too, using screen printing methods to create what look like colour stains on canvas. The works on show are bold but quite feminine in their colour palates, I loved ’em.


Helen Frankenthaler at Pippy Houldsworth

I am currently having a bit of a ‘pink’ moment though, so maybe that helped. More images here.


Aimee Parrot at Pippy Houldsworth

More interesting edges and canvas treatments too….


Aimee Parrot at Pippy Houldsworth

There’s only one work in Pippy’s gallery by Jane and Louise Wilson, but it’s worth seeing. I am a big Wilson Sister’s fan, they do terrific large scale images of places you don’t want to go to but are curious to know how they look like, like Chernobyl. This little work below, called Decoy Tank, The Box, is a small cube featuring a black and white back photo, mirrored sides and a small sculpture and continues their investigation of the legacy of The Great War.


Jane and Louise Wilson at Pippy Houldsworth

At the ICA currently is a small collection of Viviane Sassen’s work, Pikin Sleemy, my favourite images are below. Viviane is a fashion photographer too and it’s always interesting to me to see how someone who spends time photographing frocks approach a fine art subject. Viviane has shot the Suriname village of Pikin Slee to celebrate the traditional way of life, focussing on mundane stuff, but creating impactful images.


Viviane Sassen at the ICA Gallery

Then over to Bermondsay to see the Christian Marclay show at the White Cube space. Now, if you saw Christian’s work The Clock, you will have been excited to hear that he has new work because The Clock was a stroke of genius. But how do you follow up success like that? it’s hard and poor Christian has had middling reviews for this show, but I would urge you to go, for two reasons. Firstly, the splashy sploshy paintings (below) which are good for colour and a general sense of fun. I wouldn’t want to buy one, but they cheered me up, and we’re all about feeling good this month.

christian marclay

Christian Marclay at White Cube

Fun, aren’t they?


Christian Marclay at White Cube

And then there’s the collaboration between Christian and the Vinyl Factory, where music made in the gallery (there are visiting orchestras and all sorts happening) is pressed into a vinyl record for you to take away before your very eyes. The mobile vinyl factory is fascinating to watch and a must-see for any vinyl fans.


Christian Marclay and the Vinyl Factory at White Cube

Also just opened at Tate Modern is the terrific Marlene Dumas, the most successful female artist currently practising I heard recently, I haven’t seen it yet but intend to go ASAP.


  • Flora says:

    All sounds fab but I don’t live in London or anywhere near.

  • Amanda says:

    Sorry Flora, hope the images go a little way to showing you a little of what’s on. We might need roving cultural reporters from around the country to tell us what else is out there. A

  • Flora says:

    Sounds like a plan Amanda.

  • Laura Dodson says:

    Thank you for this review- interesting to know what’s out there. Always find it inspiring and uplifting to discover new artists and galleries. I feel almost like I went with you!

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks Amanda – you have inspired me to get my butt out and around some galleries. I’m lucky to live in London but the great thing for visitors is that it isn’t that big a city and you can see a lot in a couple of days + get to eat a fair bit of cake I between gallery visits :-)

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